Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dangerous Times: Does Putin want a Nuclear Suicide Cult Next Door?

by James Lewis

When it comes to survival, nations act in their own interest. All talk about friendship and personal warmth between national leaders is pure fairy dust. That's for the goo-goos, while political leaders need to deal with reality. 

That is why Russia, the United States, Israel, the Arab nations, and even Iran can become part of a new long-term truce, like the Egypt-Israel peace treaty between former enemies, for which Jimmy Carter took the credit.

The key to a new long-term truce is national security and oil.

Putin is facing two threats. One is the mullahs, a self-proclaimed Muslim suicide cult that is very close to obtaining nuclear bombs. Only the mullahs themselves know if they are willing to risk martyrdom in order to genocide Israel and possibly the oil-owning Arabs who are only 50 miles away from Iran. They talk that way every single day, by chanting Death to Israel! Death to America! Under their founder Khomeini they carried on a war with Saddam Hussein that killed one million people.

Muslims have waged war against Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church for a thousand years. Putin is acutely aware of these facts, even if he is talking nice about the mullahs in public. Imagine having a nuclear Jim Jones cult a hundred miles from our borders and you can see how it looks from Moscow. 

That is his national security problem. At the beginning of Putin's rule, Moscow and Beslan were attacked with horrific mass atrocities. The killers were Muslim suiciders. Putin struck back the way Russia always has, with massed assaults and artillery bombardments in Chechnya, taking no prisoners and not caring for civilian casualties. Putin is not a nice Western humane warrior.

Iran's suicide cult is therefore Russia's most dangerous national security problem.

This is important, because it means that Putin is facing exactly the same problem as the rest of the Middle East neighborhood.

Putin has been talking to Israel as well as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and the rest. 

Russia's second big problem is the likely crash of energy prices when shale production expands around the world. The energy stranglehold of the Gulf oil nations, including Iran and Arabia, is going to decline steeply in the next five years. In ten years it will be gone, and the Gulf will be one of many sources of oil and gas for the growing industrialized world, including China and India. OPEC will not be able to control energy prices any more.

That would be a major problem from Russia, which is a major energy exporter to Europe. Germany pays four times the world price for natural gas to Russia, to keep the Russian bear from starting the eternal cycle of European wars again. The EU is buying peace with Russia, at a price. All the green nonsense about global warming has a very great benefit to the oil producers and to European socialist elites: it gives them control over the price of energy in Europe. That allows Angela Merkel to fly to Moscow and talk to Putin about buying peace with Russia.

Putin's problems therefore come down to two: He has to chain the pitbull next door before it gets nuclear weapons, and he has to somehow keep the cost of energy from crashing. Russia can adapt to a gradual decline of energy prices, because it can produce domestic shale energy. It cannot afford a rapid crash in oil and gas prices.

Those are the two biggest, unavoidable national interests the Russians have. It has nothing to do with the fact that Putin doesn't like Obama, and vice versa. 

Syria is not the biggest problem in the Middle East today. It is a proxy war between Iran and its allies, Assad Hizb'allah and the Sunni Arab nations, the Saudis, Egypt, and Turkey, backed by the United States. We have been supplying the Al Qaida rebels in Syria to fight Assad, along with the Saudis and Turks. That is the truth Obama keeps lying about to the world.

The enormously important question today is whether the United States and Russia can act as co-guarantors of a new Middle East standoff, a détente. 

It is in the national interest of all parties, simply for their safety and prosperity.
Why would the Iranian mullahs go along with such an arrangement? 

Because they are afraid of the Russian Bear next door, which has far more nuclear weapons than they can ever dream of. Putin is not an unreliable Democrat like Obama. He has killed thousands of Muslims in Chechnya. In the long term Putin does not want the Global Jihad to invade his borders. 

Putin has also made a point of assassinating both foreign and domestic opponents, efforts that feature the equivalent of the Godfather's horse's head in the bedroom. The KGB was directly involved in the assassination attempt against John Paul II, when they saw him (correctly) as a threat to the Soviet Empire. In the end, John Paul, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher helped to bring about the crumbling of the Soviet Union, in addition to the Polish resistance and a widespread understanding in the USSR that centralized control of the economy was never going to work.

In 2006, Putin poisoned the Russian exile and rebel Alexander Litvinenko in London, using easily traceable Polonium 210. That was done deliberately, to notify the West and the Chechens that the Tsar was back in Moscow. Litvinenko had written two books in favor of the Chechen Muslim rebellion against Moscow. The use of traceable Po 210 was his way of putting the Godfather's horse's head in the bedroom.

Putin is perfectly capable of assassinating any Iranian mullah who poses a danger to Russia. The mullahs know that. If Ayatollah Khamenei dies tomorrow from an unexpected heart attack, they know Putin could have done it.

There is only one power today that can instill fear in the mullahs' hearts, and that is Russia. After the Soviet proxy defeats of 1973 in the Middle East, the United States became the protector of the oil supply from the Gulf. But the rising Iranian regime (put into power by Jimmy Carter in 1979) has never feared or respected the United States, except during the Reagan and Bush years.

A possible détente is therefore shaping up in the Middle East.

The key is chaining up the pitbull of Iran, and only Putin can do it today. 

The second forcing factor in the availability and price of oil. Both Bandar and Alwaleed Al Talal, the biggest Saudi public honchos, have gone public with warnings that Saudi Arabia is facing a crisis with the rise of shale energy around the world. The Gulf will soon lose its control of the bottleneck, and everything will be up for grabs.

All that is real, dollars and cents and survival.

But the biggest public-relations game is Israel versus the Palestinians, who are Sunni Arabs who have adopted a phony national identity to try to destroy Israel. They consider themselves Arabs, not Palestinians, because "Palestine" is a hated colonial name used by the British, and long before, by the Romans who conquered the land of Israel of the time. Westerners gobble up propaganda with their morning coffee, but Arabs remember history.

The Israel-Palestinian confrontation can be settled -- for some time -- as part of the Middle East détente between Russia and the United States. Devout Muslims are absolutists who are sworn to conquer all the infidels in the world. But as a practical historical fact, Muslim fanaticism comes and goes. Today it is at a height, which is why the Global Jihad is so dangerous today. When shale energy becomes cheap and widespread around the world, oil-fueled Islamic fanaticism will fade. It has happened before.

Bottom line: In spite of all the chaos triggered by Democratic presidents Jimmy Carter and BH Obama, an acceptable outcome is emerging for a stable standoff. Russia has survival and economic interests in holding down the Middle East to a dull roar. So does the United States.

Next time this column will cover the second dimension of the Global Jihad, the mass infiltration of radicalized Muslims into Europe and the United States, aided by the radical left. The first order of business is that smoking barrel of gunpowder in the Middle East. In that part of the world, a détente between Russia and America may be the key to a stable truce for the next few decades. 

In ten years shale energy development around the world will have changed the Middle East forever.

James Lewis


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Does Jordan Want Palestinians In Control of The Border?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The last thing the Jordanians want to see is hundreds of thousands of Palestinians move from the West Bank or Gaza Strip into the kingdom. Understandably, the Jordanian monarch cannot go public with this stance for fear of being accused by Arabs and Muslims of treason and collaboration with the "Zionist enemy."

Palestinian Authority Pesident Mahmoud Abbas says that the Palestinians will not accept any Israeli presence along the border between a future Palestinian state and Jordan.

But the question is whether Jordan really wants to have Palestinians on its borders.

In private off-the-record meetings, top Jordanian officials make it crystal clear that they prefer to see Israel sitting along their shared border.

Speaking at a university graduation ceremony in Jericho, Abbas stated that the borders of the Palestinian state would stretch from the Dead Sea in the south and through the Jordan Valley all the way up to the town of Bet She'an in the north.

"This is a Palestinian-Jordanian border and that is how it will remain," Abbas said. "The responsibility for security along the border will be in the hands of the Palestinians."

Abbas's remarks came in wake of leaks by Palestinian officials to the effect that at the current US-sponsored secret peace negotiations, Israel is demanding full control over the border with Jordan in any peace settlement with the Palestinians.

Israel, of course, has its own reasons for refusing to cede control over the strategic Jordan Valley.

Israel's main concern is that the border with Jordan will be used by Palestinian terror groups and Islamist fundamentalist organizations to smuggle weapons and terrorists into the West Bank and Israel.

However, there's another reason why Israel remains strongly opposed to surrendering control over its border with Jordan to the Palestinian Authority or a third party.

It is no secret that the Jordanians have long been worried about the repercussions of the presence of Palestinians on their border.

In a recent closed briefing with a high-ranking Jordanian security official, he was asked about the kingdom's position regarding the possibility that Palestinians might one day replace Israel along the border with Jordan.

"May God forbid!" the official retorted. "We have repeatedly made it clear to the Israeli side that we will not agree to the presence of a third party at our border."

The official explained that Jordan's stance was not new. "This has been our position since 1967," he said. "The late King Hussein made this clear to all Israeli governments and now His majesty, King Abdullah, remains committed to this position."

Jordan's opposition to placing the border crossings with the West Bank under Palestinian control is not only based on security concerns.

Of course, Jordan's security concerns are not unjustified, especially in light of what has been happening over the past few years along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

The Egyptians are now paying a heavy price for neglecting their shared border with the Gaza Strip over the past few decades. This lapse has seen Sinai emerge as a hotbed for Al-Qaeda-linked terror groups that are now posing a serious threat to Egypt's national security.

Besides the security concerns, the Jordanians are also worried about the demographic implications of Palestinian security and civilian presence over the border.

Their worst nightmare, as a veteran Jordanian diplomat once told Israeli colleagues during a private encounter, is that once the Palestinians are given control over the border, thousands of them from the future Palestinian state would pour into Jordan.

The Jordanians already have a "problem" with the fact that their kingdom's population consists of a Palestinian majority, which some say has reached over 80%. The last thing the Jordanians want is to see hundreds of thousands of Palestinians move from the West Bank or Gaza Strip into the kingdom.

Although the Jordanians are not part of the ongoing peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, they are hoping that Israel will not rush to abandon security control over its long border with the kingdom. Understandably, the Jordanian monarchy cannot go public with its stance for fear of being accused by Arabs and Muslims of treason and collaboration with the "Zionist enemy."

The Egyptians today know what the Jordanians have been aware of for a long time -- that a shared border with Fatah or Hamas or any other Palestinian group is a recipe for instability and anarchy. The Egyptians surely miss the days when the Israel Defense Forces were sitting along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Even if Abbas's forces initially manage to maintain security and order along the border with Jordan, there is no guarantee as to what would happen in the future.

Between 2005 and 2007, Abbas's security forces were in control of the main border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt -- before they were expelled by Hamas.

It is in Israel's interest to have stability and calm in Jordan. Undermining Jordan's security would create many problems for Israel. To prevent such a scenario, Israel, if and when it reaches a deal with Abbas's Palestinian Authority, needs to take King Abdullah's fears and interests into consideration.

Khaled Abu Toameh


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Syria, Iran and the North Korean Model

by Caroline Click

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post. 
Did US President Barack Obama score a great victory for the United States by concluding a deal with Russia on Syria’s chemical weapons or has he caused irreparable harm to the US’s reputation and international position? By what standard can we judge his actions when the results will only be known next year? To summarize where things now stand, last Saturday US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov concluded an agreement regarding Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. The agreement requires Syria to provide full details on the size and locations of all of its chemical weapons by this Saturday. It requires international inspectors to go to Syria beginning in November, and to destroy or remove Syria’s chemical weapons from the country by June 2014.

Obama and Kerry have trumpeted the agreement as a great accomplishment. They say it could never have been concluded had the US not threatened to carry out “unbelievably small” punitive military strikes against the Syrian regime in response to its use of Sarin gas to massacre 1,400 civilians in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21.

And then there is the perception of an “Iran dividend” from the US-Russian deal. Just two days after last Saturday’s agreement, speculation mounted about a possible breakthrough in the six party negotiations with Iran regarding its illicit nuclear weapons program.

According to Der Spiegel, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani may consider closing down Iran’s illicit uranium enrichment facility at Fordo under IAEA supervision in exchange for the removal or weakening of economic sanctions against Iran’s oil exports and its central bank.

The White House has not ruled out the possibility that Obama and Rouhani may meet at the UN General Assembly meeting later this month. These moves could pave the way for a reinstatement of full diplomatic relations between the US and Iran. Those relations were cut off after the regime-supported takeover of the US embassy in Teheran in 1979.

Obama’s supporters in the US media and Congress have hailed these developments as foreign policy victories for the United States. Thanks to Obama’s brilliant maneuvering, Syria has agreed to disarm from its chemical weapons without the US having had to fire a shot. The Iranians’ increased willingness to be forthcoming on their nuclear program is similarly a consequence of Obama’s tough and smart diplomacy regarding Syria, and his clever utilization of Russia as a long arm of US foreign policy.

For their part, critics have lined up to condemn Obama’s decision to cut a deal with Russia regarding Syria.

They warn that his actions in that regard have destroyed the credibility of his threat to use force to prevent Iran from developing or deploying nuclear weapons.

To determine which side is right in this debate, we need to look no further than North Korea.

In April 1992 the IAEA concluded that North Korea was hiding information on its nuclear program from the UN and declared it in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it signed in 1985. In March 1993 North Korea announced its intention to vacate its signature from the NPT. Later that year, it later offered to begin negotiations related to its illicit nuclear program with the US.

Those negotiations began in early 1994, after the US canceled planned joint military exercises with South Korea as a goodwill gesture to the North. The talks led to the Agreed-Framework Agreement concluded later that year under which North Korea agreed to shutter its nuclear installation at Yongbyon where it was suspected of developing plutonium based nuclear weapons. In exchange the US and its allies agreed to build light water nuclear reactors in North Korea, and to provide North Korea with oil for energy production until the reactors were up and running.

In November 2002 the North Koreans acknowledged that they were engaging in illicit uranium enrichment activities. In January 2003 Pyongyang announced it was withdrawing from the NPT.

In February 2005 it announced it possessed a nuclear arsenal. And on October 9, 2006, North Korea launched its first test of a nuclear bomb.

The US suspended its talks with North Korea in 2003. It responded to the nuclear test by renewing those negotiations just weeks after it took place. And in February 2007 the US and North Korea reached an agreement under which Pyongyang agreed to close down Yongbyon in exchange for a resumption of shipments of free oil.

In September 2007, against the strenuous opposition of then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who was the architect of the US’s renewed push to cut a deal with North Korea, Israel destroyed a North Korean built nuclear reactor almost identical to the Yongbyon nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert. Had it become operational, Syria would likely have developed a nuclear arsenal by now.

In June 2008, the North Koreans demolished Yongbyon’s cooling tower.

Amidst fears that North Korea had reopened the reactor in the fall of 2008, the US removed North Korea from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Six months later, in April 2009, Pyongyang resumed its reprocessing of spent fuel rods for the production of plutonium. And the next month it conducted another nuclear test.

In 2010, North Korean scientists at Yongbyon told Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory that the plutonium reactor had been shuttered.

Later in 2010, the North Koreans began open enrichment of uranium at Yongbyon.

Enrichment activities have doubled in scale since 2010. US experts now assess that with 4,000 centrifuges operating, North Korea produces enough enriched uranium to build three uranium based nuclear bombs every year. On February 12, 2013 North Korea conducted a third nuclear test. Experts were unclear whether the tested bomb a plutoniumbased or uranium-based nuclear weapon.

On September 11, the media reported that the latest satellite imagery indicates the North Koreans have resumed their plutonium production activities at Yongbyon.

Although the media claim that this represents an abrogation of the 2007 deal, it is unclear why that deal was considered in place given that North Korea began its reprocessing activities in April 2009 and tested another nuclear weapon the next month.

Although it issued a strong statement condemning the reopening of the plutonium operation at Yongbyon, the Obama administration remains committed to the six party talks with North Korea.

When viewed as a model for general US-non-proliferation policy, rather than one specific to North Korea, the North Korean model involves a rogue state using the Chinese and Russians to block effective UN Security Council action against its illicit development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Faced with a dead end at the UN, the US is forced to decide between acting on its own to compel a cessation of the illicit behavior, or to try to cut a deal with the regime, either through bilateral or multilateral negotiations.

Not wishing to enter into an unwanted confrontation or suffer domestic and international condemnations of American unilateralism, the US opts for diplomacy. The decision is controversial in Washington. And to justify their decision, the champions of negotiating deals with rogue proliferators stake their personal reputations on the success of that policy.

In the case of Rice, her decision to open negotiations with North Korea following its nuclear test was staunchly opposed by vice president Dick Cheney. And once the policy was exposed as a failure first by the intelligence reports proving that North Korea was proliferating its nuclear technologies and know-how to Syria, and then with its early suspension of its agreement to the 2007 agreement, rather than acknowledge her mistake, she doubled down. And as a consequence, under the nose of the US, and with Washington pledged to a framework deal to which North Korea stood in continuous breach, North Korea carried out two more nuclear tests, massively expanded its uranium enrichment activities, and reinstated its plutonium production activities.

Just as importantly, once the US accepted the notion of talks with North Korea, it necessarily accepted the regime’s legitimacy. And as a consequence, both the Clinton and Bush administrations abandoned any thought of toppling the regime. Once Washington ensnared itself in negotiations that strengthened its enemy at America’s expense, it became the effective guarantor of the regime’s survival. After all, if the regime is credible enough to be trusted to keep its word, then it is legitimate no matter how many innocents it has enslaved and slaughtered.

With the US’s experience with North Korea clearly in mind, it is possible to assess US actions with regards to Syria and Iran. The first thing that becomes clear is that the Obama administration is implementing the North Korean model in its dealings with Syria and Iran.

With regards to Syria, there is no conceivable way to peacefully enforce the US Russian agreement on the ground. Technically it is almost impossible to safely dispose of chemical weapons under the best of circumstances.

Given that Syria is in the midst of a brutal civil war, the notion that it is possible for UN inspectors to remove or destroy the regime’s chemical weapons is patently absurd.

Moreover, since the agreement itself requires non-compliance complaints to be discussed first at the UN Security Council, and it is clear that Russia is willing to do anything to protect the Syrian regime, no action will be taken to punish non-compliance.

Finally, like his predecessors with regard to Pyongyang, Obama has effectively accepted the continued legitimacy of the regime of Bashar Assad, despite the fact that he is an acknowledged war criminal.

As was the case with Pyongyang and its nuclear brinkmanship and weapons tests, Assad won his legitimacy and removed the US threat to remove him from power by using weapons of mass destruction.

As for Iran, Rouhani’s talk of closing Fordo needs to be viewed against the precedents set at Yongbyon by the North Koreans. In other words, even if the installation is shuttered, there is every reason to believe that the shutdown will be temporary. On the other hand, just as North Korea remains off the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism despite the fact that since its removal it carried out two more nuclear tests, it is hard to imagine that sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and central bank removed in exchange for an Iranian pledge to close Fordo, would be restored after Fordo is reopened.

Like North Korea, Iran will negotiate until it is ready to vacate its signature on the NPT and test its first nuclear weapon.

The critics are correct. And the danger posed by Obama’s decision to seek a false compromise rather than accept an unwanted confrontation following Syria’s use of chemical weapons will only be removed when the US recognizes the folly of seeking to wish away the dangers of weapons of mass destruction through negotiations. Those talks lead only to the diminishment of US power and the endangerment of US national security as more US enemies develop and deploy weapons of mass destruction with the sure knowledge that the US would rather negotiate fecklessly than contend responsibly with the dangers they pose.

Caroline Click


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Europe: Anti-Israel or Anti-Semitic?

by Soeren Kern

"If Europe thinks Jews will return to the days where we were forced to mark our products, you can forget it. Delegitimization of parts of Israel by Europe is the new anti-Semitism. The old anti-Semitism led to the destruction of our people in gas chambers. We will not allow the new anti-Semitism to hurt us." — Ayelet Shaked, Member of Knesset

A group of former European leaders have called on the European Union not to ease or delay the implementation of new rules that would prohibit the EU from funding Israeli institutions based or operating anywhere beyond the Green Line, including eastern Jerusalem.

In a September 16 letter addressed to the foreign ministers of the 28 EU member states and to EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton, 15 members of the so-called European Eminent Persons Group expressed "great concern" at attempts to "delay, modify or even suspend the European Commission guidelines on funding of Israeli entities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967."

The letter -- signed by longtime Israel critics including former EU foreign policy chief and NATO secretary-general Javier Solana, former French foreign minister Hubert Védrine, and former Spanish foreign minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos -- argues that the "strict application" of the guidelines "serves to reiterate that the EU does not recognize and will not support settlements and other illegal facts on the ground."

The "guidelines" refer to a new directive -- the long title is "Guidelines on the Eligibility of Israeli Entities and their Activities in the Territories Occupied by Israel since June 1967 for Grants, Prizes and Financial Instruments funded by the EU from 2014 Onwards" -- that forbids EU organizations and institutions from funding or cooperating with any Israeli entities based in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem or the Golan Heights.

The directive -- which was published on July 19, 2013 and will take effect on January 1, 2014 -- includes a requirement that all future agreements between the EU and Israel include a clause in which Israel accepts the EU position that none of the territory beyond the Green Line belongs to Israel.

Needless to say, Israeli officials have rejected the directive out of hand and are refusing to sign any new agreements with the EU which include such a clause.

The issue came to a head after Israel threatened to cancel its participation in Horizon 2020, an €80 billion ($110 billion) scientific cooperation program sponsored by the European Union.

The EU and Israel both stand to benefit from Israel's involvement in the lucrative program, which begins on January 1, 2014 and will run for a period of seven years.

Israel -- the only non-EU country that has been invited to join Horizon 2020 -- is expected to invest €600 million in the program and receive €900 million in inbound research grants and other investments. For its part, the EU will benefit from Israeli research and technology, which is widely believed to surpass the capabilities of many EU member states.

Officials from the EU and Israel met in Jerusalem on September 10 and in Brussels on September 12 in talks aimed at hashing out an agreement that would modify the EU guidelines in such a way that Israel would be able to participate in the project.

Although the talks in Brussels continued for seven hours and included nearly a dozen participants from each side, EU negotiators refused to budge. Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is now expected to raise the issue directly with Catherine Aston, the EU foreign policy chief.

Any agreement over Israel's participation in Horizon 2020 would have to be signed by the middle of November, and negotiations are expected to continue up until then.

Thus the apparent purpose of the September 16 letter issued by the European Eminent Persons Group is to provide Ashton with political cover for maintaining her hardline stance vis-à-vis Israel.

Indeed, the letter is vehement that the new EU guidelines be enforced with regard to Horizon 2020. The letter states: "We urge you to uphold this commitment by supporting the guidelines and their full application by EU institutions, notably in regard to the ongoing negotiations about Israel's participation in Horizon 2020... If the EU were to delay or suspend the guidelines, or not fully apply them to the agreement with Israel on Horizon 2020, this could further undermine the Palestinians' trust in the negotiation process and their ability to continue the talks. In other words, delaying or suspending the guidelines is likely to undermine negotiations, which we want to see succeed, not help them."

The letter also comes in response to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has urged the EU to suspend implementation of the ban in order to show the Israeli public the benefit of pursuing a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

On September 7, Kerry asked for the suspension in a closed-door meeting of EU foreign ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he also discussed the current status of the talks, which resumed on July 30 after a nearly three-year hiatus.

A senior US State Department official who was at the talks in Vilnius said, "There was strong support for his efforts and an openness to considering his requests." But Ashton has been characteristically unapologetic, saying only that the EU would send a team to Israel to make sure the implementation of the new guidelines was done sensitively.

Ashton has support from other quarters as well. On September 11, a group of nearly 500 European academics sent a letter to Ashton urging her not to water down the new guidelines. The letter states: "Reports in the media that you are thinking of softening or postponing the implementation of the EU Guidelines on Israeli Settlements have shocked academic opinion across Europe and beyond. We, and the nearly five hundred European academics who have signed the attached petition in the last 48 hours, applaud your Guidelines, and urge you not to weaken or abandon them at the first sign that Israel, or the United States, takes objection to them. Principles are principles. Please stick to yours."
Not to be outdone, a group of far-left Israeli intellectuals, academics and artists also sent a petition to Ashton in support of the EU guidelines on funding of Israeli entities. The document states: "Our government has threatened to end its participation in the EU's research program -- a move that would be, in the first place, to Israel's own great detriment. We urge the EU not to be misled by this tactical maneuver, and to insist on full application of the guidelines when negotiating Israel's participation in that program."

Meanwhile, the European Jewish Congress (EJC), a Paris-based umbrella group for Jewish communities in Europe, criticized the former EU officials for sending the letter, calling it a "danger to peace as it hands one side a political victory without having to compromise and deepens the Palestinian feeling that they can gain more outside of negotiations than in them."

In a full-page advertisement published by the London-based Financial Times on September 16, EJC President Moshe Kantor described the EU guidelines as "discriminatory" and a reflection of "the desire for the EU to score political points." Kantor continued:
From the well over one hundred territorial disputes in the world, the European Union has mandated the creation of a clause in every agreement denying European funding to, and cooperation with, institutions from only one nation involved in a territorial dispute: Israel. It has not placed similar criteria on Turkey, Morocco, China, or any other nation involved in a territorial dispute.
What makes the situation far worse is that the European Union is abrogating agreements that it signed and witnessed. The Oslo Accords, the basis for the peace negotiations, specifically stipulated that the current status of the territories, and its residents, will not be changed or harmed ahead of final status negotiations, to which the parties have recently returned.
In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, the Greek ambassador to Israel, Spiros Lampridis, said he understood Israel's objections to signing the territorial clause because it is so "explicit."

"If I put myself in the Israeli shoes I can see why they are not able to sign it," he said. "Therefore our task as European states is to find alternatives to make this thing workable for both sides. We are not here to fight, we are here to cooperate, and if Israel cannot cooperate with the EU, and vice versa, then that means that the EU is not really understanding the importance of Israel in the framework of the Western family."

Other Europeans have also shown themselves sympathetic to the Israeli position. On September 17, the Vice Chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs, Italian politician Fiorello Provera, organized what has been described as an "historic" conference to help MEPs better understand the harmful impact of EU policies in Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank).

The conference -- entitled "EU-Israel Relations: Impact of the New EU Guidelines on Israel and Their Effects on the EU, Israeli and Palestinian Economies" -- was held at the Foreign Affairs Committee hall inside the European Parliament.

The event was attended by 20 MEPs, representatives of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli ambassador to the EU, David Walzer, and a wide array of journalists.

Member of the Knesset for the Jewish Home Party, Ayelet Shaked, told the European politicians attending the conference that she feared the evacuation of West Bank settlements and the creation of a Palestinian state would only lead to increased missile attacks against Israel:
Europe's forcing us to cede land, in order to achieve the type of agreement it sees fit for the Middle East, will only mean that these missiles will continue to rain down on Israel not only from Gaza, but from Qalqilya and Ramallah [Palestinian cities in the West Bank] as well.
If Europe thinks Jews will return to the days where we were forced to mark our products, you can forget it. Delegitimization of parts of Israel by Europe is the new anti-Semitism. The old anti-Semitism led to the destruction of our people in gas chambers. We will not allow the new anti-Semitism to hurt us.
Such conduct creates a sense among Israelis that Europe is lost, that it is occupied by the forces of radical Islam. If that is the message you have been trying to send, you are doing a good job in getting it across. I want you to understand that you are important to us. We hold your support in high regard, but you cannot push us to commit suicide.
Shaked also called for a change in the terminology employed within the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. "It is time to say the truth: Judea and Samaria are not occupied territory, but disputed territory. That is the truth as far as international law is concerned."

Provera summed up the conference, saying that "MEPs in this house [the European Parliament] are not familiar with the facts. Did you know that Jews and Arabs work side by side in the factories of Samaria? The idea of putting pressure on Israel and slapping sanctions on it is unacceptable. It will not bring peace, but may only bring unemployment to the Palestinians, as a result of which they might turn to terror."

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Saudi Paper Blasts Israelis for Aiding Syrian Refugees

by Daniel Greenfield

I’m not a fan of  IL4Syrians, which displays the typical liberal perversity of trying to help Muslims in countries that hate Israel. The female aid worker mentions having been in Pakistan and Iraq. That’s insane for too many reasons to count.

The Muslim reactions to the existence of the group have been mixed at best.
Coverage in the arabic press is here at Al Watan Voice (is in arabic):
“… the Arab countries offer condolences… but the best role is provided by the Israelis because they are crossing the border to provide assistance to the refugees who fled deprived of everything, risking their lives without a word of thank you…”
And then there’s
Jordanian activists denounced these acts done by the Israeli delegation, and demanded the government investigate this case, and tighten controls on the entry of Israelis to Jordan for tourism or other reasons.
But that’s generally their response to anything involving Israel. The more official reaction comes from a Saudi paper in London.
Syrian regime loyalists received a gift from Israeli TV when the latter screened a short film about people labeled “activists” who risk their lives by entering “hostile territory” in order to support Syrian refugees.
This is more than enough for “patriots” who are out to protect Arab rights to take advantage of the plight of Syrian refugees inside and outside Syria in order to promote the conspiracy theory that attributes the Syrian revolution to a Zionist/Western scheme.
Just as the column hints at the conspiracy theory that Israel really supports Syria. Both sides in any Muslim conflict accuse the other of being a Zionist/Western puppet.
There is a woman whose husband was attacked by Syrian regime thugs and needs an urgent surgery or else would lose his eyesight. When she knows that those offering her help are Israelis she starts crying for she would rather have her husband lose his eyesight than resort to this kind of help.

Is there a cheaper form of blackmail than offering to save a refugee’s eyesight provided that it is done in Israel?
Where else are Israelis supposed to arrange to provide eye surgery for Syrian refugees? Alaska?

As can be seen in the video above, the columnist somewhat misrepresents the scene which is that the woman is concerned about then being able to return to Syria.
However, the way Israeli TV hurried to make use of the tragedy of Syrian refugees reveals the shallowness with which it understands the future relationship between the Arab Spring and the conflict with Israel. It also reveals absolute insensitivity.
Portraying the “moral superiority” of Israeli activists through putting Syrian refugees to tests related to their stance on Israel is a cheap attempt that would ultimately fail in undermining the Syrian revolution or making its aims any less noble.
There’s no arguing that the video isn’t shallow and tacky at times. Israeli TV comes in two flavors. Shallow and tacky. And shallower and tackier. But it’s still a good deal better than most television in the Arab world.

Sensitivity is not something to be expected from Middle Eastern television. Or these days any television.

That said, IL4Syrians, in whatever its real form, obviously does not exist for the sake of a single belated broadcast. Its misguided activists are risking their lives and if they sometimes come off as tacky and annoying, it’s because they are Western liberals who can’t help sounding that way. In their own misguided way, they are trying to help people. And if the help is a bad idea for reasons that even they seem to occasionally understand, unlike the Saudis, they aren’t doing it to use the Syrians as a weapon against someone else.

The Saudis only care about Syria because they’re in a proxy conflict with Iran. Israelis are in a state of hostility with both sides in Syria.

Daniel Greenfield


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Arabs to Target Israel at UN Nuclear Meet Despite US Objection

by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

Arab League representative at IAEA: world has to know that Israel is not playing a constructive role; that Israel has nuclear capability • U.S. says move may hurt broader diplomatic efforts to create Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

International Atomic Energy Agency meeting [Archive]
Photo credit: Reuters

Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff


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Revealed: The Obama FBI’s Illicit Partnership with CAIR

by Matthew Vadum

The Council on American-Islamic Relations Announces Educational Initiative 

A government watchdog’s new report takes the FBI to task for violating its own policies by continuing to work with the Muslim Brotherhood’s front group in the United States, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The report came as CAIR issued a new report denouncing the so-called “Islamophobia” of the Fox News Channel, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, David the Horowitz Freedom Center, and others who dare to engage in an honest discussion of Islam and the politics surrounding it. Islamophobia is a concept invented to intimidate critics of Islam and Islamic jihad by implying that any and all criticism of the Muslim religion is animated by bigotry or ethnic animus. CAIR has urged Muslims not to cooperate with the FBI, which it characterizes as corrupt.

The report from the Justice Department’s inspector general faults FBI headquarters for repeatedly providing its field offices with conflicting information and pinpoints five examples in which FBI field office special agents-in-charge ignored or deliberately defied FBI policy.

Five years ago the FBI was directed to end its working partnership with CAIR that was part of the agency’s gooey, politically correct public relations effort in Muslim communities in the United States. The ban on contact with CAIR applies only to outreach efforts. The FBI continues its normal investigatory work, looking into criminal and civil rights complaints involving Muslims and working with any organizations to which they may belong.

FBI field office resistance to the policy goes back to late 2008.

“[W]e will decide how our relationship is operated and maintained with CAIR barring some additional instruction from FBI Headquarters,” wrote the head of the FBI’s field office in Los Angeles. “Please instruct your folks at this time that [we] are not to abide by the … [policy] but that their direction in regards to CAIR will come from the LA Field Office front office.”
Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.). blasted the FBI for its behavior.

These violations of the contact ban with CAIR are “intolerable,” Wolf wrote in a letter to new FBI Director James Comey. He demanded that those responsible be punished and be “separat[ed] from the FBI,” the Investigative Project on Terrorism reports.

When Wolf howls, the FBI listens. He chairs the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee in charge of the FBI’s budget. The investigation looked only at incidents in the FBI’s field offices in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Haven, Conn., in 2010, 2011, and 2012, so there may be many more that have yet to be uncovered.

Referring to the Los Angeles incident, Wolf criticized the “unacceptable and insubordinate behavior from a senior leader of the FBI.”

“Despite repeated efforts to communicate the policy to the field,” he wrote, “this was undermined by conflicting guidance being inexplicably offered by the bureau’s Office of Public Affairs as well as outright violations from several field offices.”

The damning report was posted on the website of the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Justice yesterday and then abruptly taken down. Sources say the OIG’s office said there was a technical problem. A few hours later, the report itself and an executive summary resurfaced on the DoJ Inspector General’s website.

While the FBI downplayed the findings of the report in its official reply to the OIG, the agency acknowledged its offices made mistakes and promised to do better.

“We note that the five incidents you reviewed are but a small fraction of the FBI’s outreach efforts with the Muslim community over the past five years,” Nancy McNamara, assistant director of the FBI’s inspection division, wrote in a Sept. 17 letter to DoJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz that was obtained by FrontPage Magazine.

“Outreach to the Muslim community remains critical to the FBI’s mission,” McNamara writes. “Accordingly, we will ensure our guidance on CAIR liaison is quickly updated and clarified. In that regard, the FBI agrees with your recommendations and has already taken steps to implement remedial actions.”

CAIR has been a shady operation from its creation nearly 20 years ago.

CAIR, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, is the Islamofascist organization in the United States most favored by leftists, Islamist fellow-travelers, dupes, and useful idiots. It has enjoyed remarkable success in infiltrating the American political establishment.

CAIR applauded CIA director John Brennan and President Obama for following its recommendations by avoiding the perfectly useful word Islamist. “Islamist is a stealth slur,” according to CAIR. “It exists as a piece of coded language.”

CAIR poses as a civil rights organization in order to immunize itself from criticism. “We are similar to a muslim NAACP,” says CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

On more than one occasion CAIR has been compared to the German American Bund, a U.S.-based organization created to promote a favorable view of Nazi Germany. The Bund, like CAIR, was created with the assistance of unfriendly foreign powers.

CAIR was founded in 1994 by Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad, both of whom worked for a pro-Palestine group established by senior Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook, and functioned as Hamas’ public relations and recruitment arm in the United States.

“[U]ntil we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS,” wrote an FBI official in 2009, “the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner.”

This latest development in the CAIR saga comes after a senior Muslim Brotherhood official who is also a member of the Clinton family’s political network was arrested in Egypt in an ongoing roundup of seditious Islamist militants. Charged with inciting violence, Gehad el-Haddad worked for the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation from mid-2007 to mid-2012.

Gehad, incidentally, is the Egyptian version of the Arabic word Jihad.

Matthew Vadum


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CAIR Leaders Curry Favor With Dictators

by John Rossomando

The International Criminal Court (ICC) charged Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with genocide and crimes against humanity in March 2009, but that did not keep Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad from meeting with the dictator's representatives in November 2009, according to law-enforcement sources.

Bashir is wanted in connection with the Darfur genocide that stirred a global outcry. He recently stirred controversy by trying to get into the United States to attend this month's opening of the United Nations General Assembly.

The sources told the Investigative Project on Terrorism that the Sudanese dictator's representatives met with Awad during the 2009 UN summit seeking his help to gain access to individuals in the Obama administration.

Awad subsequently traveled to Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in August 2010 and met with a representative of Bashir.

This was not the first time the CAIR chief met with representatives of dictators. He sought out help from late Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Gaddafi in September 2009, seeking his help underwriting CAIR's efforts to distribute 1 million copies of the Quran to government officials and to the general public in the United States.

A Libyan news website noted CAIR communications director Ibrahim Hooper and Chairman Larry Shaw joined Awad in appealing to the Libyan dictator. "[W]e appreciate your efforts over the years and wish also to extend your interest will extend to Muslims in America, God willing," Awad said at a reception for Gaddafi. This came after Gaddafi's rambling, 100-minute speech to the General Assembly

In addition to the Qurans, Awad sought Gaddafi's help in launching a new entity called the Muslim Peace Foundation.

But CAIR's stance toward Gaddafi shifted after the start of the Arab Spring when Gaddafi began killing his own people. Awad and CAIR then denounced him as a madman. The CAIR leader denied receiving any money from Gaddafi during a March 2011 radio interview, saying that his pitch had failed.

But it was not as if Gaddafi's human-rights record was unknown in 2009. President Ronald Reagan denounced him as the "mad dog of the Middle East" following the bombing of a Berlin discotheque that killed that killed American soldiers in 1986, followed two years later by the Lockerbie bombing.

State Department documents obtained by the IPT under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show that Awad, Hooper and Shaw visited Saudi Arabia to solicit $50 million in governmental and non-governmental contributions.

John Rossomando


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Will Bibi Trade Iran for Palestine?

by Jonathan S. Tobin

On Sunday, 17 members of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing coalition sent him a letter making it clear they want no part of an Oslo rerun which would involve further surrender of territory and the creation of an independent Palestinian state. The group, which included five deputy ministers, referenced last week’s 20th anniversary of the 1993 Oslo Accords which set off two decades of peace processing but they were most eager to quote, at length, a 2002 speech by Netanyahu in which he pledged never to accept a Palestinian state, since, as he said at the time, it would present a deadly threat to the Jewish state. But the context was the current negotiations currently being conducted between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that were convened earlier this month by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. But since no one, except perhaps for Kerry, thinks there’s a ghost of a chance that those talks will result in an agreement, it’s worth asking what exactly the 17 members of the Likud and Habayit Hayehudi parties are worrying about?

Interestingly, one of the leaders of this faction, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, acknowledged that consensus when he told the Times of Israel that the signers of the letter thought there was no chance the talks with the Palestinians would succeed, but said “we want to make sure we won’t be surprised.” What kind of a surprise is he anticipating? Israeli journalist Ben Caspit writing in AL Monitor thinks he has the answer to that question. According to Caspit, there may be a secret deal already in place that will guarantee Netanyahu’s agreement to a Palestinian state. The broad outline of that deal is this: Palestine for Iran. That means Israel trades a diplomatic triumph in the peace talks in exchange for an ironclad guarantee that the U.S. will prevent Iran from going nuclear. If, as Caspit claims, this proposal is already common knowledge in the upper echelons of the coalition, Kerry’s revival of the peace process with the Palestinians is merely a shadow game masking the real negotiations between the U.S. and Israel and that’s what really scares the Israeli right. Yet while Caspit’s claims seem to have substance, the assumption that Netanyahu or Obama are either interested in or capable of coming to such an agreement is still doubtful.

The first problem with any potential U.S.-Israel deal is the Iran component. Given the justified Israeli skepticism about the West’s infatuation with new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, it is highly debatable whether Netanyahu would or could trust any promise from Obama on the subject. Obama’s disastrous handling of the Syrian chemical weapons issue only accentuates those doubts. It is reasonable to argue that Israel has no alternative but to trust U.S. promises on Iran since the window for the Jewish state to attack on its own may be closing. A diplomatic resolution of the nuclear dilemma or a U.S. attack would be far preferable than an Israeli strike that would have to be smaller in scale and therefore less effective. But right now the notion that Obama’s word is his bond is the sort of assumption that no rational person, let alone a cynic like Netanyahu can make, especially when the stakes are this high. Since Obama’s end of this deal will likely mean a diplomatic agreement with Iran and Netanyahu is not likely to believe Tehran has any interest in observing such a deal or that the U.S. would be willing to threaten an attack to enforce, it is hard to see how he could be cajoled into accepting it.

But even if, for the sake of argument, we assume that Obama can make such a promise and that Netanyahu and a majority of his government would buy it, any deal on “Palestine” will necessarily involve the Palestinians. The reason why the current talks have no chance is the same as the one that doomed previous negotiations, including the three Israeli offers of statehood that the Palestinians rejected. No Palestinian leader and certainly not a weakling like Mahmoud Abbas, has the will or the ability to sign any accord that recognizes the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn.

Those who agree with Caspit’s claims more or less concede this but the theory behind the “Israel for Palestine” thesis posits that what will happen is that after Kerry’s talks fail, Obama will present Netanyahu with his own plan that the Israeli would have to accept. So would the Palestinians. Caspit says that would mean an Israeli withdrawal to the separation fence but not from Jerusalem or the major West Bank settlement banks that are enclosed by the barrier. No outlying settlements would be evacuated (theoretically preventing the breakup of the Likud over the deal) but much of the West Bank — how much Caspit is not sure — would be left for the Palestinians to have as their state that would be recognized by the U.N., the U.S. and Israel. The U.S. would promise the Palestinians that the borders would not be final but merely an interim stage before more negotiations that would reap them more territory including a share of Jerusalem.

Would the Palestinians accept such an interim deal? It would certainly be in their interests to do so since sovereignty would strengthen their position in future talks.

Yet even if we buy into the idea that Netanyahu longs to be treated with the international respect that goes to peacemakers and will break faith with his coalition in order to get it, there is no way he would agree to such a deal without the Palestinians being forced to agree to end the conflict for all time by recognizing Israel as the Jewish state and giving up on the right of return for the descendants of the 1948 Arab refugees. And that is something that Abbas is not likely to do no matter what the temptations since doing so would strengthen his Hamas rivals and endanger his life.

There are other reasons to think this may not happen.

One is that all of the loose talk about a secret deal already in place may be disinformation being spread by the United States or by some Israelis in order to build momentum for a peace deal. Anyone who believes everything they hear coming out of the mouth of Israeli politicians or U.S. diplomats is also likely to buy a bridge in Brooklyn.

Another is that Caspit’s concept takes it as a given that President Obama is willing to do anything to achieve peace in the Middle East in the same manner that Bill Clinton employed when he was orchestrating the process during the late 1990s as Oslo unraveled. Assuming that Obama has the will to do something on Iran is hard enough to believe. Making a similar assumption about his willingness to expend much of his increasingly scarce political capital to take a chance on Middle East peace is even harder. Though presidents sinking into irrelevance during troubled second terms often turn to foreign policy for triumphs they can no longer achieve at home, the notion that Obama is willing to take the chance it will all blow up in his face as it did to Clinton after the collapse of the 2000 Camp David talks and Yasir Arafat’s launch of the second intifada requires a prodigious leap of faith.

Last, there is the enigma of Netanyahu. As Caspit acknowledges, “Sometimes Netanyahu does reach agreements, but it is only on very rare occasions that he implements them.” Though he has traveled a long way toward accepting the concept of a two-state solution, he is not likely to repeat the mistakes made by his predecessors Yitzhak Rabin or Ariel Sharon. If he does sign on to a deal it will not be one that will trade land for terror as they did but for a complete and final peace. As much as he considers maintaining the alliance with the United States to be one of his top priorities, he has also shown he knows Israel must set limits on how far it can be pushed by its superpower friend. Moreover, the belief that his longing to be thought of as an eminent statesman will cause him to sacrifice his country’s security or give up one vital interest for another is to underestimate his character and his innate skepticism.

Rather than being a stalking horse for a future Obama peace plan, the Kerry talks may be exactly what they appear to be: a diplomatic dead-end pushed by a hubristic secretary of state with no plan B to deal with the consequences of certain failure. Supporters of Palestinian statehood hope and Israeli right-wingers fear that Netanyahu will soon make the deal with Obama that Caspit writes about but until we see it with our own eyes the rest of us should take “Iran for Palestine” with a shovelful of salt.
Jonathan S. Tobin


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