Thursday, October 24, 2013

From Ian:

Michael Totten: The Saudi-American Rupture
All the existing Sunni Arab governments moved on from the Arab-Israeli conflict decades ago. Aside from the Palestinian Authority during the Second Intifada, only the Iranian regime and its network of allies and proxies—Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah, and Hamas—have fought Israel at any time during the last thirty years or so. The only exception occurred when Saddam Hussein launched a couple of SCUD missiles at Tel Aviv during the first Persian Gulf War in an attempt to fracture the Arab-Western alliance against him.
The majority of Arab citizens would surely think my analysis is nonsense on stilts, but aside from the (non-Sunni) regime in Damascus, Arab governments are behaving precisely in line with it. They learned quite a while ago that it’s time to set the ridiculous Palestinian conflict aside and deal with real
threats for a change.
WSJ: Saudi Arabia Scaling Back U.S. Ties Due to Administration’s “Syria, Iran and Egypt Policies”
Saudi Arabia intends to scale back the degree to which it cooperates with the United States in arming and training Syrian rebels, a decision that comes amid what the Wall Street Journal describes as ”a growing dispute between the U.S. and one of its closest Arab allies over Syria, Iran and Egypt policies.”
In Washington in recent days, Saudi officials have privately complained to U.S. lawmakers that they increasingly feel cut out of U.S. decision-making on Syria and Iran. A senior American official described the king as “angry.” Another senior U.S. official added: “Our interests increasingly don’t align.”
Saudi Arabia, the UN and the OIC
A stated Islamist goal, to replace Western civilization's liberal democratic order with a Sharia-governed Ummah [community of Muslims], now seems to involve an effort to delegitimize Western international organizations, as seen this week by Saudi Arabia's refusing a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Saudi Arabia's refusal likely reflects its view of itself as helping to establish an alternative international order based on Sharia law. For Islamists, the United Nations, like all secular international organs, lacks legitimacy.
Saudi Arabia warns of shift away from U.S. over Syria, Iran
Upset at President Barack Obama's policies on Iran and Syria, members of Saudi Arabia's ruling family are threatening a rift with the United States that could take the alliance between Washington and the kingdom to its lowest point in years.
Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief is vowing that the kingdom will make a "major shift" in relations with the United States to protest perceived American inaction over Syria's civil war as well as recent U.S. overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday.
Iran through Saudi eyes
The Saudis have a point. Those words do not flow easily from my pen. For more than three decades, the Arab royals have spent billions of petrodollars promoting Wahhabism, a poisonously anti-Western interpretation of Islam, of which the most lethal expression is bin Ladenism.
But now the Saudis are angry with the Obama administration. The reasons include "inaction over Syria's civil war as well as recent U.S. overtures to Iran," a source "close to Saudi policy" told Reuters on Tuesday. "The shift away from the U.S. is a major one," the source said. "We are learning from our enemies now how to treat the United States," Saudi security analyst Mustafa Alani told The Wall Street Journal last month.
For Palestinians, the other enemy is their own leadership
Today, the international community, led by the United States, is yet again pushing the Palestinians and Israelis toward a two-state solution. And Washington still has not learned its lessons. The State Department continues to give short shrift to the internal challenges dogging the PA, which is widely seen by the Palestinian street as a seal of approval for the ongoing abuses.
Abbas calls on Europe to boycott settlement goods
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said European companies should boycott Israeli goods manufactured in Judea and Samaria.
"I call on European companies and foreign companies doing business in the settlements to put an end to their activities," Abbas was quoted as saying by AFP. "Such activities are a violation of international law."
PMW: PA-associated youth magazine glorifies death
The PA-associated educational youth magazine Zayzafuna, whose advisory board include PA Deputy Minister of Education Jihad Zakarneh and the Head of the Media Department of the PA Ministry of Education, Abd Al-Hakim Abu Jamous, has published for the third time a poem glorifying Martyrdom death for Allah - Shahada. It has been published in the issues of January 2012, June 2013, and September 2013. Twice it has been attributed to an 8th grade student and once, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch, to an 11 year-old in 5th grade.
BBC terms bus bomb planner claimed as a member by 2 terror groups ‘militant’
In addition to the PIJ statement claiming Assi as one of its members, Hamas also claimed him as a member of its ‘al Qassam’ brigades on its website.
Hamas also released a statement claiming responsibility for the November 21st 2102 terror attack on a bus in Tel Aviv.
So here’s a question: how many internationally recognized terror organisations have to claim a person as one of their members before the BBC will stop euphemistically describing him as a “militant”?
UN reports widespread human rights abuses in Iran
Ahmed Shaheed’s report condemned a rise in the number of jailed journalists in Iran over the past decade — including 23 since January — and other restrictions against freedom of expression, including the blocking of up to 5 million websites. He expressed alarm about a law being considered that would allow a custodian to marry his adopted child. And he said minority religious groups are subjected to discrimination in employment and education, and are often arbitrarily arrested and tortured.
Iran must prove nuclear program peaceful, Kerry says
Before they sat down, Kerry said Iran would have to prove to the world that its nuclear program was not military, seeking to allay Israeli fears ahead of the meeting.
“We will need to know that actions are being taken, which make it clear, undeniably clear, fail-safe to the world, that whatever program is pursued is indeed a peaceful program,” Kerry told reporters in a brief press statement at the start of the meeting, which was originally scheduled for seven hours.
“No deal is better than a bad deal,” he added, echoing a statement he made earlier this month.
PM reportedly unmoved by Kerry’s reassurances on Iran
Netanyahu and John Kerry held a marathon meeting Wednesday evening in Rome. Before the two sat down, Kerry, apparently seeking to allay Israeli fears,said Iran would have to prove to the world that its nuclear program was not military in nature.
The prime minister was apparently unpersuaded by Kerry’s attempts to assure him of Washington’s resolve to maintain a tough position versus Iran despite the recently reinvigorated diplomatic process, The New York Times reported.
Iranian student takes her foreign minister to task over nuke policy
A rare public exchange between an Iranian student and her foreign minister over Iran’s nuclear program recently offered a unique glimpse into mounting public frustration experienced by Iran’s middle class, impoverished by nuclear sanctions.
On October 18, the student posted an anonymous letter on the Facebook page of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif — which is followed by over half a million people — responding to an update he posted on nuclear talks underway between Iran and the West in Geneva. The letter, which asks bitterly why the government is so preoccupied with “this nuclear energy,” was first picked up by an Iranian blog and translated by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
Netanyahu to Kerry: Iran Shouldn’t Have Enrichment, Plutonium Heavy Water Capabilities
Netanyahu also suggested that the Iranian problem should be addressed similarly to how the U.S. dealt with the recent Syrian chemical weapons crisis.
“I think no deal is better than a bad deal. I think a partial deal that leaves Iran with these capabilities is a bad deal,” Netanyahu said. “You wisely insisted there wouldn’t be a partial deal with Syria. You were right. If Assad had said, you know, ‘I am ready to dismantle 90%, 50% or 80% of my chemical weapons capability,’ you would have refused and correctly so, and I think in the case of Iran, it is essential that it be made to live up to Security Council resolutions that demand an end to enrichment and enrichment capability and an end to plutonium heavy water capability toward fissile material for nuclear weapons.”
Where's the Coverage? Many Countries Have Nuclear Power but No Enrichment
There are many countries that have nuclear power that do not have the capability to enrich their own fuel. They buy it from abroad and that’s what Iran could do. And that’s what the media are neglecting to tell you.
There are over thirty countries around the world that have nuclear power programs but according to the World Nuclear Association, only eleven have the capacity to enrich their own fuel.
TIME Magazine Flacks for Iran
If Iran has “good” reasons not to trust America, then America has great reasons not to trust Iran. And the four above don’t even scratch the surface. The Iranian regime has been hiding, lying about and violating international law regarding its nuclear program for decades. That sounds like a pretty darn good reason not to trust the regime as negotiations resume next month in Geneva.
As to why TIME Magazine would act as the public relations arm of the Iranian regime, there doesn’t seem to be any good reason for that.
Washington Post Columnist Gets Iran Right
In the Oct. 17, 2013 print edition of The Washington Post, syndicated columnist Anne Applebaum (“A New Iran? Hardly.”) highlights the fundamental issue when it comes to negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programs.
“We [the United States] oppose Iran’s nuclear ambitions for one reason: because we object to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a quasi-totalitarian state that since 1979 has been led by brutal, volatile men with no respect for the rule of law.” Exactly. And in their brutality and volatility, these quasi-totalitarian leaders have called for the destruction of Israel.
Saudi Arabia Threatens to Use Force Against Women Drivers
Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry has warned against “disturbing social peace” and has threatened to use force against a planned campaign by women to challenge a de facto ban on them driving, Al Arabiya reports.
“Regulations in Saudi Arabia prohibit any action that disturbs social peace and opens the door for sedition and responds to the illusions of prejudiced intruders with sick dreams,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

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