Monday, April 27, 2015

04/27 Links Pt1: A light unto the nations; IDF Activities in Nepal; Someone sends Iran a message

From Ian:

A light unto the nations
Israel's critics have tried, with some sophistication, to compare the monsters of the Third Reich who ravaged Europe to the IDF soldiers who are working tirelessly to safeguard Israelis, even though our national ethos is not destruction but rather the pursuit of peace and securing the continuity of life.
Not only do those comparisons lack any merit, they are utterly outrageous. Especially in light of the events of the past few days.
The tragic earthquakes in Nepal have claimed thousands of lives. Beyond the immediate humanitarian concerns, Nepal is looking at a long recovery. The first disaster relief team has already left for Nepal as part of a coordinated effort orchestrated by the IDF and the Foreign Ministry.
The so-called military of thugs is already assembling another delegation of some 250 people to help with the search-and-rescue efforts, provide security and carry out field surgeries.
The IDF has been saving lives all over the world for more than 60 years. Technological advances have helped it gain more expertise. The soldiers have demonstrated their capabilities in Turkey, Greece, the Philippines, Haiti, African countries and elsewhere. In fact, by doing so they have lived up to the mission Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion assigned them. Israel's first prime minister believed the IDF was more than just a military force and said it was duty-bound to advance educational and socio-economic causes owing to its central role in building the nation. Indeed, the IDF has been an "army of relief," fitting into what Prophet Isaiah called "a light unto the nations."
IDF Blog: Update on IDF Activities in Nepal
This morning, April 27, an 80-member Israeli humanitarian aid delegation set flight for Nepal, after a magnitude-7.8 quake struck the capital city Kathmandu on Saturday. They will be joined shortly in Nepal by another cargo flight with around 170 trained military personnel.
“We’re on a mission to achieve three things. Deploy major search and rescue operations. Admit patients to our field hospitals within 12 hours of landing. Help the Nepalese people.”
-Colonel Yoram Larado, head of the IDF humanitarian delegation to Nepal
The first team is scheduled to arrive in Nepal late Monday night. It will immediately join other countries that have set up disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of the worst earthquake to hit Nepal in the past 80 years:
- The earthquake’s death toll has already reached more than 3,000 people.
- Local hospitals are unequipped to treat more than 6,500 injured people.
- A second tremor has struck, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale.
- Hundreds of thousands of people in Kathmandu have been displaced as a result.
- 150 Israeli travelers have yet to establish contact and are believed to be missing.
Four Israelis rescued from Mt. Everest, 100 still missing
Four Israelis were rescued from the slopes of Mt. Everest on Monday, where they had been trapped in the wake of the earthquake that shook the mountainous nation of Nepal on Saturday, leading to a death toll in the thousands. Some 100 Israelis are still missing, according to Israeli officials.
Army Radio said a rescue team sent by Harel, an Israeli insurance company, brought the quartet to safety. All four were reported to be in good health.
Meanwhile, an army 747 jet carrying 250 medical and rescue personnel and supplies, including a field hospital, lifted off from Ben Gurion Airport Monday afternoon for the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.
The plane was the second shipment of aid Monday to the earthquake-battered nation. Earlier in the day, another IDF plane carrying 90 rescue workers and supplies lifted off from Ben Gurion.

Magen David Adom: Kathmandu 'In Chaos'
Asaf Chen, Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedic and a member of the organization's delegation to Kathmandu, spoke to Arutz Sheva on Monday about how the team is preparing to treat hundreds of wounded and regarding tens of Israelis stuck in Nepal.
The team mostly prepared for the flight based on media reports, he noted.
"We realized that it was chaos over there," he said. "We organized a delegation consisting of 11 paramedics. We took with us first-response equipment designed to treat typical earthquake injuries - fractures, wounds, cuts, and soft tissue injuries - and we organized to leave as soon as possible." He added that the team is the first to arrive in Kathmandu.
Chen explained that all of the preparations were made after the initial earthquake, but that the aftershocks - measuring some 6.7 on the Richter scale - exacerbated the situation.
Israeli planes bring home babies born in quake-struck Nepal
Two planes that carried Israelis rescued from the earthquake in Nepal landed in Israel on Monday.
Five other flights flew to Kathmandu on Monday with Israeli rescue teams, IDF soldiers and medical personnel to help Nepal, which is still devastated by the 7.9 magnitude quake that struck on Saturday, killing over 3,300 people. Since then additional damage has been caused by a series of after shocks.
A small IAF plane was the first carrier to arrive back in Israel from Nepal. It landed at a military base early Monday. On board were a number of wounded Israelis and premature babies of Israeli parents who were born to surrogate Nepalese mothers.
A Magen David Adom plane with five more babies born to surrogate mothers and their Israeli families landed at Sde Dov Airport at noon on Monday. Over a dozen such babies still need to be airlifted home.
Honest Reporting: Human Rights Watch’s Disaster Effort
One might think from the name that “Human Rights Watch” is an organization dedicated solely to monitoring human rights conditions around the world. But long-time readers may be familiar with a few examples we have documented that show the organization to be obsessed with bashing Israel and employing individuals with very questionable judgement.
There was the human rights “expert” who enjoyed collecting Nazi memorabilia (and bashing Israel.) There was the Human Rights Watch Director who went on a fund-raising trip to Saudi Arabia (with one of the worst human rights records) and returned to pen a piece for CNN trashing Ariel Sharon — within hours of the death of the former Israeli Prime Minister.
And now — when Israel has rushed a medical team to help the victims of the earthquake in Nepal — comes a Tweet from the current Executive Director:
Kenneth Roth
Easier to address a far-away humanitarian disaster than the nearby one of Israel's making in Gaza. End the blockade!
The obvious fact that there is a partial blockade of Gaza (humanitarian goods are allowed in) because of the terrorist group Hamas’ efforts to rearm is completely lost on Roth. Nor is the fact that Gaza is blockaded by Egypt on one border. No, for the Executive Director of this group — in theory dedicated to fighting human rights abuse — the situation can be summed up in a simple, Twitter-friendly slogan: “End the Blockade!”
But the real outrage is his disdain for Israel’s humanitarian efforts that are saving lives after the earthquake and avalanche. Roth sits in the HRW office in a NYC highrise on Fifth Avenue sending out his demeaning tweets. At the same time, Israelis are on the ground in Nepal, treating the wounded and searching for more bodies in the snow and the ice.
Just who is doing more to protect human rights?
Twitchy: Max Blumenthal: For Israel, ‘natural disasters can’t come often enough’
An earthquake in Nepal has killed at least 2,400 people. Israel has offered to send help, which gave former Daily Beast writer Max Blumenthal a good excuse to — what else? — bash Israel. We’d say we are shocked, except that this is exactly what we’ve come to expect from a guy who called Navy SEAL Chris Kyle a “mass murdering sniper” and who likened Israel to ISIS.
PMW: No freedom of speech in the PA

The official PA news agency WAFA reported yesterday that a man was arrested for “attacking and slandering” Yasser Arafat. The PA news agency did not report what the man, Khalil Al-Afaneh, had said to warrant arrest.
However, the independent Donia Al-Watan news website reported that Afaneh was arrested by the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence for posting on Facebook that he agreed with his niece that Arafat was not a “Martyr.” His niece, Namir Mughrabi, a student at Birzeit University, had posted on Facebook about student elections at the university. She wrote that Fatah lost the elections to Hamas because the Fatah student faction had chosen the name “Martyr Yasser Arafat Bloc,” whereas in fact he was not a Martyr.
The PA promotes Martyrdom as the ideal and most honorable way to die. Accordingly, even though Arafat did not die in battle with Israel, but of an undisclosed illness in a French hospital, the PA declared Arafat a Martyr.
Meanwhile, Donia Al-Watan wrote that unconfirmed sources have claimed that Mughrabi is to be expelled from Birzeit University, adding that the PA Ministry of Education sent a letter to all Palestinian universities prohibiting them from admitting Namir Mughrabi because of her post about Arafat.
Palestinian Media Watch has reported on the lack of freedom of expression in the PA. In one instance, during a live broadcast, PA producers muted the sound when the audience began criticizing PA leaders.
Bush slams Obama’s nuke deal with Iran
Former US president George W. Bush harshly criticized his successor Barack Obama over a recent nuclear agreement with Iran that, he said, shows a lack of understanding of the Iranian leadership and would be bad for US national security in the long term.
Bush, who normally refrains from attacking the administration, made the comments during a meeting Saturday of the Republican Jewish Coalition at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas over the weekend, according to a Bloomberg report.
An attendee at the session in the hotel, which is owned by Sheldon Adelson, transcribed Bush’s comments accusing Obama of wrongly interpreting Iran’s intentions regarding its nuclear program and slamming the deal, strongly backed by Obama, that US-led world powers made with Tehran at the beginning of the month.
“You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren,” Bush reportedly warned. “That’s how Americans should view the deal.”
Sherman to US Jews: Military strike would only set Iran's nuclear program back 2 years
Under Secretary Wendy R. Sherman discussed US-Israel relations and the state of the Iran talks in a speech to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington.
She argued that a deal would take Iran's current nuclear breakout time of two-to-three months and stretch it to a one year breakout time for a period of at least ten years.
Should Iran violate the deal, all options that are currently on the table would remain on the table, she added, in an apparent reference to a future potential military strike against Iran's nuclear program.
Discussing the military option further, Sherman said that if the US took military action against Iran it would take away their program for only two years maximum.
Addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's assertion that sanctions on Iran should be further ratcheted up, Sherman said that sanctions have brought Iran to the negotiating table but they have not prevented Iran from multiplying its number of centrifuges or developing its nuclear program.
"The only durable solution is getting an agreement with enough monitoring and transparency to understand what is going on" with Iran's nuclear program, she said.
How the Iran Deal Helps Hezbollah
The reason this is germane to the nuclear talks is that the question of allowing Iran to become a threshold nuclear power is one that directly affects Hezbollah. Iran’s ability to project power across the Middle East via Hezbollah, the Assad regime, as well as Hamas in Gaza (which recently came back into the fold with Iran after a few years’ break because of a disagreement over the Syrian civil war) makes its nuclear pretensions that much more dangerous. If the nuclear deal gives, at the very least, Iran a potential for a bomb, that strengthens its terrorist allies. Critics rightly allege that the loose terms of the deal offer Iran two paths to an actual bomb, one by easily evading the pact’s restrictions because of a lack of tough inspections and one by abiding by it and waiting patiently for it to expire before building a weapon. If that is so, then the Iran deal will not only lead to proliferation and give Tehran the means to threaten Israel’s existence.
But even if Iran never takes advantage of that opportunity or never uses the bomb if it gets one, this deal places Hezbollah and Hamas under a potential nuclear umbrella. That gives the terrorists more freedom to operate and to foment and commit violence against both Israel and the United States. That’s why it’s a mistake for the United States to separate the issue of Iran’s support of terrorism and its desire to eliminate Israel from the nuclear issue.
President Obama’s illusions about Iran reforming itself and “getting right with the world” are foolish enough with respect to the nature of the Islamist regime. But when one considers that this same policy is empowering terrorist groups allied to Iran they become a dangerous error that will be paid for in Israeli, Palestinian, and Lebanese blood.
The weapons are for Hezbollah
These days, when senior Israeli officials are issuing repeated warnings about Hezbollah stepping up its arsenal, the organization's leader -- Hassan Nasrallah -- got an unexpected boon.
Last week (on April 19), a shipment of French weapons arrived in Lebanon, the first part of a $3 billion arms deal Saudi Arabia will be underwriting.
The weapons, of course, were not sent directly to the Hezbollah warehouses, but were earmarked for the Lebanese army as part of a French-Saudi effort to bolster Lebanon's military and state institutions in the hope that these will eventually provide a counterweight to Hezbollah and its attempts to take over Lebanon, goaded and supported by Iran.
But not to worry. For a number of years, the Lebanese army has been working closely with Hezbollah. So it was only a matter of time before the French weapons, or at least the same sophisticated weapons systems the group needs, would find its way into its operatives' hands, despite assurances to the French and the Saudis that such a scenario would never come to pass.
Obama offers weapons-for-consent deal to Saudis and Israelis
President Obama has made Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states an offer: Get behind me on the Iran deal and I'll give you an umbrella — a security umbrella in the form of advanced weapons and equipment. The offer, Israel's Channel One reported on Friday, is part of an attempt to get the Iran deal signed and sealed before the 2016 campaign season swings into high gear.
Both the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Israel are openly opposed to the Iran deal, which backtracks from the administration's original commitment to dismantle Iran's nuclear infrastructure. These pro-Western allies have lost confidence in U.S. assurances that "we have your back" and are scrambling to figure out how to combat the Iranian threat on their own.
Obama is dangling compensation packages that could aid the GCC states and Israel in this endeavor — in return for the withdrawal of their opposition to the Iran deal.
Will either fish bite?
Kerry, Zarif to meet on sidelines of nuclear summit
US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Iranian counterpart in New York on Monday, the first time since their marathon talks which sealed the outlines of an emerging nuclear deal.
Kerry will hold talks with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the 2015 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference at the United Nations, a senior State Department official said Sunday.
It would be the first meeting between the top diplomats since the April 2 deal reached in Lausanne, Switzerland setting out the parameters for a historic accord to curtail Iran’s suspect nuclear program.
Work on the framework Iran agreement must be completed by June 30.
Iranian leader: US ‘oppresses’ its black population
In a meeting with law enforcement officials, the Iranian ruler said American police use “cruel might” against minorities and that such abuses of power “will bring about insecurity, and not security,” the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
“In the US whose president is now a black person, the black people are oppressed, disrespected and humiliated, and such behavior has provided the ground for unrests too,” Khamenei said.
His disparaging comments came a day before US Secretary of State John Kerry is to meet with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the United Nations, on the sidelines of a conference on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in which both men are participating. The US and other world powers are negotiating a deal with Iran aimed at thwarting Iran’s nuclear drive. The deal is intended to be finalized by June 30.
Iran Guards chief accuses Saudis of ‘treachery’ in Yemen
The remarks, by General Mohammad Ali Jafari, are a further sign of deteriorating relations between Tehran and Riyadh, after recent heavy criticism by Iran’s supreme leader and other top officials.
As the Middle East’s foremost Sunni and Shiite powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran are increasingly seen as vying for supremacy in the region, which remains beset by conflict and political turmoil.
Jafari urged Iranian officials to put aside past considerations and speak out against the kingdom, following its airstrikes in Yemen.
“Today, treacherous Saudi Arabia is stepping in the footsteps of Israel and the Zionists. This wasn’t the case in the past and right now the Islamic revolution’s opponents are becoming clearer,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.
Iranian general accuses US of masterminding 9/11 attacks
Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan made the statement during an interview on Iran’s state-owned Al-Alam television channel, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported Sunday.
“These wars [in the Middle East] and these threats stem from a comprehensive American strategy,” Pourdastan said on April 19. “After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Americans felt that a new force was beginning to materialize – namely, the union between Sunnis and Shiites. The basis of this force was the blessed Islamic Revolution in Iran. This force is Islam, or the Islamic world. In order to prevent this force from materializing, the Americans did many things. The first thing they did was to plan and carry out the events of 9/11 in order to justify their presence in western Asia, with the goal of ruling it.”
Pourdastan also mentioned the possibility of Islamic terror attacks on Saudi Arabian cities. “Personally, I feel that if Saudi cities were targeted by bombings and missiles, it would be difficult for the officials there to withstand this,” he said. “Seeing that in the past, Yemen bought a variety of weapons that are now in the hands of the [Houthi] Muslims, they are capable of dealing lethal blows to Saudi Arabia.”
Iranian General Discusses Possible Terror Attacks in Saudi Cities, Adds: U.S. behind 9/11

Israel kills group of terrorists placing mine on northern border
An Israeli airstrike targeted and killed a group of militants who were spotted placing an explosive on the northern border Sunday night, the army said, a day after an alleged Israeli airstrike on Hezbollah positions in Syria.
The IDF said “a group of armed terrorists” were killed by an air force craft after they were spotted crossing into Israeli territory with an explosive device late Sunday.
IDF spokesman Col. Peter Lerner said the cell consisted of four people who were “identified while clearly laying a mine and were shot by an Israeli Air Force aircraft.”
Initial reports indicated the incident took place near the Golan Heights town of Majdal Shams, on the slopes of Mount Hermon.
Netanyahu Commends IDF for Foiling Terror Attack in North
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night praised the IDF for eliminating a squad of terrorists as they tried to place an explosive device near the border fence with Syria.
"Any attempt to harm our soldiers or our citizens will be countered with a determined response, such as the IDF operation tonight which prevented a terrorist attack. I commend the vigilance of the IDF soldiers which brought a quick and precise operation," Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.
IDF forces eliminated the terrorist cell as it was trying to place an explosive on the Israeli-Syrian border on the Golan Heights.
Four terrorists were killed in the incident; no IDF soldiers were wounded in the exchange.
A senior IDF source said that an army surveillance patrol located the terrorists who had arrived at the border from Syria, and tracked them as they advanced.
New attacks show blurring of Lebanese, Syrian fronts
Less than 48 hours after the Israeli army reportedly attacked targets in Syria on Friday-Saturday, a Syrian cell on Sunday tried to mount a terror attack against targets inside Israeli territory.
Israel fired on the cell, which was composed of Druze gunmen, scoring a direct hit as its members attempted to plant a large explosive device intended for future use against Israeli army troops or civilians moving near the border.
Contrary to initial reports, the cell was not part of Hezbollah, which has not been operating in this fashion recently. Except for a rocket attack on the Givati troops in late January, Hezbollah has been trying to avoid leaving fingerprints that would draw an Israeli response.
The fact is, however, that most of the Druze on the Syrian Golan Heights remain loyal to the regime of Bashar Assad and to the Hezbollah troops who fight for him. No distinction can be made any longer between the Syrian and Lebanese fronts, or between the Syrian army and the Druze on the one hand and Hezbollah on the other.
Hezbollah has been using Druze, Palestinians and, of course, Assad’s own troops to strike at Israeli targets. For more than a year, this has been one front where Hezbollah has been trying to take advantage of the power vacuum in the Syrian area in order to create a deterrent balance against Israel.
Day after reported airstrike, Ya’alon warns Iran not to arm Hezbollah
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned on Sunday that Israel won’t let Iran equip the Lebanon-based Hezbollah with advanced weapons — the day after an alleged Israeli airstrike hit weapons depots in Syria.
The comments also came hours before an Israeli aircraft struck and killed a squad of men placing an explosive device on the Israel-Syria border Sunday night, according to the army.
Although Ya’alon did not discuss the Saturday airstrike that reportedly hit surface-to-surface missile depots, he declared that Israel will not allow Iran to supply arms to the terror group, which has a strong military presence in Lebanon as well as in Syria, the two countries lying on Israel’s northern borders.
Israel may not have been behind last Syria strike
Doubts were raised Monday as to whether a reported attack north of Damascus overnight was the work of Israeli forces, with some assessments claiming it was Syrian rebels who carried out the assault.
Hebrew media reported unnamed but reliable assessments that suggested Israel was not involved in an attack in the Qalamoun mountains, northeast of Damascus.
According to the Hebrew-language Ynet website, the assault was likely carried out by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group battling to bring down the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The distancing of Israel from the incident came after Arab news networks al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya attributed to Israel a new attack in Syrian territory early Monday morning, targeting missile launchers held by Hezbollah and forces loyal to Assad.
It was alleged to be the third Israeli strike on the Syrian front in two days.
Shin Bet arrests alleged West Bank terror cell
The Shin Bet security agency announced Monday that it had recently uncovered a suspected terror cell whose members allegedly threw pipe bombs and firebombs at the Elisha pre-military academy and the community of Halamish in the West Bank in January and February 2015.
The arrests of the alleged cell members, together with other recent arrests of suspected terrorists who are believed to have carried out attacks in the Binyamin region, took place in cooperation with the army and the Israel Police.
The suspects are Mahmad Arhim Naif Satuf, 22; Basel Khaled a-Rauf Rimawi, 20; Wasim Eil’an Osama Halabi, 19; Mahmoud Amil Ghasem Rimawi, 19; Mahmad Namer Mohammed Dar Satuf, 23; and Mahmad Fahr Nashaat Dar Taah, 20, all from the village of Beit Rima.
Shin Bet officials said that the suspects allegedly wore masks and used a car belonging to Mahmad Arhim Satuf in their attacks. The car was seized by police.
Shhhhhhh! Police Now Say Bus was Firebombed Saturday Night
Police have concluded that a bus that caught fire Highway 443, once known’s as the ‘Road of Terror” connecting Tel Aviv, Modi’in and Jerusalem, was firebombed. Part of the road is located in Samaria.
The bus was empty of passengers, and the driver was not injured.
The incident was one of several terrorist attacks in eastern Jerusalem during the day.
Police and media, except for The Jewish Press, initially reported that the bus, which was empty of passengers, caught on fire despite social media reports that it has been attacked by a firebomb. Police said at the time that terror was suspected, but they drew no conclusions.
The media giants treated it as a minor incident, perhaps an accidental fire, because they were more interested in telling readers that Israeli security forces killed a knife-wielding Arab terrorist.
Khaled Abu Toameh: PA working to eradicate Hamas politically in the West Bank, spokesman claims
The Palestinian Authority is working toward eradicating Hamas politically in the West Bank, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri claimed on Sunday.
Abu Zuhri, who was speaking to reporters in Gaza City, also accused the PA of participating in the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Abu Zuhri’s comments came in response to the PA’s ongoing security crackdown on Hamas supporters in the aftermath of the Islamist movement’s victory in the Bir Zeit University elections last week.
The Hamas-affiliated Islamic Bloc won 26 seats of the student council, while Fatah’s list got only 19.
The Hamas victory came as a surprise to the Fatah leadership in the West Bank, whose representatives are now demanding an inquiry into the reasons that led to the defeat of their list at the university.
Less than 48 hours after the results of the vote were announced, PA security forces in the West Bank arrested Jihad Salim, a representative of the Islamic Bloc at Bir Zeit University.
Israel and Hamas engaged in indirect talks, senior Hamas official says
Israel and Hamas are engaged in indirect "chats" through European mediation, senior Hamas official Ahmed Yousef told the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency on Sunday.
According to Yousef, a senior adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the indirect talks on the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, and the possible opening of a seaport to end the Israeli blockade of Gaza, are expected to increase after the new Israeli government is formed in the coming weeks.
"European diplomats and civil society activists come to the Gaza Strip constantly and pose Israeli viewpoints and convey the reaction of the movement through unofficial chats," Yousef said.
An Israeli official dismissed the report. "There are no negotiations with Hamas," he said.
The Hamas official said that international parties were also mediating efforts to return the bodies of Israeli soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer that are thought to still be in Gaza.
Turkish Film “Mastermind” Purports to Reveal Jewish Conspiracy
A documentary recently aired on pro-government Turkish news channel A Haber has sparked a new debate about anti-Semitism in Turkey, home to approximately 17,000 Jews.
The film, called Üst Akıl (Mastermind) and also published on major pro-government newspaper websites such as Sabah, claims that Jewish people have conspired to dominate the world for 3,500 years.
Several academics, journalists, and Etyen Mahçupyan, former adviser to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, appear in the film, which is based in part on a speech given by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last December.
Mastermind opens with the speech, in which Erdoğan describes “operations” against Turkey. “Behind all these there is a mastermind,” he explains, before telling his audience “you know who it is.”
The narrator then says this mastermind, who “rules, burns, destroys, starves the world, creates wars, organizes revolutions and coups, establishes states within states, [and is] the curse of the entire world,” can be found “in Jerusalem, where the sons of Israel live,” before delving into a conspiratorial tirade of historical manipulation.
“This is pretty much the worldview in the AKP now,” says writer and political commentator Mustafa Akyol, referring to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party.
“The message they’re pumping into society is [that there is] a global Jewish conspiracy against the AKP.”
Turkey's Supposed Nemesis: "The Mastermind"
Sounds surreal? Not in Turkey in the year 2015. "The Mastermind" is not the product of a bunch of crazy fanatics. It is a calculated move by a bunch of smart politicians who want to win votes (and often succeed) from an inherently anti-Semitic, religiously devout Muslim population.
According to the findings of a survey by Switzerland-based pollster WIN/Gallup International, 79% of Turks identify themselves as religiously devout, compared to 75% of people in the Palestinian territories and just 30% in Israel.
Among many Sunni Turks, anti-Semitic sentiment is often a prerequisite to piety. Therefore, the film "The Mastermind" [theoretically but most likely practically too] directly targets an audience that makes 79% of Turkey -- more than 60 million people -- ahead of critical parliamentary elections on June 7.
It is an ugly but clever move, reminiscent of the various methods applied by the Nazi propaganda machine in the 1930s, to abuse millions of minds.
All you need, in this evil scenario, is a theory linking every evil to the Jews, and a large enough audience ready to buy your fraudulent conspiracy theory.
Turkey Plans to Ban Minecraft Video Game
Turkey's government has in the past banned social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but apparently it now has a new field in its sights - the video game industry.
The Turkish Family and Social Policies Ministry launched an initiative to ban the massively popular video game Minecraft, which has players explore and build a world of their own imagination in a blocky, fantastical terrain.
Given that some levels have players fight unrealistic zombies and spiders, the ministry's Children Services General Directorate last month told its legal affairs department to start the process to ban Minecraft to protect children from "violence," reports the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.
In response, a petition has been launched by Turkish academics on, with 24 academics from local universities signing on.
The petition, published by the Turkish branch of Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA), urges that "computer games should be regarded in the scope of freedom of speech. Limitations and pressures put on gaming culture with a censorship approach cannot be accepted."
In Europe and much of the world Minecraft is rated for players aged seven and older and enjoys high popularity, with the 100 millionth user registered this February.
Could Yemen Be the Start of a Major Middle East War?
At this moment, therefore, the conflict in Yemen is unresolved and could well expand. The fact that 40 percent of the world’s oil ships pass through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, in the southern part of the Red Sea, gives some idea of the global impact a conflagration in this part of the world could have.
It is tempting to regard the Saudi intervention in Yemen as welcome, insofar as it targets Iran. But we should be wary of any arrangement that gives Arab states a regional policing role, and not just because of their dismal human rights records. Like other Arab states, Saudi Arabia has responded to Iran’s nuclear ambitions with similar ambitions of its own. In the long run, the military empowerment of the Saudis could be just as negative for Western and Israeli security as an Iranian nuclear bomb, not the least because of the Saudi kingdom’s historic role as an incubator of radical Sunni Islamism.
If Iran’s regional designs are to be rolled back, that has to be done from the outside. Regrettably, there is very little chance of that happening while the Obama administration remains in the White House. Obama’s strategy of allowing Iranian power to fill the vacuum left by an American withdrawal from the Middle East is one key reason why Arab states like Saudi Arabia are opting for war over diplomacy. Consequently, Yemen could turn out to be only the latest chapter in the epic, bloody story of the civil war between the Sunni and Shi’a branches of Islam.
Iran Threatens Saudis After Aid Planes Blocked
Amid reports of a renewed Saudi offensive against Iranian-allied rebels in Yemen, Iran's news agency reported on Friday that Saudi Arabia had stopped Iranian aid planes from landing in Yemen.
Not unexpectedly, a top Iranian official responded with threats directed at Saudi Arabia. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian warned on Sunday that the Saudi behavior and its siege of Yemen and preventing the dispatch of humanitarian aids "will not remain unanswered."
"Saudi Arabia is not entitled to decide for others in the region," Abdollahian added.
Iran's FARS News Agency stated that Saudi fighter jets stopped Iranian planes carrying humanitarian aid on two straight days.
Thomas Wictor: Someone sends a message to Iran
There’s some amazing video of a massive explosion next to the Faj Attan neighborhood of Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. We’ve been told that the target was a SCUD missile depot or a missile base. There’s a difference between the two: A missile depot is where you store the weapons, while a missile base is where the personnel and equipment used to fire the weapons are located. The American 319th Missile Squadron, for example, is stationed at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, near Cheyenne, Wyoming. Whatever was hit, I think it was a message to Iran.
What you need to understand: That is a primary explosion. It came from one bomb. In both videos, you hear only one initial explosion. The second video contains echoes of the primary, and then you hear what I’m sure are antiaircraft cannons firing.
Also, the bomb blew up an underground facility. It penetrated however deeply and produced an explosion comparable to that of a tactical nuclear weapon. Until now, the world thought that only the US had the capability of destroying the Iranian underground nuclear installations. We’ve built twenty GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bunker busters. They have a 5300-lb (2404-kg) warhead.
All the experts said that the Israelis couldn’t bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities because they don’t have bunker busters that can penetrate deeply enough. They also don’t have strategic bombers, like the B-2 Spirit, the aircraft which would drop the MOP.
[Of course the title of this video is wrong]