Wednesday, October 30, 2013

From Ian:

Is a cold war reprise coming in the Middle East?
The withdrawal of US aid from Egypt was a shock; the whole Middle East (the rational part, that is), knew full well the implications of a Muslim Brotherhood president in such an influential nation, yet the mighty US punished Egypt’s military for removing him and attempting to restore some semblance of order to the country.
In Syria, President Assad unleashes one of the worst weapons created by man. The world tweets for a couple of weeks before effectively letting him off the hook with a (Russian-inspired) solution that probably allowed the Syrians to hide as many of their chemical shells as they wanted to. Russia 1 – 0 USA .
New Iranian president Rouhani smiles pleasantly at the world and opens talks with the Americans. This is such a shock that the world immediately thinks about slackening sanctions; maybe even before all the centrifuges spin down. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan… and Israel – all look on aghast at the apparent naiveté of the West.
Toward Peace and Prosperity in Middle East
Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, Foreign Minister of Egypt for seven years, stated in a televised interview in response to President Obama's idealism, that democracy is almost impossible in the Middle East because of its culture and because of democracy's conflict with sharia laws. Unlike the American model of democracy that is based on the separation of church and state, in Egypt, the constitution clearly affirms that Islam is the official religion of the state and Sharia law is main source of legislation. Many intellectuals in the region apparently agree with Mr. Aboul-Gheit's assessment.
In addition, the Middle East, they say, particularly Egypt, is missing the essential pillars of a democratic society. Political and religious tolerance, the rule of law, accountability and transparency, freedom of expression, civil society, an effective education system, and limited government simply do not exist in the majority of the nations in this region.
'US would Never Free Terrorists'
Prof. Avi Diskin, an expert on political science at Hebrew University and the Shaarei Mishpat College, says Israel is among the only countries in the world that frees terrorists, if not the only one.
"We are truly unique," he told Arutz Sheva. The United States never did anything like that. It's true that it is truly very very important for us to be in sync with the Americans. It is true that we are extremely dependent on them, and that in order to placate them we free terrorists, but this is a process they would never undertake in their own country.”
Arab MK: Israel Must Submit to Arab Demands or Disappear
On Wednesday MK Ibrahim Sarsour of the Arab Ra'am-Ta'al party accused the Israeli government of endangering Middle East stability in failing to make peace with the Palestinians, declaring that Israel must either submit to Arab demands or disappear.
He further claimed Israel was the "sole cause" preventing advances in the peace talks because it continues to refuse to withdraw to the 1949 ceasefire lines, divide Jerusalem and let Arabs who fled in 1948 return with their descendants.
PA Takes Issue with Israel's Demand for Security
According to the report, senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Yasser Abed Rabbo said that Israel had adopted hardline positions and negotiations had so far produced "no tangible progress."
The so-called “hardline positions”, according to Abed Rabbo, are Israel’s demands that any agreement with the PA will ensure the continued security of Israeli citizens.
"The 1948 lands (i.e., Israel) are occupied" - Fatah official on behalf of Abbas

Israel to UNHRC: Release of Palestinian terrorists shows we're serious about peace
Israel’s willingness to release Palestinian prisoners who killed its citizens shows that it is serious about peace, Ambassador Eviatar Manor told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, as his country made its first appearance before that Geneva based body since it cut off ties a year-and-a-half ago.
“All of them have blood on their hands; all of them have murdered Israelis. Their release, I believe, illustrates Israel’s determination to reach an agreement with our Palestinians neighbors that will, once and for all, end the conflict,” said Manor. He is Israel’s representative to the UN in Geneva.
Cardassians versus Israel at U.N.
Unconscionably, Israel was pressured diplomatically to participate especially by the United States and Germany. In the case of the United States it is disappointing that President Obama did not stand up for Israel. In the case of Germany there’s another reason this is particularly galling.
NGO-Monitor lately has documented the degree to which Germany – both the government and foundations – fund anti-Israel NGO’s. Part of the UPR process involves the testimony of stakeholders, in this case, NGO’s. Among the German funded NGO’s are Adalah and Miftah, both of whom are listed as stakeholders.
In short, Germany’s saying, “Go stand for trial; we’ve paid for the witnesses against you. But don’t worry.”
By comparison, Cardassian justice almost seems fair.
UN's Falk Seeks Int'l Court Decision on Israeli 'Occupation'
Richard Falk, the United Nations’ human rights expert who has a history of anti-Israel statements, is at it again.
On Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, Falk said that if renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) fail, the UN General Assembly should turn to the International Court of Justice and seek an opinion on “the legal consequences of Israel's occupation of land claimed by the Palestinians."
BBC promotion of the myth of a non-violent first Intifada
Beyond the blatantly political use of the phrase “Israel occupation army” which is obviously inappropriate for an organization which professes to adhere to standards of impartiality, Kafala clearly intentionally misleads audiences by inaccurately stating – very insistently, one notes – that those involved in perpetrating the violence of the first Intifada were “at no stage armed with guns”.
Adopting the Palestinian narrative of “resistance”, Kafala goes on to state:
“Much of the Palestinian resistance was non-violent. It included demonstrations, strikes, boycotting Israeli goods and the civil administration in the occupied territories, and the creation of independent schools and alternative social and political institutions.”
Al-Jazeera's not-so-secret agenda
The absurdity in all this is that the emir of Qatar, who owns the supposedly democracy-loving al-Jazeera, sentenced the Qatari poet Mohammed al-Ajami to life in prison, which has since been transmuted by pardon to 20 years.
He was found guilty of insulting the emir and calling for his ouster through his poems. Meanwhile, Qatar's emir calls for the release from Egyptian prison of al-Jazeera reporters who incited against Sisi.
Report: Terrorists to Set New Record in 2013
The report cited the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), which reported that terrorism hit a record high in 2012, and that so far attacks have been even more frequent in 2013.
There were over 8,500 terrorist attacks worldwide in 2012 and nearly 15,500 people were killed by terrorism, the group reported. The data showed a major increase compared to 2011, with attacks up by 69% and fatalities up by 89%.
The previous high for attacks was set in 2011, while the previous year in which the most people were murdered by terrorists worldwide was 2007.
Syria's Assad unleashes 'Starvation Until Submission Campaign'
At an army checkpoint that separates government-held central Damascus from eastern suburban towns earlier this month, a thin, teenage boy on a bicycle circled a soldier and begged to be allowed to take a bag of pita bread, a staple food, into the eastern suburbs. The soldier refused but the boy kept begging for "just one loaf".
The soldier finally shouted: "I'm telling you, not a single morsel is allowed in there. I don't make the rules. There are those bigger than me and you who make the rules and they're watching us right now. So go back home." The soldier, visibly upset, exhaled quietly and deeply when the boy slipped out of sight.
The Syrian War is Not What Romantics Want it to Be
The opposition also has to consider the relative strength of Bashar Assad. Assad started with a base of support that cannot switch sides; more than one-third of the Syrian population is Kurdish, Christian, or members of other minority groups that rely on the secular, nationalist Assad government to protect them. The FSA’s hopes that the U.S. would enter the battle have been dashed, and any hope that Israel would do so was never realistic. Today, Assad is a partner to the U.S.-Russian agreement on OPCW and the removal of the chemical weapons arsenal; it was a small price for Assad to pay to ensure that the U.S. wouldn’t attack militarily. Russia again supplies the government with arms openly. And Israel’s “red lines,” while effectively maintained, have not helped the rebels at all.
The FSA is literally between the rubble and mass graves, and the choices are stark: to continue fighting both Assad and the jihadist militias while watching its fighters defect and its people suffer ever more death and destruction, or to admit defeat by Assad and negotiate a new arrangement to try to oust the jihadists. It will be an enormous victory for Iran, Russia, and Assad, and a corresponding loss for the Saudis (and other Sunni interests) and, of course, the Syrian people. But it cannot be unthinkable.
Groan: Prince Charles Blames Civil War In Syria On Global Warming…
The Prince of Wales used his keynote speech at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum in London this evening to warn of the political and economic dangers of climate change, and used Syria as a “terrifyingly graphic” example of the adverse effects of climate change on vulnerable populations.
Syria: 'Over 60,000 Iranians fighting alongside Assad forces'
"In Siria, there are over 60,000 fighters from Iran," said Ahmad Jarba.
For this reason Iran should not attend Syrian peace talks
dubbed Geneva II scheduled to take place next month, Jarba said.
"Iran cannot take part in 'Geneva II' while it is killing the Syrian population," he told Arab and western foreign ministers gathered in London to meet Syrian opposition officials.
Dennis Ross: How to negotiate with Iran
Finally, do not waste time. Iran will likely attain an undetectable nuclear capability by mid-2014, and perhaps even earlier, leaving scant time to both negotiate and verifiably implement a deal. It appears that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif may have offered a timeline at Geneva for wrapping up negotiations. But given Iranian nuclear progress over the last 18 months and earlier unexplained activities, negotiators ought not accept a schedule that stretches beyond the point when it becomes impossible to prevent a nuclear Iran by other means. Implementing and making known a strict deadline for talks can dissuade Iran from using diplomacy as a cover while sprinting for the bomb, and reassure Israel so it does not feel compelled to act alone.
Experts: Iran May Be Readying Ruse To Activate “Invulnerable” Plutonium Reactor
A heavy-water plutonium reactor that Iran has committed to bringing online would become “invulnerable to military attack” once Iranian scientists activated it, according to analysis conveyed today by TIME. The explanation is straightforward:
Because it is not yet up and running, the Arak heavy-water reactor has remained in the background of the nuclear controversy. But it looms larger every day. The reason: once Arak goes online, the option of destroying Iran’s nuclear program with air strikes becomes moot. The reactor is essentially invulnerable to military attack, because bombing one risks a catastrophic release of radioactivity. In the words of Israel’s last chief of military intelligence, Amos Yadlin, who piloted one of the F-16A’s that cratered Iraq’s Osirak heavy-water reactor in 1981 before it was due to become operational: “Whoever considers attacking an active reactor is willing to invite another Chernobyl, and no one wants to do that.”
Iran shuts down newspaper, cites anti-Islamic article
State TV reported Monday that Iran's media supervisory body banned the daily Bahar, citing a law authorizing media closures over articles deemed to violate Islamic values or insult Islam.
Bahar published an op-ed article on Wednesday that expressed doubts the Prophet Muhammad had appointed a successor — a statement that contradicts the beliefs of Shiite Muslims.
Iranian envoy prompts removal of Finnish university report highly critical of Tehran
Iran’s ambassador to Finland, Seyed Rasoul Mousavi, intervened at the Finnish National Defense University to compel the removal of a research paper from the university’s website, because the document critically examined Iran’s nuclear program and its treatment of Israel, women and minorities.
The research paper was removed on Saturday.

The Iran expert and researcher Alan Salehzadeh wrote in his 42- page study, entitled “Iran’s Domestic and Foreign Policies,” that “ Iran does not approve of the existence of Israel and wishes to see it destroyed.”


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