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ccp
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« Reply #1150 on: February 01, 2011, 09:50:04 AM »

http://www.military-today.com/tanks/m1a1_abrams.htm
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G M
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« Reply #1151 on: February 01, 2011, 11:10:34 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/02/01/jordan-next/

Going around.
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G M
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« Reply #1152 on: February 04, 2011, 09:58:20 AM »

The problem is Egypt is very brittle. Were the Muslim Brotherhood to take over, things for the Copts, as well as average Egyptians would be much worse off. Keep in mind that those who could take power in Egypt see the pyramids and other artifacts there as something they'd like to destroy, just as the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas in Bamiyan. And, like the talibs, the destruction of artifacts would be the least of the horrible things done by them.

Egypt used to be very westernized, now salafism is taking deep root in the population. This does not bode well for the future. Classic Egyptian things, like belly dancing are going away because they are "unislamic".

Almost like I knew what I was talking about.

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/02/04/us-intel-missed-tunisia-egypt-uprisings/
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ccp
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« Reply #1153 on: February 04, 2011, 11:45:03 AM »

They want freedom from repressive government.  So do I here in the US.  I don't want more "good"government by whatever definition Soros whose fingerprints are on world wide progressism.  I want to be left alone.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1154 on: February 04, 2011, 12:24:39 PM »

"US intel missed Tunisia, Egypt uprisings"

They also missed the end of cold war and the 9/11 attacks.
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G M
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« Reply #1155 on: February 04, 2011, 01:10:48 PM »

Doug,

The FBI had an informant inside the original NY/NJ AQ cell, but decided the 2000 bucks a month (or so) wasn't worthwhile and cut him loose. Other USG entities also had pieces of the puzzle, but no one put them together.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1156 on: February 04, 2011, 02:00:46 PM »

True we had pieces of a puzzle for 9/11.  The fall of the Soviet Union was a better example that Dick Cheney gave for large events missed by U.S. Intelligence.  We rightfully worry about Egypt now, but maybe larger dangers are looming in Yemen or Pakistan or ?

I don't have any information yet that the affects of the events in Tunisia were negative except for the first lady taking a ton and a half of gold out.  A very different population, history and location than Egypt. If I were a 'reformer' in Egypt I would set Mubarek up with a decent place inside of Egypt to live comfortably and die of old age instead of watching another poor country get looted by the kleptocrats.

Very strange for Obama to support reformers in Egypt and not in Iran.  Obviously based on projected outcome, not principles that we would understand.
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G M
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« Reply #1157 on: February 04, 2011, 02:04:51 PM »

Funny how not too long ago, Obama was respectful towards Mubarak and the left lectured us on not interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations.
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G M
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« Reply #1158 on: February 07, 2011, 04:02:25 PM »

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-egypt-could-fall-into-hands-of-radical-islamists-1.341890

Egypt could fall into the hands of radical Islamists as a result of the country's uprising, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

Netanyahu warned about the result of the riots in Egypt over the past two weeks while speaking at an event for European diplomats held at the Knesset on Monday.

"Egyptians can choose a state with secular reforms. However, there is also another possibility that the Islamists will exploit the situation in order to gain governance over the country and lead it backward," the Prime Minister said.

"The third possibility is that [Egypt] will go in the direction of Iran," Netanyahu said, adding that they would "oppress the country and threaten all those surrounding it."
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #1159 on: February 08, 2011, 05:31:11 AM »

Woof,
 This from some freedom loving folks right here at home. Not!   www.adc.org/government/action-alerts/
                     P.C.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1160 on: February 13, 2011, 10:53:25 AM »

Palestinian Leaders Suddenly Call for Elections
By ETHAN BRONNER
Published: February 12, 2011
JERUSALEM — The Palestinian leadership announced Saturday that it planned to hold presidential and parliamentary elections by September, apparently a response to the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt calling for greater democracy and government accountability.

 The decision was announced in the West Bank city of Ramallah after a meeting of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which oversees the Palestinian Authority. Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, is also the chairman of the P.L.O.
At the same meeting, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian peace negotiator with Israel, submitted his resignation and Mr. Abbas accepted it. A subcommittee was formed to look for a successor as well as to consider restructuring the negotiations unit.

The Islamist Hamas faction rejected the plan for national elections, saying Mr. Abbas had no legitimacy to call for them since he was serving beyond his term.

The Palestinians have not held elections since 2006, when Hamas won a majority in the parliament, leading to a year and a half of uneasy power sharing and a brief civil war in June 2007. Since then, Hamas has governed Gaza and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority has controlled the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority announced that postponed local elections would be held in July, a move that Hamas also rejected.

Hamas has said it believes that elections should follow a reconciliation process between itself and Fatah, including a restructuring of the P.L.O. to include Hamas, which is currently excluded.

The authority’s announcement on national elections said: “We call upon all parties to set aside their reservations and disagreements. Let us work together to hold elections and uphold the will of the Palestinian people. As for differences and disagreements, whether in political or security matters, we believe that these issues could be resolved by the coming elected Legislative Council.”

In explaining his resignation as chief peace negotiator, Mr. Erekat said that the leak to Al Jazeera television last month of some 1,600 documents — minutes and e-mails — from the negotiations had come from his department and that he bore responsibility for the embarrassment they caused. The leaks showed Mr. Erekat and fellow negotiators making more far-reaching offers than were publicly known regarding the yielding of land to Israel in East Jerusalem and on other divisive issues, like the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in what is today Israel.

A member of the P.L.O. executive committee who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that there was unhappiness with Mr. Erekat, especially after the leaks were exposed, and that he was leaving because of it. Mr. Erekat has been a part of the negotiating team for nearly two decades.

Other Palestinian officials said there were no negotiations to lead and blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

“I think this resignation makes a point that we don’t believe Netanyahu has any intention of accepting the minimum of what had been agreed to before,” Nabil Shaath, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, said in a telephone interview. “We want a total end of building settlements, including in East Jerusalem.”

In reaction to Mr. Erekat’s announcement, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, said the resignation was proof that negotiations and peaceful efforts with Israel were a failure, and added that the Palestinian Authority should “cease all types of coordination with the Zionist enemy.”


Khaled Abu Aker contributed reporting from Ramallah, and Fares Akram from Gaza.

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G M
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« Reply #1161 on: February 14, 2011, 09:30:01 AM »

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/111752/20110212/israel-embassy-cairo-close-mubarak-egypt.htm

** Good thing the MB is so darn secular!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1162 on: February 14, 2011, 10:51:33 AM »

Lets be precise:  It remains to be seen whether the closing was a temporary (and rational!) security measure, or is a permanent state of affairs.  MB is simply reporting here, yes?
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G M
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« Reply #1163 on: February 14, 2011, 11:08:07 AM »

Thus it seems.
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G M
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« Reply #1164 on: February 14, 2011, 11:20:32 AM »




"Wafer-thin resume"


Or was this on purpose?
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G M
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« Reply #1165 on: February 16, 2011, 06:54:23 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/02/16/report-u-s-to-join-un-security-council-statement-rebuking-israel-over-settlements/

Report: U.S. to join UN Security Council statement rebuking Israel over settlements
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #1166 on: February 17, 2011, 02:05:18 AM »

Woof,
 There's nothing to worry about Israel, Obama's got your back. Now that should be a comfort. tongue

 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ml_israel_iran

                     P.C.
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G M
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« Reply #1167 on: February 17, 2011, 12:58:07 PM »

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/prepare-invade-israel-hezbollah-leader-t-0

‘Prepare to Invade Israel,’ Hezbollah Leader Tells Followers
Thursday, February 17, 2011
By Bassem Mroue, Associated Press

Hassan Nasrallah

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks via a video link during a rally in Beirut's southern suburbs on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. Hezbollah's leader told his Shiite guerrilla group to be prepared to invade northern Israel. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Beirut (AP) – Hezbollah's leader told his Shiite guerrilla group Wednesday to be prepared to invade northern Israel, a day after Israel's defense minister warned that the quiet along the tense border could erupt into violence.

The comments by the two sides illustrate the fragile situation along the frontier since they Israel and Hezbollah fought a bitter, six-week war in the summer of 2006. The war ended in a U.N.-brokered truce but officials on both sides of the border believe it is only a matter of time before hostilities resume.

"I tell the holy warriors of the Islamic Resistance to be ready for a day when, if war is imposed on us, your command might ask you to control the Galilee area," Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech Wednesday. The Galilee refers to land in northern Israel.

On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak toured the Israeli military's northern command and told soldiers there that the quiet along the frontier might not last.

"This is not forever and it could under certain conditions deteriorate, and then you will have to be called on again, with everything you learned in training," he said. "Today the units are better trained and more prepared but there is always more to be done and you need to be ready for every test."

Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war in 2006 that left 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis dead.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1168 on: February 17, 2011, 02:40:10 PM »

Looks like Israel is going to be real sorry it didn't finish the job last time and clear Hezbollah out, all the way through the Bekaa Valley  cry
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G M
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« Reply #1169 on: February 17, 2011, 02:45:30 PM »

No worries, Obama has Israel's back.



Just as soon as we get done condemning them at the UN, of course.



I'm not sure how Glenn Beck pulled this all off.....
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G M
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« Reply #1170 on: February 19, 2011, 10:59:14 AM »

http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2011/02/18/the-race-to-jerusalem/

The Race to Jerusalem
posted at 7:55 pm on February 18, 2011 by J.E. Dyer


This one, I didn’t want to be right about. It was clear as far back as early 2009, but I’ve never advanced any analysis I hoped so much would be wrong. And if there’s one thing I was wrong about, it was how quickly events would accelerate once the starting gun had been fired. I thought it would take longer – that there would be a longer interim in which the activity of various participants was ambiguous.

The starting gun has been fired in what I call the “race to Jerusalem.” Arguably, it was fired last fall when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited southern Lebanon as the honored guest of Hezbollah. The race started a new phase when Hezbollah unseated the Hariri unity government of Lebanon on 12 January – and then succeeded in facing down Saudi and Turkish negotiators to select its own approved candidate to head the new government.

But a week later the race transitioned again, as Tunisians toppled the Ben Ali government and unrest spread across the Middle East. The region went from one government crisis – in Lebanon – to more than half a dozen in the space of three weeks.

Now Iran has pressed the issue of an unprecedented naval deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, with the latest report today being that Egypt will permit the Iranian warships to transit the Suez Canal.  At the UN, meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has resisted all US efforts at compromise and forced America to veto a resolution declaring the settlements in Judea and Samaria illegal.

Developments of this kind were predicted nearly two years ago, by – full disclosure – me. There are three major influences at work in the current unrest in the Middle East.  One is the genuine desire of many citizens for liberalization and reform.  We must not forget that influence; it requires protection and support – it cannot survive on its own – but it is a positive and welcome factor.

The second influence is the generic drive of various Islamist groups for the imposition of sharia.  The possibility of these groups gaining state power – the Muslim Brotherhood, its offshoots, or similar groups – makes for very high stakes in the national crises of the Arab nations.  Even assuming the Islamists gain power on the Hezbollah model, as part of coalition governments, they are still on the threshold of transforming Islamism from being principally about guerrilla jihad to being principally about national power.

The prospect before us is a new phase of what we may call, for lack of a better term, “caliphate Islamism,” as opposed to the more familiar Islamism of guerrilla jihad.  The auguries of this have been seen already in Tunisia, where the twin flags of the “Islamic caliphate” – the white al-liwaa of the putative head of state and the black ar-raya of jihad – have been observed in abundance in street demonstrations. Indeed, a crowd chanting anti-Jewish slogans outside the great synagogue in Tunis (see here and here) was waving dozens of these flags, referred to by Islamists as the flags of khilafah, or the caliph/caliphate.

This brings us to the third influence: the race to Jerusalem. The aspirants to Islamist leadership have maneuvered for years, in a desultory manner, to back (and ultimately lead) the factions that would succeed in occupying Jerusalem.  The principal state aspirants since 1979 have been revolutionary Iran and Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the turmoil in the Arab world in 2011 suggests there will be a scramble to reestablish Arab leadership in the coming days.

My argument in 2009 was that withdrawing US support to Israel’s requirement for territorial defensibility would unleash the accelerating maneuvers we are seeing today.  Barack Obama has, in effect, done precisely that with his dismissal of the national security interest Israel has in the settlements issue.  It was foreseeable that Obama’s policies would do what they have done: give the Middle East a green light for a competitive race to Jerusalem.

Here are links to the 4-part series from June 2009.

The Next Phase of World War IV?

The Next Phase of World War IV – Part 2

The Next Phase of World War IV – Part 3

The Next Phase of World War IV – Part 4

J.E. Dyer blogs at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions” and as The Optimistic Conservative.  She writes a weekly column for Patheos.
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ccp
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« Reply #1171 on: February 19, 2011, 02:04:36 PM »

Israel's good friends in the UN Security Council all of whom except the US voted that the settlements were "illegal".  The US simply had Hill girl state that the settlements were "illegitimate" but not illegal; essentially a technicality.  If Israel were an oil powerhouse it would be different.  But for a couple of millions of Jews - who cares? cry

Permanent members
People's Republic of China which replaced the Republic of China in 1971
France
Russian Federation which replaced the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991
United Kingdom
United States
Non-permanent members
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brazil
Colombia
Gabon
Germany
India
Lebanon
Nigeria
Portugal
South Africa
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1172 on: February 26, 2011, 02:21:15 AM »



On Wednesday night, Israelis received our first taste of the new Middle East with the missile strikes on Beersheba. Iran’s Palestinian proxy, the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood known as Hamas, carried out its latest war crime right after Iran’s battleships entered Syria’s Latakia port.

Their voyage through the Suez Canal to Syria was an unadulterated triumph for the mullahs.

For the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran’s warships sailed across the canal without even being inspected by the Egyptian, US or Israeli navies.

On the diplomatic front, the Iranian-dominated new Middle East has had a pronounced impact on the Western-backed Fatah-led Palestinian Authority’s political posture towards the US.

The PA picked a fight with America just after the Obama administration forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to surrender power.

Mubarak’s departure was a strategic victory for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and for its sister branch Hamas in Gaza.

As part of his efforts to neutralize the threat the Muslim Brotherhood posed to his regime, Mubarak sealed off Gaza’s border with Egypt after Hamas seized power there in June 2007.

The Gaza-Sinai border was breached during last month’s revolution. Since Mubarak’s forced resignation, the military junta now leading Egypt has failed to reseal it.

The revolution in Egypt happened just after the PA was thrown into a state of disarray. Al- Jazeera’s exposure of PA documents indicating the leadership’s willingness to make minor compromises with Israel in the framework of a peace deal served to discredit Fatah leaders in the eyes of the Israel-hating Palestinian public.

In the wake of the Al-Jazeera revelations, senior PA leaders escalated their anti-Israel and anti- American pronouncements. The PA’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat was forced to resign.

The shift in the regional power balance following Mubarak’s fall has caused Fatah leaders to view their ties to the US as a strategic liability.

If they wish to survive, they must cut a deal with Hamas. And to convince Hamas to cut a deal, they need to abandon the US.
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G M
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« Reply #1173 on: February 27, 2011, 09:41:18 AM »

**Well, he sure was quick to throw Mubarak under the bus, but strangely quiet on Khadaffi. Especially given this: Report: Ex-minister says Gaddafi ordered Lockerbie

By KARL RITTER
The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 23, 2011; 3:07 PM

STOCKHOLM -- Libya's ex-justice minister on Wednesday was quoted as telling a Swedish newspaper that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people in 1988.


"I have proof that Gadhafi gave the order about Lockerbie," Mustafa Abdel-Jalil was quoted as saying in an interview with Expressen, a Stockholm-based tabloid.



**I wonder why Obama would be so quick to sell out Mubarak yet so quiet about a known international terrorist?

Obama’s sinister silence on Libya (Updated)

As Muammar Gaddafi butchers his own people, and as evidence of his direct role in the Lockerbie bombing has emerged, President Barack Obama has gone radio silent on the whole thing. His Secretary of State has spoken out. Even the UN has muttered about its “concern.” But the POTUS who helped nudge Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, an American ally who kept peace with Israel, out of power, is now mum.

Why?

I don’t know. His silence has led to curiosity, which led to Google searches, which led to reminders that his former spiritual guide and mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, visited Gaddafi in 1984 at the height of tensions between that dictator and the United States. Gaddafi was already known at the time as a major force behind international terrorism.

    To begin, Wright is a close confidant and supporter of Louis Farrakhan. The leader of the Nation of Islam has called Jews “bloodsuckers” who practice a “gutter religion.”

    Wright was among those deeply affected in the early ’80s by Farrakhan’s South Side Chicago activism. In 1984, Wright was one of the inner circle that traveled with Farrakhan to visit Libyan strongman Col. Muammar Qadhfi. The ostentatious Farrakhan junket came at a time when Qadhfi had been identified as the world’s chief financier of international terrorism, including the Black September group behind the Munich Olympics massacre.

    By the time Wright and Farrakhan visited, Libyan oil imports had been banned, and America was trying to topple what it called a “rogue regime.” In the several years after that, Farrakhan was pro-active for Qadhfi, even as Libya was internationally isolated for suspected involvement in numerous terror plots, including the explosion of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

    Farrakhan’s and Wright’s 1984 visit and subsequent support was done precisely to openly ally themselves with a declared enemy of the United States.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1174 on: February 27, 2011, 09:51:34 AM »

This belongs on "War, Peace, and SNAFU" or "US Foreign Policy" or "Other Arab countries" , , , not here  cheesy
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 10:06:01 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1175 on: February 27, 2011, 10:11:25 AM »

I get that, but is that really the subject of your post (or GM's response)? Your post was an asssertion of cognitive dissonance on the part of BO critics with regard to US policy concerning various Arab countries.  I've offered 3 alternatives if you want to keep this particular discussion going.
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JDN
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« Reply #1176 on: February 27, 2011, 10:54:20 AM »

This belongs on "War, Peace, and SNAFU" or "US Foreign Policy" or "Other Arab countries" , , , not here  cheesy

It has been moved.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1177 on: March 01, 2011, 08:54:26 AM »

In the past few weeks, we've seen revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, a brutal and continuing attempt to put down a rebellion in Libya, and varying degrees of unrest, sometimes violent, in Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Sudan and Yemen.

If only Israel would recognize a Palestinian state, we would have peace in the Middle East!

Ha ha. Hardly anybody is saying that now, but it's worth remembering that it has been the accepted view among Mideast "experts" for decades. Israeli cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen, who draws the syndicated Dry Bones strip, had a terrific one a few weeks ago. It showed a pair of such experts yammering, "Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Israel, Palestine, Gaza," ad nauseam. In the second panel, the experts are shaken as a voice yells "EGYPT!" In the third panel, they stand silently, trying to make sense of it all.

Nick Cohen of London's Observer, a rare British leftist who does not loathe Israel, confronts his ideological brethren in an excellent column:

To a generation of politically active if not morally consistent campaigners, the Middle East has meant Israel and only Israel. In theory, they should have been able to stick by universal principles and support a just settlement for the Palestinians while opposing the dictators who kept Arabs subjugated. Few, however, have been able to oppose oppression in all its forms consistently. . . .
Far from being a cause of the revolution, antagonism to Israel everywhere served the interests of oppressors. Europeans have no right to be surprised. Of all people, we ought to know from our experience of Nazism that antisemitism is a conspiracy theory about power, rather than a standard racist hatred of poor immigrants. Fascistic regimes reached for it when they sought to deny their own people liberty. . . .
Syrian Ba'athists, Hamas, the Saudi monarchy and Gaddafi eagerly promoted the Protocols [of the Elders of Zion], for why wouldn't vicious elites welcome a fantasy that dismissed democracy as a fraud and justified their domination? Just before the Libyan revolt, [Muammar] Gaddafi tried a desperate move his European predecessors would have understood. He tried to deflect Libyan anger by calling for a popular Palestinian revolution against Israel. That may or may not have been justified, but it assuredly would have done nothing to help the wretched Libyans.
Cohen also claims that "the right has been no better than the liberal-left in its Jew obsessions. The briefest reading of Conservative newspapers shows that at all times their first concern about political changes in the Middle East is how they affect Israel."

Maybe he's right--we haven't been following British coverage closely enough to say--but here in America, the anti-Semitic canard that neoconservatives are loyal to Israel first has been disproved. Politico reported Feb. 3:

As Israeli leaders worriedly eye the protests and street battles in neighboring Egypt, they've been dismayed to find that the neoconservatives and hawkish Democrats who are usually their most reliable American advocates are cheering for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's fall. . . .
In particular, neoconservatives such as Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, Bush National Security Council official Elliott Abrams, and scholar Robert Kagan are essentially saying good riddance to Mubarak and chiding Obama mainly for not making the same sporadic push for democracy as President George W. Bush.
"If [the Israelis] were to say, 'This is very worrying because we don't know what the future will bring and none of us trust the [Muslim] Brotherhood'--we would all agree with that. But then they then go further and start mourning the departure of Mubarak and telling you that he is the greatest thing that ever happened," said Abrams, who battled inside the Bush administration for more public pressure on Arab allies to reform.
"They don't seem to realize that the crisis that now exists is the creation of Mubarak," he said. "We were calling on him to stop crushing the moderate and centrist parties--and the Israelis had no sympathy for that whatsoever."
One can see why Israelis would be especially anxious about the outcome of the revolution in Egypt, the most populous Arab state and one that has waged war against Israel several times. On "The Journal Editorial Report" a couple of weeks ago, Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy defense secretary and a pro-democracy neoconservative, raised an analogy that seems to us pertinent:

There's really been too much hand-wringing. Yes, there are a lot of ways this can go wrong. But, you know, I'm reminded that when the Berlin Wall came down, someone I admire, Margaret Thatcher, and her counterpart in France, Francois Mitterrand, were wringing their hands with the specter of a revived German threat in Europe. And President [George H.W.] Bush said: Look, let's celebrate what the Germans have done, let's embrace unity, and then we'll have a chance to steer this in the right direction. . . .
Look, when the tide of freedom is sweeping, we should love it. And when it's headed in the wrong direction, then we'll have a lot more credibility to say, "Whoa, this isn't freedom anymore."
We agree with Wolfowitz, but there's a more sympathetic way of looking at Thatcher's and Mitterand's unease over German unification--one that ought to inspire some empathy for Israel's anxiety. Germany was in their backyard and had waged a vicious war on both England and France just a few decades earlier. The same is true of Egypt today vis-à-vis Israel. And Egypt's future is harder to predict than Germany's in 1989, when most of the country was already stable, democratic and allied with the West. Regime change in Egypt produces uncertainty about the 1978 peace treaty, an agreement that is essential to Israel's security.

On the other hand, we've long argued that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is largely a product of Arab dictators, a point even Thomas Friedman acknowledges in a recent column: "The Arab tyrants, precisely because they were illegitimate, were the ones who fed their people hatred of Israel as a diversion." But Friedman still manages to get it backward:

If Israel could finalize a deal with the Palestinians, it will find that a more democratic Arab world is a more stable partner. Not because everyone will suddenly love Israel (they won't). But because the voices that would continue calling for conflict would have legitimate competition, and democratically elected leaders will have to be much more responsive to their people's priorities, which are for more schools not wars.
In truth, a more democratic Arab world--which is now a real possibility, though by no means a certainty--is a necessary precondition for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. On this point Friedman has long been obtuse. Nine years ago, he suggested the Arab states offer "a simple, clear-cut proposal to Israel to break the Israeli-Palestinian impasse: In return for a total withdrawal by Israel to the June 4, 1967, lines, and the establishment of a Palestinian state, the 22 members of the Arab League would offer Israel full diplomatic relations, normalized trade and security guarantees."

Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, in a 2002 interview with Friedman, enthusiastically endorsed the idea, which Friedman started calling "the Abdullah plan." But as Friedman acknowledged in a 2009 column, Abdullah, who became king in 2005, "always stopped short of presenting his ideas directly to the Israeli people." That 2009 column included the latest Friedman brainstorm, "what I would call a five-state solution," involving the creation of a Palestinian state and promises by Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia aimed at guaranteeing Israel's security.

It was fanciful of Friedman to think that Arab dictators--whom he now acknowledges have depended on scapegoating Israel to maintain their hold on power--would have agreed to such plans. But what if they had?

A little history is perhaps apposite here. From Israel's creation in 1948 until the 1979 Iranian revolution, Jerusalem had close relations with the authoritarian government of the shah. The current regime in Iran is dedicated to Israel's destruction. It's hard to see how Israel would be better off today if it had entrusted its security to the Arab dictators whose own people have suddenly made them an endangered species.

Two Columnists in One!

■"Paradoxically, a more democratic Iraq may also be a more repressive one; it may well be that a majority of Iraqis favor more curbs on professional women and on religious minorities. . . . Women did relatively well under Saddam Hussein. . . . Iraq won't follow the theocratic model of Iran, but it could end up as Iran Lite: an Islamic state, but ruled by politicians rather than ayatollahs. I get the sense that's the system many Iraqis seek. . . . We may just have to get used to the idea that we have been midwives to growing Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq."--Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, June 24, 2003
■"Is the Arab world unready for freedom? A crude stereotype lingers that some people--Arabs, Chinese and Africans--are incompatible with democracy. . . . This line of thinking seems to me insulting to the unfree world. . . . It's condescending and foolish to suggest that people dying for democracy aren't ready for it."--Kristof, Times, Feb. 27, 2011
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1178 on: March 03, 2011, 05:40:40 PM »

Good thumbnail refutations of the most common lies about Israel.

http://walloflies.org/
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« Reply #1179 on: March 12, 2011, 06:45:28 PM »

CG once again shows herself to be an unusually astute observer and analyst:
===============


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is stuck between a diplomatic rock and a political hard place. And his chosen means of extricating himself from the double bind is only making things worse for him and for Israel.

Diplomatically, Netanyahu is beset by the Palestinian political war to delegitimize Israel and the Obama administration’s escalating hostility. That hostility was most recently expressed during President Barack Obama’s meeting with American Jewish leaders on March 1. Insinuating that Israel is to blame for the absence of peace in the Middle East, Obama scolded Jewish leaders, telling them to “search your souls” over Israel’s seriousness about making peace.

Obama’s newest threat is that through the socalled Middle East Quartet, (Russia, the UN, the EU and the US), the administration will move towards supporting the Palestinian plan to declare statehood. That state would include all of Judea and Samaria, Gaza and eastern, southern and northern Jerusalem. Since it would not be established in the framework of a peace treaty with Israel, and since its leaders reject Israel’s right to exist, “Palestine” would be born in a de facto state of war with Israel.

To credit this threat, Obama has empowered the Quartet to supplant the US as the mediator between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Buoyed by Obama, Quartet representatives and American and European officials have beaten a steady path to Netanyahu’s door over the past several weeks. Their message is always the same: If Israel does not prove that it is serious about peace by giving massive, unreciprocated concessions to the Palestinians, then they will abandon all remaining pretense of support for Israel and throw their lot in completely with the Palestinians.

For the past year and a half Netanyahu’s policy for dealing with Obama’s animosity has been to try to appease him by making incremental concessions.

Netanyahu’s rationale for acting in this manner is twofold. First, he has tried to convince Obama that he really does want peace with the Palestinians. Second, when each of his concessions is met with further Palestinian intransigence, Netanyahu has argued that the disparity between Israeli concessions and Palestinian rejectionism and extremism demonstrates that it is Israel, not the Palestinians, that should be supported by the West.

To date Netanyahu’s concessions have included his acceptance of Palestinian statehood and the two-state paradigm for peace; his temporary prohibition on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria; his undeclared prohibition on Jewish building in Jerusalem; his undeclared, open-ended prohibition of Jewish building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem after his temporary building ban expired; his agreement to drastically curtail IDF counterterror operations in Judea and Samaria; his move to enact an undeclared abatement of law enforcement against illegal Arab construction in Jerusalem; and his decision to enable the deployment of the US-trained Palestinian army in Judea and Samaria.

Netanyahu’s declaration of support for Palestinian statehood required his acceptance of the Palestinian narrative. That narrative blames the absence of peace on Israel’s refusal to surrender all of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. Having effectively accepted the blame for the absence of peace, Netanyahu has been unable to wage a coherent political counteroffensive against the Palestinian political war.

Now, in a bid to head off Obama’s newest threat to use the Quartet to back the Palestinians’ political war against Israel, Netanyahu is considering yet another set of unreciprocated concessions to the Palestinians.

For the past week and a half, Netanyahu has been considering a new “diplomatic initiative.”

According to media reports, he is weighing two options. First, he may end IDF counterterror operations in Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria.

Such a move would involve compromising all of the IDF’s military achievements in the areas since 2002, when it first targeted the Palestinian terror factories from Hebron to Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield.

The second option he is reportedly considering involves announcing his acceptance of a Palestinian state with non-final borders. Such a move would render it difficult if not impossible for Israel to conduct counterterror operations within those temporary borders. It would also make it all but impossible for Israel to assert its sovereign rights over the areas.

Supporters of this initiative argue that not only will it stave off US pressure; it will strengthen Netanyahu’s political position at home. Recent polls show that Netanyahu’s approval numbers are falling while those of his two main rivals – opposition leader Tzipi Livni and Foreign Minister and Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman are rising.

Netanyahu reportedly believes that by moving to the Left, he will be able to take support away from Livni and so regain his position as the most popular leader in the country. Given this assessment, Netanyahu’s supporters argue that making further concessions to the Palestinians is a winwin prospect. It will strengthen Israel diplomatically and it will strengthen him politically.

Sadly for both Israel and Netanyahu, this analysis is completely wrong.

Since Obama came into office, he has consistently demonstrated that no Israeli concession will convince him to support Israel against the Palestinians.

So, too, the fact that every Israeli concession has been met by Palestinian intransigence has had no impact on either Obama or his European counterparts. Netanyahu correct claims that the Palestinians’ intransigence shows they are not interested in peace is of interest to no one.

And it is this lack of interest in Palestinian intransigence rather than Palestinian intransigence itself that is remarkable. What it shows is that Obama and his European counterparts don’t care about achieving peace. Like the Palestinians, all they want is more Israeli concessions.

Since taking office, Obama has only supported Israel against the Palestinians twice. The first time was last December. After months of deliberate ambiguity, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the administration opposes the Palestinian plan to unilaterally declare independence.

Then last month the administration grudgingly vetoed the Palestinian-Lebanese draft Security Council resolution condemning Israeli construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

In both cases, the administration’s actions were not the result of Israeli appeasement, but of massive congressional pressure. Congress issued bipartisan calls demanding that the administration torpedo both of these anti-Israel initiatives.

What this this shows is that Netanyahu’s strategy for contending with Obama is fundamentally misconstrued and misdirected. Obama will not be moved by Israeli concessions. The only way to stop Obama from moving forward on his anti- Israel policy course is to work through Congress.

And the most effective way to work through Congress is for Netanyahu to abandon his current course and tell the truth about the nature of the Palestinians, their rejection of Israel, their anti- Americanism and their support for jihadist terror.

At the same time, Netanyahu must speak unambiguously about Israel’s national rights to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, our required security borders, and about why US national security requires a strong Israel.

The stronger the case Netanyahu makes for Israel, the more support Israel will receive from the Congress. And the more support Israel receives from the Congress, the more Obama will be compelled to temper his anti-Israel agenda.

As for domestic politics, Netanyahu’s attempt to appease Obama is a major cause of his falling approval numbers among voters. Likud voters do not expect him to outflank Livni from the Left.

They voted for Likud and not Kadima because they recognized that Kadima’s leftist policies are dangerous and doomed to failure.

Kadima’s recent increase in domestic support owes more to the breakup of the Labor Party than to Netanyahu’s failure to carry out Kadima’s policies of territorial surrender and diplomatic kowtowing to the UN, EU and Obama. The main beneficiary of Likud’s eroding support has been Leiberman.

While Netanyahu has maintained his allegiance to the false, failed, unpopular-outside-of-themedia “peace with the Palestinians” paradigm in the foolish hope of winning over Obama, Leiberman has seized control of the Right’s political agenda. While Netanyahu accepts the legitimacy of the Palestinian leadership that rejects Israel’s right to exist, Leiberman presents himself as the leader of the majority of Israelis who oppose the Left’s agenda of land for war.

Moreover, when Netanyahu shunts aside his own party’s most popular politicians such as Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon in favor of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, he demoralizes his party faithful and his voters.

And not only does Barak hurt Netanyahu with voters, this week he took an ax to Israel’s most important diplomatic asset – congressional support.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Barak said that Israel may ask Congress to increase US military support for Israel by $20 billion. Given the US’s economic woes, and Congress’s commitment to massive budget cuts, at best Barak’s statement represented a complete incomprehension about the basic facts of US domestic politics. At worst, it was a supremely unfriendly act towards Israel’s friends in Congress who are trying to maintain the current level of US military aid to Israel in the face of a popular push to slash the foreign aid budget.

Beyond that, the plain fact is that Barak’s statement was wrong. Israel’s steady economic growth and its recently discovered natural gas fields should make it possible for Israel to decrease the military aid it receives from the US. This is true even though the revolutions in Egypt and throughout the Arab world will require Israel to massively increase its defense budget.

If Netanyahu is serious about surmounting his diplomatic and political challenges, his best bet is to abandon his present course altogether. The most effective way to defend Israel against Obama is to boldly assert, defend and implement a unilateral Israeli plan.

Netanyahu himself gave the broad outlines for such a plan this week when he stated that to defend itself, Israel will need to maintain perpetual control over the Jordan Valley. If Netanyahu were to announce a plan to apply Israeli law to the Jordan Valley and the major blocs of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, he would accomplish several things at once. He would advance Israel’s national interests rather than the Palestinians’ interests against Israel. He would force the US and Europe to discuss issues that are grounded in strategic rationality rather than leftist- Islamist ideology. Finally, he would take back the leadership of his own political camp from Leiberman and augment his political power domestically.

So, too, if Netanyahu fired Barak and replaced him with Ya’alon, he would energize his political supporters in a way he has failed to do since taking office.

Netanyahu is reportedly considering unveiling his new diplomatic initiative in a speech before Congress in May. If he were to use that venue to unveil this plan and also announce a plan to wean Israel off US military aid within three years, not only would he blunt Obama’s power to threaten Israel. He would secure popular US support for Israel for years to come.

And if he did that, he would restore the Israeli voters’ support for his leadership and stabilize his government through the next elections.
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G M
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« Reply #1180 on: March 12, 2011, 07:29:09 PM »

Funny how some liberal jews could knowingly vote for Buraq, yet insist that Pro-Israel Glenn Beck is an anti-semite. I'd love to see this explained.
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« Reply #1181 on: March 12, 2011, 07:37:52 PM »

Crafty, I am also very impressed with her insights and writings.  In the category of either that great minds think (nearly) alike or look what famous people read the forum, I see (link below) that she describes her undergraduate degree as from "Beir Zeit [Palestinian University] on the Hudson" a.k.a. Columbia University.  smiley

I will guess that as part of Netanyahu head faking left, he is welcoming of the criticism from the right in Israel as part of that strategy.  He cannot save his country by losing power.  Strange of the US to sponsor a new nation born in a state of war with our best ally, and for the American Jewish vote to still mostly join politically with leftists, (I see GM already hit that note) but the Obama phenomenon is what it is - a wrong turn and a continuous contradiction. People here on the forum understood that from the beginning.  It doesn't look like C.G. will be on Obama's international donor list. http://www.carolineglick.com/e/about.php
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« Reply #1182 on: March 14, 2011, 11:03:58 AM »

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/142846









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« Reply #1183 on: March 14, 2011, 11:05:51 AM »

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4041106,00.html


Gaza celebrates; Fayyad condemns terror attack

Rafah residents hand out candy following murder of parents, three children in West Bank settlement of Itamar. Palestinian PM denounces act, says "we categorically oppose violence and terror, regardless of victims', perpetrators' identity"

Elior Levy
Published:    03.12.11, 14:36 / Israel News
   

Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafah hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Itamar where five family members were murdered in their sleep, including three children.

 

Residents handed out candy and sweets, one resident saying the joy "is a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank."
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G M
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« Reply #1184 on: March 14, 2011, 06:11:18 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/14/video-the-disgusting-terrorist-attack-in-itamar/

Hey, who deserve a state more than these charming people???
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« Reply #1185 on: March 22, 2011, 04:19:19 PM »

Turkey: New Gaza Flotilla To Contain 15 Ships
March 22, 2011 0520 GMT
 
About 30 organizers from 15 countries met in the Spanish capital of Madrid early February 2011 to discuss plans by the Turkish organization Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) and several European groups to send a 15-ship flotilla to the Gaza Strip between May 15 and May 30, the anniversary of 2010's interception, Haaretz reported March 22. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon will summon foreign ambassadors to the ministry to help stop the flotilla, which has asked the governments of some nationals planning to join the flotilla to guarantee their safety should Israel attempt to stop the ships again. Israel will launch a public campaign March 22 against the flotilla plan.
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« Reply #1186 on: March 22, 2011, 04:30:10 PM »

Hmmmm. Maybe they need to get diverted down to Libya. Do some important human shield work there.
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« Reply #1187 on: March 22, 2011, 09:01:24 PM »

Israel strikes Gaza. Lucky air strikes no longer are warfare, otherwise I'd be concerned.
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« Reply #1188 on: March 24, 2011, 11:30:31 AM »

Dispatch: Implications of the Attacks in Israel
March 23, 2011 | 2013 GMT
Click on image below to watch video:



Analyst Reva Bhalla explains the regional consequences of the escalating violence in Israel and what this means for Iran and Egypt.


Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

A bombing struck a bus station in central Jerusalem on Tuesday wounding 34 people and killing one other. This apparent escalation by at least some Palestinian factions raises the potential for another military campaign by Israel in the Palestinian territories. This not only could produce another crisis for Egypt, but could also play to Iranian interests in the region.

This quite rare Jerusalem attack comes on the heels of a barrage of rocket attacks coming from Gaza Strip into population centers in southern Israel and the Negev Desert. It also comes a little less than two weeks after a particularly gruesome attack on a family in the West Bank in the Itamar settlement. We are clearly seeing an escalation by at least some Palestinian factions against Israel. Now who is actually behind the attacks is much less clear. Often you will find that a lot of groups will use contradicting claims and denials and new names to deliberately confuse the Israel security intelligence apparatus. Some of the more recent rocket attacks from Gaza were claimed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which out of all the Palestinian militant groups is the closest to Iran.

We therefore need to put this latest attack in regional context. The killings in the West Bank were intentionally designed to provoke the Israelis. The Israelis, however, refused to be provoked. Then we saw a barrage of rocket attacks coming from Gaza now coordinated with an attack on a bus station in central Jerusalem.

This now could produce an enormous crisis for Egypt. The Egyptian government, now led by the military, is in a very delicate position in trying to manage this political transition at home while now also trying to deal with a war next door in Libya. On top of that, we’re seeing an escalation in the Palestinian territories, and whenever you have an Israeli military intervention in the Gaza Strip, which now seems very possible, you have an influx of refugees from Gaza into the Sinai Peninsula. That creates a security crisis on the Egyptians and the Egyptians often have to clamp down on the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and the Sinai.

This could allow Hamas in the Gaza Strip and, crucially, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which is the main opposition group in Egypt, to condemn the Egyptian military-led government and escalate anti-Israeli sentiment. That in turn could endanger the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, and this is a dynamic that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood couldn’t really capitalize on during the recent crisis, but it could do so now, especially if you have an Israeli military intervention in the Gaza Strip under the current circumstances.

When going beyond the Palestinian territories, we have a situation where the Iranians are pursuing a covert destabilization campaign in the Persian Gulf region, using Shia unrest to destabilize the regimes in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in particular. When looking at the unrest overall in the region, the one key ingredient that was missing was Israel. Israel is often the single unifying call for many on the Arab streets, and that is certainly something that a lot of Palestinian factions will be paying attention to right now. Watch for groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and others in the region to escalate attacks in an effort to provoke a military confrontation with Israeli forces, create a crisis for Egypt through the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and threaten Israel on multiple fronts. This is something that could well play to the Iranian agenda and escalate the regional unrest overall.

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« Reply #1189 on: March 24, 2011, 12:57:25 PM »

I don't think the current offensive against Israel is accidental.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_SYRIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-03-24-09-07-02

DARAA, Syria (AP) -- The Syrian government pledged Thursday to consider lifting draconian restrictions on political freedom and civil liberties in an attempt to quell a week-long uprising that protesters say has left dozens fatally shot by security forces.

Losing Syria would be very damaging to Iran, so you'll see an offensive against Israel to distract from the protests. Of course, I doubt the chinless one will hesitate to play the Hama card, if needed.
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« Reply #1190 on: March 24, 2011, 02:56:58 PM »

I don't think the current offensive against Israel is accidental.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_SYRIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-03-24-09-07-02

DARAA, Syria (AP) -- The Syrian government pledged Thursday to consider lifting draconian restrictions on political freedom and civil liberties in an attempt to quell a week-long uprising that protesters say has left dozens fatally shot by security forces.

Losing Syria would be very damaging to Iran, so you'll see an offensive against Israel to distract from the protests. Of course, I doubt the chinless one will hesitate to play the Hama card, if needed.

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/24/syria-cracks-down-on-protesters-37-dead/

Hama card, now in play.
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« Reply #1191 on: March 24, 2011, 09:41:53 PM »

Anyone here doubt Obama is planning on turning on Israel? Liberal Jewish chickens coming home to roost?
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« Reply #1192 on: March 25, 2011, 07:33:45 PM »

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/25/2134551/more-protesters-shot-as-syria.html


CAIRO -- Syria's fledgling anti-government movement snowballed into a national protest Friday when thousands of marchers gathered in defiance of President Bashar Assad, whose security forces fired live ammunition, witnesses and human rights groups said.

In scenes considered unimaginable only days ago, Syrian protesters tried to burn or bring down statues of Hafez Assad, the notoriously iron-fisted former president, and slashed large public portraits of his ruling son.

No firm casualty figures were available because of conflicting tallies and the lack of access to Syrian medical officials. At least 37 people have died in the past week and scores more were injured, almost all of them in the southern city of Daraa, while 20 or more deaths were reported Friday in other areas.

In neighboring Jordan, which is ruled by a U.S.-friendly monarchy, one man was killed and as many as 100 people were injured as security forces intervened with batons in a clash between regime supporters and protesters calling for political reform, according to news agencies. Small protests and sit-ins have taken place in Jordan of late, but so far haven't turned into the thousands-strong demonstrations in other Arab countries.

In Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh told throngs of supporters in the capital, Sanaa, that he'd be willing to give up power but only to "safe hands." It marked the clearest signal yet that Saleh was negotiating the terms of his exit amid reports that he was meeting with opposition leaders and military commanders who defected in recent days.

The bloodshed in Syria, a longtime foe of the U.S. and Iran's closest Arab ally, posed an unprecedented challenge for Assad, who succeeded his late father in an uncontested referendum in 2000. Unless Assad enacts immediate and tangible reforms, political analysts say, he runs the risk of becoming the next Middle Eastern autocrat to lose his grip on power.

"It's moving out, it's gathering momentum and the opposition thinks it's on a roll," said Joshua Landis, a Middle East expert at the University of Oklahoma and author of the Syria Comment blog. "If we look at what happened in other countries, it's hard to stop these things once they get started."



Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/25/2134551/more-protesters-shot-as-syria.html
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JDN
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« Reply #1193 on: March 25, 2011, 07:48:59 PM »

Gee maybe we should offer a NFZ over Syria and Jordan?  Or put troops on the ground?

Or maybe the Ivory Coast; that's terrible too.

In the name of democracy we can be all things to all people...

I'm sure they will thank us...   huh

Can't we just stay home and work on our own problems?  If Israel's survival is threatened; then
yes put troops or whatever it takes.  Until then, I think our plate is full.
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« Reply #1194 on: March 25, 2011, 07:58:01 PM »

I was being sarcastic. When Syria shoots the protesters into the ground, just as they have in the past, no one will push for a NFZ.

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« Reply #1195 on: March 25, 2011, 08:44:28 PM »

Even though that would be better in the Libya thread, that was simply OUTSTANDING!!!
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« Reply #1196 on: March 25, 2011, 09:28:06 PM »

http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/03/25/syrians-gunned-down-international-community-yawns/

Syrians Gunned Down, International Community Yawns
Assad’s not going quietly.  This from the Reform Party of Syria:

Dara’a. An eyewitness on BBC Arabic said that armed units speaking only Farsi descended upon Dara’a. They have smothered the walls of the al-Omari Mosque with their graffiti but several of them were captured. Another witness, Omar al-Masri, said that snipers took positions on rooftops and started shooting. He said Syrians converged in large numbers upon the rooftops and five snipers were captured. Al-Masri, confirmed the other eyewitness, and said that non-Syrians wearing all black were captured in al-Omari Mosque. They spoke only Farsi.  The same eyewitness said that 25 Syrians are known to have died today in Dara’a and that many security people have resigned their positions in As-Sanamyn and Inkhil.

(My comment):  For those of you in Rio Linda, Syrians speak Arabic.  Iranians (and some Afghans) speak Farsi.  So the implicit allegation in this update is that Iranians (probably the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards) are killing the protesters.
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« Reply #1197 on: March 26, 2011, 09:00:10 AM »

The Israeli Dilemma

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates met with his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, Thursday. There was no shortage of issues for the defense officials to discuss amid what appears to be an impending Israeli military operation in Gaza; gradually building unrest in Syria; and the fear of an Iranian destabilization campaign spreading from the Persian Gulf to the Levant. Any of these threats developing in isolation would be relatively manageable from the Israeli point of view, but when taken together, they remind Israel that the past 32 years of relative quietude in Israel’s Arab backyard is anything but the norm.

Israel is a small country, demographically outnumbered by its neighbors and thus unable to field an army large enough to sustain long, high-intensity conflicts on multiple fronts. Israeli national security therefore revolves around a core, strategic need to sufficiently neutralize and divide its Arab neighbors so that a 1948, 1967 and 1973 scenario can be avoided at all costs. After 1978, Israel had not resolved, but had greatly alleviated its existential crisis. A peace agreement with Egypt, ensured by a Sinai desert buffer, largely secured the Negev and the southern coastal approaches to Tel Aviv. The formalization in 1994 of a peace pact with Jordan secured Israel’s longest border along the Jordan River. Though Syria remained a threat, by itself it could not seriously threaten Israel and was more concerned with affirming its influence in Lebanon anyway. Conflicts remain with the Palestinians and with Hezbollah in Lebanon along the northern front, but these do not constitute a threat to Israeli survival.

The natural Israeli condition is one of unease, but the past three decades were arguably the most secure in modern Israeli history. That sense of security is now being threatened on multiple fronts.

To its west, Israel risks being drawn into another military campaign in the Gaza Strip. A steady rise in rocket attacks penetrating deep into the Israeli interior over the past week is not something the Israeli leadership can ignore, especially when there exists heavy suspicion that the rocket attacks are being conducted in coordination with other acts of violence against Israeli targets: the murder of five members of an Israeli family in a West Bank settlement less than two weeks ago, and the Wednesday bombing at a bus station in downtown Jerusalem. Further military action will likely be taken, with the full knowledge that it will invite widespread condemnation from much of the international community, especially the Muslim world.

“The natural Israeli condition is one of unease, but the past three decades were arguably the most secure in modern Israeli history. That sense of security is now being threatened on multiple fronts.”
The last time Israel Defense Forces went to war with Palestinian militants, in late 2008/early 2009, the threat to Israel was largely confined to the Gaza Strip, and while Operation Cast Lead certainly was not well received in the Arab world, it never threatened to cause a fundamental rupture in the system of alliances with Arab states that has provided Israel with its overall sense of security for the past three decades. This time, a military confrontation in Gaza would have the potential to jeopardize Israel’s vital alliance with Egypt. Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and others are watching Egypt’s military manage a shaky political transition next door. The military men running the government in Cairo are the same men who think that maintaining the peace with Israel and keeping groups like Hamas contained is a smart policy, and one that should be continued in the post-Mubarak era. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, part of an Islamist movement that gave rise to Hamas, may have different ideas about the treaty; it has even indicated as much during the political protests in Egypt. An Israeli military campaign in Gaza under the current conditions would be fodder for the Muslim Brotherhood to rally the Egyptian electorate (both its supporters and people who may otherwise vote for a secular party) and potentially undermine the credibility of the military-led regime. With enough pressure, the Islamists in Egypt and Gaza could shift Cairo’s strategic posture toward Israel. This scenario is not an assured outcome, but it is likely to be on the minds of those orchestrating the current offensive against Israel from the Palestinian territories.

To the north, in Syria, the minority Alawite-Baathist regime is struggling to clamp down on protests in the southwest city of Deraa near the Jordanian border. As Syrian security forces fired on protesters who had gathered in and around the city’s main mosque, Syrian President Bashar al Assad, like many of his beleaguered Arab counterparts, made promises to order a ban on the use of live rounds against demonstrators, consider ending a 48-year state of emergency, open the political system, lift media restrictions and raise living standards – all promises that were promptly rejected by the country’s developing opposition. The protests in Syria have not reached critical mass due to the relative effectiveness of Syrian security forces in snuffing out demonstrations in the key cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Hama. Moreover, it remains to be seen if the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, which led a violent uprising beginning in 1976 aiming to restore power to the Sunni majority, will overcome its fears and join the demonstrations in full force. The 1982 Hama crackdown, in which some 17,000 to 40,000 people were killed, forced what was left of the Muslim Brotherhood underground and is still fresh in the minds of many.

Though Israel is not particularly keen on the al Assad regime, the virtue of the al Assads, from the Israeli point of view, is their predictability. A Syria more concerned with wealth and exerting influence in Lebanon than provoking military engagements to its south, is far more preferable than the fear of what may follow. Like in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood branch in Syria remains the single largest and most organized opposition in the country, even though it has been severely weakened since the massacre at Hama.

To the east, Jordan’s Hashemite monarchy has a far better handle on its political opposition (the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Jordan is often referred to as the “loyal opposition” by many observers in the region,) but protests continue to simmer there and the Hashemite dynasty remains in fear of being overrun by the country’s Palestinian majority. Israeli military action in Gaza could also be used by the Jordanian MB to galvanize protesters already prepared to take to the streets.

Completing the picture is Iran. The wave of protests lapping at Arab regimes across the region has created an historic opportunity for Iran to destabilize its rivals and threaten both Israeli and U.S. national security in one fell swoop. Iranian influence has its limits, but a groundswell of Shiite discontent in eastern Arabia along with an Israeli war on Palestinians that highlights the duplicity of Arab foreign policy toward Israel, provides Iran with the leverage it has been seeking to reshape the political landscape. Remaining quiet thus far is Iran’s primary militant proxy, Hezbollah, in Lebanon. As Israel mobilizes its forces in preparation for another round of fighting with Palestinian militants, it cannot discount the possibility that Hezbollah and its patrons in Iran are biding their time to open a second front to threaten Israel’s northern frontier. It has been some time since a crisis of this magnitude has built on Israel’s borders, but this is not a country unaccustomed to worst case scenarios.

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« Reply #1198 on: March 30, 2011, 11:11:09 AM »

Glenn Beck connects dots and predicts that the "Right to Protect" doctrine will be used to attack Israel

http://www.therightscoop.com/glenn-beck-show-march-29-2011/
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G M
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Posts: 12042


« Reply #1199 on: March 30, 2011, 11:13:11 AM »

But Obama wore a kippa at AIPAC!





 rolleyes
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