Monday, September 09, 2013

From Ian:

Barry Rubin: Obama Administration: The New Seven Pillars of "Wisdom" on the Middle East, Part One
These are the new (hopefully temporary): The White House’s Seven Pillars of Idiocy in the Middle East:
One: Other than aid and official government rhetoric, the United States is now neutral on the Israel-Palestinian conflict and, to put it more accurately, tilting toward the Palestinian side.
This does not mean disaster for Israel—and no Israeli official will say so in public--but it is a strategic reality.
Of course the talks will not go anywhere because the Palestinians know that they have a strong hand and they will overplay it. But, the administration’s willingness to punish Israel to win public relations points and shore up the doomed U.S. alignment with Islamists had to be reckoned with.
Amos Gilad: Strong Arab Sunni bloc doesn't see Israel as enemy
A powerful Middle Eastern axis of Sunni states has taken form in the region, which “does not view Israel as a sworn enemy” and has successfully kept extremist jihadi terrorism at bay, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad said on Sunday.
Speaking before the Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s international summit in Herzliya, Gilad, who is director of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau at the Defense Ministry, said that Israel “won’t ever be accepted as a formal member” of the Sunni axis, but that the states that make it up all view the US as the sole superpower and that their regional policies are indirectly beneficial for Israel.
Abbas Scorecard on Stopping Terror: 5,700 Attempts to Kill in 2013
The resumption of “peace talks’ between the Palestinian Authority and Israel in July came one month after 660 rock and firebomb attacks in June in Judea and Samaria, according to figures compiled by the “Hatzalah’ Judea and Samaria Emergency teams.
In the first six months of 2013, Hatzalah recorded 5,635 attempts to injure and murder Jews, including 611 Molotov cocktail attacks, eight shootings, three stabbings and 5,144 rock-throwing attacks that are intended to force drivers into fatal accidents, such as the one that killed American Israel Asher Palmer and his two-year-old son two years ago.
The statistics do not include terrorists’ blockage of roads and arson. At least 180 people were wounded from January through June, including 10 in June, and many of them still suffer from trauma and refuse to travel anywhere except in buses that have extra-thick plastic windows to protect it from rock attacks.
PMW: Terrorist featured in Palestinian education and culture as role model
Terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who led the most lethal terror attack against Israel, is still being presented as a role model by Fatah, and being endorsed as such by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
In 1978, Dalal Mughrabi led a group of terrorists who hijacked a bus and killed 37 civilians, 12 of them children.
Recently, Abbas awarded $6,000 to a dance group named after terrorist Dalal Mughrabi:
Jordanian children taught that terrorist Mughrabi is role model


Jordanian actress Najla Sahwil on PA TV:
"When I was growing up, I dreamt of playing the part of that great personality, Dalal Mughrabi. We grew up in school on the personality of this Palestinian female fighter. In first grade, I was throwing stones. In school we were nursed on the politics of Palestine, when we were little kids."
Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas aims to open naval military academy in Gaza
Hamas is planning to open a naval academy soon in the Gaza Strip, Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad announced on Sunday.
He said that the new institution, which would be part of the police academy, would be an “extension of all marine sciences which benefit the society in civilian and other affairs.”
Assad says his friends will hit US and allies if struck
Syrian President Bashar Assad warned America and its allies to expect multiple forms of retaliation, possibly including a chemical attack, if the US goes ahead with a military strike on Syria, in remarks published Monday by CBS News.
Assad, speaking to Charlie Rose in a Damascus interview, said Syria was “not the only player in the region” and, if an attack occurs, the US and allies in return “should expect everything. Not necessarily from the government.”
Syrian Warplanes Test British Air Defenses in Cyprus
RAF Typhoon fighters won a mid-air showdown with two Syrian warplanes heading towards Britain’s main base in Cyprus, the Sunday People reports.
The dramatic confrontation came after President Bashar Al-Assad’s air chiefs sent two Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24s to probe British air defenses, the report said.
The Syrian bombers refused to respond to repeated attempts by the control tower at the UK’s Akrotiri air base to contact them.
Turkey Moving Jets and Troops to Syrian Border
Over the past week, Turkey also moved convoys of military vehicles carrying equipment and personnel between its bases near the southeastern border.
Local media speculated, according to RT, that the Turkish move might be related to an accident last Tuesday, in which a package of live ammunition exploded while being smuggled into Turkey. Six people were killed in the incident at the border.
It has been suggested by the media that the additional troops will be the first to respond to a possible strike by Syria.
Arad: Attack On Syria May Not Bring About Positive Result
Speaking Sunday at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism's (ICT) World Summit on Counter-Terrorism, taking place at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Arad said that President Barack H. Obama had bitten off more than he could chew, and that the best thing he could do now was extricate himself from the corner he had backed himself into with as much dignity as possible.
“Syria is not a signatory to international conventions against the use of chemical weapons,” said Arad, so the legal basis for intervention by the West was somewhat shoddy. “You cannot say that Assad violated an international convention Syria is not signed onto.” Assad, therefore, sees no reason not to use such weapons against anyone he feels threatens his rule.
Syria Amassed Chemical Stockpile with Western Help
Syria’s leaders amassed one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons with help from the Soviet Union and Iran, as well as Western European suppliers and even a handful of American companies, American diplomatic cables and declassified intelligence records reveal, according to the New York Times.
Syria Strike: Nine Arab Countries on Board
According to Al Jazeera, Kerry said a number of Arab countries were willing to sign a statement issued by 12 countries of the G20 summit earlier this week, which called for a response to the chemical weapons attack. Announcements regarding this decision would be made in the next 24 hours, he added.
Arab Christians come out strongly against US strike in Syria
At a conference of more than 50 regional Christian leaders and a handful of global Christians and Muslim scholars in Amman this week, the dangers of Western intervention to the region's Christian minorities emerged as one of the strongest themes. With political Islam on the rise after the Arab uprisings of 2011, the region's ancient Christian communities are already feeling under threat and have the recent example of the devastation of Iraq's Christian community following the US-led invasion of 2003 to make them worry about the consequences of action.
Author of WSJ Op-Ed Supporting Syrian Rebels Has Ties With Islamist Group
Elizabeth O’Bagy, identified by the Wall Street Journal as senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, wrote in her op-ed that the Syrian civil war “is not being waged entirely, or even predominantly, by dangerous Islamists and al Qaeda die-hards.”
But Daniel Greenfield wrote Sept. 4 for FrontPage Magazine that the Wall Street Journal op-ed did not disclose that O’Bagy is also the political director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force—making her an advocate, not just an analyst, on the issue she wrote about. The task force’s board of directors includes officials of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Muslim American Society, the Hamas-linked Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center mosque, and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Chicago, which advocates for a boycott of Israel. Mouaz Moustafa—the task force’s executive director and a Palestinian Arab—on Twitter has called for the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and on YouTube marked an anti-Israel video from a channel called “JewsExposed” as one of his favorite videos, according to Greenfield.
Overrated: Hassan Rouhani
Rouhani is unlikely to invoke heavenly creatures from the UN podium, as Ahmedinejad did; he will probably refrain from engaging in Holocaust denial; and he will seek to engage the West in substantive negotiations to end the nuclear impasse.
He is definitely more moderate than Ahmadinejad, then — much as Nikita Khrushchev was more moderate than Joseph Stalin. But he is no Mikhail Gorbachev.
In a sense, there has been a softening in rhetoric, but no evidence yet that in substance Rouhani will be any different from his predecessors. And why should he be?
Sinai Terror Group Claims Failed Attempt on Minister's Life
The attempted assassination occurred as a car bomb ripped through the interior minister’s convoy as he was leaving home for work on Thursday.
One person was killed but Ibrahim, who was travelling in an armored car, survived the attempt unhurt.
The terrorist group apologized in the statement “for not killing the tyrant,” pledging more attacks against Ibrahim and the commander of Egypt’s military, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis is an extremist Salafist group that has in the past claimed responsibility for an attempted rocket attack on the Israeli resort city of Eilat.
Egypt: 'Israeli Spy Stork' Killed and Eaten
Nature Conservation Egypt told the newspaper that the White Stork, which they named Menes, was released into a conservation area in southern Egypt but flew to an island in the Nile where it was caught and eaten.
The group said on a Facebook post, "Storks have been part of the Nubian diet for thousands of years, so the actual act of eating storks is not in itself a unique practice. However, the short-lived success story of getting Menes released was not enough to keep him safe till he exited Egypt.


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