Tag: Kerry

AS ISRAEL’S LEBANON & SYRIA BORDERS HEAT UP,SYRIAN REFUGEES SUFFER & KERRY PLAYS “PEACE CONFERENCE” GAMES

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

 

 

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Meanwhile on Israel’s Lebanese Border: Barry Rubin, PJ Media, Dec. 16, 2013 — On December 15, an Israeli jeep was driving along the Israel-Lebanese border near the coast, in a quiet area, which hadn’t seen war for decades. Suddenly a shot rang out.

Israel-Syria Border a Tinderbox: Yaakov Lappin, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 9, 2013 — Three instances of cross-border fire have occurred along Israel's frontier with Syria in the past week, reinforcing the Israel Defense Force's assessment that this border is set to present a mass of security threats in the near future.

Syrian FSA Fades in Shadow of Saudi-Backed Opposition Front: Edward Dank, Al Monitor, Dec. 11, 2013  —  The bombshell that Gen. Salim Idriss of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)'s Supreme Military Command dropped last week, that he would be willing to join forces with the regime against al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria, came without too much scrutiny, especially when he subsequently tried to backtrack and sugarcoat his statement.

Kerry’s Self-Defeat Ahead of Syria Conference: Michael Rubin, Commentary, Dec. 16, 2013 — Sometimes it seems that Secretary of State John Kerry lives in an alternate universe, one in which the Palestinian Authority seeks peace, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is liberal, Iran’s Islamic Republic seeks only to generate electricity, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a leader who for the good of humanity might give up power to an opposition against whom he maintains a military edge.

Fragmented Syria: the Balance of Forces as of Late 2013: Jonathan Spyer, Gloria Center, Dec. 11, 2013 —  As the Syrian civil war moves toward its fourth anniversary, there are no signs of imminent victory or defeat for either of the sides.

 

On Topic Links

 

Obama Wanted U.S. Action in Darfur. Why Not in Syria?: Fred Hiatt, Washington Post, Dec. 15, 2013

Rise of Islamic Front Disaster for Syria: Al Monitor, Dec. 15, 2013

Syria’s Saudi Jihadist Problem: Jamie Dettmer, The Daily Beast, Dec. 16, 2013

Syria's Spreading Bloodshed: Molly Crabapple, New York Times, Dec. 6, 2013

 

MEANWHILE ON ISRAEL’S LEBANESE BORDER

Barry Rubin        

PJ Media, Dec. 16, 2013                                                                                                                                  

On December 15, an Israeli jeep was driving along the Israel-Lebanese border near the coast, in a quiet area, which hadn’t seen war for decades. Suddenly a shot rang out. A warrant officer fell dead, but he wasn’t killed by a “terrorist.” Apparently he had been shot by a uniformed soldier of the Lebanese army. Let’s consider this situation under the America’s supposed security protection of Israel. Is Lebanon going to court martial this soldier? Is the United States going to demand that he be punished? Will the United States do anything? Remember that the U.S. will be subsidizing Iran, and who knows what else. Moreover, the United States will try to restrain any Israeli actions. This person is going to get away with murder, and no one will criticize him, but rather compliment him.

 

This is going to pose daily questions of U.S. policy (true I know this is a Lebanese not Palestinian soldier, but the principal is the same). What if the soldiers had been a few dozen miles away? The United States is obviously going to regret this action but is not going to do anything. It will try to restrain Israel. And meanwhile Lebanon, Syria, and other countries are going to act like they are at war with Israel, but the United States will not allow Israel to act like it is at war with them. How about if Hizballah had shot the soldier. This means that an Israeli soldier was shot by what is a de facto ally of the United States. After all, the United States has likely provided Iran with some 20 billion dollars, cut sanctions, and won’t do anything about the situation. What do Israelis gain? A “frequent friar [Hebrew for sucker] card”? Does the United States want to get into this situation, the middle of an Arab-Israeli conflict that has gone on for 66 years? As I have pointed out many times, this will be a disaster.

 

The current stage of peace negotiations are the following: The U.S. has offered American troops to be in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for 10 years. How many soldiers will there be? What is their designated mission? Do you really think the U.S. will have thousands of soldiers in Israel and Palestine for a decade? I don’t believe this will happen. I repeat, either this will be a disaster or will not happen. Here is an interesting option. Suppose the Obama administration draws negotiations out to the end of 2014? Certainly parties would like to do that; they are in no hurry. Then negotiations are drawn out during the campaign, and then the day after voting, they collapse. Wouldn’t the Democratic Party achieve a great voter turnout, considering the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Iran conflicts are solved? And then Obama would announce that U.S. interests cannot make the concessions to create peace. In other words, he would get the value of the campaign slogans but then does not deliver. In other words, if you want this conflict, you can keep this conflict. Don’t be surprised at this prediction.

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ISRAEL-SYRIA BORDER A TINDERBOX                                

Yaakov Lappin                                       

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 9, 2013  

 

Three instances of cross-border fire have occurred along Israel's frontier with Syria in the past week, reinforcing the IDF's assessment that this border is set to present a mass of security threats in the near future. In the most recent incident, a bomb planted by unknown attackers along the border fence, detonated as an IDF patrol passed by, damaging the vehicle. It represents just the sort of incident that, if repeated, could escalate into a potential kidnapping or deadly attack on soldiers, precipitating an Israeli response — which in turn could lead to a wider escalation. The IDF's Northern Command has, in fact, been preparing intensively for this scenario, training patrol units to respond quickly to attacks, and constructing a missile-proof border fence with hi-tech sensors and an early warning system to provide some cover.

 

The Israeli military has not yet been able to determine who carried out the recent border bombing, but foremost among the suspects are Syrian jihadi elements that form part of the armed opposition to the Assad regime. Extremist jihadi factions, such as the Al Nusra Front (Al-Qaeda's official branch in Syria), and The Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria maintain a continuous presence in southern Syria along sections of the Israeli border, taking part in daily armed clashes with Assad loyalist forces for control of villages in the area. The jihadis may be busy with Assad's army, but in line with their radical ideology, could still choose to strike out at Israel. Such groups are difficult to deter: they are not sovereign rulers of clearly demarcated territory, meaning that there is no clear "return address" for an Israeli retaliation, and they have not experienced Israeli counter-terrorism action. The opposite is true of both Hezbollah in south Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, which have their own territory and, despite being heavily armed, are, for the time being, deterred by previous Israeli operations against them.

 

The Syrian army too poses a danger, as demonstrated last week, when a Syrian soldier decided to open fire on Israeli paratroopers along the border. The paratroopers wasted little time in returning fire, striking their attacker. According to the IDF's evaluation, the Syrian soldier acted alone, and his decision to fire was spontaneous. But in the chaotic border region, this type of incident could also act as a spark, setting off a chain reaction of clashes that might escalate into a wider conflict. On the same day, a mortar shell fired from Syria hurtled over the Israeli border, and exploded near the Druse town of Majdal Shams. The mortar was a stray shot fired in the midst of the Syrian civil war, but had it landed inside a populated area of the Golan Heights and caused casualties, an Israeli response would be a certainty. Stray fire is also a possible trigger for escalation .

 

Israeli military planners say that the Syrian arena has become intrinsically linked to Lebanon. With many thousands of Hezbollah operatives fighting in Syria, and with Syrian jihadi organizations branching out into Lebanon, an incident that begins as an attack on Israel from Syria could quickly end up spreading to the Lebanese border. Counteracting the explosiveness of the situation are a few stabilizing factors. No side in Syria is keen on opening a front with Israel and facing the IDF's firepower when it is neck-deep in a fight to the death in the Syrian civil war. Additionally, localized incidents, as again demonstrated last week, can, through a careful combination of firm responses and restraint, be contained by Israel. In today's chaotic and unpredictable regional reality, however, Israel is not relying on these factors. Senior Israeli military commanders are telling their units to assume that war could erupt — swiftly and unpredictably — tomorrow, and to make all necessary preparations.

 

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SYRIAN FSA FADES IN SHADOW OF SAUDI-BACKED OPPOSITION FRONT                                 

Edward Dank  

Al Monitor, Dec. 11, 2013

 

The bombshell that Gen. Salim Idriss of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)'s Supreme Military Command dropped last week, that he would be willing to join forces with the regime against al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria, came without too much scrutiny, especially when he subsequently tried to backtrack and sugarcoat his statement. But for the observant, the subtle message was all too clear: The “moderate” Western-backed FSA rebels in Syria are on their last legs, pushed to the limit and desperate. They are making their last stand, here and now. That this statement came out of desperation, from an organization that swore it would never deal with President Bashar al-Assad and that its only stated goal was to topple him from power, speaks volumes about the machinations, intricacies and subterfuges of the Syrian conflict, now nearing its third year and drawing ever deeper into a chaotic and messy quagmire.

 

On the face of it, Idriss’ moderate rebels have had crushing military setback after setback, being no match for the regime’s superior fire power and usurped on their own turf by better financed and organized jihadist Islamist rebels, who maintain a totally conflicting agenda and ideology. This position between the hammer and the anvil might have proven the last straw, as Idriss’ men threw in their lot with that of the other hapless opposition organization, the Syrian National Coalition, whose leader Ahmad al-Jarba also triumphantly announced that they were going into the fray after being provided with “assurances” by global powers. This has much to do with the Geneva II conference, set for Jan. 22, which promises to be a veritable who’s who of top players on the Syrian pitch, with each side fielding their best team in the hopes of outmaneuvering and scoring as many points as possible against the other, while gaining as many concessions as can be achieved in the time allotted.

 

The fact that some sides aren’t playing ball — or at least not by the agreed-upon rules, most notably the Saudis, who have opted to create their very own “Islamic Front” team — throws a spanner into the works. This new Saudi-backed Islamic Front is a fusion of Salafist jihadist Islamist groups, not as extreme in Ideology as al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) or Jabhat al-Nusra, but nevertheless by no means mainstream like the FSA. It openly calls for Islamic Sharia rule instead of secular democracy, and was even implicated in sectarian war crimes like the Latakia province incidents documented by Human Rights Watch. Meant to counter the growing power and influence of al-Qaeda, especially in the north of Syria, it has none the less undermined the Western-backed FSA. One need only look to the recent assassination of two FSA officers blamed on ISIS in the north, as well as the subsequent ISIS attack on the strategic border crossing of Bab al-Hawa on the Turkish border, held for over a year by FSA units. As ISIS attacked, the FSA called on Ahrar al-Sham — now part of the Islamic Front — for help. Ahrar al-Sham obliged, driving out ISIS, but at the same time taking over FSA positions, warehouses and heavy weaponry for "safe keeping."

 

It is this sort of cannibalization of the moderate FSA that has alarm bells ringing in Western capitals. Pretty soon there won’t actually be any FSA, at least not in terms of actual physical presence. To make matters worse, what was left of the FSA in the northeast of Syria, namely in the al-Qaeda-dominated Raqqa province, has disintegrated. As the Ahfad al-Rasoul Battalion splintered into different groups, many later pledged allegiance to ISIS. The same story was repeated in oil-rich Dier Ezzor, where tribal leaders opted to accept al-Qaeda’s presence instead of challenging it. In Aleppo, the FSA are being squeezed even further with ISIS openly threatening their leadership and positions in the north, just as the regime gains ground and consolidates its hold over the southern countryside of Aleppo.

 

And so begins the race, even against allies, to put together a workable solution that can be implemented in Syria. It is a given that many fighting factions, most notably the extremist Islamist militants, will not abide by any such agreements, and will therefore become the future enemy of a “new Syria,” should one be agreed upon by the various players. In the frantic buildup and diplomatic arm-twisting before Geneva II, it seems the main priority is to get everyone on board with tackling the imminent al-Qaeda menace, which friend and foe alike admit is now the biggest threat to their interests and to regional and global stability. Neither the Americans nor the Russians nor their respective allies want to see Syria turned into a launching pad for a global jihadist movement. The nervousness is particularly acute in Europe, some of whose own citizens have joined the ranks of al-Qaeda in Syria. The blowback from those radicalized militants returning home has even prompted some to send high-level security officials to Damascus.

 

Apparently, removing Assad has taken a backseat to a more pressing need. Building a feasible coalition of regime and opposition forces to tackle the al-Qaeda threat seems to be the first goal of any political settlement, a priority which has the backing of all the major players in the Syrian conflict except for Saudi Arabia. The Saudis' overt backing and funding of the Islamic Front seems specifically geared toward scuttling any such deal. In terms of Saudi calculations, curbing Iranian influence in the Middle East is their number-one strategic goal. As far as Riyadh is concerned, a failed state ruled by Sunni extremists seems preferable to the existence of any Iran-friendly regime in Syria. But despite deploying its cards via the Islamic Front, it remains to be seen whether Saudi Arabia will actively defy an US attempt to form an anti-al-Qaeda coalition in Syria.

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KERRY’S SELF-DEFEAT AHEAD OF SYRIA CONFERENCE

Michael Rubin   

 

Commentary, Dec. 16, 2013

 

Sometimes it seems that Secretary of State John Kerry lives in an alternate universe, one in which the Palestinian Authority seeks peace, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is liberal, Iran’s Islamic Republic seeks only to generate electricity, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a leader who for the good of humanity might give up power to an opposition against whom he maintains a military edge. Hence, Kerry is moving full-steam ahead with plans for the “Geneva II” conference to discuss Syria’s future. Thirty-two countries—including Iran—will participate, because in Kerry world, having as many countries as possible attend a conference makes it easier to reach a solution. Even Iran will attend because, again in Kerry’s alternate reality, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps answers to Iranian diplomats.

 

One group will not be attending the Geneva II talks, but not for lack of desire. That group—which embraces secularism, fights actively against the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, and controls thousands of square miles inside Syria—has found its participation in Geneva II actively blocked by Kerry. The Democratic Union Party (PYD), led by Salih Muslim, is Kurdish and runs its own autonomous government in and around Qamishli, the largest town in northeastern Syria. In its effectively autonomous zone, children attend school, businesses remain open, and women can go shopping or walk in the street without fear of kidnapping, rape, or murder. The PYD’s sin, it seems, is its affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey, a group which once waged an insurgency against the Turkish army and which the United States continues to designate a terrorist group, less on its merits and more out of deference to Turkey. Herein is the irony: the Turkish political leadership has for years engaged with the PKK, and the two sides have negotiated a ceasefire. The PYD is to Syria what the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) are to Iraq. Of course, both the Clinton and Bush administrations engaged with the KDP and PUK; they recognized it was in the United States’s interest to do so.

 

How sad it is that terror sponsors receive the enthusiastic embrace of the Obama administration, but those groups which not only talk about peace and stability, but also achieve it are given the cold shoulder. The PYD’s sin seems to be its neutrality: It has long claimed that the Syrian opposition is too radical, a position for which the United States has sought to punish it, even as most in Congress come to recognize the truth of that position. The State Department also claims that the PYD is pro-Assad. This is a misreading: The PYD has sought to be neutral in the conflict; that neutrality has meant keeping lines open to Assad, which is exactly what Kerry is doing at Geneva II. That Kerry and crew seek to ban the PYD and undo its success demonstrates once again the administration’s skewed values and strategic incompetence. It’s time to give the PYD a seat at the table.

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               FRAGMENTED SYRIA: THE BALANCE OF FORCES AS OF LATE 2013

Jonathan Spyer                                                                             

Gloria Center, Dec. 11, 2013

 

As the Syrian civil war moves toward its fourth anniversary, there are no signs of imminent victory or defeat for either of the sides.  The military situation has reached a stalemate.  The result is that Syria today is divided de facto into three identifiable entities, each of which is capable of defending its existence against threats from either of the others. These three entities are: first, the Asad regime itself, which has survived all attempts to divide it from within.  The second area is the zone controlled by the rebels.  In this area there is no central authority.  Rather, the territory is divided up into areas controlled by a variety of militias.  The third area consists of majority-Kurdish northeast Syria.  This area is under the control of the PYD (Democratic Union Party), the Syrian franchise of the PKK…

 

The emergence of a de facto divided Syria is the result first and foremost of the Asad regime’s response to its strategic predicament in the course of 2012.  By the end of 2011, the uprising against the regime had transformed from a largely civilian movement into an armed insurgency, largely because of the regime’s very brutal and ruthless response to civilian demonstrations against it.  This response did not produce the decline of opposition, but rather the formation of armed groups intended initially to defend protests. These armed groups then began to conduct their own independent actions against the regime’s armed forces. The Asad regime initially tried to hold all parts of the country against the insurgency.  Yet it was unable to muster the required number of reliable troops to mount a classic campaign of counterinsurgency. This soon became evident in the rebel heartlands of northern Syria, close to the border with Turkey.

 

Beginning in late 2011, the opposition and Free Syrian Army began to occupy ground, taking control of a number of towns and villages in the Idlib province.  In January 2012, Zabadani was taken.  Douma, near Damascus, fell in the same month.  The rebels also took control of the greater part of Homs city, for a few months.   In January 2012, some additional Damascus suburbs fell under partial opposition control. Asad hit back.  The regime first attempted to launch a concerted effort to recapture these areas, in the late winter of 2011/2012. In February 2012, a counterattack was mounted.  It began by retaking Douma, then moved on to Homs, and then began the pacification of Idlib–in time for the beginning of the “ceasefire” brokered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which was due to take effect in April 2012. The regime’s counterinsurgency tactics were characteristically bloody and brutal.  Human Rights Watch, in a document based on field research carried out in the Idlib province described how 95 civilians died and hundreds were wounded in the period between March 22 and April 6, 2012, as Syrian armor and infantry swept methodically through the towns of Sarmin, Saraqib, Taftanaz, Hazana, and Killi.

 

Similar actions took place throughout the country in areas affected by the uprising, including in Homs, Hama, Idlib, Deir al-Zor, Rastan, Dar’a, and Douma near Damascus. The pacifications involved the use of helicopters, artillery, and armor against civilians as well as large scale roundups, disappearances, and many deaths. Yet it became apparent at that time that the regime did not have sufficient wherewithal to place all areas in revolt under permanent occupation.  A pattern therefore emerged in which rebel fighters would leave an area before the regime military arrived.  The regime’s retribution would be taken out on the civilian population. Then, when the armed forces moved on as their limited numbers obliged them to do, the uprising reemerged. The failure of the counteroffensive of February and March 2012, and the predictable still birth of Annan’s ceasefire, left the regime in a dilemma.  Resources and lives of soldiers were being wasted on seeking to hold the entirety of the country.  In the Sunni rural northwest, the regime ruled against the direct opposition of the population.  In the course of July and August 2012, therefore, regime forces regrouped, effectively ceding large parts of northern and eastern Syria to their opponents, and establishing new defensive lines further south.

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link –ed.]

 

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Obama Wanted U.S. Action in Darfur. Why Not in Syria?: Fred Hiatt, Washington Post, Dec. 15, 2013 — If you had said in 2008 that the administration of Susan Rice, John Kerry and Barack Obama would do nothing while a dictator deliberately starved more than a quarter-million of his people, no one would have believed you.

Rise of Islamic Front Disaster for Syria: Al Monitor, Dec. 15, 2013 — On Dec. 11, The Wall Street Journal and other publications reported that Islamist rebels had seized the northern Syrian headquarters of Maj. Gen. Salim Idris, chief of staff of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and warehouses containing equipment provided to the FSA by Western countries.

Syria’s Saudi Jihadist Problem: Jamie Dettmer, The Daily Beast, Dec. 16, 2013  — Saudi jihadists are flocking in growing numbers to join al-Qaeda affiliates in northern Syria and despite public expressions of disquiet, Saudi Arabian officials are doing little to try to stop them flying out from the Riyadh airport—a further sign, say Western diplomats, of the Kingdom throwing caution to the wind when it comes to the Syrian civil war.

Syria's Spreading Bloodshed: Molly Crabapple, New York Times, Dec. 6, 2013 — I was in Tripoli to draw, documenting the Syrian refugee crisis; that was what I was doing when I met Samar. She was queuing for food vouchers, along with fellow Syrian refugees, at the office of a local Sunni leader.

 

 

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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

 

 


Download a pdf version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf

 On Topic Links

 

Ya’alon: Every Iranian Embassy in the World is a Base For Terrorism: Jerusalem Post, Dec. 9, 2013

On the “Israel is an Apartheid State” Slander: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 2, 2013      

A Good Deal For the Bedouin, And For Israel: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 5, 2013

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“It's…critical that the final deal with Iran prevent [establishment of nuclear weapons] from happening. Here's what this means: no enrichment, no centrifuges, no heavy water reactor, no weapons program, no ballistic missiles and a change in Iran's policies – no genocide against Israel, no terrorist support, no undermining of regimes in the Middle East…this is what the next negotiation must establish,” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking on Monday with visiting Guatemalan President Otto Fernando Perez Molina. (Arutz Sheva, Dec. 10, 2013)   

 

"We’re at a crossroads." — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry added "We’re at one of those, really, hinge points in history. One path could lead to an enduring resolution in international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. The other path could lead to continued hostility and potentially to conflict. And I don’t have to tell you that these are high stakes." Kerry said that the administration has not confidently determined whether the Iranian regime has changed its "nuclear calculus," away from a drive toward weaponized uranium. As a senator before leading the State Department, Kerry had a personal hand in crafting sanctions legislation with his former colleagues on Capitol Hill. "This is something that I think you ought to take great pride in," he said. "I voted for these sanctions, like we all did in the United States Senate. I think we were 100 to nothing as a matter of fact. And we put them in place for a purpose. The purpose was to get to this negotiation," he continued. "The purpose was to see whether or not diplomacy and avoidance of war could actually deliver the same thing or better than you might be able to get through confrontation." (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11, 2013)

 

“The sanctions have proven effective because we dropped them… the thought that the Iranian people, its leaders, or even moderates inside the country will succumb to increased pressure does not reflect a true understanding of what is happening in [Iran]. Iranians must be allowed to take the path that provides them an honorable solution.” — U.S. President Barack Obama addressing the citizens of Israel directly on Saturday. His statement was aimed at rebutting Netanyahu’s long-held assertion that tough sanctions will cause the Iranian regime to halt its development of a nuclear program. (Algemeiner, Dec. 7, 2013)

 

“You do not need to reassure us…you need to listen to us, because we know Iran well.” —Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, referring to recent diplomatic overtures made by the U.S. towards Iran. Sheikh Khalid said the Gulf states were keen that any deal with Iran should not be confined to the nuclear weapons issue alone, but must also address other issues such as Tehran’s continued involvement in state-sponsored terrorism, including its support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah. (Telegraph, Dec. 8, 2013) 

 

"The entire deal is dead." — Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who said the Iranian nuclear deal would be dead if the US Congress imposes new sanctions, even if they do not take effect for six months. "We do not like to negotiate under duress," Zarif added. "If Congress adopts sanctions, it shows lack of seriousness and lack of a desire to achieve a resolution on the part of the United States.” Zarif's comments had little effect on US Senators who are preparing legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran in six months if the deal reached in Geneva goes nowhere. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 9, 2013)

 

“What this comes down to is the perception that if we kept churning up the pressure, new sanctions, more sanctions, more military threats, etc., that eventually Iran would cave.” —President Obama, who sharply criticized as not viable several Israeli government postures on talks with Iran. Obama took aim at claims by Prime Minister Netanyahu that increased pressure during the interim talks between Iran and world powers would extract greater concessions from Iran. “Wherever we see the impulses of a people to move away from conflict and violence and toward a diplomatic resolution of conflict, we should be ready to engage them,” he said. “We have to not constantly assume that it’s not possible for Iran like any country to change over time.” (Canadian Jewish News, Dec. 9, 2013)

 

“The administration could prove right and the possibility of a diplomatic outcome could be lost.” — Dennis B. Ross, who worked on Iranian issues during Obama’s first term. “That said, the Iranians could hope that by looking reasonable, they can get the sanctions to fall of their own weight.” With Iran threatening that any new sanctions would scuttle its interim nuclear deal with the West, the Obama administration is fighting a fierce battle to convince skeptical Senate Democrats not to pass any new measures against Tehran. (New York Times, Dec. 10, 2013)

 

“On Saturday, President Obama said he could envision a final agreement that would let Iran enrich nuclear material for power production with enough restrictions and oversight to assure the United States, Israel and the rest of the world that it could not produce a nuclear weapon. But he said there was no guarantee that such a deal would emerge.” — Thomas Erdbrink wrote in a New York Times article. Iran has continued to claim the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes; the Geneva agreement did not limit its ability to enrich uranium to low levels suitable for producing electricity. On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told students in Tehran that Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges “would never stop spinning.” But in an apparent reference to the lifting of international sanctions, which have severely damaged Iran’s economy, he added that the “people’s economic lives should also continue to spin.” (New York Times, Dec. 8, 2013)

 

“My delegation has just voted in favor of this report, however, we would like to reiterate my government’s position that our support for this document should in no way be considered as the recognition of the Israeli regime,” — Iran’s representative at the United Nations General Assembly, who met to approve the credentials of member states on Thursday, Dec 5. Iran took the floor to announce its refusal to recognize the State of Israel. (Algemeiner, Dec. 7, 2013)

 

“The ink is barely dry on the interim nuclear agreement signed in Geneva and Iran has already shown its true colors,” —  Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, reacting to Iran’s  announcement at the UN General Assembly that it refuses to recognize the State of Israel. Prosor added: “This is a regime that crosses red lines, produces yellow cake, and beats its citizens black and blue.” (Algemeiner, Dec. 7, 2013)

 

“I think now [the Israelis] have really a license to act without having to be scolded for not having consulted the U.S. for their plans” — Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and 2008 Presidential candidate, commenting on the possibility of Israeli retaliation if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons. The U.S. “has indicated that they are going to act independently of Israel as it relates to Iran,” Huckabee said, calling that a “very foolish policy.” Huckabee also questioned why anyone committed to the safety and security of the future of Israel “would be supportive of the policies of Barack Obama, which you can call the most frighteningly non-supportive [U.S.] policies on the state of Israel since its inception.” “I can’t imagine that somebody could look at those policies and say, ‘Boy, [Obama has] really got the Israelis’ back’—because he doesn’t.”  (Algemeiner, Dec. 9, 2013)

 

“We are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and prosperity and security” — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday as he wrapped up his eighth visit to the region as secretary of state. He also likened the effort to bring peace to the Middle East to the late Nelson Mandela’s long struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Kerry added that “we will approach this final negotiation with an absolute view about Israel’s security,” as well as the safety of the wider Middle East, he said as he prepared to fly to Washington after two days of talks in Israel and the West Bank. (Washington Post, Dec. 6, 2013)

 

"Our best efforts to reach Palestinian-Israeli peace will come to nothing if Iran succeeds in building atomic bombs…a nuclear armed Iran would give even greater backing to the radical and terrorist elements in the region. It would undermine the chances of arriving at a negotiated peace." — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that a nuclear Iran would jeopardize the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 9, 2013) 

 

“The first question all Israeli media ask every released prisoner is: ‘Do you regret what you did or not?…I say to the Israelis: There is no Palestinian who did something for the homeland and his nation who will regret it. We don’t regret what we did and we will not regret what we did.” — Asrar Samrin, who was sentenced for the murder of Israeli Tzvi Klein in December 1991. Samrin, a Palestinian Authority terrorist who was serving a life sentence until Israel freed him for the privilege of resuming “peace talks,” has said he and other released prisoners have no regrets for killing because they acted “for the homeland.” Under direct pressure by the Obama administration, Israel recently released 52 of 104 imprisoned terrorists to accommodate the Palestinian Authority’s precondition to return to talks that had been frozen for three years. (Jewish Press, Dec. 8, 2013)

"For an artist to go and play in a country that occupies other people’s land and oppresses them the way Israel does, is plain wrong. They should say no. I would not have played for the Vichy government in occupied France in the Second World War, I would not have played in Berlin either during this time," — Roger Waters, co-founder of British rock group Pink Floyd. Waters compared artists playing concerts in Israel to those who performed in Nazi Germany. "Many people did, back in the day. There were many people that pretended that the oppression of the Jews was not going on. From 1933 until 1946. So this is not a new scenario. Except that this time it’s the Palestinian People being murdered." (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 9, 2013)

 

"The complication in South Africa's relations with Israel, in the context of Palestine, is derived from the fact that we see the struggle of Palestine as similar to that of ours against apartheid" — Solly Tshivhula, a South African diplomat in Ramallah, who said his country's relations with Israel are shaped by South Africa's empathy for the Palestinians. Relations between Israel and South Africa were cool during long years of deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. (Associated Press, Dec. 8, 2013)

 

“Many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes…I respect and appreciate the Jewish community’s family values and unity that has led to strong political, economic and cultural gains… While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success.” — Laurie Cumbo, the councilwoman-elect for the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, commenting in an open letter posted to her Facebook page. Cumbo is an ally of New York City mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. (Daily Caller, Dec . 2013)

 

“I don’t give a shit about asylum seekers, but the journalists are at fault. They should be hanged; they are like the Jews,” — Karl Simlinger, a mayor in Austria, resigned after he was quoted Tuesday night during a town hall meeting. (Ha’aretz, Dec. 8, 2013)

 

SHORT TAKES

 

IRAN AND POWERS START IMPLEMENTING NUCLEAR DEAL — (Vienna) Iran and six world powers began expert-level talks on Monday to work out details in implementing a landmark accord for Tehran to curb its disputed nuclear program in return for a limited easing of sanctions. The preliminary accord is seen as a first step towards resolving a decade-old standoff over suspicions Iran might be covertly pursuing a nuclear weapons "breakout" capability, a perception that has raised the risk of a wider Middle East war. Officials from Iran and the P5+1 met at the Vienna headquarters of the U.N. nuclear agency, which will play a central role in verifying that Tehran carries out its part of the interim deal. The outcome of the meeting is expected to determine when Iran stops its most sensitive nuclear activity and when it gets the respite in sanctions that it has been promised in return. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 9, 2013)

 

KERRY TO URGE CONGRESS TO HALT SANCTIONS BILL, AS IRAN THREATENS 'DEAD' DEAL — (Washington) Secretary of State John Kerry is under pressure to convince Congress to hold off on new sanctions legislation against Iran, as he prepares to testify Tuesday amid a renewed effort in the Senate to turn the screws on Tehran. A bipartisan group of senators is preparing to propose new sanctions against Iran. News reports on the bill prompted that country's foreign minister to warn such a step would kill the nuclear deal negotiated last month aimed at curbing Tehran's uranium enrichment program. The Obama administration is adamantly opposed to new legislation at this stage, and Kerry will likely try to persuade lawmakers to hold off, when he testifies Tuesday afternoon before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (Fox News, Dec. 10, 2013)

 

GULF NATIONS TO CREATE JOINT MILITARY COMMAND — (Dubai) Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab neighbors wrapped up a summit meeting in Kuwait on Wednesday by agreeing to establish a joint military command, paving the way for tighter security coordination even as their regional rival Iran pursues outreach efforts in the wake of its interim nuclear deal. Many in the Gulf remain wary of Tehran’s intentions. Saudi Arabia in particular sees a stronger Iran as a threat to its own influence, and it and other Gulf states are major backers of the rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose government is backed by Iran. (Washington Post, Dec. 11, 2013)

 

98 DEAD IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AFTER CLASHES — (Bangui) Fighting came to the capital of Central African Republic on Thursday, leaving dozens of casualties and posing the biggest threat yet to the country's new government just as the U.N. Security Council authorized an intervention force to prevent a bloodbath between Christians and Muslims. The authorization is expected to lead to an increase in troops for an African Union-led force and the French. Witnesses and aid workers say at least 98 people are dead in Bangui after a day of clashes between the Muslim armed fighters who rule the country and a Christian militia who opposes them. (National Post, Dec. 6, 2013)

 

CLASHES IN WAKE OF YEMEN MASSACRE — (Aden) Yemeni security forces launched a sweep in the capital to find the perpetrators of a deadly attack on the country’s Defence Ministry, sparking clashes that left five suspected militants and one member of the special forces dead, officials said Friday. The brazen Thursday attack claimed by Al Qaeda’s local branch in Yemen killed 52 people including at least seven foreigners, and underscored the ability of insurgents to take advantage of the country’s instability and tenuous security — even at the headquarters of its military. Al Qaeda gained a major foothold in Yemen’s south amid the chaos that followed the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh. (Toronto Star, Dec. 7, 2013)

 

FRENCH FORCES KILL SUSPECTED ISLAMISTS IN MALI — (Timbuktu) The French army has confirmed that it killed 19 people in a clash with suspected Islamists in Mali. A spokesman for the operation said the dead men had been buried in the desert after a gun battle north of Timbuktu. He added that there had been no French casualties. France still has up to 3,000 soldiers in Mali, after intervening in January to oust Islamist and secessionist rebels who had occupied the north of the country. The United Nations Minusma force has also deployed more than 6,000 soldiers and police in the country. Despite some success, pockets of al Qaeda-linked fighters still remain. (BBC, Dec. 11, 2013)

 

TRIAL BEGINS FOR "SOLDIERS OF ALLAH" ACCUSED OF MURDERING BRITISH SOLDIER — (London) The trial of two radical Muslims accused of the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby has begun at the Old Bailey court in central London. Islamists Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are each accused of attacking the 25-year-old Rigby by running him over from behind with a car and then attempting to decapitate his motionless body with a meat cleaver and kitchen knives. The killing of Rigby outside the Woolwich Barracks in southeast London on May 22, 2013 shocked the country and has drawn nationwide attention to the rise of radical Islam in Britain. (Gatestone Institute, Dec. 9, 2013)

 

TURKS DETAINED AT AUSCHWITZ FOR ALLEGED NAZI SALUTE — (Krakow) Two Turkish tourists were detained by guards at the Auschwitz museum for appearing to make a Nazi salute. The tourists, a man and a woman, both 22, were taking pictures of each other in front of the gate to the former Nazi death camp under the iconic sign “Arbeit macht frei” — “Work makes you free” — and raised their right hands in the gesture of a Nazi salute. “They probably will be accused of public promotion of Nazi symbols,” which is illegal in Poland, police spokesman Mariusz Ciarka told the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper. If found guilty of the charge, they could be facing two years in prison. (Times of Israel, Dec. 8, 2013)    

      

UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA’S ISRAELI BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN AN “ASSAULT ON THE JEWISH PEOPLE”— (Toronto) The United Church of Canada’s newest Israeli boycott campaign, this one targeted at consumer items manufactured in the West Bank, was condemned this week by the Toronto-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. “The echoes of the past history of Church-sanctioned antisemitism continue to grow stronger,” said Avi Benlolo, president of the Centre, in a Tuesday statement that also accused the 500,000-strong church of giving “tacit support for the hatred and terror” against the Jewish state. The boycott in question, Unsettling Goods, urges church members to avoid a laundry list of consumer products, from plastic sheds to skin creams to carbonation devices, that are manufactured by Israeli companies with operations on land occupied since the 1967 Six Day War. (National Post, Dec. 5, 2013)

 

MKS LEARN BEDOUIN DID NOT SEE, AGREE TO RESETTLEMENT PLAN, THREATENING BILL'S PASSAGE — (Tel Aviv) Major disagreements over the proposed Prawer-Begin Bedouin resettlement plan raised more doubts from Knesset members, threatening the bill’s passage and indicating that changes would be sought. The controversial bill, meant to regulate Bedouin settlement in the Negev, was debated again in the Knesset Interior Committee on Monday. Former minister Bennie Begin, who helped put together the plan and is guiding the legislation through the Knesset, said that the Bedouin never agreed to his plan nor ever saw it. The agreement listed which Bedouin towns would be expanded, which new ones would be founded for Bedouin and for Jews and what land would be given to Bedouin demanding ownership. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 10, 2013) 

 

TWO ISRAELIS AWARDED NOBEL PRIZE IN SWEDEN — (Stockholm) Two Israeli-American researchers received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Tuesday. Israeli-born Prof. Arieh Warshel, who now lives in California, and South African-born Prof. Michael Levitt, who settled in Israel and also lives in the US, shared the $1.25 million with Austrian-born Prof. Martin Karplus, who fled to the U.S. before the Holocaust. The scientists received praise from the Nobel Prize selection committee for their “development of multi-scale models for complex chemical systems.” (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11, 2013)

 

ISRAEL, JORDAN, PALESTINIANS TO SIGN WATER AGREEMENT — (Tel Aviv) Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority signed a water-supply agreement to slake rising cross-border demand, a rare step toward economic integration despite persistent political rancor holding up progress on a Middle East peace accord. The deal reached Monday also aims to slow the steady drop in the Dead Sea water level through a pipeline that will be built from the Red Sea. It is one of the few regional cooperation projects surviving from the heyday of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in the 1990s, when many envisioned a Middle East remade by economic interdependence. "It is no less than a historic agreement," Israeli Water and Energy Minister Silvan Shalom told Israel Army radio. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 9, 2013) 

 

MONTHLY SUMMARY OF TERRORIST ATTACKS IN ISRAEL FOR NOVEMBER, 2013 —November saw an increase in the number of terror attacks in Israel: 167 attacks as opposed to 136 in October. The main increase is noted in Judea and Samaria with 107 attacks as opposed to 99 in October; as well as an increase in Jerusalem with 53 attacks as opposed to 32 in October. The Gaza Strip kept a similar number of attacks as in October with five attacks. (Israel Security Agency, Nov. 2013)

 

On Topic Links

 

Ya’alon: Every Iranian Embassy in the World is a Base For Terrorism: Jerusalem Post, Dec. 9, 2013 — Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned Monday that every Iranian embassy throughout the world also serves as a base for gathering intelligence and planning terror activities.

On the “Israel is an Apartheid State” Slander: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 2, 2013 — Interview with Ambassador (ret.) Prof. Robbie Sabel: "To better understand the fraud of those who call Israel an Apartheid state, one can enumerate the key characteristics of the South African regime."

A Good Deal For the Bedouin, And For Israel: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 5, 2013) — The government of Israel plans to invest more than NIS 10 billion over the next 10 years in upgrading Bedouin communities in the Negev, including reasonable settlements of Bedouin land claims. So what could be wrong with that?

 

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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“TEMPORARY” IRAN DEAL LEAVES NUCLEAR CAPACITY INTACT, HERALDS WEAKENED U.S. M.E. POSITION

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:         
 

Answers to Key Questions Will Determine Iran Deal’s Success: Michael Singh, Washington Post,, Nov. 25, 2013— The “first-step” agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program is a timeout rather than a breakthrough. Under the accord, Iran pauses but does not significantly roll back its nuclear progress, and the West does the same with sanctions.

Just a Temporary Halt: Jerusalem Report, Dec. 16, 2013 — “This is not a roll-back of the program. No enrichment capability is dismantled. But it is a temporary halt of many of the elements of the program,” says Olli Heinonen in an interview.

A Stronger Iran, a Weaker America and a Region Teetering On The Brink: Zvi Mazel, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 9, 2013 — Three years ago, in May 2010, the Islamic Republic News Agency of Iran – IRNA – published a stern, if flowery, warning following a series of incidents involving the Gulf states.

Liberals Follow the Pied Piper to a Nuclear Iran: Karin McQuillan, American Thinker, Dec. 9, 2013 —  Democrats march docilely behind their president toward a nuclear Iran.  They are loyal beyond good sense and morality.

 

On Topic Links

 

Obama’s Rouhani Smokescreen: Evelyn Gordon, Commentary, Dec. 9, 2013

Iran Nuclear Deal Raises Fears of Proliferation Among Arab States: Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 29, 2013

Iran Announces Refusal to Recognize Israel at United Nations Session: Algemeiner, Dec. 7, 2013

The Nuclear Deal: Netanyahu vs. Obama: American Thinker, Nov. 29, 2013

Containing Iran is the Least Awful Choice: George Will, Washington Post,  Dec. 6, 2013

 

                                                                                

 

 

ANSWERS TO KEY QUESTIONS WILL DETERMINE IRAN DEAL’S SUCCESS

Michael Singh

Washington Post, Nov. 25, 2013

 

The “first-step” agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program is a timeout rather than a breakthrough. Under the accord, Iran pauses but does not significantly roll back its nuclear progress, and the West does the same with sanctions. The emerging debate — critics assert that more should have been demanded of Iran; defenders counter that this was the best the United States could do and that the alternative would have been not a better deal but rather a military conflict — is important, but with the deal signed, the most critical questions regard what comes next.

 

Three questions will determine whether this deal ultimately advances or sets back U.S. national security interests. The first concerns implementation of the deal. Previous nuclear accords with Iran, such as the ones signed by Tehran and the European Union in 2003-04, foundered in implementation, not negotiation. At some point in the next six months, Iran may engage in activities that violate the deal in letter or spirit. In addition, the Geneva deal covers only one of three elements of Iran’s nuclear program: fuel fabrication. The other two elements, weaponization research and the development of missile delivery vehicles, are proscribed by the United Nations but not addressed in the accord and may well continue. The United States and its allies must prepare contingency plans to respond to any Iranian cheating on the deal and to punish Iranian nuclear-related work not addressed in the deal. Recall that when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crossed President Obama’s “red line” on chemical weapons, U.S. officials found themselves scrambling to formulate a response. That sort of ad hoc policymaking cannot be repeated with Iran.

 

The second question concerns the ultimate end-state of Iran’s nuclear program. The interim agreement permits Tehran to retain all of its nuclear capabilities without requiring it to disclose all about its nuclear weapons-related work, past or present. This is a dangerous combination. Without insight into the full extent of Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities, no amount of monitoring and inspection can provide true confidence that Iran lacks a parallel program beyond inspectors’ view. A final agreement must sharply curtail the nuclear capacity left in place by this first diplomatic step and require Iran to come clean on the full range of past and present nuclear work by all Iranian entities. To make clear to Tehran the alternative to such terms, the Obama administration should threaten to impose additional sanctions if no deal is reached and should take steps to strengthen the credibility of its military options. This is not just good policy but a matter of practicality: Any final agreement, or even a renewal of the six-month interim period “by mutual consent,” as the Geneva deal allows, would require the cooperation of Congress. It was hard enough to get congressional agreement to lift sanctions on Libya after that country agreed to dismantle its nuclear program and abandon its support for terrorism. Obtaining Congress’s blessing of a deal that requires far less of Iran is unrealistic.

 

Finally, and most important, the agreement raises questions about the U.S. strategic position in the Middle East. Our allies already believe that the United States is retreating from the region; the Geneva agreement is likely to reinforce that view as it legitimizes nuclear activities that the United States and the U.N. Security Council have opposed for the past decade. Accordingly, many will see this as a sign that flirting with U.S. red lines brings rewards — which is, regrettably, the same lesson that many have taken from U.S. non-intervention in Syria.

 

Combating this impression will require vigorous and proactive efforts, in contrast with the ambivalent approach Washington has taken toward the Middle East in recent years. An important element will be to energetically enforce the sanctions Iran still faces on its nuclear program, as well as those tied to terrorism, human rights and other issues. Washington must deter countries and companies from prematurely returning to business-as-usual with Tehran.

 

Furthermore, to signal to both Iran and our allies that the United States is not looking for the exit but remains committed to the region, U.S. officials should coordinate with allies regarding the content of a final agreement rather than presenting them with a fait accompli. Beyond the nuclear issue, Washington should continue to work to thwart hostile Iranian policies, defend our interests and those we share with our allies and otherwise deepen American engagement in the region.

 

The Geneva accord has been aptly characterized as a “first step.” Only time and our own actions will tell whether it is a step toward Iran’s denuclearization or its rise as a nuclear power, a step toward U.S. retrenchment or the reassertion of U.S. leadership in the Middle East.

 

 Contents

  

JUST A TEMPORARY HALT

Jerusalem Report, Dec. 16, 2013                                                                                                                                       

What does a former deputy director of the IAEA think of the deal the United States (as part of the P5+1 group) reached with Iran — to restrict Iranian nuclear activities for six months, while some sanctions against Iran are eased? “This is not a roll-back of the program. No enrichment capability is dismantled. But it is a temporary halt of many of the elements of the program,” says Olli Heinonen in an interview.

 

Dr. Heinonen, who is from Finland, spent 27 years at the International Atomic Energy Agency. He is credited with identifying as a danger A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani who was traveling from country to country, selling nuclear knowhow.  Heinonen was also notably critical of his former boss, Mohamed elBaradei, the Egyptian who headed the IAEA for a dozen years until 2009. The hint was that elBaradei was too soft on Iran.

 

Heinonen, as head of the IAEA’s Safeguards department, was able to visit nuclear facilities in Iran many times. He is certainly one of the world’s leading experts on Iran’s nuclear work — and one of the few who are very knowledgeable yet able to speak openly. Heinonen, after all, is now a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

 

“The agreement says that Iran will not build new facilities, but I would have preferred to have a statement included that Natanz and Fordow are the only ones existing or under construction,” he says. “I also welcome the monitoring of Iran’s yellowcake production, with the understanding that the yellowcake imported or produced until now will be subject to monitoring.”

 

Concerns have been raised because Iran’s semi-industrial-scale enrichment capacities and its stockpile could be further enriched to weapons-grade uranium.

 

“Indeed. With its current inventory of 20%-enriched uranium, it would take about two weeks in its new centrifuges to produce enough weapons-grade material for one nuclear device…If Iran uses 3 to 5%-enriched uranium as feed material at all 18,000 of its currently installed, old-generation IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz and Fordow, the same result would be achieved in two monthsIn terms of stockpiled enriched uranium, Iran has more than 7 metric tons of 3 to 5%-enriched uranium. This amount translates to roughly the amount of fissile material for about four bombs…A more attractive route to break out for Iran is a covert route. A covert facility with 3,000 more advanced IR-2m centrifuges using 20%-enriched uranium would require less than two weeks to produce one bomb-grade amount of fissile material.”

 

So how long will it take Iran to produce a nuclear weapon?

 

“Weapons-grade UF6 still has to be turned into uranium metal, components of the weapon have to be machined, and a nuclear device assembled. This would take about a month or two. At this stage, one would have a crude nuclear device — which could be delivered, for example, by a jet fighter, as was the plan of Pakistan at the time of its nuclear test in 1998… Obama has set, as his red line — [the limit] for Iran’s nuclear capability — a nuclear device fitted on a missile. That capability appears to be at least one year away.

 

The Arak heavy water reactor, unless its construction is truly stopped, is likely to come online by the end of 2014. Would this reactor contribute to Iran’s ability to produce plutonium?

 

“Pakistan, India and Israel have used similar reactors to produce plutonium for their nuclear weapons. The Arak reactor could produce more than one bomb’s worth of plutonium on an annual basis…Once the reactor starts operation, it becomes highly radioactive since the spent fuel it churns out will contain fission products and plutonium. Iran would also need to build a reprocessing plant to extract plutonium from the spent fuel. While there is no present indication that Iran is building such a facility, Iran did conduct plutonium separation experiments in the early 1990s…There may still be ways to modify the Arak reactor so that it would produce less plutonium. Since Iran has stated that the reactor will be used for the production of medical isotopes, it could be modified to a more proliferation-friendly and smaller-sized light water reactor… At this stage, the most reasonable way forward is to freeze the construction of the IR-40 reactor, including the manufacturing of fuel and of reactor components, and to halt the production of additional heavy water pending the completion of any final agreement…To sum up, the measures taken by the agreement regarding Arak are good, but I would have also included the manufacturing of key components in the deal.

Contents

A STRONGER IRAN, A WEAKER AMERICA AND A REGION TEETERING ON THE BRINK

Zvi Mazel

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 9, 2013  

 

 

Three years ago, in May 2010, the Islamic Republic News Agency of Iran – IRNA – published a stern, if flowery, warning following a series of incidents involving the Gulf states. “There is no lion in the region save the one crouching on the shore opposite the Emirates states,” IRNA said. “He protects his lair, the Persian Gulf. Those who believe that there is another lion in the area [the United States], his claws and fangs have been broken in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine.”

 

“No good can be expected from him or from his hunting forays. He is merely counting the days until he can find a way to escape when he still can. Iran, the Emirates and the others countries of the region will forever be neighbors because of their geographic situation.” Today, those words have become reality. The Geneva agreement appears to be another step in America’s flight from the Middle East rather than a genuine effort to stop Iran’s rush to nuclear weapons.

 

The special relationship between Washington and Riyadh had been the cornerstone of America’s policy in the Gulf and the Middle East for nearly a century. The United States needed Saudi oil and secure export routes through the Gulf. It supplied the kingdom with sophisticated weapons. The Gulf states believed themselves safe thanks to this special relationship, which endured for decades. With the fall of the Shah and the rise of Khomeini in 1979, Iran became the main threat to the safety of the Gulf while America stood firm against Iranian subversive activities. That era appears to be coming to an end.

 

What happened in Geneva came after a series of steps that can only be seen as demonstrating the overwhelming will of the American president to distance himself from the region: getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, with no tangible success; abandoning Mubarak, backing the Muslim Brothers and even turning his back on the new Egyptian regime battling radical Islam; zigzagging about Syria; and recently rumored to be conducting secret talks with Hezbollah and radical Islamic factions in Syria. Taken together, these steps point to a deliberate strategy and game changer.

 

The anti-Iranian pragmatic front that united Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Egypt – with Israel as a silent partner – is no more. It was already seriously weakened when Obama deserted his old ally Mubarak in January 2011 and hastened his fall. Geneva was its death knell. Iran is no longer the enemy of America, which views it as a potential partner in reshaping the Middle East.

 

Moreover, the Geneva agreement appears to be the outcome of secret talks between Teheran and Washington, with the mediation of Oman, leading the Iranians to grasp that Obama is even more eager to get rid of the issue and distance himself from the Middle East, something they had long suspected.

 

They were therefore able to achieve remarkable results. Their nuclear infrastructure remains intact; the West acknowledges their right to enrich uranium – in stark contradiction with the six Security Council resolutions in the framework of Article 7 of the UN Charter – that is, binding resolutions assorted with the threat of sanctions, including the use of force should they not be acted upon. Considering the spotty record of Iran in implementing those resolutions, it is doubtful whether it will do better with the Geneva agreement.

 

That this “preliminary” agreement will be followed by a final settlement is no less doubtful. In fact, in exchange for practically no concession from Iran, the United States and the European Union agreed to unravel the fabric of sanctions that was strangling the Iranian economy. Had the sanctions been maintained, they might have brought results. Instead, international companies are eagerly planning their reentry to Iran. It is a process that will be hard to stop and impossible to reverse.

 

For Saudi Arabia, the agreement also means that Iran has been given a tacit nod to pursue its subversive activities in the Gulf. This is a direct threat to the stability of the kingdom. At home, the opposition that has long been calling for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy will step up its pressure, while the Shi’ite minority will clamor for an improved status.

 

It must be remembered that Saudi Arabia, being the bulwark of Sunni Islam, is facing Shi’ite Iran not only in the Gulf states, but in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. This was brought painfully home a few weeks ago when a pro-Iranian Shi’ite Iraqi militia opened mortar fire on the Saudi border. Riyadh also has not forgotten the failed assassination attempt of its ambassador to Washington by Iranian agents. In addition, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are no longer sure that America will maintain its military presence in the area to secure the flow of oil. Iran is already building on what it sees as a victory of the first order. It immediately turned to its Gulf neighbors, which are aware of its military and technological superiority and now feel more exposed than ever.

 

Teheran hosted the foreign minister of the Emirates while its own foreign minister, Jawad Zarif, went on a much-publicized tour of the Gulf states. He has been so far to Kuwait, Qatar, the United Emirates and Oman, and is due to visit Saudi Arabia. As a peace offering, he stated that his country was ready to discuss the fate of one of three disputed islands in the Straits of Hormuz, for years a bone of contention with the Emirates. However, Zarif did not withdraw another threat, that of invading Bahrain. Nor did he assuage the fears of the Gulf states concerning its subversive activities through their Shi’ite minorities. Iran has very much the upper hand in the area. There could be attempts at dialogue in the coming months, but Saudi Arabia may be left with no alternative but to start its own nuclear program. At the same time, the monarchy has had preliminary talks with Russia on the basis of shared interests, such as fighting the Muslim Brothers and supporting the new Egyptian regime. Others might develop.

 

As to Egypt, the largest Arab country, it will in all likelihood also feel it has to develop its own program of nuclear energy. The new rulers have already stated that they were going to issue a tender for a first nuclear plant in the Dabaa area, where Mubarak had laid the cornerstone for four such plants to produce electricity.

The fact that the United States is no longer a stabilizing factor in the Middle East is preoccupying. It appears to favor subversive radical elements – from Iran to the Muslim Brotherhood, and even Salafi movements – which detect a growing Western weakness in this trend. As a result, America’s traditional allies are deeply worried in spite of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s efforts this week in Bahrain to pledge continuing military support. Russia is making a spectacular comeback in the region while a new race for nuclear weapons is about to begin.

                                               Contents
                                  

LIBERALS FOLLOW THE PIED PIPER TO A NUCLEAR IRAN

Karin McQuillan

American Thinker, Dec. 9, 2013

 

Democrats march docilely behind their president toward a nuclear Iran.  They are loyal beyond good sense and morality.  The enormity of nuclear armed terrorists, or war between Iran and Israel, is too terrible to believe, so it becomes easy for Democrats to dance behind their Pied Piper President, pretending that his fare is beautiful music. Advancing Democrat political interests by betraying national security and Israel is a road to self-destruction.  They are dishonoring us and bringing grave danger to America.

 

Yesterday, liberals agreed that it was crucial to maintain sanctions on Iran.  Today, congressmen who don't want to lift sanctions are attacked in the New York Times as un-American.  Liberals feel good that their guy is showing those redneck Republicans how you make friends in the Muslim world. What changed?  Iran's nuclear ambitions didn't change.  Iran's threats to unleash a dirty bomb in  New York didn't change.  Iran's Mein Kampf goal of a global caliphate free of Jews didn't change.  Only Obama changed.  Though he didn't really change, either; he just revealed what conservatives knew all along.  Obama couldn't care less about American national security or our most important military ally, Israel.  Making deals that consolidate the mad mullahs' power is his idea of success.

 

America chose to ignore Hitler's anti-Semitism in the 1930's, thinking German Jews' trouble was nothing to us.  That's how complicity in scapegoating works: it lulls the other targets into thinking only Jews will be killed.  Hitler was allowed to militarize Germany.  We all know how that ended.  Seventy million people dead, including most of the Jews of Europe and over 400,000 American soldiers. President Obama unveiled the results of his five years of secret negotiations, and liberal dogma on Iran reversed overnight.  Democrats didn't even wait to learn what the deal contained; it was whatever Obama said it was.  Its benefits were what the president told us they were.  You can almost hear the little feet pitter pattering behind the Pied Piper.

 

Henry Kissinger and George Schultz describe the breakthrough the Democrats are celebrating: Iran has been permitted … to add to its existing stockpile of seven tons of 3.5%- to 5%-enriched uranium with the proviso that this stockpile must be reduced again to its original level by the end of six months. (This means that Iran retains the additional enriched material throughout most of the agreement, adding to its leverage in the follow-up negotiations.) Iran has agreed to "neutralize" its small stockpile of 20%-enriched uranium by converting it to an oxide by the end of the agreement, though Iran retains the technical capability to enrich an equivalent stockpile at a later date. Progress on a heavy-water reactor and plutonium-reprocessing facility at Arak has been paused, though it appears that ancillary work on the site will continue. … it achieves, albeit temporarily, a small lengthening of the "breakout" time Iran would need to construct a nuclear weapon by several weeks, as described by administration spokesmen.

 

The White House did not post Obama's deal with Iran for Americans to read.  Iran did.  Iran is more transparent than our White House. (Hat tip: Powerline.) Iran is right, as we wrote here. The agreement does confirm Iran's right to continue to enrich uranium, now and forever. That the Obama administration would try to deny what the agreement plainly states testifies to its confidence that American reporters are too stupid, or too corrupt, to read the agreement-a whopping four pages-and truthfully inform the American people what it says. Pro-Israel Democrats like Senator Chuck Schumer and Alan Dershowitz say it's dangerous, a potential catastrophe, but that's empty talk designed to quiet upset people who trust them.  Read the details: Democrat senators plan sanction legislation, but will "delay its implementation for six months to allow time to gauge the deal."…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link – ed.]

 

                                          Contents

On Topic

 

 

Iran Announces Refusal to Recognize Israel at United Nations Session: Algemeiner, Dec. 7, 2013 — As the United Nations General Assembly met to approve the credentials of member states on Thursday, Iran took the floor to announce its refusal to recognize the State of Israel.

The Nuclear Deal: Netanyahu vs. Obama: American Thinker, Nov. 29, 2013 — The Obama administration and Israel see the deal deal that was struck in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, China, and Germany) from entirely different perspectives.

Obama’s Rouhani Smokescreen: Evelyn Gordon, Commentary, Dec. 9, 2013 — Speaking at the Saban Forum last weekend, President Barack Obama reiterated that the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani heralded a new direction in Iran that Washington would be irresponsible to ignore.

Iran Nuclear Deal Raises Fears of Proliferation Among Arab States: Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 29, 2013 — The Obama administration is hailing the accord with Iran as a victory in its campaign to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, but the deal is already feeding concerns of Arab governments and some proliferation experts that it could have the opposite effect. 

Containing Iran is the Least Awful Choice: George Will, Washington Post,  Dec. 6, 2013 — In his disproportionate praise of the six-month agreement with Iran, Barack Obama said: “For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program.”

 

 

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Prof. Frederick Krantz: Obama, Kerry Threaten Israel’s Security By Linking “Peace Process” & Geneva P5+1 Negotiations With Iran

As the US and the UN P5+1 foreign ministers resume negotiations in Geneva with Iran over its  nuclear status,  Israel’s fate hangs  in the  balance.   The fix seems to be in–Obama clearly is ready to make a deal with Teheran “moderates”, one which Israel’s Netanyahu (seconded, mirabile dictu, by the Saudis) has already clearly denounced as a sell-out. 

   (As I write, news of the French foreign minister’s surprising withdrawal from what he terms a “con game” is being carried by the media—but will this opposition be enough to derail the deal?)

    In apiece published three months ago, I examined Foreign Secretary Kerry’s odd nine-month ultimatum-limit for an agreement with Abbas and the Palestinians, and related it to the growing crisis over Teheran’s rapidly accelerating nuclear program.

   It already was clear that containment, alluded to both by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Hagel Obama, and not military intervention, was Obama’s decided policy.  And, despite pious affirmations of Israel’s right to make its own defense decisions, President Obama and Administration officials  repeatedly underlined US unhappiness with any prospective unilateral Israeli action against Iran.

   I concluded then that what was really at stake between Jerusalem and Washington, was not direct US military action, but the US stance towards Israel if Israel in fact acted against an Iranian nuclear capacity.  In other words, a threatened US lining-up with the already-negative European Union states and their increasing delegitimation campaign against Israel.

   Such a threat, I argued, would also explain another mystery, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s sudden caving in to US Secretary of State Kerry’s pressure to agree to resume negotiations with the hostile Palestinians, as well as his striking pledge—despite almost unanimously negative Israeli public opinion–to release up to 104 convicted Palestinian terrorist murderers, as an unreciprocated initial concession. 

   My earlier analysis has now been borne out by a series of statements Kerry recently made: in Rome with Netanyahu at the end of October, again last week while he was in Jerusalem, Ramallah (wearing a green tie!) and Jordan, and in a joint Israeli-Palestinian television interview just before the resumption of the Geneva P5+1 negotiations with Iran.

   In all these venues, Kerry repeatedly threatened Israel, but not the Palestinians, with dire consequences  were the peace talks to break down.

   Kerry clearly warned that failure of the peace process risked European political and economic marginalization of Israel (and, implicitly, US support for it), and would also create a third Palestinian intifada. In the TV interview, Kerry came down hard on Israel, urging it to end its West Bank “settlements” and “perpetual military occupation” of Judea and Samaria, and explicitly noting that a direct consequence of the talks’ failure “will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that has been taking place in an international basis”. 

    In all these remarks, there were no strictures against Palestinian obduracy, the PA’s antisemitic media propaganda, refusal to relinquish insistence on “the right of return”, or to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. (Indeed, so unbalanced were his remarks that one observer wondered if he had become Abbas’s Foreign Minister.)

    Obama now is seen by Israel (and by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states) as having  compromised his clear pledge that there would never be an Iranian nuclear weapon (just as he reneged on his “red line” post-poison gas attacks commitment to bomb Syria). Instead, he and Kerry—again in concert with Russia–have rushed into direct negotiations with the mullacratic dictatorship, and actively cooperated with Iranian President Rouhani’s diplomatic “charm” campaign.

   (Details leaking our of Geneva indicate a first-stage deal which would see Teheran cease production of 90% enriched uranium but continue refining 3% uranium and    bomb-grade plutonium [while the heavy-water reactor at Arak , for more plutonium, continues to be built]. In return, the U.S. and allies would, as a first step, release some currently escrowed Iranian funds and ease banking restrictions. 

   Netanyahu, as noted earlier [and, evidently, the French foreign minister] denounced this as a sell-out, not least because it leaves Iran’s nuclear facilities intact—achieved stockpiles of fissionable materials are untouched, and 3% uranium can quickly be ginned up to “break-out” weapons-grade by the Iranians’ increasing, and increasingly efficient, centrifuges, 10,000 of which would remain in place).

  That these two processes—peace-process pressure on Israel and the rush to a negotiated diplomatic “settlement” with Iran—are connected and overlap is shown precisely by the nine-month ultimatum given Israel.  Obama wants a diplomatic victory before Israel feels it must move against Teheran: and nine months from the July, 2013 beginning of Israeli-Palestinian talks will put us at  March, 2014. This is the date by which most informed experts see Teheran as achieving clear nuclear break-out, with enough enriched uranium for one or more nuclear weapons. Hence  March, 2014—five months away–is also Israel’s own terminus ad quem for a decision on military action.

    Here, note that a final Iranian-European-U.S nuclear deal before March, 2014 would, politically, make a subsequent Israeli military move against Iran more difficult.  Such an act would be represented as an aggression threatening “peace” both with the Palestinians and the Iranians, and alienating Europe and the UN and, clearly, Obama’s America as well. 

   To summarize: “Peace” between Israel and the Palestinians, and a diplomatic deal with the Iranians, are related; they are obverse sides of the same coin, the building-blocs of Obama’s (and Kerry’s) second-term foreign policy.  They are also key to Obama’s post-Presidential legacy, offsetting his dismal record of failures elsewhere—Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Russia. 

   (They may also be crucial not only to John Kerry’s eligibility for a Nobel prize, but   to his viability, should Hillary falter, for a second run at the U.S. presidency in 2016.)

   Jerusalem, from Obama’s perspective,  stands in the way of both goals. This explains the clear Obama-Kerry readiness to pressure Israel both into an rushed and unstable peace agreement, and into living with the existential threat of an Iranian bomb. Extricating America from Middle East entanglements by playing to Muslim regional interests should also be related to Obama’s wider diplomatic plan, the much-vaunted new “pivot” to Asia.

    Here, if Obama can dissuade Israel from acting against Iran, so much the better; if not, and Israel acts despite his pressure, he can then support European sanctions,  abandon Jerusalem at the UN, and, finally, wash his hands of the uncooperative Jews and their pesky Prime Minister.

   Who is the loser here? Certainly not the Iranians, who would get the easing of sanctions while maintaining their nuclear infrastructure intact. Not the Palestinians, who will either get a sweet, and easily abrogable, “peace” deal (division of Jerusalem, restriction of “settlements”, financial aid, etc.) or an excuse for evading responsibility for a negotiations breakdown. Indeed, as usual, such a breakdown would enable them both to avoid accepting the small, demilitarized state-let they have never wanted and recognizing Israel as a legitimate, and permanent, Jewish state.

   Obama—especially given the weak and divided domestic opposition—is a winner here, not a loser. His appeasement of Iran in solidarity with Western Europe and Russia would be represented, like the Syrian debacle, as a diplomatic triumph, peace in our time. 

   No—the real potential losers are the Jewish state, and the American people.   Were Israel to accept being outmaneuvered it would have to live with the dangers of an eliminationist nuclear Iran as the new regional hegemon; and if it did finally move unilaterally–and remember, the window for such action is closing very quickly–it would, even if successful, face opprobrium and punishment not only from Europe and the UN, but also—and most importantly–from its sole current ally, the U.S. 

   And the American people? Sacrificing democratic Israel would mean they would have to face an inward-turning loss of their own democratic vitality, a declining world role, the rise of increasing tensions and instability in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and—if domestic economic and social stagnation and political paralysis continue and even deepen—rising internal tensions and divisions as well.

      Still, “winning” in such circumstances is ambiguous.  If Obama and the Europeans  persist in isolating Israel, they may just engender what they are seeking to avoid: forced to choose this spring to choose between possible nuclear destruction at the hands of the messianic and antisemitic Iranian regime and suffering Western sanctions, one assumes (hopes?) Netanyahu will choose sovereign national Jewish survival.  And Israel’s resistance to Western pressures here would, if successful, also   have consequences insofar as the Palestinian issue is concerned.

    Israel going it alone against the Iranians, and in opposition to the US, is a nightmare scenario indeed. That it is even thinkable is a measure of the immense diplomatic-political distance travelled in the last five years of Barack Hussein Obama’s Presidency.  Will Israel find the strength to act alone, despite threats? Will the U.S. Congress find a leader able to rise to the occasion across party lines and oppose Obama’s abandonment of Israel, appeasement of Iran, and weakening of America’s position in the world?

   Finally, will the poorly-led and divided North American Jewish world—remembering in this Hannukah season the valiant struggle of the Maccabees against foreign oppression—now wake up, and come to the defense of the Jewish state?   

                                   (Prof. Krantz is Director of the Canadian Institute for
                                 Jewish Research, and Editor of its ISRAFAX magazine).

MIDDLE EAST “PEACE PROCESS” KERRY AND OBAMA’S M.E. PEACE MIRAGE: A DEAL WITH IRAN—AND WITHDRAWAL FROM THE REGION

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:         

 

 

 

John Kerry’s Middle East Dream World: Jackson Diehl, Washington Post, Nov. 10, 2013 —  Imagine a world in which the Middle East is not descending into carnage and chaos but is on the brink of a monumental series of breakthroughs.                                                                                           No Illusions Concerning the Obama Administration: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 11, 2013 — Israel is heading for what could be its most severe confrontation with the United States, despite reassuring words from the Obama administration to the contrary.

Israel: The Impudence Accompanying Betrayal: Barry Rubin, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 17, 2013  — I’ve always been amazed anyone thought the United States would ever act against the Iranian nuclear threat.

The Arab-Israeli Peace Process Is Over. Enter the Era of Chaos: Lee Smith, Tablet, Oct. 30, 2013— This past weekend the White House clarified yet again what’s been apparent to everyone in the Middle East for quite a while now: The United States wants out, for real.

 

On Topic Links

France Calls on Israel to Halt Settlements: Ruth Bender, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 18, 2013

The Kerry Fiasco: Jerold S. Auerbach, American Thinker, Nov. 17, 2013

Hamas and the “Peace Process”: Shoshana Bryen, Frontpage, Nov. 1, 2013

There Will Be War: Mike Konrad, American Thinker, Nov. 15, 2013

        

 

JOHN KERRY’S MIDDLE EAST                                                                DREAM WORLD                                                                               Jackson Diehl

Washington Post, Nov. 10, 2013

 

Imagine a world in which the Middle East is not descending into carnage and chaos but is on the brink of a monumental series of breakthroughs. By next spring, Iran’s nuclear program will be secured and Egypt will be a liberal democracy. Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has stepped aside. And, not least, Israelis and Palestinians have settled on the terms for a Palestinian state. This is the world that John Kerry inhabited as he shuttled across the world last week: a fantastical realm created by his billowing vision of what he can accomplish as secretary of state. Meanwhile, on this planet, aid agencies reported starvation and an outbreak of polio in Syria; Egypt’s last elected president was put on trial; Israeli and Palestinian leaders described their U.S.-brokered peace talks as broken; and France’s foreign minister suggested the would-be accord with Iran was “a fool’s game.”

 

Call it Kerry’s Magical Mystery Tour. On Nov. 3 in Cairo, he announced that “the road map [to democracy in Egypt] is being carried out to the best of our perception,” after failing even to mention the politicized prosecution of deposed president Mohamed Morsi. On Tuesday, Kerry offered the following explanation of why the Syrian peace conference he’s pushing will succeed: “The Assad regime knows full well that the purpose of” the conference is “the installation of a provisional government.” And “the Syrian government has accepted to come to Geneva.” It apparently follows that Assad will show up and placidly agree to hand over power. If not, Kerry ventured, “the Russians and the Iranians . . . will make certain that the Syrian regime will live up to its obligation.” Kerry’s optimism was far from exhausted. His next stop was devoted to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, both of whom had broken a vow of silence to say the negotiations Kerry persuaded them to begin in July had gone nowhere. Not to worry, said Kerry: “I am convinced from my conversations” with them “that this is not mission impossible; this can happen.” All this was before his weekend trip to Geneva for what became a failed attempt to close a deal with Iran on its nuclear program. Kerry’s conclusion: “I can tell you, without any reservations, we made significant progress.”

 

Stipulated: The mission of the U.S. secretary of state is to tackle big problems diplomatically, even if it means taking on missions impossible. Still, it’s hard to think of a previous chief of Foggy Bottom who has so conspicuously detached himself from on-the-ground realities. To those outside the Kerry bubble, Egypt is ruled by a regime more repressive than any in decades, with a muzzled media and thousands of political prisoners. Syria is mired in an anarchic struggle whose most likely winners appear to be Assad and al-Qaeda, with neither inclined to negotiation. Israelis and Palestinians are further apart on the terms for a settlement than they were at the turn of the century. And the emerging conditions for a deal with Iran threaten to drive a wedge between the United States and some of its closest allies.

 

This raises the question: Does Kerry really believe his rhetoric? In fact, it appears he does, particularly on the Israeli-Palestinian account. Desperate for a legacy at the end of his long career, the former senator has convinced himself that a) the terms for a settlement are readily apparent and b) he has the political skills to convince Netanyahu and Abbas to accept them. Kerry, like President Obama, also is convinced that detente, if not a “grand bargain,” has all along been possible between the United States and Iran, if only the right people (like him) are at the table.

 

Other Kerry stances are the logical result of Obama’s decision to radically retrench U.S. policy in the Middle East. Obama decided at summer’s end to restrict U.S. activity to “core interests” that don’t include the defense of democracy, preventing humanitarian catastrophe or ending “someone else’s civil war.” That means that Kerry, who once pushed to arm the Syrian opposition as a way of “changing Assad’s calculations,” is left with little recourse other than to plead with Russia and Iran to accomplish what the United States will not. Faced with Obama’s dictum that U.S. cooperation with Egypt’s military will continue, Kerry must pretend that the generals are installing a democracy and pray that they take the cue.If any one of Kerry’s dreams comes true, the world would be better off, so I hope skeptics like me will be proved wrong. If not, this secretary of state will be remembered as a self-deceiving bumbler — and his successor will have some large messes to clean up.                                                                      

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                  NO ILLUSIONS CONCERNING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 10, 2013

 

Israel is heading for what could be its most severe confrontation with the United States, despite reassuring words from the Obama administration to the contrary. President Barack Obama’s policies have led to a US retreat at all levels in the global arena, particularly in the Middle East where his disastrous policy of “engaging” with rogue states coincided with alienating, even abandoning, traditional US allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. His administration has also totally failed to mitigate the rampant bloodshed, with hundreds of civilians being killed daily in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab world.

However, despite all evidence to the contrary, the administration persists in its mantra that the principal problem in the Middle East is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and displays a determination to impose a settlement on Israelis and Palestinians. It does so – even setting aside the problem of Hamas – despite the fact that the undemocratic Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose term expired years ago, is neither willing nor has the authority to make any meaningful concessions to Israel.

The US chooses to disregard to the extreme intransigence of the Palestinians and the massive ongoing incitement by the PA against Israel and continues to pressure the Israelis, their only regional democratic ally, to make additional unilateral concessions, many of which have long-term negative security implications for the future viability of the Jewish state. US Secretary of State John Kerry presents himself as a “friend” of Israel. Yet his offensive off-the-cuff remarks not only depict him as somewhat of a buffoon, but demonstrate that he now openly sides against Israel in the confrontation with the Palestinians.

He utterly failed to act as an honest broker in his November 6 joint interview with Israel’s Channel 2 News and PA TV, when he targeted Israel for criticism and failed to even relate to Palestinian intransigence. He provocatively asked “whether it [Israel] wanted a third intifada,” which he declared would eventuate if the talks failed. He warned that the Palestinians would “wind up with a leadership committed to violence.” Following a meeting in Bethlehem with President Abbas, brushing aside the venomous incitement to hatred manifested daily by the PA, Kerry stated unequivocally that “President Abbas is 100% committed to these talks.” He reiterated that the US considers construction in settlements, including Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem, to be “illegitimate,” and went so far as to state that Israel was sending “a message that perhaps you are not really serious.” He never even referred to the PA demand that Palestinian refugees and their 5 million descendants be given the right of return to Israel. He refused to confront the Palestinian leadership over their refusal to reconcile themselves with the reality of Israel as sovereign Jewish entity.

There have been hints, subsequently denied, that if progress was not achieved by 2014, the US would propose bridging proposals – an ominous signal to Israel. Kerry also threatened that if Israel could not find an accommodation, the US would not be able to deter the rest of the world from imposing real sanctions against Israel. Such remarks effectively guarantee Palestinian intransigence by declaring that after the talks collapse, the world will in any event seek to impose a solution on Israel and shall not blame the Palestinians for once again reverting to terrorism. And this is following Israel’s capitulation to intense American pressure resulting in the outrageous release of Palestinian mass murderers who were subsequently glorified by the Palestinians as heroes.

These statements by Kerry parallel other negative vibes from the US: Obama’s failure to condemn Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s provocative anti-Semitic remarks and the repudiation of his commitment to set aside the confrontation with Israel after Netanyahu had been pressured to apologize to him; the US effort to divert attention from its cyber-attacks on the French government’s communications network by hinting that the Israeli Mossad was to blame; and, most damaging of all, despite deliberate Israeli silence over the issue, the formal US announcement that Israel was responsible for bombing the Syrian military base in which missiles en route to Hezbollah were located. That is not how one treats an ally.

Over the past few months, there has been immense pressure directed at Israel and American Jews to ease up on Iran. Although accused of seeking to sabotage American diplomacy with the “moderate” President Hassan Rohani, Netanyahu has never challenged the role of diplomacy. He merely reminded the Americans of the proven duplicity of the Iranians and Rohani himself as he engages in protracted negotiations while proceeding to advance Iran nuclear status. On the basis of Obama’s recent track record, Israelis were increasingly skeptical as to the fulfillment of his repeated commitment to employ military force if necessary to prevent the Iranians from becoming a nuclear power.

These concerns were confirmed when, despite repeated assurances by Kerry that “no deal is better than a bad deal,” the US and the Europeans (other than France) demonstrated a willingness despite all evidence to the contrary to ease the sanctions on the Iranians without receiving anything tangible in return. Clearly, the US administration lied when it promised to brief Israelis in advance of any deal, so as not to surprise them, and gave repeated reassurances that short of an agreement by the Iranians to end their nuclear objectives, no partial deal was contemplated.

A shocked and distraught Netanyahu publicly admonished Kerry for making a “monumental mistake,” accusing him of providing the Iranians with “the deal of the century” and “in no way reducing their nuclear enrichment capability.” Netanyahu stated that under such circumstances, Israel did not consider itself bound by any agreement between Tehran and the six world powers and “will do everything it considers necessary to defend itself and the security of its people.” There is of course the outside possibility that by the time the talks resume next week, Netanyahu’s warnings are heeded and a Munich-like capitulation is averted. But we should be under no illusions.

The next three months will be seriously challenging for Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu will need to marshal all his resources and seek to salvage what he can of the likely capitulation to the Iranian mullahs in a deal which in no way guarantees that the centrifuges will not soon again resume spinning. In addition, Israel must resist American pressures to make further concessions to the Palestinians which may well have devastating repercussions our future security. To confront these threats, it is imperative that the prime minister devise a strategic plan, engaging the broadest possible coalition, providing a united front, and work closely with the American Jewish community and other pro-Israel groups to orchestrate a major campaign to enlighten the American public and seek congressional support to rein in the appeasers.

For American Jews, this will be a real test of their commitment to the security of the Jewish state. There have been conflicting reports that leading Jewish organizations and representatives of the administration had agreed to defer for two months efforts to intensify sanctions on Iran, but this was adamantly denied by AIPAC and AJC spokesmen. Regrettably, American Jews committed to the security of the Jewish state appear to be heading toward a direct confrontation with an administration willing to diplomatically abandon Israel and appease the most lethal global terrorist state. ADL head Abe Foxman predicted that Kerry’s “outrageous behavior” and his “chutzpah” in lecturing Israel about peace would unite the American Jewish community. The question is will they have the courage to stand up and be counted?

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ISRAEL: THE IMPUDENCE ACCOMPANYING BETRAYAL

Barry Rubin

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 17, 2013

 

I’ve always been amazed anyone thought the United States would ever act against the Iranian nuclear threat. There was never any chance that such a thing would happen. Moreover, there was never any chance the US would let Israel attack Iran. In a Huffington Post article by Steven Strauss, the author quotes Netanyahu: “‘I believe that we can now say that Israel has reached childhood’s end, that it has matured enough to begin approaching a state of self-reliance…. We are going to achieve economic independence [from the United States].’ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a Joint Session of the United States Congress – Washington DC, July 10, 1996 (Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs).” Unfortunately, today, almost 20 years later, this is not a fair statement to quote.

Strauss continues: “In 1997, Israel received $3.1 billion in aid from the US. In 2012, Israel was still receiving $3.1 billion annually in US aid.” This, however, is not an appropriate comparison today. Let us look at the current situation: Egypt will receive $2b. in US aid; Saudi Arabia will receive military aid, as will the anti-Assad Syrian rebels; Turkey will receive billions of dollars and probably military equipment.

Moreover, the US and Europe will also reach out to Iran, and Hezbollah and Syria will receive aid from Iran. In addition, the Palestinians have not made the least bit of commitment on a two-state solution . In other words, only Israel would lose. And this is “childhood’s end”? Strauss further notes, “Israel has become an affluent and developed country that can afford to pay for its own defense.” But the point is that other hostile countries will receive more, while Israel will get the same amount. He continues, “…Israel has a well developed economy in other ways.” But again, Israel will be placed at much more of a disadvantage.

The article’s claim that, “Other countries/ programs could better use this aid money,” does not state the reality. “Even domestically, the aid that goes to Israel could be useful. Detroit is bankrupt, and our Congress is cutting back on food stamps, and making other painful budget cuts.” Again, the US does not face immediate threat from its neighbours, while Israel does. Moreover, this argument is shockingly implying that Israel is stealing money from poor people in the US. “Israel and the United States have increasingly different visions about the future of the Middle East,” the article continues. But again, so what? This is absolutely irrelevant. A major (bipartisan) goal of the United States has been the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Once again, this is a policy that is impossible to implement, but the United States is going to try to force it on Israel anyway. Note that the less security the US and the West provide to Israel, the more difficult it becomes to secure or promote a two-state solution.

Strauss adds, “However, the current Israeli government is clearly not committed to the US vision, and has done everything possible to sabotage American efforts.” The problem with this last point is that the Palestinians have always tried to sabotage this. If this concept hasn’t gotten across in the past quarter century, I can’t imagine when it will get across. The current Israeli government has tried for many years to achieve a two-state solution and has made many concessions. And if Secretary of State Kerry can’t take Israel’s side on this issue, then I can’t imagine how decades of US policy has been carried out. To say that the Israeli government is not committed is a fully hostile statement. This claims Israeli settlement and not Palestinian intransigence has blocked the peace process. Note that the author of this article has “distinguished” credentials: “Steven Strauss is an adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.” Yet if this is what the US government understands, things will end badly.

Moreover, the issue of Iran and nuclear weapons is not the important point; rather, it is the transformation of the US Middle East position that is significant. I do not believe there is any chance Iran will use nuclear weapons. The problem is that this is reversal of US policy. In other words, it is like going back to 1948 and opposing partition. Finally, what this is all about is money and greed. Many European countries are drooling at the money to be made. For example, Vittorio Da Rold writes (Il Sole 24 ore), “Italian SMEs are hoping for a rapid agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue in order to return as soon as possible to trade without limits with Tehran and the rich Iranian market in hopes of finding new markets in a time when the European market flirts with deflation.”

Contents

 

 

THE ARAB-ISRAELI PEACE PROCESS IS OVER.                                ENTER THE ERA OF CHAOS

Lee Smith

Tablet, Oct. 30, 2013

 

This past weekend the White House clarified yet again what’s been apparent to everyone in the Middle East for quite a while now: The United States wants out, for real. “There’s a whole world out there,” National Security Adviser Susan Rice told the New York Times, “and we’ve got interests and opportunities in that whole world.”

 

To judge by the president’s decision making, Egypt and Syria apparently are no longer important parts of that world, nor is the shakeout from the Arab Spring, or preserving Washington’s special relationship with the Saudi oil kingdom, or other familiar features of American Middle East policy, like democracy promotion, which have been taken for granted by locals and the rest of the world alike. What matters seems to be getting out of the region faster, by making a snap deal with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over Tehran’s nuclear program. But yeah, administration sources told the Times almost as an afterthought, we still care about the peace process.

 

The problem is that a deal with Iran, when taken together with a U.S. withdrawal from the region, means the end of the peace process. As an Israeli official visiting Washington told me last week, one result of the administration’s minimalist regional profile is that the Arab allies of the United States—from Jordan and Egypt to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council states—will no longer enjoy the luxury of being able to count on the United States to pursue and protect their national interests, which means that they’ll have to do it themselves in a region where, as President Barack Obama said in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly meeting last month, the leaders “avoid addressing difficult problems themselves.”

 

What that means is that Washington’s Arab partners who are most concerned about Iran, like Saudi Arabia, now have a choice: They can defend themselves with all the weaponry the American defense industry has sold them over the years—or they can get someone else to do it. If most Arab regimes never really cared that much for the Palestinians in the first place, they clearly had even less use for the Israelis. But in the wake of a bad American deal with Rouhani, the Israelis may come in quite handy, as the only local power capable of standing up to a nuclear-armed Iran or stopping the Iranian nuclear program in its tracks…

 

What’s clear amidst all this traffic is that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is presently the least important and least bloody conflict in the region, after the Syrian civil war, the Libyan civil war, Iraq’s violent partition, Egypt’s military crack-down, etc. From the point of view of national realpolitik, the only people who should be thinking long and hard about the end of the Arab-Israeli peace process are American policymakers.

 

Maybe it’s good news then that the lake of crocodile tears shed for 80 years over the Palestinian cause is about to evaporate into the thin desert air because the United States is leaving, and the Arab regimes obviously have more important things to worry about now—like their own security and survival. Yet from an American standpoint the end of the peace process is unfortunate—and not because it was ever likely to bring about peace between Arabs and Israelis, or usher in a reign of good feeling and peaceful relations across the Middle East….

[To read the full article, click on the following link – ed.]

 

                                                 Contents

 

 

On Topic

 

France Calls on Israel to Halt Settlements: Ruth Bender, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 18, 2013 — French President François Hollande Monday called for the "complete halt" to the building of Israeli settlements during his first visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories since taking office.

The Kerry Fiasco: Jerold S. Auerbach, American Thinker, Nov. 17, 2013 — Who could have imagined it? Secretary of State John Kerry is making his predecessor James Baker seem like Israel's best friend.

Hamas and the “Peace Process”: Shoshana Bryen, Frontpage, Nov. 1, 2013 — The Palestinians have thrown a monkey wrench in the works again –  as they have a pattern of doing every time the “peace process” is supposed to be close to “solving” the problem.

There Will Be War: Mike Konrad, American Thinker, Nov. 15, 2013 —  What was going through the President's head when he eased up on sanctions on Iran?

 

On Topic Links

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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

KERRY, GO HOME! KERRY FUELS PAL. P.-P. RESISTANCE, WHILE OBAMA & EU PUSH “BAD” (NETANYAHU) NUCLEAR DEAL

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:         

 

 

Amb. Alan Baker’s Letter to Secretary John Kerry: Nov. 8, 2013

No Deal Is Better Than a Bad Deal: William Kristol, Gary Bauer, Noah Pollak, Michael Goldfarb, Emergency Committee for Israel, Nov. 9, 2013  — Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released the following statement on the reported nuclear deal in Geneva.

Kerry: Stay Home: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Besa Center, Nov. 10, 2013— US Secretary of State John Kerry warned of a return to Palestinian violence and Israel’s isolation if the faltering peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians ultimately fail.

Lieutenant MacCohen’s Memorial: John Kalbfleisch, Montreal Gazette, Nov. 2, 2013— He was but one of 3,042 Canadian soldiers who died in the Second Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, just one of the 60,661 our nation lost in First World War. [On] Remembrance Day… his sacrifice and all the others should not be forgotten.

 

 

On Topic Links

Vive La France on Iran: Editorial, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 10, 2013

The U.S. Saudi Royal Rumble: Simon Henderson, Foreign Policy, Nov. 1, 2013

No Illusions Concerning the Obama Administration: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 11, 2013

Obama Accused of “Crimes Against Humanity” at International Criminal Court: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage Magazine, Nov. 8, 2013

Kerry’s Words Not Enough to Recast U.S. Egypt Ties: Wael Nawara, Al-Monitor, Nov. 7, 2013

               

                                               

AMB. ALAN BAKER’S LETTER TO SECRETARY JOHN KERRY

Amb. Alan Baker

Nov. 8, 2013

 

The Hon. James Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State,  November 8, 2013,

 

After listening to you declare repeatedly over the past weeks that “Israel’s settlements are illegitimate”, I respectfully wish to state, unequivocally, that you are mistaken and ill advised, both in law and in fact. Pursuant to the “Oslo Accords”, and specifically the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement (1995), the “issue of settlements” is one of subjects to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. President Bill Clinton on behalf of the US, is signatory as witness to that agreement, together with the leaders of the EU, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and Norway. Your statements serve to not only to prejudge this negotiating issue, but also to undermine the integrity of that agreement, as well as the very negotiations that you so enthusiastically advocate. Your determination that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate cannot be legally substantiated. The oft-quoted prohibition on transferring population into occupied territory (Art. 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention) was, according to the International Committee Red Cross’s own official commentary of that convention, drafted in 1949 to prevent the forced, mass transfer of populations carried out by the Nazis in the Second World War. It was never intended to apply to Israel’s settlement activity. Attempts by the international community to attribute this article to Israel emanate from clear partisan motives, with which you, and the US are now identifying.

 

The formal applicability of that convention to the disputed territories cannot be claimed since they were not occupied from a prior, legitimate sovereign power. The territories cannot be defined as “Palestinian territories” or, as you yourself frequently state, as “Palestine”. No such entity exists, and the whole purpose of the permanent status negotiation is to determine, by agreement, the status of the territory, to which Israel has a legitimate claim, backed by international legal and historic rights. How can you presume to undermine this negotiation?

 

There is no requirement in any of the signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians that Israel cease, or freeze settlement activity. The opposite is in fact the case. The above-noted 1995 interim agreement enables each party to plan, zone and build in the areas under its respective control.

Israel’s settlement policy neither prejudices the outcome of the negotiations nor does it involve displacement of local Palestinian residents from their private property. Israel is indeed duly committed to negotiate the issue of settlements, and thus there is no room for any predetermination by you intended to prejudge the outcome of that negotiation.

 

By your repeating this ill-advised determination that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate, and by your threatening Israel with a “third Palestinian intifada” and international isolation and delegitimization, you are in fact buying into, and even fueling the Palestinian propaganda narrative, and exerting unfair pressure on Israel. This is equally the case with your insistence on a false and unrealistic time limit to the negotiation.

As such you are taking sides, thereby prejudicing your own personal credibility, as well as that of the US.

With a view to restoring your own and the US’s credibility, and to come with clean hands to the negotiation, you are respectfully requested to publicly and formally retract your determination as to the illegitimate nature of Israel’s settlements and to cease your pressure on Israel.

                                                                            Contents
                                 

                               

NO DEAL IS BETTER THAN A BAD DEAL

William Kristol, Gary Bauer, Noah Pollak, Michael Goldfarb

Emergency Committee for Israel, Nov. 9, 2013

 

Today [Nov. 9] the Emergency Committee for Israel released the following statement on the reported nuclear deal in Geneva:

This looks to be a very bad deal. The Iranian regime would obtain major sanctions relief in exchange for token and superficial concessions that neither freeze nor set back its nuclear weapons program. The deal would vitiate nearly a decade of UN Security Council resolutions demanding the full cessation of enrichment by Iran. The deal would allow Iran to continue enrichment, to continue construction of its plutonium reactor, and to continue building centrifuges that will shorten the regime's breakout time to becoming a nuclear weapons state. Furthermore, such an interim deal would invite Iran to drag out talks while enrichment proceeds, which is something President Rouhani has boasted of doing in the past.

We oppose such a deal, which would make war and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East more likely and would undermine U.S. security by making the world a more dangerous place. Friends and enemies alike would now be convinced that the administration’s past guarantees were empty promises, its past red lines written in disappearing ink. If the administration announces such a deal, Congress should take all appropriate measures to oppose it and ratchet up sanctions. And Congress should also make it clear that the United States will stand with our ally, Israel, if she judges it necessary to act to prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.

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KERRY: STAY HOME

Prof. Efraim Inbar

Besa Center, Nov. 10, 2013

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned of a return to Palestinian violence and Israel’s isolation if the faltering peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians ultimately fail. This is a typical leftist Pavlovian response to the impasse in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that is now over a decade old. Such thinking primarily reflects the frustration that the optimistic evaluations that the conflict can be ended quickly remain unfulfilled. Unfortunately, Kerry’s remarks tell the Palestinians to hold on to their maximalist positions. This reflects an inability to grasp the intricacies of protracted intractable ethnic conflict and a misguided American policy.

 

There is definitely a possibility that the Palestinians, in particular the radical forces, will recur to violence. In reality these forces try to kill Israelis all the time, and a dearth of terrorist attacks in recent years can only be attributed to the work of the Israeli security forces. Yet the likelihood of massive organized violence by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is small. Rocking the boat endangers too many vested interests of the Palestinian ruling class. The PA leadership has probably registered the heavy price paid by the Palestinians during their terrorist campaign at the beginning of the twenty-first century, as a result of Israeli countermeasures.

 

Moreover, even if the Palestinians miscalculate once again and go for a “third Intifada,” Israel’s capability to contain terrorism and other modes of civilian struggle is high. The Israeli army can be trusted to meet all challenges successfully. Most important, a large majority of Israelis believe that the Palestinian demands, such as Jerusalem and the “Right of Return,” are the real obstacles to peace. This large consensus about Palestinian intransigence allows for significant social mobilization and resilience in protracted conflict. Israelis will go once more to war with a feeling of “Ein Breira” (no choice) and are likely to win that engagement as well.

 

Large parts of the hypocritical world may indeed see Israel as the culprit for the failure of the negotiations and for a new round of Israeli-Palestinian violence. But such negative attitudes do not necessarily lead to international isolation. Public statements and the voting record of states at the UN – an ineffective, morally bankrupt organization – are not indicative of the true nature of interstate relations.

 

National interests dictate state actions, and in most cases bilateral relations with Israel are hardly affected by the ups and downs in the peace talks with the Palestinians. For example, the rising powers India and China have expanded their bilateral ties with Jerusalem because it is in their interest to engage a successful state such as Israel. Nowadays, when the Iranian threat dominates the region, Arab Sunni states such as Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, who are exasperated with American behavior, are in the same strategic boat as Israel. Generally, the Middle East – especially today, while in the throes of a colossal political, social, and economic crisis – is hardly paying attention to the Palestinian issue. In the Caucasus and in Central Asia, Muslim Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan are friendly to Israel.

 

Moreover, isolation of Israel is unlikely because of the large existing reservoirs of support for Israel in many quarters. Canada and Australia are ruled by governments most responsive to Israeli concerns. Even in Western Europe, concerns about Muslim immigration and foreign aid place the Palestinians in a problematic spot. Above all, two-thirds of Americans have consistently favored Israel over the past two decades, which translates into Congressional support. The US is Israel’s most important ally and even the Obama administration has maintained the strong support and cooperation in the military sphere.

But the prism of the Obama administration on the Middle East and global affairs is fundamentally flawed. An American foreign policy that supports the Muslim Brotherhood, estranges its traditional Arab allies such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, allows Iran to get closer to the bomb, sees in Turkey’s Erdoğan a great friend of the West, and insists that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be ended in nine months is dangerous and does more damage that good. Similar complaints about poor US political judgment are abundantly voiced by America’s friends in Asian and Eastern European capitals.

 

It is the enemies of the US who rejoice in President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and who relish in America’s perceived decline in world affairs. Ironically, at this historic juncture, even an isolationist America would be a better alternative for those that want the good guys to win. Therefore, dear President Obama, please do us a favor: save some money and keep Kerry at home.

 

Contents

 

 

LIEUTENANT MACCOHEN’S MEMORIAL

John Kalbfleisch

Montreal Gazette, Nov. 2, 2013

 

He was but one of 3,042 Canadian soldiers who died in the Second Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, just one of the 60,661 our nation lost in First World War. As Remembrance Day approaches, his sacrifice and all the others should not be forgotten. His name was Myer Tutzer Cohen, a lieutenant with the Montrealbased Black Watch, then known as the Royal Highlanders of Canada. The regiment is strongly identified with various links to Scotland and the Presbyterian faith, but from all accounts Cohen, a Jew, fitted in admirably.

He was just 20 years old when, in 1915, he attested for overseas service. He listed his occupation as "gentleman" and apparently didn't balk at a line asking for his "Christian names."  His application to his duties and his sunny disposition when posted overseas with the regiment's 42nd Battalion made him popular with his comrades. But he seems to have had one conspicuous failing: the sloppy way he wore the kilt.

 

This has given rise to a story with several versions differing in detail but not substance. In the fullest version, the brigade commander, Brigadier Archibald Macdonell, figures prominently. "I can never let you call yourself MacCohen until you learn to wear your kilt properly," Macdonell said, perhaps with as much amusement as chagrin.

 

Then, on the night of Sept. 29, 1917, Cohen led a patrol into no man's land near Méricourt, in northern France. They surprised a party of Germans, killing three and capturing three more. Later, they captured another three Germans. In addition to the prisoners, Cohen brought back all his men without suffering a casualty.

 

For this he received the Military Cross. "Well done, old Cohen," signalled Macdonell, by then a major- general. "I herewith and hereby confer on him the brevet rank of 'Mac' to be used whenever and wherever he likes, but he must always be MacCohen in the kilt. I am generally pleased with and proud of MacCohen, and not for the first time." A month later, the Black Watch was part of the Canadian Corp's two-week assault on Passchendaele, about 40 kilometres north in Belgium. Progress through the mud was slow, and made even more difficult by the tenacious German defence of the shattered Graf House, beside a small creek.

 

During the night of Nov. 2-3, a party led by Lt. Cohen was sent to probe toward the house. When dawn broke he was dead. "His body … was found on the highest point of the ruins of the Graf House," the 42nd Battalion's war diary records. "He had been shot in a number of places and had apparently fallen in attempting to organize the remnants of his party for the defence of the position he had captured."

 

On Nov. 13, 1921, the Black Watch paraded to the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, then on Dorchester St. where the Fairmount Queen Elizabeth Hotel now stands. Then, as now, the "A&P" was the regimental church of the Black Watch. That Sunday, Sir Arthur Currie, former commander of the Canadian Corps, unveiled a stained-glass window in memory of the officers and men of the 42nd Battalion who had died in the Great War. The window is dominated by a figure of Christ flanked on one side by smaller images of David holding the head of Goliath and of a medieval crusader in armour and, on the other, of St. Andrew of Scotland and of a Black Watch private in full First World War battle array.

 

Just above David's right shoulder can be seen a small, six-pointed Star of David. "It was realized," writes Colonel Paul Hutchison in his history of the regiment, "that, without some special symbol, a Christian memorial could hardly be considered as perpetuating the memory of such a member of the Jewish faith as the gallant young Lieutenant Cohen." The congregation moved to the edifice it now occupies on Sherbrooke St. in 1932, and the memorial window moved with it. In 1962, the Scottish-born Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the regiment's colonel in chief, was visiting the church and was especially interested in the Black Watch window. When she was told the story behind its Star of David, her eyes were seen to mist over.

 

                                                                        Contents

 

 

On Topic

 

Vive La France on Iran: Editorial, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 10, 2013— We never thought we'd say this, but thank heaven for French foreign-policy exceptionalism. At least for the time being, François Hollande's Socialist government has saved the West from a deal that would all but guarantee that Iran becomes a nuclear power.

Obama Accused of “Crimes Against Humanity” at International Criminal Court: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage Magazine, Nov. 8, 2013— According to Egyptian newspaper El Watan, a group of Egyptian lawyers has submitted a complaint charging U.S. president Barrack Hussein Obama with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

No Illusions Concerning the Obama Administration: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 11, 2013— Israel is heading for what could be its most severe confrontation with the United States, despite reassuring words from the Obama administration to the contrary.

Kerry’s Words Not Enough to Recast U.S. Egypt Ties: Wael Nawara, Al-Monitor, Nov. 7, 2013 — Two days before ousted President Mohammed Morsi’s trial, US Secretary of State John Kerry paid a visit to Egypt in what seemed an attempt to prevent further deterioration in the ties between the two former allies.

The U.S. Saudi Royal Rumble: Simon Henderson, Foreign Policy, Nov. 1, 2013— What is happening to the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia? Even after loud complaints from top Saudi officials that the longtime alliance was on the rocks, the response of official Washington, outside the punditocracy, was an almost audible yawn.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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:  Ber Lazarus, 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:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

 


Download a pdf version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf

 On Topic Links

 

UN Agency Promotes Palestinian Agenda: Asaf Romirowsky: Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 25, 2013

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

"I am Dr. Mohammed Morsi, the president of the republic. I am here by force and against my will. The coup is a crime and treason…This is not my court. This court, with all due respect, doesn't have jurisdiction over the president. There is a military coup in this country. The leaders of this coup must be brought to trial according to the constitution."—  Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaking at his trial in Cairo that began on Monday, Nov. 4. (Associated Press, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

“His entrance to the caged dock led to an immediate breakdown of order, with pro-Brotherhood lawyers rising to greet him and chanting “Morsi is our president”. The other defendants shouted the popular revolutionary slogan “Down, down with the military regime!” applauded and embraced him.”—  Richard Spencer reporting from Morsi’s trial in Cairo on Monday (The Telegraph, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

“It was no contest…Morsi’s antics in the courtroom made him look like a student prankster, not a former president— Hisham Kassem, a long-time civil-rights advocate and founding publisher of the Al Masry al-Youm newspaper, speaking with reporters at Morsi’s trial (Globe & Mail, Nov. 4, 2013).

 

Israel is an "illegitimate and bastard" regime and the US alliance with Israel an alleged "indulgence…The Americans have the highest indulgence toward the Zionists…and they have to. But we don't share such indulgence[s]."­­— Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, further referring to the US as a "smiling enemy" who is not to be trusted for leaving the option of a US and Israeli strike on Iran on the table in the event of continued nuclear weapons development. (Arutz Sheva, Nov. 3, 2013)

 

"Fighting the global arrogance and hostile policies of America is the symbol of our national solidarity…It's not death to American people, but it's against a portion of Americans who support oppressive policies in the world. If we say 'death to America,' it is death to megalomania. 'Death to America' means death to think tanks that work for the destruction of nations."— Saeed Jalili, speaking at an anti-U.S. rally in Tehran, Iran on Monday, Nov. 4. Jalili lost to Rouhani in the Iranian Presidential election in June. (Associated Press, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

“Iran is continuing to try and arm itself with nuclear weapons; it has not changed its goal – the method maybe, but not the goal – and it has not changed its ideology”— Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting, saying Iran was “openly and directly” calling for Israel’s destruction. He pointed out that Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 is the 34th anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran, a day celebrated in Iran as “Death to America Day.” “This makes it clear that pressure on the Iranian regime must be continued,” Netanyahu said. “The pressure has brought them to the negotiating table. I am convinced that if the pressure is maintained and not relaxed, Iran will dismantle its military nuclear capabilities, and if the pressure is relaxed, Iran will advance toward this goal. We are committed to ensuring that it does not reach its realization.” (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 3, 2013)

 

"The West must stop dictating their solutions,"— Mohammed Zarif, Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, told French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris Tuesday evening, when asked if Tehran was ready to hand over its stockpile of enriched uranium. "Let's seek mutually acceptable solutions that keep the Iranian program as transparent as possible and help ensure it remains peaceful.” He also highlighted an atmosphere of distrust between Tehran and the West that, he claimed, has poisoned previous diplomatic efforts. "We have already defined from our perspective what the common objective is: An Iranian nuclear project, including enrichment, which remains exclusively peaceful," (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 6, 2013)

 

 “The United States believes that the U.S.-Egypt partnership is going to be strongest when Egypt is represented by an inclusive, democratically-elected, civilian government based on rule of law, fundamental freedoms, and an open and competitive economy,” — John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, speaking at a news conference with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. (Associated Press, Nov. 3, 2013)

 

“Syria is definitely an issue where American policy has been wrong. That’s my opinion. That is also the opinion of much of the public in Arab countries. How you fix that is by showing that you can correct it. If Obama supports Kerry on the Palestinian issue and we get an agreement between Israel and Palestine — that will be something for President Obama to take credit for. If he can convince the Iranians to stop building a nuclear weapon, that will be something he can show the rest of us. The Palestinian issue is the core issue.”— Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki, former chief of intelligence and brother of the foreign minister, speaking with Lally Weymouth of the Washington Post (Washington Post, Nov., 4, 2013)

 

“I didn’t expect to see that in Syria…It’s not accurate to say this is Somalia, but this is a critical situation…We have a middle-income country that is transforming itself into something a lot more like Somalia.”— Dr. Annie Sparrow, an assistant professor and pediatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, who examined Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and was shocked to find many underweight for their height and age.

“They [Israel] say they want to stay in the Jordan Valley for 40 years…With 40 years in the Jordan Valley there will be no solution. They say they need the Jordan Valley to protect themselves against the Iranian threat or whoever comes from the eastern border.”— Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying Israel’s claims that it wants to retain control over the Jordan Valley for security reasons is a lie. He reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and his view that Israel wants to retain a presence in the Jordan Valley for economic, and not security reasons. “[I]t is a matter of investment. The Israelis gain an annual profit of $620 million from the Jordan Valley. So the claim that they want to protect their eastern border from Iran and others is all lies.” (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

 “I think we should no longer think of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but Palestinian settlements in Israel.”— Danny Danon, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister, said in an interview. Danon, recently elected to head the central committee of the Likud party, imagines an archipelago of Palestinian cities — Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron — as Arab islands in an Israeli sea. “The Jewish people are not settlers in the West Bank, but Israel will make the Palestinians settlers and Jordan will be the one taking control over Palestinians and that’s it”. (Washington Post, Nov. 5, 2013)

 

“It’s quite different than what I thought it was…It’s a modern, dynamic, positive society that has its difficulties, but is extremely forward-oriented,”— Université de Montréal rector Guy Breton said after returning from a 10-day trip to Israel attempting to build academic connections between Canada and Israel “It was interesting to see the real mosaic that is Israel,” said Breton, “In this small environment, I saw groups that are extremely different living next to each other peacefully…It was inspiring, especially nowadays.” (Montreal Gazette, Nov. 1, 2013)

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

NO DEAL ON SYRIAN PEACE TALKS DATE(Geneva) After a rocky day of U.N.-brokered talks, the United States and Russia failed to agree on a date to bring Syria's warring sides back to the negotiating table, and the two powers remained divided Tuesday over what role Iran should play in a hoped-for Geneva peace conference. The U.N.-Arab League's top envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, told reporters at the end of the talks involving the U.S., Russia and other nations that the impasse did not mean all hopes of resuming negotiations were dashed. Another round of U.S.-Russian talks on arranging a second peace conference in this city is planned for Nov. 25. (Associated Press, Nov. 5, 2013)

 

KERRY TRIES TO STEADY WAVERING ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE TALKS(Jerusalem) U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry tried Wednesday to steady wavering peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, amid visible cracks in the three-month-old negotiations. Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned this week of growing tensions in the closed-door discussions between negotiating teams that have taken increasingly public potshots at each other in recent days. Speaking before a three-hour session with Kerry on Wednesday morning, Netanyahu charged the Palestinians with “incitements [and] continuing to create artificial crises, continuing to . . . run away from the historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace.” “There are always difficulties, always tensions,” Kerry said before his meeting with Netanyahu.  I am very confident of our ability to work through them, that is why I am here.” (Washington Post, Nov. 6, 2013)

 

ISRAEL, IRAN, ARABS ATTENDED SAME MEETING ON NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT(Geneva) Iran, Israel and Arab states took part in a recent meeting about prospects for an international conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East, diplomats said Tuesday. The Oct. 21-22 meeting in the Swiss village of Glion near Montreux was a rare gathering of regional adversaries. Various envoys set out their national positions, but Israel had no direct communication with Iranian and Arab delegates, an Israeli official told Reuters. A U.S. official told The Wall Street Journal it wasn't insignificant that Finnish Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary of State Jaakko Laajava, the diplomat trying to organize the conference, succeeded in getting Arab, Iranian and Israeli officials into the same room. (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 5, 2013)

 

MODERNIST ART HAUL, ‘LOOTED BY NAZIS’, RECOVERED BY GERMAN POLICE (Munich) About 1,500 modernist masterpieces – thought to have been looted by the Nazis – have been confiscated from the flat of an 80-year-old man from Munich, in what is being described as the biggest artistic find of the postwar era. The artworks, discovered two years ago and unannounced since, which could be worth as much as €1bn (£860m), are said to include pieces by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Max Beckmann and Emil Nolde. They had been considered lost until now, according to a report in the German news weekly Focus. The works, which would originally have been confiscated as "degenerate art" by the Nazis or taken from Jewish collectors in the 1930s and 1940s, had made their way into the hands of a Nazi-era German art collector, Hildebrand Gurlitt. When Gurlitt died, the artworks were passed down to his son, Cornelius – all without the knowledge of the authorities. (Guardian, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

EGYPT ARRESTS BROTHERHOOD OFFICIAL AHEAD OF MORSI TRIAL(Cairo) Egyptian police arrested one of the last senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood who was still at large, days before the start of the trial of ousted President Mohammed Morsi of the once-powerful Islamist group. Essam El Erian, a spokesman long considered one of the Brotherhood’s more moderate leaders, will be charged with inciting violence against the state. The same accusation has been leveled against dozens of top-level Brotherhood officials since, amidst wide-spread popular protests against him, the military forced Mr. Morsi from power on July 3. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 30, 2013)

 

EGYPT’S OUSTED PRESIDENT DEFIANT(Cairo) Ousted President Mohammed Morsi, making his first appearance in court since being arrested, refused to wear a prison jumpsuit, entering the caged dock in a dark business suit as his co-defendants applauded. He defiantly questioned the legitimacy of the court and proclaimed himself still Egypt’s leader. His fellow Muslim Brotherhood members chanted, “Down with military rule!”, while some lawyers present shouted “Execute him! Execute him!”. Morsi’s long-awaited trial got off to a chaotic start Monday, and was quickly adjourned until Jan. 8. The dramatic first public appearance for Morsi since the July 3 military coup that removed him from power was meant to be a step toward due process. Instead, it highlighted the challenges facing Egypt’s interim authorities as they attempt to close a chapter of his presidency, while his Islamist supporters seek to disrupt the effort. (Associated Press, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

ISRAELI COURT CLEARS FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER OF FRAUD CHARGES

(Jerusalem) Avigdor Lieberman, the former Israeli foreign minister who is among the nation’s most powerful and polarizing politicians, was unanimously acquitted Wednesday of corruption charges that have dogged him for more than a decade, a verdict with profound implications for Israel’s internal politics and its peace talks with the Palestinians. Mr. Lieberman, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union who lives in a West Bank settlement, a populist hard-liner who has alienated international diplomats with undiplomatic outbursts, has been both an important partner of and a sometime rival for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Freed of the burden of a 17-year criminal investigation, he is expected to quickly return to the foreign minister’s post and may challenge Mr. Netanyahu for leadership of Israel’s nationalist camp. (New York Times, Nov. 6, 2013)

 

CYPRUS RIDES A TROUBLED SEA OF OIL AND GAS OPPORTUNITY(Nicosia)The republic of Cyprus has entered into the maelstrom of the world’s most volatile region, thanks to newfound gas and oil reserves, combined with an erratic Turkish foreign policy and a civil war in Syria. Even as leaders of this Mediterranean island show skill dealing with these novel threats and opportunities, they need support from a strong U.S. Navy, something not now available. Cypriot underwater gas and oil discoveries follow directly on those found earlier in Israeli seas adjacent to them and uncovered by the same American (Noble) and Israeli (Delek, Avner) companies. The current estimate of 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, as well as of some oil, has a value estimated at $800 billion, a huge sum for a small country in economic exigency whose current gross domestic product is a mere $24 billion. (Washington Times, Nov. 5, 2013)

 

DUTCH CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS TO UNVEIL ‘EUROPE’S LARGEST MENORAH’(Amsterdam) Christian Zionists in the Netherlands are building what they believe will be Europe’s largest menorah as a Hanukkah gift to the country’s Jewish community. The Hanukkah candelabrum, or hanukkiyah, will be approximately 36 feet tall and made out of metal, Sara van Oordt of the Netherlands headquarters of the Christians for Israel organization, told JTA on Monday. It will be placed near the group’s offices in Nijkerk, 30 miles east of the Dutch capital. “We think that this is a good way to show our support and solidarity for the Jewish community worldwide,” van Oordt said.

(JTA, Nov. 5, 2013)

 

U.S. OFFICIAL: ISRAEL HIT HEZBOLLAH-BOUND MISSLES IN SYRIA(Washington)

Israel has remained tight-lipped over an alleged strike in Syria, an Obama administration official confirmed on Thursday that Israeli warplanes had in fact attacked an airbase in Latakia on Wednesday. The target was “missiles and related equipment” which the Israeli government assessed might be transferred to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, the report said. A security official told AP that the attack occurred in the Syrian port city of Latakia and that the target was Russian-made SA-125 missiles. (Times of Israel, Oct. 31, 2013)

 

FIVE ISRAELI SOLDIERS HURT, FOUR PALESTINIAN GUNMEN KILLED AS IDF, HAMAS CLASH ON GAZA BORDER(Jerusalem)  IDF soldiers who were carrying out work to destroy a tunnel built by Hamas for terrorism on the Israel-Gaza border came under fire from a Palestinian terrorist cell overnight Friday. The IDF stated that terrorists detonated an explosive device targeting the soldiers during the operation. The attack left five soldiers injured. One is suffering from serious injuries, one was moderately wounded and three soldiers were lightly hurt, an army source said. The wounded were airlifted to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. In response to the attack, the IDF fired a shell at terror suspects in the nearby Gazan district of Khan Younis. One Palestinian gunman was killed and a second was wounded, according to Palestinian medical sources. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2013)

 

LEADER OF PAKISTANI TALIBAN KILLED IN U.S. DRONE STRIKE, OFFICIALS SAY(Islamabad) The chief of the Pakistani Taliban was killed by a U.S. drone strike on Friday, security sources and a senior Taliban commander said, in a major blow to the country’s most feared militant group. Hakimullah Mehsud was one of Pakistan’s most wanted men, with a $5-million (U.S.) bounty on his head. He led an increasingly violent insurgency from a secret hideout in North Waziristan, the Taliban’s mountainous stronghold on the Afghan border. “We confirm with great sorrow that our esteemed leader was martyred in a drone attack,” a senior Taliban commander said. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 2, 2013)

 

(New York) The ADL released the results of its new poll on anti-Semitism showing 12 percent of Americans harbor deeply entrenched anti-Semitic attitudes, a 3 percent decline since the League’s previous poll in 2011. “It is heartening that attitudes toward Jews have improved over the last few years and, historically, have declined significantly in America,” Foxman said, telling Newsmax that, however, “12 percent is still 40 million people.” The poll showed that 14 percent of Americans believe Jews have too much power in the U.S; 30 percent say American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country; 19 percent believe Jews have too much power in the business world; 17 percent say Jews have too much control on Wall Street and 26 percent believe Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. (Newsmax, Nov. 1, 2013)

 

UN SAYS NEARLY 1,000 IRAQIS DIED IN OCTOBER AS ATTACKS RAGE— (Baghdad) Violence across Iraq killed nearly 1,000 people in October, the United Nations said Friday, as the world body's representative there called on leaders to take bold action to stop the "current mayhem" gripping the country. Car bombings, shootings and other attacks have been on the rise all year, intensifying fears that widespread sectarian conflict again may overwhelm the country. Widespread chaos nearly tore the country apart in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003. (Associated Press, Nov. 1, 2013)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

UN Agency Promotes Palestinian Agenda: Scholar: Paul Lungren, Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 25, 2013

It is pretty much accepted that around 650,000 to 700,000 Palestinians became refugees during and after creation of the State of Israel. Whether they left on their own or were pushed out remains an issue that’s hotly contested.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine (current issue: “Israel’s Levy Report”:  ISRAZINE.

 

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EGYPTIAN ‘FALL’: U.S. PULLS AID TO CAIRO: RELATIONS DETERIORATE— SISI, CONSIDERING PRESIDENCY, CRACKS DOWN ON ISLAMISTS

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:         

 

Global Ramifications of the Anti-Muslim Brotherhood Campaign in Egypt: Daniel Pipes, National Review, Nov. 1, 2013 — Since General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew Mohamed Morsi on July 3, the military-led government has been engaged in a ferocious crackdown of the Muslim Brotherhood and more broadly of Islamists (though some, like the Salafis of the Nour party, playing their hand carefully, have generally avoided trouble so far).

America’s Aid and Egypt’s Indifference: Dina Khayat, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 16, 2013— In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, no country stood by the U.S. more staunchly in its fight against al Qaeda than Egypt. Having been through its own war against terror in the 1990s, Egypt was able to provide valuable information and logistical support. Now the war is back on Egyptian territory, in the Sinai and other Egyptian provinces

Egyptian military’s pact with Islamists: Amir Taheri, New York Post,  Oct. 17, 2013— Sometime next week, Egypt’s military-run government will publish the “first draft” of a new constitution to replace the one worked out by the government of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Sisi Fever: Will the General be the Next President of Egypt?: Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Nov. 1, 2013— General Abd el Fattah el-Sisi, the man who led the overthrow of President Morsi on July 3, 2013, holds the combined titles of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, first Deputy of the Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense and Military Production. Unlike his predecessors, Sisi is waging a merciless campaign against jihadi fighters in Sinai Peninsula in order to restore Egypt’s sovereignty there while drastically reducing Hamas’ power in Gaza.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

Egypt, U.S. Aid and Israel: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 9, 2013

Mr. Kerry Fumbles in Egypt:Editorial Board, New York Times, Nov. 4, 2013

Three Reasons for the Egypt-Russia Rapprochement: Nervana Mahmoud, Al-Monitor, Nov. 4, 2013

After Warraq: Sectarianism, Warts and All: Tom Rollins, Egypt Independent, Oct. 29, 2013

 

 

                        GLOBAL RAMIFICATIONS OF THE ANTI-MUSLIM                                          BROTHERHOOD CAMPAIGN IN EGYPT

                                                    Daniel Pipes
                                        National Review, Nov. 1, 2013

 

Since General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew Mohamed Morsi on July 3, the military-led government has been engaged in a ferocious crackdown of the Muslim Brotherhood and more broadly of Islamists (though some, like the Salafis of the Nour party, playing their hand carefully, have generally avoided trouble so far). Not only has this assault been violent, with hundreds of deaths, and legal, with the Brotherhood banned and its top leadership jailed, but it has also been broadly cultural, economic, and religious. Even the mildest approbation of the Muslim Brotherhood can get one in trouble, with one’s neighbors if not with the state. A very large swath of the population supports the crackdown and pushes for it.

 

A few of the many, many examples: Mohammed Youssef, the Egyptian kung fu champion, found his gold medal taken away and himself banned from competitions after he expressed support for Mohammed Morsi by wearing a T-shirt with the pro-Morsi symbol of an open palm and four fingers. Gen. Mohamed Farid el-Tohamy, Mubarak’s anti-Islamist honcho, is back after 2½ years of disgrace and investigation. He is now reputed to be the main advocate and implementor of the attempt to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood. “He was the most hard-line, the most absolutely unreformed,” says one Western diplomat on background. “He talked as if the revolution of 2011 had never even happened.” The secular activist Ahmed Belal, with support from the Rebellion movement, called for a boycott of Muslim Brotherhood-owned business, causing them major financial losses. Some Salafi-owned business have it even worse, being not only boycotted but set on fire. After parents complained that the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated school principals and teachers were inciting violence against the police and military, the Ministry of Education fired 95 of them.

 

How this effort fares has vast importance not just for Egypt but far beyond. Should the crackdown succeed in isolating, weakening, and destroying the Islamists, then others will replicate it elsewhere. But should it fail, the campaign will be discredited and will not be repeated. Therefore, all of us who want to see the barbaric Islamist movement destroyed must support the Sisi crackdown, even if we distance ourselves from some of its tactics.                                                   

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                AMERICA’S AID AND EGYPT’S INDIFFERENCE                      Dina Khayat

Wall Street Journal, Oct. 16, 2013

 

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, no country stood by the U.S. more staunchly in its fight against al Qaeda than Egypt. Having been through its own war against terror in the 1990s, Egypt was able to provide valuable information and logistical support. Now the war is back on Egyptian territory, in the Sinai and other Egyptian provinces. A direct link between the Muslim Brotherhood and its jihadist allies was established by the Brotherhood itself in July, shortly after President Morsi's ouster, when Mohamed Beltagui, a senior Muslim Brother, said on television that the violence in the Sinai and elsewhere would cease the moment Mr. Morsi was reinstated as president.

 

Yet rather than condemn the terrorist attacks that have since increased and spread across the country, the Obama Administration decided last week to send a different message. The State Department released a statement on Oct. 9 saying that it would be "recalibrating" its assistance provided to Egypt. It also said it would continue working with the interim Egyptian government to help it move toward democracy and inclusiveness. The statement came just two days after three deadly terrorist attacks in Cairo and Sinai: a drive-by shooting near the Suez Canal that killed six soldiers, a car bomb that killed three police officers and wounded dozens near a Red Sea resort area, and a rocket-propelled grenade attack that damaged a government satellite transmitter in southern Cairo.

 

Which forms of aid would be cut, and whether these were permanent cuts or just suspensions, were left unspecified in the State Department's statement. As was the total reduction in the amount of aid, which at $1.3 billion yearly pales, in any event, next to the $12 billion quietly advanced by Egypt's Arab neighbors in the past three months. This was a baffling message to Egypt's interim government and the vast majority of Egyptians, millions of whom who came out to protest Mr. Morsi's rule on June 30. What they heard was that the Obama Administration stands firmly behind the Muslim Brotherhood, even if it means damaging the two countries' strategic relationship.

 

To call the curtailing of U.S. aid a prod to the Egyptian government toward democracy is disingenuous. There was neither outrage nor threats from Washington last November, when Mr. Morsi issued a constitutional declaration that effectively put him and his diktats above the law. Or during the ensuing demonstrations in December, when dozens died just behind Mr. Morsi's palace walls at the hands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters. When Gen. Sisi appeared on television on July 3, the day Mr. Morsi was ousted, he was flanked by the Sheikh al Azhar, the Coptic Pope, women, youth, politicians left and right, and representatives of Salafist groups. Only the Muslim Brotherhood, which had turned down an invitation, was missing. That picture contrasts starkly with the one presented by Mr. Morsi, who, during his brief tenure, surrounded himself solely with members of his organization and appointed them to executive positions. Copts, secularists and even Salafists were conspicuously absent. Calls by the Obama administration for inclusiveness should have begun then; today they ring hollow.

 

When millions of Egyptians took to the streets on June 30, they took the only path possible to changing their government. There was no prospect of impeaching Mr. Morsi. The army intervened solely to prevent the chaos that would surely have occurred had Egyptians been left to fight one another. Now, three months into the new interim government and with a constitution being written by 50 representatives of society—again, all but the Muslim Brotherhood—there is no turning back. The draft constitution is almost complete, and dates and plans for parliamentary and presidential elections are set.

 

The challenge remains the economy, but it is hard to rebuild when so many resources are diverted to fighting weekly violence, as Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators, often armed, take to the streets. The Brotherhood has chosen to exclude itself from the governing process, preferring instead to bully their way into negotiating the best possible deal for themselves, which includes the reinstatement of Mr. Morsi as president. Brotherhood supporters who are not implicated in the present violence will eventually be included in a new government—but only when the organization changes its mind and decides to operate within the context of a state.

 

Egyptians are yearning to get it right this time. They are determined to build a democratic state and avoid the mistakes of the past. What will eventually emerge is a country much more sensitive to human and religious rights. It will not be a repetition of the Mubarak years. We would have liked America with us at this time, and its support would have sent a strong message to the Egyptian people.

 

Instead, upon hearing the news of the U.S. aid cuts, there was a collective shrug in Egypt, and a general sense of relief at being rid of any shackles that had tied the government's hands in fighting terrorism. Such is the popular anger against the Brotherhood and their daily annoyances that there are even calls for martial law to be applied—or at least for demonstrations by any faction to be outlawed by force for a period.

 

The Egypt-U.S. relationship is decades-old, built on mutual strategic interests. It has withstood many challenges. Even in the midst of the June 30 demonstrations, and at the height of anger against U.S. policies, banners in the streets proclaimed Egyptians' love for Americans. To throw all that to the wind for unfathomable benefits and spurious justifications in the name of democracy and inclusiveness is a pity.

 

Contents

 

EGYPTIAN MILITARY’S PACT WITH ISLAMISTS

Amir Taheri

New York Post, Oct. 17, 2013

 

Sometime next week (Oct. 18-25), Egypt’s military-run government will publish the “first draft” of a new constitution to replace the one worked out by the government of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi. The coup that returned the military to power after a year-long interval was presented as an attempt to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from imposing an Islamist dictatorship with a constitutional facade. Highlighted were two articles in the Morsi constitution that identified the Islamic sharia as the source of legislation in Egypt and gave Al-Azhar, the official seminary, a virtual veto on certain issues.

 

The crowds that for weeks filled Tahrir Square called on the army to intervene to save the nation from a burgeoning sharia-based ­dictatorship. Well, when the new draft constitution — written by a 50-man committee appointed by the military — is published, the Tahrir Square crowds are likely to be disappointed. The two controversial articles will still be there, albeit under different numbers and with slight changes in terminology. “Egyptians want to retain their Islamic identity,” says Kamal Halbawi, a former Brotherhood member who co-chaired the army-appointed drafting committee with Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister during the earlier military governments. Thus Islamists, including the Salafist Nour ( Light) Party sponsored by Saudi Arabia will have no reason to be unhappy with the proposed draft. The difference this time is that the new constitution also gives the military what the text drafted by Morsi denied it. The armed forces will get recognition for their “special status” and given a virtual veto on key aspects of security, foreign and even economic policies.

 

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the junta formed after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, will be recognized as a constitutionally sanctioned state organ with “special responsibilities and prerogatives,” including the appointment of the defense minister and the supervision of the military budget, which will be spared public submission to the parliament. Put brutally, the proposed draft constitution is a pact between a section of the military led by Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi and a section of the Islamic movement spearheaded by Salafists. The faction led by Sisi represents a segment of the officers’ corps reluctant to abandon a system under which the army acted as a state within the state and seized control of perhaps 20 percent of the national economy. As always during the past 100 years, the military is using a pseudo-nationalistic discourse full of xenophobic shibboleths.

 

The Salafist faction hopes to seize the opportunity of its collaboration with the military to build its position within the Islamist constituency. With the Muslim Brotherhood banned and most of its leaders under arrest, the Salafists hope to seduce some of their followers, especially with the help of a deluge of Saudi money.

However, even when they add their respective bases of support, the Sisi faction of the military and the Salafist faction do not represent more than a third of the Egyptian electorate. The two factions can dominate the organs of the state and exercise power only if they stick together. They hope to do so with the proposed constitution, which is a rehashed version of an old recipe for despotism.

 

This is the recipe the interim government has followed in a series of incremental moves that include reimposing the 50-year-old state of emergency, enacting new laws on public gatherings and reviving special tribunals acting as star chambers outside the normal legal systems. It all makes for a diabolical feast in which the likely losers will be the freedom-loving demonstrators who filled Tahrir Square. If so it will mean history repeating itself, given the similar fate their grandfathers suffered in the 1950s when the military and the Muslim Brotherhood also built a tacit alliance against Egypt’s democratic aspirations.

                                                                                                               

                                             Contents

 

SISI FEVER: WILL THE GENERAL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF EGYPT?

                                   Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah

                      Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Oct. 22, 2013

 

General Abd el Fattah el-Sisi, the man who led the overthrow of President Morsi on July 3, 2013, holds the combined titles of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, first Deputy of the Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense and Military Production. Unlike his predecessors, Sisi is waging a merciless campaign against jihadi fighters in Sinai Peninsula in order to restore Egypt’s sovereignty there while drastically reducing Hamas’ power in Gaza. Sisi may be “called to the flag” as a savior in order to salvage Egypt from its enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood. Talk shows and newspaper columns have been advocating the idea of the general running for president in order to fight the terrorist threat they say the country is facing. Most of the other potential candidates have declared that if Sisi would run for president, they would retract their candidacies.

 

There is a concentrated effort to picture Sisi as the political heir of the iconic President Gamal Abd el Nasser. Sisi himself participated in the 43rd memorial ceremony of Nasser’s death. There were posters with his picture adjacent to Nasser’s. Egyptians see Nasser as the Egyptian leader who fought the Muslim Brotherhood domestically and led Egypt to the leadership of the Arab World and the non-aligned community. In fact, Sisi was presenting his legitimacy as the rightful leader of Egypt not only to his Egyptian compatriots but also toward the U.S. administration, which is questioning his legitimacy and presenting him as the leader of a coup and a usurper of power. This creates an opening for a possible Russian comeback in Egypt and through it to a reinforced Russian position in the region.

 

By deciding to cut its financial aid to Egypt and postpone the delivery of weapon systems already ordered, the U.S. has overturned the longstanding correlation between financial assistance and Egypt’s honoring of the peace treaty with Israel. The $14 billion that Saudi Arabia and the UAE transferred to Egypt immediately after Sisi’s takeover, and the $40 billion promised in economic aid, are a reminder that Egypt may not be in need of such conditional financial assistance. Observers of the Egyptian scene are repeatedly stressing the change in the mood of the Egyptians towards the United States, from friendship and admiration to open hostility. In fact, the crisis with the Obama Administration and Sisi’s reaction to it has helped build up his leadership credentials as a daring Egyptian nationalist who does not retreat before a superpower – particularly one that so openly supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.

 

Since the ousting of President Morsi on July 3, 2013, the issue of who will be the next elected President of Egypt has been at the center of attention in Egypt and abroad. Morsi’s presidency has proven the extent to which an Egyptian president can influence the course of the country and shape its domestic and foreign policy. Because of this, one can easily understand the amount of energy devoted by analysts of the Egyptian scene in order to try and decipher the intentions of General Abd el Fattah el-Sisi, the actual strongman of Egypt. Sisi holds the combined titles of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, first Deputy of the Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense and Military Production. He is the man who led the overthrow of President Morsi. Since August 14, he has conducted a ferocious crackdown (only parallel to the crackdown performed by Gamal Abd el Nasser in 1954 against the Brotherhood) aimed at eliminating the political power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. And unlike his predecessors, Sisi is waging a merciless campaign against jihadi fighters in the Sinai Peninsula in order to restore Egypt’s sovereignty in the desert while drastically reducing Hamas’ power in the Gaza Strip.

 

Sisi has been very murky about his future plans, denying through the army spokesman any intention of running for the presidency in early 2014. However, events on the ground seem to show that the general is preparing himself for the presidency because this is the only viable choice for him and the military establishment. In theory, Sisi could decide to stay in his position under a newly elected president and enjoy his powers as he is doing today, but he could also suffer the fate of his predecessor, Field Marshal Tantawi, who had his career terminated with the stroke of a pen. Sisi does not want to alienate his opponents by eying the presidency too early and creating a situation in which he would have to justify himself. The course of events in Egypt seems to lead to a situation in which Sisi will be “called to the flag” as a savior in order to salvage Egypt from its enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood, and lead the country not only as an Egyptian nationalist but as an Arab hero. In fact, if Egypt’s mainstream media and political power circles could have voted by now, then Sisi would be president with almost no challengers.

[To read the full article, please click on the following link—ed.]     

Contents

 

 

Egypt, U.S. Aid and Israel: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 9, 2013— In mid-August, US President Barack Obama interrupted a golfing trip at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts to condemn the military junta in Egypt for its violent attack on the Muslim Brotherhood government leaders.

Mr. Kerry Fumbles in Egypt:Editorial Board, New York Times, Nov. 4, 2013— Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Egypt, included in his Middle East itinerary at the last minute, served only to add to the confusion over the Obama administration’s policy toward this critically important Arab nation.

Three Reasons for the Egypt-Russia Rapprochement: Nervana Mahmoud, Al-Monitor, Nov. 4, 2013— In May 1958, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser started an 18-day state visit to Russia, a visit that officially marked a recalibration of Egyptian foreign policy away from the Western sphere, and toward the Soviet camp. Fifty-five years later, an Egyptian popular diplomatic delegation headed to Moscow in a visit that was described as fruitful and positive.

After Warraq: Sectarianism, Warts and All: Tom Rollins, Egypt Independent, Oct. 29, 2013— About this time last week, the bodies were being ferried into the Virgin Mary Church where they had been shot barely 24 hours before, a grim liminal irony that – as some pointed out – turned a wedding into a funeral in the space of two days.

 

On Topic Links

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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

OBAMA AS A “ROI FAINÉANT”, A “DO-NOTHING” KING — AS U.S. RECEDES, ASSA, HEZBOLLAH, PUTIN, IRAN ADVANCE


Contents:                          

 

Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Obama’s Dorothy Doctrine: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, May 30, 2013— This is John Lennon, bumper-sticker foreign policy — Imagine World Peace. Obama pretends that the tide of war is receding. But it’s demonstrably not. It’s metastasizing to Mali, to the Algerian desert, to the North African states falling under the Muslim Brotherhood, to Yemen, to the savage civil war in Syria…

 

Obama Admits Iran is More Dangerous than Ever, Yet Does Nothing: David Meyers, Real Clear World, June 4, 2013—According to a new State Department report, Iran's support for international terrorism is at an all time high. We also recently learned that Iran continues to aggressively expand its nuclear program, and funnel troops and weapons into Syria. President Barack Obama concedes that Iran is the world's most dangerous country, but he still refuses to do anything about it.

 

Shades of “Chicken Kiev” in Syria?: Max Boot, Commentary, June 2, 2013—I’m with the Wall Street Journal editorial page (and numerous conspiracy theorists throughout the Middle East): I’m starting to suspect that President Obama secretly wants Bashar Assad to hold onto power. How else to explain Obama’s continuing unwillingness to do much of anything to help the rebel forces even as they are being pushed back–possibly to the brink of defeat–by an offensive massively assisted by Iran and Hezbollah?

 

Samantha Power’s World View: Seth Mandel, Commentary, June 6,2013—Straight news reporting often produces humorous understatement. The reporting on President Obama’s new nominee to serve as ambassador to the United Nations–a position Obama had earlier made a Cabinet-level post–and her controversial past statements certainly resulted in such understatement.

 

On Topic Links

 

Ending U.S. War on Terror Requires Partners: Matthew Fisher, The Gazette, May 27, 2013

Kerry’s Embarrassing ‘Peace Process’ Obsession: Barry Rubin, Jerusalem Post, June 9, 2013

State Dept. Shows Signs of Dumping ‘Peace Process’: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, June 10, 2013

Obama's Foreign Policy Reset: Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2013

 

 

OBAMA’S DOROTHY DOCTRINE

Charles Krauthammer

Washington Post, May 30, 2013

“This war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises . . .” — Barack Obama, May 23

 

Nice thought. But much as Obama would like to close his eyes, click his heels three times and declare the war on terror over, war is a two-way street. That’s what history advises: Two sides to fight it, two to end it. By surrender (World War II), by armistice (Korea and Vietnam) or when the enemy simply disappears from the field (the Cold War).

 

Obama says enough is enough. He doesn’t want us on “a perpetual wartime footing.” Well, the Cold War lasted 45 years. The war on terror, 12 so far. By Obama’s calculus, we should have declared the Cold War over in 1958 and left Western Europe, our Pacific allies, the entire free world to fend for itself — and consigned Eastern Europe to endless darkness. John F. Kennedy summoned the nation to bear the burdens of the long twilight struggle. Obama, agonizing publicly about the awful burdens of command — his command, which he twice sought in election — wants out. For him and for us.

 

He doesn’t just want to revise and update the September 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which many conservatives have called for. He wants to repeal it. He admits that the AUMF establishes the basis both in domestic and international law to conduct crucial defensive operations, such as drone strikes. Why, then, abolish the authority to do what we sometimes need to do? Because that will make the war go away? Persuade our enemies to retire to their caves? Stop the spread of jihadism?

 

This is John Lennon, bumper-sticker foreign policy — Imagine World Peace. Obama pretends that the tide of war is receding. But it’s demonstrably not. It’s metastasizing to Mali, to the Algerian desert, to the North African states falling under the Muslim Brotherhood, to Yemen, to the savage civil war in Syria, now spilling over into Lebanon and destabilizing Jordan. Even Sinai, tranquil for 35 years, is descending into chaos.

 

It’s not war that’s receding. It’s America. Under Obama. And it is precisely in the power vacuum left behind that war is rising. Obama declares Assad must go. The same wish-as-policy fecklessness from our bystander president. Two years — and 70,000 dead — later, Obama keeps repeating the wish even as the tide of battle is altered by the new arbiters of Syria’s future — Iran, Hezbollah and Russia. Where does every party to the Syrian conflict go on bended knee? To Moscow, as Washington recedes into irrelevance.

 

But the ultimate expression of Obama’s Dorothy Doctrine is Guantanamo. It must close. Must, mind you.

Okay. Let’s accept the dubious proposition that the Yemeni prisoners could be sent home without coming back to fight us. And that others could be convicted in court and put in U.S. prisons. Now the rub. Obama openly admits that “even after we take these steps, one issue will remain — just how to deal with those Gitmo detainees who we know have participated in dangerous plots or attacks but who cannot be prosecuted.”

 

Well, yes. That’s always been the problem with Gitmo. It’s not a question of geography. The issue is indefinite detention — whether at Gitmo, a Colorado supermax or St. Helena. Can’t try ’em, can’t release ’em. Having posed the central question, what is Obama’s answer? “I am confident that this legacy problem can be resolved.” That’s it! I kid you not. He’s had four-plus years to think this one through — and he openly admits he’s got no answer.

 

Because there is none. Hence the need for Gitmo. Other wars end, at which point prisoners are repatriated. But in this war, the other side has no intention of surrender or armistice. They will fight until the caliphate is established or until jihadism is as utterly defeated as fascism and communism. That’s the reason — the only reason — for the detention conundrum. There is no solution to indefinite detention when the detainees are committed to indefinite war.

 

Obama’s fantasies are twinned. He can no more wish away the detention than he can the war. We were defenceless on 9/11 because, despite Osama bin Laden’s open written declaration of war in 1996, we pretended for years that no war against us had even begun. Obama would return us to pre-9/11 defencelessness — casting Islamist terror as a law-enforcement issue and removing the legal basis for treating it as armed conflict — by pretending that the war is over. It’s enough to make you weep.

 

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OBAMA ADMITS IRAN IS MORE
DANGEROUS THAN EVER, YET DOES NOTHING

David Meyers

Real Clear World, June 4, 2013

 

According to a new State Department report, Iran's support for international terrorism is at an all time high. We also recently learned that Iran continues to aggressively expand its nuclear program, and funnel troops and weapons into Syria. President Barack Obama concedes that Iran is the world's most dangerous country, but he still refuses to do anything about it. This inaction will have deadly consequences for the world, and for America.

 

No recent news story so clearly articulated Obama's failure on Iran as the report that Tehran was sending $4 billion to Syria to prop up the Assad regime. By failing to address the Iranian threat, Obama has helped contribute to the deaths of 80,000 Syrians — along with scores more across the Middle East and the world.

And if Obama doesn't act quickly, many more innocent people will find themselves in mortal danger from Iran.

 

For years, the State Department has labelled Iran as the world's leading sponsor of terror. In their most recent report, the Department concluded that "Iran and Hezbollah's terrorist activity has reached a tempo unseen since the 1990s." Yet President Obama has shown no indication that he will alter his failed policy of sanctions and diplomacy.

 

Even Dennis Ross, Obama's former Mideast adviser, admits that President Obama's Iran policy has failed. The reason is simple: Iran does not take Obama seriously, nor do they believe his empty threats about the use of force. For five years, Obama has told Iran that they can build a nuclear weapon, support terrorism, fund Hezbollah and Hamas and prop up the Syrian regime with absolutely no consequences.

 

President Obama's economic sanctions are failing miserably. For Iran's leaders, obtaining a nuclear weapon is a matter of survival. The regime believes that a nuclear capability will ward off any sort of foreign intervention (see North Korea), and might actually force the international community to support Tehran in an internal crisis due to the West's fear of what would happen to Iran's nuclear stockpile if the mullahs fell (see Pakistan). Whatever the merits of Western intervention in countries such as Iraq and Libya, these conflicts have shown Iran's leaders that obtaining a nuclear weapon is the only foolproof way to prevent something similar from happening in the Persian state.

 

Hoping that sanctions and economic distress will convince the Iranian people to overthrow their government, or force the regime to abandon its nuclear weapons program, is also naïve. During the 2009 Green Revolution, the Iranian government showed it was perfectly willing to murder and torture its own citizens to preserve power. Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was quoted as warning that Ayatollah Khamenei was wiling to murder 200,000 people in order to ensure the survival of his regime. Finally, as we've seen in North Korea, some leaders are perfectly happy to let their people starve if that's the price of a nuclear weapon.

 

The proof is in the pudding. Obama's sanctions against Iran have been in effect for years. What are the results? The IAEA says Iran is racing toward a nuclear weapon, Iran is supporting international terrorism at an unprecedented rate and Iran is almost singularly propping up the Assad regime (with an assist from Russia). Granted, President Obama does not possess the unilateral power to force Iran to alter its behaviour. But he has many tools at his disposal, and he must use them.

 

Obama must demonstrate that Iran will face serious, and real, consequences if the mullahs don't change course. Given the president's five-year policy of appeasement, as well as his recent speech promising to take America off of a war footing, this will be difficult. But it is possible.

 

If President Obama continues his failed policy, Iran will build a nuclear weapon, expand its support for international terror and continue to support the murder of innocent people in Syria, Israel, Europe and the United States (Iran is directly responsible for the death of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has encouraged terror attacks against Americans abroad). Americans, and President Obama, are rightly focused on the many problems facing us here at home. But a nuclear-armed, emboldened Iran demands greater attention.

 

David Meyers worked in the Bush White House from 2006 to 2009.

 

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SHADES OF “CHICKEN KIEV” IN SYRIA?

Max Boot

Commentary, June 2, 2013

 

I’m with the Wall Street Journal editorial page (and numerous conspiracy theorists throughout the Middle East): I’m starting to suspect that President Obama secretly wants Bashar Assad to hold onto power. How else to explain Obama’s continuing unwillingness to do much of anything to help the rebel forces even as they are being pushed back–possibly to the brink of defeat–by an offensive massively assisted by Iran and Hezbollah?

 

Assad long ago crossed with impunity Obama’s “red line” of using chemical weapons; Obama’s threats about what he would do if such weapons were employed now seem like more of a laugh line than a red line. Now Assad appears to be close to subduing the rebellion in a significant part of the country. And what does Obama do? He is convening a meeting in Geneva where Assad and the Iranians will get a seat alongside the Syrian opposition. The odds of Assad voluntarily removing himself from power through such an arrangement–which is what Obama has repeatedly called for–are about as the great as the odds of him converting to Judaism. It is hard to see what purpose such a meeting serves except to provide yet another excuse for American inaction.

 

Is Obama just being ultra-cautious–or does he actually think that an Assad victory is in our ultimate interest? It’s not such a far-fetched argument, since some Realpolitikers have convinced themselves that the rebels are so infiltrated by Islamist extremists that a continuation of Assad’s secular rule is a better bet. This is not a calculation I would make–I would be more alarmed about allowing the Khameini-Assad-Nasrallah axis to consolidate power, which would increase the threat to Israel, dispel any hopes of freeing Lebanon from Hezbollah’s grip, and cause moderate states such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia to view the U.S. as an unreliable ally and Iran as the “strong horse” in the Middle East. But it is precisely the kind of calculation that a cold-blooded and aloof president who has often in the past expressed his admiration for the “realist” foreign policy of George H.W. Bush may make.

 

Bush, recall, was the president who gave the infamous Chicken Kiev speech urging the Soviet Union to stay together in 1991 just at the moment when it was dissolving. The dissolution of the Evil Empire turned out to be in America’s interest–imagine how much more of a threat Putin would pose today if he controlled not only Russia but Ukraine (site of the Chicken Kiev speech), Central Asia, and other parts of the erstwhile Russian Empire. But the USSR’s breakup induced deep concern among stability-above-all realists–as did the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany. In a similar vein, Obama today appears petrified at change in Syria even though the existing regime is about as anti-American as it can possibly be.

 

At the very least if Obama really has decided that all of his previous rhetoric about toppling Assad no longer applies, he deserves to level with the American public about his change of heart instead of hiding behind the fiction that we support the anti-Assad forces in Syria.

 

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SAMANTHA POWER’S WORLD VIEW

Seth Mandel

Commentary, June 6,2013

 

Straight news reporting often produces humorous understatement. The reporting on President Obama’s new nominee to serve as ambassador to the United Nations–a position Obama had earlier made a Cabinet-level post–and her controversial past statements certainly resulted in such understatement. One example was the Times of Israel’s write-up of the nomination, which began: “A decade-old video of Samantha Power calling for the US to shift Israeli military aid to Ramallah and to deploy forces to protect Palestinians from IDF troops may prove a hurdle in the UN envoy nominee’s confirmation process.”

 

It is fair to say that calling for the U.S. to impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by installing a U.S.-led military occupation of Israel is a controversial thing to say–not to mention uncommonly stupid, even in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which produces a tremendous amount of stupidity from Israel’s antagonists. Some will defend Power by saying she gave this quote back in 2002. That is not a defence, because that was when Israel was defending itself from the Palestinian terror campaign of the second intifada and Power was suggesting the introduction of the U.S. military on the side of the terror masters. But the quote is actually worse than it seems, and here it is in full:

 

 I actually think in the Palestine-Israeli situation there’s an abundance of information and what we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism. What we need is a willingness to actually put something on the line in helping the situation. And putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import. It may more crucially mean sacrificing, or investing I think more than sacrificing, really billions of dollars not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine; investing billions of dollars it would probably take also to support I think what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old, you know, Srebrenica kind or the Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence.

 

Because it seems to me at this stage–and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses which we’re seeing there–but you have to go in as if you’re serious. You have to put something on the line. And unfortunately imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful, it’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But sadly, we don’t just have a democracy here either, we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide our policy–or they’re meant to anyway. And there, it’s essential that the same set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to people who are fundamentally, politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called “Sharafat.”

 

I mean, I do think in that sense that both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible, and unfortunately it does require external intervention which–very much like the Rwanda scenario, that thought experiment, if we had intervened early–any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism, but we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are becoming ever more pronounced.

 

You should watch the video to see her snide laughter when she speaks of ignoring Jewish voters. But even with just this transcript, it’s difficult to decide what’s the worst of it. Is it her casual comparison of the IDF’s anti-terror campaign to the violence that led to Srebrenica or the Rwandan genocide? Is it her dismissal of the moral question surrounding admittedly “fundamentally undemocratic” actions as irrelevant because “liberal democracy” requires the invasion of allies with whom we disagree? Is it her endorsement of Tom Friedman’s moral equivalence between Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon?

 

It’s really a tough call, because it’s all so astoundingly ignorant and malicious. What is clear, however, is that such a person should not be anywhere near the levers of power – so of course then-Senator Barack Obama, with his scant knowledge of foreign affairs and his ideological rigidity, hired Power to advise him on foreign policy during the lead-up to the 2008 presidential election. She was dropped from the campaign for calling Hillary Clinton a “monster,” but that was always going to be temporary for someone whose intellect, such as it is, attracts such admiration from our president.

 

That was far from the only controversial statement Power has made, of course. The Washington Free Beacon has compiled its list of Power’s greatest hits, but the most relevant one, aside from the call to invade Israel, was her call for a public reckoning of the American behavior that has caused anti-Americanism around the world and a public apology tour (sound familiar?). Though I suppose the risk of appointing Power to be our ambassador to the United Nations is limited, at least, by the fact that her ideas about America are already so prevalent there. At worst, she’ll simply be redundant.

 

 

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Ending U.S. War on Terror Requires Partners: Matthew Fisher, The Gazette, May 27, 2013—U.S. President Barack Obama promised on Thursday to end the perpetual war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001. President Barack Obama has pledged to scale back the use of unmanned military aircraft to eliminate enemies in the Middle East and South Asia.

 

The Region: Kerry’s Embarrassing ‘Peace Process’ Obsession: Barry Rubin, Jerusalem Post, June 9, 2013—There’s an old saying: it’s better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to speak and prove it. US Secretary of State John Kerry seems to have a bit of a problem in this regard. What is remarkable isn’t how Kerry has painted himself into a corner, not just staking his term as secretary of state on making Israel-Palestinian peace, but how he has done so in a matter of weeks.

 

State Dept. Shows Faint Signs of Dumping ‘Peace Process’: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, June 10th, 2013—U.S. State Dept. comments on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s scheduled return to Israel this year offer faint indications that the Obama administration, may finally be getting ready to tell the Palestinian Authority and Israel, “Go fight it out among yourselves and leave us alone.”

 

Mcmanus: Obama's Foreign Policy Reset: Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2013—The appointment of Susan Rice as national security advisor sends an important signal about the kind of foreign policy President Obama wants to pursue for the remainder of his second term: activist, assertive, occasionally even pugnacious. With three years to shape a legacy in world affairs, Obama wants to play offense, not defense.

 

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Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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

PEACE PROCESSORS (KERRY, TWO-STATERS) MISSING PIECES—FROM SAUDI PLAN’S DHIMMITUDE TO ISRAELI LEFT’S “ARCHIMEDEAN POINTS”

Download an abbreviated version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

 

John Kerry’s Plan: Still Missing a Peace: Elihu D. Richter, Times of Israel, April 8, 2013—Press reports hint that Secretary of State John Kerry is in Israel with a re-warmed version of the Saudi peace plan. His visit started at Yad Vashem, where, perhaps, he had the opportunity to ponder the catastrophic effects of the kind of incitement now pandemic in the entire Islamic world, including Saudi Arabia. The Holocaust, as we all should know, began with words. Secretary Kerry, your first mission is to work to eradicate the state sponsored incitement and hate language pandemic in the Islamic world. Israelis expect respect for human life and dignity, not dhimmitude.
 

Please … Draw Me a State: Shmuel Rosner, Latitude, New York Times, Apr. 3, 2013—When Barack Obama visited Israel two weeks ago he reiterated the U.S. government’s stock opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank: Such activity, he said, undermines peace. “On the other hand,” he added in Ramallah — and these were his words — “The core issue right now is, how do we get sovereignty for the Palestinian people and how do we assure security for the Israeli people?” That is to say, settlements no longer rank high on his agenda because “if we solve those two problems, the settlement problem will be solved.”
 

Keepers of the Two-State Faith: Dr. Emmanuel Navon, Arutz Sheva, March 13, 2013 —Israel’s self-proclaimed intellectuals will agree to grant you a certificate of intelligence only if you pledge allegiance to the two-state solution – and it was palpably evident at the Herzliya Conference – a Broadway show. “The Two State Religion.” It’s not about facts. It’s about faith. 

 

On Topic Links

 

Jewish Enclaves in a Palestinian State?: Gideon Biger and Gilead Sher, INSS Insight, Apr. 8, 2013
What Really Happened in Jerusalem: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Mar. 28, 2013
Borderline Views: the Obama and Kerry Map: David Newman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2013
Obama to Push Saudi “Destroy Israel” Peace Plan: Daniel Greenfield, Front Page Magazine, Ap. 8, 2013

 

 

 

JOHN KERRY’S PLAN: STILL MISSING A PEACE

Elihu D. Richter

Times of Israel, April 8, 2013

 

Press reports hint that Secretary of State John Kerry is in Israel with a re-warmed version of the Saudi peace plan. His visit started at Yad Vashem, where, perhaps, he had the opportunity to ponder the catastrophic effects of the kind of incitement now pandemic in the entire Islamic world, including Saudi Arabia. The Holocaust, as we all should know, began with words.

 

Until proven otherwise, The Saudi Plan – or ultimatum – offers 100 years of dhimmitude, the term for the protected but inferior and vulnerable status of non-Moslem religious and ethnic groupings in Islamic society. It purports to offer normal diplomatic and political relations between Israel and the entire Islamic world if Israel goes back to its 1948 borders and accepts the principle of repatriation of the Palestinian refugees. If Israel does not accept these terms, the subtext is quite clear: The Islamic world retains the option of remaining hostile to our existence.

 

This subtext rejects a self-evident principle: that Israel’s existence and security are, as Barack Obama has declared, sacrosanct. That principle derives from the UN resolutions of 1948 and 1967, and not any decision by our neighbours. Israel is the national home of a first nation returning to its native land. Its existence and security are not negotiable At best, the overseer of the Saudi Peace Plan would be Erdogan of Turkey, whose Ottomania frames us as one more dhimmi among subordinated ex-dhimmis….

 

Israelis have good reason to be sceptical about peace plans – but at the same time, to learn from the lessons of past failures and successes and go forward. While there is a cold peace with Egypt – now so fragile – and Jordan, more Israelis have been killed in the 15 years following the Oslo Accords than in the two previous decades of undeclared wars. Therefore the burden of proof is on those who deny that the Saudi plan offers something between dhimmitude at best and a staged dismantling of Israel as the Jewish national home – and turning a blind eye to genocidal terror and incitement to genocidal terror.

 

The plan contains no commitment to ending state sponsored incitement and hate language. The flag of Iran, now more powerful than any of the Arab countries, is one of 29 framing the PA announcement. But Iran’s promotion of genocidal motifs straight out of Mein Kampf, along with its terror directed at world Jewry and Israel, goes back to 1979, 35 years, or almost threefold the life span of the Nazi regime, a sign of intergenerational perpetuation….

 

Yet Iran, with its incitement and hate language, is merely one of several epicentres for state sanctioned, sponsored and supported anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism throughout the Arab and Islamic world. Since 2002, when the plan was first published, the Arab regimes, notably Saudi Arabia and Egypt, seem neither able nor willing to curb this toxic incitement in their media, mosques, school texts and Internet – a precondition for preparing their publics for a new era of mutual respect, tolerance and dignity. Saudi Arabia itself is a major producer of such vicious incitement and hate language in its mosques, political rhetoric, and official media. Because such incitement and hate language ensures the intergenerational transmission of hate, it means that diplomatic and political agreements the regimes will sign will not be sustainable.

 

Since 2002, the Arab League’s and League of Islamic Countries’ message to Israel refers to “normal relations between states.” But the messages to its own populations are still permeated with hate and incitement. None of the Arab states have banned distribution of Mein Kampf and they continue to spread propaganda based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They also continue to use UN diplomatic forums for delegitimizing Israel. Arab diplomats still engage in crude public attempts at delegitimization, such as at the Annapolis “peace summit,” where they refused to enter through the same door with Israeli diplomats. Lawfare and wordfare, not gunfare, are now the methods for promoting agendas explicitly deriving from Mein Kampf.

 

Such gestures, if anything, delegitimize their practitioners. State sanctioned incitement has been repackaged as anti-Zionism. Even the newly “moderate” West Bank PA still engages in varieties of soft incitement, such as omitting Israel from its maps and referring to tolerance in terms of the Islamic-Christian tradition, thus implicitly rendering Israel Judenrein. The plan says nothing about non-state actors, notably Hezbollah – for all practical purposes, an agent of Iran – and Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip, and what they will do, no matter what the leaders of Arab countries decide to sign on to.

 

The plan refers to rights to repatriation of the descendants of approximately 600,000 Palestinian refugees from 1949, but ignores the rights of some 870,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands and their descendants. Nor is there any reference to the effect of Arab pressures on the British Mandate in bringing about the White Paper, which was, for all practical purposes, a death sentence for millions of Jews caught in Hitler’s Europe. The harsh truth is that neither Palestinian nor Jewish survivors or descendants can return to the homes of their parents.

 

The appalling treatment of religious minorities by many Arab regimes is another reason for scepticism concerning the Saudi plan. Coptic and Assyrian Christians, Baha’is, Armenians, Yazdis and other minority religious group have experienced persecution, expulsions and genocidal mass atrocities in many of the 29 countries, notably Egypt, Iraq, Sudan and Iran. In the PA itself, since the Oslo Accords, the Christian population is rapidly diminishing. Here would be the elements of an Israeli answer to the billion or so people in the Arab and Islamic world.

 

The first requirement of any peace plan has to be respect for life and human dignity of all minorities in the region. This means respecting the sacrosanct status of Israel’s existence and security, and in parallel, stopping the persecution, overt and covert, of religious minorities and eliminating incitement and hate language in school texts, mosques and media. It means fostering more open and direct contacts based on respect for life, and promoting such contacts in matters which promote and protect life, not death: water technology, agriculture, renewable energy, public health and medicine.

 

Secretary Kerry, your first mission is to work to eradicate the state sponsored incitement and hate language pandemic in the Islamic world. Israelis expect respect for human life and dignity, not dhimmitude.

 

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PLEASE … DRAW ME A STATE
Shmuel Rosner

New York Times, Apr. 3, 2013
 

When Barack Obama visited Israel two weeks ago he reiterated the U.S. government’s stock opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank: Such activity, he said, undermines peace. “On the other hand,” he added in Ramallah — and these were his words — “The core issue right now is, how do we get sovereignty for the Palestinian people and how do we assure security for the Israeli people?” That is to say, settlements no longer rank high on his agenda because “if we solve those two problems, the settlement problem will be solved.”

 

The Palestinians didn’t like hearing this; they felt betrayed. As one Palestinian-American writer put it, dropping the demand for a settlement freeze as a precondition to peace talks “means that the next few years will be a settlement construction bonanza.” After all, Obama was the one who once made settlements the buck-stops-here issue; that was supposed to demonstrate his seriousness on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his willingness to pressure Israel for concessions. But after achieving little and reaping a lot of criticism, he has changed his position. And he expects Palestinians to toe his new line.

 

So why hasn’t the Israeli government been gloating? Post-Passover coma? Overriding worries about the national budget? Not wanting to be a bad sport after Obama’s first official visit as president? No, it’s just that Israeli officials know Obama’s shift is probably a pyrrhic victory. His approval ratings in Israel did go up following his visit and the Israeli government is happy to see Washington drop its demand that settlement construction be frozen, but Obama’s “major calibration” creates more problems for the Israeli government than it solves.

 

Basically, he replaced the contentious issue of settlements with an even more contentious matter: boundaries. As Obama explained in both Ramallah and Jerusalem, drawing the future border of a Palestinian state — “real borders that have to be drawn” — is the crux of the matter. Indeed. Jerusalem had good reasons to object to a settlement freeze — including for making the Palestinians less likely to compromise — but it also knew that any freeze would be, or could be, temporary and reversible. Drawing a border between a state and a would-be state is a far more significant step, and potentially far more permanent.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has always opposed presenting any possible map of Israel’s future borders with a Palestinian state. Even Ehud Olmert — a predecessor of Netanyahu’s and a much more conciliatory leader — wouldn’t leave an unsigned draft of such a map after presenting it to the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2008.

 

If settlements are about claiming disputed territory, delineating borders is about giving it up, which is a considerably more sensitive move. For Israel, drawing a map without first solving other core issues — the status of Jerusalem, the future of Palestinian refugees — is like using your last bargaining chip halfway through making a deal. Especially in his current coalition, which is built around a strange-bedfellow partnership of centrists and pro-settlers, Netanyahu can hardly be expected to survive politically if he gives up the country’s hand (and land) like this.

 

Netanyahu didn’t want to freeze settlements in the West Bank. But in letting him have his way on that, Obama seems to be asking for something even greater.

 

Shmuel Rosner, an editor and columnist based in Tel Aviv, is senior political editor for The Jewish Journal.

 

 

 

KEEPERS OF THE TWO-STATE FAITH

Dr. Emmanuel Navon

Arutz Sheva, March 13, 2013

 

Israel’s self-proclaimed intellectuals will agree to grant you a certificate of intelligence only if you pledge allegiance to the two-state solution – and it was palpably evident at the Herzliya Conference – a Broadway show. Attending the Herzliya Conference’s panel on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like following Woody Allen’s therapy through his movies: you know that the patient is hopeless and that the new movie is going to be a mere repetition of the previous one, and yet you maintain the ritual out of snobbism. This year’s panel, however, was more like a flashback. I felt like I was watching the ending scene of Mighty Aphrodite, when the Greek tragedy turns into a Broadway show.

 

The panel included seven speakers: Tzipi Livni (chairperson of the “Hatnuah” party), Shlomo Avineri (a Hebrew-U emeritus professor), Robert Danin (from the US Council on Foreign Relations), Michael Herzog (from the Washington Institute for Near East Policies), Yoaz Hendel (chairman of the Institute for Zionist Strategy), Nati Sharoni (chairman of the Council for Peace and Security), and Dani Dayan (former chairman of the Judea and Samaria Council). The moderator was Barak Ravid, the diplomatic correspondent of Haaretz….

 

Tzipi Livni (whose party represents 5% of the Knesset) opened her remarks by claiming that she speaks for the majority. Then she explained why the establishment of a Palestinian state is so urgent: soon Hamas will be in charge and when that happens signing a deal with the Palestinians will no longer be an option. Is Tzipi Livni aware of her argument’s silliness? If, as she herself admits, Hamas will eventually take over, what is the point of signing with Fatah today a deal that Hamas will trash tomorrow? But what is telling about Tzipi Livni (and about the “majority” she supposedly represents) is not her comical twisted logic, but the way she perceives Israel’s rights. She said that a peace agreement is the Archimedean point of Israel’s existence, and that peace grants legitimacy to Israel. In other words, Israel’s rights and existence are not sui generis, but are only valid if the world (especially Israel’s enemies) approve them.

 

Even Ehud Barak said during the Camp David negotiations in July 2000 that the Archimedean point of Israel’s existence (he used the very same expression) is the Temple Mount. For Tzipi Livni, this Archimedean point is neither divine nor historical (I suspect Ehud Barak was referring to the second option). Rather, Israel only has a right to exist if its critics agree to it.

 

Tzipi Livni has the same “externality” problem on a personal level, which is why she has metamorphosed over the years into the spokesperson of Haaretz. Precisely because Israel’s self-proclaimed intellectuals will agree to grant you a certificate of intelligence only if you pledge allegiance to the two-state solution, and precisely because Livni is an intellectual lightweight who suffers from an inferiority complex vis-à-vis the "branja" (the "in" group of "experts", ed.), she became more royalist than the king. Tellingly, Shlomo Avineri publicly congratulated her during the “debate” for joining the exclusive club of the enlightened ones after years of darkness in the Likud grotto.

 

“Exclusive club” was the expression used by Barak Ravid to describe those who support the two-state solution. This is typically how the Israeli Left tries to intimidate those who don’t toe the party line: we are the star-belly sneetches. Then Ravid harangued the audience about what he called “Israel’s Apartheid against the Palestinians” and claimed that, for this “apartheid” to end, a Palestinian state must be established as soon as possible in all of Judea and Samaria.

 

Robert Danin castigated the Israeli government for claiming that there is no partner for peace. When you keep telling people there is no partner, he said, they end up believing it. Danin didn’t discuss whether or not the PLO is a reliable partner for peace. His argument was not about history, but about psychology: if you can convince people that there is no partner for peace, then you can also convince them that there is a partner for peace. The truth or falsehood of the argument itself is irrelevant. What’s important is to believe. “The Two State Religion.” It’s not about facts. It’s about faith….

 

Michel Herzog made a point which I also find fantastic: we have to negotiate with the Palestinians so that we can say to ourselves and to the world that we tried. Well, what about Camp David in July 2000, what about Taba in December 2000, and what about the Olmert proposal to Abbas in 2008? Didn’t we try then? Hasn’t Herzog been around for the past twelve years?

 

Yoaz Hendel publicly confirmed that he agrees with Tzipi Livni (he had briefly considered running on her list for the 2013 Knesset elections). He also claimed that “the Israeli people accepts the two-state solution” (actually, over 50 MKs oppose it: 12 MKs from the Jewish Home, 28 MKs from Likud-Beitenu [if you exclude Netanyahu, Tzahi Hanegbi, and maybe Sylvan Shalom], and at least 2/3 of the 18 MKs from the two ultra-orthodox parties).

 

Nati Sharoni pledged to “get rid of the occupied territories” and played a short movie by Dror Moreh, the author of The Gatekeepers. The movie explains (with soft background music) how to ethnically cleanse Judea and Samaria from its Jews.

 

Danny Dayan claimed that a two-state solution is unreachable because the gap is too wide between the maximum that Israel is willing to offer and the minimum that the Palestinians are willing to accept (as proven by Abbas’ rejection of Olmert’s proposal). He suggested improving the status quo by granting the Palestinians full civil rights under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, while maintaining Israel’s exclusive security prerogatives.

 

To which Shlomo Avineri replied that Dayan’s proposal meant denying the Palestinians full national rights, and that this constitutes an injustice. Finally there was a debate (this was the only interesting part of the panel). The difference between Shlomo Avineri and Dani Dayan on this issue is not that wide: Avineri doesn’t really believe that a solution is possible, but he wants to keep trying nevertheless. Dayan really doesn’t believe that there is a solution, and thinks it isn’t worth anyone’s time to keep banging your head against the wall.

 

But the debate between the two raised an important question: is it legitimate to grant the Palestinians full civil rights, but to deny them national rights?

 

My answer to this question is positive, for four reasons.

 

First, because the “Palestinians” do not constitute a genuine people. They are part of the Arab nation, a nation that has 22 states.

 

Second, because the Palestinian narrative is a fraud and because the Archimedean point (to use that expression again) of “Palestinism” is the destruction of Israel.

 

Third, because the Palestinians openly admit that they won’t tolerate any Jewish minority in the “Palestinian state” (by contrast, there is a significant Arab minority in the Jewish state).

 

Fourth, because such a state would inevitably be militarized, it would incite its population (as the PA currently does) against Israel and the Jews, it would eventually be run by Hamas, and it would be an ally of Israel’s worst enemies (especially Iran).

 

So, yes, there are very good reasons to grant the Palestinian Arabs full civil rights, but to deny them national rights.

 

As the panel was coming to an end, Barak Ravid tried very hard to find out if Netanyahu might actually take concrete steps toward the establishment of a Palestinian state (the dream of the Israeli Left). Shlomo Avineri said he didn’t think so because of Netanyahu’s “revisionist” upbringing. Referring to Netanyahu, Avineri said the following: “Beware of people who are true believers, because true believers never admit that they are wrong.”

 

Well said, professor. You obviously didn’t realize that you were unintentionally ridiculing the “two-state” believers such as yourself. But I had a good laugh: thank you for turning the Greek tragedy into a Broadway show.

 

Dr. Emmanuel Navon heads the Political Science and Communications Department at the Jerusalem Orthodox College, and teaches International Relations at Tel-Aviv University and at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.

 

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On Topic

 

 

Jewish Enclaves in a Palestinian State?: Gideon Biger and Gilead Sher, INSS Insight, April 8, 2013 —A massive evacuation of settlements located outside the large settlement blocs, home to about 100,000 residents, will be necessary if future Israeli governments seek (or are required to) implement the principle implied by two states for two peoples.

What Really Happened in Jerusalem: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, March 28, 2013—“I honestly believe that if any Israeli parent sat down with those [Palestinian] kids, they’d say, ‘I want these kids to succeed.’ ” — Barack Obama, in Jerusalem, March 21. Very true. But how does the other side feel about Israeli kids?

Borderline Views: the Obama and Kerry Map: David Newman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2013—What is required is an innovative way of thinking about borders and their relationship to independence and citizenship.

Obama to Push Saudi “Destroy Israel” Peace Plan: Daniel Greenfield, Front Page Magazine, April 8, 2013—Obama’s love bombing trip to Israel was heavy on flattery and light on substance, but by the end of it Israel had been pressured into surrendering to Islamist Turkey and Hamas had gotten improved access to Israel. It was the first “accomplishment” of Obama’s trip. But not the last. 

 

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