Friday, October 25, 2013

From Ian:

Straightening the Dog's Tail
Given that Europe is bankrupt, both morally and financially, the United States alone bears the burden of supporting over 22% of the malfunctioning UN and its often-corrupt agencies. Instead, the U.S. should demand that the oil-rich Arab states give citizenship, with attendant rights and privileges, to their Palestinian residents, to enable the UN to focus on rehabilitating the millions of new Arab and Muslim refugees created by the catastrophic Arab Spring. Even as we witness the artificial Arab states, created in 1916 by the Sykes-Picot Agreement, disintegrate, the United States and the West seem to insist on creating a new artificial Arab state called "Palestine," which will soon be a hotbed of extremism, terrorism and bloodshed, exactly like the others.
The "Palestinian people," we recall, are not a group at all, but rather Arab immigrants, many of whom who settled in the late 19th-early 20th century in what was part of the Ottoman Empire, and who fled in 1947, when Israel was attacked, then after the war asked to return. The Arabs who did not flee,still live in Israel and, whatever one thinks of Israel, are at least freely able to enter all leading professions, including the parliament and the highest court.
David Ignatius: The U.S.-Saudi crackup reaches a dramatic tipping point
The Saudis’ pique, in turn, has reinforced the White House’s frustration that Riyadh is an ungrateful and sometimes petulant ally. When Secretary of State John Kerry was in the region a few weeks ago, he asked to visit Bandar. The Saudi prince is said to have responded that he was on his way out of the kingdom, but that Kerry could meet him at the airport. This response struck U.S. officials as high-handed.
Saudi Arabia obviously wants attention, but what’s surprising is the White House’s inability to convey the desired reassurances over the past two years. The problem was clear in the fall of 2011, when I was told by Saudi officials in Riyadh that they increasingly regarded the U.S. as unreliable and would look elsewhere for their security. Obama’s reaction to these reports was to be peeved that the Saudis didn’t recognize all that the U.S. was doing to help their security, behind the scenes. The president was right on the facts but wrong on the atmospherics.
Defense Min.: West Needs to Wake Up
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (Likud) said Thursday that the West needs to "wake up" from the idea that the Middle East's problems will be solved through democratization.
"The western idea of bringing what succeeded in Europe – democracy – to the Middle East, is really irrelevant," he said at a financial conference in Tel Aviv. "It stems from ignorance, from not being well acquainted with the Middle East, in large part from naïveté, confusing wishes for reality. Even if it comes from good intentions – 'We'll bring you a good idea' – it smacks of patronizing."
Arab Teens Indicted in Racist Attack on Jewish Family
Five Arab teens from Jerusalem, all aged 14-15, have been indicted for an anti-Semitic attack targeting a Jewish family’s home in the Old City.
The youths are accused of property damage motivated by racism, attempted assault motivated by racism, and rioting.
Police Tighten Restrictions on Jews at Temple Mount
Police have tightened restrictions on Jewish access to the Temple Mount in recent days, according to Jews who ascended to the Mount this week.
The Temple Movements' United Headquarters says police will not let more than ten Jews into the Mount at any given time and that families and homogeneous groups are split up in order to achieve this purpose.
Ashton Meets Abbas, Urges Reconciliation with Hamas
A statement from Ashton's office said she reaffirmed support for the PA’s state-building efforts and for the need for the factions to reconcile "as an important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state and for reaching a two-state solution."
Bodies of Sbarro bomber and other terrorists set to be released to PA
Israel is reportedly to release the bodies of numerous Palestinian terrorists, including those of suicide bombers, to their families early next month.
It was not immediately clear how many bodies were involved; Hebrew news reports Thursday varied wildly, from just a few to several dozen, and there was no official comment on the numbers and identities of those involved.
MK Urges PM: Abbas is an Enemy, Not a Peace Partner
Yogev’s letter came as Israeli leaders plan to release more terrorists, as part of an ongoing raft of "goodwill gestures" by the Israeli government to the Palestinian Authority. Abbas has strongly pushed for all terrorists in Israeli prisons to be freed.
Abbas’ concern for terrorists is a red flag, Yogev warned. “Is Abu Mazen [Abbas] a peace partner? Or perhaps an enemy in a time of war?” he asked.
New report says Iran can have nuclear bomb in a month
The report, by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, claims Iran has significantly shortened the time needed to “break out” to a nuclear bomb with the installation of new centrifuges in the Fordo and Natanz plants, and advanced IR-2 machines at Natanz.
According to ISIS, which has tracked Iran’s nuclear program for several years, Tehran could have enough uranium for a nuclear bomb in 1–1.6 months by converting all of its 20-percent enriched stockpile. Using only 3.5% enriched uranium, Iran could have four nuclear bombs in about two months, the group estimates.
Iranians compete for ‘Down With USA Great Award’ in nationwide essay contest
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and its affiliate organizations have set up an international festival under the title of “Down With USA Great Award” to coincide with other events marking the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy.
Participants are to submit essays in several categories, including “Why Death to America?” “America and Human Rights,” “America and Oppression,” “The False Democracy in America,” “America in the Hands of Worldwide Zionism,” “America and Iran Fear-mongering,” and “America and Dictatorship,” an Islamic regime media outlet, Tasnim, announced Wednesday.
Security Insiders: “US Appears To Be Moving to a Containment Strategy” on Iran
Instead of halting enrichment, Iranian negotiators have reportedly offered to allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities.
Even that concession, however, may be beyond the willingness or ability of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to provide. The Iranian foreign ministry declared on Tuesday that approval of the so-called Additional Protocol that would codify such inspections was reserved for the Iranian parliament. Last Saturday, however, Iranian Parliament Member Mansour Haqiqatpour declared that the Iranian parliament would not consider the Additional Protocol unless the U.S. lifted sanctions.
US: No sanctions lifting at front end of Iran nuclear talks
The United States is not looking to ease sanctions on Iran "at the front end" of negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program, a senior White House official said on Thursday.
The Islamic republic would have to take "concrete steps" to address its program before Washington could provide sanctions relief, Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama, said at the Reuters Washington Summit.
Sanctions have Iran in biggest crisis since Iraq war, ex-Mossad head says
Dagan, who ran the Mossad from 2002-2010, said Thursday that unemployment in Iranian urban areas was at 30-35 percent and equally high — if more difficult to measure — among Ayatollah Khamenei’s base in the more rural areas of the country. “A connection, which didn’t used to exist, has been created between the nuclear project and the economic situation,” Dagan said.
Secondly, the “alliance of comfort” between the Persians and the Azeris in Iran, along with the Kurds and Baluchs, has begun showing ever greater signs of tension, contributing to what Dagan called a window of opportunity in which the Iranians were open to negotiating.
Iran gives Christians 80 lashes for communion wine as UN blasts human rights record
The four men were sentenced Oct. 6 after being arrested in a house church last December and charged with consuming alcohol in violation of the theocracy's strict laws, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide. They were among several Christians punished for their faith in a nation where converting from Islam to Christianity can bring the death penalty. According to a new October UN report by Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, such persecution is common, despite new President Hasan Rouhani's pledge to be a moderate.
Turkey Slams World's Failure in Dealing with Syria Crisis
Davutoglu said that Turkey, which has received more than 600,000 Syrian refugees, would keep its border with Syria open to people fleeing the violence but said the world needed to share the humanitarian burden.
“I have to express our deep disappointment and frustration because of the absence of a proper reaction by the international community regarding the humanitarian situation on the ground,” he told reporters in Kuwait during a bilateral visit, according to Reuters.
Analysis: Turkey’s Fruitless Quest for Armed Drones
Taraf claims the decision came as retaliation from Washington after it was reported that Ankara revealed information about Israeli spies who were operating in Iran, identifying them to Tehran. It may be true that the spy issue, leaked to the Washington Post last week, is now being used to explain the U.S. decision, but a closer reading of local media reports shows a long and fruitless Turkish search for armed UAVs indicating that their request was simply one that the U.S. never intended on granting.
Saudi Arabia belongs on the U.N. Human Rights Council
As for Mr. Neuer’s analogy, it has to be kept in mind that we’re not talking about a typical fire department. We’re talking about a fire department of the Fahrenheit 451 variety. We’re talking about firemen who start fires. We can get upset about what one U.S. diplomat described as its “pathological obsession with Israel.” Or we can accept the UNHRC for what it has become: a joke that hasn’t yet realized that it is a joke.
To fully appreciate the comic possibilities, Saudi Arabia absolutely must be on the UNHRC, and so must every other tinhorn dictatorship, failed state and repressive monarchy on the planet. Every regime that persecutes gays, crushes the press, promulgates medieval anti-Semitic libels, views women as chattels, lops off the hands of thieves, stones adulterers–well, you get the idea.


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