Monday, October 28, 2013

From Ian:

Elliott Abrams: Obama's 'new' Mideast policy: Modesty or pullback?
Saturday's New York Times carries a remarkable story about the "new" Obama Middle East policy, based on interviews with National Security Advisor Susan Rice. The Times describes the policy as "modest," but that is not the right word. The policy defines an American abandonment of leadership in the region.
On Iran, the new policy seeks a negotiated deal and previous claims that "all options are on the table" are gone. No one appears to have calculated how the American and Western negotiating positions are weakened when the Iranian fear of a military attack is eliminated. A second focus is the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process," despite the fact that no sober Israeli or Palestinian official believes a deal can be reached at this time. The third focus is Syria, where the policy now appears to be centered on Geneva talks that are sinking even as the Times article appears in print. I would rate the new policy focus as 0 for 3.
Caroline Glick: Israel’s European challenge
As for Israel, we need to recognize first and foremost that we do not control what happens in Europe. In adopting anti- Israel policies, European leaders are not responding to actions Israel undertakes. When 40 percent of Europeans tell pollsters they believe that Israel is enacting a genocide against the Palestinians, it is clear that European views of Israel are not based on facts of any kind, and certainly not on anything Israel does.
Moreover, we need to recognize that like our European friends, we have given the benefit of the doubt to our continental adversaries, believing their empty claims of commitment to the peace process and international law. As a consequence, since the outset of the peace process with the PLO 20 years ago, most of the steps we have taken to demonstrate our good faith have strengthened those European who wish us ill at the expense of those who wish us well.
Like our European friends, we need to stop giving a pass to those who distort the very meaning of international law while making empty proclamations of support for the cause of peace. Only be exposing the truth behind the lies will we strengthen our European friends and so increase the possibility that our relations with Europe may improve one day.
Iran's Terror Entity in Lebanon
The situation was also addressed by Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, who unveiled a government plan to find solutions quickly for the 30% of Israeli civilians who do not have rocket-proof rooms in their apartments, or access to bomb shelters in their buildings or the immediate vicinity.
In any full-scale war, Erdan warned, the Israeli home front will be pounded by thousands of rockets for up to three weeks, and every point in the country could be hit by Hezbollah.
One out of every 10 homes in Lebanon now has a rocket launcher or Hezbollah weapons stored in it, Erdan said. Civilian homes, he said, are constructed in southern Lebanon in a way that allows the roof to open up for the firing of a rocket at Israel.
Quid pro what?
Netanyahu is now paying a price for the public's lack of confidence in disproportionate gestures made toward the Palestinians. The public wants to know what Israel is getting in return. Are the Palestinians finally willing to accept Netanyahu's list of conditions and sign a permanent peace deal? Will they recognize Israel as a Jewish state? Will they agree to Israel having defensible borders? Will they give up on Jerusalem and the right of return?
Netanyahu deserves credit for his effort to reach a peace agreement, even if few believe that it can happen.
Edelstein: Prisoners released this week will commit more acts of terror
"We stood for the principle of negotiations without preconditions before this process began, but this morning the names of arch-terrorists with blood on their hands were already publicized," Edelstein wrote on Facebook.
The Knesset Speaker said the terrorists being released killed "the best of our sons and citizens" - soldiers, teachers, and even a Holocaust survivor.
Jews are Sitting Ducks on Hebrew U. Route
The security situation is worsening on the road leading to Hebrew University's Mount Scopus (Har Hatzofim) Campus from the direction of the Arab village of Issawiya, a local resident tells Arutz Sheva.
The resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said that he drives on the road daily and that every day, between 4:00 and 6:00 PM, the road becomes a trap for Jewish drivers, who are pelted with rocks by local Muslim Arabs. He says that many vehicles are unable to avoid the rock barrages and that every day, cars are hit by rocks.
Terror Attack Thwarted in Hevron
A young terrorist, estimated to be about 16 years old, was arrested this afternoon (Sunday) by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) after attempting to stab soldiers standing guard outside the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron.
BBC continues to ignore non-fatal terror attacks
As we saw in the lead up to last year’s ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’, the fact that the BBC had consistently ignored the majority of the preceding missile fire and other attacks (putting no reporter on the ground in towns and cities such as Ashkelon and Netivot until Israel responded to six weeks of paralysing missile attacks) meant that – with BBC audiences oblivious of the context – it was then able to erroneously claim that the violence began with Israel’s targeting of Ahmed Jabari and to make the bizarre assertion that the operation was part of the incumbent Israeli government’s election campaign.
It is the same lack of presentation of the context of the ‘drip drip’ of ongoing intimidation by terror which creates an environment in which BBC presenters can embarrass themselves – and the organization they represent – by making crass statements about the numbers of Israeli casualties, as was the case with Mishal Husain last year.
Hamas losing $230m a month from tunnel closures
Egypt’s closure of smuggling tunnels between the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip is costing Hamas $230 million in lost revenue every month, a senior official in the Islamist organization said on Sunday.
Hatem Oweida, deputy economy minister for Hamas, said that “closure of the tunnels caused heavy losses to the industry, commerce, agriculture, transport and construction sectors,” AFP reported.
Netanyahu: ‘Most, If Not All, Leaders’ Agree With Israel on Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted Sunday that despite appearances, Israel is not alone in its insistence that Iran be prevented by the West from maintaining the ability to build nuclear weapons.
“There are those who say so fully and there are those who whisper and there are those who say so privately. But everyone understands that Iran cannot be allowed to retrain the ability to be within reach of nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said, according to a cabinet communique. “This was the focus of the long and detailed talks that I held with John Kerry,” he added.
Netanyahu Says Discussion Over Iranian Uranium Enrichment to 20% is ‘Unimportant’
“Iran is willing to give up on enriching uranium to 20% and therefore a discussion on this issue is unimportant,” he said, at the start of his government’s weekly cabinet meeting. “The importance of the issue became superfluous in the wake of the technological improvements that allow Iran to enrich uranium from 3.5% to 90% in a number of weeks. Pressure on Iran should be increased because it is continuing enrichment even as it negotiates.”
Banners reflect hard-line backlash in Iran
Banners that suddenly cropped up around Tehran in the past week depict an American diplomat dressed in a jacket and tie, while under the negotiating table he is wearing military pants and pointing a shotgun at an Iranian envoy.
The anti-American images were ordered taken down Saturday by Tehran authorities. But they made their point.
The new 'moderate' Iran: 16 Baluchi political prisoners hanged in act of vengeance - West ignores it
Obama, the EU - and of course the entire main stream Western media - are so desperate to maintain the nonsensical narrative of a new 'moderate' Iran that there has been barely a mention of this story that can be found at the bottom of page 32 of today's Telegraph.
The story reveals more than just the fact that 16 political prisoners from the Baluchi minority community were hanged in revenge for an attack by Baluchi rebels on an Iranian border post. We also discover that the Iranians use the threat of killing prisoners to deter any rebel actions, and that it in 2010 the Iranians committed an act of international air piracy to force a civilian aircraft flying from Dubai to Kysyzstan to land in Iran so that they could arrest the leader or the Baluchi rebel group.
Partitioning Syria
After two-and-a-half years of steadily metastasizing violence in Syria, the harsh reality is that the country isn't going to become a stable, unified state again in the foreseeable future, let alone a remotely democratic one. It may be time to start thinking about alternatives.
Syria has already fragmented into increasingly well-defined enclaves. A multiplicity of Sunni Arab rebels control large swaths of the north and east, while the regime is dominant in the capital and major cities, the largely non-Sunni coastal provinces, and a corridor connecting them. Kurds control small border areas in the far northeast. The Druze, heavily concentrated in southwest Syria, have formed militias to fend off rebel incursions, while tending otherwise toward neutrality.
Syrian rebels reject peace talks in Geneva
Nineteen Syrian opposition groups rejected the upcoming Geneva II conference scheduled for November 23 and 24 to negotiate an end to the crisis, labeling any participation an “act of treason.”
“We consider participation in Geneva II and negotiating with the regime is trading the blood of martyrs and treason, and those will be held accountable in our courts,” the groups said in a video statement Sunday.
Syrian Rebels Claim to Find 'Israeli Spying Device'
The rebels posted a video, shortly after capturing the city of Tafas in the Deraa region from Assad’s forces. In the video the rebels present the alleged “spying device” which, they claimed, was used by the Syrian army against rebels.
It is obvious, however, that the rebels’ Hebrew is weak, as the so-called “spying device” was in fact a measuring device belonging to the Israel Meteorological Institute.
MEMRI: Satirist Bassem Youssef Criticizes Violence by Egyptian Rule, General Sisi's Personality Cult


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