What’s new is that neither Jerusalem nor Damascus can deny what’s going on any longer.
People I’ve spoken to in the Syrian capital are calling today’s blasts by far the biggest they’ve seen in more than two years of war – though fighting in and around the capital has not gone on quite that long as yet.
Huge explosions as a military training installation is hit, with presumably several secondary blasts caused by various ordnance detonating on the ground – that being the idea, if you take what Israel says at face value.
Syria calls it a “declaration of war” by Israel – though both countries remain technically at war anyhow. The Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad says Syria will respond in its own way at a time of its choosing.
So it is undoubtedly a major international escalation in the civil (but already quite internationalized) war, Damascus again pointing the finger at Islamic “terrorists” and adding this time that Israel is in cahoots with them. Yes – it stretches plausibility somewhat.
But what is really interesting is the timing. For these attacks by Israel come after a significant few weeks in which – in the central areas of the country, President Assad’s forces have made some notable strategic gains against the various rebel forces.
Alongside that, fighters from Hezbollah, coming in from Lebanon in the west to these central areas of fighting, have made a real impact on the ground.
It appears Israel has noted that and – under the guise of wishing to prevent the flow of arms from Syria to Hezbollah – has decided to act unilaterally.
Clearly there will be a degree of US greenlighting of all this – or at least enough for Israel to calculate that the dangerous gamble is worthwhile. But as I say, Israel was watching events closely on the ground and did not like one bit what they are showing.
On April 24th for instance, the Syrian Army seized Otaiba, which is just east of Damascus, after the usual sustained barrage. This punched a hole in the rebel supply lines via which they had been taking much of their fight to the northern, eastern and southern areas around the capital.
Across Damascus, other gains too: rebels more or less now pushed out to the far side of the city ring-road zone in most areas. This again is a significant reversal of fortunes on the ground.
Just two days later the army took their fight to Jobar, a key northeastern suburb of Damascus and one of the few areas in rebel hands inside the ring-road zone.
If they can push the rebels from here then almost all of the gains the rebel forces have made around the Damascus suburbs will have been neutralised. As ever, the key word is “if”…
Gains too in the central city of Homs. Rebel propagandists like to pretend this entire city has been under siege by the army. That is not true now. Never has been true.
The central area though, does remain under siege as it has for months and the civilian cost of this has been as brutal as in so many other areas.
But on balance, territorially, it is the army not the rebels who are gaining ground here.
Again, the Israelis have been watching this carefully. Not least because the Hezbollah influence in the fighting in areas particularly to the southwest of Homs – towards the Lebanese border, has been significant.
True, the rebel forces continue to gain ground in the north of the city and in the far south around Daraa – the cradle of the revolution.
But this is the strategic truth of it on the ground which Israel has noted carefully. It is this picture which has moved them to act and to bomb Syria in what, indisupatably, is an act of war by anybody’s standards of definition.
Source: Channel 4
I know some of you folks don’t shoot, but to the many of you who do, I would like to pose a question.
Have you tried to purchase any ammunition lately?
All calibers are disappearing from store shelves, but .22 long rifles, in bulk, can’t be found at all anywhere, even the most dependable internet super dealers are out of stock and are making no promises about when they’ll be available again, and it’s my opinion that soon the same thing will be true about the other calibers.
I readily admit that one of the reasons is that Barack Obama’s outright war on guns, the “feel good” juvenile antics of Governor Cuomo of New York and the childish Democrats in the Missouri and Wisconsin state legislatures have scared legal gun owners into stockpiling ammunition, justly fearing that it will get hard, if not impossible to get.
But, can somebody please tell me why Homeland Security and many other, supposedly benign government agencies have bought over two billion rounds and are ordering millions more of all calibers, even the smaller ones?
Why does a shoot-to-kill outfit like Homeland Security need tiny caliber bullets like .22′s that are made for hunting small game? Is Homeland Security going to start exterminating squirrels or rabbits, and why does an agency like Social Security need any kind of ammunition?
Is this a back door attempt at gun control, a way around a Congress that is scared to death of gun legislation? Another presidential backstreet move to have his way by hook or crook and blame it on free market demand? Just dry up the ammo and the guns will be useless?
My information is that the manufacturers are straining every nerve trying to keep up with the demand, but with Homeland Security commandeering so much of their production, the task is impossible.
Is this the beginning of the weaning of America?
It’s a scary scenario, but let me relate an even scarier one.
If the government can make bullets disappear from store shelves, why couldn’t it make food disappear, or fuel or medicine, or anything else for that matter?
The point being that big government can do just about anything they want to and there’s little the minority of us who fear it can do about it as long as the majority who don’t fear it keeps tripping down the primrose path with their heads in the clouds and their hands out.
There is a little known piece of legislation that passed Congress a while back called The Food Safety Modernization Act and the provisions are shadowy at best, having to do with agriculture and the production of food in America.
I checked into it when I found out about it only to find the bill had just cleared the Senate and was on President Obama’s desk. What struck me as strange was the fact that our two Tennessee Senators were split on the vote; Bob Corker voted against it and Lamar Alexander voted for it.
I was assured by Senator Alexander’s office that “Senator Alexander would never do anything to hurt the farmers.” Well, does that mean that Senator Corker would do something to hurt the farmers by voting against it? Which means that one of the Senators voted against the farmers of Tennessee. Which one?
The provisions of the bill are said to protect the food supply, but what does that mean when it’s taken out of government speak and translated into plain English?
Personally, I believe the government has taken upon itself the power to interrupt agriculture at any time it chooses under the guise of keeping tainted or otherwise unsafe food out of the market – up to, and including, the planting and harvesting of private home gardens.
The flow of medicine could easily be interrupted by claiming it contained impurities and harmful substances.
We’ve already seen how fuel can be rationed – just slow down the availability and delivery.
Big government can bring this nation to its knees in a matter of days. And, with a passive Senate and an ever more acquiescent Supreme Court, the power to do so is falling into the hands of one man.
Shaky ground for a free nation.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America
President Barack Obama’s Middle Eastern tour, scheduled for the end of March, has triggered a wave of intense speculation about its objectives in recent days. It centers on reports from Israeli sources that Obama will tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June.
The President will allegedly bring the message that Israel should “sit tight” and let the U.S. take the stage—even if that means remaining on the sidelines during an American military operation. It seems improbable, however, that an American president needs to make a 12,000-mile round-trip to provide such reassurance to a difficult partner whom he dislikes, and whose sentiments are fully reciprocated. Last year Obama had no qualms about turning down Netanyahu’s request for a meeting following the latter’s public criticism of the Administration for its reluctance to act against Iran. It is also unlikely that Obama would let Netanyahu know of his strategy so far in advance, even if the ‘window of opportunity’ claim was true.
As for the perennial issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is an even bet that Mr. Obama will not be able to kick-start the stalled ‘peace process.’ At most, notes The Economist, Israel may accept a partial freeze on settlement construction in exchange for a Palestinian pledge not to take Israel’s settlement activity to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Both sides are primarily interested in making the opponent take the blame for the continuing deadlock. Amos Yadlin—former military intelligence chief who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies in Jerusalem—aptly summarized the Israeli position when he said, “We have to submit a proposal to the Palestinians, a decent proposal, a fair proposal. If the Palestinians will accept it, it’s a win of peace. If they refuse—as we think they will—then at least we win the blame game and we can continue to shape our borders by ourselves without the need to wait for the Palestinians to agree.”
It is obvious that the new Israeli government does not envisage a two-state solution as the foundation of a “decent and fair” proposal. Netanyahu’s plans for settlement construction in annexed east Jerusalem would effectively cut the West Bank in two and force a fait accompli on the status of the Holy City that no Palestinian leader would ever accept. Further settlement construction is “the biggest single threat to the two-state solution,” and Netanyahu knows it. His move reflects his strategic vision: a lasting peace with the Arabs is not obtainable; the conflict is structurally irresoluble; and Israel’s security therefore demands open-ended maintenance of military superiority and physical control over as much territory as possible. Meaningless concessions may be made for PR purposes—a few Palestinian prisoners can be released here, further expansion of a few settlements may be suspended there—but Israel needs to manage the conflict by maintain the status quo for many years to come.
An important element of this strategy is the assumption that the United States will continue to support it politically, militarily, and financially. Quite apart from various moral and legal issues involved, the U.S. Government appears increasingly reluctant to condone Netanyahu’s vision—which is just as well, primarily because doing so would not be in the American interest, but also because the strategy of permanent conflict management is not in the interest of Israel’s long-term survival. Israel may seem strong and secure at the moment, but its position vis-à-vis its hostile Arab neighbors is steadily deteriorating.
The wave of political changes in the Arab world over the past two years has changed the security architecture of the Middle East to Israel’s detriment. One of its consequences is that in relation to Israel the new leaders are more representative of the wishes of their people. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s manipulation of the political process has enabled it to concentrate all power in its hands. President Mohamed Morsi’s skill and cunning ensured the Brotherhood’s victory at the forthcoming sham parliamentary election. For the time being, Morsi is paying lip service to the maintenance of the peace treaty with Israel. He knows that this is the precondition for continuing American aid to his country’s depleted coffers, but his long-term intentions are better reflected in his speech made nearly three years ago, in which he urged Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews. In a television interview months later, he blasted “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.” Denying Israel’s right to exist is a key pillar of the Brotherhood’s ideology and its activists murdered President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981 for signing that same peace treaty two years earlier. Nothing has changed in its position. Israel’s southwestern frontier is no longer secure; and if Bashar al-Assad falls in Syria, the same will apply to the northeastern frontier in the Golan.
With the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of the geographic, demographic and cultural center of the Arab world well-nigh irreversible, the entire Middle East is in turmoil. Libya is a failed state in which rival tribal militias and terrorist groups run the show outside central Tripoli and use its territory to launch attacks in Algeria. In Syria, the rebel movement is dominated by the Islamic People’s Brigade, the Islamic Dawn Movement, the Battalions of Islam, and many similar groups which share an ideology that includes a relentless hatred of Israel. If victorious, these seasoned foreign and home-grown jihadists will cause Israel to nostalgically remember three decades of peace in the Golan Heights under Bashar al-Assad and his father before him.
If the momentum of the past two years provides pointers for the future, by the end of this decade the Greater Middle East will be more firmly Islamic than at any time since the heyday of the Ottoman Empire under Suleyman, and thus more implacably anti-Israeli than ever. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan heralded the shift four years ago, and Turkey has rapidly morphed from Israel’s key strategic partner in the region into a hostile Islamic power. To take but one example, speaking the the United Nations on February 27 Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the international community to “put an end to the Palestinians’ suffering in the occupied territories” and urged the world “to put pressure on Israel to respect human dignity.”
Closer to Israel’s borders, it is only a matter of time before Morsi’s protégé, Hamas, prevails over the more moderate Fatah in the Palestinian power struggle. The precarious stability of Jordan—which has long acted as if it had not merely a nonbelligerency agreement, but a fully-fledged peace treaty with Israel —will be tested by sectarian tensions between East Bank Jordanians and Jordanians of Palestinian origin. King Abdullah’s reluctant reforms may create a revolution of rising expectations, and lead to yet another regime change detrimental to Israel’s interests. There will be no “peace process,” of course. With the storm clouds gathering around them, many Israelis will have reason to regret the support that Netanyahu’s friends in Washington had given to the Arab Islamic Winter.
Diplomatically, Israel is more isolated than ever since 1967. The settlement enterprise is not only a security liability, rather than an asset, but also a diplomatic millstone which materially contributed to the overwhelming UN vote in favor of Palestinian de facto statehood last fall. Since then, settlement policies have elicited a chorus of condemnation, including a call for sanctions against Israel by the European union. The unelected elite running the EU is inherently hostile to a state based on the principle of blood and religion, but its antagonism to Israel is further exacerbated by rising influence of the Muslim diaspora in several key EU countries, notably France, Germany and Britain. More significantly still, Chuck Hagel’s swift confirmation has exposed the growing weakness of pro-Israeli lobbying groups in Washington. Two years ago, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that “Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden.” Following the botched anti-Hagel campaign, increasing numbers of Washingtonian insiders are prone to agree with his assessment.
Demographic trends are another alarming aspect of Israel’s long-term geopolitical position, which has always been shaped by the implacable determinants of land and population. The Palestinians are adamantly insistent on the “right of return” of the descendants of some 700,000 refugees of 1948, and estimates indicate that there are more than four million of them in the PA and elsewhere in the Arab world. Over 90% of them reject the possibility of monetary compensation in lieu of that right. This is anathema to Israelis, as it would signal the end of the Jewish state, and the elusive two-state solution seems to offer the only viable defense from the demographic bomb. Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, the Jews are already in a minority. Since birth rates in the West Bank and Gaza remain much higher than in Israel, the Arab population of the Palestinian Authority will exceed the number of Israeli Jews by 2040. On current form, Arabs will account for a quarter of Israel’s population by that time, up from just over a fifth today.
Jewish immigration does not make much difference to the trend. It has oscillated between 15 and 20,000 over the past decade, the massive influx from the former USSR having dried up. It is noteworthy that considerably higher numbers of Jews are leaving—many of them highly skilled professionals. In 2011, the government estimated the number of Israeli citizens living abroad at between 800,000 and one million, representing up to 13% of the population.Consistent with the latter figure is the estimated one million Israelis in the Diaspora reported at the first global conference of Israelis living abroad, held in January 2011. According to the Foundation for the Middle East Peace, about 45 percent of the adult Israeli expatriates have completed at least a university degree, in contrast to 22 percent of the Israeli population. The Israeli emigrants are generally younger than the immigrants to Israel. Significantly, up to 60 percent of Israelis had approached or were intending to approach a foreign embassy to ask for citizenship and a passport. Analysts warn that it will be a challenge for Jewish Israelis to maintain their current dominant majority of approximately 75 percent, primarily due to higher fertility among non-Jewish Israelis — nearly one child per woman greater — the depletion of the large pool of likely potential Jewish immigrants, and large-scale Jewish Israeli emigration: “Consequently, demographic projections expect the Jewish proportion of the country—which peaked at 89 percent in 1957—to continue declining over the coming decades, approaching a figure closer to two-thirds of the population by mid-century.” As a commentator noted in the London Independent noted two years ago (“Will Israel Still Exist in 2048?”), with the early pioneering spirit fading, and even the Holocaust—dare one hazard—less of a unifying force, Israel is not the same country it was 60, 30, even 10 years ago:
And demography means that it will continue to change, with the Arab, Orthodox Jewish and second-generation Russian populations increasing much faster than other groups. The Israel of the next 30 years is likely to be more divided, less productive, more inward-looking and more hawkish than it is today—but without the financial means and unquestioning sense of duty that inspired young people to defend their homeland by force of arms.
The Palestinians believe that time is on their side. The young—one-half of the population—are angry, disillusioned and more radical than their parents. As Professor Menachem Klein of Bar Ilan University wrote last November, they see the ailing Palestinian Authority pegged down at bare subsistence levels, without state authority or geographical contiguity, an undeveloped economy totally dependent on Israel and foreign donors, and a Palestinian elite accorded VIP status in reward for its collaboration in maintaining the status quo:
Today there is no longer a sole Palestinian representative—Hamas is in the game too. Moreover, the talks singularly failed to produce a permanent settlement or end the occupation. On the contrary, the reality on the ground has changed for the worse, to the extent that among the New Palestinians belief in the in the two-state solution is rapidly dwindling. The young generation sees Abbas and his people at a loose end, with no practical program or longer term vision… The young people also hear him talking about non-violent resistance to the occupation, while doing virtually nothing to promote it. But the New Palestinians are already on a different wavelength.
These “New Palestinians,” increasingly drawn to Hamas in preference to the corrupt old Fatah elite, will present a greater threat to Israel’s future than their stone-throwing predecessors. They will never accept Israel’s West Bank barrier as a permanent fact of life. They will also be even more inclined than their elders to view the conflict in ontological terms—as a struggle not only for Palestinian rights and viable statehood, but also for the divinely ordained claims of the Ummah against the usurping unbelievers. It is only a matter of time before the “New Palestinians” start perceiving Israel’s rejection of the two-state model and the expansion of settlements as a welcome lapse of judgment, a single-state trap from which the Jewish state will find it hard to extricate itself. They hope that the expansion of the fortress state will eventually morph into one-state solution by other means.
They are no longer deterred or intimidated by Israel’s military superiority. The IDF performed poorly in southern Lebanon in 2006, showing itself poorly prepared for the “fourth generation warfare” against an elusive non-state opponent like Hezbollah. According to a Brookings Institution 2011 report, “The IDF’s poor performance on multiple levels—leadership, coordination, logistics, and fighting capabilities—undermined Israel’s much-prized deterrent factor, and led to the perception of defeat.” The same problem occurred in Gaza in late 2008, where Hamas could be beaten but not defeated, and with the Gaza flotilla raid in 2009, the political costs of which far exceeded the utility of keeping the city under tight naval blockade. The fact that Israel possesses nuclear weapons changes but little in the equation. Of eight other countries possessing the bomb, not one has ever been able to change the status quo in its favor by threatening to use it, let alone by using it. Worryingly for Israel, South Africa had developed its own nuclear arsenal in the 1980s—it has been dismantled since—but this did not enhance its government’s ability to resist the winds of change in the early 1990’s.
Netanyahu’s vision of a Greater Israel and his open-ended strategy of military containment do not take into account the shifting environment and changes within Israel, which make his approach unsustainable in the long term. From its inception Israel has faced numerous threats, but its ability to cope with them in the past does not mean that it will be able to do so indefinitely. The issue is not whether Israel should survive, but whether it has the wherewithal to survive on the basis of the flawed grand strategy to which its ruling political elite subscribes.
Damascus – Iran is expected to meet with other world powers in Astana, Kazakhstan to discuss its nuclear program. Discussions that the occupiers of Palestine fervently hope will not be successful. It is toward this end that their key demand this week to the US Congress, the White House and the European Union is “to cast responsibility on the Iranians by blaming them for the talks’ failure in the clearest terms possible.”
According to the Al-Monitor of 3/19/13, Israel also demands that the countries meeting in Kazakhstan “make it perfectly clear that slogans such as ‘negotiations can’t go on forever’ are their marching orders to the White House, and they want the Kazakhstan attendees to act “so severely that the Iranians realize that they face a greater threat than just Israeli military action.” “The message must be that this time the entire west, behind Israel’s leadership, is contemplating the launch of a massive military action.” Unsaid is that “the entire West” is expected to confront Iran militarily while Tel Aviv’s forces will mop up Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Syria if necessary.
Pending the above arrangements, Israel this week is further demanding that the Obama White House issue another Executive Order dramatically ratcheting up the US-led Sanctions against Iran and Syria while it prepares for a hoped for “ game changing international economic blockade, including no-fly zones enforced by NATO.
To achieve yet another lawyer of severe sanctions, and at the behest of AIPAC, a “legislative planning” meeting was called by Congressman Eliot Engel, who represents New Yorks 17th District (the Bronx) and who is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (Florida’s 27th District), Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. The session was held in a posh Georgetown restaurant and participant’s included representatives from AIPAC, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain plus half a dozen Congressional staffers.
Congressman Engel has co-sponsored virtually every anti-Arab, anti-Islam, anti-Palestinian, anti-Iran, and anti-Syrian Congressional broadside since he entered Congress a quarter-century ago. His campaign literature last fall stated: “I am a strong supporter of sanctions against those who repeatedly reject calls to behave as responsible nations. (Israel excepted-ed). I have authored or helped author numerous bills which have been signed into law to impose sanctions against rogue states including Iran and Syria.” Ros-Lehtinen and Engel led all members with AIPAC donations on the House side in last fall’s Congressional elections. They are ranked number one and two respectively as still serving career recipients of Israel-AIPAC’s “indirect” campaign donations.
Some Congressional operatives accuse Rep. Ros-Lehtinen of being a bit lazy and neglecting the bread and butter needs of her Florida constituents. But others argue that it depends on which constituents one has in mind. Her election mailings and her Congressional website claim that the Congresswoman “led all Congressional efforts tirelessly to generate votes to block what she views as anti-Israel resolutions offered at the former UN Commission on Human Rights.”
A big fan of US-led sanctions against Iran and Syria, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen introduced the Iran Freedom Support Act on January 6, 2005, which increased sanctions and expanded punitive measures against the Iranian people until the Iranian regime has dismantled its nuclear plants. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen also introduced H.R. 957, the Iran Sanctions Amendments Act, which she claims “will close loopholes in current law by holding export credit agencies, insurers, and other financial institutions accountable for their facilitation of investments in Iran and sanction them as well.” In addition, H.R. 957 seeks to impose liability on parent companies for violations of sanctions by their foreign entities. She also co-sponsored H.R 1357 which requires “U.S. government pension funds to divest from companies that do any business with any country that does business with Iran.” Her campaign literature states that, “She was proud to be the leading Republican sponsor of H.R. 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act. This bill applies and enhances a wide range of additional sanctions.”
In addition, last year Illeana introduced H.R. 394, which enlarges US Federal Court Jurisdiction regarding claims by American citizens their claims in U.S. courts. Unclear is whether she realizes that one consequence of her initiative would be to open even wider US courtroom doors to Iranian-Americans and Syria-Americans who today are being targeted and damaged by the lady’s ravenous insatiable craving for civilian targeting economic sanctions.
But Ileana and Elliot appear to be fretting.
So is Israel.
The reasons are several and they include the fact that the US-led sanctions have failed to date to achieve the accomplishments they were designed to produce. These being to cripple the Iranian economy, provoke a popular protest among the Iranian people over inflation and scarcity of food and medicines, weaken Iran as much as possible before adopting military measures against it, and, most essentially, achieving regime change to turn the clock back to those comfortable days of our submissive, compliant Shah.
Zionist prospects for Syria aren’t any better at the moment. Tel Aviv’s to intimidate the White House into invading Syria have not worked. Plan A has failed miserably according to the Israeli embassy people attending the Engel-Ros Litinen’s informal conflab. Neither did the “how about we just arm the opposition” plan that originated last year with David H. Petraeus and was supported by Hillary Clinton while being pushed by AIPAC. The goal was to create allies in Syria that the US and Israel could control if Mr. Assad was removed from power. Moreover, the White House believes that there are no good options for Obama. It has vetoed 4 recent Israeli proposals including arming the rebels and is said to believe that Syria is already dangerously awash with “unreliable arms.”
The recent shriveling of Israeli prospects for a dramatic Pentagon intervention in Syria reflect White House war weariness. And also Israel’s predilection to bomb targets itself in Syria, as it did recently to assassinate a senior Iranian officer in the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Hassan Shateri. Contrary to the false story that Israel attacked a missiles convoy, some unassembled equipment was damaged but that was not the primary target according to Fred Hof, a former U.S. State Department official. Gen. Shateri was.
Making matters worse for Tel Aviv, the Israeli military is reportedly becoming skittish due to its deteriorating political and military status in the region and its troops have recently completed subterranean warfare drills to prepare them for a potential clash with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the Jerusalem Post reported on 2/20/13. “Today during training, we simulated a northern terrain, that included what we might encounter,” Israeli Lt. Sagiv Shoker, commander of a military Reconnaissance Unit of the Engineering Corps, based at the Elikim base in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon explained. Shoker added that his units spent a week focused on how to approach Hezbollah’s alleged underground bunkers and tunnels in South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley quietly and quickly. Israeli forces commander Gantz has been complaining recently to the Israeli cabinet that Hezbollah Special Forces are gaining much valuable experience in Syria fighting highly skilled and motivated al Nusra jihadists and his troops may not be prepared to face them on the battlefield if a conflict erupts. It has been known since 2006 that Israeli soldiers “are having motivation deficits” as Gantz and others have complained.
Ordinary citizens in Iran and Syria with whom this observer met recently, including some with whom he has shared lengthy conversations while posing many questions, cannot ignore the burden of the US-led sanctions in various aspects of their lives. Nor can the Iranian or Syrian governments or their economic institutions. At the beginning of the summer of 2010, and even more so since the summer of 2012, the US-led civilian targeting sanctions imposed were significantly tightened by the Obama administration and its allies. The administration realized that the sanctions imposed on Iran until then were ineffective and understood that Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear power capability would quickly leave the US with no alternative than the acceptance of a nuclear Iran. But the administration, according to former State Department official Hof, believed that unless it took more drastic measures against Iran, Israel would launch a military strike against Iran which would likely destroy Zionist Israel- a prospect not every US official and Congressional staffer privately laments. Congressional sources report that the White House now feels that Iran has achieved deterrence and that Israel would be dangerously foolhardy to attack the country.
While Israel advocates an economic blockade of Iran and Syria, under binding rules of international and US law, economic blockades are acts of war. They are variously defined as surrounding a nation with hostile forces, economic besieging, preventing the passage in or out of a country of civilian supplies or aid. It is an act of naval warfare to block access to a country’s coastline and deny entry to all vessels and aircraft, absent a formal declaration of war and approval of the UN Security Council.
All treaties to which America is a signatory, including the UN Charter, are binding US law. Chapter VII authorizes only the Security Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, or act of aggression (and, if necessary, take military or other actions to) restore international peace and stability.” It permits a nation to use force (including a blockades) only under two conditions: when authorized by the Security Council or under Article 51 allowing the “right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member….until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.”
As International law Professor Francis Boyle reminds us, Customary International Law recognizes economic blockades as an act of war because of the implied use of force even against third party nations in enforcing the blockade. Writes Boyle, “Blockades as acts of war have been recognized as such in the Declaration of Paris of 1856 and the Declaration of London of 1909 that delineate the international rules of warfare.” America approved these Declarations, thereby are became binding US law as well “as part of general international law and customary international law.” US presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy, called economic blockades acts of war.
So has the US Supreme Court.
In Bas v. Tingy (1800), the US Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of fighting an “undeclared war” (read extreme economic sanctions). It ruled the seizure of a French vessel (is) an act of hostility or reprisal. The Court cited Talbot v. Seaman (1801) in ruling that “specific legislative authority was required in the seizure. In Little v. Barreme (1804), the Court held that “even an order from the President could not justify or excuse an act that violated the laws and customs of warfare. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that a captain of a United States warship could be held personally liable in trespass for wrongfully seizing a neutral Danish ship, even though” presidential authority ordered it.
“The Prize Cases” (1863) is perhaps the most definitive US Supreme Court ruling on economic blockades requiring congressional authorization. The case involved President Lincoln’s ordering “a blockade of coastal states that had joined the Confederacy at the outset of the Civil War. The Court….explicitly (ruled) that an economic blockade is an act of war and is legal only if properly authorized under the Constitution.”
Iran and Syria pose no threat to the US or any peaceful law abiding nation. Imposing a blockade against either violates the UN Charter and settled international humanitarian laws as well as US law. It would constitute an illegal act of aggression that under the Nuremberg Charter is the designated a “supreme international crime” above all others. It would render the Obama administration and every government of other participating nations criminally liable.
Contrary to what the occupiers of Palestine may fantasize, if the White House wants an economic blockade of Iran or Syria it must declare war, letting the American people be heard on the subject and convince the UN Security Council to pass a UNSCR under Chapter 7.
The White House cannot legally, morally or consistently with claimed American humanitarian values continue to target civilian populations with economic sanctions on the cheap.
Hollywood And The Past…
History is commonly regarded as an attempt to produce a structured account of the past. It proclaims to tell us what really happened, but in most cases it fails to do that. Instead it is set to conceal our shame, to hide those various elements, events, incidents and occurrences in our past which we cannot cope with. History, therefore, can be regarded as a system of concealment. Accordingly, the role of the true historian is similar to that of the psychoanalyst: both aim to unveil the repressed. For the psychoanalyst, it is the unconscious mind. For the historian, it is our collective shame.
Yet, one may wonder, how many historians really engage in such a task? How many historians are courageous enough to open the Pandora Box? How many historians are brave enough to challenge Jewish History for real? How many historians dare to ask why Jews? Why do Jews suffer time after time? Is it really the Goyim who are inherently murderous, or is there something unsettling in Jewish culture or collectivism? But Jewish history is obviously far from being alone here: every people’s past is, in fact, as problematic. Can Palestinians really explain to themselves how is it that after more than a century of struggle, they wake up to find out that their current capital has become a NGO haven largely funded by George Soros’ Open Society? Can the Brits once and for all look in the mirror and explain to themselves why, in their Imperial Wars Museum, they erected a Holocaust exhibition dedicated to the destruction of the Jews? Shouldn’t the Brits be slightly more courageous and look into one of the many Shoas they themselves inflicted on others? Clearly they have an impressive back catalogue to choose from.
The Guardian vs. Athens
The past is dangerous territory; it can induce inconvenient stories. This fact alone may explain why the true Historian is often presented as a public enemy. However, the Left has invented an academic method to tackle the issue. The ‘progressive’ historian functions to produce a ‘politically correct’, ‘inoffensive’ tale of the past. By means of zigzagging, it navigates its way, while paying its dues to the concealed and producing endless ad-hoc deviations that leave the ‘repressed’ untouched. The progressive subject is there to produce a ‘non- essentialist’ and ‘unoffending’ account of the past on the expense of the so-called ‘reactionary’. The Guardian is an emblem of such an approach, it would, for instance, ban any criticism of Jewish culture or Jewishness, yet it provides a televised platform for two rabid Zionist so they can discuss Arab culture and Islamism. The Guardian wouldn’t mind offending ‘Islamists’ or British ‘nationalists’ but it would be very careful not to hurt any Jewish sensitivities. Such version of politics or the past is impervious to truthfulness, coherence, consistency or integrity. In fact, the progressive discourse is far from being ‘the guardian of the truth’, it is actually set as ‘the guardian of the discourse’ and I am referring here to Left discourse in particular.
But surely there is an alternative to the ‘progressive’ attitude to the past. The true historian is actually a philosopher – an essentialist – a thinker who posits the question ‘what does it mean to be in the world and what does it take to live amongst others’? The true historian transcends beyond the singular, the particular and the personal. He or she is searching for the condition of the possibility of that which drives our past, present and future. The true historian dwells on Being and Time, he or she is searching for a humanist lesson and an ethical insight while looking into the poem, the art, the beauty, the reason but also into the fear. The true historian is an essentialist who digs out the concealed, for he or she knows that the repressed is the kernel of the truth.
Leo Strauss provides us with a very useful insight in that regard. Western civilization, he contends, oscillates between two intellectual and spiritual poles – Athens and Jerusalem. Athens — the birthplace of democracy, home for reason, philosophy, art and science. Jerusalem — the city of God where God’s law prevails. The philosopher, the true historian, or the essentialist, for that matter, is obviously the Athenian. The Jerusalemite, in that regard, is ‘the guardian of the discourse’, the one who keeps the gate, just to maintain law and order on the expense of ecstasies, poesis, beauty, reason and truth.
Spielberg vs. Tarantino
Hollywood provides us with an insight into this oscillation between Athens and Jerusalem: between the Jerusalemite ‘guardian of the discourse’ and the Athenian contender – the ‘essentialist’ public enemy. On the Left side of the map we find Steven Spielberg, the ‘progressive’ genius. On his Right we meet peosis itself, Quentin Tarantino, the ‘essentialist’.
Spielberg, provides us with the ultimate sanitized historical epic. The facts are cherry picked just to produce a pre meditated pseudo ethical tale that maintains the righteous discourse, law and order but, most importantly, the primacy of Jewish suffering (Schindler’s List and Munich). Spielberg brings to life a grand epic with a clear retrospective take on the past. Spielberg tactic is, in most cases, pretty simple. He would juxtapose a vivid transparent binary opposition: Nazis vs. Jews, Israeli vs. Palestinians , North vs. South, Righteousness vs. Slavery. Somehow, we always know, in advance who are the baddies and who are the goodies. We clearly know who to side with.
Binary opposition is indeed a safe route. It provides a clear distinction between the ‘Kosher’ and the ‘forbidden’. But Spielberg is far from being a banal mind. He also allows a highly calculated and carefully meditated oscillation. In a universalist gesture of courtesy he would let a single Nazi into the family of the kind. He would allow the odd Palestinian to be a victim. It can all happen as long as the main frame of the discourse remains intact. Spielberg is clearly an arch guardian of discourse – being a master of his art-form, he will certainly maintain your attention for at least 90 minutes of a historic cinematic cocktail made of factual mishmash. All you have to do is to follow the plot to the end. By then the pre-digested ethical message is safely replanted at the hub of your self-loving narcissistic universe.
Unlike Spielberg, Tarantino is not concerned with factuality; he may even repel historicity. Tarantino may as well believe that the notion of ‘the message’ or morality are over rated. Tarantino is an essentialist, he is interested in human nature, in Being and he seems to be fascinated in particular in vengeance and its universality. For the obvious reasons, his totally farfetched Inglorious Bastards throws light on present Israeli collective blood thirstiness as being detected at the time of Operation Cast lead. The fictional cinematic creation of a revengeful murderous WWII Jewish commando unit is there to throw the light on the devastating contemporary reality of Jewish lobbies’ lust for violence in their relentless push for a world war against Iran and beyond. But Inglorious Bastards may as well have a universal appeal because the Old Testament’s ‘eye for and eye’ has become the Anglo American political driving force in the aftermath of 9/11.
Abe’le vs. Django
What may seem as a spiritual clash between Jerusalemite Spielberg and Athenian Tarantino is more than apparent in their recent works.
The history of slavery in America is indeed a problematic topic and, for obvious reasons, many aspects of this chapter are still kept deeply within the domain of the concealed. Once again Spielberg and Tarantino have produced a distinctively different accounts of this chapter.
In his recent historical epic Lincoln, Spielberg, made Abraham Lincoln into a Neocon ‘moral interventionist’ who against all (political) odds, abolished slavery. I guess that Spielberg knows enough American history to gather that his cinematic account is a crude Zigzag attempt, for the anti slavery political campaign was a mere pretext for a bloody war driven by clear economical objectives.
As one may expect, Spielberg peppers his tale with more than a few genuine historical anecdotes. He is certainly paying the necessary dues just to keep the shame shoved deep under the carpet. His Lincoln is cherished as a morally driven hero of human brotherhood. And the entire plot carries all the symptoms of contemporary AIPAC lobby assault within the Capitol. Being one of the arch guardians of the discourse, Spielberg has successfully fulfilled his task. He added a substantial cinematic layer to ensure that America’s true shame remains deeply repressed or shall we say, untouched.
Needles to mention that Spielberg’s take on Lincoln has been cheered by the Jewish press. They called the president Avraham Lincoln Avinu (our father, Hebrew) in The Tablet Magazine. ‘Avraham’, according to the Tablet, is the definitive good Jew. “As imagined by Spielberg and Kushner, Lincoln’s Lincoln is the ultimate mensch. He is a skilled natural psychologist, an interpreter of dreams, and a man blessed with an extraordinarily clever and subtle legal mind.” In short, Spielberg’s Lincoln is Abe’le who combines the skills, the gift and the traits of Moses, Freud as well as Alan Dershowitz. However, some Jews complain about the film. “As an American Jewish historian, writes Lance J. Sussman, “I’m afraid I have to say I am somewhat disappointed with the latest Spielberg film. So much of it is so good, but it would have been even better if he had put at least one Jew in the movie, somewhere.”
I guess that Spielberg may find it hard to please the entire tribe. Quentin Tarantino, however, doesn’t even try. Tarantino is, in fact, doing the complete opposite. Through a phantasmic epic that confesses zero interest in any form of historicity or factuality whatsoever, he manages, in his latest masterpiece Django Unchained, to dig out the darkest secrets of Slavery. He scratches the concealed and judging by the reaction of another cinematic genius Spike Lee, he has clearly managed to get pretty deep.
By putting into play a stylistic spectacle within the Western genre Tarantino manages to dwell on every aspect we are advised to leave untouched. He deals with biological determinism, White supremacy and cruelty. But he also turns his lens onto slaves’ passivity, subservience and collaboration. The Athenian director builds here a set of Greek mythological God like characters; Django (Jamie Fox), is the unruly king of revenge and Schultz (Christoph Waltz) the German dentist turned bounty hunter is the master of wit, kindness and humanity with a giant wisdom tooth shining over his caravan. Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the Hegelian (racist) Master and Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) is the Hegelian Slave, emerging as the personification of social transformation. To a certain extent, the relationships between Candie and Stephen could be seen as one of the most profound yet subversive cinematic takes on Hegel’s master-slave dialectic.
In Hegel’s dialectic two self-consciousness’ are constituted via a process of mirroring. In Django Unchained, Stephen the slave, seems to convey the ultimate form of subservience, yet this is merely on the surface. In reality Stephen is way more sophisticated and observant than his master Candie. He is on his way up. It is hard to determine whether Stephen is a collaborator or if he really runs the entire show. And yet in Tarantino’s latest, Hegel’s dialectic is, somehow, compartmentalized. Django, once unchained, is clearly impervious to the Hegelian dialectic spiel. His incidental liberation induces in him a true spirit of relentless resilience. When it comes to it, he kills the Master, the Slave and everyone else who happens to be around, he bends every rule including the ‘rules of nature’ (biological determinism). By the time the epic is over, Django leaves behind a wreckage of the Candie’s plantation, the cinematic symbol of the dying old South and the ‘Master Slave Dialectic’. Yet, as Django rides on a horse towards the rising sun together with his free wife Broomhilda von Shaft (Kerry Washington), we are awakened to the far fetched cinematic fantasy. In reality, I mean the world out of the cinema, the Candie’s plantation would, in all likelihood, remain intact and Django would probably be chained up again. In practice, Tarantino cynically juxtaposes the dream (the cinematic reality) and reality (as we know it). By doing so he manages to illuminate the depth of misery that is entangled with the human condition and in Black reality in America in particular.
Tarantino is certainly not a ‘guardian of the discourse.’ Quite the opposite, he is the bitterest enemy of stagnation. As in his previous works, his latest spectacle is an essentialist assault on correctness and ‘self-love’. Tarantino indeed turns over many stones and unleashes many vipers into the room. Yet being a devout Athenian he doesn’t intend to produce a single answer or a moral lesson. He leaves us perplexed yet cheerful. For Tarantino, I guess, dilemma is the existential essence. Spielberg, on, the other hand, provides all the necessary answers. After all, within the ‘progressive’ politically-correct discourse, it is the answers that determine, in retrospective, what questions we are entitled to raise.
If Leo Strauss is correct and Western civilization should be seen as an oscillation between Athens and Jerusalem, truth must be said – we can really do with many more Athenians and their essentialist reflections. In short, we are in a desperate need of many more Tarantinos to counter Jerusalem and its ambassadors.
My friend RJ at http://www.topplebush.com/ just sent me a very interesting riddle: “Why are right-wingers always talking about cutting down on government spending and’red tape’ yet never ever try to cut down on military spending? Aren’t the armed forces part of the government too?” Ya got me stumped there.
Here’s another riddle I can’t seem to solve: How come us salt-of-the-earth American types who protest against all the banksters’ outrageous crimes get thrown in jail, while the criminals themselves are given ”get out of jail free” cards like it was Christmas? Except, of course, for Martha Stewart.
More riddles: “Why is it okay for Al Qaeda to be the good guys in Syria and Libya — but are the bad guys in Lower Manhattan?” I’m all confused.
Why is it okay to tax middle-income Americans for an arm and a leg but not okay to tax rich people? “I wonder.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?
How come everybody bitches and moans about the obesity epidemic and the cancer epidemic and the heart attack epidemic and the autism epidemic and the bi-polar epidemic but still live on junk food, never exercise and watch too much TV? And still have enough balls left to complain about single-payer healthcare? Can someone please explain this? http://www.indiegogo.com/
How come American taxpayers get to pay for the costs of demolishing Christian and Muslim homes in East Jerusalem yet can’t get any tax relief when our own homes are being demolished in Detroit and Cincinnati?
How come statistics (and election results and Fox News) show that Americans are definitely being dumbed down these days, but no one wants to spend any money on improving American kindergartens — let alone on upgrading our colleges. What ever happened to Sputnik?
Why do people fear climate change so much but still happily drive their gas-hogs around like there’s no tomorrow?
How come I can’t resist playing free-cell solitaire by the hour when I should be out doing the laundry and saving the world?
How can anybody in their right mind vote for any candidate that spends millions of dollars on getting elected? You would think that if a politician had that kind of money he (or she) might want to just retire to the Bahamas. Or give it to us.
“Why does America need to own approximately 800 military bases throughout the ’Free World’?” Hell, if the freaking world is all that free, surely it doesn’t need all those American soldiers to keep it in line? And why does all this so-called freedom always end up costing us taxpayers trillions of dollars as well?
And how come most of “our” jobs are now located in places like China, Haiti and Burma? Isn’t that a really long commute?
And please explain the riddle of how all the top American industrial jobs here at home are now mostly being performed by prison labor? While the 1% sucks down Oxycontin and Prozac legally and the rest of us all get busted for using medical marijuana — just to make sure they have a large enough prison labor supply in jails?
And why are American labor unions that help the working class being given such a bum rap, but when Wall Street and War Street form unions that destroy the fabric of America’s economy, it’s called “Capitalism” and “Showing Initiative” – not welfare for the rich?
And why are the RepubliDems always saying that the fiscal cliff is a bad thing? If it is spozed to be such a terrible disaster, then why in the freak did they create it in the first place?
And why does 2013 still feel so much like 2012?
Speaking in Dublin last Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that a new effort was under way by “oppressive governments” to “re-Sovietize” Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She took a stab at Russia and her regional allies for their alleged crackdown on democracy and human rights, only hours ahead of meeting Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss Syria and other issues of mutual concern.
Addressing a group of “civil society advocates” on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers’ meeting, Clinton decried a wave of repressive tactics and laws aimed at curtailing U.S. “outreach efforts” in Russia, Belarus, Turkmenistan, and other Soviet successor states. “There is a move to re-Sovietize the region,” Clinton declared. “It’s not going to be called that. It’s going to be called customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that,” she said, alluding to Moscow’s initiatives for greater regional integration. “But let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.”
To support her claims Clinton presented one Igor Kochetkov, an activist with the “Russian LGBT Network”—a homosexual advocacy group financed by U.S. taxpayer money—who declared that Russian authorities were stifling the discussion of discrimination based on sexual orientation. She also produced one Olga Zakharova, supposedly a journalist, who said that the use of social media was being restricted by the Russian authorities. Clinton warned that there is a concerted effort under way to eliminate American and international assistance to such human rights advocates.
It is noteworthy that the “Eurasian Union and all of that” is, in Clinton’s view, a neo-Soviet project primarily designed to violate human rights as she defines them. In fact the Eurasian Union (EAU) is a project of regional political and economic integration openly modeled on the European Union. It was first suggested by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1994, and the idea was revived by Russia’s then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in October 2011. The following month the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement to establish the EAU by 2015. The agreement included the blueprint for the future integration and established the Eurasian Commission—clearly emulating the European Commission in Brussels—which started work on the first day of this year.
Clinton’s pledge to throw a spanner into this project—“we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it,” as she put it—reflects her dangerous arrogance. Her ability to do anything of the kind is limited, however, and if she believes otherwise she is deluded. More seriously, there is no rational reason for the United States to oppose regional integration of post-Soviet countries. The EAU is not a threat to American interests—unless those interests are defined as open-ended, full-spectrum dominance over the planet. She is unnecessarily throwing down the gauntlet and thus undermining a cooperative relationship with Russia, which in view of America’s many challenges in the greater Middle East and in the Pacific region—not to mention the disengagement from Afghanistan—should be among our top foreign policy priorities.
Secretary of State’s complaint about Russia’s “repressive tactics” aimed at curtailing U.S. “outreach efforts” is hypocritical in the extreme. She was alluding to a recently enacted law regulating the work of Russian regime-change focused “NGOs” funded by the U.S. taxpayer money, and funneled through organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and the National Democratic Institute. In fact the Russian law regulating such activities was patterned directly on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which regulates activities of foreign governments in the United States. FARA would require full public disclosure of those same activities that the U.S. Department of State has been lavishly funding in Russia during Clinton’s tenure. She is forgetting that the Federal Election Campaign Act flatly prohibits foreign involvement in American political process that she regards as legitimate and desirable when conducted in Russia by Washington’s protégés under the guise of promoting democracy.
As for the restrictions on social media, Russia blacklists websites devoted to drug use, suicide promotion and paedophilia. The government was accused of using the law as a tool for censorship after two—two—popular sites were banned. We may take Clinton’s criticism seriously when she expresses similar concern over Internet censorship by our NATO ally Turkey—which bans access to thousands of sites—or by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which block access to all sites which engage in the criticism of those countries’ governments, not to mention those “deemed offensive to Islam.”
Hillary Clinton’s performance in Dublin reinforces my view (see the September 2012 issue of Chronicles) that she is the worst secretary of state in U.S. history. The substance and style of her foreign policymaking have undermined the national security of the United States. Her standing abroad is abysmal. It ranges from raw hate in the Muslim world—Egyptian protesters threw tomatoes and shoes at her motorcade last July—to contempt (Jerusalem), eye-rolling irritation (Moscow, Beijing, most of Latin America), or grudging endurance (Europe).
Clinton has abused her position in pursuit of a radical ideological outlook formed in the late 1960’s. Her disregard for long-established international norms and mechanisms is as revolutionary on the global scene as Obama’s presidency is domestically. She has undermined this country’s national security in various ways—her support for the misnamed Arab Spring, her Syrian policy, her Russian policy, her Balkan policy, her obsessive advocacy of “gay rights” in traditionally Christian countries—but the roots of those decisions are in her view of the United States as an ideological proposition. She does not see America as a real country populated by real people, whose security interests are rationally quantifiable on the basis of tangible costs and benefits. “When I ask people, ‘What do you think the goals of America are today?’ people don’t have any idea,” she told MSNBC in 2007. “We don’t know what we’re trying to achieve. And I think that in a life or in a country you’ve got to have some goals.”
The notion of a country having “goals” is the product of an un-American, corporatist, liberal-fascist paradigm that demands permanent cultural revolution at home and permanent “engagement” abroad. The result is a foreign policy that is part-Ribbentrop, part-New Age. Any outcome desired by Hillary Clinton becomes nonnegotiable; any opposition to it is more than a personal affront; it is an insult to “history.” To lie for the higher truth is a virtue, and to enforce the lie is a test of will.
Subterfuge came first. Mrs. Clinton has reduced the ability of American diplomats to function effectively by signing orders early in her tenure—revealed by Wikileaks—instructing Foreign Service officers to spy on the diplomats of other nations. She also told State Department officials overseas to collect the fingerprints, facial images, DNA, and iris scans of foreign leaders, and to obtain passwords and credit-card numbers used by foreign officials. Some spies have always masqueraded as diplomats, but under Clinton all American diplomats are rightly assumed to be at least part-time spooks. Remarkably, she has succeeded in evading scrutiny by congressional oversight committees. Three or four decades ago, such revelations would have resulted in the offending secretary of state’s resignation, but the legacy of her husband and his successor have altered the moral climate, making Mrs. Clinton safe from sanction.
More serious in their impact on America’s national security are Hillary Clinton’s strategic blunders. There is no rational explanation for her support for the forces of jihad in North Africa, the “Arab Spring” that is predictably reshaping the region (and particularly Egypt, the key player in that region) into a foreign policy realist’s nightmare. Clinton turned the Egyptian “revolution” into her own pet project because of her ideological makeup: a seemingly popular mass movement was ipso facto historically preordained, and therefore worthy of support. Her relentless pressure on Egyptian generals to surrender to the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of the country was patently not in the American interest. The process now continues in Syria, where a false-flag chemical weapons atrocity is a distinct possibility.
Clinton and her team treat meddling and intervention as a moral imperative and a test of American leadership. The doubters are maligned in terms unprecedented in diplomatic discourse. That Russia and China vetoed her U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing war against Syria was, according to her U.N. Ambassador and possible successor Susan Rice, “disgusting and shameful.” Such “diplomacy” is indicative of neurosis, not statesmanship. It merely hastens the decline of American power and influence around the world, the long-term process enhanced during Hillary Clinton’s tenure at Foggy Bottom.
The United Nations General Assembly vote of 11/29/12, which some in Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps are calling a “birth certificate for our country” is the latest of more than 400 UN resolutions on the Question of Palestine and a rare major victory for Palestinians after 65 years of resisting occupation.
The UN action, which was backed by an overwhelm majority of UN members with a lopsided vote of 138 to 9, may well force the Zionist regime to seriously consider a just peaceful resolution of the conflict.
With due respect to the nearly 50 percent of the UN members who voted against the historic Palestine Resolution on 11/29/12 at the General Assembly, which is to say the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru ( the world’s smallest republic covering just 8.1 square miles with a population of 9, 378)), and Palau, with its approximately 20,000 inhabitants, all former U.S. Trust Territories and currently “freely associated states” of the United States, with U.S. zip/postal and telephone codes much more closely resembling American states (51st, 52nd, 53rd and 54th) than sovereign countries, the World spoke clearly in favor of Palestinian self-determination. Indeed, the only reason these dissenting four “countries” are UN Members at all is due to cold war era efforts of Washington to stack the General Assembly in its favor by running up the numbers of its safe votes.
Over the past fortnight, as the US and Israel piled layers of threats onto their mantra of derision regarding yesterday’s historic UN vote on Palestine, both countries desperately tried to dissuade the Palestinians from scrapping their application for non-member observer state membership status with the United Nations.
Way too much did Israeli officials and their US lobby protest, thus drawing more international attention and curiosity as they kept dissing the “purely symbolic empty gesture and meaningless act.”
Naftali Bennett, leader of the extremist right-wing national religious Zionist party in Israel, Habayit Hayehudi (“The Jewish Home”) warned the day before the vote that “the PA bid for non-member status at the UN has very real implications on Israel, and that we must take harsh measures in response. I don’t accept the claim that this is a symbolic move,” Bennet told Israel Radio. “This is not symbolic at all. This has very practical implications. “He added: “We must tell the Arabs, if you pursue a unilateral strategy at the UN, We will pursue a unilateral strategy in annexing settlements in the West Bank.”
There is some important symbolism in the UN admitting Palestine as a non-member observer on the 65th anniversary of the November 29, 1947, adoption by the UN General Assembly of the resolution on the partition of Palestine (resolution 181 (II)). On December 2, 1977, it was recorded that the assembly called for the annual observance of November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (A/RES/32/40 B).
Last minute appeals by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton plus a late night pre-vote visit by US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Middle East envoy David Hale to the hotel room of the Palestinian Authority hold-over President Mahmoud Abbas failed to convince him to withdraw the resolution and to include the demanded eviscerating codicils.
Secretary of State Clinton could not have been more mistaken as she insisted at her news conference on 11/28/12 that “the only path towards a Palestinian state was through direct negotiations. As I have said many times the only path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York.” Few in the state department, according to congressional staff members who liaise with Clinton’s staff, believe that direct negotiations would ever lead to Israel voluntarily rejecting its current apartheid system or that the interminable “peace process” has ever been taken seriously by the Zionist regime and in fact constitute a hoax. In contradistinction, the growing reality in the Middle East and all five continents is the belief that only Resistance, with its scores of forms, will liberate Palestine from Zionist occupation.
Low balling the UN vote…
Following the 138 to 9 vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, intimated, as did the usual Amen chorus of anti-Arab & anti-Islam zealots, from the US Israeli lobby, including the likes of ADL’s Abe Foxman, that” just as predicted, anti-Semitism was lurking behind the lopsided vote” and that it all amounted, in the words of Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev, “to nothing but cheap political theater that should not come as a surprise to anyone.”
The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as it does on any issue involving Palestine and Israel issued Talking Points for members of Congress and other Zionist organizations to be used when communicating with constituents and giving media interviews. AIPAC keeps close track of how many interviews each member gives and how closely they tow the Zionist line so as to help determine how much cash the particular member will receive for re-election as well as other perks.
For this crucial UN vote, the US Zionist lobby used U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) drafted a letter from these AIPAC stalwarts to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opposing any unilateral attempts by the Palestinian Government to pursue non-member state status at the United Nations General Assembly.
In their letter, the Senators asserted that “Palestinian statehood can only be realized as a result of a broader peace agreement negotiated with the Israelis, not through unilateral measures at the United Nations. Should you decide, however, to bypass direct negotiations and unilaterally seek upgraded status at the UN, we want to again remind you of the potential for significant consequences. As S. Res. 185 notes, any such efforts may cause consequences in regards to U.S. policy and foreign aid.”
AIPAC instructed Congress to make the following points which was included in an “urgent advisory” to every member and many staffers.
1. This UN action won’t lead to peace.
Peace will only occur through direct talks. By refusing to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seeking recognition of a state at the United Nations, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is damaging U.S. peace efforts. (nothing in this point is accurate)
2. Recognizing a Palestinian state gives legitimacy to Hamas.
The Iranian-backed terrorist group has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians and is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state. By granting recognition of a state, the international community will reward Hamas for its terrorist actions, rather than condemn them
3. The United States has rejected the Palestinian approach.
President Obama has said that “no vote at the United Nations will ever create an independent Palestinian state” and called the Palestinian efforts at the U.N. a “mistake.”
Other talking points AIPAC told Congress to use include: while Israel Takes Steps for Peace, Palestinians run to UN , Israel Wants Talks; Palestinians Still Refuse, Palestinians Glorify Terrorists by praising the Hamas victory.
What the Zionist leaders of Israel, as they franticly try to intimidate the region by stockpiling American weapons, while grabbing more Palestinian land, fear is that the 11/19/12 UN resolution may be a game changer.
In this they are correct.
The UN action allows the Palestinians to participate in General Assembly debates and de facto grants recognition of Palestinian statehood on the pre-1967 ceasefire lines while re-enforcing the wide international consensus that the pre-1967 lines should form the basis of a permanent peace settlement.
It also opens up the 17 Specialized Agencies of the UN including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Universal Postal Union (UPU), the World Bank Group, World Health Organization, World Trade Organization (WTO), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) as well as related and comparable organizations.
As noted this week by Al-Haq, the Palestinian human rights organization “ Under such a strengthened position within the international legal system, the State of Palestine will be allowed to formally accede to international human rights instruments and other technical United Nations bodies, thus improving protection of Palestinian rights at the domestic and international level”.
It is also to be expected that Palestinian citizens under brutal Zionist occupation will demand to use their new status to join the International Criminal Court and might press for investigations of Zionist international crimes, crimes against humanity, attempted genocide, and a host of other practices in the occupied territories. Investigating such international crimes and bringing punishment to those convicted is why the ICC was established.
Professor Francis Boyle reminds us that Palestine can also now sue Israel at the International Court of Justice and end the illegal siege of Gaza, and join the Law of the Sea Convention and secure its fair share of the gas fields lying off the Gaza coast with enormous economic benefits. Palestine can also now join the International Civil Aviation Organization and gain sovereignty over its own airspace; join the International Telecommunications Union and gain sovereign legal control over its own airwaves, phone lines and band-widths.
These are just some of the many reason the Obama administration, slavishly joined the Zionist leadership of occupied Palestine to defeat the UN application.
The actions of the Obama Administration and its vehement opposition to the UN vote continues to diminish the relevance of the US in the Middle East as it slides further down the wrong side of history with its client state in tow. Attempting to justify its shameful opposition to the Palestinian diplomatic undertaking in the UN, the Obama administration could only offer a weak brief from the State Department legal department accusing the PLO of acting unilaterally, in breach of signed agreements are simply parroting AIPAC talking points noted above.
Deepening Palestine’s international legal personality within the United Nations system is a legitimate presence on the world stage from which to assert rights guaranteed by fundamental principles of International Law. With more access to the United Nations system, Palestinians have gained a major political and legal framework from which to work and to encourage the international community to comply with its obligation to end Israeli crimes against them and bring Israel’s serious breaches of international law to an end.
The heavy loaded cargo boats, passenger liners, cruise ships and plentiful ferries packed with tourists steam by the Maiden Tower rising from the black rock amid lucid waters; they gingerly make their way past the mountain-like mosques on the mainland into the Bosporus, this huge God-made river running between the Med and the Black Sea. The City, one of the greatest Capitals of Man of all time, has straddled Europe and Asia since the days of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who established this New Rome. It was the biggest city on earth a millennium ago, and it is still vast. Fifteen million people live in the City, twenty million visit it annually. Its greatness explains a strange vision of the heretic Russian historian Anatol Fomenko who claimed that Jerusalem, Rome, Babylon, Moscow and London are but misplaced images of this city, the original Empire.
Despite its size and history, the city is alert and vibrant in a peaceful, even demure way. It does not feel crowded – apart from the hotspots. The streets are clean, the greenery is neatly trimmed, the ugly street flea markets of recent years are gone; old buildings have been given a facelift, crumbling palaces have been repaired at no cost spared. The Bosporus has been cleaned up too, and sewage no longer flows into it – for the first time ever. Modern freeways encircle and cross its suburbs but do not intrude into the historical precincts.
The former seat of the Caliphate and home to an Islamist government, the City found a good balance between faith and modernity. Sufi schools are plentiful and learned men discuss theology, comparing Aquinas and Palamas with Ibn Arabi and Ibn Tufail. Muezzins’ harmonious calls to prayer do not disturb café customers sipping their drinks. Girls are free to wear headscarves or miniskirts and they do exercise both options.
More importantly, the government does not subscribe to unrestricted market economics and has thereby avoided the neoliberal excesses of its neighbours. There are many municipally-owned cafés, especially in the parks, where prices are quite affordable, even in the luxurious old imperial palaces, where no entrance fees are charged. They do not serve alcohol, and attract families with children. Downtown, the rents are kept low to allow bookshops to survive and flourish. The global squeeze is as apparent in Turkey as everywhere else, but here poor people receive tangible subsidies in kind, while the salaried classes are given generous loans to tide them over. Prices are kept under control, avoiding rapid increases; conspicuous consumption is discouraged. The rich are rich, and the poor are poor, but rich are not ostentatious and the poor are not desperate.
People are modest, helpful and inoffensive;- a far cry from the Turkey of theMidnight Express. They are rather honest and straightforward, and do not make a show of themselves. They are not very artistic, and their cuisine is comparable to the British one. If it is not a great compliment, it was not meant to be: they were Empire builders, and such nations usually are no great gourmands. The French ate too well, and their women were too appealing for their empire to last.
Istanbul is not the only oasis of prosperity in the country, as is often the case with capital cities outside of Europe. Now I have travelled the breadth of Turkey and all over I’ve witnessed the modernisation of the last ten years. Roads are smooth, houses are in good repair, markets are full, people are well-dressed, the cities are neither drab nor garish but quite up-to-date. This is a great achievement of the moderate Islamist government led by Prime Minister Erdogan.
Turkey is no longer the basket case it was in 1960s and 1970s. I’ve met a few Turkish immigrants in Germany, who said that their fathers made a hasty decision when they left home for Europe forty years ago. They would like to go back to Turkey, though it would not be easy to find work and to reconnect to a new environment, for they were reared in Western Europe. Anyway, there is no mass emigration out of Turkey; the nightmare of millions of Turks moving to Europe has dissipated. They would rather stay at home, for the Turks are very proud of their own country.
Erdogan is popular with the people. He is a real charismatic, people tell me. He defeated his adversaries, and his position at the helm is undisputed. And for good reasons: Turkey is doing nicely, thank you. The country prospers, incomes have doubled, and the GNP tripled (a very remarkable one trillion euro GNP is within reach). The Erdogan government can really congratulate itself on the fine job they’ve done in Turkey.
The Turks have overcome the huge trauma of the Transfer, as the mass deportations and expulsions of 1920s are called. Though the Greeks of the City weren’t expelled, almost all other Christian communities of Turkey were sent to Greece, while the Muslims of Greece were deported to Turkey: a violent and painful divorce of two closely knit communities. As in many a divorce, the separated partners – the clever wife and the strong husband – spent years adjusting to their new position.
The Greeks suffered the most. They were spread all over the Empire and occupied central positions. Some Turkish historians prefer to call the Ottoman rule “The Turko-Greek Empire”. The Greeks were Great Viziers of the Empire; they ruled and managed the Med from Alexandria to Damascus to Istanbul; they traded and wrote poems in the days of the Second Rome just as they did under the sceptre of First Rome. Suddenly, they were corralled into a small and parochial Greece where they hardly could find their place. The Alexandrian poet Kavafy strongly felt that little Athens could never substitute for the loss of the great seaboard cities. Today’s Greek crisis can’t be understood without this bit of history.
The Turks suffered as well. Traditionally, they had served in the military and worked the soil; without the Greeks, trades and crafts declined, militarisation went unchecked, food shortages were common, life was drab and brutish, as if their culture had sailed overseas with the Greeks. Only now, many years later, the Turks have managed to recover, and recover they did.
Erdogan’s government is good to the Christian communities. The previous Kemalist governments of the Turkish Republic were viciously anti-Christian, even more than they were nationalistic and anti-Islamic. They deported even Caramanli Turks, for they were Christians. They forbade the remaining churches to be repaired; the priests could not be brought from abroad. Now, church properties are being restored, funds returned, priests are allowed to come, stay and acquire Turkish citizenship.
The Islamist government allowed the Greeks and Armenians who had left the country after the riots and pogroms of 1950s to come back, reclaim their property and settle again in Turkey. Previously unimaginable, an idea of a union with Greece began to be pondered again.
The Turks are not the only suitors of the beautiful Hellas: the Russians also would like to take her, their sister-in-Christ, ditched by the West, into the embrace of their Eurasian Union. So declared Sergey Glaziev, the coordinator of the union (including now Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan) at the recent Rhodes Forum, a top-crème gathering of Russians, Asians and dissident Westerners. The offers are not mutually exclusive: one can imagine their ménage-a-trois, a new Byzantine Empire Resurrected. The moderately Muslim and Turkic Kazakhstan is an old friend to Turkey, so such an alliance is plausible. Another turn of the screw by Frau Merkel, and it is may happen.
In Greece, re-evaluation of the Empire is also going on. There are voices calling for the reassessment of the past, for recognition of the advantages to both sides, and for proceeding cautiously. Dimitri Kitsikis is one such voice, and I’ve heard more of them while visiting Athens. The interaction is not limited to practicalities, either. Last Sunday, I went to a modest Greek Church in a suburb of Istanbul, and there I met a young Greek priest, a recent arrival from Greece who had already mastered Turkish, and even more surprisingly, I met a few ethnic Turks who had embraced Orthodox Christianity and were attending the service. The participants benevolently and indulgently smiled while they recited the Lord’s Prayer in Turkish.
And all these wonderful achievements they intend to destroy, squander and let go down the drain. I refer to the Turkish government’s plotting against Syria. It would be bad enough if they were to send their legions to Damascus. It would be wrong but comprehensible, for Damascus and Aleppo are as much parts of their past for Turks, as Kiev and Riga are for Russians, or Vienna and Tirol are for Germans. But what they are doing instead is much worse.
The Turks are about to replay the Afghan scenario as it was played by Pakistan: they bring together from all over the Muslim world the most fanatical militants, supply them with arms, and infiltrate them over the Syrian border under their artillery cover.
There are reports that the jihadists of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban were flownfrom North Waziristan in Pakistan to the Turkish border with Syria, for instance on a Turkish Air Airbus flight No. 709 on September 10, under auspices of the Turkish intelligence agency, via the Karachi-Istanbul flight route. The
93 militants were originally from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and included a group of Arabs residing in Waziristan. This report could not be independently checked, but there are many reports of foreign jihadists who made their way to Syria via Turkey.
This is exactly what Pakistan did under the US guidance in 1980s. Then, Afghanistan had a secular government, women worked as teachers, universities were full, factories were being built, and opium was unheard of; Pakistan was in a good shape, too. A few years later, Afghanistan imploded in civil war (under the guise of “fighting the godless communists”), and Pakistan followed it to perdition. After undoing Afghanistan, the warriors began to terrorise their Pakistani host. Now Pakistan is one of the most miserable countries in the world. It was eaten up by the disease they nourished and exported, by mindless jihadism.
This ideological disease is akin to biological warfare. You may hope your neighbours will be infected with the pest you have delivered, but you may be sure your population will eventually get it, too. For this reason nobody has tried biological warfare on a large scale. It is suicidal. And that is the equivalent of what the Turkish government is doing now. They bring jihadists to Syria, but it is only a question of time when the jihadists will turn on Turkey.
I respect the Islamic feelings of the Turks. I see them in the mosques; I know their Sufi orders and their mass appeal. So many Turks gather in Konya, where they venerate the memory of the great Sufi poet Rumi, who is loved from California to Teheran. The Islamic government was a real success in Turkey. So why do they now want to follow Pakistan’s way to perdition?
An essay written by Ahmet Davutoglu, Foreign Minister and chief promoter of Turkish intervention in Syria, answers this question. He wrote it as a university student, over 20 years ago, and an acquaintance who studied with him, remembers it well. We can and we should make a deal with Satan if necessary, the young Davutoglu had written.
In his view, Sunni Islam of the type practiced in the Empire under Sultan Selim the Grim and his successors (that postulates an unbridgeable schism between the Creator and Creation) is not just the only true faith; it is an iron-clad guarantee of good results. A state guided by it can’t do wrong. Even evil deeds by such a state will be turned by the Almighty into good results. For this reason, he wrote, the Empire managed to survive and rule for 600 years.
That’s why, wrote the young Davutoglu, Islamist Turkey may build alliances with powerful partners, and it is irrelevant whether these powers are bad or good. This means, that we may even make a Faustian pact with the devil himself, for we shall triumph by our beliefs and with the Almighty’s help. America is a Satan for Davutoglu, as it is for many Muslims, but armed with his dubious philosophy, he is prepared to join with Satan for the further glory of Turkey.
Could this very unorthodox reading of Islam be influenced by his contacts with Yezidis, whose attitude to Devil is at best ambiguous, or, more probably, with the Dönmeh, followers of Sabbatai Zevi who believed that everything is permitted, and a sin is the best way to salvation? People of more orthodox beliefs know that whoever deals with Satan will eventually come to grief, for no spoon is long enough to sup with him.
Then came the moment when his dubious theology was transformed into dubious policy. The US asked him to bring militants to Syria, and so he did.
My Turkish friends stressed that Erdogan personally does not subscribe to these theological beliefs, but is guided by practical considerations. The question of an alliance with the US and NATO caused a rift between Erdogan and his erstwhile teacher Necmettin Erbakan. Erbakan was against it; Erdogan considered it as a given. Erdogan carried a day; a majority of Erbakan’s followers went with Erdogan, formed the reformist AK Party, came to power ten years ago and have been generally successful. The minority formed the hardline (or even ‘revolutionary Islamist’) Saadet Party, which was not successful at the polls, though it retains a certain influence.
Unexpectedly for an outsider, it is the hardline Saadet Party that strongly objects to the Syrian adventure of Erdogan and Davutoglu. Though the intervention in Syria is often described as “Islamic help to slaughtered Muslims”, the Saadet leaders perceive it as an American plot against Syria and Turkey. The Saadet led strong demonstrations against the intervention.
Perhaps this is the right time for Prime Minister Erdogan to listen to his old comrades, disavow the devil-supping policy regarding Syria, and to stop the war machine before it destroys all of the achievements he can so rightly be proud of. The dream of bringing Syria into a closer union with Turkey still can be realised, but not through unleashing the dogs of war.
Gilad Sharon, son of Ariel Sharon, wrote in the Jerusalem Post that Israel should “Flatten all of Gaza.”
“There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire,” he wrote. “We need to flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.”
Many Israelis and even some Zionists are ‘outraged’ but the truth must be told – Sharon’s views are fully consistent with Zionism, Israeli thinking and some aspect of Jewish culture.
For example, Sharon’s call is fully consistent with some devastating Old Testament’s passages:
‘You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.’ Leviticus, 26:7–8
‘When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations … you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.’ Deuteronomy 7:1–2
‘Do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them … as the Lord your God has commanded you …’Deuteronomy 20:16
So, both like his real father and his spiritual forefathers, the young Sharon wants to destroy the Gazans, he wants to reduce them and their civilization into dust – thoughts unfortunately embedded in the Old Testament. Though religious Jews following the Talmud rather than the Torah and may be critical of literal interpretations of the Holly book, Gilad Sharon, is a secular Israeli and yet he follows here the most banal and literal interpretation of the Biblical text.
Sharon is also in line with ultra-Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky’s Iron Wallphilosophy. Jabotinsky believed that in the erection of an ‘iron wall’ “which the native (Arab) population cannot break through.” Some would argue that by 1948 Jabotinsky’s Iron wall, became the backbone of Israeli political pragmatism and though largely performed by his political enemies, the Nakba could be seen as the materialisation of Jabotinsky’s ideology.
Sharon’s views are also similar to those expressed this week by Israel’s deputy P.M., Eli Yishai, who contended “we must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water.”
The young Sharon is clearly a truth teller. He offers us a genuine glimpse into the murderous Israeli psychosis, and the message to be drawn is obvious. It is now time to admit that we cannot grasp the Israeli collective psychosis and fascination with violence and death without a deep understanding of Jewish culture, Jewish supremacy and Jewish tribalism.
For obvious reasons some Jews and even a few Palestinians do not want us to take this route and insist that we avoid any criticism of the Jewishness of the ‘Jewish State’. This bankrupted philosophy would be almost funny if it weren’t so tragic - Elaborating on the root cause of Zionist barbarism is now an elementary humanist obligation.
I guess that we have reached the point of no return. We must now critically examine Jewish politics, Jewish Lobbying, and Israeli crimes in the context of Jewish culture. Such an approach may save the world and hopefully, it might also save many Jews of the shackles of their own heritage.
I was actually amused to learn today that the notorious Zionist Jeffrey Goldberg, himself an ex IDF concentration camp guard, was amongst the first to denounce Gilad Sharon. Here is how he referred to Sharon’s article on Twitter:
“Gilad Sharon has called on Israel to bomb Gaza to oblivion. I’m semi-surprised the Jerusalem Post published such dreck.”
It is not at all clear at all whether Goldberg opposes Sharon’s views. However, it is obvious that Goldberg is tormented by the idea that Sharon’s view may leak out. ‘I’m semi-surprised the Jerusalem Post published such dreck’ he says. Goldberg believes that the murderous aspects so intrinsic to tribal supremacy are better kept within the ghetto walls. He doesn’t want the Goyim to know. So predictably Goldberg was amongst the first to attack my book, ‘The Wandering Who’, and pursued my endorsers for the exact same reasons. He was very concerned about what people read about Israel, Zionism, Jewish identity politics, and the ideology that motivates himself to serve in our midst as a Zionist agent.
Yesterday and today (October 14-15) I’ve been taking part in an interesting conference at the Patriarchate of Peć, in the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo. Organized by Bishop Jovan (Ćulibrk), an old friend of Dr. Fleming’s and mine, The Balkans and the Middle East Mirroring Each Other marks the centenary of the First Balkan War and the liberation of Kosovo and Southern Serbia after four centuries of the Ottoman misrule.
The conference has brought together an eclectic group of scholars: Ambassador Darko Tanasković of the University of Belgrade, Boris Havel of the University of Zagreb, Col. Shaul Shay of BESA Center for Strategic Studies, Martin van Creveld of Tel Aviv University, Gordon Bardos of Columbia University, and myself. The proceedings were attended by Patriarch Iriney of the Serbian Orthodox Church (R) and an array of Western diplomats and military officers based in Kosovo.
On the first day Professor van Creveld caused some controversy by suggesting that there existed a significant parallel between Israel and Serbia. The former needs to give up all occupied territories, including most of East Jerusalem—he argued—just as the latter needs to give up its claim to Kosovo. Regardless of how attached both nations feel to their ancient shrines and monuments that would be left behind, van Creveld argued that “amputating the gangrenous leg” was the only way to halt the sapping of strength and resources with no end-game in sight.
Disputing van Creveld’s diagnosis, Dr. Shay said that the apt metaphor was not an amputable leg but the patient’s heart that cannot be removed without killing the patient. My own paper reflected a similar point of view. The similarities between Kosovo and the West Bank are not obvious to the uninitiated, and prima facie similarities may appear superficial: In both cases there’s a small piece of disputed real estate, rich in history, poor in everything else, and badly mismanaged by the local Muslim majority which is chronically hostile to its non-Muslim neighbors. In both cases that majority craves internationally-recognized statehood. Far more important, in my view, is the spiritual parallel, with which I closed my remarks:
Proponents of Kosovo independence scoff at the Serbs’ claim that Kosovo, with its many ancient monasteries and the site of the famous battle, represents not just any part of their country but its very heart and soul—“Serbia’s Jerusalem.” Such attitude betrays a cynical contempt for the essence of any true nation’s identity, which necessarily rests on its historical, moral and spiritual roots. Without such foundation a people ceases to be a people and becomes but a random mob. If Serbia can be haughtily deprived of her Jerusalem today, and her historical and spiritual claims are dismissed out of hand, who is to say “al-Quds” will not be demanded of Israel tomorrow as the capital of an independent Palestine? And is it not hypocritical of the United States to actively support the former while claiming to be opposed to the latter?
Turkey is the common denominator in the Balkans and the Middle East, and its return to the center stage as a regional power is a remarkable phenomenon. It is historically unprecedented for a former great power which undergoes a period of steep decline to make a comeback and reestablish its position as a major player. After the Peloponnesian War Athens was finished for all time. Following the collapse of the Western Empire, Rome has never regained its old stature and glory. After Philip II Spain declined precipitously and has remained a third-rate power ever since. The list goes on, yet Turkey appears to be an exception to the rule.
Turkey’s neo-Ottoman strategy was the theme of Professor Tanasković’s presentation. He noted that at different times and in different contexts Turkey presents itself as a Mediterranean, Balkan, Middle Eastern, or NATO country, but that its most important, indeed defining feature is its Islamic character. Both the Balkans and the Middle East have been repeatedly singled out and openly named as priorities in the neo-Ottoman strategy of “Strategic Depth” as articulated by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The ultimate goal is to recreate a sphere of strictly Turkish dominance, according to Professor Tanasković. He insists that the AKP government’s neo-Ottoman strategy is not an ideological projection focused on the past. Quite the contrary, it is a constant feature of Turkish foreign policy—logical and legitimate. The Islamists are rediscovering their heritage which was interrupted by the Kemalist revolution. Neo-Ottomanism is neither good nor bad, it is a reality based on the notion that parallel to globalization, we have macro-regionalization of the world. In reality, Tanasković went on, there is no “globalization” in world politics: in a sense we are still in the 19th century, with regional powers seeking to dominance in their zones of influence. Only the US is still hoping to transcend the spatial limitations by projecting power always and everywhere.
Professor Tanaskovic concluded by saying that Turkey may have overplayed her hand following Ankara’s decision last spring to support the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. That decision has changed the strategic equation in the region, and it now exposes Turkey to the possibility of both Russia and Iran coming to view it as an adversary.
Shaul Shay opened his presentation by saying that the term “Arab Spring” is flawed. The word “tsunami,” or perhaps “earthquake,” would be more appropriate. It was destructive, unexpected, and not significantly amenable to human intervention. Nothing significant enough had happened in 2010 to enable us to say that this was the trigger for what followed. In the end, Shay argued, the Islamic Evolution proved stronger than the Tweeter Revolution. The process launched by young activists using all the resources the Internet has to offer eventually paved the way for Islamist movements. The main actors for change have been the youth, but the beneficiaries have been the Islamists—they were structured, with deep roots in society, unlike the youth who have not had time to organize. The outcomes of recent Arab uprisings have confirmed the organizational superiority and appeal of Islamist political parties in a number of countries in the Middle East. The fragile transitions from secular pro-Western dictatorships through a “democratic procedure” to the formation of Islamic regimes was a “tsunami” which has moved the tectonic plates of the Muslim societies and will provoke aftershocks that will lead to a region dominated by political Islam.
In recent years, Say concluded, we’ve seen a change in strategy used by radical Islamic organizations. Muslim Brotherhood openly seeks to establish “democracy” based upon Islamic principles. They regard liberal democracy with contempt, but they are willing to accommodate it as an avenue to power but as an avenue that runs only one way.
Historic changes taking place in both the Balkans and the Middle East are the political equivalent to the shift of tectonic plates. This is a crossroad in history and the road the nations involved take will determine our future. In the meantime we might see more Islamization there rather than Western style democracies. Where it will really lead Middle East and the rest of the world only future will tell.
My head is currently filled up with lists of things that I will need to do in order to get myself to Cleveland to attend a convention for murder-mystery writers and readers http://bouchercon2012.com/. But that doesn’t mean that I’m deaf, dumb and blind to what else is going on in the rest of the world. It seems that BenjaminNetanyahu is still just as busy trying to drum up a war with Iran as George Bush used to be back when he was trying to get us to bomb the heck out of Iraq.
According to Middle East expert Ira Chernus, “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing the UN General Assembly, ‘warned that by next summer Iran could have weapons-grade nuclear material.’ Then came a clip of Netanyahu, trying to sound chilling: ‘At stake is the future of the world. Nothing could imperil our common future more than the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons.’ Nothing?, I wondered. Not even the melting of the polar ice caps, or a huge spike in global food prices, or an accidental launch of one of the many nukes that the U.S. and Russia still keep on hair-trigger alert?”
So here is another big murder-mystery. Why in the world would B-Net want to unilaterally attack Iran? Why is he currently shouting from the rooftops that Iran is such a big danger? Since its inception back in the 1970s, modern Iran has never preemptively attacked any other country — so why should it start now? Iran doesn’t even have to attack anyone. It’s already got absolute oodles and bunches of oil so there’s no need for it to go on the offensive. There is, however, lots of need for Iran to go on the defensive — against all those greedy types out there who are lusting after its oil.
But while Iran definitely doesn’t ever want to attack Israel, it will, however, defend itself if attacked. Yeah duh. You’d do the same thing if you were attacked. Hell, a two-year-old would do the same thing!
To make a long story short here, if Netanyahu attacks Iran, then Iran will fight back. Now just think about that one. And if Iran does fight back, then exactly who will win and who will lose? Think about that one too.
What is in this for the NetBoy? How would he benefit from an attack on Iran? He would benefit in the same way that GWB benefited from his attack on Iraq — money, power, fame, etc. I get that.
But what is in it for Israel? Nothing. Let me repeat that. Nothing. All Israelis will win from a war on Iran will be death and fear and two generations’ worth of work at building its version of Tel Aviv from a few shabby immigrant kibbutzes into a city famous for its nightclubs, parties and beaches. All that hard work will be down the drain and turned into rubble.
A war on Iran will not be a win-win situation for both Israel and Nettie. It will be a win-lose situation, one where the Yahu himself wins big, goes off to New York City and lives like an exiled prince after the dust has settled on Jerusalem — but Israel itself loses bigtime.
Or perhaps Benny will just go join Dubya and they both can hang out in the upscale malls of Dallas, reliving their glory days for anyone who will listen.
“But Jane,” you might say, “perhaps there won’t even BE a war on Iran.” Not if our Netele can help it. If it is up to him — and it appears to be — there will be nothing but Net.
Benjamin Netanyahu needs to step back, take a deep breath and remember that, “Life is a competition and the winners are the ones who do the most good deeds” — not the ones who callously cause the senseless deaths of hundreds, thousands or possibly millions of living human beings.
The world continues to spiral out of control, as the foreign policy of greed and hubris ratchets up for the next episode of destruction. The prospects of World War III increase with every NeoCon concession to the irrational and suicidal adherence to the Zionist objective of Middle East dominance. The worst kept secret circulating the inner circles of militarist and intelligence agencies are that an October Surprise may be on the horizon. With all this advance notice, the timing probability is unlikely that next month will be the days of dynasty. Nonetheless, the expectations that another major false flag operation is planned to fabricate public sentiment to support an expansion of the perpetual war, that only advances an Israel-First objective, is in the advance stages of execution.
As anyone with a ounce of perception knows, the target of the imperialist drumbeat is Iran. In order to understand the context of the importance of the true account of historic events one needs to view the excellent video, USA – Iran History lesson, to appreciate the barrage of lies and deception that the American public is assaulted with from the pro Israeli controlled media.
Webster G Tarpley, in the Veteran Today article, October surprise to “Carterize” Obama points out the Benjamin Netanyahu Likud sentiment.
“About a week ago, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the United States has no “red lines” in regard to the Iranian nuclear program. Netanyahu replied with an angry outburst, raving that those who have no red lines have “no moral right” to give Israel a red light when it comes to starting a catastrophic aggressive war against Iran. This was interpreted in Washington as a call to vote for Romney.”
While the same NeoCon whores surround Romney that ushered in the Iraqi and Afghanistan invasions, the Obama administration dutifully wages the identical military operations, under the cover of a planned withdrawal of hostilities. Only an imbecile accepts that either of the parties benefits the national interests of the American public.
Yet Netanyahu has the chutzpa to chastise the United Nations assembly as reported in The Telegraph account, Benjamin Netanyahu warns future of world at stake over Iran’s nuclear programme.
“Red lines don’t lead to war, red lines prevent war,” he said. “Nothing could imperil the world more than a nuclear-armed Iran.”
This from a country with a record of first strike aggression, who has secretly compiled their own substantial nuclear arsenal, with the stated directive ready to employ the Sampson Option.As for Israel attaining the moral high ground, just ask the dead from all the Middle East wars that start with, and dies for, a greater Israel expansion in the region. Zionist politics infringe in every corner and crevice of Washington policy, as it subverts our own security.
“A pressing foreign policy question of the U.S. presidential race is whether Israel might exploit this politically delicate time to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites and force President Obama to join the attack or face defeat at the polls, a predicament with similarities to one President Carter faced in 1980, writes Robert Parry.
According to Parry, who worked for the Associated Press at the time:
“There is doubt in some quarters that Israel’s Likud government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would time an attack on Iran in the weeks before a U.S. election with the goal of dooming the incumbent Democratic president, Barack Obama, or forcing his hand to commit American military might in support of Israel.
But there was a precedent 32 years ago when another Likud government had grown alienated from the Democratic president and found itself in a position where it could help drive him from office by covertly assisting his Republican rivals in another crisis involving Iran.”
In order to comprehend the nature of the False Flag operations that Israel routinely and eagerly engages in, you need to read the superbly documented and factual data supplied in the Mark Dankof interview, Kourosh Ziabari and Fars News Agency of Iran: A Conversation with Mark Dankof on Israel and 9-11.
“It all points to Israel.
The American public needs to understand that the entire history of this State is rooted in racism, terror, racial genocide, theft, and False Flag Operations. Look at the King David Hotel Bombing in Jerusalem in 1947; Deir Yassin; the Lavon Affair; Israel’s deliberate attack on the USS Liberty on June 8th, 1967; the Pollard spy case and the subsequent AIPAC, Ben-Ami, and Stewart Nozette spy cases. Your readers and viewers need regular acquaintance with a resource like Grant Smith’s The Israel Lobby Archive, for the Institute of Research: Middle Eastern Policy where these topics are concerned. This is clearly a State that would have no hesitation to pull off a False Flag operation in New York on September 11, 2011, if they felt it benefited them, as Benjamin Netanyahu himself has stated it did. He said the day after 9-11 that [where Israel's interest is concerned], “It’s very good.” He also stated that “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq. . . . these events swung American public opinion in our favor.”
This summary clearly identifies The Ugly Truth that so many immature and brainwashed citizens fear to address or even consider. Therefore, when the pressitute mainstream Zionist media distorts and condemns the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s challenge to the real rogue regime, namely Israel; the screams from Christian-Zionists go wild.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad notes in the article, Arrogant powers seek to save Zionist regime, that continuous ploys and ruses are used to prop up Israel at the expense of the entire sphere of regional countries.
“We should not downplay and underestimate the plots and actions of the enemies, because they are seeking to save the Zionist regime with more sophisticated plots. To that effect, they may pretend to rebuke the Zionist regime, but their main objective is to save this regime,” the Iranian chief executive said.
“We have to be more vigilant in a bid to be able to neutralize their conspiracies,” he added.
Watch the Dr. Ahmadinejad with George Galloway interview video and judge for yourself an in-depth first hand dialogue, without the filter of the internationalist cabal. You will not see this quality of independent discussion on domestic airwaves.Whatever you believe about the Iranian government or Islam in general, the demonic false flag operations conducted by Israel are an accurate reflection of their immoral standing.
Just examine recent warnings citied by the Washington Blog in the article, Will Israel Blow Up Something and Falsely Blame It On Iran?
“Numerous high-level government officials have warned that a false flag may be launched against Iran to start a war:
Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski (who helped to create Al Qaeda to fight the soviets in Afghanistan) told the Senate that a terrorist act might be carried out in the U.S. and falsely blamed on Iran to justify war against that nation.
Robert David Steele – a 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer, the second-ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence, and former CIA clandestine services case officer – says that elements within the U.S. government are trying to carry out a false flag operation and blame it on Iran.Former high-level CIA officer Michael Scheuer – who was the head of the CIA unit tasked with capturing Bin Laden – says that Israel or Saudi Arabia could be setting up Iran as a way to foment war 3.”
Ignore such admonitions at your own risk. There may not be an October Surprise simply to influence the Presidential election, but it is difficult to discount all the signs that a phony provocation that blames Iran is not in the works.
Mark Dankof reasons with a most perceptive conclusion.
“The falsehoods and mythologies they continue to perpetrate on the USS Liberty attack, and 9-11 must be absolutely exposed and debunked, not simply in the interest of a recovery of historical truth, but to accomplish the defenestration of Mainstream Media once and for all. This would remove them as an effective force in selling the False Flag incident soon to come which is being planned to legitimize and sell a preemptive military attack on Iran.”
The popular damaging view that a preventative strike on Iran is justifiable is the product of Zionist tricky. The Mossad motto: “By way of deception, thou shall do war”, is exactly the manner of conduct behind the false flag operations, that lead America into destructive and unnecessary wars. Only a clean and clear brake from the yoke of Israeli influence in our internal affairs and politics can reset our foreign policy, with a balanced approach and constructive self-interest. Holding up Israel as a trusted ally is self-destructive and you do not need another October Surprise to recognize this lesson.
During His Apostolic Pilgrimage to Lebanon, Will the Vicar of Christ Sup in the Temple with the Money Changers or Succor the Progeny of Jesus?
The only time this observer recalls Yassir Arafat ever becoming frustrated with the late American journalist Janet Stevens, whom he cherished as a daughter, was during a visit in August of 1982 when the PLO leader, mentioned in conversation, as he often did to others, that Jesus Christ was a Palestinian. Arafat, a devout Muslim, was proud of that fact.
On that particular night, Janet was exhausted, as many under siege in West Beirut were, from more than 11 hours of Israeli bombing and she had other things on her mind. Most pressing was a sick child in Burj al Barahjeh refugee camp who needed to be taken to Europe for a lifesaving operation without delay.
Janet asked, well, truth is told, she essentially instructed the PLO leader to arrange the evacuation of the child and even mentioned a specific European country that would likely assist with the operation without “political complications” from the Zionist lobby. Janet interrupted what she assumed would be one of Arafat’s long discourses about the resistance fighter from Nazareth, and burst out, impatiently: “For Christ’s sake, Abu Ammar, please don’t tell me about Jesus just now! We have got to get this child out of Lebanon or she will surely die!” Arafat appeared surprised, even taken aback. Perhaps it was because as a deeply religious man who respected other religions and especially valued meetings with Sheiks, Priests and Rabbis, he liked to tell guests about how Jesus and his mother Mary attended a wedding ceremony at Qana in South Lebanon, as noted in the Koran and the Bible, and also how ‘Prophet Issa’ regularly visited Tyre and Sidon and villages along his path.
One imagines that Yassir Arafat would have relished meeting Pope Benedict XVI in Lebanon as he had met Pope John Paul nine times. The PLO leader once recalled a special meeting when, on short notice, Pope John Paul invited him to the Pontiff’s summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, Italy. It was September 19, 1999, the 17th Anniversary of the Sabra-Shatila Massacre. Arafat described how both his and the Popes eyes brimmed as the successor of St. Peter stunned Arafat with his deep knowledge and sadness of what was perpetrated during the nearly 50 hours of non-stop slaughter in the Beirut refugee camp.
Both Arafat and Janet believed that Christians are in the Middle East not because they arrived as part of a colonial empire, despite the crusades a millennium after Christ. They considered them as part of the makeup of the original landscape with deep roots in this land and that they have a right to live in the place where they were born and to fully exercise their undeniable Right of Return if they were ethnically cleansed.
While much of the Pope’s schedule is pretty much taken up with meetings and meals with politicians and high ranking prelates, to his credit, Bishop Camille Zaidan, Chairman of the Central Committee tasked with preparing the schedule the Pope Benedict XVI visit to Lebanon this weekend, has officially invited all the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to two Papal events, including an address by the Holy Father at Beirut’s International Airport and the Holy Mass and the Presentation of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation for the Middle East in the Beirut City Center Waterfront. Still under discussion is a possible visit by the Pontiff to Shatila Camp and Martyr’s Cemetery where the remains of approximately 1,100 Palestinians, Lebanese and other nationalities were hastily buried 30 years ago as the World learned of the manifold horrors of the Sabra-Shatila massacre.
According to I.MEDIA news agency, which is close to the Vatican, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church leader Gregory III Laham the spiritual head of Lebanon’s second largest Catholic community has stated his intension “to ask the Pope to recognize a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its shared capital and in compliance with the resolutions and decisions of the international community and international law.” I. Media, reports that “Gregory plans to thank the Holy See for its “firm and unwavering position on the [Palestinian] cause.” Gregory believes, that, “Such an action would allow the Holy See to remain a “pioneer of world justice” and prompt European and other countries to follow.
The Palestinians of Lebanon, and those in solidarity with their struggle to Return, are much encouraged by his call for dialogue and reconciliation in Lebanon. His words, following last Sundays Angelus blessing: ”My apostolic trip to Lebanon, and by extension to the whole of the Middle East, is taking place under the sign of peace,” and his emphasis on “the particular need for peaceful coexistence between Christian and Muslim communities in Lebanon and the region” are shared by all people of good will.
One hopes that Pope Benedict, as head of much of Lebanon’s Christian community, will encourage his large following among members of Parliament, the more than 800 religious and political leaders in Lebanon, to make a 90 minute oblation. Ninety minutes is the time required in Parliament to repeal the racist 2001 law that makes it a criminal offense for Palestinians in Lebanon to own home. As part of the same oblation, Lebanon’s leaders could glorify God by enacting the right to work for Palestinian refugees here, an elementary civil right accorded to every other foreigner in Lebanon and every refugee around the world, including apartheid Israel.
Metaphorically speaking, perhaps for some who have actively worked to deny Palestinian refugees in Lebanon even the most fundamental human rights, this courageous act could be seen as a sort of “ Full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction” as described in the first Book of Common Prayer, 1549.
The teachings and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth demand no less.
Fourteen centuries of Islam have fatally undermined Christianity in the land of its birth. The decline of the Christian remnant in the Middle East has been accelerated in recent decades, and accompanied by the indifference of the post-Christian West to its impending demise. Once-thriving Christian communities are now tiny minorities, and in most countries of the region their percentages have been reduced to single digits. Whether they disappear completely will partly depend on Western leaders belatedly taking an interest in Christian plight and persecution. This seems most unlikely, as the examples of Iraq, Egypt and Syria demonstrate.
In Syria the Obama administration is fully committed to supporting the rebels, although it should be well aware of the ideological outlook and long-term objectives of Bashar al-Assad’s foes. They are Sunni fundamentalists. The partnerships forged thus far are ominous. The New York Times reported last June that CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, deciding which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms. The weapons are being funneled across the Turkish border “by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood.”
Syria is the region’s only remaining country where Christians live effectively as equals with their Muslim neighbors. It has the second largest Christian community in the region (after Egypt), some 2.5 million strong. Most of them are supporting President Bashar Al Assad amidst ongoing rebellion in the country because they prefer a dictator who guarantees the rights as a religious minority to the grim future that Assad’s departure might bring. According to George Ajjan, an American political strategist of Syrian origin, an existential fear about a bloody fate awaiting them—should the Assad regime fall in Syria—is the main driver behind the Christian community’s almost unanimous support of its policies:
“The secular regime of the Baath Party dominated over the past four decades by the Alawites, a heterodox Shiite sect to which the Assad family belongs, undoubtedly secured life and liberty for the Christians— although dire economic circumstances resulting from the regime’s failure to provide growth have driven many middle-class Christians to emigrate, seeking a better standard of living abroad. Taking that into account, the commonly-cited figure of 10% Christians is perhaps close to double the real number living in Syria at the start of the uprising.”
It is not to be doubted that if the Obama Administration is successful in its stated objective of bringing Assad down, the Christians in Syria will follow their Iraqi brethren into exile. The predictable consequences of Assad’s fall and the Brotherhood’s victory would be the creation of a Shari’a-based Islamic state.
According to political analyst James Jatras, it sometimes appears as if Washington’s policy toward the unrest sweeping the Middle East is impacted by a network of Muslim Brotherhood agents working in cohorts with Obama who is only pretending to have strayed from his Islamic birth (as defined by Sharia). If this scenario is even only partly correct, Jatras says, then it would be hard to see how the result would be different from the one we have:
“If the conscious goal of the policy were the final uprooting of Christ’s followers from the region of His birth and earthly ministry, it could not have been better crafted. No one can doubt that should the regime of Bashar al-Assad fall, Syria’s Christians (primarily Orthodox), already singled out for attack by the ‘democratic’ opposition, would be subject to a full-scale campaign of elimination that they (unlike the Alawites, who at least can try to defend themselves in mountain areas in which they predominate) are unlikely to survive as a living community. It is thus not too strong to accuse, in so many words, those bipartisan champions of ‘Free Syria’ who urge outside intervention of advocating Christian genocide, whether or not that is their conscious intention.”
That this scenario seems acceptable to the Obama Administration became obvious in October 2011 when Dalia Mogahed, Obama’s adviser on Muslim affairs, blocked a delegation of Middle Eastern Christians led by Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai from meeting with Obama and members of his national security team at the White House. Mogahed reportedly cancelled the meeting at the request of the Muslim Brotherhood in her native Egypt. Rai has warned repeatedly that a Brotherhood-led regime would be a disaster for Syria’s Christian minority, but his admonitions are unwelcome in Washington.
Last July, the Department of State vigorously lobbied against bipartisan Congressional legislation to send “protection envoys” to the Middle East to examine the position of the Christian minorities. The State Department called the protection envoy role “unnecessary, duplicative and likely counter-productive.” In the meantime, tens of thousands of Syria’s Christians have already fled rebel-controlled areas as Islamists who dominate in the rebel ranks target them for murder, extortion and kidnapping. As George Ajjan concludes, this gradual downward demographic pressure of recent years will explode with the exodus of Christians from Syria that is occurring and will accelerate without an end to the current armed conflict:
“Should the uprising continue, with the regime losing control of more and more territory to armed rebels and law and order further breaking down, Christians will increasingly become the targets of intimidation tactics, kidnapping, and overt hostility—if not ethnic cleansing from mixed areas.”
At the same time, Administration officials pressed Egyptian generals into gradual surrender to the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of the country. The decision to treat the Muslim Brotherhood as a strategic partner has been on the cards at least since February 10 of last year—one day before Hosni Mubarak’s resignation— when President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made an astounding statement. He told the House of Representatives Select Committee on Intelligence that the Brotherhood “is an umbrella term for a variety of movements… a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaida as a perversion of Islam.”
The assertion by a top-ranking member of Obama’s team that the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular” defies belief. It came into being in 1928 as an outright reaction against secularism, which the Egyptian elites had largely embraced during the British dominance in the country. To this day the Brotherhood’s simple credo remains the same: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” Contrary to Clapper’s assurances, the Brotherhood is an archetypical Islamic revivalist movement that opposes the ascendancy of secular ideas and advocates a return to integral Islam as a solution to the ills that had befallen Muslim societies. Today it has branches in every traditionally Muslim country and all over the world, including the United States. Its members share the same long-term goal: the establishment of a world-wide Islamic state based on Sharia law. As is to be expected, they believe that the Koran and the Tradition justify violence to overthrow un-Islamic governments, and they look upon America as a sworn enemy.
During the Cold War, Washington routinely pandered to various Islamists as a means of weakening secular Arab nationalist regimes. In the mid 1950s, the Americans even promoted the idea of forming an Islamic bloc—led by Saudi Arabia—to counter the Nasserist movement. That approach may have made some sense during the Cold War, but it certainly makes none today. The strategy of effective support for Islamic ambitions against the Soviets in Afghanistan has helped turn Islamic radicalism into a truly global phenomenon detrimental to U.S. security interests. The ridiculous notion that the Muslim Brotherhood can become America’s user-friendly partner merely proves that the architects of our Middle Eastern policy have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.
Egypt’s dwindling Copts have seen their position deteriorate over the past year from precarious to perilous. Already facing discrimination and harassment from Mubarak’s secular regime, they now see that things could get a lot worse under the Islamists who are now poised to take complete power. Their annus horribilis started on New Year’s Day 2011, when a powerful car bomb targeted a Coptic church in Alexandria, killing 25 parishioners and wounding nearly 100 just as they were finishing midnight liturgy. The next turning point was the Maspero massacre on October 9, 2011, when 27 unarmed Christian protesters were killed and hundreds more injured, not by some shadowy Islamic extremists but by the military. An official commission—established by the Army—has unsurprisingly absolved the Army of all responsibility for the killings.
Egypt shows that the prospect of the end of Christianity in Syria as a direct consequence of American policy is not unique, nor limited to one party or administration. The almost complete Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt already is accompanied by an accelerating Coptic exodus, as church attacks and kidnappings (mainly of girls, who after rape and supposed “conversion” to Islam are denied return to their families).
The process is accelerating. On August 1 Sherif Gadallah, a prominent lawyer from Alexandria, submitted a report to the public prosecutor demanding the exclusion of Copts from the committee in charge of forming Egypt’s constitution. That same week a sectarian crisis escalated in the village of Dahshur, only 25 miles south of Cairo, where hundreds of Muslims torched and looted Coptic businesses and homes. “As 120 families had already fled the village … the businesses and homes were an easy game for the mob to make a complete clean-up of everything that could be looted,” said Coptic activist Wagih Jacob. “The security forces were at the scene of the crime while it was taking place and did nothing at all.” The Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement criticizing officials “for not dealing firmly with the events, demanding the speedy arrest of the perpetrators, the provision of security to the village Copts, their return to their homes, and monetary compensation for all those affected.” Its adherents see the Dahshur incident as a continuation of the Mubarak-era policy of collective punishment of Copts. Renowned Egyptian novelist Alaa Al-Aswany said, “What if the Americans acted the same way as the extremists of Dahshur; would you accept the expulsion of Muslims of America in response to Bin Laden’s terrorism?”
Egypt’s ongoing transition to what passes for democracy in the Muslim world is going to make matters far worse for the Copts, who are fearful the army and courts will not shield them from ever-greater discrimination and harassment. The Freedom and Justice Party, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Muslim Brotherhood, now controls the country’s parliament, and the president is a Brotherhood disciple. The adherents of political Islam are in charge. Their spiritual leader is Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, who in a recent video reminded the faithful that Christians are infidels. The Sheikh’s position is in line with orthodox Islamic teaching, which may explain the fact that he is still hailed in the West as a moderate. Five years ago, a U.S. News article described him as “a highly promoted champion of moderate Islam.” As a result, according to an August 14 report in El Fegr, jihadi organizations openly distribute leaflets inciting for the killing of Copts and promising them “a tragic end if they do not return to the truth” (Islam). The letter even names contact points and a location, Sheikh Ahmed Mosque in Kasfrit, where those supportive of such goals should rally after Friday prayers and join forces.
“Liberation” of Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s secular dictatorship has devastated that country’s Christian community, with many taking refuge in Syria, where they are now again under threat. “At least proponents of Muslim liberation in the Middle East can claim, however implausibly, that the negative impact on local Christians is an unintended and regrettable consequence of a fundamentally humane and progressive program,” James Jatras says.
“But in the Balkans, specifically in Kosovo and in Muslim-controlled areas of Bosnia, no crocodile tears are required. The victims are Serbs, and of course they deserve everything they get. But excuses and window-dressing aside, the bottom line is the same: Washington—supposedly the great global opponent of jihad terror—in fact is the consistent supporter of militant Islamization of one country after another, with the predictable result of streams of Christian refugees, burned churches, murdered clergy, and enslaved girls. Given the collusion between our government and media, not one American in ten has a clue what our government is doing in our name and with our money.”
Iraq’s dwindling Christian population marked Christmas 2011 with bomb attacks across Baghdad that killed dozens of them. After U.S. forces completed their withdrawal from the country, Christian exodus from Iraq accelerated. “Our faithful in Iraq live in fear,” Chaldean Bishop Shlemon Warduni complained, “they feel there is no peace, no security, so they go where they can live in peace… The government cannot ensure their lives.”
The Christian community in Iraq was some two million strong before the US-led invasion of 2003. Up to four-fifths is estimated to have left the country in recent years following a series of attacks by Muslim extremists. While they were still there, the U.S. forces did little to protect them, leaving the task to the Iraqis. On October 31, 2010, an assault on a Baghdad church left 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force members dead. According to Louis Sako, Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk, “the security forces are not sufficiently prepared to ensure the protection of Christians.” He says that 57 churches and houses of worship in Iraq have been attacked since the invasion with a thousand Christians killed and more than 6 000 wounded.
At the outset of the Islamic conquests under Muhammad’s successors all of these lands were 100 percent Christian. By the time the Ottomans took over they had a Christian plurality, and in Palestine and Lebanon the outright majority. Under the British Mandate (1919-1947), Palestine officially was a Christian country. Bethlehem, for instance, had a population that was 90 percent Christian. Today, they are disappearing: Bethlehem is now less than 10 percent Christian. Among almost three million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, only 50,000 Christians remain. Within the pre-1967 borders of Israel there are six million people; only two percent are Christians. In the city of Jerusalem the Christian population has declined from 45,000 in 1940 to a few thousand today. At the current rate of decline, the Christian population will be a fraction of one percent in the year 2020, and there will be no living church in the land of Christ
If the Jewish or Muslim population of America or Western Europe were to start declining at a similar rate, there would be an outcry from their co-religionists all over the world. There would be government-funded programs to establish the causes and provide remedies, and heart-rendering Hollywood movies. The endangered minority would be awarded instant victim status and be celebrated as such by the media and academia. But the disappearing Middle Eastern Christians, or their remnant, remain invisible to the Western world. It is evidently hard to be “post-Christian” without becoming anti-Christian.
As a former law professor President Obama knows something about international law and US constitutional law which he taught at the University of Chicago. But he besmirched his academic bona fides, violated Democratic Party rules and hurt his campaign on 12/5/12 by ordering the Democratic Party to summarily change earlier a twice debated and unanimously adopted plank of the Democratic Platform on the subject of the status of Jerusalem.
The reason this observer even took the time to read the 26,56l word, 37 page 2012 Democratic Party Platform which guides every Democratic candidate for both Houses of Congress and the party’s Presidential candidate, and to a lesser degree, thousands of Democratic Party candidates across the USA is, well, nostalgia.
And I read every word from my preferred relaxation spot which is on the top of my fine new14 story Waad apartment building in the Hezbollah security zone of Dahiyeh, South Beirut. The high-rise was rebuilt, (Israel bombed it and 251 other residential buildings during the July 2006 33-day aggression, reducing it to rubble and dust with two US gifted MK-83 1000 lb. bombs) and my perch has a wonderful view of the mountains to the east and the Mediterranean to the west. As I studied the platform, among my ducks and chickens that I raise on the roof, I couldn’t help thinking of my own experience, now more than a quarter century ago from my time representing Oregon as Democratic National Committeeman under Jimmy Carter and being a member of the 1980 DNC Platform Committee while working in Washington on Ted Kennedy’s issues staff as he tried to wrest our party’s nomination from our incumbent President. It was not easy for the Kennedy campaign to do and as history records our campaign petered out. But not before and not too unlike what occurred this week, a Middle East issue caused some sparks over whether to recognize the PLO and support calls for a State of Palestine in the 1980 Platform.
The decision made by the DNC Platform committee this year cut the 2004 and 2008 Platform sentence “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel” and was the result of several months of work by the platform committee analyzing written submissions, receiving oral presentations, and participating in discussions and debate sessions around the country. To the party’s credit, removing the earlier language reflected international law, both UN Resolution and international customary law based on the overwhelming consensus of more than 188 member countries of the United Nations with very few exceptions being Israel. All of which assert that the status of Jerusalem, whether it’s to be the capital of Palestine, Israel, both or internationalized, is to be left to final status negotiations between the native Palestinians and their colonial occupiers. Nor did the expunged language reflect Obama’s personal views.
Following reports that the Romney campaign was going to run ads asking where is God and support for Israel in the Democrats platform, Obama hastily and ill-advisedly, in this observers view, ordered the Platform Committee to restore the language of both. At the same time, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the nation’s most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, which had urged including language about Jerusalem’s status as the Israeli capital in written testimony to the platform drafting committee, made clear that they were troubled by the omission of their favor Jerusalem language.
As required by Democratic Party rules, the language change needs to be approved by a 2/3 floor vote called by Platform Committee Chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He did put the vote at the beginning of the 9/5/12 Convention session. However since video/audio reports, including C-Span, make plain the delegates voted roughly 50/50, well shy of required 2/3’s , Villaraigosa called for a second and then a third vote which produced the same result. Each time there was a cacophony of “No’s’! from the assembled delegates which were ignored. Mayor Villaraigosa violated Party rules again when he rejected motions for a roll-call vote and repeated ‘points of order” from the floor. He then falsely announced that 2/3’s had agreed to the language change. He then abruptly walked off the podium thereby profoundly disrespecting the party stalwarts who support it with their hard work and organizational skills. The stunned stare on Villaraigosa’s face suggested how deep in denial the Democratic Party has been about the anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian sentiment growing among the party rank and file. The widely claimed bipartisan support for the Zionist occupation of Palestine is receding.
The Party now faces the prospect of a full convention vote on the issue or a court challenge if delegates choose not to let Obama’s betrayal stand.
The reason the 2012 Platform Committee Members changed the former language is that the old position was ludicrous according to expert testimony presented at the Platform hearings, does not reflect US policy as reiterated on 9/6/12 by State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell, and because this year’s platform reflected, to a modest degree at least, the overdue and increasing political power of Arab and Muslim Americans who, often as small business people have largely heretofore considered themselves Republicans. But more are becoming active in the Democratic Party. These new party activists are informed about the issue of Palestine and take the status of Jerusalem seriously.
Either way the Romney campaign was sure to claim, as they are doing right now that: “Mr. Obama has refused to state his position on Jerusalem and Israel.” Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman, is telling the media: “Now is the time for President Obama to state in unequivocal terms whether or not he believes Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.”
Obama erred politically and humiliated himself and his partly needlessly with his sell-out in Charlotte. He gained nothing in the way of Zionist support because the lobby has made clear form Tel Aviv to New York that it will never trust him on Israel as they increasingly coalesce around the Romney-Ryan ticket.
The whole spectacle also damaged the Democratic Party which since the 1960’s has championed voter’s rights. Bill Clinton touted this important legacy in his speech. He also focused on the Republicans’ disrespect for voter’s rights: “If you want every American to vote and you think it’s wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama.”
One wonders what the delegates were thinking having just experience disrespect for voting rights within their own party.
Tom Hayden once described the difference between the Republican and Democratic parties as the difference between Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola. The same applies to both parties Platform language on Palestine. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs illustrates the differences if the reader can find them:
GOP: The U.S. and Israel “speak the same language of freedom and justice”
DEMS: The U.S. and Israel “share common values”
GOP: “The security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States”
DEMS: “A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States”
GOP: “Ensure that [Israel] maintains a qualitative edge in military technology”
DEMS: “Ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge”
GOP: “We envision two democratic states”
DEMS: “Seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians….producing two states for two peoples”
GOP: “Palestinian people must support leaders who reject terror, embrace the institutions and ethos of democracy, and respect the rule of law.”
DEMS: Palestinians must “recognize Israel’s right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements”
GOP: “We call on the new government in Egypt to fully uphold its peace treaty with Israel”
DEMS: “We will continue to support Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan”
GOP: “We call on Arab governments throughout the region to help advance [the] goal [of peace]”
DEMS: “President Obama will continue to press Arab states to reach out to Israel”
GOP: “We support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders; and we envision two democratic states—Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine—living in peace and security”
Dems: “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel…The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths”
Neither the Republican nor the Democratic Platforms make any reference to Israeli settlements, increasing violence carried out by Israeli government and settlers or provides even a faint hint of any Israeli wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, AIPAC released a statement on 9/6/12: “We welcome reinstatement to the Democratic platform of the language reaffirming Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. One imagines that Obama’s nemeses, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is chortling.