Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Month: March 2015

P5+1 “CAPITULATE TO TYRANTS” IN IRAN AS NUCLEAR TALKS ENTER FINAL STAGE

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:

AS WE GO TO PRESS: NUCLEAR TALKS WITH IRAN COULD EXTEND TO WEDNESDAY, NEGOTIATORS SAY — With a deadline just hours away, negotiators from the United States, Iran and five other nations appeared on Tuesday to be struggling to move closer to a preliminary accord to limit Tehran’s nuclear program, and signaled that they might be prepared to work into Wednesday. Even if an agreement is struck, there have been signs that several of the most difficult issues will be deferred for a final agreement in three months. After working for a full day with foreign ministers from most of the seven nations involved in the talks — the exception was Sergey V. Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, who arrived in the afternoon after declaring “the chances are high” for an agreement — a senior State Department official indicated that progress had been insufficient…Any accord that is reached will be, by design, an interim instrument that might be devoid of some specifics that the United States Congress, Israel, Arab states, and Iran’s military and hard-liners have been worried about.  (Globe & Mail, Mar. 30, 2015)

 

The Capitulationist: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 30, 2015 — For a sense of the magnitude of the capitulation represented by Barack Obama’s Iran diplomacy, it’s worth recalling what the president said when he was trying to sell his interim nuclear agreement to a Washington, D.C., audience in December 2013.

Rewarding Iran with a Bad Deal:  Amir Fakhravar, Real Clear World, Mar. 31, 2015— Concerns with the deal designed to curb with the Islamic Republic's nuclear program have centered around the long-term dangers of the agreement.

Iran Keeps Its Nuclear Secrets: Wall Street Journal, Mar. 27, 2015 — With days to go until the deadline for the Iran nuclear talks, the list of the skeptical is growing.

Violating Nuclear Arms Treaties Isn’t Something the World Takes Seriously. Just Ask Putin: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Mar. 25, 2015 — The Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, told his Iranian counterpart that “the nuclear talks have reached the final sprint in the marathon.”

 

On Topic Links

  

Iran Militia Chief: Destroying Israel is ‘Nonnegotiable’: Lazar Berman, Times of Israel, Mar. 31, 2015

Iran’s Supreme Leader Holds Key to Nuclear Deal: Jay Solomon & Laurence Norman, Wall Street Jouranl, Mar. 30, 2015

The Gaping Holes in Obama’s Iran Deal: Emily B. Landau, Globe & Mail, Mar. 5, 2015

How America Bamboozled Itself About Iran: Jordan Chandler Hirsch, Commentary, Mar. 23, 2015

 

                                               

THE CAPITULATIONIST                                                                                                    

Bret Stephens

Wall Street Journal, Mar. 30, 2015

 

For a sense of the magnitude of the capitulation represented by Barack Obama’s Iran diplomacy, it’s worth recalling what the president said when he was trying to sell his interim nuclear agreement to a Washington, D.C., audience in December 2013. “We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful program,” Mr. Obama said of the Iranians in an interview with Haim Saban, the Israeli-American billionaire philanthropist. “They certainly don’t need a heavy-water reactor at Arak in order to have a peaceful nuclear program. They don’t need some of the advanced centrifuges that they currently possess in order to have a limited, peaceful nuclear program.”

 

Hardly more than a year later, on the eve of what might be deal-day, here is where those promises stand:

Fordo: “The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites.”—Associated Press, March 26. Arak: “Today, the six powers negotiating with Iran . . . want the reactor at Arak, still under construction, reconfigured to produce less plutonium, the other bomb fuel.”—The New York Times, March 7.

 

Advanced centrifuges: “Iran is building about 3,000 advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges, the Iranian news media reported Sunday, a development likely to add to Western concerns about Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.”—Reuters, March 3.

 

But the president and his administration made other promises, too. Consider a partial list: Possible military dimensions: In September 2009 Mr. Obama warned Iran that it was “on notice” that it would have to “come clean” on all of its nuclear secrets. Now the administration is prepared to let it slide. “Under the new plan,” The Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon and Laurence Norman reported last week, “Tehran wouldn’t be expected to immediately clarify all the outstanding questions raised by the IAEA in a 2011 report on Iran’s alleged secretive work. A full reckoning of Iran’s past activities would be demanded in later years as part of a nuclear deal that is expected to last at least 15 years.”

 

Verification: Another thing the president said in that interview with Mr. Saban is that any deal would involve “extraordinary constraints and verification mechanisms and intrusive inspections.” Iran isn’t playing ball on this one, either. “An Iranian official on Tuesday [March 24] rebuked the chief of the U.N. atomic agency for demanding snap inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites, saying the request hindered efforts to reach an agreement with the world powers,” reports the AP. But this has done nothing to dent the administration’s enthusiasm for an agreement. “It was never especially probable that a detailed, satisfactory verification regime would be included in the sort of substantive framework agreement that the Americans have been working for,” the Economist noted last week.

 

Ballistic missiles: In February 2014, Wendy Sherman, the lead U.S. negotiator, testified to Congress that while the interim agreement was silent on Iran’s production of ballistic missiles, “that is indeed going to be part of something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.” This point is vital because ballistic missiles are a central component of a robust nuclear arsenal. Except missiles are off the table, too. “Diplomats say the topic [of missiles] has not been part of formal discussions for weeks,” the AP reported Monday.

 

Break-out: President Obama has repeatedly insisted that the U.S. will only sign a deal that gives the U.S. and its allies a year’s notice if Iran decides to “break out” and go for a bomb. But if the Iranians won’t come clean on their past weapons’ work, it’s impossible to know how long they would really need to assemble a bomb once they have sufficient nuclear material. Nor does the one-year period square with the way Iran would try to test the agreement: “Iran’s habit of lulling the world with a cascade of small infractions is an ingenious way to advance its program without provoking a crisis,” Michael Hayden, the former CIA director, wrote with former IAEA deputy chief Olli Heinonen and Iran expert Ray Takeyh in a recent Washington Post op-ed. “A year may simply not be enough time to build an international consensus on measures to redress Iranian violations.”

 

Some readers may object that Iran has made its own significant concessions. Except it hasn’t. They may also claim that the U.S. has no choice but to strike a deal. Except we entered these negotiations with all the strong cards. We just chose to give them up. Finally, critics may argue that I’m being unfair to the administration, since nobody knows the agreement’s precise terms. But that’s rich coming from an administration that refuses to negotiate openly, lest the extent of its diplomatic surrender be prematurely and fatally exposed.

 

Nearly a century ago Woodrow Wilson insisted on “open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in public view.” Barack Obama prefers to capitulate to tyrants in secret. Judging from the above, it’s no wonder.                       

                                                                       

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REWARDING IRAN WITH A BAD DEAL     

Amir Fakhravar                                                                                                  

Real Clear World, Mar. 31, 2015

 

Concerns with the deal designed to curb with the Islamic Republic's nuclear program have centered around the long-term dangers of the agreement. Aside from technical and oversight issues, the key focus has been on whether to suspend or terminate the crippling sanctions that brought the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table. But what about the immediate impact of lifting sanctions on Tehran? Rarely mentioned is the P5+1 group's plan to unfreeze more than $150 billion of Iran's restricted foreign assets as a first step toward sanctions relief.

 

The intended move was revealed a few weeks ago by a European source close to P5+1 diplomats involved in the negotiations. BBC Farsi published a telling statement by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on March 28: "If there is an agreement, it is possible that the president would use his powers to temporarily lift some of the sanctions so that if Iran fails in the verification process, we could reimpose the sanctions swiftly." Officials sounded a like note to the Associated Press on March 19: "A draft nuclear accord now being negotiated between the United States and Iran would force Iran to cut hardware it would use to make an atomic bomb by about 40 percent for at least a decade, while offering the Iranians immediate relief from sanctions that have crippled the economy."

 

The Islamic Republic lacks access to billions of dollars of oil revenues due to financial sanctions imposed over its nuclear activities. According to the official report from the U.S. State Department, these frozen funds exceeded $100 billion dollars between January 2013 and January 2014. "Those assets have actually increased over the course of the Joint Plan of Action as the oil revenues that Iran has been earning have been poured into these restricted accounts," a senior administration official said in July 2014. It is reasonable to estimate that today an amount exceeding $150 billion sits in these restricted accounts.

 

On Feb. 19, Iranian state media outlet IRNA published the statements of Iran's presidential spokesman. "The 11th administration began when the golden era of more than $100 billion oil revenue was over, the massive revenue was gone and instead the circle of economic blockade surrounded the government," the spokesman said. He added that the government of President Hassan Rouhani has to run the country on a $17 billion budget.

 

Even with the state treasuries admittedly empty, the regime finds the means to fund terrorism in the region and around the world. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's evil empire is now financially overextended as it feeds destabilizing forces from the Houthi militants in Yemen to Lebanese Hezbollah operatives worldwide – not to mention Hamas in Gaza, and the Quds Force-led terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Once the Islamist regime regains access to such an excess of forbidden funds, it would not have to worry about future sanctions – these could take years to impose and longer still to be effective. Meanwhile, Iran can effortlessly move its nuclear program and its sponsorship of terror to a new phase. Rouhani's scheming, duplicitous diplomats have planned this all along, and they found an ear willing to listen in the Obama administration.

 

The Islamic Republic's interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, and its destructive role in intensifying sectarian divisions, have increased despite a domestic financial crisis. The flow of $150 billion into the regime's coffers would make Rouhani's government the richest in Iranian history. But make no mistake. The Islamic Republic will only be emboldened to continue along the same path it has followed for the past 36 years, and to intensify its cross-border activities to support its regional ambitions. In a meeting with the members of the Assembly of Experts on March 16, Khamenei declared: "Today, we often hear from arrogant powers and opponents of Islamic establishment, particularly the Islamic Republic, that they seek behavior change, claiming that they no longer want regime change. But a change in behavior is no different from regime change. They are the same. Changing behavior means you should give up your efforts for an objective." And we have all painfully witnessed these efforts in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.

 

Despite its smile diplomacy, the Islamic Republic remains a rogue regime that must be reined in through tough negotiations. While regime apologists have tried to convey that only Israel opposes the generous concessions that the Obama administration has been pushing relentlessly over the course of the nuclear negotiations, the events in Yemen tell a different story. Saudi Arabia has been joined by Bahrain, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Sudan, Qatar, Egypt, and Turkey in an unprecedented coalition to launch airstrikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. They are all aware that the imminent bad deal has emboldened the Islamic Republic to act with impunity in the region, and that they can no longer rely on U.S. security guarantees. As remarked by Rep. Darell Issa (R-Calif.), a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs: "The continued easement or outright removal of sanctions against this rogue state will only further embolden Iran and facilitate its belligerent behavior. We must make it clear that we will support our allies ad punish our enemies through steadfast resolve and decisive action."

                                                                       

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IRAN KEEPS ITS NUCLEAR SECRETS       

Wall Street Journal, Mar. 27, 2015

 

With days to go until the deadline for the Iran nuclear talks, the list of the skeptical is growing. The latest addition is the International Atomic Energy Agency, and its misgivings are a reality check on Iran’s willingness to honor its promises. “Progress has been very limited” on Iran’s promise to come clean about its earlier efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, IAEA head Yukiya Amano said this week. Mr. Amano added that “no more new issues” had been resolved, particularly on Iran’s effort to develop explosives for a nuke.

 

Supporters of the talks hailed last year’s Iranian-IAEA statement, in which Tehran pledged to fess up to its weaponization work. That statement followed a 2013 agreement setting out a 12-step plan for disclosing the possible military dimensions of a nuclear program Tehran still claims is for civilian use. Tehran would clean the slate about the past, the thinking went, and trust would grow. Now Mr. Amano says Tehran has completed only one of the 12 steps. Western intelligence agencies believe the regime tried to develop a nuclear explosive device beginning in the 1980s. Tehran in subsequent years consolidated its weaponization work in the “AMAD Plan,” led by Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a Ph.D. nuclear scientist and senior member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

 

Mr. Fakhrizadeh’s team procured dual-use technologies, developed detonators and conducted high-explosive experiments until 2003, when the AMAD Plan was halted, according to Western intelligence. The apparent pause came after the 2002 disclosure of two secret nuclear sites—the event that set off the Iranian nuclear crisis—and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Iraq. But as former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright told us last year, “Fakhrizadeh continued to run the program in the military industry.” The AMAD Plan’s latest iteration is the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, known to the West by its Persian acronym, SPND. Iran has long withheld information about the SPND and its predecessor entities, and it has refused to make Mr. Fakhrizadeh available for IAEA interviews.

 

Without Iranian disclosure of past illicit activities, including nuclear enrichment and weaponization research, it’s hard to see how the Obama Administration can honor its core pledge to strike a deal that would give the West a one-year warning if Iran decides to build a bomb. As Olli Heinonen, the former Deputy Director-General for Safeguards at the IAEA, told us, “you need to have that baseline. You want to understand what they were doing.” An Iran that has the know-how to rapidly weaponize highly enriched uranium or plutonium may need only months to assemble a bomb.

 

The Obama Administration is plowing ahead anyway, and the Journal reports it is now prepared to accept a “scaled-back version” of the 2013 agreement. The U.S. may also accept a verification plan that would grant the IAEA access to “some” of the sites that Iran has so far closed to the IAEA. But any verification program that doesn’t give inspectors unfettered and immediate access to any place they want to see does little more than create the illusion of inspections while giving Iran the opportunity to cheat.

 

The Administration’s red lines on Iran have been as erasable as they were on Syria. But Iran’s inspection stonewall ought to be a deal-breaker, and cause for a sense of the Senate vote as early as next week on the President’s failing diplomacy. 

                                                           

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VIOLATING NUCLEAR ARMS TREATIES ISN’T SOMETHING THE                        

WORLD TAKES SERIOUSLY. JUST ASK PUTIN                                                                      

Father Raymond J. de Souza                    

National Post, Mar. 25, 2015

 

The Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, told his Iranian counterpart that “the nuclear talks have reached the final sprint in the marathon.” Indeed, the negotiations between the “P5 + 1” — the permanent five members of the UN security council and Germany, Iran’s most important trading partner in terms of establishing its nuclear program — are heading toward their 10th anniversary next year. The supposed sprint is the deadline to get a comprehensive agreement in place in the next few months.

 

It is a mystery why the agreement is taking so long. Iran is desirous of obtaining nuclear weapons, which would advance its ambition to become a regional Islamic hegemon and make more credible its threats to annihilate the state of Israel. The P5 + 1, led by the Americans, want an agreement that would permit Iran to reach the threshold of nuclear weapons, but not to cross it. The easiest way for both sides to be satisfied would be for the Iranians to agree to what the Americans are asking, and then later to go ahead and develop nuclear weapons anyway. A win-win. President Obama gets his diplomatic agreement, and Iran gets its nukes.

 

That is likely what is going to happen anyway, as no one believes Obama would do anything serious to prevent Iran from violating whatever agreement it makes, especially since Russia and China — members of the P5 — might smile benignly on a nuclear Iran anyway. That is not too bleak a view. Ukraine has already shown us that the West lacks the will to enforce the terms of nuclear non-proliferation. This month marks a year since Vladimir Putin invaded, occupied and annexed Crimea from Ukraine. The annexation was not only catastrophic for Ukraine, but dealt a serious blow to non-proliferation efforts.

 

After the dismantling of the Soviet empire in 1991 and the return of Ukraine to the map of Europe, the question of Ukraine’s nuclear arsenal had to be dealt with. The missiles were on sovereign Ukrainian territory, even though the centre of command-and-control remained in Moscow. Should that control be shifted to Kyiv? Should Ukraine become a nuclear power? The consensus of the P5 was that the salutary dismemberment of the Soviet Union should not produce the desultory spread of nuclear weapons to new states.

 

It was resolved with the signing of the Budapest Memorandum, the 20th anniversary of which was marked last December. That 1994 agreement was signed by Ukraine, the United States, Britain and Russia, with separate assurances given by the other P5 members, France and China. Ukraine agreed to give up what was then the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal in exchange for security guarantees. Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence were to be respected with its existing borders, and the nuclear powers forswore using force or the threat of force in Ukraine. Ukraine was persuaded to cede its nuclear stockpile by assurances that it would not be needed for defensive purposes.

 

So when Russia, a signatory to the Budapest Memorandum, invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea without any practical punishment, let alone reversal, the Budapest Memorandum was rendered a dead letter. Given that it was one of the major achievements of non-proliferation diplomacy, its unilateral shredding by Russia’s Putin grievously wounded the cause. The general theory of non-proliferation is that states who aspire to nuclear arms are induced to give them up in favour of security guarantees from existing nuclear powers, making the desired weapons superfluous. Ukraine abided by the rules of the game. Why would anyone else?

 

It’s possible that Iran will outmanoeuvre the Obama administration, as Syria and Russia have in the past 18 months. But even if Iran was somehow cajoled into a non-proliferation agreement, why would it keep it? The consequences would likely be tolerable, as they have been for Russia over Ukraine, and whatever security guarantees they might be offered are no longer credible.

 

At the moment, the greatest force against nuclear proliferation by Iran may be, oddly enough, a pre-emptive arms race. An Iranian nuke would shortly be followed by a Saudi one and an Egyptian one, and even the most bloodthirsty radicals in Iran might think twice about the current instability in the Middle East being nuclearized. Iran knows that nuclear Israel is not likely to act with apocalyptic fervour; the same cannot be said for neighbouring lands where ISIS is on the march.

 

Nuclear non-proliferation was long a favoured cause of the multilateral, progressive global left. Strangely then, the multilateral, progressive Obama administration, together with its European allies, may well deal a death blow to non-proliferation by agreeing to a bad deal with Iran, finishing off the damage done a year ago in Ukraine.

 

Contents

                                                                                     

 

On Topic

 

Iran Militia Chief: Destroying Israel is ‘Nonnegotiable’: Lazar Berman, Times of Israel, Mar. 31, 2015 —The commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said that “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable,” according to an Israel Radio report Tuesday.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Holds Key to Nuclear Deal: Jay Solomon & Laurence Norman, Wall Street Jouranl, Mar. 30, 2015 — With a key deadline just hours away, U.S. and European officials said nuclear negotiations were imperiled by deep uncertainty over whether Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would sign off on the necessary concessions for a deal.

The Gaping Holes in Obama’s Iran Deal: Emily B. Landau, Globe & Mail, Mar. 5, 2015 —When considering the dangers of a bad nuclear deal with Iran, it’s time to depart from the drama surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress and get back to the issues, as Mr. Netanyahu himself did in the speech.

How America Bamboozled Itself About Iran: Jordan Chandler Hirsch, Commentary, Mar. 23, 2015 — Here, then, is where we are. When the world’s most powerful nations began their effort to negotiate away Iran’s nuclear program in 2003, the Islamic Republic had 130 centrifuges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                    

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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AS P5+1, IRAN NEGOTIATE: YEMEN COLLAPSES, IRAN SEEKS NUCLEAR WEAPONS & M.E. HEGEMONY

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:

AS WE GO TO PRESS: IRAN, SIX POWERS MEET TO END IMPASSE IN NUCLEAR TALKS — The foreign ministers of Iran and six world powers met on Monday in a final push for a preliminary nuclear accord less than two days before their deadline as Tehran showed signs of backing away from previous compromise offers. For days Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China have been holding negotiations to break an impasse in negotiations aimed at stopping Tehran having the capacity to develop a nuclear bomb in exchange for an easing of international sanctions…But officials at the talks in… Lausanne cautioned that attempts to reach a framework accord could yet fall apart. Officials said the talks could run at least until the deadline of midnight on Tuesday or beyond. One sticking point concerns Iran’s demand to continue with research into newer generations of advanced centrifuges that can purify uranium faster and in greater quantities than the ones it currently operates for use in nuclear power plants or, if very highly enriched, in weapons. (Globe & Mail, Mar. 30, 2015)

 

Reverse Course: Jerusalem Post, Mar. 29, 2015 — An Iranian formerly loyal to the Islamic Republic’s ruling mullah regime provided the latest sign that the P5+1 nations (the US, the UK, France, China and Russia, plus Germany) are headed for a bad deal.

Obama’s Race to Chaos:  Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Mar. 28, 2015— If you’re confused about the Saudi Arabia-led air attacks against Islamist rebels in Yemen and can’t tell one group of head-choppers in Iraq and Syria from another, don’t despair. All you need is imagination.

Managing Obama’s War Against Israel: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 26, 2015— On Wednesday, the Jerusalem Municipality announced it is shelving plans to build 1,500 apartments in the Har Homa neighborhood. Officials gave no explanation for its sudden move. But none was needed.

To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran: John Bolton, Algemeiner, Mar. 29, 2015 — For years, experts worried that the Middle East would face an uncontrollable nuclear-arms race if Iran ever acquired weapons capability.

 

On Topic Links

  

Obama’s Mideast Realignment: Max Boot, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 25, 2015

Why the Chaos in Yemen Could Force Obama to Take a Harder Line with Iran: Greg Jaffe & Missy Ryan, Washington Post, Mar. 28, 2015

Obama’s Doomsday Plan for Israel – A Terrifying Possibility: Jack Engelhard, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 29, 2015

The Method to Obama’s Middle East Mess: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Mar. 28, 2015

Here’s Why Obama Panders to Iran, Throws Israel Under the Bus: Edward Morrissey, Fiscal Times, Mar. 26, 2015

 

                                     

REVERSE COURSE                                                                                         

Jerusalem Post, Mar. 29, 2015

 

An Iranian formerly loyal to the Islamic Republic’s ruling mullah regime provided the latest sign that the P5+1 nations (the US, the UK, France, China and Russia, plus Germany) are headed for a bad deal. “The US negotiating team is mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” said Amir Hossein Motaghi, who managed public relations for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during his 2013 election campaign. Motaghi is now seeking political asylum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

Motaghi’s move is reminiscent of the Cold War era, when Soviets craving freedom from their repressive regime would regularly defect to the West when given the chance. His statement might have been politically motivated – either to endear himself to skeptics opposed to the deal or to convince hard-liners in Iran that the deal is good for the Islamic Republic.  But even experts carefully following the negotiations who spoke to The Jerusalem Post tend to agree in principle with Motaghi. Dr. Emily Landau, head of the arms control program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said that while Motaghi’s formulation is a bit extreme, it is nevertheless true that the US is “making concessions to a degree that will leave the agreement a very, very poor one.”

 

What concerns Landau and others – such as Yukiya Amano, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency – is not just the number and quality of the centrifuges that Iran will be allowed to operate under the materializing agreement or the amount of enriched uranium the Iranians will be permitted to possess. Rather, what is truly worrying, as the US-led negotiators seem intent on signing a framework agreement by March 31, is that Iran continues to lie about its nuclear program, as it engages in terrorism not just in countries in the region – such as Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and Syria – but also in far-flung cities such as Caracas, Buenos Aires and Burgas.

 

Since the end of 2011, when the IAEA published findings that pointed to the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programs, the Islamic Republic has refused to fully answer all but one of a dozen IAEA queries, including repeated requests to give IAEA access to Parchin, which is suspected of being an installation where research and development of nuclear weapons is conducted. Yet, the US and the other P5+1 nations have allowed the Iranians to continue to lie about their nuclear program in every possible public forum and claim that it has always been solely for peaceful purposes and will continue to be in the future. Not only has US Secretary of State John Kerry refrained from aggressively confronting the Iranian stonewalling tactics against the IAEA, he has actually made his own contribution to the Iranian narrative. “If [Iran’s nuclear program] is peaceful, let’s get it done,” Kerry said earlier this month, as though this were a possibility. “And let’s hope that in the next days that will be possible.”

 

The Wall Street Journal reported that Washington is willing to forgo requiring Iran to answer questions from the IAEA on its past nuclear work immediately upon reaching a deal. And the P5+1 has chosen to live in a fantasy world of its own making not just with regard to Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear program. It has also chosen to ignore Iran’s involvement in the destabilization of the region, from Damascus and Beirut to Sanaa and Baghdad, and in terrorism and drug trafficking in Central and South America. The Obama administration is averse to confronting the Iranians, fearing that doing so would anger them and endanger negotiations. But choosing delusions over reality has led to more anarchy, with longtime US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt – doubting American resolve to stop the Islamic Republic – choosing to operate on their own.

 

We are witnessing the beginning of a war in Yemen between Sunni states and Iran, and we may also be on the verge of a Sunni-Shi’ite nuclear arms race as well. In Riyadh, Cairo and Istanbul, Sunni political leaders – already threatened by nuclear-free Iran’s expansionism – will not stand by idly as Iran’s influence is augmented by a nuclear weapons umbrella. The P5+1 must awaken from their self-induced delusion. The French are already showing signs of life. The Yemen fiasco provides a perfect opportunity for a reassessment. Iran cannot be allowed to continue to deceive the world about its nuclear program as it sows violence and instability throughout the region. The March 31 deadline has not yet arrived. There is still time to reverse course.                                                 

                                                                                   

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OBAMA’S RACE TO CHAOS      

Michael Goodwin                                                                                                         

New York Post, Mar. 28, 2015

 

If you’re confused about the Saudi Arabia-led air attacks against Islamist rebels in Yemen and can’t tell one group of head-choppers in Iraq and Syria from another, don’t despair. All you need is imagination. Close your eyes and imagine that those countries and terrorists have nuclear weapons. Imagine their barbarism going nuclear as they blow up cities, wipe out ethnic and religious groups and turn the region into cinders. Now open your eyes and realize you’ve seen the future, thanks to President Obama’s policies. It is a future that will be defined by Obama’s Wars. Yes, plural.

 

I’ve written frequently about the likelihood of a dystopian “Mad Max” scenario if Iran gets nukes. My thinking is guided by a belief among American military and intelligence officials that a nuclear exchange would take place in the Mideast within five years of Iran getting the bomb. To judge from events, the future is arriving ahead of schedule. The fact that a top Saudi official wouldn’t answer a question about the kingdom’s plan to get nukes is an answer in itself. Proliferation in the world’s hottest spot was guaranteed once Obama abdicated American leadership, a decision that led our adversaries to conclude we would not stop them and our allies to conclude we would not protect them.

 

A future where it would be every nation for itself was trouble enough, but something far worse is unfolding now. Obama’s courtship of Iran and his willingness to let it go nuclear is speeding up the race to chaos. Iran wants it both ways — nukes and a free hand to impose its Islamic Revolution throughout the region. Against all good sense and the lessons of history, Obama is saying yes and yes. Sightings of the Revolutionary Guard leader, Maj. Gen. Qasem Suleimani, leading Iranian-sponsored militias against the Islamic State in Iraq has spread alarm throughout the region. The fears reached a fever pitch when Iranian-allied Houthi rebels took over Yemen, chasing out our soldiers and allies with chants of “Death to America, death to Israel.” Iran long held designs on a Shia Crescent and control over Arab lands, which helps explain why Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others counted themselves as our allies. They are furious as they watch Iran get a nuclear pass from Obama and a green light to expand its power.

 

The nuclear program will have the United Nations’ stamp of approval, as will Iranian control of four Arab capitals — Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and now Sanaa, Yemen. Indeed, Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry suggest Iran even could be an ally in the fight against the Islamic State and al Qaeda. Already there has been coordination there, leading critics to say America is acting as the Iranian air force. Israel, of course, sees the pattern as insane and a threat because Iran has threatened to wipe it off the face of the Earth. In retaliation for complaining about the nuke deal, Obama denounces our ally and threatens to “re-evaluate” our support for the Jewish state. But Israel is not alone, with our Sunni Arab allies also viewing Iran as their mortal enemy. Sen. John McCain quoted one of those Arab leaders as concluding, “We believe it is more dangerous to be a friend of America’s than an enemy.”

 

These are unprecedented developments, veering so far from the norm and happening so fast that consequences are piling up faster than they can be comprehended. Alliances built over decades are shattered in a relative flash, inviting aggression and endless conflict. The toxic brew of Islamic fanaticism and nuclear proliferation could ignite a world conflagration. These are grim thoughts, expressed because it is impossible to imagine any other outcome of Iran’s rise. It remains the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism and supports Hezbollah and Hamas and now the Houthis in Yemen. As for Iranian influence in Iraq, one analyst is calling Suleimani, the Revolutionary Guard commander, Iraq’s new “viceroy.”

 

Remember, too, Iran muscle and munitions are keeping Bashar Assad still standing in Syria. The wholesale death and destruction there — an estimated 200,000 people killed and millions displaced within the country and out of it — could be a prototype of its new empire. While there are many dark and complex forces in play and blame to spread around, the most important catalyst of the violent disorder has been the reversal of America’s policies. Under Obama, we have switched sides, an abomination that ensures a legacy of infamy.

 

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                                

                                      

MANAGING OBAMA’S WAR AGAINST ISRAEL 

Caroline Glick                                                                                                              

Jerusalem Post, Mar. 26, 2015

 

On Wednesday, the Jerusalem Municipality announced it is shelving plans to build 1,500 apartments in the Har Homa neighborhood. Officials gave no explanation for its sudden move. But none was needed. Obviously the construction of apartments for Jews in Jerusalem was blocked in the hopes of appeasing US President Barack Obama. But is there any reason to believe he can be appeased? Today the White House is issuing condemnations of Israel faster than the UN. To determine how to handle what is happening, we need to understand the nature of what is happening.

 

First we need to understand that the administration’s hostility has little to do with Israel’s actions. As Max Boot explained Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, the administration’s animosity toward Israel is a function of Obama’s twin strategic aims, both evident since he entered office: realigning US policy in the Middle East toward Iran and away from its traditional allies Israel and the Sunni Arab states, and ending the US’s strategic alliance with Israel. Over the past six years we have seen how Obama has consistently, but gradually, taken steps to advance these two goals. Toward Iran, he has demonstrated an unflappable determination to accommodate the terrorism supporting, nuclear proliferating, human rights repressing and empire building mullahs.

 

Beginning last November, as the deadline for nuclear talks between the US and its partners and Tehran approached, Obama’s attempts to accommodate Tehran escalated steeply. Obama has thrown caution to the winds in a last-ditch effort to convince Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei to sign a deal with him. Last month the administration published a top secret report on Israel’s nuclear installations. Last week, Obama’s director of national intelligence James Clapper published an annual terrorism threat assessment that failed to mention either Iran or Hezbollah as threats. And this week, the administration accused Israel of spying on its talks with Iran in order to tell members of Congress the details of the nuclear deal that Obama and his advisers have been trying to hide from them.

 

In the regional context, the administration has had nothing to say in the face of Iran’s takeover of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden this week. With its Houthi-proxy now in charge of the strategic waterway, and with its own control over the Straits of Hormuz, Iran is poised to exercise naval control over the two choke points of access to Arab oil. The administration is assisting Iranian Shi’ite proxies in their battle to defeat Islamic State forces in the Iraqi city of Tikrit. It has said nothing about the Shi’ite massacres of Sunnis that come under their control.

 

Parallel to its endless patience for Tehran, the Obama administration has been treating Israel with bristling and ever-escalating hostility. This hostility has been manifested among other things through strategic leaks of highly classified information, implementing an arms embargo on weapons exports to Israel in time of war, ending a 40-year agreement to provide Israel with fuel in times of emergency, blaming Israel for the absence of peace, expressing tolerance and understanding for Palestinian terrorism, providing indirect support for Europe’s economic war against Israel, and providing indirect support for the BDS movement by constantly accusing Israel of ill intentions and dishonesty.

 

Then there is the UN. Since he first entered office, Obama has been threatening to withhold support for Israel at the UN. To date, the administration has vetoed one anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council and convinced the Palestinians not to submit another one for a vote. In the months that preceded these actions, the administration exploited Israel’s vulnerability to extort massive concessions to the Palestinians. Obama forced Benjamin Netanyahu to announce his support for Palestinian statehood in September 2009. He used the UN threat to coerce Netanyahu to agree to negotiations based on the 1949 armistice lines, to deny Jews their property rights in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to release scores of terrorist murderers from prison.

 

Following the nationalist camp’s victory in last week’s election, Obama brought to a head the crisis in relations he instigated. He has done so for two reasons. First, next week is the deadline for signing a nuclear agreement with Iran. Obama views Netanyahu as the prospective deal’s most articulate and effective opponent. As Obama sees it, Netanyahu threatens his nuclear diplomacy with Iran because he has a unique ability to communicate his concerns about the deal to US lawmakers and the American people, and mobilize them to join him in opposing Obama’s actions. The letters sent by 47 senators to the Iranian regime explaining the constitutional limitations on presidential power to conclude treaties without Senate approval, like the letter to Obama from 367 House members expressing grave and urgent concerns about the substance of the deal he seeks to conclude, are evidence of Netanyahu’s success.

 

The second reason Obama has gone to war against Israel is because he views the results of last week’s election as an opportunity to market his anti-Israel and pro-Iranian positions to the American public. If Netanyahu can convince Americans to oppose Obama on Iran, Obama believes that by accusing Netanyahu of destroying chances for peace and calling him a racist, Obama will be able to win sufficient public support for his anti-Israel policies to intimidate pro-Israel Democratic lawmakers into accepting his pro-Iranian policies.

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

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

                                                   

TO STOP IRAN’S BOMB, BOMB IRAN                                                                                                          

John Bolton                                               

Algemeiner, Mar. 29, 2015

 

 

For years, experts worried that the Middle East would face an uncontrollable nuclear-arms race if Iran ever acquired weapons capability. Given the region’s political, religious and ethnic conflicts, the logic is straightforward. As in other nuclear proliferation cases like India, Pakistan and North Korea, America and the West were guilty of inattention when they should have been vigilant. But failing to act in the past is no excuse for making the same mistakes now. All presidents enter office facing the cumulative effects of their predecessors’ decisions. But each is responsible for what happens on his watch. President Obama’s approach on Iran has brought a bad situation to the brink of catastrophe.

 

In theory, comprehensive international sanctions, rigorously enforced and universally adhered to, might have broken the back of Iran’s nuclear program. But the sanctions imposed have not met those criteria. Naturally, Tehran wants to be free of them, but the president’s own director of National Intelligence testified in 2014 that they had not stopped Iran’s progressing its nuclear program. There is now widespread acknowledgment that the rosy 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which judged that Iran’s weapons program was halted in 2003, was an embarrassment, little more than wishful thinking.

 

Even absent palpable proof, like a nuclear test, Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear weapons has long been evident. Now the arms race has begun: Neighboring countries are moving forward, driven by fears that Mr. Obama’s diplomacy is fostering a nuclear Iran. Saudi Arabia, keystone of the oil-producing monarchies, has long been expected to move first. No way would the Sunni Saudis allow the Shiite Persians to outpace them in the quest for dominance within Islam and Middle Eastern geopolitical hegemony. Because of reports of early Saudi funding, analysts have long believed that Saudi Arabia has an option to obtain nuclear weapons from Pakistan, allowing it to become a nuclear-weapons state overnight. Egypt and Turkey, both with imperial legacies and modern aspirations, and similarly distrustful of Tehran, would be right behind. Ironically perhaps, Israel’s nuclear weapons have not triggered an arms race. Other states in the region understood — even if they couldn’t admit it publicly — that Israel’s nukes were intended as a deterrent, not as an offensive measure.

 

Iran is a different story. Extensive progress in uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing reveal its ambitions. Saudi, Egyptian and Turkish interests are complex and conflicting, but faced with Iran’s threat, all have concluded that nuclear weapons are essential. The former Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, said recently, “whatever comes out of these talks, we will want the same.” He added, “if Iran has the ability to enrich uranium to whatever level, it’s not just Saudi Arabia that’s going to ask for that.” Obviously, the Saudis, Turkey and Egypt will not be issuing news releases trumpeting their intentions. But the evidence is accumulating that they have quickened their pace toward developing weapons.

 

Saudi Arabia has signed nuclear cooperation agreements with South Korea, China, France and Argentina, aiming to build a total of 16 reactors by 2030. The Saudis also just hosted meetings with the leaders of Pakistan, Egypt and Turkey; nuclear matters were almost certainly on the agenda. Pakistan could quickly supply nuclear weapons or technology to Egypt, Turkey and others. Or, for the right price, North Korea might sell behind the backs of its Iranian friends. The Obama administration’s increasingly frantic efforts to reach agreement with Iran have spurred demands for ever-greater concessions from Washington. Successive administrations, Democratic and Republican, worked hard, with varying success, to forestall or terminate efforts to acquire nuclear weapons by states as diverse as South Korea, Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil and South Africa. Even where civilian nuclear reactors were tolerated, access to the rest of the nuclear fuel cycle was typically avoided. Everyone involved understood why.

 

This gold standard is now everywhere in jeopardy because the president’s policy is empowering Iran. Whether diplomacy and sanctions would ever have worked against the hard-liners running Iran is unlikely. But abandoning the red line on weapons-grade fuel drawn originally by the Europeans in 2003, and by the United Nations Security Council in several resolutions, has alarmed the Middle East and effectively handed a permit to Iran’s nuclear weapons establishment. The inescapable conclusion is that Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program. Nor will sanctions block its building a broad and deep weapons infrastructure. The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq or its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor, designed and built by North Korea, can accomplish what is required. Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed.

 

Rendering inoperable the Natanz and Fordow uranium-enrichment installations and the Arak heavy-water production facility and reactor would be priorities. So, too, would be the little-noticed but critical uranium-conversion facility at Isfahan. An attack need not destroy all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, but by breaking key links in the nuclear-fuel cycle, it could set back its program by three to five years. The United States could do a thorough job of destruction, but Israel alone can do what’s necessary. Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran.

Mr. Obama’s fascination with an Iranian nuclear deal always had an air of unreality. But by ignoring the strategic implications of such diplomacy, these talks have triggered a potential wave of nuclear programs. The president’s biggest legacy could be a thoroughly nuclear-weaponized Middle East.

 

Contents

                                                                                     

 

On Topic

 

Obama’s Mideast Realignment: Max Boot, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 25, 2015 —His new doctrine: Downgrade ties to Israel and the Saudis while letting Iran fill the vacuum left by U.S. retreat.

Why the Chaos in Yemen Could Force Obama to Take a Harder Line with Iran: Greg Jaffe & Missy Ryan, Washington Post, Mar. 28, 2015 —President Obama has for years stuck to a strategy aimed at keeping the United States from getting pulled into a big regional war between Iran and America’s traditional Arab allies.

Obama’s Doomsday Plan for Israel – A Terrifying Possibility: Jack Engelhard, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 29, 2015 —Israel and the United States need to get ready to thwart a terrible surprise.

The Method to Obama’s Middle East Mess: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Mar. 28, 2015 —Let’s recap the state of America’s commitments in the Middle East.

Here’s Why Obama Panders to Iran, Throws Israel Under the Bus: Edward Morrissey, Fiscal Times, Mar. 26, 2015—When the chant “Death to America” goes out in Tehran, it should remind us of the nature of Barack Obama’s diplomatic partners in Iran.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                    

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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WORLD HISTORY & THE JEWS: FROM YEMEN TO BUENOS AIRES, TO TEHERAN (AND THE DANUBE)

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Contents:

SEN. SCHUMER ANNOUNCES COSPONSORSHIP OF BILL REQUIRING CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW OF IRAN DEAL: As the March 31 deadlines approaches for a political framework agreement in the nuclear talks between the P5+1 powers (a group that includes America) and Iran, US Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday announced that he is adding his name to the list of cosponsors of legislation that would require Congressional review of a nuclear deal. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, sponsored by US Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), stipulates that President Barack Obama must submit the text of a nuclear pact to Congress within five days of a deal being reached. The legislation also prohibits the president from suspending, waiving, or reducing Congressional sanctions against Iran for 60 days. Schumer had already publicly supported the Corker-Menendez oversight bill before officially announcing his cosponsorship on Thursday. (Algemeiner, Mar. 26, 2015)

 

A Howling Success: James Taranto, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 26, 2015 — Barack Obama once cited Yemen as his administration’s great counterterrorism success story.

Buenos Aires and Tehran:  Jerusalem Post, Mar. 22, 2015— As the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, China, and Russia plus Germany) and Iran enter the final stretch of nuclear arms negotiations in Vienna, Tehran’s diabolical influence on the world was being commemorated in Buenos Aires.

'Those Who Hate Jews Hate Christians': A Closer Look at US Presidential Hopeful Ted Cruz: Ariel Cohen, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 22, 2015— President Barack Obama remains furious at Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tracing Jewish Heritage Along the Danube: Lisa Schwarzbaum, New York Times, Mar. 13, 2015 — The humiliating denouement to America’s involvement in Yemen came over the weekend…

 

On Topic Links

  

The Regional Arms Race Has Begun: Charles Bybelezer, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 24, 2015

Americans Battle the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Quarterly, Spring, 2015

Christians Loving Jews: Frank Bruni, New York Times, Mar. 7, 2015

The Secret Jewish History of Pi: Seth Rogovoy, Forward, Mar. 13, 2015

 

                                     

A HOWLING SUCCESS                                                                                                       

James Taranto                                                                                                    

Wall Street Journal, Mar. 26, 2015

 

Barack Obama once cited Yemen as his administration’s great counterterrorism success story. Give him a break, you might say—that was more than six months ago. Surely he’s changed his view to take account of evolving circumstances, such as the country’s takeover by what are invariably called “Iranian-backed Houthi militants.” Oh no he hasn’t. Here’s an exchange that took place yesterday afternoon between Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, and Jonathan Karl, ABC News’s White House correspondent…

 

Karl: Josh, just a quick one first on Yemen. I know you’re asked this every time something terrible happens in Yemen. But now that we have essentially complete chaos in Yemen, does the White House still believe that Yemen is the model for a counterterrorism strategy?

 

Earnest: Jon, the White House does continue to believe that a successful counterterrorism strategy is one that will build up the capacity of the central government to have local fighters on the ground to take the fight to extremists in their own country, and the United States can serve both to diplomatically offer up some political support to central governments. We can offer very tangible support to local security forces in the form of training and equipping, and we can also support the operations of those security forces through whether it’s the deployment of ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] capability, or even in the case of Iraq, military airstrikes.

 

And that is a template that has succeeded in mitigating the threat that we face from extremists in places like Yemen and Somalia, and is a template that we believe can succeed in mitigating the threat emanating from Syria as well.

 

Karl: I mean, that’s astounding. You’re saying that you still see Yemen as the model? That building up the central government, which has now collapsed; a president who’s apparently fled the country; Saudi troops amassing on one border; the Iranians supporting the rebels—you consider this is a model for counterterrorism?

 

Earnest: Again, Jon, what the United States considers to be our strategy when confronting the effort to try to mitigate the threat that is posed by extremists is to prevent them from establishing a safe haven. And certainly, in a chaotic, dangerous situation like in Yemen, what the United States will do and has done is worked to try to support the central government, to build up the capacity of local fighters, and use our own technological and military capabilities to apply pressure on the extremists there.

 

Look, there’s no doubt that we would like to see a functioning central government in Yemen; we don’t see that right now. And that is why we’re supportive of the U.N.-led process to try to put an end to the violence and instability, to bring all sides together to the table to try to resolve their differences; to build up the capacity of the central government; to build up the capacity of local forces and to continue to apply pressure to extremists.

 

What I will say is that we have not seen that kind of progress in terms of strengthening the central government. I think you could make a pretty strong case that we’ve seen the opposite of that. But we do continue to enjoy the benefits of a sustained counterterrorism security relationship with the security infrastructure that remains in Yemen.

 

Karl: Do you think the security infrastructure still remains in Yemen?

 

Earnest: There are elements of the Yemeni government that we continue to be in touch with that continue to further our efforts to apply pressure to extremists that seek to operate in that country. And we continue to have the capability—again, because of the planning and because of the relationships that we have in the region, we do continue to have the capability to take out extremists if they’re posing a threat to the United States…

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

                                                           

                                                                                   

Contents                                                                                     

   

                                      

BUENOS AIRES AND TEHRAN                                                                                          

Jerusalem Post, Mar. 22, 2015

 

As the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, China, and Russia plus Germany) and Iran enter the final stretch of nuclear arms negotiations in Vienna, Tehran’s diabolical influence on the world was being commemorated in Buenos Aires. Last week, an Israeli delegation headed by outgoing Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir was in Argentina marking the 23rd anniversary of the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. The bombing, which killed 29 and injured hundreds, took place on March 17, 1992. Because elections were taking place on the same day, the commemoration ceremony, which was particularly large this year, was postponed.

 

More than two decades have passed since the bombing, which is believed to have been carried out by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah. No one has been brought to justice. However, former ambassador to Argentina Itzhak Aviran said last year that Israel had killed most of those responsible. “The large majority of those responsible are no longer of this world, and we did it ourselves,” Aviran told the Buenos Aires-based AJN Jewish news agency last March. Yet, the stories of the embassy bombing, and the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, also known as AMIA or Argentinean Israel Mutual Association, refuse to go away and continue to be relevant to understanding Iran’s pernicious influence, not just in the Middle East, but around the world.

 

On January 17, special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who had been leading an investigation into Iran’s involvement in the AMIA bombing for over a decade, was found dead in his apartment. An independent forensic investigation commissioned by Nisman’s former wife, a senior Argentinean judge, has found that Nisman was murdered. Nisman was on the verge of giving testimony on an elaborate cover up scheme involving the governments of Argentina and Iran. Argentinean President Cristina de Fernandez Kirchner, her Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and other figures connected to the government had reportedly agreed to discontinue investigations into Iran’s involvement in the AMIA bombing as part of a massive trade deal.

Some have speculated that Iran was involved.

 

Meanwhile, just last week Doug Farah, director of IBI Consultants, presented testimony to a US Senate Foreign Affairs subcommittee headed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) in which, among other things, he outlined the strong ties between Argentina and Venezuela. First the Chavez government and now the Maduro regime in Caracas have been instrumental in fostering ties between Buenos Aires and Tehran, claimed Farah – including in the field of nuclear technology. Farah also noted that, in addition to Venezuela, countries like Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Bolivia have developed drug trafficking and terrorism ties with Iran and Russia as part of a rabidly anti-Western, anti-America sentiment that has led to an alignment of Iranian and Russian interests with those of several South and Central American countries.

 

And just last week, Veja, a Brazilian magazine, ran a story claiming that starting in 2007 Argentina – through Venezuela’s brokering – helped Iran develop its nuclear weapons program. A leading Argentinean journalist who spoke with The Jerusalem Post was skeptical and noted that there were many inaccuracies in the Veja story and that it was unclear what precisely were the direct ties between Buenos Aires and Tehran. It was nevertheless likely true, according to the journalist, that Venezuela had provided the former Kirchner government with large sums of cash and that Argentina had helped Venezuela develop its nuclear program. This might have enabled Venezuela to then provide Iran with the Argentinean technologies.

 

On the 23rd anniversary of the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, we should remember that Iran’s nefarious influence in South America and elsewhere is not a lesson of history. It remains a living reality.The P5+1 nations have a moral obligation to take this into account as they negotiate with the Islamic Republic the terms of a nuclear weapons deal. If an Iran devoid of nuclear weapons has succeeded so well in making its evil influence felt throughout the world, we dare not imagine what this influence will be when the mullahs have the benefit of a nuclear umbrella.

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                                

 

“THOSE WHO HATE JEWS HATE CHRISTIANS': A CLOSER LOOK AT US                              

PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL TED CRUZ                                                                                     

Ariel Cohen                                                                                                                            

Jerusalem Post, Mar. 24, 2015

 

A staunchly conservative, Christian and pro-Israel Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, became the first candidate from either party to announce his run for the American presidency in 2016 on Monday, and he is hoping that his religious constituencies will support him. Cruz is no stranger to letting his religion influence his politics, and he often goes as far as to embrace the crossroads between the two.

 

He made his campaign announcement while speaking at Liberty University, an Evangelical Christian school in Virginia. His traditional christian values appeal to many of his current Texas constituents, along with other Republicans and members of the Tea Party. He is the son of an evangelical Pastor, but Cruz now calls himself a Baptist, and is an ardent supporter of Israel. “Those who continue to hate Israel, hate America,” Cruz said in Washington DC in September at an event called, In Defense of Christians. “Those who hate Jews, hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps for them.” While these comments got him booed off the stage at the time, the senator has continued to vocally support Israel.

 

“Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with Israel,” Cruz said during his announcement of candidacy on Monday at Liberty University. This time around, he received a long round of applause for the statement. While Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father, he renounced his Canadian citizenship last year, according to reports. The son of an evangelical pastor, Cruz also invoked religion in his announcement, hoping to galvanize his Christian constituency.

 

The Texan senator has repeatedly stood with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his time in office. In November 2013, he called on Iran to recognize a Jewish State, and has repeatedly condemned Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, underscoring it’s danger to the State of Israel. “There is one threat on the face of the planet right now that poses a meaningful possibility of once again exterminating 6 million Jews, and that is a nuclear Iran,” Cruz said the Monday before Netanyahu gave his speech to Congress.

 

Evangelicals and devout Christian alike tend to stand with Israel, so Cruz’s pro-Israel stance helps him appeal to both the Jewish and Christian communities. Additionally, Cruz appeals to traditional Christian values; he’s against gay marriage and abortion and often mentions the "sacrament of marriage" and the "sanctity of human life" when speaking of hot-button social issues. About 40 percent of Republican primary voters consider themselves evangelical or born again, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling. This may give Cruz a boost in early-voting states such as Iowa, where 57% of Republican caucus attendees identified as evangelical or born-again Christians in 2012.

 

He even invokes religion when speaking on foreign policy. During his speech on Monday, Cruz accused Obama of playing down the religious elements of Islamic State and fostering conflict with Israel, both crucial issues for evangelical Christians. Cruz even turns to religion when it comes to national politics, stating that America's rights and freedoms do not come from man, but rather  "come from God almighty."

 

Cruz markets himself as an alternative to centrist Republican candidates, such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who will likely announce candidacy soon; yet it is unclear as to whether this strategy will win Cruz the Republican nomination. Cruz came in third in an informal poll of activists last month at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls show him tied with five other potential candidates, though well behind both Bush and Walker.

                                                                       

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TRACING JEWISH HERITAGE ALONG THE DANUBE                                                                                       

Lisa Schwarzbaum                                                                                                        

New York Times, Mar. 13, 2015

 

Like many who share my hair texture and fondness for rugelach, I am the descendant of Jewish forebears who boarded boats in the first half of the 20th century to escape bad times for our people in Central and Eastern Europe. These intrepid emigrants took to the water, settled in America and built a Jewish-American culture of creative assimilation. I owe them my life.

 

Like about a third of the 120 or so fellow travelers with whom I spent seven nights on the Danube River last November, I boarded a boat called the AmaPrima in Budapest to float back to some of the same places so many of those same emigrants were — history has confirmed — lucky to leave behind. I was bound on a Jewish heritage tour, combining two growing travel trends: roots and rivers.

 

 

In my case, the combination was a special-interest option laid over a popular Danube itinerary that AmaWaterways has been offering since the company entered the river-cruise market in 2002. On the water, we were all in the same boat as it powered from the Hungarian capital of Budapest to Bratislava, Slovakia; Vienna, Linz and Salzburg, all in Austria; and, finally, Regensburg and Nuremberg, in Bavaria, Germany.

 

Each day, we shared the same abundant (nonkosher) meals and modest smartphone- and tablet-photography skills. Each night we repaired to our similar small, sweet, meticulously plumped cabins. (Our vessel could hold a maximum of 164 passengers.)

 

And we all relaxed together each cocktail hour — mostly couples, mostly in their 50s to 70s, and mostly North Americans, along with some stray vacationers from England, Ireland, Australia and China — in the same pleasant lounge, with its big picture windows. Together, we admired the luxe bed linens, the Wi-Fi in every room, the bottomless free glasses of wine, the outdoor hot tub, the on-board gift shop, the minuscule hair salon and gym area, the all-inclusive pricing. But when we stepped onto dry land in a different city each day, with local guides and buses synchronized to meet us, each traveler could choose between a Jewish heritage tour or a more standard city tour. (Independent exploration was also an option.) And we who had booked our trips in honor of our roots would, for a few hours, explore paths haunted by ghosts.

 

We would step into cemeteries with tumbled headstones. We would admire the very few synagogues that remain — so beautiful in Budapest, so stately in Vienna! — and listen to tales of the hundreds more destroyed. We would peer at old photographs and study rescued personal objects confiscated from the disappeared and today reverently displayed in glass cases. Each day we walked the streets of a Jewish heritage now effectively devoid of Jews, and we listened as guides described to us what used to be and is no more, along with tempered reports of precarious Jewish life as it exists today. Then, as darkness set in, we returned to the boat to reunite with fellow passengers who had spent the day on the cruise line’s default tour of gentile European culture.

 

For a week, under the friendly efficiency of the cruise manager, Dragan Reljic, we clinked aperitif glasses of Hungarian, Austrian or German liqueur in friendly toasts to historic beauty, both original and rebuilt following war after war, century after century. Then we freshened up for another dinner banquet, warmed by the pleasurable, high-end comforts of our Danube holiday. This is the only way I can begin this story. The weight of your emotional baggage may vary.

 

Budapest is an eminently logical place to start the search. Draped on both sides of the Danube, the city is home, still, to one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe, shrunken as it is. Not insignificantly, the river is also wide enough — and the docking availability commodious enough — to handle the current explosion in river-cruise tourism. Not for nothing has AmaWaterways increased its fleet to 19 vessels in 2015, while the industry leader, Viking River Cruises, will run 60 river ships with 25 itineraries this year.

Along with a handful of others who would become my shipmates, I opted for an organized predeparture extension of two nights in Budapest before we embarked. That way, I could visit the imposing Moorish-style Dohany Street Synagogue, the largest active synagogue in Europe today. (It is, for that matter, the second largest in the world, after Temple Emanu-El in New York City.)

 

As substantial as Dohany Street Synagogue is, though, it paled in emotional resonance compared with the effect of Shoes on the Danube Bank, a memorial by the sculptor Gyula Pauer and the filmmaker Can Togay. This simple, quietly heartbreaking permanent installation of 60 pairs of empty shoes, cast in iron on the Pest side of the Danube embankment, is a memorial to thousands of victims of Hungary’s own fascist Arrow Cross, in 1944-45. Men, women and children were relieved of their footwear, lined up and shot dead so that their bodies would fall into the Danube and wash away. Art puts our feet where they once stood….

 

For emotional reprieve, a local guide also led us to the Raoul Wallenberg Monument, not far from the neighborhood of protected houses that were established by Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, and others to shelter thousands of Budapest Jews with false identity papers. For added uplift, she produced a photocopy of a so-called Wallenberg Passport that had saved one of her own relatives.

 

Then, as darkness fell and the lights of the city’s eight bridges arranged themselves in a glittering hieroglyphic script of farewell, we assembled in the open air on the top deck of the AmaPrima. We lifted flutes of Champagne. We sailed past the ornately gothic Hungarian Parliament Building, ablaze in illumination. And we moved on in the night toward Slovakia.

 

Waking in Bratislava, we were given tour choices that were mordantly jarring and uniquely mittel-European: After our typically sumptuous breakfast, would we care for the Jewish heritage tour, the medieval tour or perhaps the Communist tour? As befits a visitor who only recently learned that her grandfather’s brother — one among millions of victims of Europe’s influenza epidemic of 1918 — studied at the famed Bratislava Yeshiva, then known by its German name, Pressburg Yeshiva, I continued my ethnic studies.

 

The city’s mournful Jewish centerpiece is the underground mausoleum of the rabbi and sage Moshe Schreiber (1762 to 1839), known as Chatam Sofer. The cemetery in which he was buried — itself built atop a 17th-century Jewish graveyard — was upended during and after World War II. But the rabbi’s tomb survived, along with the graves of some 20 other rebbes, albeit shut away under a concrete tunnel. The site was reconstructed and rededicated in 2002, in all its gloomy, claustrophobic, end-of-the-line pathos. The old Jewish neighborhood, meanwhile, was smashed decades ago by Communist construction — ugly in intention and result. There are very few Jews and an army of shadows in this exhausted Slovakian city.

 

It was a pleasure, after such a day of gnawing sadness, to return to the low-keyed conviviality of the AmaPrima, where, as happens on any group excursion, alliances were quickly being formed, if only for purposes of amiable dinnertime companionship. I waved to a friendly all-women table of travel agents and their friends. I recognized the folks who liked to shop, and those who liked to drink, and those who liked to talk about other cruises past and future. I fell in with a nice mix of heritage seekers who became my extended family — my mishpucha. We often discussed health care…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

 

Contents

                                                                                     

 

On Topic

 

The Regional Arms Race Has Begun: Charles Bybelezer, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 24, 2015 —One of the primary concerns voiced over the deal-in-themaking with Iran has long been that leaving the Islamic Republic with its atomic infrastructure intact – thereby solidifying its nuclear threshold status – would trigger a dangerous arms race in the world’s most volatile region.

Americans Battle the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Quarterly, Spring, 2015 —When, in the midst of the 2014 Hamas-Israel war, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration briefly banned American carriers from flying to Israel, Sen. Ted Cruz (Republican of Texas) accused Barack Obama of using a federal regulatory agency "to launch an economic boycott on Israel, in order to try to force our ally to comply with his foreign policy demands."  In so doing, Cruz made an accusation no Israeli leader would dare express.

Christians Loving Jews: Frank Bruni, New York Times, Mar. 7, 2015 —He was almost lost in the whirl of lawmakers, pundits, plutocrats and other boldface names who showed up for Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last week.

The Secret Jewish History of Pi: Seth Rogovoy, Forward, Mar. 13, 2015—In an episode of the original “Star Trek,” Mr. Spock — played by the late, great Jewish actor Leonard Nimoy — commands an evil computer that has taken over the life support system of the Starship Enterprise to compute Pi to the last digit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                    

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ISRAËL: UN SCIENTIFIQUE PALESTINIEN NOMMÉ À UN HAUT POSTE MINISTÉRIEL

Réd.

i24news, 22 mars 2015

           

Un scientifique arabe de Jérusalem-est a été nommé dimanche à un important poste au ministère israélien des Sciences et des Technologies, devenant ainsi le plus haut gradé palestinien sans citoyenneté israélienne dans l'administration de l'Etat hébreu.

 

Tarek Abou-Hamed, originaire du quartier de Sur Baher, spécialiste dans le domaine du génie chimique, a été nommé directeur scientifique adjoint au ministère israélien de la Science, de la Technologie et de l'Espace, du bureau chargé de définir la politique nationale sur les questions de la collaboration scientifique internationale, de la recherche et du financement du développement.

 

Selon le site du ministère, le directeur scientifique adjoint est chargé de superviser les infrastructures scientifiques nationales, les questions de propriété intellectuelle de l'État et l'imposition des établissements universitaires

 

La directrice scientifique du bureau, Nourit Yerimiah, a salué cette décision et a déclaré que la nomination de Tarek Abou-Hamed avait été motivée par des "raisons professionnelles", rapporte le quotidien Haaretz.

 

"Sa connaissance intime du ministère et des tendances scientifiques en constante évolution lui permettra d'effectuer son travail de la meilleure façon possible", a déclaré Yerimiah.

 

Comme la plupart des résidents de Jérusalem-Est, Abou-Hamed ne détient pas la citoyenneté israélienne, mais il a un numéro d'identité israélienne et dispose du statut de résident permanent.

 

Après ses études à l'Institut des sciences Weizmann de Rehovot et une thèse sur les substituts de pétrole pour les transports publics et les sources d'énergie renouvelables, il a occupé une série de postes sur différents projets de recherche avant de rejoindre le ministère des Sciences en 2013.

 

Dans une interview accordée au journaliste israélien Eliezer Yaari, Abou-Hamed a évoqué la "schizophrénie" et la problématique de la double identité auxquelles sont confrontés de nombreux résidents de Jérusalem-Est.

 

"C’est vrai que les Arabes de Jérusalem-est ont un certain nombre d'avantages", a déclaré Abou-Hamed.

 

"Vous pouvez parcourir le monde et visiter les pays arabes avec un passeport jordanien, tout en quittant Israël avec un passeport israélien", a-t-il ajouté.

 

"Les deux passeports sont un miroir de notre situation schizophrénique: Nous ne voulons pas d'Israël, mais nous voulons aussi vraiment Israël", a-t-il affirmé.

 

CRASH A320: PERQUISITIONS AUX DEUX DOMICILES DU

COPILOTE EN ALLEMAGNE

Réd.

i24news, 27 mars 2015

           

Les enquêteurs allemands ont perquisitionné jeudi soir dans l'ouest de l'Allemagne aux deux domiciles du copilote de l'avion de Germanwings, soupçonné d'avoir volontairement précipité l'appareil sur une montagne mardi matin, a annoncé le parquet de Düsseldorf (nord-ouest).

 

Les perquisitions concernent aussi bien l'appartement du copilote à Düsseldorf que son logement à Montabaur, où le suspect, Andreas Lubitz, âgé de 28 ans, vivait une partie du temps chez ses parents, a indiqué à l'AFP le procureur Ralf Herrenbrück.

 

Vers 19h45 GMT, les enquêteurs ont mis fin à leur perquisition dans son logement de Montabaur, ville de 12.500 habitants située entre Düsseldorf et Francfort, a constaté un journaliste de l'AFP.

 

Une personne, le visage couvert par un manteau, est sortie avec les enquêteurs qui n'ont fait aucune déclaration à la presse.

 

Ils ont également emporté l'unité centrale d'un ordinateur, ainsi que deux grands sacs bleus et un carton visiblement pleins.

 

Un cordon de policiers protégeait jeudi soir la maison familiale des Lubitz dont les volets avaient été tirés pendant toute la durée des investigations.

 

Le parquet de Düsseldorf a ouvert une enquête parallèle aux investigations principales faites en France car de nombreuses victimes séjournaient dans cette région allemande.

 

Dans un communiqué, le parquet a évoqué des perquisitions à Düsseldorf et dans d'autres lieux, pour y trouver des éléments personnels susceptibles d'éclairer les faits.

 

L'agence allemande de presse DPA avait annoncé de son côté que les enquêteurs se rendraient aussi chez les victimes qui résidaient dans la région pour contribuer à l'identification des corps en relevant des empreintes ADN.

 

D'autres policiers ont procédé à une enquête de voisinage en faisant le tour de ce quartier d'habitation de Montabaur où ont pris position de nombreux médias.

 

La justice française soupçonne Andreas Lubitz d'avoir volontairement provoqué la chute de l'Airbus A320 de Germanwings qu'il pilotait, avec 149 autres personnes à son bord, tandis que son commandant de bord était bloqué à l'extérieur de la cabine de pilotage.

 

LES PAYS DU GOLFE S'ACCORDENT SUR UNE INTERNVENTION MILITAIRE UNIFIÉE AU YÉMEN

Réd.

i24news, 27 mars 2015

 

Des avions de la coalition menée par l'Arabie saoudite ont lancé de nouvelles frappes jeudi soir au Yémen contre les rebelles chiites soutenus par l'Iran, qui a dénoncé une intervention "dangereuse".

 

Au moins 39 civils ont été tués au Yémen depuis le début il y a plus de 24 heures des raids aériens, ont indiqué vendredi des responsables du ministère de la Santé à Sanaa.

 

Douze des victimes ont été tuées dans un raid qui a visé dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi une base militaire au nord de Sanaa, et qui a touché un quartier résidentiel proche, ont ajouté les responsables de ce ministère, contrôlé par la rébellion chiite des Houthis.

 

De fortes explosions ont secoué en soirée la capitale Sanaa. Un correspondant de l'AFP a fait état de tirs de la défense antiaérienne en réponse à ce que des témoins ont décrit comme des frappes de la coalition contre une base à l'entrée ouest de Sanaa, tenue par les rebelles chiites Houthis.

 

Les premiers raids de l'opération "Tempête décisive" ont été qualifiés de succès et se prolongeront jusqu'à ce que les objectifs soient atteints, a déclaré à Ryad un porte-parole de la coalition, affirmant qu'il n'y avait pas de projet d'offensive terrestre dans l'immédiat.

 

Mais le chef des rebelles, Abdel Malek al-Houthi, condamnant une invasion derrière laquelle se cachent les États-Unis et Israël, a averti que les Yéménites ne vont pas rester sans réagir.

 

L'Iran a mis en garde contre une propagation du conflit, son président Hassan Rohani condamnant une agression militaire.

 

En pleines négociations sur le nucléaire avec Téhéran, les États-Unis ont apporté leur soutien à l'intervention, sans toutefois y participer directement. La Maison-Blanche s'est déclarée inquiète des activités iraniennes au Yémen, parlant d'informations sur le transfert iranien d'armes dans ce pays.

 

Lire la suite.

 

 

LE PENTAGONE A « ÉGARÉ » 500 MILLIONS DE DOLLARS DE MATÉRIEL MILITAIRE AU YÉMEN

Laurent Cantamessi

Causeur.fr, 24 mars 2015

 

Étant d’un naturel distrait, j’ai un ennemi déclaré avec lequel une longue guerre d’usure est entamée depuis des années : le trousseau de clé. As du déguisement, expert en dissimulation, roi du camouflage, cet odieux détenteur de tous les sésames de ma vie pratique se complaît à me retenir longuement chez moi quand je suis pressé, à m’empêcher de rentrer quand la journée fut longue ou la soirée trop arrosée, se planquant à la moindre occasion tout au fond d’un sac, dans une poche oubliée, sous une feuille, un livre, derrière la radio, sous un coussin ou dans le frigo. Avec la malignité démoniaque commune aux objets dits inanimés qui ont bien entendu une âme, le trousseau de clé disparaîtra de l’emplacement où vous étiez certain de l’avoir déposé la veille pour y réapparaître mystérieusement quand vous aurez regardé partout ailleurs et perdu tout espoir. Au moment où vous le découvrirez à nouveau, encore à demi-dissimulé par un bouquin ou simplement déposé sur l’étagère que vous avez pourtant inspecté dix minutes auparavant, vous entendrez alors résonner dans votre crâne ce discret ricanement métallique. Eh oui, il existe bien un complot mondial des trousseaux de clés et autres objets visant à nous faire perdre notre temps et à nous rendre fous jusqu’à parvenir à la destruction de la civilisation telle que nous la connaissons.

 

J’ai pu découvrir il y a quelques jours que ce complot mondial des objets égarés avait des dimensions que j’ignorais en tombant sur un article du Washington Post révélant que le Pentagone avait perdu la trace de 500 millions de dollars de matériel militaire généreusement offert au gouvernement du Yémen. Mais comme le gouvernement du Yémen est en ce moment confronté à une situation plus chaotique encore que celle de mon salon et que les ambassades américaines ont toutes fermé leurs portes, il ne reste plus personne sur place pour tenir les comptes et savoir ce qu’il est advenu du précieux matériel militaire de l’Oncle Sam.

 

Et 500 millions de dollars en matériel militaire, ce n’est pas rien, on ne parle pas ici d’égarer une casquette ou une paire de rangers. Ce que le Pentagone ne parvient pas à retrouver, c’est, précisément : 200 fusils d’assaut, 200 pistolets automatiques, 1 250 000 balles, 300 paires de lunettes de vision nocturne (ah ça, les lunettes c’est le grand classique ! On regarde partout et en fait on les a sur le nez), 250 gilets pare-balles, 160 Humvees (des Jeeps mais en plus gros et plus blindé), 4 hélicoptères, 4 drones, 2 Cessna, deux bateaux de patrouille et un avion de transport militaire. « Nous devons nous résigner à admettre qu’ils ont été perdus », a reconnu un conseiller militaire qui a souhaité conserver l’anonymat en raison du caractère archi-sensible de l’information. On le comprend, c’est plus facile de dire « ah ben je ne comprends pas, il était là et puis pouf il n’est plus là » à propos de son trousseau de clé que d’un avion de transport de 25 mètres de long. C’est comme égarer un bateau de patrouille ou un hélicoptère, ça fait désordre.

 

Lire la suite.

 

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ACCUSE LES GROUPES ARMÉS PALESTINIENS DE CRIMES DE GUERRE

France24 avec AFP

http://www.huffingtonpost.fr, 26 mars 2015

           

Les groupes armés palestiniens se sont rendus coupables de « crimes de guerre » en tuant des civils non seulement israéliens mais aussi palestiniens affirme un rapport d’Amnesty International, jeudi 26 mars. En cause, des tirs de roquettes aveugles pendant la guerre de Gaza en 2014.

 

Dans deux précédents rapports, c’est Israël que l’organisation de défense des droits de l’Homme accusait de crimes de guerre. Son nouveau rapport est publié quelques jours seulement avant les premières plaintes pour crimes de guerre que la direction de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP) prévoit de déposer devant la Cour pénale internationale contre des dirigeants israéliens le 1er avril.

 

« Des groupes armés palestiniens, dont la branche armée du Hamas, ont à maintes reprises lancé des attaques illégales durant ce conflit, tuant six civils et en blessant d’autres. En menant ces attaques, ils ont fait preuve d’une indifférence flagrante vis-à-vis du droit humanitaire international », déclare Philip Luther, directeur du programme Moyen-Orient et Afrique du Nord d’Amnesty International, dans un communiqué accompagnant le rapport.

 

Il faisait référence aux six civils israéliens, dont un petit garçon de 4 ans, tués lors du conflit par les tirs de roquettes en provenance de la bande de Gaza.

 

L’imprécision des roquettes a aussi fait des victimes civiles palestiniennes, dit le rapport. C’est une roquette palestinienne qui a tué 13 civils palestiniens, dont 11 enfants, le 28 juillet 2014 dans le camp de réfugiés de Chati, près de la ville de Gaza, selon l’expertise d’un spécialiste indépendant des munitions mandaté par Amnesty.

 

49% DES MORTS DE LA GUERRE DE GAZA ÉTAIENT DES COMBATTANTS

JSSNews avec Dreuz.info

JSSnews, 26 mars 2015

           

Selon le Hamas, la guerre déclenchée par l’organisation terroriste l’été dernier aurait fait plus de 2 100 victimes du coté palestinien, et 66 soldats et civils du coté israélien.

 

Les chiffres ont été fournis par le Hamas, et repris tels quels sans la moindre vérification possible par les médias occidentaux dont la vie des journalistes aurait été mise en danger s’ils avaient posé des questions, alors qu’ils se trouvaient à Gaza, puis par l’ONU.

 

Mais un autre rapport, publié par le très anti-israélien New York Times (l’équivalent du Monde ou du Guardian anglais dans son positionnement très à gauche) vient également discréditer cette thèse des 2 100 victimes civiles palestiniennes.

 

Le ratio entre le nombre de civils tués et le nombre de militants/ terroristes, lors des 50 jours de guerre à Gaza a atteint le chiffre unique au monde de 1:1, révèle l’étude, qui confirme les doutes des médias sérieux concernant le nombre de victimes « civiles » annoncé par le Hamas.

 

49% du nombre total des morts sont des combattants, détaille le Centre d’information sur le terrorisme Meir Amit (ITIC), et 51% sont des civils, victimes des dommages collatéraux comme il en existe dans toutes les guerres.

 

A titre de comparaison, le conflit en cours auquel participe la France aux cotés des Etats Unis en Irak et en Libye contre l’Etat islamique a un taux de morts civils de 96.5%. C’est à dire que chaque fois que 3 terroristes de l’Etat islamique sont tués, 96 civils innocents sont également tués dans le bombardement, en dommages colatéraux.

 

Le rapport a indiqué avoir étudié en détail la liste des noms des morts publiés par le Hamas, et a permis de reconstituer l’historique de 842 personnes.

 

Selon l’ITIC, parmi ces 842 personnes:

 

– 354 étaient des terroristes recensés comme tels, avec leurs noms apparaissant sur des sites internet dans les rangs du Hamas bien avant le conflit,

– 367 étaient des citoyens non violents,

 

– 121 n’ont pas été encore identifiés, ce qui ne permet pas encore de savoir s’il s’agissait de terroristes ou de civils,

 

– Sur les 721 morts qui ont pu être pour l’instant identifiés, les terroristes représentent approximativement 49% des noms. Les citoyens innocents, 51%.

 

Lire la suite.

 

SYRIE: L'ETAT ISLAMIQUE ENTRAÎNE MILITAIREMENT PLUS DE 400 ENFANTS AU COMBAT

Réd.

i24news, 24 mars 2015

           

Plus de 400 enfants en Syrie ont été entraînés au combat par les combattants extrémistes du groupe Etatislamique (EI), a indiqué mardi l’Observatoire syrien des droits de l'Homme (OSDH).

 

Le groupe djihadiste soumet les enfants, appelés "lionceaux du Califat", à des entraînements intensifs militaires et religieux dans les territoires qu'il contrôle en Syrie, précise l'ONG.

 

Des vidéos diffusées sur des comptes proches de l'EI montrent des garçons, dont certains âgés d'à peine 8 ans, chargeant des fusils, tirant et marchant à genoux à travers les broussailles.

 

Les vidéos montrent également des enfants assis à une table ronde étudiant des textes religieux.

 

"Une fois atteints l'âge de 15 ans, ces enfants ont le choix de devenir de véritables combattants touchant des salaires", a indiqué le directeur de l'OSDH Rami Abdel Rahmane.

 

"L'EI tente d'attirer les enfants avec l'argent et les armes", ajoute-t-il, soulignant que les enfants ne sont pas forcés à se battre, mais c'est ce qu'ils font durant la journée puisqu'ils ne vont pas à l'école, et ne travaillent pas.

 

Les enfants soldats sont souvent utilisés aux points de contrôle, ou pour obtenir des informations dans les zones non contrôlées par l'EI, puisque les enfants passent souvent inaperçus, selon M. Abdel Rahmane.

 

Mais d'autres enfants sont recrutés pour des objectifs plus violents.

 

Une vidéo diffusée par l'EI en mars, a montré un enfant à peine âgé de 12 ans, tirant à plusieurs reprises sur un otage.

 

Selon M. Abdel Rahmane, l'EI a déjà utilisé 10 enfants comme des (kamikazes) en Syrie, et a réuni ensemble tous les bataillons composés d'enfants.

 

Lire la suite.

 

M. OBAMA, UNE ARROGANCE QUI A DURÉ SEPT ANS DOIT CESSER !

Emmanuel Navon

JSSNews, 26 mars 2015

           

La déclaration de Benyamin Netanyahou le jour des élections au sujet des électeurs arabes était inappropriée, comme il l’a lui-même reconnu en présentant ses excuses. Mais Barack Obama n’avait pas à s’exprimer sur ce sujet qui ne le regarde pas. On aurait pu penser qu’après sept ans d’une politique contre-productive au Moyen-Orient, Obama aurait tiré la leçon de ses erreurs. Pas du tout: plus Obama se trompe, plus il campe dans ses positions.

 

L’administration Obama est furieuse contre Israël ces derniers jours. Le Président a publiquement réprimandé le Premier ministre d’Israël pour son commentaire le jour des élections et il s’est dit inquiet pour l’avenir de la démocratie israélienne. Le chef de cabinet d’Obama, Denis McDonough, a déclaré à la conférence de J-Street cette semaine que « une occupation qui a duré 50 ans doit cesser. » La porte-parole adjointe du département d’État, Marie Harf, a indiqué qu’il incombe à Israël de « démontrer son engagement à la solution des deux États” et a laissé entendre que l’administration Obama ne fait pas confiance à Netanyahou : « Nous ne savons plus ce qu’il faut croire à ce stade », a-t-elle dit.

 

Les préoccupations de Barack Obama au sujet de la démocratie israélienne sonnent faux à la lumière des récentes révélations sur ses tentatives d’influencer le résultat des élections israéliennes. Le journaliste israélien Avi Issacharoff vient de révéler dans leTimes of Israel, citant un haut responsable israélien s’exprimant sous couvert d’anonymat, que l’administration Obama a été directement impliquée dans une tentative de renverser le Premier ministre israélien.

 

Le 22 mars, le stratège républicain John McLaughlin a déclaré à l’émission de radio « The Cats Roundtable » que « le Président Obama et ses alliés se sont mêlés à l’élection pour faire battre le Premier ministre Netanyahou ». Ils auraient notamment utilisé « l’argent du contribuable américain » pour financer la campagne V15 contre Netanyahou, une campagne menée par l’ancien conseiller politique d’Obama Jeremy Bird.

 

La tentative d’Obama de saper Netanyahou lors de la campagne est allée au-delà V15. Le 6 mars, moins de deux semaines avant le jour du scrutin, le journaliste israélien Nahum Barnea a publié un document révélant que Netanyahou aurait accepté la création d’un Etat palestinien le long des lignes d’avant 1967 avec des échanges de territoires et une reconnaissance par Israël des revendications palestiniennes sur Jérusalem-est.

 

Lire la suite.

 

Articles recommandés :

 

Média anti-israélien épinglé: Jean-Patrick Grumberg, www.dreuz.info, 26 mars 2015.

Tel-Aviv Université dévoile que Saturne tourne sur elle-même en moins de temps que cru!: Réd.,  JSSNews, 26 mars 2015.

 

 

Shabbat Shalom  à tous nos lecteurs!

ABANDONING U.S. ALLIES & NEGOTIATING WITH IRAN, OBAMA LEADS FROM BEHIND IN THE M.E.

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:

President Obama, Respect our Decision: Daniel Tauber, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 24, 2015 — US President Barack Obama claims he is a friend of the State of Israel.

Obama’s Harvest of Violence:  Hanin Ghaddar, Tablet, Mar. 24, 2015— Democracy, freedom, self-determination, human and individual rights are values that Arab liberals like myself thought we shared with the United States.

Beyond the Toxic Rhetoric: Obama, Bibi and Prospects for Peace: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Jewish Journal, Mar. 25, 2015 — President Barack Obama remains furious at Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Orwellian Obama Presidency: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 23, 2015 — The humiliating denouement to America’s involvement in Yemen came over the weekend…

 

On Topic Links

  

Obama is Unraveling Before Our Eyes! (Video): Israel Video Network, Mar. 25, 2015

Dear Mr. President, Israel is Not the Enemy – Nor is Netanyahu: Gil Troy, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 24, 2015

US Strategists: Obama Campaign Interference Backfired: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 26, 2015

Tom Cotton, Tragic Hero: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Mar. 26, 2015

 

                            

PRESIDENT OBAMA, RESPECT OUR DECISION                                                                                      

Daniel Tauber                                                                                                     

Jerusalem Post, Mar. 24, 2015

 

US President Barack Obama claims he is a friend of the State of Israel. He has time and again declared his “unshakable support and commitment” to the Jewish state and touted the “unbreakable bond” between the US and Israel. Yet he and his administration have publicly pressured and rebuked Israel more times than is worth counting, more times than any other ally and, or so it feels as least, more times than all of America’s allies combined.

 

Since Obama’s “Unbreakable Bond” tour of Israel almost two years ago – a visit ostensibly meant to mend US-Israel relations – there have been a number of confrontations between the administration and Israel. These include tensions throughout the recently failed peace negotiations, particularly the US blaming Israel for the failure of those negotiations, a dispute over construction in Jerusalem, the “chickens***” incident and the administration’s boycott of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Congress speech.

 

The latest incident is the president’s reaction of disdain following the reelection of the prime minister and the Likud party. While the leaders of other nations publicly and without delay congratulated Netanyahu on his recent victory, Obama waited. Protocol dictated it, the White House claimed. Instead, the administration unleashed a torrent of criticism of Netanyahu, both by feigning concern for Israeli Arabs who may have been hurt by Netanyahu’s rhetoric and over Netanyahu’s statement of the obvious: a Palestinian state would be dangerous at this juncture and will not be established during his tenure.

 

Anonymous administration officials (perhaps the same ones who called Netanyahu “chickens***” or claimed that Netanyahu “spat in our face” by accepting an invitation to address the Congress) yet again set to work attacking Netanyahu. One senior official claimed that Netanyahu’s statement was forcing a “reassessment” of US Middle East policy. Not a chance term, “reassessment” recalls the crisis in US-Israel relations under president Gerald Ford. Administration officials further indicated that the US might not support Israel in the UN Security Council and might even support Palestinian admission to the United Nations. That would mean that the US would for the first time ever support a Palestinian state even if such a state continued the Palestinian terrorist war against Israel.

 

When Netanyahu elaborated and explained that peace between Israel and a demilitarized Palestinian state would be ideal, but that reality made it currently impossible, the White House refused to let it go. As if Obama was personally insulted by Netanyahu’s position, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that despite Netanyahu’s explanation, “We can’t forget” Netanyahu’s comments. Once Obama’s displeasure was clear he made the required phone call to Netanyahu. But even then he could not limit the discussion to congratulating Netanyahu, but used the call as an opportunity to repeat the threat of reassessment.

 

President Obama claims that all of the public hostility, despite his “unshakable” and “unbreakable” bond with Israel, is due to the policies of Israel’s prime minister and his hawkish party, the Likud. Indeed, long before he could demonstrate his unshakable and unbreakable bond with Israel, that was how Obama, as candidate for president in 2008, responded to accusations that he would not be a friend to Israel in the White House. Obama responded at the time by complaining that it was unfair that “to a strain within the pro-Israel community… unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel” then “you’re anti-Israel.”

 

He has no problem with Israel, you see, just the Likud. But the Likud has led 11 of the 16 Israeli governments since Menachem Begin first broke the Israeli Left’s monopoly on power. The Likud is currently in the process of forming its 12th government. And for the three Israeli governments that will have spanned Obama’s presidency, all will have been led by the Likud. No, Mr. President. You need not be pro-Likud, but if your commitment to Israel is unshakable, that should be true even when the Likud is in power.

You should be sympathetic to Israeli reservations and fears regarding Palestinian statehood and other security concessions that lay behind the Israeli public’s support for Likud leadership.

 

After all, these concerns are not confined to the Likud or its allies. Even Labor (“Zionist Union”) candidate Tzipi Livni recently stated that she does not favor granting the Palestinians a fully sovereign state. And it was the late Labor prime minister Yitzhak Rabin who said – in the midst of the Oslo peace process – that he opposed Palestinian statehood. Toward the end of his life, Rabin stated that the end-goal of negotiations was for the Palestinians to have an autonomous entity that would not be a state, but something less than a state.

 

But, Mr. President, even if these concerns were not shared by the vast majority of Israelis, when the people of Israel elect the hawkish Likud to lead them, being committed to Israel means not taking every opportunity, or creating opportunities, to threaten and attempt to force them to reverse that decision. Unlike the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Iran and even many American allies, Israel is a democracy. As such, the people of Israel held a vote, in a free election, to determine the composition of their legislature and government. We chose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud to lead us. You do not have to agree with it, Mr. President, but you must respect our decision.

 

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

   

OBAMA’S HARVEST OF VIOLENCE                                                                                         

Hanin Ghaddar                                                                                                            

Tablet, Mar. 24, 2015

 

Democracy, freedom, self-determination, human and individual rights are values that Arab liberals like myself thought we shared with the United States. That’s what you told us. For years, we’ve received training and attended workshops on democracy and freedom of expression sponsored by international NGOs and NGOs funded by the United States and the Europeans. We’ve been preached to by visiting American diplomats and think-tankers and journalists about the virtues of citizenship and democracy. We took plenty of notes. We’ve been told that if we speak out to defend our rights, we will be supported by America. And now we’ve been betrayed.

 

For many liberal Arab citizens like me, it looks like the United States is now taking sides in a sectarian conflict and turning a deliberate blind eye to violations of rights and values which are supposedly the core of what the United States represents. The United States is siding with the Shiites against the Sunnis. It is helping Assad, Hezbollah, and other allies of Iran stay in power. The United States has picked the Resistance axis over helping potential democracies to grow.

 

Last week, the pan-Arab newspaper Alhayat quoted a political source at the IAEA saying that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif stated during the negotiations that Hezbollah and Hamas now work within “the American framework” and for the same goal: combatting terrorism in Syria and Iraq. The reality on the ground proves this statement is accurate. The U.S. intelligence community has now removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of states and organizations that support terrorism. Last year, Iran and Hezbollah were at the top of that list. Is the definition of “terrorism” really that flexible?

 

The Obama Administration is turning a blind eye to the people’s suffering in my country for the sake of a “deal” with the mullahs of Tehran. The result is that liberal middle-class people here must now rely on the patronage of the Gulf countries, with which they do not share any liberal or democratic values, while the rural working classes are more likely to join Islamist groups such as ISIS and Al-Nusra in order to protect their families and communities.

 

In Lebanon, where I live, during the 10 years that followed the Cedar Revolution of 2005, which drove the Syrian army outside Lebanon, Hezbollah—an organization sponsored and directed by America’s new Iranian partner—has repeatedly used force to block every effort toward democracy or reform. Assassinations, bombings, and military invasions were some of the tools that the Party of God employed to intimidate the pro-Western March 14 political camp into surrendering the state.

 

Hezbollah today controls almost all state institutions and has made sure that they are never functional. My country does not have a president. The Parliament extended its own term, and services are deteriorating every day. Hezbollah wants to fight Iran’s war in Syria and needs the state institutions to get its legitimacy and freedom of movement across the border. Meanwhile, no one is allowed to object, because killing opponents has become a simple and easy task for the Party of God. No Hezbollah official has ever been held accountable for the party’s murders. A deal between Iran and the United States will only strengthen Hezbollah and other Iranian militias in the region, and money will flow and ease the financial trouble. Killing will become much easier. Meanwhile, state institutions will further deteriorate and Lebanon, once a great example for democracy and liberty in the region, will disintegrate. We will become yet another governorate in Iran’s empire.

 

Other parts of the region are no better. Yemen and Iraq are also crumbling under Iran’s sectarian rule, which flourishes when state institutions are weak. Without the state, there are no citizens, only sects, followers, and violent militants. More Sunnis will join organizations like ISIS to fight more Shiites. But it seems that chasing a deal with Iran is more significant than making genuine efforts to maintain or help potential democracies in the region.

 

Abandoning Arab liberals and civil society to sectarian warfare seems to now be a valid compromise to make to Iran in return for the deal. Is this what the United States wants the region to become? A battleground for mad extremists? Is the nuclear deal worth that much blood? Are we that insignificant? The values we thought we shared with the United States are no longer important to the Americans. I fear that we will be unable to uphold those values alone.

 

In the wake of the Syrian uprising, Abdel Baset Al-Sarout, a Syrian soccer goalkeeper, became Homs’ most popular protest singer and a symbol of Syria’s peaceful protests. He was called “Bulbul (nightingale) of the revolution” because his moving chants kept peaceful protests alive despite the Assad regime’s crackdown. Peaceful protesters around Syria gathered around his revolutionary songs in the streets and called for freedom from Assad’s autocratic rule. A few months through the uprising, and as Assad’s unrelenting violence increased, Al-Sarout took up arms and fought in Homs for more than two years, after which he was forced to surrender and escape due to a military siege that starved everyone in the city. Right before leaving Homs, Al-Sarout condemned the international community for abandoning Syrians and said that they had to surrender because they were betrayed by everyone and were left alone.

 

Meanwhile, ISIS was getting stronger and more popular in the North, and after Al-Sarout left Homs, reports and YouTube videos hinted that he has joined ISIS. It would actually be surprising if he didn’t. He wouldn’t have joined ISIS if he had a choice. Either he fights, or he leaves for Turkey. Al-Sarout couldn’t leave, so joining an Islamist militant group was his only option. Reality now tells us that today’s America does not care about our aspirations for freedom, for democracy, and for citizenship. Al-Sarout was for a long time what the West likes to call a “moderate rebel.” What he didn’t expect was that the international community would actually choose a murderous dictator over a people’s desperate call for freedom. He didn’t imagine that the United States would ignore his people’s torment for the sake of a nuclear deal with Iran. He thought that his people’s call for freedom, democracy, and political rights would resonate with U.S. values. When they didn’t, his perception of these values changed…                                                                                

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

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                                

                                                   

BEYOND THE TOXIC RHETORIC:                                                               

OBAMA, BIBI AND PROSPECTS FOR PEACE                                                                        

Rabbi Abraham Cooper                                                                                               

Jewish Journal, Mar. 25, 2015

 

President Barack Obama remains furious at Benjamin Netanyahu. He and many European leaders were counting on Israelis to get rid of an intractable "hawk" and replace him with Yitzak (Bougie) Herzog, the more flexible "dove.” With Bibi out of the way, the path would have been cleared for a quick final deal with Iran (including immediate removal of sanctions) and hasten a two-state solution in the Holy Land, before President Obama’s second term ended.

 

But how realistic was that? Let’s say that Bougie had won 30 seats en route to setting up a center-left coalition, Prime Minister Herzog would have to strive mightily to thwart Tehran going nuclear. Ayatollah Khamenei and his lackeys would still be plotting the Jewish State's annihilation. Israel's Prime Minister would also be challenged by a new strategic threat from Iran and its Hezbollah terrorist allies, who are busily building a new missile-laden front to threaten the Galilee and Israel's northern panhandle from Syrian territory–opposite the Golan Heights. To date, these provocative moves by Tehran haven’t raised any protest from either the U.S. or the European Union.

 

Without doubt, a Left-led coalition is much more strongly committed to a Two-State solution than the Netanyahu-led Likud ever was; though it is hard to see how a deal could have been reached by Herzog during the next two years. Hamas’ continued terrorism and genocidal hate, and the embrace by leaders of the corrupt-riven Palestinian Authority of terrorist murderers of Jews, leave many Israelis on the Left doubtful that President Mahmoud Abbas has either the power or desire to negotiate a final settlement. His game plan remains relying on the U.N., the E.U., and (perhaps) the U.S. to force Israel into a deal that heavily favors maximal Palestinian aspirations. Israelis across the political spectrum still want a peace deal with their Arab neighbors, but even a Herzog-led coalition still needs a Palestinian partner prepared to tell his constituents in Arabic that their Jewish neighbors are there to stay and that they too have rights to be in the Holy Land. Tragically, there is no Palestinian Anwar Sadat on the horizon.

 

For now, Obama seems intent on pummeling and punishing Prime Minister Netanyahu. However, the suggestion of a game-changing U.S. support of an U.N. Security resolution that would effectively force a shotgun marriage between Jerusalem and Ramallah is a terrible idea. It would only backfire, weakening Israel's left and further emboldening Hamas and Hezbollah to ramp up terror attacks against a Jewish State that may no longer have the U.S. in its corner.

 

In fact, the road to real progress towards peace starts in the Oval Office through Ramallah. Here are five suggestions for the next Obama-Abbas call: 1. No more International Criminal Court shenanigans. Seeking indictment of your negotiating partners for crimes against humanity is a deal-killer. 2. No more unilateral moves to gain U.N.-recognized statehood without negotiating with the Israelis. 3. Including Hamas that refuses to drop its genocidal anti-Israel agenda – in a Palestinian government is untenable. PA must take back control of Gaza. If the PA can’t even enter, let alone control, the largest Palestinian communities, how can Israel expect that the PA can deliver on any commitment. 4. No more anti-Semitic attacks and incitement by Palestinian media, religious and other elite. Stop denying the Jewish people's link to its ancestral homeland. Such hatred incenses Israelis and contributes to the explosion of anti-Semitism across Europe and on North American university campuses. 5. The US and European donors are ready to invest billions more in peace. For that to happen, transparency must reign–insuring that help actually reaches Palestinians who need it. The brutal truth is that if elections were held on the West Bank right now, Hamas would win in a landslide, because of one central issue: corruption…

 

And Bibi? He walked back his election campaign statement that there will be no Palestinian state under his watch. But he knows that if and when a viable partner emerges from the Palestinian camp, any elected Israeli Prime Minister will have to rush to the negotiating table. Prime Netanyahu must also do everything in his power to de-personalize disagreements with President Obama. But no one should expect Netanyahu to step back from his stance on Iran. He (and every Jew) is right to take the Mullahocracy's existential threats at face value.

 

I was present at our Nation's Capitol for Bibi Netanyahu's speech on Iran. Love him or hate him, everyone there, and all Israelis watching at home, saw a true world leader in action. In the end, his respectful and masterful speech reminded everyone, that he has earned his place on the international stage, no matter how discomfiting his message is to some. If the Obama Administration really wants to reach Israelis, denouncing the democratic results of the Israeli electorate, is not the way to go. What they want to hear from Washington is a coherent plan for fighting terrorism in their neighborhood and the details of a deal with Iran that, to paraphrase Netanyahu, Israelis and Iran's Arab neighbors, can "literally" live with.

 

Hopefully, the mushrooming dangers in the region will help both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu recalibrate their rhetoric and refocus on the enormous challenges at hand.

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

                                                   

THE ORWELLIAN OBAMA PRESIDENCY                                                                                                    

Bret Stephens                                                                                                      

Wall Street Journal, Mar. 23, 2015

 

The humiliating denouement to America’s involvement in Yemen came over the weekend, when U.S. Special Forces were forced to evacuate a base from which they had operated against the local branch of al Qaeda. This is the same branch that claimed responsibility for the January attack on Charlie Hebdo and has long been considered to pose the most direct threat to Europe and the United States. So who should Barack Obama be declaring war on in the Middle East other than the state of Israel?

 

There is an upside-down quality to this president’s world view. His administration is now on better terms with Iran—whose Houthi proxies, with the slogan “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damn the Jews, power to Islam,” just deposed Yemen’s legitimate president—than it is with Israel. He claims we are winning the war against Islamic State even as the group continues to extend its reach into Libya, Yemen and Nigeria. He treats Republicans in the Senate as an enemy when it comes to the Iranian nuclear negotiations, while treating the Russian foreign ministry as a diplomatic partner. He favors the moral legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council to that of the U.S. Congress. He is facilitating Bashar Assad’s war on his own people by targeting ISIS so the Syrian dictator can train his fire on our ostensible allies in the Free Syrian Army.

 

He was prepared to embrace a Muslim Brother as president of Egypt but maintains an arm’s-length relationship with his popular pro-American successor. He has no problem keeping company with Al Sharpton and tagging an American police department as comprehensively racist but is nothing if not adamant that the words “Islamic” and “terrorism” must on no account ever be conjoined. The deeper that Russian forces advance into Ukraine, the more they violate cease-fires, the weaker the Kiev government becomes, the more insistent he is that his response to Russia is working. To adapt George Orwell’s motto for Oceania: Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory.

 

The current victim of Mr. Obama’s moral inversions is the recently re-elected Israeli prime minister. Normally a sweeping democratic mandate reflects legitimacy, but not for Mr. Obama. Now we are treated to the astonishing spectacle in which Benjamin Netanyahu has become persona non grata for his comments doubting the current feasibility of a two-state solution. This, while his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas is in the 11th year of his four-year term, without a murmur of protest from the White House. It is true that Mr. Netanyahu made an ugly election-day remark about Israeli-Arab voters “coming out in droves to the polls,” thereby putting “the right-wing government in danger.” For this he has apologized, in person, to leaders of the Israeli-Arab community.

 

That’s more than can be said for Mr. Abbas, who last year threatened Israel with a global religious war if Jews were allowed to pray in the Temple Mount’s Al Aqsa mosque. “We will not allow our holy places to be contaminated,” the Palestinian Authority president said. The Obama administration insists that Mr. Abbas is “the best interlocutor Israel is ever going to have.” Maybe that’s true, but if so it only underscores the point Mr. Netanyahu was making in the first place—and for which Mr. Obama now threatens a fundamental reassessment of U.S. relations with Israel. In 2014 Mr. Abbas agreed to a power-sharing agreement with Hamas, a deal breaker for any Israeli interested in peace. In 2010 he used the expiration of a 10-month Israeli settlement freeze as an excuse to abandon bilateral peace efforts. In 2008 he walked away from a statehood offer from then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. In 2000 he was with Yasser Arafat at Camp David when the Palestinians turned down a deal from Israel’s Ehud Barak…                             

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

Contents

                                                                                     

 

On Topic

 

Obama is Unraveling Before Our Eyes! (Video): Israel Video Network, Mar. 25, 2015 — Boy is Obama showing his true colors.

Dear Mr. President, Israel is Not the Enemy – Nor is Netanyahu: Gil Troy, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 24, 2015 — Dear Mr. President, I write having urged voters to retire Benjamin Netanyahu and having condemned his election demagoguery.

US Strategists: Obama Campaign Interference Backfired: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 26, 2015 — US president Barack Obama inadvertently helped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election by interfering in the March 17 race, Democratic and Republican strategists who advised Israeli parties said in recent days.

Tom Cotton, Tragic Hero: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Mar. 26, 2015—T he snarky quip attributed to 19th-century French foreign minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand — “It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder” — has recently been making the rounds to deride a letter written by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and signed by 46 other senators.

 

 

 

                                                                    

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

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

 

 

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: “(J Street is) an organization that, in the best tradition of the American Jewish community, shares a set of values about the type of country that we are – a democracy where all of our people can access opportunity,” —White House chief of staff Denis McDonough.  McDonough thanked the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” — as J Street bills itself — and pro-Palestinian lobbying group for the “important work you do around the country.” McDonough also called for an end to Israel’s “occupation” of the Palestinians and vowed that the Obama administration won’t “pretend” that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t make his campaign remarks about no two-state solution. (PJ Media, Mar. 23, 2015)

 

 

On Topic Links 

 

Obama Tries to Invent Whatever Excuse He Can to Break with Israel: Elliott Abrams, National Review, Mar. 22, 2015

For Washington, This is as Bad as it Gets in the Middle East: J.L. Granatstein, National Post, Mar. 18, 2015

The Yemen Meltdown: Wall Street Journal, Mar. 22, 2015

La Guerre, Yes Sir!: Jean-Christophe Boucher, Philippe Lagasse, and Justin Massie, National Post, Mar. 18, 2015

      

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“I know that my statements last week offended some Israeli citizens and members of the Arab Israeli community…That was never my intention. I apologize for that,” —Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, to a group of Arab Israelis in Jerusalem. “I view myself as the prime minister of each and every citizen of Israel, without any prejudice based on religion, ethnicity or gender…I view all Israeli citizens as partners in the building of a prosperous and safe state of Israel, for all Israelis,” he added. Netanyahu said that his actions as prime minister, including massive investment in minority sectors, prove his commitment. In a message seemingly intended for Washington, he also added “no element outside the state of Israel should intervene in our democratic processes.” Netanyahu had drawn accusations of racism when, just a few hours before polling stations were to close across the country, he issued a warning to Israel’s Jewish voters: “The rule of the right wing is in danger…Arab voters are going to the polls in droves!” (Globe & Mail, Mar. 23, 2015)

 

“We take him at his word that it wouldn’t happen during his premiership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region,” —U.S. President Barack Obama, responding to Netanyahu’s pre-election statement that there would be no Palestinian state during his tenure. Ignoring Netanyahu’s attempts in postelection interviews to walk back his comments, Obama made it clear … that he believes Netanyahu is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state. “While taking into complete account Israel’s security, we can’t just in perpetuity maintain the status quo, expand settlements — that’s not a recipe for stability in the region,” Obama added. (New York Times, Mar. 21, 2015)

 

“It’s been unnerving seeing the president show his open hostility…It’s immature and over the top and has made people suspicious…He makes it hard for Democrats to trust him,”— U.S. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham.  According to Graham, Obama’s hostility towards Netanyahu is creating a backlash in congress among Democrats, and White House resentment towards Netanyahu is beginning to deliver very real political consequences for the President’s agenda. Graham is the cosponsor of legislation requiring greater congressional review of any nuclear deal Obama strikes with Iran. (Algemeiner, Mar. 22, 2015)  

 

“I have a very business-like relationship with [Mr. Netanyahu]…He’s representing his country’s interests the way he thinks he needs to, and I’m doing the same. So the issue is not a matter of relations between leaders. The issue is a very clear, substantive challenge. We believe that two states is the best path forward for Israel’s security, for Palestinian aspirations and for regional stability. That’s our view and that continues to be our view. And Prime Minister Netanyahu has a different approach.” — Barack Obama (Globe & Mail, Mar. 24, 2015)

 

“The Arab and Muslim world is guided by ideas and emotions, religious as well as secular, that never got past the Middle Ages. They aren’t the Arab/Muslim world’s only ideas and emotions, of course, but they are the guiding ones. For Israel to trade land for peace in such a climate is, if anything, detrimental to peace. Expecting Palestinians to stop attacking Israel by distributing land to them is like expecting sharks to stop attacking swimmers by pouring blood into the water. The question was never whether Israel would give land for peace, but whether it could get peace for land. The answer is possibly yes, one day, but not yet. Israelis want peace because they know they can’t get a better deal, but the Arab/Muslim world still thinks it can. Netanyahu says the time to negotiate is when Israel’s opponents realize that peace is the best deal available to all. I agree — and, it seems, so do most Israelis,” —George Jonas (National Post, Mar. 24, 2015)

 

“The two-state formula…has not worked. We are as far from any peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors as ever. Even the so-called “peace process” has been exposed as a sham. Obama’s peace envoy, the honorable George Mitchell, pulled out as fast as he could. And last week it was the turn of Tony Blair, the Peace Quartet envoy, to throw in the towel. There is no evidence that a majority of Israelis want a two-state formula. In fact, if we add up votes won by all parties implicitly or explicitly opposed to the two-state formula, we will have a whopping 75 per cent of Israelis. Thus what Netanyahu mastered enough courage to say aloud is what most Israelis think in silence,” —Amir Taheri (New York Post, Mar. 20, 2015)

 

“It means pushing the Obama administration to present out its own peace plan, and to punish – yes, punish – the Israeli government for rejecting it. It means making sure that every time Benjamin Netanyahu and the members of his cabinet walk into a Jewish event outside Israel, they see Diaspora Jews protesting outside. It means loving Israel more than ever, and opposing its government more than ever. It means accepting that, for now at least, the peace process is over and the pressure process must begin,” — Peter Beinart, a liberal critic of Israel, in a Ha’aretz opinion piece. Beinart argued that those who support Israel should pressure the Obama administration to present its own peace plan. (New York Times, Mar. 20, 2015) 

 

“Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with Israel,” — Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, during his announcement of candidacy on Monday at Liberty University. A staunchly conservative, Christian and pro-Israel Senator, Cruz became the first candidate from either party to announce his run for the American presidency in 2016 on Monday. “Those who continue to hate Israel, hate America,” Cruz said in Washington DC in September at an event called, In Defense of Christians. While his comments got him booed off the stage at the time, the senator has continued to vocally support Israel. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 24, 2015) 

 

"My greatest thrill is that Netanyahu was able to pull off a feat that in my opinion was not only good for the morale of Israel and the security of Israel, but finally put Obama in his place," —Rabbi Sidney Shoham, a retired Modern Orthodox Rabbi who lives in Boca Raton, Florida. He said he cheered Netanyahu's recent speech to the joint meeting of Congress warning President Obama against signing a nuclear deal with Iran, and he welcomed the prime minister's re-election. Shoham said that he saw Israel was becoming more isolated internationally but that he was not terribly troubled by it because of what he said was a basic Jewish principle: "Being more or less in control of your own self, your own country, or your own being is much more important than being loved by others." (New York Times, Mar. 21, 2015)

 

“At the end of the speech, as I joined in the sustained standing ovation for Netanyahu, I thought of a sentence in the 1956 letter by the political philosopher Leo Strauss, in which he tried to convince the editors of the recently launched National Review that conservatives should be pro-Israel: “Political Zionism was the attempt to restore that inner freedom, that simple dignity, of which only people who remember their heritage and are loyal to their fate are capable.” One felt, watching the prime minister of Israel speak, that, whatever other challenges await, in this task political Zionism has been successful. One also looked forward to the day when the United States would once again stand unswervingly and unstintingly in the ranks of those fighting for human freedom and dignity,” —William Kristol (Weekly Standard, Mar. 16, 2015)

 

When future historians come to examine the presidency of Barack Obama, they may notice the odd inversion of U.S. relations with some of its traditional allies, as opposed to its usual rivals. Mr. Obama has displayed a singular inability to get along with countries, like Canada and Israel, that have long considered themselves among America’s closest friends. On the other hand, the leaders of regimes in Russia and Iran may be reluctant to see his presidency draw to a close… Indeed, one thing keeping Tehran at the table is the likelihood that Mr. Obama’s departure would lessen the chances of their getting the nuclear capability they’ve long coveted…Should Mr. Obama be succeeded by a Republican president, or a less pliant Democrat, neither Tehran nor Moscow could expect such easy pickings as have been on offer of late. It’s an odd situation: America’s friends pining for a new president, while its enemies feast on the incumbent. If there’s logic in there, perhaps the historians can dig it out,” — Editorial (National Post, Mar. 23, 2015)

 

“I call on the P.K.K. to convene a congress to end the 40-year-long armed struggle against the Republic of Turkey and to determine political and social strategies and tactics in accordance with the spirit of the new era,” — Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed Kurdish rebel leader. Ocalan, who continues to exercise influence over Turkey’s Kurdish population from a prison on an island in the Sea of Marmara where he has been serving a life sentence since 1999, urged the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the P.K.K., to hold a congress in the spring to end a Kurdish insurgency that has fractured society and claimed nearly 40,000 lives since the 1980s. (New York Times, Mar. 21, 2015)

 

“We have not yet reached the finish line…Make no mistake. We have the opportunity to do this right. It’s a matter of political will and tough decision-making. It’s a matter of choices. And we must all choose wisely in the days ahead,” — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry said that now is the time to make “hard decisions,” as he left the latest round of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland for consultations before the final push for an agreement over Iran’s nuclear future.  “The stakes are high,” Kerry explained. “The issues are complicated, highly technical and interrelated. We don’t want just any deal. If we had, we could have announced something a long time ago.” (Washington Post, Mar. 21, 2015)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

ISRAEL DENIES SPYING ON IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS (Jerusalem) — Three top Israeli ministers on Tuesday denied a report that their intelligence services had spied on the closed-door negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, as tensions continued to mount between Washington and Jerusalem. “There is no such thing as Israel spying on the Americans,” the defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, said. Yuval Steinitz, the minister for strategic affairs, and Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, also denied the allegations reported in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal. The report said that senior White House officials had learned – through American spying on Israel – that Israel had acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe and shared it with U.S. lawmakers in hopes of persuading them to block the deal. (New York Times, Mar. 24, 2015)

 

HARPER TELLS OPPOSITION THAT CANADA WILL FIGHT I.S. FOR ‘AS LONG AS IT IS THERE’ (Ottawa) —  Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday that Canada intends to fight the Islamic State for as long as the terrorist group poses a threat. The government introduced a motion to extend the current six-month mission in Iraq for up to a year, ending in March 2016. But the expiry date is apparently flexible. The new plan also allows for warplanes to enter Syria and strike ISIS targets. But the extension will not require additional troops and no Canadian special forces will be deployed in Syria. (National Post, Mar. 24, 2015)

 

U.S. TO DELAY PULLOUT OF TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN (Washington) — Obama on Tuesday announced that he would leave 9,800 American troops in Afghanistan until at least the end of the year. The announcement came after a daylong White House meeting with President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan. The two men said the decision was a necessary response to the expected springtime resurgence of Taliban aggression and the need to give more training to the struggling Afghan security forces. The resilience of Al Qaeda in the mountains that straddle the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan has surprised many American officials, and there are fears that the Islamic State could gain a foothold in the Afghan conflict. Mr. Ghani has repeatedly raised the specter of the Islamic State in comments ahead of his trip to Washington and during his visit. (New York Times, Mar. 24, 2015)

 

HOUTHI FIGHTERS ATTACK AIR BASE USED BY U.S. FORCES (Aden) —A Yemeni air base used by U.S. forces for counterterrorism operations came under attack by army units and fighters allied with the Houthi movement on Wednesday as they clashed with forces loyal to President Hadi near his current refuge in the southern city of Aden. The U.S. evacuated its military personnel several days ago, with fighters from Al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate moving closer from one side and Houthi fighters pushing closer from the other. Yemen is sliding toward a civil war with ominous elements of a sectarian feud, a regional proxy conflict, the attempted return of an ousted authoritarian, and the expansion of groups like Al Qaeda and I.S. eager to capitalize on the chaos. (New York Times, Mar. 25, 2015)

 

I.S. BOMBS KILL 137 AT YEMEN PRAYERS (Sanaa) —Four ISIS suicide bombers attacked a pair of crowded mosques in the capital of Yemen during midday prayers on Friday, killing at least 137 and wounding more than 350. A group claiming to be a Yemeni branch of ISIS said it was responsible for the atrocities in Sanaa, calling them a “blessed operation” against the “dens of the Shiites” and warning of an “upcoming flood” of attacks against the Iranian-backed Houthis rebels, who have taken over much of Yemen. Two suicide bombers attacked the Badr mosque in southern Sanaa while another pair attacked the al-Hashoosh mosque in northern Sanaa. (New York Post, Mar. 20, 2015)

 

I.S. RELEASES HIT LIST OF U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL (Washington) —Islamic State terrorists have published a hit list of 100 American military personnel, including names, photos and addresses they claimed to have hacked from secure government computers.  Signed by the “Islamic State Hacking Division,” it urges supporters in the West to launch lone-wolf attacks, such as the one last year on Parliament Hill in Ottawa by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. “We have made it easy for you by giving you addresses, all you need to do is take the final step, so what are you waiting for?” the message reads. Earlier this year, hackers gained control of the Twitter account of U.S. Central Command, posting jihadist images and threatening attacks on personnel. (National Post, Mar. 22, 2015)

 

TUNISIA TERRORISTS TRAINED IN LIBYA (Tunis) —It’s still unclear who exactly organized the well-executed attack that left more than a dozen tourists dead in Tunisia last week — the Islamic State has claimed involvement — but the Tunisian government says it does have some information on the gunmen. They reportedly trained in next-door Libya, which has been overrun by sundry Islamist and tribal militias since a Western intervention helped push Moammar Qaddafi from power. In fact, their story suggests post-intervention Libya could become a new hub for terror: The gunmen were Tunisians, recruited at a mosque in their country to go train in Libya. (National Review, Mar. 20, 2015)

JORDAN AND RUSSIA TO SIGN $10B NUCLEAR DEAL (Amman) — The Jordanian government is set to sign a nuclear agreement with Russia…in order to build its first nuclear power plant. Russian state-owned Rosatom will build two nuclear power plants and the spent nuclear fuel could be sent back to Russia. These nuclear agreements come as the West is reportedly close to reaching a nuclear deal with Iran. Experts worry that if Iran goes nuclear or if a deal is reached, it will lead other Sunni Middle Eastern countries to follow suit with their own programs. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 22, 2015)

 

MASS GRAVE OF BOKO HARAM VICTIMS DISCOVERED (Lagos) — Soldiers battling Boko Haram in northern Nigeria have uncovered a mass grave of the Islamist’s victims, a grim sign of the reckoning to come as troops from four countries fight to secure the region ahead of elections on March 28. Soldiers from Chad and Niger uncovered about a hundred bodies in a shallow grave outside Damasak, a town near Nigeria’s border with Niger. The arrival of troops from Cameroon, Chad and Niger appears to have turned the fight in Nigeria’s favor. Boko Haram’s unprecedented retreat from more than 30 northeastern towns and areas this month comes after six years in which the group killed more than 20,000 (Wall Street Journal, Mar. 20, 2015)

 

CONGRESS ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF TASK-FORCE TO COMBAT ANTISEMITISM (Washington) — Eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives announced the formation of a task-force aimed with the challenge of combating antisemitism. The forming members will serve as co-chairs of the force and work to minimize the proliferation of antisemitic acts across the globe. The committee, coined "The Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating anti-Semitism," will work to educate Congress members on this particular form of prejudice and will seek to share solutions that could minimize the phenomenon with the Executive Branch of the government, foreign leaders and civil society organizations. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 24, 2015)

 

DIEUDONNE CONVICTED OF CONDONING TERRORISM (Paris) — French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala was found guilty of condoning terrorism for social media posts sympathizing with the Islamist gunman who killed four Jews at a Paris-area kosher supermarket. A Paris court has given Dieudonne a suspended two-month jail sentence. Dieudonne posted “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly” on Facebook, shortly after the hostage siege at the Hyper Cacher supermarket and the attack at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo magazine that left 13 dead. His post mixed the phrase in support of the magazine — “Je suis Charlie” — with the name of the killer, who also shot a policewoman dead during the murderous spree. Dieudonne has been convicted seven times for inciting racial hatred against Jews. He has been charged almost 40 times under France’s hate-speech laws. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 19, 2015)

 

CORNELL DEAN SAYS ISIS WELCOME ON CAMPUS IN UNDERCOVER VIDEO (Ithaca, N.Y) —A video sting operation shows Cornell’s assistant dean for students, Joseph Scaffido, agreeing to everything suggested by an undercover muckraker posing as a Moroccan student. Scaffido casually endorses inviting an ISIS “freedom fighter’’ to conduct a “training camp” for students at the upstate Ithaca campus. Is it OK to bring a humanitarian pro-“Islamic State Iraq and Syria” group on campus, the undercover asks. Sure, Scaffido says in the recorded March 16 meeting. Scaffido doesn’t even blink an eye when the undercover asks about providing material support for terrorists. How about supporting Hamas? No problem at all, Scaffido said. (New York Post, Mar. 24, 215)

 

BENGHAZI PANEL ASKS CLINTON TO HAND OVER EMAIL SERVER (Washington) — A Republican-led U.S. congressional panel has asked Hillary Clinton to hand over her private computer server, ramping up scrutiny over her use of a personal email address while Secretary of State. Clinton has come under pressure for using a private address and email server rather than government systems while the country's top diplomat. The revelations reinvigorated an investigation by a House of Representatives committee into the 2012 attacks on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya. Republicans contend Clinton did not do enough to prevent the incident. (Huffington Post, Mar. 20, 2015)

 

A TRIBUTE TO YEHUDA AVNER Z”L (Jerusalem) — When Yehuda Avner passed away Tuesday, aged 86, Israel lost a noble citizen whose entire life was devoted to serving the Jewish state and the Jewish people. Yehuda served as advisor to five Israeli Prime Ministers and became senior advisor and speechwriter for Menahem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. Begin paid tribute to his superior translations and speeches by dubbing him “our Shakespeare”. Yehuda was born in Manchester, U.K. in 1928. He became a leader of the religious Zionist youth movement Bnei Akiva and made aliyah in 1947 and subsequently fought in Jerusalem during the War of Independence. He was one of the founders of Kibbutz Lavi which he left to join the Foreign Ministry in 1958. May his memory serve as a role model for all of us and future generations to emulate. (Candidly Speaking, Mar. 24, 2015)

 

On Topic Links 

 

Obama Tries to Invent Whatever Excuse He Can to Break with Israel: Elliott Abrams, National Review, Mar. 22, 2015 —The man who leapt to congratulate election winners such as Vladimir Putin has had a markedly different attitude toward Israel’s newly elected leader, Benjamin Netanyahu.
For Washington, This is as Bad as it Gets in the Middle East: J.L. Granatstein, National Post, Mar. 18, 2015 —American policy in the Middle East is in ruins.

The Yemen Meltdown: Wall Street Journal, Mar. 22, 2015—Another week, another victory for disorder in the Middle East.

La Guerre, Yes Sir!: Jean-Christophe Boucher, Philippe Lagasse, and Justin Massie, National Post, Mar. 18, 2015 —A majority of Canadians across the country support the military mission in Iraq.

       

 

.

                                    

 

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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SISI FIGHTS ISLAMISM AS I.S. CONTINUES TERRORIST ATTACKS AND WESTERN RECRUITMENT

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 Claims Bloody Tunis Attack: Jamie Dettmer, Daily Beast, Mar. 19, 2015 — The so-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the murderous assault Wednesday on a landmark museum in Tunis that left 20 foreign tourists and three Tunisians dead…

The Allure of the Islamic State Vandals:  David Pinault, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 6, 2015— On Thursday the Islamic State assault on Iraq’s cultural heritage continued, with jihadists using trucks to wreck large statues in the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, according to government officials.

What Drives Islamic State Fangirls: Margaret Wente, Globe & Mail, Mar. 3, 2015 — In late 2013, a 19-year-old girl named Aqsa Mahmood said goodbye to her parents in Glasgow and slipped away from home.

Islam’s Improbable Reformer: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 20, 2015 — When then-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi appointed a little-known general named Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to be his new defense minister in August 2012…

 

On Topic Links

  

 

ISIS ‘Hacking Division’ Releases Hit List of 100 U.S. Military Personnel, Including Names and Addresses: Joseph Brean, National Post, Mar. 22, 2015

Why Islam Needs a Reformation: Wall Street Journal, Mar. 22, 2015

Can the U.S. Beat ISIS in a Twitter War?: George F. Will, National Post, Feb. 23, 2015

The Islamic State’s Utopian Vision: Ian Tuttle, National Review, Feb. 27, 2015

 

                            

ISIS CLAIMS BLOODY TUNIS ATTACK                                                                                   

Jamie Dettmer                                                                                                     

Daily Beast, Mar. 19, 2015

 

The so-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the murderous assault Wednesday on a landmark museum in Tunis that left 20 foreign tourists and three Tunisians dead, describing the attack by gunmen dressed in military uniforms as a “blessed invasion of one of the dens of the infidels and vice in Muslim Tunisia.” It said the attack was carried out by “two knights of the caliphate,” naming them as Abu Zakariya al Tunisi and Abu Anas al-Tunisi.

 

The attack is the biggest terror incident associated with the ISIS outside Iraq and Syria—prompting fears that more attacks are in the offing, not only in North Africa but in nearby Europe, by a group that until recently appeared focused on the Levantine region. Only a few months ago American officials were arguing reassuringly that ISIS was focused to the exclusion of all else on the consolidation of its caliphate straddling the Levant—and therefore posed no immediate major transnational threat. But last month it released a video in which one of its minions threatened to attack “Rome,” meaning the West, and underscored the threat by beheading Egyptian Christians.

 

The claim of responsibility for the Tunis attack carried in an audio message posted on a forum used by the militant group came as Tunisian officials announced they had arrested nine people in connection with the attack on the Bardo Museum, five of them allegedly involved in the planning and logistics for the violence. The other four had “ties to the terror cell,” officials said. Two gunmen were shot in the museum by security forces hours after the militants sprayed tourist buses outside with automatic gunfire and stormed the building holding several foreigners hostage. The authorities have named them as Tunisians Yassine Laabidi and Hatem Khachnaoui and say Laabidi was known to security services and was being monitored, raising questions about why he was still at large and able to participate in the deadly attack.

 

Jihadist sources tell The Daily Beast that both gunmen had recently been in eastern Libya and trained with the ISIS affiliate Mujahideen of Libya, which announced its formation last October in the eastern Libyan town of Derna. The group is thought to number about 800 fighters. The importance ISIS is placing on North Africa was signaled last autumn when ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi dispatched his deputy in Syria, Abu Ali al-Anbari, a former major general in the Iraqi army, to orchestrate the final takeover of Derna, a city of 100,000 that has been a hotbed of Salafism since the 1990s. Mujahideen of Libya claimed responsibility for the beheadings last month in Libya of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. "We tell the apostates who sit on the chest of Muslim Tunisia: Wait for the glad tidings of what will harm you, o impure ones, for what you have seen today is the first drop of the rain," the ISIS message said.

 

It remains unclear, though, whether the assault was directed and coordinated by ISIS strategists from their stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, or from Derna in Libya, or if the attack was more homegrown by an affiliate of the terror organization, allowing ISIS to claim overall credit. Tunisian authorities are avoiding being specific in their remarks about the affiliation of the assailants, with Interior Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui refusing to go beyond describing them as “Islamists” and talking of just one terror cell.

 

Last December, a Tunisian jihadist group called Jund al-Khilafah announced its allegiance to ISIS. That pledge coincided with another video posted online by three Tunisian volunteers with ISIS warning that the country would not be secure “as long as Tunisia is not governed by Islam.” One of the fighters in the video was Boubakr Hakim, who is wanted in connection with the 2013 assassination of leftwing Tunisian politician, Chokri Belaid. Since December there has been a stream of jihadist tweets and chatter in militant forums about a likely terror attack—with strong hints that the targets would be cultural or foreigners. That. Too, raises questions about whether the Tunisian security services should have been more alert and high-profile around landmark tourist sites—in this case one adjacent to the national parliament, where deputies were discussing new anti-terror legislation as the assault unfolded. The deputies were evacuated quickly by security forces. One Tunisian lawmaker, Sayida Ounissi, told BBC Radio that intelligence officials told him that the gunmen had originally planned to attack the parliament but had been prevented from doing so and changed their targets.

 

The counter-terror operation mounted to clear the gunmen from the museum and to rescue more than a dozen foreigners being held hostage by the militants also seems to have been less than efficient. The museum doesn’t appear to have been searched exhaustively once the security forces had regained control.  A Spanish couple and a Tunisian security guard hid in the museum for 24 hours after the gunmen had been shot, not realizing the siege was over, according to Spain’s foreign minister, José García-Margallo. The couple, Juan Carlos Sanchez and his wife Cristina Rubio, four months into a pregnancy, “spent the whole night hidden in the museum and didn’t even dare to use their cell phones, which is why we were unable to contact them,’’ García-Margallo told reporters.

 

They weren’t the only tourists who hid for hours during the attack and after. Shocked tourists said the gunmen were shooting at anything that moved in the fifteenth century museum. "After they entered the museum, I saw their faces: They were about 10 meters 32 away from me," Josep Lluis Cusido, the mayor of a small Spanish town told Spain's Cadena Ser radio station. “I managed to hide behind a pillar; there were unlucky people who they killed right there," he said, adding that he and his wife spent nearly three hours behind the pillar until they fled.

 

Despite shortfalls in the security operation Tunisian leaders are endeavoring to establish confidence — both among Tunisians and overseas—insisting they can defeat terrorism. Army units are being deployed to major cities across the country. Tunisia relies on foreign visitors and nearly half-a-million jobs are dependent on tourism, which has only recently started to recover from the 2011 Arab spring uprising that led to the ouster of dictator Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali. But the country’s recently elected President Beji Caid Essebsi admitted in a statement that Tunisia was facing “exceptional circumstances,” adding, “terrorist operations have now moved from the mountains to the cities.” In recent months, Tunisian security forces have mounted a series of counter-terror operations, focusing partly on training camps in remote parts of the country…

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

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

   

THE ALLURE OF THE ISLAMIC STATE VANDALS                                                                         

David Pinault                                                                                                     

Wall Street Journal, Mar. 6, 2015

 

On Thursday the Islamic State assault on Iraq’s cultural heritage continued, with jihadists using trucks to wreck large statues in the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, according to government officials. The rampage followed the recent release of a propaganda video showing the destruction of priceless artifacts in the Mosul Museum. In the video, one of the jihadists takes a sledgehammer to an ancient Mesopotamian statue. Another applies a power drill to the face of a winged man-bull of Nineveh. Three thousand years of history smashed, while the perpetrators celebrate with a mix of smug piety and aggressive malice.

 

I am a professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, and my first reaction to news of this cultural vandalism was a sense of personal loss. These artifacts didn’t belong only to the people of today’s Iraq. They belonged to anyone who has ever spent a childhood reading “The How & Why Wonder Book of Lost Cities” or visited the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute and gazed up into the blank stone eyes of its bearded animal-human genii (cousins of the gate-guardians that shattered on the Mosul Museum floor).

 

In the video, the destruction—repulsive to watch—is accompanied by the haunting, elegant sound of a jihadist chanting from the Quran. As a longtime student of Islamic culture, I know that such recitation is a demanding discipline, requiring finely timed breath control and mastery of the intricacies of seventh-century pronunciation and grammar. The fusha (“eloquent Arabic”) of Islamic scripture is revered by Muslims as a language nobler and purer than any Arabic dialect spoken today. Listening to good Quran chanting (and the chanter on this video was very good indeed) is a pleasure akin to hearing a fine performance of Shakespeare—Patrick Stewart, say, reciting Prospero’s lines in “The Tempest.”

 

Let me be clear: I’m a Christian, a Catholic. If I shut my eyes to the malicious violence being perpetrated in the video and just listen to the Arabic recital, I can conjure the pleasure of attending the Easter Vigil service (I was an altar boy once, when the mass was still said in Latin) while the priest sang the “Exultet” and lighted the Paschal candle. Yes, I can conjure all this—until I translate the particular Quranic verses chosen for the video by Islamic State. These are from Chapter 21, and involve the figure of Abraham. The Quran depicts him as having been reared in a family of idol worshipers. He condemns his own father’s paganism—“What are these statues, to which you’re so devoted?”—and then smashes the family’s idols to bits.

 

Immediately after the recitation of these verses, a militant is shown reminding viewers that the Prophet Muhammad “removed and destroyed the idols with his own exalted and noble hands when he conquered Mecca.” Historic accounts say that a circle of idols once surrounded the Meccan shrine of the Kaaba. But with the prophet’s conquest in 630, the Kaaba was “purified” and the idolatrous traces of Mecca’s pre-Islamic past were expunged.

 

Thus Islamic State marshals both Quranic scripture and the actions of Muhammad himself as precedents to justify the group’s attack on these ancient treasures. So much for President Obama’s claim that Islamic State’s actions have nothing to do with Islam. No question, we’re watching a recruitment video here. Think what it offers for young extremists: a chance to re-enact actions from the life of the prophet, to imitate Abraham, imitate Muhammad himself. Tempting, such an offer, for anyone confused by our disorderly 21st century, with its imperative that we come to terms with individualism, that we each find and test our own world views, with all their attendant doubts, in the modern world’s pluralistic societies. How tempting, then, to take a hammer to diversity, to strive to put an end to doubt—with a power drill.   

                                                                                                        

Contents                                                                                               

                                                    

WHAT DRIVES ISLAMIC STATE FANGIRLS                                                                                    

Margaret Wente                                                                                                  

Globe & Mail, Mar. 3, 2015

 

In late 2013, a 19-year-old girl named Aqsa Mahmood said goodbye to her parents in Glasgow and slipped away from home. The next time they heard from her, she was crossing the Syrian border to join the Islamic State. When her father begged her to come back, she said, “I will see you on the day of judgment.” Three months later, she married an IS fighter. Aqsa (who now calls herself Umm Layth) has become one of the Islamic State’s chief recruiters. Her targets are ardent girls from across the Western world who dream of marrying an IS fighter. She tells them that the hardest part is leaving home – but that Allah requires it.

 

Three such girls, ages 15 and 16, left Britain last week. At least one is thought to have been in touch with Aqsa. They were last spotted in Istanbul, waiting for a bus to Syria. Several Canadian girls have disappeared too, including two from Quebec. One of Aqsa’s besties is a 20-year-old Canadian who has adopted the name Umm Haritha. Aqsa has posted pictures of the two of them online, in identical head-to-toe black. The IS groupies weren’t radicalized in the mosque but in their bedrooms, via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media. Private messaging makes it easy for them to make personal contact with women like Aqsa. Everything they need to know is on the Internet – how to talk your way through the border, what life will be like in your new home (plenty of housework), even what to pack (boots and a solar adapter for your Android when the electricity fails).

 

Islamic State fangirls now number in the thousands, although just a few dozen have made it to Syria so far. What strikes you about these girls is how normal they were. They came from moderate religious backgrounds and did extremely well in school. They wanted to be humanitarians and make the world a better place. They were the apples of their devastated parents’ eyes. They seemed to be role models for successful integration.

 

What could tempt a smart young woman to join a band of murderous fanatics who brutally oppress women, crucify their enemies and use mass rape as a weapon of war? The answer is a mix of passionate idealism, combined with the absolutist world view of a convert and the desire to belong to something greater than themselves. Plus hormones. There is a transgressive thrill to the idea of marriage to a violent warrior. Some IS heartthrobs have acquired devoted bands of female followers who want nothing more than to submit to them and have their babies. “Messianic fervour, millenarianism and magnetism can whip up female hormones alarmingly,” wrote Yasmin Alibhai Brown in The Independent. Besides, the romance of jihad seems a lot more exciting than studying for your accounting degree. “There’s a lot of that kind of mentality,” Melanie Smith, who is in touch with hundreds of IS groupies, told the Daily Mail. “It’s laziness, really.”

 

It’s tempting to see these young women as innocent, naive dupes. But that would be a mistake. The Islamic State’s extreme self-publicized violence cannot possibly escape their notice. And the sisterhood in Syria give the brutality their wholehearted support. “OMG … Gut-wrenchingly awesome,” tweeted one female recruit after she saw a video showing the beheading of 18 Christians. “More beheadings, please,” tweeted another.  The flow of female recruits is picking up, and it’s hard to see how to turn it off. You can’t turn off social media, and you can’t police a girl 24 hours a day. You’d hope that once they discover the harsh reality of life as jihadi brides, they would regret their choices and long to come back. But Ms. Smith says she has yet to be in touch with anyone who has regrets. “They see it as emigrating to a better life,” she told the Guardian. “They say they feel free.”

                                                                       

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ISLAM’S IMPROBABLE REFORMER                                                                                                  

Bret Stephens                                                                                                      

Wall Street Journal, Mar. 20, 2015

 

When then-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi appointed a little-known general named Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to be his new defense minister in August 2012, rumors swirled that the officer was chosen for his sympathy with the teachings of Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. One telltale sign, people said, was the zabiba on the general’s forehead—the darkened patch of skin that is the result of frequent and fervent prayer.

 

A pious Muslim must surely also be a political Islamist—or so Mr. Morsi apparently assumed. But the general would soon give the world a lesson in the difference between religious devotion and radicalism.

“There are misconceptions and misperceptions about the real Islam,” now-President Sisi tells me during a two-hour interview in his ornate, century-old presidential palace in Heliopolis. “Religion is guarded by its spirit, by its core, not by human beings. Human beings only take the core and deviate it to the right or left.”

Does he mean to say, I ask, that members of the Muslim Brotherhood are bad Muslims? “It’s the ideology, the ideas,” he replies. “The real Islamic religion grants absolute freedom for the whole people to believe or not believe. Never does Islam dictate to kill others because they do not believe in Islam. Never does it dictate that [Muslims] have the right to dictate [their beliefs] to the whole world. Never does Islam say that only Muslims will go to paradise and others go to hell.” Jabbing his right finger in the air for emphasis, he adds: “We are not gods on earth, and we do not have this right to act in the name of Allah.”

 

When Mr. Sisi took power in July 2013, following street protests against Mr. Morsi by an estimated 30 million Egyptians, it wasn’t obvious that he would emerge as perhaps the world’s most significant advocate for Islamic moderation and reform. His personal piety aside, Mr. Sisi seemed to be a typical Egyptian military figure. Unflattering comparisons were made to Hosni Mubarak, a former air force general and Egypt’s president-for-life until his downfall in 2011.  The similarities are misleading. Mr. Mubarak came of age in the ideological anti-colonialist days of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, trained in the Soviet Union, and led the air campaign against Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Anwar Sadat elevated him to the vice presidency in 1975 as a colorless second-fiddle, his very lack of imagination being an asset to Sadat. He became president only due to Sadat’s assassination six years later.

 

Mr. Sisi, now 60, came of age in a very different era. When he graduated from the Military Academy, in 1977, Egypt was a close American ally on the cusp of making peace with Israel. Rather than being packed off to Russia, he headed for military training in Texas and later the infantry course at Fort Benning, Ga. He returned for another extended stay in the U.S. in 2005 at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. Recalling the two visits, he notes the difference. “The U.S. had been a community that had been living in peace and security. Before 9/11, even the military bases were open. There was almost no difference between civilian life and life on a military base. By 2005, I could feel the tightening.”

 

The remark is intended to underscore to a visiting American journalist his deep sympathy with and admiration for the U.S. He also goes out of his way to stress that he has no intention of altering the pro-American tilt of Egyptian foreign policy, despite suggestions that he is flirting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin for potential arms purchases and the construction of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant. “A country like Egypt will never be mischievous with bilateral relations” with America, he insists. “We will never act foolishly.” When I ask about the delivery of F-16 fighters to Egypt—suspended by the U.S. after Mr. Morsi’s overthrow, and now pending a decision by President Obama—he all-but dismisses the matter. “You can never reduce our relations with the U.S. to matters of weapons systems. We are keen on a strategic relationship with the U.S. above everything else. And we will never turn our backs on you—even if you turn your backs on us.”

 

There is also a deeper purpose to Mr. Sisi’s pro-American entreaties and his comments on 9/11: He wants to remind his critics of the trade-off every country strikes between security and civil liberties. It’s a point he returns to when I note the anger and disappointment that so many Egyptian liberals—many of whom had backed him in 2013—now feel. New laws that tightly restrict street protests recall the Mubarak era. Last June several Al Jazeera journalists, including Australian reporter Peter Greste, were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on dubious charges of reporting that was “damaging to national security,” though they have since been released. The Muslim Brotherhood has been banned, Mr. Morsi is in prison and on trial, and Egyptian courts have passed death sentences on hundreds of alleged Islamists, albeit mostly in absentia.

 

“My message to liberals is that I am very keen to meet their expectations,” Mr. Sisi rejoins. “But the situation in Egypt is overwhelmed.” He laments the Al Jazeera arrests, noting that the incident damaged Egypt’s reputation even as thousands of international correspondents “are working very freely in this country.” Later, while addressing a question about the Egyptian economy, he offers a franker assessment. “In the last four years our internal debt doubled to $300 billion. Do not separate my answer to the question regarding disappointed liberals. Their country needs to survive. We don’t have the luxury to fight and feud and take all our time discussing issues like that. A country needs security and order for its mere existence. If the world can provide support I will let people demonstrate in the streets day and night.”

 

Sensing my skepticism, he adds: “You can’t imagine that as an American. You are speaking the language of a country that is at the top of progress: cultural, financial, political, civilizational—it’s all there in the U.S.” But if American standards were imposed on Egypt, he adds, it would do his country no favors…All of this seems in keeping with Mr. Sisi’s military upbringing and reminds me of Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani general turned president. But the comparison is fundamentally inapt. Under Mr. Musharraf, Pakistan continued to make opportunistic deals with terrorists while giving safe harbor to leaders of the Afghan Taliban.

 

By contrast, it’s impossible to doubt the seriousness of Mr. Sisi’s opposition to Islamic extremism, or his aversion to exporting instability. In late February he ordered the bombing of Islamic State targets in neighboring Libya after ISIS decapitated 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. Egypt’s security cooperation with Israel has never been closer, and Mr. Sisi has moved aggressively to close the tunnels beneath Egypt’s border with Gaza, through which Hamas has obtained its weapons. Later this month, Mr. Sisi will host an Arab League summit, the centerpiece of which will be a joint Arab antiterrorism task force. He says he won’t put Egyptian boots on the ground to fight ISIS in Iraq, which he says is a job for Iraqis with U.S. help. And he takes care to avoid mentioning Iran’s regional ambitions or saying anything critical of its nuclear negotiations, which he says he supports while adding that “I understand the concern of the Israelis.”…

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

 

 

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On Topic

 

ISIS ‘Hacking Division’ Releases Hit List of 100 U.S. Military Personnel, Including Names and Addresses: Joseph Brean, National Post, Mar. 22, 2015 —In a dramatic propaganda move, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham terrorists have published a hit list of 100 American military personnel, including names, photos and addresses they claimed to have hacked from secure government computers.

Why Islam Needs a Reformation: Wall Street Journal, Mar. 22, 2015 —“Islam’s borders are bloody,” wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, “and so are its innards.”

Can the U.S. Beat ISIS in a Twitter War?: George F. Will, National Post, Feb. 23, 2015 —The Obama administration’s semantic somersaults to avoid attaching the adjective “Islamic” to the noun “extremism” are as indicative as they are entertaining.

The Islamic State’s Utopian Vision: Ian Tuttle, National Review, Feb. 27, 2015—For his posthumous 1937 book Mahomet et Charlemagne: Byzance, Islam et Occident dans le haut Moyen Age, Belgian historian Henri Pirenne became an early victim of political correctness in the academy.

 

 

                                                                    

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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