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Beware a Wounded Obama: Philip Klein, Washington Examiner, Nov. 3, 2014
Relearning Republican Foreign Policy: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Nov 4, 2014
Lebanon’s Once-Mighty Hezbollah is Facing Attacks in Syria — and Also at Home: Hugh Naylor, Washington Post, Oct. 28, 2014
Dreams of a Short War are Exactly That: Jeffrey Simpson, Globe & Mail, Nov. 1, 2014
"This experiment in big government has lasted long enough. It's time to go in a new direction," —Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican who defeated the toughest challenge to his Kentucky seat in 30 years, to supporters in his victory speech. Republicans cruised to victory in yesterday’s U.S. midterm elections, gaining control of both houses of Congress in a stinging setback for President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats and ensuring fractious co-existence in the last two years of his presidency. The Republicans rode a wave of voter frustration with Washington incumbents and unpopular policies of the Obama administration to claim total congressional control for the first time since 2006. The new legislature will take power in January. (Yahoo News, Nov. 5, 2014)
"It was a powerful repudiation of the Obama agenda," —Republican Senator Ted Cruz. But Cruz repeated what many in his party have urged, that the onus now falls on Republicans to govern, particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. While Republicans are likely to cooperate on issues like tax reform, the party will seek to breathe life into their stalled jobs bills, to gain approval of the delayed Keystone XL pipeline, roll back some carbon emission regulations and tweak Obamacare. (Yahoo News, Nov. 5, 2014)
“This is possibly the worst possible group of states for Democrats,” in 50 years —U.S. President Barack Obama, blaming the map for the impending defeat on Tuesday. Yet those states were the same ones where – six years ago – Democrats rode Obama’s coattails to victory. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 4, 2014)
“Unlike the Tea Party wave that whacked Democrats in the 2010 midterms, voters this year were not so much angry at Mr. Obama as scared as hell by his fecklessness. When Ebola and Islamic State raised their already elevated levels of insecurity, this President failed to reassure them,” —Konrad Yakabuski. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 4, 2014)
“The pressure is now on President Obama to bear down and negotiate a good Iran deal or face a resounding political defeat when the Senate votes ‘no’ on the deal,” —Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Dubowitz believes a GOP-majority Senate in Washington will have an impact on the next round of nuclear talks between the P5+1 nations and Iran, scheduled to be held in Oman on November 11. A deal that leaves Iran with sufficient centrifuges to flip back on the switch, block inspectors and waltz into the club of nuclear powers would be disastrous. Now, however, a new factor is added to the mix: A GOP-majority Senate which will likely demand a vote on the deal to set minimally acceptable terms. (Washington Post, Nov. 5, 2014)
“As bad as President Obama and Democrats were beaten last night, they won’t prove to be the biggest losers. That would be the Iranian mullahs and administration officials who have been fearing Congress would demand some accountability in the coming Iranian deal,” —senior Republican aide. “With Dems in the majority, they had cover and basically stiffed any and all calls for accountability. Now, that cover is gone,” says the senior aide. “The new Senate GOP majority is going to take a much, much tougher line toward any deal.” Given the magnitude of their losses and their anger at the White House, many Democrats will no doubt join Republicans and refuse to stick by a dangerous and flawed Iran policy. (Washington Post, Nov. 5, 2014)
"This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation," —Nabil Abu Redeineh, Palestinain Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman. "Harming the places sacred to Muslims and Christians is a red line. The state of Palestine will take all legal measures to hold Israel accountable and to stop these ongoing attacks," he added. Palestinian leaders accused Israel of "an act of war" in closing Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on Thursday after a dramatic rooftop ambush of an Arab accused of trying to kill a Jewish activist provoked rioting. The accusation from Abbas came as Arab districts of East Jerusalem erupted in protests after the alleged would-be assassin was killed by security forces. Muataz Hejazi, 32, an Islamic Jihad member who had spent 11 years in Israeli jails, was shot dead on the roof of his home in Jerusalem in a raid by Israeli special forces. Police said Hejazi was the main suspect in the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick, 48, a right-wing rabbi and leading campaigner for prayer rights for Jews on Jerusalem's Temple Mount – which is revered by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, a site that includes the Al-Aqsa mosque. (Telegraph, Oct. 30, 2014)
"We must first of all, lower the flames. No side should take the law into its own hands…we must be level-headed and act with determination and responsibility, and so we shall,"—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu said Abbas bore responsibility for the shooting of Glick, accusing the Palestinian leader of "incitement" and the international community with "hypocrisy" for not condemning him. (Telegraph, Oct. 30, 2014)
“We throw stones to act out,” —Zaheika, a young man who declined to give his surname, adding: “I like the sound of the glass breaking” Jewish settlers’ windows. Israeli police said on Friday that residents threw rocks and fired fireworks at them in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, after prayers in the Old City nearby, and in the neighborhood of Abu Tor. The latter was home to Moutaz Hijazi, who police accuse of shooting Yehuda Glick. In the West Bank, at least 12 people were injured at a riot with several hundred people outside the Qalandiya checkpoint at the northern tip of Jerusalem. Eight youths were injured in clashes north of Ramallah. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 31, 2014)
“We continue to engage at the highest level with the Israeli government to make our position absolutely clear – that we view settlement activity as illegitimate and that we unequivocally oppose unilateral steps that prejudge the future of Jerusalem,” — Edgar Vasquez, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department. Washington condemned on Monday the preliminary approval of 500 homes beyond the pre-1967 lines in Jerusalem. The construction announcement came as a Palestinian delegation led by PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat was in Washington to discuss the frozen peace process with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Washington has issued no fewer than three condemnations of construction activity approved by Jerusalem in the past month. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 3, 2014)
"We need to direct our gazes toward Israel. Southern Lebanon is prepared, despite our soldier's presence in Syria, and we are capable of aiming at any target in Israel," —Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in a speech broadcast by Hezbollah's television channel. Nasrallah, whose organization has been participating in the Syrian battles for three years, claims that the purpose of Hezbollah's involvement in Syria stems from attempts to prevent a "Zionist Hegemony" in the Middle East, and that if Israel interferes, the organization is capable of aiming toward any target in the prior's territory. "We are not afraid of war," he added. "We are a threat to Israel, not the other way around. Their threats lay in their lost hope, not in their military capabilities. The Arab League needs to rise against the Israeli aggression. Israel exploits changes in the Arab World to obtain its goals." Nasrallah added that his organization is facing "the region's largest threat," and that his militants are entitled to the honor accompanying the victory over Israel. (Jerusalem Online, Nov. 4, 2014)
"The Holocaust stands alone in history for its sheer brutality and inhumanity. The Shoah will forever serve as a powerful reminder of the odious effects of anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred and intolerance, and why it is important to prevent these poisonous ideologies from spreading," — Canadian Minister for Multiculturalism Jason Kenney and Minister of State for Multiculturalism Tim Uppal, in a joint statement on Monday timed for Holocaust Education Month. The statement continued "Canada has been profoundly shaped by the 40,000 heroic Holocaust survivors who made our country their home in the years following the war. We owe an enormous debt to those survivors who have dedicated their lives to sharing their personal testimonies in our schools and communities." Canada has been working to preserve Holocaust memory, opening the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg in September and next year starting construction on a National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa. "Both places will remind Canadians and visitors to our country that we must remain vigilant and defend human rights in the face of hatred and intolerance," wrote the ministers. (Arutz Sheva, Nov. 5, 2014)
“During the war years, Jewish partisans sang a song which later became the anthem of their resistance movement. It finished with the words Mir zenen do — ‘We are here!’ After the construction of this museum, today I too, a member of the Jewish community in Poland, want to repeat after them: Mir zenen do — We are here!” —Marian Turski, 88, at the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw last week. Turski is a survivor of Auschwitz who decided to stay in Poland during half a century of communist rule. In free Poland, as the leader of the Jewish Historical Institute, he played a large role in the planning of the new museum. After he spoke, Turski took the arm of a 13-year-old Polish Jewish girl and the two of them — representatives of an old and new generation of Polish Jews — symbolically opened the museum doors. (National Post, Nov. 1, 2014)
GOP DOMINATES MIDTERMS, TAKES CONTROL OF SENATE (Washington)— Republicans scored a stunning electoral rout in the midterm elections, taking control of the U.S. Senate after a bitter campaign in which anger at Washington gridlock was turned against a president who took office promising to transcend it. By early Wednesday, Republican candidates had won at least 10 of the day’s 13 closely contested Senate races. They took seats held by Democrats in Iowa, Colorado, Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia and North Carolina — more than enough to seize control of the Senate for the first time since 2007. In addition, Republicans won at least 10 more seats in the House, adding to their majority. (New York Times, Nov. 5, 2014)
1 KILLED AS DRIVER PLOWS INTO JERUSALEM CROWD IN TERROR ATTACK (Jerusalem)— An Arab driver plowed his vehicle into a crowd of people at a light rail station along the seam-line between East and West Jerusalem late Wednesday morning, killing a Border Police officer, and injuring 14 more people, one of them critically. Paramedics reported that two people were seriously hurt, and three moderately injured. The fatality was named as Border Police officer Jedan Assad, 38, from Beit Jann, a Druze village. Assad was a father to a three-year-old boy; his wife is five months pregnant. Palestinian Ma’an news agency identified the terrorist as 48-year-old Ibrahim al-Akary, a Hamas operative from Shuafat in East Jerusalem. (Times of Israel, Nov. 5, 2014)
ISRAELI LEADERS HOLD ABBAS RESPONSIBLE FOR JERUSALEM TERROR WAVE (Jerusalem)— Multiple Israeli officials on Wednesday condemned PA President Abbas for what they charged was his direct and indirect incitement leading to a string of terror attacks, including today’s lethal vehicular assault in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the terror attack “…the direct outcome of incitement by Abbas, and his Hamas partners.” Abbas, in a condolence letter to the family of a Hamas terrorist who shot and severely wounded Israeli-American Yehuda Glick last Wednesday, called the return fire by police which killed Muataz Hijazi a “sickening crime,” and “assassination which was perpetrated by the murderous, terrorist gangs of the despicable Israeli occupying army…” (Algemeiner, Nov. 5, 2014)
ISRAEL REOPENS HOLY SITE, BUT UNREST SPREADS (Jerusalem) — Israel reopened Jerusalem’s Temple Mount complex for Friday Muslim prayer services one day after closing it for the first time in 14 years, but unrest spread in Palestinian parts of Jerusalem. Tapping into popular outrage over Israel’s decision to seal the holy compound a day earlier, and Israel security services’ killing of a Palestinian suspected of shooting Yehuda Glick, Abbas’ Fatah party had called for a “day of rage” on Friday. Hundreds responded, and turmoil which had been mostly confined to East Jerusalem spread throughout the West Bank for the first time. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 31, 2014)
CABINET BACKS BILL TO JAIL STONE-THROWERS UP TO 10-20 YEARS (Jerusalem) — Israel’s cabinet on Sunday morning approved stiffer sentences for stone-throwing. Netanyahu announced approval of an amendment to the penal code designed to stiffen punishment for throwing stones at vehicles, including sentences of up to 20 years for throwing stones or other objects at cars. Netanyahu told the cabinet that Israel would not make any changes to the regulations on the Temple Mount, after days of unrest and protests over the closure of the site. Netanyahu said : "Alongside our determined stance for our rights, we are determined to maintain the status quo for all the religions in order to prevent an eruption." (Jerusalem Online, Nov. 2, 2014)
CANADIAN WARPLANES LAUNCH AIR STRIKES AGAINST ISLAMIC STATE (Kuwait City)— Canada has made its mark on the battlefield in Iraq with CF-18 warplanes dropping their first bombs in this country’s combat mission there. Canadian fighter jets attacked Islamic State targets near the city of Fallujah on Sunday. This is the first fighting that Canadians have done since Prime Minister Harper set the country on the course to war in Iraq this October and the House of Commons authorized a six-month aerial combat deployment to the Middle East. The “strike demonstrates our government’s firm resolve to tackle the threat of terrorism and to stand with our allies against [Islamic State] atrocities against innocent women, children and men,” Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement. All aircraft returned safely to Canada’s base of operations in Kuwait, where 600 Canadian Armed Forces members are now deployed to support the mission. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 2, 2014)
SYRIAN REBELS ARMED AND TRAINED BY US SURRENDER TO AL-QAEDA (Damascus)— Two of the main rebel groups receiving weapons from the U.S. to fight both the regime and jihadist groups in Syria have surrendered to al-Qaeda. The US and its allies were relying on Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front to become part of a ground force that would attack the Islamic State. For the last six months the Hazm movement, and the SRF through them, had been receiving heavy weapons from the U.S.-led coalition, including GRAD rockets and TOW anti-tank missiles. But on Saturday night Harakat Hazm surrendered military bases and weapons supplies to Jabhat al-Nusra, when the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria stormed villages they controlled. The development came a day after Jabhat al-Nusra dealt a final blow to the SRF, storming and capturing Deir Sinbal, home town of the group's leader Jamal Marouf. The collapse of the SRF and attacks on Harakat Hazm have dramatically weakened the presence of moderate rebel fighting groups in Syria. (Telegraph, Nov. 2, 2014)
JIHADISTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD FLOCK TO FIGHT WITH I.S. (Washington)— Foreign fighters are continuing to pour into Syria and Iraq at the rate of 1,000 a month in a global movement of jihadists that exceeds even that into Afghanistan in the 1980s, new assessments from the United Nations and US intelligence have shown. As the I.S. continues to make advances in Syria and Iraq despite more than 600 coalition air strikes, the total number of foreign fighters is now thought to have topped 15,000, according to a UN Security Council estimate. Although the majority of fighters still come from the Middle East and North Africa , more than 2,000 have come from European countries, including 500 from the Britain alone since 2011, carrying passports that would allow them to return freely to their home countries. (Telegraph, Oct. 31, 2014)
SUICIDE BOMBING ALONG PAKISTAN’S BORDER WITH INDIA KILLS DOZENS (Islamabad)— More than 50 people were killed Sunday when a suicide bomber struck during a solemn military ceremony along Pakistan’s eastern border with India, the deadliest attack on Pakistani soil this year. The explosion at the Wagah crossing occurred just as the daily flag-lowering ceremony conducted by security forces on both sides was concluding. The attack appeared to be in retaliation for Pakistan’s ongoing military operation against Islamist extremists. And after several months of relative calm, the sight of bodies stacked in hospital parking lots again exposed Pakistan’s continued vulnerability to terrorist strikes. In June, after years of domestic terrorist attacks, Pakistan’s military launched an operation against terrorist havens in the North Waziristan tribal region. (Washington Post, Nov. 2, 2014)
BOKO HARAM: KIDNAPPED GIRLS HAVE BEEN MARRIED OFF (Abuja)— A man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said more than 200 girls kidnapped by the group six months ago had been "married off" to its fighters, contradicting Nigerian government claims they would soon be freed. Nigeria's military says it killed Shekau a year ago, and authorities said in September that they had also killed an imposter posting as him in videos. In the latest recording it is hard to see the man's face as he his filmed from a distance. But it is likely to raise grave doubts about whether talks between a Boko Haram faction and the government in neighboring Chad will secure the release of the girls, who were kidnapped from a secondary school in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, in April. "We have have married them off and they are all in their husbands' houses," the man claiming to be Shekau says. "The over 200 Chibok girls have converted to Islam, which they confess is the best religion. Either their parents accept this and convert too or they can die," he added. (Huffington Post, Nov. 1, 2014)
ATHENS HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DESECRATED FOR SECOND TIME THIS YEAR (Athens) —The Athens Holocaust Memorial was desecrated for the second time this year, when vandals spray painted the logo of an ultra-nationalist group on it. The logo of the group known as the Unaligned Meander Nationalists was spray painted on the monument in blue paint on Oct. 30. The same group, which describes the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party as “moderates,” vandalized the Holocaust Monument on the island of Rhodes in October 2012. Erected in 2010, the monument commemorates the more than 60,000 Greek Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. Today only about 5,000 Jews live in Greece. A recent Anti-Defamation League survey showed that Greece has Europe’s highest rate of antisemitic attitudes, with 69 percent of Greeks espousing antisemitic views. That is nearly twice the rate as the next highest country, France, with 37 percent. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 2, 2014)
US ARMY BUYS ITS FIRST IRON DOME FROM ISRAEL (Washington) —Israel had been struggling to sell the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system abroad, but the Israel Defense website revealed on Sunday that a major purchaser has been found: the United States. Apparently the U.S. Army will acquire one Iron Dome battery, and will decide whether or not to purchase more units of the Israeli defense system. The Iron Dome system reportedly boasted a 90% hit rate in Operation Protective Edge. India has also reportedly been interested in buying the Israeli-made system, with defense ties between the two countries soaring of late, and with India increasingly buying from Israel rather than the US. (Arutz Sheva, Nov. 3, 2014)
WORLD TRADE CENTER REOPENS FOR BUSINESS 13 YEARS AFTER 9/11 (New York) —Thirteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attack, World Trade Center is opening for business again. Conde Nast will start moving Monday into One World Trade Center, a 104-story, $3.9 billion skyscraper in Lower Manhattan. It's the centerpiece of the 16-acre site where the decimated twin towers once stood and where more than 2,700 people died on Sept. 11, 2001. "The New York City skyline is whole again, as One World Trade Center takes its place in Lower Manhattan," said Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that owns both the building and the World Trade Center site. With the construction fences gone, America’s tallest building is considered by Conde Nast CEO Chuck Townsend as the, “most secure office building in America.” The publishing giants will take over five floors of the building. (Fox News, Nov. 3, 2014)
Beware a Wounded Obama: Philip Klein, Washington Examiner, Nov. 3, 2014 —No matter what the exact outcome of Tuesday’s elections, there is little doubt that President Obama will come out of it wounded.
Relearning Republican Foreign Policy: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Nov 4, 2014 —It’s been nearly a decade since George W. Bush delivered his second inaugural address, which contained this remarkable line: “It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”
Lebanon’s Once-Mighty Hezbollah is Facing Attacks in Syria — and Also at Home: Hugh Naylor, Washington Post, Oct. 28, 2014 —Hezbollah has won grudging respect, even from some foes, for its tenacious guerrilla campaigns against Israel. But now Lebanon’s most powerful military organization is losing its aura of invincibility.
Dreams of a Short War are Exactly That: Jeffrey Simpson, Globe & Mail, Nov. 1, 2014 —Now that Canada has joined the war against the Islamic State in Iraq, some home truths beckon.
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