Saturday, March 17, 2012

Israel too small to last even one week of real war: Salehi

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says despite Tel Aviv’s escalating war rhetoric against Iran, the Israeli regime is too small to survive even one week of real war.

“First of all we take every little threat serious even if it comes from the weakest country in the world,” he said in an interview with Danish television channel TV2.

Salehi added that Iran does not consider Israeli claims or threats as real threats. “What is Israel? It is such a small entity that it cannot withstand one week of real war; not one week,” he emphasized.

The Iranian foreign minister further noted that if Israel really decided to attack nuclear facilities in Iran, Tehran’s response will be one of full force.

“If Israel ever makes that mistake [attacking Iran's nuclear sites], that will set the time for the end of Israel. They know it very well…. We don’t consider Israel a country. Israel is an entity, the extension of the US influence in the Middle East…. So, the real threat is the US,” he said.

The US and Israel have been escalating their war rhetoric against Iran in recent months, claiming that there is diversion in the country’s nuclear energy program towards a military program.

Tehran refutes their claims saying that as a member of International Atomic Energy Agency and signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has every right to peaceful uses of the nuclear energy.

Iranian officials have vowed a crushing response to any act of aggression against the country.

Syrian Armed Forces Desertion Said to Surge to 60,000

Emre Peker and Donna Abu-Nasr – Bloomberg

Desertions by members of Syria’s armed forces have swollen to about 60,000 as growing numbers of troops refuse to join the crackdown on protests by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, according to a Turkish Foreign Ministry official.

About 20,000 service personnel have left in less than a month, said the official, who cited Turkish intelligence reports and spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with government rules. The desertions are in addition to 40,000 military personnel who left before Feb. 20, the official said. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal yesterday said a seventh Syrian general has defected and is now in Turkey.

Syria’s armed forces have 295,000 active personnel, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ 2012 Military Balance. They have been at the forefront of Assad’s bid to stamp out the yearlong uprising, which this month resulted in the seizure of the rebel-held strongholds of Idlib and Homs. Some of the soldiers are joining the opposition Free Syrian Army, whose commanders reside in Turkish refugee camps. “Elite units have demonstrated loyalty to the Assad regime and ruthlessness in suppressing demonstrators,” according to this month’s report from the London-based IISS. Even so, “a growing number of defections, mostly from junior officers and soldiers, have been recorded, raising questions about the army’s cohesiveness.”
It’s “not clear that the regime has sufficient loyal forces to guarantee survival against a sustained campaign of protest or an active armed insurgency,” according to the report.
SANA said millions of Syrians streamed into squares in cities across the country yesterday in a government-sanctioned “global march for Syria,” an initiative by the country’s youth. The march is “uniting all Syrians in affirmation of their loyalty and affiliation to their homeland,” SANA said, without providing further details.

Muslim Gangs Terrorize Denmark

Soeren Kern

"With Islam comes fear, and with fear comes power."

More than 140 Muslim gang members were arrested in Denmark after they tried to raid a courthouse where two fellow Muslims are being tried for attempted murder.

The Muslims -- all members of criminal street gangs that have taken over large parts of Danish towns and cities -- were wearing masks and bullet-proof vests and throwing rocks and bottles as they tried to force their way into the district courthouse in Glostrup, a heavily Islamized suburb of Copenhagen, on March 6.

Police used batons and pepper spray to fend off the gang members, who were armed with an arsenal of 20 different types of weapons, including crowbars, darts, hammers, knives, screwdrivers and wooden clubs. The trial in Glostrup involves two Pakistani immigrants accused of shooting and attempting to murder two fellow Muslims who belong to a rival gang. Police say the accused used a nine millimeter handgun to carry out the crime in Ballerup, a Muslim suburb northwest of Copenhagen. The trial began on February 28 and is scheduled to run through March 28.

The shooting was related to an escalating turf war between rival Muslim gangs from the Værebroparken housing estate in Bagsværd, a suburb of Copenhagen, and Nivå and Kokkedal in northern Zealand. Immigrant gangs are believed to be responsible for at least 50 shootings in and around Copenhagen during the past several months.

The recent violence is reminiscent of an earlier conflict between immigrant gangs and Danish gangs like the Hells Angels or the AK81 that left many people dead or wounded in Copenhagen and other Danish cities.

The immigrant gangs are involved in countless criminal activities, including drug trafficking, illegal weapons smuggling, extortion, human trafficking, robbery, prostitution, automobile theft, racketeering and murder.

Many of the gang members are ethnic Arabs, Bosnians, Turks and Somalians. They also include Iraqis, Moroccans, Palestinians and Pakistanis.

Over the past several years, the immigrant gangs have proliferated geographically across all of Denmark. The gangs have spread south from Copenhagen to the rest of Zealand, from inner Nørrebro, to the suburbs Ishøj, Greve, Greve, and on to Køge. The gangs are also active in Albertslund, Herlev, Hillerød, Høje Gladsaxe, Hundige, Roskilde and Skovlunde, among many Danish localities.

One of the largest criminal gangs in Denmark is a Muslim gang called Black Cobra. The organization was founded by Palestinian immigrants in Roskilde near Copenhagen in 2000 and now operates in all Danish cities.

Black Cobra has also established itself in Sweden, where it operates with impunity in the Islamized Tensta and Rinkeby suburbs of Stockholm and in the Muslim ghetto of Rosengård in Malmö.

The Black Cobra gang -- whose members wear black and white shirts with an emblem of a cobra in attack position -- also controls a youth gang called the Black Scorpions.

Danish authorities estimate that each year more than 700 immigrants between the ages of 18 and 25 are choosing crime as a permanent career by joining gangs such as Black Cobra, the Black Scorpions, the Bandidos, the Bloodz, the International Club, or any other of the more than 100 gangs that are now operating in Denmark.

On February 28, the Danish national police (Rigspolitiet) together with the Justice Ministry presented parliament with a plan to push back against the gangs. Police say they hope they can arrest 300 high-ranking gang members -- 200 from Zealand and 100 from Jutland -- by the end of 2012. The government has also committed 50 million Danish kroner ($9 million) in 2012 to a special project aimed at intercepting and preventing gang recruitment in marginalized areas.

But analysts are skeptical the Danish government can do very much to crack down on the gangs. Although Danish police say they arrested more than 350 gang members in 2011, many of those detentions involved lower-ranking "errand boys" who were released after being questioned.

Some critics say a big problem is a lack of will and that Danish efforts to crack down on the immigrant gangs have been half-hearted at best. In Denmark -- as in other European countries where the state-enforced dogma of multiculturalism trumps traditional notions of equal justice for all -- immigrants involved in crime are portrayed as victims of circumstance and relatively few are ever sent to prison.

In those cases where immigrants are detained, many are released after just a few hours. Critics say this encourages them to avenge their arrests. A case in point: Of the more than 140 Muslims who were arrested for trying to storm the courthouse in Glostrup on March 6, all but five were immediately released. That same night many of those who were released went on a rampage in Værebroparken, setting fire to trash bins and launching missiles at hapless police.

But a larger part of the problem involves fear.

Immigrant gangs often operate or seek refuge in so-called no-go zones that are effectively off limits to Danish authorities. These "no-go zones" involve suburbs of Copenhagen and other Danish cities that function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Muslim immigrants, areas where Danish police fear to tread.

Muslim gangs in Denmark have been highly adept at leveraging the fear that Danish authorities have of Islam and of Muslim immigrants. They replicated the model that Muslim gangs in Britain have successfully used to wrest control over the criminal underworld in that country.

In an interview with a British newspaper, an Asian Muslim gang member named Amir put it this way: "The reality is that Asian gangs don't give much of toss about religion, but with Islam comes fear, and with fear comes power. Religion is important to us only as a way of defining who we can trust and who we can work with. Young Muslim gangs aren't worried about what Allah makes of their criminal ways -- they don't believe in it to that extent."

Amir added: "Through religion we speak the same language, live in the same areas, go to the same schools and can even use mosques as a safe place away from the police or other gangs. If you f*** with a Muslim gang you'd better be able to run fast or hide well, because they will come back at you in numbers."

Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Arlene Kushner

Very ugly, really. An Arab man boarded a train on the Jerusalem light rail near the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat, knifed a nineteen-year old woman soldier multiple times in the chest, and ran off the train.

The soldier is in moderate condition in the hospital, and is being treated for lung injuries; doctors say the knife just missed her heart. The attacker has been caught and confessed.


Ceasefire? What ceasefire? This morning a rocket landed near a school in Netivot where classes were going on; parents rushed to bring their children home. Not long after, a Grad rocket landed near a Be'ersheva school; the Be'ersheva municipality has closed its schools. Another Grad aimed at Be'ersheva was stopped by the Iron Dome.

Representatives of the Israeli government have declared the situation "unacceptable." Said Minister of Security Affairs Moshe Ya'alon:

"As long as they fire, it isn’t over. Anyone threatening us is risking his life. We will retaliate until they beg us to stop. They have to realize that the consequences of the rocket fire are not worth it."


Overnight, the IDF targeted a launching site in the north of Gaza and a tunnel in the south, in response to rockets fired earlier.

However, I have secured no specific information regarding other operations today, and it is not clear to me that they have taken place.

In fact, YNet cites "a political source," who said that "at this time Israel will not respond to rockets fired at the south since the ceasefire took effect...After each round of escalations we see what is known as the 'tail' (defined as a few hours during which there is still some fire, as if to show that they have the last word). The situation is still within Israel's containment. We're following the situation closely."

This is not a satisfactory state of affairs for Eshkol Regional Council Head Haim Yelin, who insisted:

"There is no calm, no ceasefire. These concepts do not exist when rockets are flying over Israel...they aim to make this the norm… there are no word to describe this situation. Certainly not words like 'calm' or 'lull'…"

He is very much on the mark here, and it is disconcerting to realize that the Israeli government -- declarations of what is "unacceptable" aside -- might turn a blind eye to a rocket here and a rocket there, as long as there is no major barrage. There should be zero tolerance for attacks on Israeli civilians.


In any event, a handful of attacks on launching sites and tunnels are not exactly going to make them beg us to stop. Precisely what did Ya'alon have in mind?


Prime Minister Netanyahu, in statements to the Knesset yesterday (about which more below), mentioned Gaza, where, he said, Hamas and Islamic Jihad work under Iran's umbrella. "Sooner or later," he declared, "the Iranian terrorist base in Gaza will be uprooted." That expresses ultimate intent but provides no real information with regard to how Israel will be responding now.


It is, or has been, Israeli policy, to hold Hamas responsible for whatever happens in Gaza. Now Hamas has blamed Islamic Jihad for breaking the ceasefire. Opinion in many quarters is that Hamas turns a blind eye and lets Islamic Jihad do the dirty work. But at this point -- as I've been indicating -- I believe that Hamas truly has lost control of the situation to some degree.


During his comments to the Knesset yesterday, Netanyahu's focus was on Israel's right to act in self-defense even if the US objects: "Israel has never left its fate in the hands of others, not even in the hands of our best friends." He then recounted a number of times in the past when Israeli leaders have moved in a direction that US leaders opposed: When Ben-Gurion declared the State in 1948; when Israel took pre-emptive military action in 1967; when Menachem Begin ordered a hit on the Iraqi nuclear reactor.

Begin, said Netanyahu, "fulfilled his obligation and acted." Now a nuclear Iran would pose an "existential threat" to Israel and so he has an "obligation" to maintain Israel's "independent ability" to defend herself.

This echoes his AIPAC speech. There is no hint here of backing down, even in the face of Obama's statements regarding the fact that acting military too soon would be a mistake. But neither is there anything definitive -- nor should we expect there to be.


Here is an interesting twist on Obama's position on Iran. He seems to be playing the "good cop" to Israel's "bad cop." I am not suggesting that Israel conspired with him to lend this impression, but rather that the president chooses to let it be seen this way -- that he's manipulating the situation.

Several news sources have now reported that the Obama administration (specifically Hillary Clinton) has asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to relay a message to Teheran: That is this the last opportunity for resolving issues via negotiations. Why the last opportunity? Implied if not said directly -- because if this goes on too long Israel will attack militarily: Maybe the US would have sustained negotiations longer, but, gee, Israel won't let that happen.

Said Obama during a press conference: "I have sent a message very directly to them publicly that they need to seize this opportunity of negotiations with the PS+1 to avert even worse consequences for Iran in the future."


Netanyahu said recently that the best way to insure that there does not have to be a military strike is to make it clear that the possibility of such a strike is very real. And here Obama is, proving Netanyahu correct. This does not mean that a strike won't ultimately be necessary, but rather, that the specter of such a strike is the only thing that might possibly make Iran respond.

Obama has never made the threat of a US strike credible enough so that Iran might take it seriously. So he's utilizing the threat of Israel instead.

According to Reuters, citing the Russian paper Kommersant, a Russian diplomat has complained that "The Israelis are de facto blackmailing Obama. They put him in an interesting position. Either he backs the war of loses the support [of the American Jewish lobby]."

If Obama truly sees it this way, how delightful, and how delightfully ironic.


Many of you, especially in the US, may have heard the interview on TV with former head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, who spoke against Israeli military action on Iran -- raising much ire here, I will say.

Please see this piece by another former head of Mossad, Efraim Halevy, who offers a different take and explains why it is inappropriate for intelligence people to be involved in the decision making:


Last night I attended an excellent conference on Islam's connection to Jerusalem. I hope to provide a summary of information from this conference very soon.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When Silence is Golden -- The Story of Israeli Intel

Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin, PhD

Israel's Silent Defenders: An Inside Look at Sixty Years of Israeli Intelligence

Edited by Amos Gilboa and Ephraim Lapid with Associate editor Yochi Erlich

Jerusalem: Gefen Press and Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center, 2012.

Intel is a nation's silent defense system as proposed by this encyclopedic collection of essays compiled by the editors Amos Gilboa and Ephraim Lapid for the Meir Amit Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center. The title which graces this volume is Israel's Silent Defenders. The book sketches out, in relatively short essays, the four different components to Israel intel's landscape: IDI = Israel Defense Intelligence, the Israel Defense Force's military intelligence department

ISA = Israel Security Agency also known by its Hebrew abbreviation as Shabak or the Shin Bet, roughly equivalent to the FBI

Mossad = literally the "Foundation" and parallel to the CIA, dealing with all matters of security outside of Israel

Ministry of Foreign Affairs's own department of intelligence (of which we learn less, which peaks one's curiosity as to what really goes on in that particular department)

Why would the Israeli intelligence community seek to publish an overview of how its different intelligence agencies work? There may be several answers to this question. The one which is the most self evident is, namely to commemorate the loss of one of its most venerated directors, Meir Amit who was a Sabra born in 1921 and died in 2009. He headed both Mossad (for a brief time) and IDI at the same time and later became a member of the Knesset achieving the position of minister as well as the founder of the central repository of memory for the intel community the Center which now bears his name. One could say that this book is a sefer zikaron, a genre of Hebrew literature that commemorates especially the death of so many communities wiped out during the Holocaust. In a very real way the book expresses a unique kind of Israeli group pride. On the other hand, waxing less poetically, the text is a no nonsense attempt to "control" the official narrative of how Israeli intel works.

I attended a thought provoking lecture given by Ephraim Lapid, the second editor hosted by the American Association of Canadians and Americans in Israel (March 4, 2012, Tel Aviv) in which more light was shed on how Israeli intel must struggle with processing 8 million pieces of information per day, analyzing them and extracting the 80 pieces which are the most salient and relevant. This is a daunting task; there are thousands who are at work daily on this problem of distilling information into intel.

Several months ago I wrote a review of another book, A High Price by Daniel Byman, concerning the triumphs and failures of Israeli counterterrorism. However the book under current review is entirely different in nature due to several things. This is an edited text composed by over thirty different experts who had on the ground first hand experience concerning their topic. The book covers different territory: 1. The heads of the intelligence community describe their vision and challenges (lege -- hearing it from the horse's mouth), 2. Roots of how the intelligence services were founded, 3. Examples of intelligence operations: successes and failures, 4. Intelligence challenges -- Lebanese, Palestinian, Iranian, Soviet arenas as well as in terrorism, public relations i.e. Battle for the Hearts and Minds, 5. Branches and components of Israeli intel such as technology, SIGINT, HUMINT, OSINT, VISINT ("pictures can be used as a common language" p. 246) air force and naval and counter intelligence and finally 6. The dynamics of intel activity with Mossad, operational demands placed on intel, relationship concerning decision makers and the head of intel, the revision process in intel and a very important though short piece ending the volume on group think entitled problems with collective thinking. A herd mentality runs the risk of becoming cult like and hence a poor quality of analysis will ensue. Freedom is key to inquiry.

There are a series of excellent high gloss pictures of historical value that have been inserted into this mini-encyclopedia. In addition, three helpful appendices cover: A Historical Timetable broken down by year, intelligence event with background along with regional and international aspects; Special Topics -- how the intel community began, the Night of the Ducks in 1959, Operation Yahalom bringing the Iraqi MIG-21 to Israel, Bus No. 300 in 1984, investigatory commissions, anti-Israel Espionage Affairs, and the ISA Law 2002. The last appendix deals with author biographies, providing more specifics on each one's involvement in the subject matter. The appendixes were composed by the first editor Amos Gilboa.

It must be noted in passing that there is only one female voice in this entire collection, that of Yochi Erlich who is also the associate editor. Her excellent essay on "The Beginning: From an Information Service (Shai) to a Military Intelligence Service in the War of Independence (1948-1949) serves as both a frame and an anchor for the essays that follow.

Not to belabor my criticism concerning gender, it remains unfortunate that there is this deficit which speaks to a fundamental shortcoming in intelligence that to date there has been no appointment of a woman to lead a major branch of intelligence even though there has already been one woman Prime Minister as early as 1969. This is not a minor quibble when half of one's potential pool of applicants is overlooked. After all if women are monitoring the border with Gaza for its infiltration into Israel (p. 241), can they not be groomed to assume a greater position of authority? For as long as Israeli intel culture has difficulty promoting and advancing women within its ranks, its intelligence will be woefully limited and could pose a threat to national security.

It can be likened to shooting oneself in the foot. Hindsight being 20-20, who knows what could have been with some of the major intel failures like Operation Suzanne or the Yom Kippur War? There is a greater irony in all of this. Does not this oversight dovetail with and function as a kind of mirror image to the devalued female in Arab Muslim culture, precisely the root of war and terrorism?

Israel's Silent Defenders: An Inside Look at Sixty Years of Israeli Intelligence is a singularly important book, not to be missed by students, advisors, academics, other professionals of national security, political science, history (especially military history) sociology, anthropology and social psychology etc. and most especially the lay public. The book should be made available in e-book format and it should be considered a viable textbook.

Furthermore in answer to the question -- why now a book on Israeli intel? It can be understood as an earnest effort to make understandable Israel's need to defend itself. It is a wise public relations strategy to give transparency to a subject matter which by definition is predicated on secrecy. It merited being translated into English due to global importance of the subject matter. This is a fascinating read though some of the essays are actually too short and not meaty enough. Yet it gives a student of intel insight into how Israel works.

The book was first published in Hebrew under the titled מלאכתמחשבת (Melekhet mahshevet) taken from a phrase in Exodus 35:33 in reference to the work of the Kohanim, work that has been given great and serious thought on the order of a master piece. While it is highly unlikely that the book will win the Israeli Prize for Literature due to its lack of footnotes and index which would have made it much easier for this reader, nonetheless it is the most comprehensive book concerning an overview of Israeli intelligence that we have to date. It should be required reading for all as it was noted by Boaz Ganor, the head of the Interdisciplinary Center for Counter Terrorism in Herzliya in his essay -- "In many instances, the experience gained by Israel has turned it into a role model for other countries around the world." (p. 164) Contributor Dr. Nancy Kobrin, a psychoanalyst with a Ph.D. in romance and Semitic languages, specializes in Aljamía and Old Spanish in Arabic script. She is an expert on the Minnesota Somali diaspora and a graduate of the Human Terrain System program at Leavenworth Kansas. Her new book is The Banality of Suicide Terrorism: The Naked Truth About the Psychology of Islamic Suicide Bombing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Deja Vu"

Arlene Kushner

As I write, we have a "sort of" ceasefire with the terrorists groups in Gaza. Brokered by Egypt, it was to begin at 1 AM. It is "sort of" because here and there a mortar or rocket is still being aimed at southern Israel from Gaza. Which I don't quite get. Because Israeli leaders had said, "Quiet will be met with quiet. Fire will be met with fire."

Never mind if that is a good policy in any event -- simply reacting to their fire (and I'll get to that in a moment). The point here is that we have stopped operations according to an agreement, in the process ignoring our own words. Islamic Jihad had said, "We won't stop unless Israel does first." Did we blink, allowing them a sense of victory? Did we blink because we didn't want to pursue this further?

As my readers will have already perceived, I'm not comfortable with this ceasefire. We've been down this foolish and frustrating road so many times. After the ceasefire began, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz praised the resilience of the people in the south, who were in range of rockets, and the performance of the IDF.

There was never, he said, "any question that we are stronger." I think this is fairly obvious. However, he cautioned, "the terror groups and armies around us are getting stronger." (Emphasis added)

Uh, excuse me. If the next time we take them on will be more difficult than this time, why are we waiting until next time? Why are we willing to allow them to continue to build their arsenal of ever-more sophisticated weaponry towards that inevitable next attack?


The terror groups -- most notably Islamic Jihad -- were seeking immunity from future pin-point air attacks such as the one that dispatched PRC leader Zuhair al-Kaisi last Friday. That is, they wanted a commitment from Israel that there would be no further such attacks to be part of the ceasefire agreement.

Israel says there has been no such promise in the ceasefire agreement, which is informal and not written in any event, and that we reserve the right to attack when we judge it necessary.


Today Defense Minister Ehud Barak defended his decision to hit al-Kaisi. Since we had intelligence that this man, who had engineered a previous successful terrorist attack, was about to do it again, this was most certainly appropriate. Hopefully, there was a bit of deterrence achieved with this operation, as well. If the terror groups were not frightened that we might do it again, they would not have sought an Israeli commitment not to.


But look what else Barak said:

"At the moment we have achieved a satisfactory result, and we are prepared to act as required when this happens again. This morning was comparatively quiet, and it is quite possible that we have reached the end of the current cycle of violence." (Emphasis added)


The Ministry of Defense of Israel, the stronger party, acknowledges upfront that the enemy is going to attack again -- that they haven't been hit hard enough to keep them from doing so?? And that they'll attack on their schedule.

There is a basic problem here. Particularly as PM Netanyahu has already accurately identified Islam Jihad as an Iranian proxy and has spoken about the need for strong deterrence.


There is no indication that Israel was hit during this "round" with the worst that is in the Islamic Jihad/Hamas arsenal: The Palestinian Arabs in Gaza are known to be in possession of Iranian Fajr missiles, which are both longer-range and more deadly accurate. What happens next time?

According to Aaron Lerner, director of IMRA, Israel Radio Reporter Nissim Keinan interviewed military affairs journalist Yoav Limor on Israel Television Channel 2 today, and Limor said, "Rockets reached ranges that are not permitted to report."

We let that be?


Speaking of Aaron Lerner, he also wrote a commentary yesterday on why "Quiet Should Not Be the Goal in Gaza":

"Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon told Israel Radio today in a live interview that Israel’s goal today is to restore the quiet.

"Simply put, the Gazans have a green light to continue to dramatically improve the range, accuracy, payloads and sheer volume of weapons as long as they don’t use them. Too much."

"...Planning horizons of days and weeks are very comforting for policy makers seeking to avoid costly decisions.

"But the purpose of the exercise isn’t making it easier to indefinitely postpone what is best done today.

"The decision makers owe it to their constituents to look beyond the next weeks and even months...

"Time and again the Israeli street has begged its leaders not to take short cuts. To follow through and get the job done despite the cost."Time and again we have witnessed bereaved parents calling at the grave site for their dead son’s commanders to carry on the battle to victory and not be deterred by their loss.

"Yes. The Israeli street is willing and able to make the sacrifices compelled by a planning horizon that goes beyond the next 24 hours.

"Is the leadership?"


Islamic Jihad -- thank Heaven -- did not succeed in killing or even badly wounding any Israeli in the last four days, although achieving this was a major goal of theirs. The Iron Dome batteries played a role in shielding people, as did the Israeli policy of protecting civilians by providing shelters, cancelling school, etc.

There were Palestinian Arabs killed and wounded -- 20 plus. Of these 19 were terrorists (whom the Air Force targeted), but a very small number (2, 3 4?) were civilians -- including at least one teenager. This happened in spite of exceptional care taken by the IDF to do pinpoint operations.

As David Hornick has written ( "According to UN data cited by Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, the typical ratio when armies fight terror groups is three civilians killed per every terrorist killed by military forces." The IDF record then, is most extraordinary.

And here we encounter deja vu as well: The Arab policy, as we full well know, is to place rockets and launchers in civilian areas, and to seek a PR victory by "demonstrating" how cold-blooded the Israelis are. What is more, in their attempts to milk the issue to the maximum they are sometimes duplicitous.

For information on tweeted photos purporting to show Gaza victims that were false:

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MSM is also our enemy

Fresno Zionism

An Israeli girl in Beersheva examines ball bearings embedded in the wall of a school building damaged by a Grad missile fired from Gaza. The school was closed when the rocket landed, and no one was hurt.

While southern Israel hunkers down under a massive barrage of deadly rockets — only effective warning and anti-missile systems have so far prevented any deaths — the usual suspects in the media are pumping out the usual message: Israel is the aggressor, killing Palestinian civilians. For example, an AP report begins like this:

Israel Airstrike In Gaza Kills 2 Palestinian Militants, Schoolboy

Israeli airstrikes killed two Palestinian militants and a schoolboy in the Gaza Strip on Monday and Palestinian rocket squads barraged southern Israel, in escalating fighting that has defied international truce efforts.

Leaving aside the fact that the 15-year old ‘schoolboy’ was almost certainly not killed by an Israeli airstrike, but rather when an explosive device that he was carrying went off, the emphasis in the article and the headline is placed on Israel’s actions to suppress the attack in which about 240 rockets have been fired at Israel since Friday, and not the attack itself.

This morning NPR broadcast a report from its Jerusalem correspondent. I’ve transcribed some of it and I’ll intersperse my comments:

[Steve Inskeep] …and we’re also reporting on violence on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip: The shooting stretched through the weekend and into today. Israeli airstrikes killed two more people today in Gaza, that Palestinian-held area, bring the total to 20. Israelis have been bombing, Palestinian have been firing rockets into Israel, and NPR’s Lourdes Garcia Navarro has been following the story. Lourdes, what’s the latest?

Note that they take the same approach as the AP, emphasizing defensive Israeli actions against combatant targets and de-emphasizing terrorist rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. ‘People’, not ‘militants’ or ‘fighters’ or (fat chance) ‘terrorists’ were killed.

[Lourdes Garcia Navarro]: Well Steve, this morning we’ve seen more sorties by Israeli aircraft, and multiple strikes inside the Gaza Strip. Medical officials in Gaza confirm two men were killed so far today. The Israelis say they were targeting a team preparing rockets to fire into Israel. Overnight there were rockets successfully fired and landed inside Israel. In fact over fifty rockets were fired in total yesterday. For a second day today Israeli schools have been closed in the area around Gaza and people are staying close to shelters. Around one million people lie within reach of those Gaza rockets.

The reporter begins again by emphasizing Israeli actions and Palestinian casualties. Palestinians ‘confirm’ that two ‘men’ were killed, while Israelis only ‘say’ they were attacking a terrorist rocket squad. Only after this does she mention the rocket attacks themselves.

Inside Gaza, you can hear the sound of Israeli jets circling overhead. There are around 1.6 million Palestinians who live there in densely populated areas. We already know that two civilians were killed yesterday, a young boy and an old man.

She continues, making sure we understand that Israel is deploying massive military force against helpless Palestinians. I rather doubt that ‘jets’ were ‘circling’; more likely helicopters and drones hit the rocket squads, but it sounds so much more frightening. We ‘already know’ — of course, we don’t, really — that two civilians were killed, and the suggestion is that this is just the beginning.

[Inskeep]: There have been rocket firings, many, many of them over the years, along that border. What caused an escalation here?

[Garcia Navarro]: Well, this current flare-up began when Israel targeted and killed the leader of one of the main militant groups in Gaza. Israel said he was planning an attack on Israeli civilians in the Sinai…

So we see that not only is this a story about Israeli violence against Palestinians, Israel started it. But the terrorist that was killed, PRC leader Zuhair Mussah Ahmad Qaisi, was responsible for an attack in southern Israel from the Sinai (not in the Sinai as the reporter incorrectly says) in August 2011 in which 8 Israelis were murdered, and it is quite credible that he was, as Israel says, about to launch another one (Qaisi was also responsible for the attack in which Gilad Shalit was captured in 2005, and also served as a conduit for money and weapons between Hizballah in Lebanon and terrorist groups in Gaza).

After Garcia Navarro talks about the remarkable success of Iron Dome in intercepting so many of the rockets, her partner cuts to the chase:

[Inskeep]: OK, no fatalities in Israel, quite a few of them on the Gaza side, is anyone talking seriously about a cease-fire?

Thus NPR manages to turn what should be a story about terrorism and defense against terrorism into one about the imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians, and how Israel initiated fighting which has killed Palestinian civilians (well, maybe one).

There is no mention that the event that began it was a classic case of eliminating a ticking-bomb terrorist, or that despitethe density of the population in Gaza, Israel is killing the fighters that are firing rockets without killing civilians.

Only a few lines of the report allude to the massive disruption of the lives of Israelis, who have been running to shelters for four days (read the story of an Israeli schoolgirl here). And there is no comment about the fact that the objective of the Arab terrorists is to kill as many Israelis as possible.

And here is something else you won’t hear about on NPR: despite the fighting, Israel is continuing to supply necessities to the Gaza population! Every day, truckloads of food, goods and cooking gas are supplied to Gaza through the border crossings. Yesterday more than 180 truckloads passed through the crossings. This morning, truck traffic was interrupted for a few minutes, when Palestinian terrorists attacked the trucks with mortars. Think about that.

"The Barrage Continues"

Arlene Kushner


It's been a while since I have provided an update on Zakkai, the little boy I had asked readers to pray for, and so I begin by providing one here.

Last I wrote on this subject I indicated that there was good news -- the tumor on his spine was determined to be benign and not some rare form of cancer as originally thought. Since I wrote, the parents have taken great care to confirm this new diagnosis with several different medical institutions -- and they indeed concur. This means the tumor will not metastasize, and no horrendous chemotherapy is called for. But the tumor is still there and has to be removed. The parents are investigating with tremendous diligence a number of top flight potential sites for having this surgery done -- each offering its own recommendations and techniques. In a few weeks, at most, the decision will be made. At present the child is in very good spirits. The original surgery that was done on the tumor, which removed just some of it, relieved pressure on his spine. This is what he now looks like:

You can access this site for more information about him on an on-going basis:

And please, keep praying. Rafael Zakkai Avraham Ben Yakira Avigael.


Now as to that barrage:

Last November I wrote an article about the growing ascendency of Islamic Jihad over Hamas in Gaza. It is still relevant:

Today we can see the growing impotency of Hamas. For Hamas is the group -- ostensibly in control in Gaza -- that the Egyptians are working with to secure a rocket ceasefire. But Hamas is no longer in full control: in spite of its declarations regarding its ability to stop other groups from launching rockets, Islamic Jihad, and to a lesser extent PRC (Popular Resistance Committees), are continuing to launch rockets in an attack that is escalating.

It is Islamic Jihad that is in possession of, and has been launching, the more dangerous Grad Katyusha rockets. At least five have been launched at Beersheva and a couple at Ashdod today. In most instances, Iron Dome has intercepted them. The radius of the rocket fire has grown and now reaches the Gadera area (some 12 km. east of Ashdod). Three women have been injured. Damage has been done to buildings and cars, in Gadera and Ashdod.

The Israeli Air Force is continuing to hit hard at targets, aiming at key Jihadists when possible. While Islamic Jihad maintains that it will not stop unless Israel stops first:

Declared Islamic Jihad Deputy Secretary-General Ziad a-Nahala, "Israel is the aggressor and so it has to halt fire first. After that, we will assess the situation and decide on a ceasefire." He said that Cairo had been informed that IJ opposes a ceasefire.


In the last 76 hours, according to the IDF, more than 200 rockets have been fired from Gaza. That's a huge amount, and it's appropriate to ask where we're going with this. All well and good that the Iron Dome batteries mitigate some of the risk. Some 1 million Israelis are still hunkered down in shelters, unable to live normal lives, and at risk even so.

This is not an acceptable situation. One feels the need to ask, Are our people to remain sitting ducks?

Both Chief of Staff Gantz and other IDF leaders have been commenting about the need to ratchet up the air attack on Gaza, without mentioning a possible land operation similar to Cast Lead. But only recently, Gantz -- in the face of information about arms build-up in Gaza -- had indicated that an operation there would be necessary before long (although he was very vague as to when this might be). The IDF is prepared. The decision is a political one.

If this continues beyond several days, stronger action will become necessary. Equally so will this be the case if -- Heaven forbid -- there are people killed or very seriously injured. This is the painful and ironic political reality: Once there is a tragedy, the equation shifts.

Already, the situation looms as serious enough so that there is the first hint of the possibility of a land operation. This is how PM Netanyahu's words spoken today -- "The IDF is ready to expand its operations and continue them as necessary" -- are being interpreted. He spoke of "crushing offensive capabilities" and the ability of the IDF to hit the terrorists "wherever they are."

While Minister of Strategic Affairs Ya'alon said today, "[the IDF will] continue to operate in Gaza until the other side thinks better of continued fire into Israel...At this point we see no need to enter Gaza, but the possibility exists."


Ostensibly, this barrage is in retaliation for our strike on the Popular Resistance Committees leader al-Kaisi, but there is a great deal more going on. When it was suggested at the Cabinet meeting yesterday that this was an attempt by Palestinian Arabs to bring the issues back on center stage after the recent focus on Iran, Netanyahu responded that:

"This is about Iran. If it were not for Iran, these extremists would not have their weapons, training or logistical support."

Perhaps we have to ask if Iran is sending a message in response to Netanyahu's tough talk at AIPAC. This possibility makes it all the more important that we respond in Gaza with great force.


Yoram Ettinger, writing in Israel Hayom, says:

"The war on terrorism cannot be won by defensive - but only by offensive – means, notwithstanding the impressive performance of the Iron Dome missile defense system...

"Personal and national security will not be advanced by the conclusion of another ceasefire with Palestinian terrorists, but by the destruction of the ideological, educational, political, financial, logistical and operational infrastructures of Palestinian fire.

"Israel's security will not be enhanced by deterring Palestinians from launching missiles at Israel, but by denying them the capability to launch missiles.

"Israel's security will not be bolstered by the power to retaliate against Palestinian missiles, but by the power to preempt and to prevent the launching of - and to eliminate - Palestinian missiles.

"An effective offensive against Palestinian terrorist capabilities should not be surgical and limited in scope and time, but comprehensive, decisive, sustained and disproportionate, aiming to devastate all terrorist infrastructures and capabilities, bringing the enemy to submission.

"A limited response to terrorism, and the pursuit of ceasefires, constitutes a prescription for a war of attrition – the dream of terrorists and the nightmare of democracies.

"An effective offensive should not strive for engagement and coexistence with – or the suspension of - terrorism, but for uprooting terrorism."


Points of interest here:

-- Egypt, which is attempting to broker that ceasefire, is said to have warned Islamic Jihad about a possible Israeli attack on al-Kaisi. Islamic Jihad was told to restrict itself to operations in Gaza and to stay out of Sinai.

-- Al-Kaisi was directly connected to the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. It was the Popular Resistance Committees that had grabbed him, interrogated him, and turned him over to Hamas.


Many is the time, writing in my postings and in private communication with readers, that I have sought to alert Americans to the danger that Iran presents not only to Israel, but to the US as well. Many is the time that I have felt something akin to despair at the apparent failure of many Americans to perceive what will be coming down the road if strong action is not taken.

Here I would like to share the observations of Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, who asks, "Could Iran Threaten the US?"

"For years, more than a few policymakers in Washington have taken quiet comfort in the notion that, no matter how vexing a challenge Iran and its nuclear ambitions might be, the Islamic republic remained a distant adversary — one not yet capable of putting America at risk.

"That fiction, however, is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain. Take the intelligence community's latest assessment of worldwide threats, unveiled publicly before Congress in late January. That estimate, delivered by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, provides the clearest indication to date that Iran poses a direct threat to the U.S. on at least three levels. (Emphasis added)

"Latin America. Recent years have seen significant Iranian attention to, and activity in, the countries south of the U.S. border. Iran's vibrant strategic partnership with the regime of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela has captured the lion's share of media attention, but Tehran has established growing beachheads elsewhere in the region, including in Bolivia, Ecuador and throughout the region's loosely regulated free trade areas...

"Underpinning this activism is what amounts to a seismic shift in Iranian strategic calculations. As Clapper outlined, 'Iranian officials — probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now willing to conduct an attack in the United States.'

Cyberwarfare... Iran's leadership is making major investments in cyberwarfare. Over the past year, it has announced the establishment of a dedicated cyber command under the country's Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and launched what is rumored to be a $1 billion plan to enhance its cyber-defense and cyber-offense capabilities, with significant results.

"'Iran's intelligence operations against the United States, including cyber capabilities, have dramatically increased in recent years in depth and complexity,' Clapper warned lawmakers.

"More and more, there are signs that these burgeoning capabilities could be aimed at the U.S...

"Ballistic Missiles. When the Obama administration unveiled its overhaul of U.S. missile defense strategy in September 2009, it staked its new 'phased adaptive approach' on the judgment that Iran was a long way from acquiring an intercontinental ballistic missile capability. Therefore, priority should be given to defending U.S. allies overseas, rather than the American homeland.

"Increasingly, however, that reading no longer rings true.

"'Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, and it is expanding the scale, reach, and sophistication of its ballistic missile forces, many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload,' the latest intelligence assessment holds.

"If anything, that's an understatement. As Uzi Rubin, one of the world's foremost experts on ballistic missiles, recently told an audience at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, 'Iran is turning the corner, or soon will' in its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles...

"Needless to say, these advances make Iran a truly international threat.

" is by now apparent that the danger posed by Iran to American security is both clear and increasingly present."

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

See my website at Contact Arlene at

Monday, March 12, 2012

How to Make the `Bad Guys’ into `Good Guys’ By Pretending They're Moderate Guys

Barry Rubin

There are two types of revolutionary Islamists in the Middle East today: the Muslim Brotherhood and the “Salafists.” Of course, the Muslim Brotherhood is in fact a salafist group, in the sense that it wants to use Islam as it can be most strictly and repressively interpreted and create a dictatorship based on a radical interpretation of Sharia law.

And that is the first important point to understand. The difference between Brotherhood and “Salafists” is purely tactical. The Brotherhood has learned how to maneuver politically, an advance similar to what Lenin instituted for the Marxists of his day. You can’t just declare a revolution and change everything overnight. No, the Communists argued a century ago and the Brotherhood advocates now, instead the road to victory is to create a disciplined movement, build a mass base, construct front groups, create (temporary) alliances that split your opponents, and march step by step to total power. Just as Lenin planned to get the capitalists to sell him the rope with which to hang them, the Brotherhood plots to get the infidels to do it.

So far, the Brotherhood has been pretty successful. In contrast, the Salafists are less elegant. They put it all on the table: total Islamism now through direct action and violence.

These thoughts were prompted by an Associated Press article on Tunisia, the only Middle Eastern country where secularists are going to make a stand against the revolutionary Islamist movement that is advancing everywhere. In addition, since the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is in a coalition government with liberals, Tunisia will be a test case for lots of issues.

Can liberal Tunisians expect any real Western help or sympathy? Well, as we’ve seen in Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria the answer is pretty much “no.” Why? Because in the dominant Western narrative — dominated by the far left — the Brotherhood, not the liberals, are the “good guys” in the Middle East.

Think of how “unnatural” this is. There are leftists in the region and real liberals, too, who are the precise counterparts of the current Western elites in terms of ideas or of Western democratic societies in terms of goals. Shouldn’t all those academics, intellectuals, journalists, and government officials be cheering the liberals and booing the Islamists, including the Brotherhood? Marxists and Communists used to call the equivalents of the Brotherhood “clerical fascists.”

Here’s a rare example today of old-fashioned leftism from the Communist Party of Great Britain’s newspaper, December 1, 2011:

In 1979, a wave of euphoria for the uprising against the shah of Iran swept through the left, which failed to warn of the danger that was presented by other bourgeois forces, particularly the mullahs. The left adopted the attitude of “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”, rather than adopting the position, developed by Marx and Engels, and later by Lenin and Trotsky, that the working class should focus on defending its own interests, developing its own independent organisations and maintaining a strict separation from the bourgeoisie.

Refreshing, isn’t it? Makes you yearn for the good old days. The article continues:

As Engels and Lenin, in particular, made clear, our aim is not bourgeois democracy, but socialism. We defend bourgeois-democratic freedoms not as an end in themselves, but only in so far as they facilitate the independent organisation and struggle of the workers.

So Marxists aren’t supposed to support reactionary clerical regimes (said to be “bourgeois”) while Marxists only pretend to be for democracy in order to get Communism. But nowadays most of the Western left does back the Brotherhood, or at least serve as its public relations agency. Forget about “Islamophobia”: the real attitude of these circles can be called ‘Islamomania,” a belief that Islamist groups are the true revolutionaries of our time, the “progressives” of the Middle East.

Why should Western liberals, or leftists for that matter, support reactionary clerical regimes (totalitarians) that only pretend to be for democracy in order to get Islamist dictatorships (Iran, the Taliban’s Afghanistan, Hamas’ Gaza Strip, and coming soon to Egypt, etc.?)

Can you think of one liberal Muslim, in the West or in the Middle East, who has become a hero to Western onlookers? No. Such people remain small in numbers and obscure in terms of publicity. In a few cases, they are let into the Western media but only to argue that the Brotherhood is going to be their protector. This is what happened after the brief period of cheerleading for the Tahrir Square “Facebook kids.” If you are a liberal or secularist Middle Easterner or Western Muslim, don’t expect any support from liberal secularist Westerners.

How do you make the bad guys into good guys while ignoring the good guys? By making the even-worse guys the apparent threat. Al-Qaeda is evil, and now so are the Salafists. In Egypt, that role is also assigned to the army, which will soon be out of political power. But the “mainstream” Islamists then become the hero even as they persecute the liberals.

Here’s the New York Times version:

The Muslim Brotherhood … is proving more pragmatic than expected. Emad Gad, a lawmaker from the opposition liberal bloc, says “we can cooperate with” them. The Brotherhood is also working with the military council that has failed at running the country and is supposed to cede power to the new president in June.

Consider these parallel statements in an Associated Press article on Tunisia:

This emerging movement of believers known as Salafis has seemingly appeared out of thin air.

Now that is true if one speaks of them as an organized movement. Even then, though, they didn’t appear out of thin air, but didn’t exist because they were repressed by the regime, just as was true in Egypt, Libya, in a different way in Turkey, and elsewhere.

If you go out to rich farmland where the seeds are planted, if you add water and perhaps some fertilizer, then the corn or wheat can also be said to have “seemingly appeared out of thin air.” That soil, of course, is the society as it existed, including the role of Islam in shaping them.

If extremism, and especially Islamist extremism, just appears because some people “misunderstood” Islam or want to “hijack” it, then how are they so instantly successful? There has to be a serious consideration of what created these beliefs, movements, and popular support for them. Of course, in doing so let us remember that many people also oppose them. So the environment is not deterministic, but it does have influences in a certain direction.

Ok — so now we have a culture war between Salafists and secularist modernist liberals. But here’s how the narrative is spun for the Western observer: fortunately, there’s a third, moderate force that can be depended on to bring balance and democracy. And its … the Muslim Brotherhood!

Here’s how the Associated Press explains it:

Caught between the Salafis and the secularists are the moderate Islamists who won Tunisia’s first free elections and are trying to build a democratic model for countries that followed Tunisia down this still uncertain revolutionary path.

In other words, the AP is “officially” telling us that the Brotherhood’s goal is real democracy. But is the Brotherhood “caught between” the other two groups, or is it seeking the same goal as the Salafists? On the one hand, the Brotherhood is going to respond to pressure from the Salafists by going farther and faster; on the other hand, it will use the Salafists as a cover to prove their own “moderation” and to present themselves as everyone’s protector from those crazy extremist types.

Here’s another point worth considering: “The Salafis … call the secularists leftover supporters of the old dictator.” This is a good tactic also for Egypt, Libya, perhaps Syria, and in a watered-down form, in Turkey. In the Western interpretation, these were revolutions for democracy and modernization. But in the Islamist interpretation, Brotherhood just as much as Salafist: the old regime was a dictatorship that repressed Islam; the revolution was for Islam; the future regime will be Islamic.

Here is how Professor Hussein Solomon makes this point regarding South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) Party believing it has a monopoly on virtue and should have a monopoly on political power:

The ANC does not see itself as a political party like other political parties representing a particular constituency, but rather as a revolutionary movement representing all South Africans. … The ANC sees all those who oppose them as “counter-revolutionary.” The ANC is the custodian of the mythical National Democratic Revolution. Those who expose the ANC’s ineptitude in governance and corruption within the `revolutionary movement’s’ ranks are all reactionaries.

[In Zimbabwe], Despite the terror [President Robert] Mugabe and his goons have unleashed on Zimbabwe’s hapless citizens, [the people are told] that it was [his] ZANU-PF [party] which delivered them from the clutches of Ian Smith’s racist regime.

In both South Africa and Zimbabwe, other groups that participated in that struggle are ignored or delegitimized while the ruling party’s dictatorship is justified because it is the sole legitimate institution representing the revolution.

The same thing is happening in the Middle East. Said Ferjani, a high-ranking member of the Brotherhood’s party, presented the situation this way with the AP’s cooperation:

There is a war of life styles; someone from one group wants to impose their lifestyle on the other group. They each believe in freedom of speech only for themselves.” He called the liberals “secular fundamentalists;” the AP called them the “secular elite.”

So the Salafists and liberals each want to be dictators, but the Brotherhood will defeat both “extremes” and ensure freedom for everyone?

Ferjani added that the Brotherhood didn’t want a culture war:

We are dealing with the business of government, we have floods in the north, a sinking economy and these people are talking about the burqa and the hijab. I don’t think they are very grown up.

The Brotherhood, however, is “very grown up.” It presents itself as the pragmatists who just want to fix things and bring democracy. It won’t talk so much about the burqa and hijab. It will just ensure that the new constitution and future laws enshrine such things and many more aspects of Sharia.

And it will do so with the silence, approval, and even cooperation of most Western media, academia, and government policies. Lenin, roll over. You have met your match in terms of revolutionary strategy.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press. Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.

More "There Goes The Demography Threat"

My Right Word

What are the latest Arab population figures in the area of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, fertility rate, household size, etc.? From Wafa:

The total fertility rate declined in 2010 to 4.2 births compared with 6 births in 1997. The rate in the Gaza Strip in 2010 was 4.9 births compared to 3.8 births in the West Bank, which have been stable for the past few years with no significant changes.

The report indicated a decrease in the average household size in the Palestinian Territory which reached 5.8 persons in 2011 compared with 6.4 in 1997: 5.6 persons in the West Bank and 6.3 persons in the Gaza Strip. PCBS said the crude birth rate is 32.8 births for every 1000 of population: 30.1 in the West Bankcompared to 37.1 in Gaza Strip. The rate is expected to decline to 31.9 in 2015.

The crude death rate is 4.0 deaths for every 1000 of population: in the West Bank the figure is 4.1 compared to 3.9 in Gaza Strip. The rate is expected to decline to 3.6 in 2015.

Happy Hanukah.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Republicans are afraid of Iran


Sen. John McCain, that venerable Vietnam War hero, former presidential candidate and perpetual blowhard, typifies the dilemma we all now find ourselves in regarding the Iranian nuclear threat. Sure, President Barack Hussein Obama – a Muslim sympathizer not coincidentally born to a socialist Muslim Kenyan father – has intentionally been negligent, along with his Democratic comrades, in allowing this cancer to grow to the point where it not only is an imminent threat to Israel, but also Europe and the United States – but Republicans as well bear a significant responsibility for the mess we now find ourselves in.

McCain is the “best” example, but just one of many! For John McCain, there is virtually no war that is not worth fighting and dying for – particularly if it concerns a weak Arab country in the Middle East. But when it comes to Persian and now powerful Iran, the senator, like the rest of his Republican colleagues, is a coward. McCain’s desire to be only a tough guy when it comes to weak and less formidable Muslim states has been made clear over the last 10 years. First, there was Iraq, a war with noble goals at first – to kill Saddam Hussein and eliminate weapons of mass destruction – but prolonged for no good reason, for nine years, after no such weapons were found. McCain was one of the first to advocate the so-called “surge,” which meant sending more of America’s brave military men into harm’s way when it looked like the United States was “losing” – with no end in sight. In the end, all this accomplished was to prolong the inevitable; Iraq, now controlled by Shiites loyal to Iran, has become a surrogate client state of the mullahs in Tehran. Blood is thicker than water, as the proverb goes, and the leadership in Iraq feels this ” Muslim brotherhood” with fellow Shiites in Iran. After well over 4,000 American troops dead and over 45,000 seriously wounded and maimed, all that we accomplished was to eliminate Saddam Hussein – who, looking back, seems “desirable” compared to Iraq’s current Shiite leaders – not create a democracy in Iraq loyal to the United States and the West. And, what about Iraqi oil, a commodity we so sorely need these days? We have not benefitted from one drop of it, not even having the Iraqis use the proceeds to pay the United States back for “liberating” them from their Muslim selves.

Then, there is Afghanistan, a hopeless cause if there ever were one. McCain wants us to remain there, apparently indefinitely, circled by Taliban terrorists and the Afghan government itself, one of the most corrupt in the world! To make matters worse, the senator, like most of his Republican brothers who spend most of their time enjoying the fine dining of Washington, D.C., has no clue how to end the war and accomplish our objective of defeating the Taliban, which has grown in great strength since the days following September 11.

Then there was McCain’s desire for the American military to intervene in Libya and its so-called Arab Spring revolution to overthrow former strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Yes, Gadhafi was eventually killed, but by radical Islamists who hate our guts and want us dead as well. Now, Libya has predictably fallen into the hands of radical terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, equipped with military equipment like handheld anti-aircraft missiles the West supplied them with.

Last but not least comes the raging civil war in Syria, where McCain now wants to save the Muslim populace. Again, the Vietnam vet and alumnus of the Hanoi Hilton wants to go in full guns blazing. To what purpose, Senator? Would it not just be better to let the multiple murky Islamic factions kill themselves, a reality that should have sunk into U.S. foreign policy bigwigs when Iran and Iraq were at war many years ago? Why stop radical Muslims from whacking themselves, saving us the trouble of one day having to finish the job before they predictably turn on us once again?

Last week, with the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C., there was much grandstanding and breast beating by the Republican presidential candidates in particular. Like Sen. McCain, and despite Obama’s treasonous actions with regard to Iran, not one of these Republican “losers” advocated immediate American military intervention in a joint raid with the Israeli Air Force. It’s one thing to talk a good game, Messrs. Romney, Santorum and Gingrich; it’s another thing to actually stick your neck out and be direct about American interests and Israel’s imminent peril. Iran, during the Clinton, Bush and now Obama years, has been allowed to grow in strength and now is a great military power. Instead of fighting Iran when it was weak, we instead fought lesser Muslim states and, incredibly, failed at that as well.

It’s time for Republicans to finally face reality and be “men,” not cowards. The Iran nuclear threat needs to be removed now, and if the United States does not directly participate in this, the only rational intervention in the Middle East in at least the last 10 years, then our nation, Israel and the West will soon be in immediate danger. And, if our cowardly political leaders leave it to the Israelis to do the job themselves, the Jewish state will be forced to use tactical nuclear weapons given its lesser conventional military capabilities. This could set off World War III!

Republicans on nearly all fronts – including non-existent real domestic budget cuts – have been a fraud. Obama is a traitor, but there has been no political counterweight to his treachery from the other party. We no longer have a republic, but just a bunch of dangerous political hacks from both sides of the aisle occupying time, space and “growing fat” in Washington, D.C., at our expense.
I Came to Fight the Establishment.”

For an interview with Mr. Klayman, email See also

Israel Responds To Rocket Fire, Kills 16 Terrorists & No Civilians

Challah Hu Akbar

Early Friday, terrorists in Gaza fired two rockets into Israel. A few hours later, in a preemptive strike against terrorists planning a major terrorist attack, the IDF carried out a targeted assassination, which killed the Secretary General of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhir al-Qaisi, as well as senior Popular Resistance Committees member, Ahmed Hanani.

Since then Israel’s southern communities have been bombarded with rocket fire. Since the killing of al-Qaisi and Hanani, more than 135 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. As a result, approximately 200,000 children will stay home on Sunday as authorities “decided on Saturday night to cancel school in all towns and cities located between 7km to 40km from the Gaza Strip.”

In response to the rocket fire, Israel has targeted a number of targets in Gaza including terror training sites, weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, and terrorists attempting to fire rockets.

Since Friday, Israel has killed 15 16 terrorists and not a single civilian.

Below is the list of those killed in Gaza since Friday. Not a single one of those listed below was a civilian; all were active members in either the Popular Resistance Committees or Islamic Jihad.

Popular Resistance Committees:
Ahmed Hanani
Zuhir al-Qaisi
Mahdi Abu Shawish
Mansour Kamal Abu Nuseira
Hussein Barham Al-Breim
Ahmad Deeb Salem

Islamic Jihad:
Fayiq Saad
Muatasim Hajjaj
Ahmad Hajjaj
Shadi Sayqali
Ubeid Gharabli
Muhammad Maghari
Hazim Qureiqi
Muhammad al-Ghamry
Muhammad Hararah
Mahmoud Najim