Tuesday, October 21, 2014

From Ian:

The Western Enablers of Abbas’s Incitement
It’s a toss-up as to which part is more ridiculous: the fact that they wouldn’t even say where half of the money goes or that they pretended half the cash would go toward reconstruction. In all likelihood, half will be earmarked for rockets and the other half for terror tunnels, though it’s always unclear how much money the terrorist funders of Qatar will seek to add to the pot above and beyond their conference pledge.
What does this have to do with Abbas’s incitement? Quite a bit, actually. The competition between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah/PA is generally a race to the bottom. Until there is a sea change in the culture of the Palestinian polity, appealing to the Palestinian public’s attraction to “resistance” against Israel will always be a key battleground between the two governing factions.
Hamas may have lost its summer war against Israel, but it scored a few key victories. Chief among those victories was the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s temporary flight ban imposed on Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport. Ben-Gurion is the country’s gateway to the outside world, and banning flights to it isolates Israel physically from the international community (not to mention the global Jewish community). For that ban to have come from the United States was especially dispiriting.
And why was that ban enacted? Because of a Hamas rocket that escaped Israeli missile defense systems and landed about a mile outside of the airport. Hamas showed the Palestinians that all of Abbas’s bad-faith negotiating is basically a delaying tactic that enables the further deterioration of Israeli-European relations but amounts to a slow bleed of public opinion. Meanwhile Hamas, the resisters, can shut down the Israeli economy and its contact with the outside world with a few rockets.
Hamas gets results, in other words, though they may come at a high price. Abbas does not spill enough Jewish blood and he does not put enough fear into the hearts of Israeli civilians to compare favorably to the genocidal murderers of Hamas. Therefore, he has to step up his game. If the international community were to do the right thing and isolate Hamas while refusing to fund the next war on Israel, Abbas could plausibly have the space to do something other than incite holy war. But they won’t do the right thing, and Abbas predictably resorts to terror and incitement. I hope the humanitarians of Washington and Brussels are proud of themselves.
Lacking a plan, Abbas opts for rhetoric
The Palestinian president has been speaking in increasingly belligerent tones in recent weeks, accusing Israel of committing "genocide" in Gaza and calling on Palestinians to defend a contested Jerusalem holy site "by any means."
The heightened rhetoric is a departure for the normally staid Mahmoud Abbas — and an apparent sign of desperation as he tries to halt a slide in his own popularity following this summer's war between Israel and the Islamic militant Hamas in Gaza.
Abbas has staked his decade-long presidency on the pursuit of an independent Palestinian state through negotiations with Israel. But he seems out of ideas after another failed round of talks that collapsed in April, a war that boosted the popularity of the rival Hamas, and a bumpy attempt to win new recognition at the United Nations.
Fiery rhetoric is an easy way to appeal to his public at a time when many Palestinians believe Israel is not serious about negotiating a partition deal that would end half a century of Israeli military occupation.
Yet Abbas has also carefully avoided any steps that would irreversibly harm his relationship with Israel.
Arab States Pressure Abbas to Avoid UN Bid
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced last month he would appeal to the U.N. General Assembly and then to the Security Council in a new effort to establish a Palestinian state. The announcement angered officials in Washington and Israel, who see this as a unilateral action and counterproductive to the peace process.
Qais Abdul Karim, an official in the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, told the arab48 website that not only Israel and the U.S., but also “some Arab states” put pressure on Abbas to prevent him from the appealing. Similar comments were made by Saleh Rafat, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in an interview to Voice of Palestine radio station.
Palestinian commentators also criticized Abbas’s plan. Various commentators said Abbas’s statements contradict the Palestinian national position. “He talks a lot and does little,” they explained.
Pat Condell: Boo Hoo Palestine (h/t Sergio)

Caroline Glick: Obama, the virtuoso manager
According to Rappaport, for the first time since the 1982 war in Lebanon, “The expected airlift of US ammunition [to the IDF] never arrived at its point of departure.”
The difference between Obama’s actions during Operation Protective Edge and Ronald Reagan’s partial arms embargo against Israel 32 years ago is that Reagan made his action publicly. He argued his case before the public, and Congress.
Obama has done no such thing. As was the case with the FAA’s scandalous ban on flights to Ben-Gurion Airport during the war, Holder’s prevention of the FBI from helping Israel find Oron, and Obama’s arms embargo were justified as mere bureaucratic measures.
As Harf claimed in relation to the embargo, there was no hostile policy behind any of the hostile policy moves. Obama and his senior advisors are simply sticklers for procedure. And since during the war Obama insisted that he supported Israel, policymakers and the public had a hard time opposing his actions.
How can you oppose a hostile policy toward Israel that the administration insists doesn’t exist? Indeed, anyone who suggests otherwise runs the risk of being attacked as a conspiracy theorist or a firebrand.
The same goes for Obama’s policy toward Iran. This week we learned that the administration has now offered Iran a nuclear deal in which the mullahs can keep half of their 10,000 active centrifuges spinning.
Together with Iran’s 10,000 currently inactive centrifuges which the US offer ignores, the actual US position is to allow Iran to have enough centrifuges to enable it to build nuclear bombs within a year, at most.
In other words, the US policy toward Iran exposed by Obama’s nuclear offer is one that enables the most active state sponsor of terrorism to acquire nuclear weapons almost immediately.
Israel Local Munitions Boost May Signal Rift With US Over Delays During Gaza Op
One of the lessons Israel’s defense establishment is learning from the summer’s Operation Protective Edge is to build more military armaments at home, in light of potential boycotts and politically-inspired resupply delays, Israel’s NRG News noted Friday.
Under a tight veil of secrecy, the Defense Ministry reportedly decided not to allow production of at least one sensitive weapons system on American soil, due to supply line concerns.
“The full truth, revealed here for the first time, is much more severe: apparently, during Operation Protective Edge, the USA had completely stopped all connections with Israel’s defense procurement delegation based in the USA. For days, no item whatsoever could be shipped. The expected airlift of US ammunition had never even arrived at its point of departure,” according to the report.
Mordechai Kedar: 'Islamic State' Should Cause No Surprise
That is why the Islamic State that arose over the last few months on the ruins of Syria and Iraq should not surprise anyone, as the last few decades have witnessed the formation of quite a few of them and their modus operandi have characterized Islamic history for close to 1400 years.
The world will probably do nothing against the newest terror state, just as it has done precious little to deal effectively and successfully with the previous ones. The fall of the Taliban did not solve any of the basic problems of Afhganistan, neither did the French intervention in Mali have lasting effect, nor did the Ethiopian attempts in Somalia.
To summarize, let us say that the world will have to accustom itself to the existence of an increasing number of radical Islamic states who aim to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction. Today it is Iran, tomorrow it may be any of the other terror states. The world must develop a coping strategy for dealing with these states, and it must alter the laws of war to fit the terrorist reality that is on the ascendance in many parts of the world. That includes Gaza. It is impossible to deal effectively with entities of this type while soldiers' hands are constrained by legal handcuffs created in the aftermath of World Wars I and II.
For the sake of fairness, let us mention that Nazi Germany and Stalin's USSR were terror states as well, while mass murders were part and parcel of European and American history for centuries. North Korea is a terror state to all intents and purposes, certainly internally. The Khmer Rouge of Cambodia and Mao Tse Tung's regime were soaked in the blood of their citizens.
The world suffered, bled and went on to a new era, one in which terror states act with total freedom while the world stands paralyzed and immobile.
Free people of the world – awake!!
Why Votes to Recognize ‘Palestine’ Will Destroy Peace
This British vote is emblematic of a willful European tilt to the Palestinian position. There will undoubtedly be other symbolic gestures of this kind across the continent. Public opinion has been mobilized by Muslims, anti-Semites who no longer feel restrained by standards of public decency, left wing activists, and those influenced by news accounts in the Israeli war against Hamas.
European newspaper editorials invariably contend that anti-Israel sentiment is not related to anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionism masquerades as the pursuit of social justice, not bigotry. But for so many in Europe today starting with the continent’s MPs, the question that remains is “whose justice?”
If Zionism is perceived as the original sin, only dismantling the Jewish State can redress it. But for Jews with a memory, the main guarantor of Jewish security since the end of World War II has been the sovereign state of Israel. This state wasn’t born on the ashes of the Holocaust, but it is the last fortress against its reenactment.
Votes in European parliaments may make politicians feel good, but the actual effect is pernicious since a message is sent to the Palestinians that they don’t have to reach ends through negotiation and concessions; the European parliaments will do that for them.
At UNHQ, Min. Ya’alon Begins ‘Real’ Gaza War
The Secretary General didn’t waste any time starting the discussion. And it is here, in the peaceful serenity of New York City, protected by the full might of the United States of America, Ya’alon will have to describe the terrible war crimes Hamas committed against Israel and against its own Gazan citizens, and defend Israel against the myriad of false claims of war crimes.
Ya’alon will have to explain Israel’s position to Ban Ki-moon, who already called the ruins of Gaza, “beyond description.”
Israel can’t just win its battles on the actual battlefield with a hardened Islamist enemy armed by the entire Islamic world. Israel must also win its battles on the diplomatic battlefield with even more hardened, biased world diplomats from the entire world.
It doesn’t particularly matter that the UN’s buildings in Gaza were being used as missile warehouses. The fact that Israel’s army is the most moral army on earth doesn't matter, since Israel’s army is expected to be perfect – or, the one mistake made in the fog of war will be used against Israel to extract concessions that will ensure the next war.
Ya'alon: Israel won't allow Gaza reconstruction if Hamas rebuilds infiltration tunnels
Israel will not allow the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip if Hamas uses construction materials to rebuild infiltration tunnels used for the purpose of carrying out terror attacks on Israelis, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Monday.
During a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at his office in New York, Ya'alon expressed his concern over a Hamas claim that its members were continuing to dig underground passageways leading from the coastal enclave into Israel.
The defense minister lamented that the ruling Palestinian faction in Gaza would deprive its population of much-needed reparation supplies in order to reconstruct the elaborate network of tunnels destroyed by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge.
"We [Israel] want the residents of Gaza to live in dignity and prosperity, rebuild their homes and return to normal life. But, we are very worried. Just yesterday Hamas representatives said they intend to reconstruct the infiltration tunnels, instead of rebuilding the homes of Gaza's residents," Ya'alon told Ban.
Indirect Israel-Hamas talks expected to restart next week in Cairo
Israel and Hamas are expected to resume indirect negotiations in Cairo next week, following an invitation issued to both sides by the Egyptians.
The talks will come two months after a cease-fire went into effect ending Operation Protective Edge, and some two weeks after international donors pledged $5.4 billion to rehabilitate Gaza. The talks are meant to find a long-term arrangement in the Gaza Strip.
A senior Hamas official reportedly said the talks were set to resume on October 27.
"Hamas and the Palestinian factions will take part in a session of indirect negotiations with the occupation (Israel) on the 27th of this month at the invitation of Egypt," AFP quoted Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuk as saying.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel’s position on the talks was simple: Israel supports the rehabilitation of Gaza on the condition that “this is not taken advantage of for the building of tunnels, or manufacturing rockets, or anything else that has a military-terrorist purpose.”
Is Israel Moving Closer to Full Sovereignty in Judea-Samaria?
Members of Knesset, Orit Struk and Yariv Levin, heads of the Land of Israel Lobby in the Knesset, have prepared ten laws for applying sovereignty over ten different areas in Judea and Samaria. We discussed with MK Struk the laws that have been proposed and that are awaiting for the right moment to be moved along in the path of parliamentary legislation.
“The laws of sovereignty are actually intended for the application of Israeli sovereignty gradually over the areas of settlement in Judea and Samaria, which is called Area C, in keeping with the idea that the entire process of Zionism is a gradual process. Indeed, there are sometimes jumps within this gradual process but the process overall is gradual. Regarding the State of Israel as well, things were gradual. In the beginning there was sovereignty over some of the territories of the state, and afterward over Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. We believe that it is a gradual process that must progress step by step,” explains Struk regarding the logic behind the string of laws.
Palestinian Economy To Boom After Getting $5.4B In Berlin Milkies (satire)
Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat called a press conference today to announce that the Palestinian unity government had raised $5.4 Billion worth of Berlin Milkies. “The resale profit from Milkies sold here in the Zionist Entity should enable every PA minister to buy a third home in the French Riviera as well as redo their kitchen area,” Erekat said. “If there is any money left over we may invest the rest of the funds in Kassams and education, in that order,” he added.
Milkies are a pudding snack with a thick top layer of imitation whipped cream, packaged in individual serving cups. The idea for replacing currency with Milkies was inspired by the recent “Milky protest” led by Israelis who had expatriated to Berlin, using the price difference on the product in the two countries as an example of the high cost of living in Israel. The former Israelis pointed out that in Berlin the Milkies are less than a fifth of the price, the vacation days more plentiful, and the public transportation via cattle car to the Polish countryside completely free.
Not all Palestinian leaders were as optimistic. Khaleed Meshaal, leader of the hardline Hamas faction, fumed “Milky is a tool of Zionist oppression and we will never normalize relations with either the chocolate pudding component or the whipped cream on top”. Other Hamas leaders vowed to renew hostilities with Israel if “even that disgusting imitation Milky from Tnuva, whatever it’s called,” is delivered to the coastal Gaza Strip. Neither one specified a particular attitude toward the vanilla, coffee, or other flavors of Milky.
Father of IDF Soldier Killed in Gaza Livid at Israeli Hospital for Treating Hamas Leader’s Family (VIDEO)
In a furious telephone call on Monday, the bereaved Israeli father of an IDF soldier who died in Gaza fighting castigated the director of a Tel Aviv hospital after hearing that the center had treated the daughter of a senior Hamas leader, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported.
“Why are we stupid?!” fumed Ofer Mendelowitz, whose 21-year-old son, Oz, died in fighting on July 20th, during a fierce battle in Gaza City’s Sajahiyah neighborhood during the summer’s Operation Protective Edge.
While “I am a strong humanist,” Mendelowitz said, he added that he was devastated when he heard about the Hamas’ leader’s daughter’s treatment, “the one who sent the terrorists who killed 67 of our fighters, including my son.”
Oz, a Sergeant in the Golani Brigade, left behind his parents and two brothers.
The silent Arab majority
In my job as a reporter for Israel Hayom, I travel to Arab communities in Israel and meet with public officials and local residents. Time and time again, I learn that most of them do not identify with Balad MK Hanin Zoabi's provocative statements. But there is more than just anger over Zoabi's words. The other Arab MKs are also not very popular among their public. It is not that Israeli Arabs have become Zionists, but the feeling among them is that those who are supposed to represent them are doing too much for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and too little for them.
However, the Arab public has shown almost no public signs of disaffection with Zoabi. The harsh feelings the Arab public has toward its elected representatives in the Knesset can be gleaned primarily through private conversations and small talk between Arabs and their Jewish neighbors in mixed cities.
More than once, an Arab official has told me that there is a silent majority in the Arab public. This majority considers itself loyal to the State of Israel, but also identifies with the Palestinians. It does not see a contradiction between identifying with Palestinian nationalism while also remaining law-abiding citizens of Israel.
Meet the Young Arabs Who Want to Be Israeli Citizens… Again
Culturally speaking, that border is changing. As the Syrian civil war pushes into its fourth year, a growing number of young Druze in the Golan are now privately saying they want to be part of Israel, not Syria.
It wasn’t always the case. Until the 1967 war, when Israel gained control of the Golan Heights, the area’s Druze, which now number around 30,000, were Syrian citizens, and most longed for their land to be returned to their home country, where many still had family. In a number of public ceremonies during the 1980s, village residents burned their Israeli ID cards and passports, a symbolic way of refusing Israeli citizenship, which the state offered them after officially annexing the area in 1981. Until a few years ago, Syrian flags fluttered above buildings and across the ceramic balconies here in town. And most Druze in the Golan continued to pledge their loyalty to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Israeli government would likely welcome the change among the Druze in the Golan. Indeed, their loyalty to Assad has made them an anomaly among Israel’s roughly 100,000 Druze, most of whom are citizens and serve in the Israeli army.
Syrian mortar round falls in Israeli Golan Heights
A errant mortar fired from Syria landed in the Israeli Golan Monday, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
There were no injuries or damage reported.
Heavy fighting has recently resumed along the Israel-Syria border between Assad regime forces and Syrian rebels, following several weeks of relative calm since the IDF shot down a Syrian fighter plane over the Golan Heights September 23.
Shipwreck Was Simple Murder, Migrants Recall
On the last morning, only four of the survivors remained. Two sets of Palestinian brothers, exhausted and adrift in the Mediterranean beneath a blazing white sun. The Awadallah brothers were delirious. Mohammed saw vampires rising from the waves. Ibrahim kept removing his life jacket, imagining himself at home in Gaza, changing his clothes.
Nearby, Mamoun Doghmosh, 27, propped up his younger brother, Amin, 24, who was weak and hallucinating. Nearly four days had passed since their overcrowded migrant boat had capsized on Sept. 9, after being rammed by another vessel following an apparent quarrel between smugglers.
At least 300 people, trying to reach Europe, are estimated to have died in one of the Mediterranean’s worst disasters. For those few who survived, an enduring memory would be the ruthlessness of the smugglers, who extorted money during the land journey out of Gaza and then mocked the migrants as they flailed in the water.
Continue reading the main story
“They wanted to kill us,” said Mohammed Awadallah, 23. “They started circling us, laughing at us.”
Abbas adds 'hard labor' to punishment for Palestinians who sell land to Israelis
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday issued an order that would toughen punishment for Palestinians involved in real estate deals with “hostile countries” and their citizens.
Abbas’s decision came following reports that Palestinians have sold houses in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood to Jews.
On Monday, Jewish families moved into two more residences in Silwan that were reportedly purchased through a Palestinian mediator.
In his order, Abbas decided to amend the Palestinian penal code so that it would include hard labor in addition to life imprisonment for Palestinians who sell, rent out or serve as mediators in real estate transactions with “hostile countries” and their citizens. (h/t Bob Knot)
The Hamas Museum
Hamas has created a museum exhibit, currently showing at al-Aqsa University in Khan Younis, Gaza. Hamas is showing off its weapons and propaganda pieces from this past summer’s war, Operation Protective Edge.
Jordan's King Abdullah warns against Islamic and Zionist extremism
Jordan's King Abdullah equated "Zionist extremism" to Islamic extremism in remarks regarding the fight against terrorism he made in a meeting with Jordan's president and members of the Lower House’s Democratic Gathering Bloc, The Jordan Times reported on Monday.
While saying that there is a civil war taking place between moderate and extremist camps within Islam, the Jordanian monarch added that, on the other hand "there is Zionist extremism...stakeholders should acknowledge there is extremism in all camps."
The king said Christians and Muslims in Jordan would work to "keep these threats away from our borders. We have to think together how to deal with the various challenges. We are living in a new and changing world."
Britain Set to Order Crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood
The British government will order a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and a network of Islamist groups accused of fuelling extremism in Britain and across the Arab world, The Telegraph reported on Sunday.
Prime Minister David Cameron launched an inquiry into the Brotherhood earlier this year, prompted by concerns it was stoking an Islamist ideology that had encouraged British jihadists to fight in Syria and Iraq.
Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6 who is an adviser to the review, is reported to have described it as “at heart a terrorist organization”, according to The Telegraph. A senior source close to the inquiry said its report – compiled but not yet published – had identified “an incredibly complex web” of up to 60 organizations in Britain, including charities, think tanks and even television channels, with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, which will all now come under scrutiny.
Al-Qaida Magazine Resurgence Calls for Terrorist Attacks on Oil Tankers and McDonald's Boycott
In the cover story, titled Besiege Them, the extremist group, once led by Osama bin Laden, lays out its new strategy against the US, Israel and their Western allies.
The article's author, al-Qaida spokesman Adam Yahiye Gadahn, a US national from California, says mujahideen should aim to "paralyse international trade for the enemy states or at the very east increase its costs, by targeting their cargo ships and merchant marines".
"Any of their ships are legitimate targets," the article reads.
Gadahn also urges jihadists to sabotage Western-run oil wells and mines in Muslim countries and "destroying pipelines before oil reaches the coast".
He also calls for a boycott of American and Jewish businesses as well as of companies he describes as "symbols of the rampant crusaders globalisation" such as Wal-Mart, McDonald's and Microsoft.
Suspected Canadian extremist runs over soldiers
A young man killed by police Monday after he ran over two Canadian soldiers with his car in a Quebec parking lot was known to authorities as a suspected radical, officials said.
One of the two soldiers is in critical condition in the hospital in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) south-east of Montreal, while the other was not as seriously injured, officials have said.
The incident occurred shortly before noon, when a car smashed into the two soldiers in a supermarket parking lot before fleeing with police in pursuit.
A few kilometers away, the driver lost control of his car and flipped into a ditch on the side of the road.
A witness said the driver was holding a knife and headed toward police after he extricated himself from his vehicle.
Police shot multiple times at the suspect, a 25-year-old man, who later died.
Does Kerry Think that 18 Million Muslim Refugees Are Irrelevant to ISIS?
There are now nearly 18 million refugees and internally displaced persons in seven Muslim countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen), up from slightly over 7 million in 2011, according to the UN. That doesn't count more than 2.5 million Afghani refugees from the continuing war in their country. Much of the population of Syria has left their homes, including 3 million who have left the country due to the civil war and an additional 8 million internally displaced.
That is cause for desperation: unprecedented numbers of people have been torn from traditional society and driven from their homes, many with little but the clothes on their backs. There are millions of young men in the Muslim world sitting in refugee camps with nothing to do, nowhere to go back to, and nothing to look forward to. And there are tens of millions more watching their misery with outrage. Never has an extremist movement had so many frustrated and footloose young men in its prospective recruitment pool.
Israel has nothing whatever to do with any of this suffering. It is all the result of social and political disintegration in the Muslim world itself. To blame ISIS' recruitment of young Muslims on the refugee problem of 1948, as Secretary of State John Kerry did last week, boggles the imagination. It is one thing to ignore the elephant in the parlor, and another to pretend it is not there when it is standing on one's toe.
PreOccupied Territory: Report: Low Blog Readership Main Driver Of ISIS Recruitment (satire)
Interrogation of captured Islamic State fighters has revealed that the chief factor behind their decision to join the movement was their frustration at being ignored on their blogs, American advisers in Iraq reported today.
US military officers assisting in the training, supply, and deployment of Iraqi Shiite and Kurdish troops told reporters at a press conference that a significant majority of Islamic State fighters captured on the battlefield were motivated to enlist with IS by the sense that not enough people were reading their blogs, and they felt the need to demonstrate to themselves and the world that they could in fact do something that makes an impact.
No blog trafficThe finding has the potential to reshape the approach of many countries seeking to limit or cut off the flow of foreign fighters heading to Iraq and Syria, says Middle East analyst Hack Righter. “It turns out that the most effective means of depriving the Islamic State of its foreign recruits might well be giving young bloggers an audience,” he says. “The exact method to achieve that is not yet clear, but the path forward is clearer.”
Islamic State foiled in attempt to kidnap Syrian rebel leader in Turkey
A top Syrian rebel commander was shot and wounded in an apparent kidnapping attempt by the Islamic State in a Turkish city, raising questions about Ankara’s readiness to stop jihadists operating on its soil.
Abu Issa, the leader of Thuwar Raqqa, a Syrian rebel group who has been fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in the town of Kobane, was ambushed by Isil extremists in Urfa in neighbouring Turkey.
Ankara has adopted tighter national security measures in recent months in an attempt to stem the flow of foreign fighters who have used its long border with Syria as a conduit to jihad.
But the flagrant kidnapping attempt in the southeastern town of Urfa, shows how Isil can still operate inside this Nato country with relative impunity.
Turkey appeases US in token gesture on Islamic State battle
Turkey has rejected aiding NATO in its fight against Islamic State, since Ankara sympathizes with its Sunni jihadist ideology – and because it sees the group as weakening its long time Kurdish foes.
Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that he sees Turkey’s latest move as part of a negotiation process with the US.
Turkey is “throwing a bone to try to get the US to commit itself against [Syrian President Bashar] Assad,” said Inbar, adding that Erdogan’s strategic goal is to oust Assad, which will benefit Sunnis.
“Allowing a few peshmergas to cross their border might only prolong the suffering of the Kurds” he said, pointing out that it is likely to result in more Kurdish fighters being killed, something “that is not inimical to Turkish interests.”
Turkey Demonstrates Why It Does Not Belong in Europe
It’s been the age-old dream of liberal Turks to join the European Union, and many American diplomats still repeat the mantra that Turkey as a member of Europe would be a good thing for both Turkey and for Europe. A decade ago, I certainly would have agreed with them. The thinking was that the Turkish workforce could have jump started Europe’s anemic economy, while European membership might have given Turkey that final shove into the liberal democratic camp.
While many Europeans saw the Turkish military as the impediment to Turkey’s democracy—and, to some extent, it was—undercutting its power also eviscerated the only check-and-balance the country had. Because Western diplomats and NGOs cheering the weakening of military influence did not simultaneously insist on building an alternate check to dictatorship, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was given an opportunity. “Democracy is like a street car,” he once quipped. “You ride it as far as you need, and then you step off.” European and American policy simply stopped the streetcar, so that rather than jump off onto hard tarmac, Erdoğan could step daintily onto goose-down pillows, his ego stroked, as he abandoned democracy.
But, however corrupt he appears, Erdoğan isn’t simply a megalomaniac motivated by greed: He is an ideologue. “We will raise a religious generation,” he declared. He is an unabashed Islamist, intent on imposing his interpretation and embrace of his religion upon others. Muslims—or at least Sunni Muslims—can do no wrong in his fevered mind. That is why he sought to exculpate Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s genocidal campaign in Darfur, and why he has embraced and defended Hamas and even those associated with al-Qaeda. For Erdoğan, there simply is no such thing as terrorism if the terrorist is a Muslim and the victim is not.
Davutoglu: Palestinian struggle symbolizes all oppressed
Turkey embraced the million plus Syrian refugees on its territory with the same love and fervor it has for the Palestinians of Gaza, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said late Thursday night.
He made the remarks at an event titled "Living Gaza," which was organized by the Ankara-based Yunus Emre Institute.
Davutoglu said the struggle of the Palestinian people represented the aspirations of every oppressed individual in the world.
Turkey confirms release of Islam critic's assailant
Turkish officials told a Danish delegation that the 27-year-old man accused of trying to execute Lars Hedegaard has been released from prison, but both the Hedegaard and the justice minister are demanding more answers.
A Danish delegation that travelled to Turkey has returned home with a confirmation that the man who attempted to assassinate Islam critic Lars Hedegaard has indeed been released from prison as suspected. What the delegation did not find out, however, was exactly why he was released.
Denmark’s newly-named justice minister, Mette Frederiksen, addressed the release in a written statement.
“I understand that the recent rumours that a Danish citizen was released have been confirmed by the Turkish authorities. I find it completely incomprehensible that the man in question has been released,” she wrote.
Frederiksen added that Turkey did not give an official reason for the release. According to some reports, Hedegaard’s would-be assassin was handed over to the terrorist group Isis as part of a prisoner swap
Emerging ‘bad deal’ with Iran puts Israel on offensive
Netanyahu repeated in private discussions on Monday the warning he gave publicly on Sunday – that an agreement is emerging that would “leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, with thousands of centrifuges through which Iran can manufacture the material for a nuclear bomb within a short period of time.”
One government official said Netanyahu’s “No. 1 concern” is that an agreement – which the world powers and Tehran are trying to hammer out before a November 24 deadline – would leave Iran with enough centrifuges in place to allow it to hover above nuclear threshold status.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is closely coordinated with Netanyahu on the Iranian issue, repeated the message publicly on Monday as well, saying in an Israel Radio interview that Israel was concerned by the world’s apparent powerful desire to reach an agreement so it can focus on other problems.
Steinitz said the world understands the danger of a nuclear Iran, “but there are other problems in the world, and there is a desire by some of the actors to clear off the table.”
IAEA chief 'cannot guarantee Iran nuclear program is peaceful'
Though not new, Yukiya Amano's comments Monday are significant amid a renewed deadlock in the 12-year probe by his International Atomic Agency of suspected nuclear weapons work by Iran.
Iran denies such activities.
Amano's comments also come as the U.S. and five other powers try to persuade Iran to allow the IAEA greater sleuthing powers, allowing the agency to do snap inspections of sites suspected of possible unreported nuclear work.
Amano told an IAEA meeting in Vienna that his agency cannot "conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."
Senator Mark Kirk: Congress Will Not Support ‘Obama-Khamenei’ Nuclear Deal (UPDATE)
In a statement to The Algemeiner, Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) declared: “By threatening to cut out Congress from the Iran nuclear deal, the Administration is actually uniting Congress. We will not support an Obama-Khamenei deal that condemns our children to a future where the Middle East is full of nuclear weapons.”
After the signing of the Geneva Accord with Iran in November 2013, Kirk slammed the arrangement as “the deal of the century for Iran,” and one that “undermines sanctions and doesn’t stop a future with Iranian nuclear weapons.”
In a piece for the New York Times yesterday, David Sanger pointed out that it is uncertain whether the U.S. will be able to strike a deal with the Iranians in advance of the November 24 deadline. However, Sanger added, “If agreement is reached, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it.”
“We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years,” Sanger quoted a “senior official” as saying.
Iran Claims Major U.S. Concession Over Centrifuges in Nuclear Talks
A senior member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission has told one of the Islamic Republic’s official news agencies that the United States has agreed that Iran can keep 4,000 active centrifuges as part of a final nuclear deal.
Javad Karimi Qoddousi informed the Mehr news agency that he had been told directly by Seyed Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister and a senior nuclear negotiator, that the Americans were “now coming to terms ” with “4,000 active centrifuges,” despite the fact that in the “New York and Vienna talks, US would not accept 1,300 centrifuges.”
No Longer Hiding Its Influence, Iran Openly Supports Yemeni Rebels
For the first time Iran has said that it supports the Houthi rebels, who control vast swathes of Yemen and recently took its capital. The Houthis can be likened to Hezbollah in Lebanon in that they have moved from fringe Shi’ite militia to major player in the country’s battle for political power.
The admission is the latest clear sign that Tehran’s sphere of influence spreads far beyond its national borders.
Adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader for International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati announced (Persian link) Tehran’s support for the Houthi Ansar Allah organization in its invasion of large areas of Yemen and its control over national institutions there, considering it “an important struggle.”
Velayati did not hide his hope that the Houthis in Yemen will play a role similar to that of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

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