Saturday, September 07, 2013

Eurocrisis Haunts German Politics

Peter Martino

Saving the euro would cost Germany so much money that it would bankrupt itself. " Germany cannot save the Eurozone. Those who believe that [it can] are denying reality." — German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
All of a sudden the Loch Ness Monster of German politics has raised its ugly head. The eurocrisis, which so far had not been a theme in the campaign for the September 22nd general elections, has become its central issue. At the same time, the campaign has turned nasty and violent.

Last week, a rally of Alternative for Germany (AfD), a conservative party established in February by a group of conservative economists, was attacked by a gang of thugs. Some 25 masked individuals stormed onto the stage, knocked down AfD leader Bernd Lucke behind his lectern and pepper-sprayed the public. 16 people attending the rally were injured, including two children. The attackers also stabbed an AfD sympathizer with a knife.

Friday, September 06, 2013

A sovereign Palestinian state in temporary borders is still a sovereign state.

Dr. Aaron Lerner
A sovereign Palestinian state in temporary borders is still a sovereign state.

And once such a sovereign Palestinian state comes into existence, it continues to exist as a sovereign Palestinian state even if it opts to violate or ignore whatever term, conditions and understandings were tied to the creation of that sovereign Palestinian state.

Yes, Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly proclaimed that the Palestinians would not accept a sovereign Palestinian state in temporary boundaries, but keep in mind that in apparent sharp contrast to Israelis, the Arabs haggle at the negotiating table with the same skills and determination that Israelis seem to set aside when engaged in diplomacy instead of business. So it could very well turn out that Mahmoud Abbas might be willing to make the tremendous sacrifice of agreeing to the formation of a sovereign Palestinian state in temporary borders and without reaching a final agreement on various issues in return for a flood of Israeli concessions.

Video shows two men firing RPGs at ship transiting Suez Canal


Clip carries a logo featuring a black Islamist flag and the name of the "al-Firqan Brigade."

CAIRO- A video posted on YouTube and circulated on Thursday shows two men firing rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at a container ship that was attacked on Saturday in the Suez Canal.

Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the video and there were no claims of responsibility for the attack on Islamist websites.

Click here to view video

The video carries a logo featuring a black Islamist flag and the name of the "al-Firqan Brigade". It shows two men, dressed in civilian clothes, firing RPGs into the side of the ship, where they explode.

The ship carries the name "COSCO" on its side and appears to match pictures of the reported target of the attack, the Panamanian-registered Cosco Asia.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

A Hot Turkish Autumn

Robert Ellis

Since the Taksim events, Erdogan's behavior has seemed closer to that of an old-style Arab military ruler who considers any opposition or disagreement with his opinion a conspiracy." — Jihad al-Zein, former AKP supporter.
Mustafa Balbay, a Turkish journalist who has been sentenced to 34 years and 8 months imprisonment for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government, has predicted a politically hot autumn. [1]
The Gezi Park protests, which spread to 79 out of Turkey's 81 provinces, represent to date the most serious threat to Prime Minister Erdoğan's rule. A report by the Eurasia Global Research Centre (AGAM), a Turkish think tank, concludes that the handling of the crisis was "a strategic mistake" and that the lack of dialogue caused the protests to escalate. [2]
In contrast to President Abdullah Gül, who said that the protesters' message had been received, Erdoğan embarked on a series of mass rallies and vilified the demonstrators as marauders, terrorists and pitiful rodents in language reminiscent of Der Stürmer. This only served to reinforce his image as a Kasımpaşalı kabadayı (tough guy from the Istanbul district of Kasımpaşa) among the masses, and increase the polarization that already existed in Turkey.
Turkey's Prime Minister Erdoğan at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Davos, 2009. (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)
Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek has stated there is no culture of compromise in Turkey's intellectual and political circles; according to one Turkish commentator, it is not in Erdoğan's character to back off and admit he has made a mistake. On the contrary, the aftermath of Gezi Park has been marked by various reprisals, in which the Prime Minister has demonstrated what the Financial Times has called "paranoid intolerance." [3]

Duke Prof's Recipe for Restoring Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

Cinnamon Stillwell

Beware Middle East studies professors offering advice. In the wake of the Muslim Brotherhood's (MB) ouster from Egypt's presidency, South African-born Duke University Islamic studies professor Ebrahim Moosa has joined South Africa's ambassador to the United States Ebrahim Rasool to co-author a Washington Post op-ed advising Egypt to adopt a "multi-pronged strategy" overseen by "an internationally constituted group of eminent persons" to avoid civil war.

The authors recommend that the MB and "leaders from countries trusted by the Muslim Brotherhood" be included in this "group of eminent persons," which ignores both the popular rebellion that threw the Islamist party out of office, and the anti-democratic, despotic measures that sparked its downfall. In other words, it's a recipe for the restoration and strengthening of the Brotherhood.

Shape-Shifting on Syria

Shoshana Bryen

To expect people in the Middle East to do what the United States demands -- without the expenditure of American political and military resources on behalf of allies and against adversaries -- is the biggest wishful thinking of all.
The United States has not made the case that the national security interest of the United States requires the use of military force in Syria. Others have made the case for regime change, punishment, and deterrence against future use of non-conventional weapons by Syria, Iran or North Korea; and some of those cases are compelling. But the Administration has articulated no outcome toward which it is willing to commit substantial military resources and political capital.
The Administration has cast its goals primarily in the negative: no regime change, no tip toward the rebels, and no boots on the ground. In the affirmative: a shot across the bow and an exercise in American credibility presumably to influence both Syria and Iran. President Obama asserted that he would decide -- with or without Great Britain (now without), with or in defiance of the UN (now in defiance of), with or without Congress (now with) -- what he thinks is best. In fact, the Administration has been clearer, more definitive and more adamant about its prerogatives as than it has been about what outcome it seeks.

Adrift: The United States and the Middle East

John Bolton and Michael Ledeen presented a disturbing picture of Obama Administration national security policy adrift amidst a continually crisis-laden Middle East on August 28, 2013.  In particular, these two leading foreign policy experts foresaw no truly effective international policy to stop Iranian nuclear weapons proliferation, leaving Israel to confront this existential danger unilaterally.
Bolton and Ledeen appeared at the briefing "Who is the Real Rouhani?" at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), described by its founder and president Sarah Stern as "unabashedly pro-American and pro-Israeli," sponsored the event.  Stern introduced Bolton and Ledeen by discussing how Hassan Rouhani had appeared to American media as a "great moderate" following his June 14, 2003, election to the presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Yet Ledeen described the "big difference" between Rouhani and his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as being "exactly the same as the difference between Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola."  In contrast to Ahmadinejad, Rouhani "is more charming," his "face is prettier," and "he knows the West" due to his Western education.  Such attributes, though, simply reminded Ledeen of how some Western observers had expectantly noted Yuri Andropov as a "jazz fan" after this KGB chief succeeded Leonid Brezhnev as the Soviet Union's leader in 1982.  Rouhani's exposure to the West, rather than moderating his views, seems to have instilled anti-Western vitriol in Rouhani, just as other Islamist leaders like the Muslim Brotherhood's (MB) ideologue Sayyid Qutb "learned to hate America in America."

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

New York Times Indicts Israel With Charges of Racism, Again


An article by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren was published on the front page of The New York Times on Aug. 29. Entitled “Amid Chaos, Israelis Take a Stoic View,”the article contained no breaking news from Israel, nor was it an in-depth analysis of a current issue. It was about Israeli reaction to the turmoil in Egypt and Syria. And, it was the fifth article by Rudoren this year to include accusations of Israeli societal racism or sexism. You've got to hand it to the reporter. She certainly knows where to turn for quotes that impugn Israeli society.
In January she turned to Nadim Nashef, whom she described simply as “the director of Baladna, a Haifa-based youth organization,” to discuss the Arab vote in Israeli national elections.  In fact, Baladna is known for fostering a culture of grievance and separatism among Arab-Israeli youth. For example, it launched a campaign opposing national service by Arab citizens of Israel (who are exempt from military service, if they choose not to serve) with the argument that such service is “a branch of the occupation army, which has always acted against the Arab-Israeli population and the Palestinian people in general.” 

No John, “Allah Akbar” Does Not Mean “Thank God” and It Matters

What’s in a word?
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) blasted Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade on Tuesday for questioning members of a Syrian opposition groups’ use of the phrase “Allahu Akbar” after what Kilmeade said “looks like a fighter jet being shot out of the sky.”
“I have a problem helping those people screaming that after a hit,” Kilmeade said.
McCain criticized Kilmeade for his skepticism of the phrase, which means “God is greater” or “God is the greatest” in Arabic.
“Would you have a problem with an American person saying ‘Thank God? Thank God?’” McCain said. “That’s what they’re saying. Come on! Of course they’re Muslims, but they’re moderates and I guarantee you they are moderates.”
They’re not saying Thank God. They’re not even saying Thank Allah. If they wanted to praise Allah for surviving, they would say “Alhamdulillah”.
The difference is significant. Allah Akbar is a proclamation of Islamic superiority in line with its Koranic mission of making Islam superior over all religions.
Koran 61:9. “He it is who has sent his Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist.”
It’s not merely a praise of their deity, Allah. It’s a mission statement.

Turning Point: Obama and Israel, The Next Three Years

Barry Rubin
...the war on terrorism has been turned into the war for terrorism.
It is not every day that one can announce a shift in world history, but this day is today. And we are now in a new era in the Middle East and the world. This is not a joke--definitely not a joke--and as you will see, it is not an exaggeration. 
Let me explain. For the last seven weeks I have been in the United States, mostly in Washington D.C. I have spoken and listened to many people. As a result, I am in a position to describe for you with a high degree of accuracy what the policy will be for the next 3.5 years, and perhaps for many more.

The administration has crossed a line to, in simple terms, backing the "'bad guys."

This is literally true in Egypt, Syria, Sudan, the Palestinian Authority, Bahrain (with its support for the opposition), Qatar, and Turkey.
And in some ways, as we will see, the war on terrorism has been turned into the war for terrorism.

"Rosh Hashana"

Credit: mymorningmeditations
Tomorrow night begins the two-day holiday of Rosh Hashana, a time of repentance and renewal.  I do not expect to post again until after the Shabbat following Rosh Hashana.
I extend my heartfelt wishes for health and fulfillment for each of you.  And for all of Israel the blessings of peace.  May our prayers reach Heaven.
I provide here a beautiful rendition by Israeli singer David D'Or of Avinu Malkheinu -- a prayer traditionally recited on Rosh Hashana and on Yom Kippur.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Obama Vetoed Israeli Strike on Iran, Israel’s former NSC chief says

David P. Goldman (Spengler)
President Obama stopped Israel from launching an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities a year ago, according to the then head of Israel’s National Security Council, Gen. Giora Eiland. Gen. Eiland spoke with Israeli journalist Rotem Sella, a former senior writer for the daily Ma’ariv, at the Daily Capitalist blog on the “Mida” online news site. Some quickly-translated extracts from Sella’s report are below:
Exclusive: Prime – Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was about to order an attack on Iran in September 2012, but canceled the operation in response to U.S. pressure, the former head of Israel’s National Security Council said last month. Gen. Giora Eiland (retired) added that Israel “has a real ability to destroy Iran’s nuclear program,” and that it is possible that the American veto was related to the presidential election then in progress.
“At the time [September 2012] the Prime Minister thought that we had gotten to a critical point on the Iranian issue and planned to carry out attacks,” Gen. Eiland said at a closed-door conference held on August 19, adding that “Israel did not have in principle approval of U.S. military operations, unless Americans require one – cut prevented any action. ” According to Eiland, the issue was raised at a meeting between Netanyahu and the Americans, who said that the planned attack was out of the question for them, which led to its cancellation.


A lot of Americans have become so insulated from reality that they imagine that America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to themselves.
Pause a moment, reflect back.
These events are actual events from history.
They really happened!!!
Do you remember?
1. In 1968 , Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by a Muslim male.
2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacredby Muslim males.
3. In 1972 a Pan Am 747 was hijacked and eventually diverted to Cairowhere a fuse was lit on final approach and it was blown up shortly after landing by Muslim males.
4. In 1973 a Pan Am 707 was destroyed in Rome, with 33 people killed, when it was attacked with grenades by Muslim males.
5. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by Muslim males.
6. During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanonby Muslim males.
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7. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by Muslim males .
8. In 1985, the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by Muslim males.
9. In 1985, TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by Muslim males.

Time to designate Muslim Brotherhood as terror group?

Fox News

Multimedia for this item

Click Image to View Video
Cynthia Farahat appeared on Fox News earlier to discuss the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) terroristic policies and activities in Egypt. Farahat stated that the MB gatherings cannot be described as protests, comparing the MB "protestors" to the Boston bombers. The MB have publicly threatened Christians with terrorists attacks, setting improvised explosives and burning them alive.
As for the U.S. policy, Farahat pointed that the United States can still have leverage if it decided to ally with the Egyptian people in their war against terrorism, given the fact that it might get designated as a terrorist organization in Egypt.

Monday, September 02, 2013

My personal message for the New Year:

To all my family and friends ~
My prayers Heaven sent
The heart speaks with simplicity
To G-d –Omnipotent ~
Good health to those I care about
Restore it to the ill ~
May loving thoughts and peace prevail ~
I ask this be Thy will!

May those who must be comforted ~
May those who are alone ~
Find solace as we pray to You
And for our sins atone.
May  prayers from Jerusalem
The City that we love
Ascend from here directly to
The One who reigns above.
Chana Givon
in beloved Jerusalem
Rosh HaShana -5774

Forcing Obama’s Hand in Syria

Vali Nasr

For the past two years the Obama administration has resisted entanglement in Syria, but now this grisly civil war has become an unavoidable international problem and a defining moment for American foreign policy.
Having concluded “with high confidence” that the Syrian government carried out a deadly chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus on Aug. 21, the Obama administration has no choice but to enforce the “red line” the president laid out a year ago. To maintain American credibility — and his own — President Obama has to do so quickly and decisively. He also has to explain to the American people and to the world what is at stake in Syria and how the United States will lead in ending this crisis. 

"It's Not 'Just' Attack with Gas"

The "just" is being employed advisedly, of course.  But the fact of the matter is that there is more than one horrendous way for Assad to attack civilians associated with rebel forces. 
This past Thursday, information came out from Syria via BBC journalists that was picked up by very few news sources. I would have thought it would have been screamed from the rafters, but either it is "ho hum" or is simply running under the radar. 
My betting is that you haven't heard about this:
It was the end of a school day in the north of Syria, and, reportedly, a fighter jet overhead flew back and forth looking for a target (i.e., place where a group of people is assembled).  The one the pilot decided upon was the yard of a high school, where groups of teenagers just dismissed from a day at school were lingering.
What he dropped on the kids was some sort of "napalm-like" incendiary bomb that caused horrendous burning.  Ten young people were dead and many more injured, "writhing in agony."
The aftermath of the attack was filmed.
The BBC link is here although I advise you not to look at the video portion unless you have a strong stomach. 

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Obama’s bread and circuses

Over the past week, President Barack Obama and his senior advisers have told us that the US is poised to go to war against Syria.

US President Barack Obama.
US President Barack Obama. Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Over the past week, President Barack Obama and his senior advisers have told us that the US is poised to go to war against Syria. In the next few days, the US intends to use its airpower and guided missiles to attack Syria in response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons in the outskirts of Damascus last week.

The questions that ought to have been answered before any statements were made by the likes of Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have barely been raised in the public arena. The most important of those questions are: What US interests are at stake in Syria? How should the US go about advancing them? What does Syria’s use of chemical weapons means for the US’s position in the region? How would the planned US military action in Syria impact US deterrent strength, national interests and credibility regionally and worldwide? Syria is not an easy case. Thirty months into the war there, it is clear that the good guys, such as they are, are not in a position to win.