Friday, November 14, 2014

Obama Desperate for a Deal with Iran at any Price - Isi Leibler

by Isi Leibler

Displaying Despite their statements to the contrary, the Obama Administration appears determined to achieve an “agreement” with Iran and seems willing to breach their repeated undertakings that they would never countenance Iran becoming a nuclear power. With the Mullahs increased intransigence as they sense the desperation of the Americans to avoid a confrontation, the November 24 deadline will probably be extended, enabling the centrifuges to continue spinning whilst the P5+1 countries engage in fruitless negotiations with the duplicitous Iranians.

The Iranians have mocked Secretary of State Kerry’s overtures, including his secret appeals to them to coordinate with the U.S. in opposing ISIS. Speaking from a podium bedecked with banners blazing “America cannot do a damn thing,” Ayatollah Khomeini boasted that the “Great Satan’s” efforts to bring Iran to its knees had failed, and that President Obama lacked the courage for a military confrontation. Ali Younesi, senior advisor to “moderate” President Rouhani, referred to Obama as “the weakest of US presidents” whose six years in office were “humiliating”.

Nevertheless, the administration continues to grovel in an effort to appease the Iranians. It is widely believed that the unprecedented hostility recently directed against Israel, especially the statement that Israel had lost the opportunity of exploiting the military option to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear power, were primarily for the benefit of the Ayatollah.

The London Times claimed that American and Iranian officials have even been discussing the opening of the US trade office in Tehran.

The frenzied, initially covert, efforts to engage the support of Iran in the struggle against ISIS - despite Iran being designated by the U.S. as a terrorist state - has further undermined the little credibility the US retains with the moderate Sunni states, considered until recently as staunch allies.
Obama’s deception of his allies was exemplified when it was disclosed that he had written a secret letter to Ayatollah Khomeini pleading with him to reach to an accommodation. This, the fourth letter he had written to the Ayatollah – all of which were ignored - was an explicit breach of undertaking to his allies that any independent initiatives would be preceded by consultations.

Even one of Obama’s favorite in-house journalists, Jeffrey Goldberg, felt impelled to remark that the “most recent letter was delivered at an unfortunate moment in the run-up to the putatively climactic negotiations between Iran and the world powers” when the Obama administration had already conceded to many of the demands of Iran. Goldberg concluded his column by stating “the Iranians originally came to the negotiating table because US-led sanctions were hurting them badly. I understand the need for give and take negotiations, but I’m getting worried that the US is focused too much on the first half of that equation”.

The U.S. administration has already given approval to Iran to enrich uranium, effectively making them a nuclear threshold state. While the global powers agreed to enable the Iranians to have1000 centrifuges to process material required to create nuclear fuel, the Iranians have outrightly refused to dismantle any of the 19,000 centrifuges they have already accumulated. It is understood that Iran is already in the position to accrue sufficient enriched fissile material to become a nuclear power within a few months, if it so desired. The US has indicated that it would be willing to sign off on a deal which would extend this breakout phase to one year, hardly reassuring to the region.

The Iranians also displayed utter contempt towards the U.S. by violating the interim accord, and failing to disclose an enrichment facility in Qom and even denying access to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to military sites and nuclear scientists engaged in research. Clearly, the duplicitous Islamist regime would continue to circumvent any agreement which is not rigorously monitored and enforced – a procedure that the Iranians have already made clear they will never accept.

While the outcome of this issue will have immense global implications, especially in the Middle East, Israel is the country most affected. The Iranian regime’s hatred of Israel is Messianic. It openly proclaims its commitment to destroy the Jewish state. Coinciding with Obama’s groveling letter to him, Ayatollah Khomeini posted a Twitter stating that the only way to stop the “Israeli crimes”, was to annihilate” the “barbaric, wolf like and infanticidal regime of Israel”. Israel cannot accept the prospect of such a fanatical terrorist regime becoming a nuclear threshold state.

Under pressure, following the release of his letter to the Ayatollah, Present Obama has stepped back, stating that there is still a big gap and that “we may not be able to get there”. He added “our number one priority with respect to Iran is making sure they don’t get a nuclear weapon”. Even his closest associates would question their President’s credibility when he expresses such views.

The question is whether at this advanced stage, the P1+5 nations, desperate to appease and reach an accord with the terrorist state at any price, can still be deterred from capitulating.

The key rests with the United States. The extraordinary landslide victory by the Republicans at the midterm elections – clearly a vote of non-confidence in Obama - provides some hope.

Yet it should be noted that within the American political system, the president assumes the primary control of foreign relations. The Republican controlled Congress and Senate can certainly pass resolutions, but that will not necessarily limit the White House in this arena of foreign policy. In addition, realizing that on the domestic scene his hands will be restricted by Congress, Obama might even decide to intensify his foreign policy activities. The principal areas are likely to include the embrace of the Iranians and possibly trying to impose a settlement on the Israelis with the Palestinians.

However in relation to Iran, the president must persuade Congress to rescind the sanctions it originally legislated. Obama may constitutionally override the congressional sanctions and unilaterally suspend enforcement, but that could lead to a major confrontation with Congress.

Needless to say, if a reasonable agreement was achieved it would be endorsed by Congress. But all indications suggest that Obama is promoting an Alice in Wonderland deal with the Iranians which Congress would reject.

The potential incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already stated unequivocally that the Senate will review any deal with Iran and ensure that “any comprehensive agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program, both protects the national security of the United States and recognizes Israel’s own defense as a security partner of our country.”

At this critical time, American Jews and friends of Israel should exert all their influence to convince the administration and a bipartisan Congress that appeasing the Iranian mullahs will have horrific long-term consequences and must be avoided. They should mount a powerful public campaign to demonstrate the catastrophic blunder the government would make should it appease this evil terrorist regime, which in the absence of becoming a nuclear state, is likely in time to implode internally because of the growing opposition from own its young people and the middle class.

This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom

Isi Leibler may be contacted at  His website can be viewed at


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A Turkish Quest to "Liberate" Jerusalem - Burak Bekdil

by Burak Bekdil

Both Turkey's President Erdogan and its Prime Minister Davutoglu have declared countess times that Gaza and Jerusalem (in addition to Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Somalia, and the Maghreb) are Turkey's "domestic affairs."
In truth, there is no mention of any city's name in the Qur'an.

Turks have a different understanding of what constitutes an occupation and a conquest of a city. The Turkish rule is very simple: The capture of a foreign city by force is an occupation if that city is Turkish (or Muslim) and the capture of a city by force is conquest if the city belongs to a foreign nation (or non-Muslims).

For instance, Turks still think the capture of Istanbul in 1453 was not occupation; it was conquest.

In a 2012 speech, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (then Prime Minister) said: "Just like Mecca, Cairo and Istanbul are cities of the Qur'an." In truth, there is no mention of any city's name in the Qur'an. Never mind.

"Conquest," Turkey's top Muslim cleric, Professor Mehmet Gormez, declared in 2012, "is not to occupy lands or destroy cities and castles. Conquest is the conquest of hearts!" That is why, the top Turkish cleric said, "In our history there has never been occupation." Instead, Professor Gormez said, "in our history, there has always been conquest." He further explained that one pillar of conquest is to "open up minds to Islam, and hearts to the Qur'an." [Editior: the Arabic word for "open" is identical to the word for "conquer":
It is in this religious justification that most Turkish Islamists think they have an Allah-given right to take infidel lands by the force of sword -- ironically, not much different from what the tougher Islamists have been doing in large parts of Syria and Iraq. Ask any commander in the Islamic State and he would tell you what the jihadists are doing there is "opening up minds to Islam, and hearts to the Qur'an."

Both President Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have declared countless times that Gaza and Jerusalem (in addition to Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Somalia and the Maghreb) are Turkey's "domestic affairs."

This author wrote in this journal on Oct. 30:
In reality, with or without the normalization of diplomatic relations between Ankara and Jerusalem, the Turks have never hidden their broader goals in the Arab-Israeli dispute: that Jerusalem should be the capital of a Palestinian state; and that Israel should be pushed back to its pre-1967 borders. Until then, it will be 'halal' [permitted in Islam] for Erdogan to blame Israel for global warming, the Ebola virus, starvation in Africa and every other misfortune the world faces.
As if to confirm this whimsical view, Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan has blamed Israel for democratic failings in the Arab world. "Israel works with [undemocratic] regimes and keeps its ship afloat." So, it is because of Israel that Arab nations have never established democratic culture -- before or after 1948; or before or after the Arab Spring revolts. But fortunately, Palestinians have a new "protector."

From Prime Minister Davutoglu's public speech on November 7:
Al-Aqsa [mosque in Jerusalem] will one day be liberated. The Israelis should know that the oppressed Syrians have a protector. The oppressed Palestinians too have a protector. That protector is Turkey. Just as Bursa [the Turkish city where he spoke] ended its occupation, the honorable Palestinians, honorable Muslims will end the [Israeli] occupation. Just as Osman Gazi [a sepulchre in Bursa] was liberated, al-Aqsa too will be liberated. Al-Quds [Jerusalem] is both our first prayer direction and has been entrusted with us by history. It has been entrusted with us by Hazrat Omar. The last freedom seen in Jerusalem was under our [Ottoman] rule. Al-Quds is our cause. It is the occupying, oppressive Israeli government that has turned the Middle East into a quagmire.
Echoing that view, President Erdogan said that protecting Islamic sites in the Holy Land is a sacred mission (for his government), and bluntly warned that any attack against the al-Aqsa mosque is no different than an attack on the Kaaba in the holy city of Mecca.

Spot the difference: In the eyes of Turkey's political and religious leadership, Istanbul and its Hagia Sophia (once a Greek Orthodox Basilica) were legitimately "conquered" by the Muslim Ottomans, while Jerusalem and its al-Aqsa mosque (built atop the ruins of the Jewish Temples) are illegally "occupied" by Israel. (Images source: Wikimedia Commons)
No doubt, after Gaza, al-Aqsa (and Jerusalem) has become a powerful Turkish obsession, and a treasure-trove of votes, especially in view of Turkey's parliamentary elections next June. And do not expect the Turkish leadership only to corrupt facts. Plain fabrication is a more favored method. All the same, someone, sometimes, would unwillingly reveal the truth often when trying to corrupt other facts.

Since Davutoglu claimed that "Jerusalem has been entrusted with the Turks by Hazrat Omar," it may be useful to refresh memories. Hazrat Omar is Omar bin Al-Khattab (579-644), one of the most powerful and influential Muslim caliphs in history. Within the context of "conquest vs. occupation," he was referenced by the top cleric, Professor Gormez in a 2012 speech:
After Hazrat Omar conquered al-Quds [Jerusalem], he was invited to pray at a church [as there were no mosques yet in Jerusalem]. But he politely refused because he was worried that the [conquering] Muslims could turn the church into a mosque after he prayed there.
Since medieval historical facts cannot have changed over the past two years, the top Turkish ulama [religious scholar], referencing a most powerful Muslim caliph, is best witness that when the Muslims had first arrived in Jerusalem there was not a single mosque in the city. Why? Because Jerusalem was not a Muslim city. Why, then, do Turkish Islamists claim that it is Muslim? Because it once had been "conquered." Would the same Turks surrender Istanbul to the occupying forces that took the city after World War I because its capture in 1920 made it a non-Turkish city? No, that was not conquest, that was occupation!

Had Messrs Erdogan and Davutoglu been schoolchildren, such reasoning might have been called bullying and cheating.

Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hürriyet Daily and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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Brookings Institution’s New Idea: Try Failed Solutions Again - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

cia_vet_bruce_riedel_the_brookings_institutionBruce Riedel, senior fellow and director of the Brookings Institution’s Intelligence Project, published a piece in the Daily Beast last Sunday with the provocative title, “Why’s Al Qaeda So Strong? Washington Has (Literally) No Idea.” That is certainly true, but Riedel’s recommendations for how the political establishment can get a clue and finally defeat the jihadis are nothing but tired retreads of analyses that have been tried and have failed again and again. Coming from a think tank as influential as Brookings, this goes a long way toward explaining why neither party seems able to reevaluate and discard political points of view and plans of action, no matter how many times they lead to disaster.

Riedel rightly faults the U.S. for not meeting the ideological challenge that groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State pose, but then he advocates essentially what mainstream analysts on both the Left and the Right have advocated for years: establishing a State of Palestine, supporting “reform and justice” in Muslim countries, and working to end Sunni-Shi’ite sectarianism. These solutions have been tried, repeatedly, and every time they failed abysmally.

While Riedel is correct that the U.S. hasn’t countered the ideology of jihad groups, he shows no sign of knowing what that ideology really is. In fact, he demonstrates that he shares the same false premises that have led the U.S. government to its abysmal failure to understand why jihad groups are so strong and how they can be countered. Both Riedel and Washington policymakers assume that the appeal to Muslims of the stated goals and motivations of jihad groups — establishment of the caliphate, destruction of non-Sharia regimes, and ultimately global Islamic dominance — can be blunted, if not extinguished altogether, by essentially giving jihadis and Islamic supremacists some of what they want. They assume that in that event, the larger aggregate of Muslims will respond the way Westerners in secular democracies would respond: by accepting the compromise and rejecting more extreme solutions.

We have the record of the last thirteen years and more to show that this assumption is false.
First and foremost among Riedel’s faulty analyses is his scapegoating of Israel for the failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians. “Unfortunately,” Riedel laments, “for six years the Obama team has tried to push the two-state solution without any success. It rightly blames both Israeli and Palestinian intransigence for its failure. But the core issue is Israel’s refusal to end the occupation of the West Bank.”

One word exposes the falsity of this analysis: Gaza. Anyone who still thinks after the Gaza withdrawal that a Palestinian state would bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians (and yes, I know they are legion, and in both parties, and in all the corridors of power in the U.S. and Europe) hasn’t been paying attention. We were told in 2005 that “occupation” was the problem, and if Israel withdrew from Gaza, the Gazans would turn to peaceful pursuits. Only a few people, including me, warned that Gaza would just become a jihad base for newly virulent attacks against Israel. Events proved us correct.

Now Riedel wants Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, aka the West Bank, and assures us that this withdrawal from this “occupation” is really the one that will finally bring peace and take the wind out of the jihadis’ sails. A Palestinian state, he says, will “severely undermine” al-Qaeda’s appeal “and over time dry up its base” — and he claims this even after acknowledging that “Israel’s destruction” is al-Qaeda’s goal.

Why would the establishment of a Palestinian state now, after the Arab Muslims rejected it in 1948 and the “Palestinians” rejected it in 2000 (and other times) bring peace when the goal of Israel’s total destruction, which Hamas has repeatedly and recently reiterated, would remain? Why would another Israeli withdrawal accomplish what earlier Israeli withdrawals — not just from Gaza, but also from Sinai and southern Lebanon — did not?

Riedel doesn’t consider these questions. He can’t, because any honest answer would show his analysis to be false and based on wishful thinking.

Then Riedel goes on to advocate another failed remedy, claiming that “the extremists’ narrative argues that only violent jihad can bring about change and justice in the Islamic world. They argue the Arab spring proves that peaceful protests and demonstrations, elections and democratic change don’t work in Arabia and the world of Islam. The failure of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt is cited as evidence that ‘moderate’ Islam is too weak to fight the Zionist-Crusader conspiracy and it’s [sic] Quisling allies like Saudi Arabia and the Egyptian army.”

Consequently, he says, “chaos and failed states, not democracy, are what the foreseeable future holds for Arabia. But a Western policy that is blind to the urgent need for reform and justice is certain to end in catastrophe. More immediately, it cedes the ideological battle to al Qaeda’s simple solution that only jihad brings change. Close attachment to autocratic regimes by the West pays short-term dividends but will antagonize generations of Muslims.”

Yet this was precisely the Obama Administration’s policy when it turned against Hosni Mubarak and warmly endorsed the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt. This was the analysis Obama was following when he aided the Libyan jihadis against Gaddafi and the Syrian jihadis against Assad (although in the latter case the rise of the Islamic State has exposed his Syria policy as confused and incoherent).

Riedel mentions the fall of the Ikhwan regime in Egypt as part of the jihadis’ recruitment rhetoric, but he misses its real import: when the U.S. followed his recommendations and stopped backing dictators in Muslim countries, favoring instead popular revolutionaries and the “democratic process,” the result was not stability and the weakening of jihad groups, but chaos and anarchy in Libya, unrest and instability in Egypt, and the strengthening of jihad groups the world over. The Brotherhood regime in Egypt fell because many secular Muslims don’t want to live under Sharia oppression. However, Sharia advocates are numerous in Egypt and other Muslim countries — so the result of backing “democracy” in Egypt and other Muslim countries was not the establishment of peaceful, stable Sharia regimes (which would not be a desirable outcome anyway, cf. Saudi Arabia and Iran), but more violence. 
The dictators were bloody and reprehensible; the “democratic process” in all too many Muslim countries has resulted in regimes that are scarcely less bloody and far less stable.
Nonetheless, Riedel says, “Full speed ahead.” What would he say if there were a free election in Iraq and Syria now and the Islamic State won, or even got a significant percentage of the vote? He seems to assume, as George W. Bush and so many others assumed, that elections in Muslim countries would lead to the establishment of pro-Western, secular, stable republics. It has never happened. Why will it happen next time?

Riedel then offers yet another faulty analysis: “The extremist message also encourages sectarianism and intolerance. The Shia are portrayed as false Muslims and brutally attacked to encourage Sunni-Shia hatred. Sectarian strife now empowers the civil wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and Al Qaedaism flourishes in the chaos. The West says far too little about the cancer of sectarianism.”

Then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this about it in 2007: “There’s still a tendency to see these things in Sunni-Shia terms. But the Middle East is going to have to overcome that.” The Bush Administration tried in numerous ways to help them overcome it in Iraq. It held one-person, one-vote elections that resulted in a Shi’ite regime in Baghdad — an outcome that was absolutely predictable, since Shi’ites are a majority in Iraq. That regime was supposed to include Sunnis. It was absolutely predictable also that it did not manage to do so, both because it didn’t want to and Sunnis didn’t want to participate anyway.

The Sunni-Shi’ite divide is 1,400 years old. The history of Islam is filled with occasions when it erupted into violence. The idea that the non-Muslim West can heal this or should even try to do so is as hubristic as it is myopic, and shows that Riedel (and Condoleezza Rice, and myriad others) have no idea of the history or beliefs of either group.

That is no surprise. The real reason why the U.S. and the West in general haven’t confronted the ideology of jihad groups is because they refuse to admit that it even exists. They insist that Islam is peaceful and that groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have nothing to do with Islam. They don’t have any curiosity about how this supposed misunderstanding of Islam came to be so widespread and powerful, and they have never pressed Muslim groups that ostensibly reject it to do anything to blunt its appeal for young Muslims.

So Riedel is right: Washington has no idea why al-Qaeda is so strong. Neither does he. And a strong indication of why is Riedel’s affiliation with Brookings, a Qatar-funded group that publishes justifications for jihad terror and gives jihad terror supporters and enablers access to the world’s most powerful people. It also is strongly pro-Hamas and anti-Israel.

Brookings is responsible to an immense degree for the application of these failed policies over the last few years. It should be recognized for what it is and not allowed to lead the U.S. over the cliff yet again.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We're In, is now available.


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Amid Declining US Influence, China's Mideast Footprint Grows - David P. Goldman

by David P. Goldman

The implosion of America's geopolitical position has placed risks and opportunities at China's doorstep, to Beijing's great surprise.
A year ago, Chinese officials privately reassured visitors that their country would "follow the lead of the dominant superpower" in matters relating to Middle East security, including Iran's attempts to acquire nuclear weapons. For the past several decades, China has allowed the US to look out for the Persian Gulf while it increased its dependency on Persian Gulf oil. By 2020, China expects to import 70% of its oil, and most of that will come from the Gulf.

The Chinese view has changed radically during the past few months, in part due to the collapse of the Syrian and Iraqi states and the rise of Islamic State. It is hard to find a Chinese specialist who still thinks that the US can stand surely for Persian Gulf security. Opinion is divided between those who think that America is merely incompetent and those who think that America deliberately wants to destabilize the Persian Gulf.

Now that the US is approaching self-sufficiency in energy resources, some senior Chinese analysts believe it wants to push the region into chaos in order to hurt China. One prominent Chinese analyst pointed out that Islamic State is led by Sunni officers trained by the United States during the 2007-2008 "surge" as well as elements of Saddam Hussein's old army, and that this explains why IS has displayed such military and organizational competence.

The complaint is justified, to be sure: General David Petraeus helped train the 100,000-strong "Sunni Awakening" to create a balance of power against the Shi'ite majority regime that the US helped bring to power in 2006. How, the Chinese ask, could the Bush administration and Petraeus have been so stupid? To persuade the Chinese that they were indeed that stupid is a daunting task.

The decline of American influence in the region from which China obtains most of its oil is not a happy event for Beijing.
China's attitude towards Washington has turned towards open contempt. Writing of the mid-term elections, the official daily newspaper Global Times intoned: "The lame-duck president will be further crippled ... he has done an insipid job, offering nearly nothing to his supporters. US society has grown tired of his banality."

But the decline of American influence in the region from which China obtains most of its oil is not a happy event for Beijing.

China did not anticipate the end of the free ride from the Americans, and it isn't sure what to do next. It has tried to maintain a balance among countries with whom it trades and who are hostile to each other. It has sold a great deal of conventional weapons to Iran, for example, and some older, less-sophisticated ballistic missiles.

But China has sold Saudi Arabia its top-of-the-line intermediate range missiles, giving the Saudis a "formidable deterrent capability" against Iran and other prospective adversaries. China obtains more oil from Saudi Arabia than any other country, although its imports from Iraq and Oman are growing faster. Because the latter two countries are closer to Iran, China wants to strike a balance.

Chinese opinion is divided about the implications of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons: some strategists believe that the balance of nuclear power in the region will suffice to prevent the use of such weapons, while others fear that a nuclear exchange in the Gulf might stop the flow of oil and bring down China's economy. China has joined the P-5 plus 1 negotiations (involving the UN Security Council permanent five members plus Germany) on Iran's nuclear status, but has not offered a policy independent of President Barack Obama's.

Meanwhile the rise of Islamist extremism worries Beijing, as well it should. At least a hundred Uyghurs reportedly are fighting with Islamic State, presumably in order to acquire terrorist skills to bring back home to China. Chinese analysts have a very low opinion of the Obama administration's approach to dealing with IS, but do not have an alternative policy. This is an issue of growing importance. Instability threatens the Silk Road project at several key notes.

China has no sympathy whatever for what analysts there like to call "political Islam". America's flirtation with the Muslim Brotherhood - both from the Obama administration and from mainstream Republicans such as Senator John McCain - strikes the Chinese as incompetence, or worse. But China has no capability to go after the Islamists, except for a very limited deployment of marines off the coast of Somalia.

China's policy-making is careful, conservative and consensus-driven. Its overriding concern is its own economy. The pace of transformation of the Middle East has surprised it, and it is trying to decide what to do next.

Its pro forma policy is to join the Iran talks, and offer to join the Quartet (the UN, the US, the European Union, and Russia) talks on the Israel-Palestine issue, but neither of these initiatives has much to do with its actual concerns.

What China will do in the future cannot be predicted. But it seems inevitable that China's basic interests will lead it to far greater involvement in the region, all the more so as the US withdraws.

David P. Goldman is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the Wax Family Fellow at the Middle East Forum. His book How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is Dying, Too) was published by Regnery Press in September 2011. A volume of his essays on culture, religion and economics, It's Not the End of the World - It's Just the End of You, also appeared that fall, from Van Praag Press.


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The Left’s Lingering Oslo Delusions - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

Writing for The Times of Israel, senior staff writer Avi Issacharoff criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for scapegoating Abbas as the cause for the recent disturbances in Israel and for failing to point the finger at the real culprits, Hamas. He posits that Netanyahu, in a quest to avoid negotiations with Israel’s “peace partners,” has painted Abbas as a purveyor of violence and thus, an obstacle to peace. He also notes that as a result of the disturbances, “an entire country is in a panic.” 

I submit however, that the only people who are “in a panic” are Issacharoff and leftists of like-mind who detest Netanyahu, seek his demise and will stop at nothing to disparage him. Israel has in the past witnessed and endured far worse violence and each time weathered the storm calmly and resolutely. The people of Israel in the instant mini-crisis are neither panic-stricken nor hysterical though many on the left would like to have us think that. What better way to produce an “intifada” than by talking about it incessantly in the hope of producing a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Issacharoff’s analysis is fundamentally flawed on a number of levels. First, it is Abbas and his Palestinian Authority who are primarily responsible for the uptick in violence. No doubt that Hamas shares some responsibility but it is the PA’s continued campaign of incitement, where Jews are compared to the descendants of apes and pigs and Palestinians are continuously urged in TV broadcasts to confront the “barbaric monkeys” and “wretched pigs” aka Jews, that has led to the current state of affairs.

Abbas’s inflammatory rhetoric adds fuel to the fire. Responsible leaders don’t incite their populace to attack the citizens of another state, and that is precisely what Abbas has done, over and over again. Responsible leaders don’t pay condolence calls to the families of assassins and refer to them as martyrs who will ascend to heaven, and that is precisely what Abbas has done. Responsible leaders don’t name squares and streets after people, who in normal societies, would be locked up in institutions for the criminally insane, but Abbas’s Palestinian Authority has done so repeatedly.

Issacharoff refers to Abbas’s recent vitriolic, blood-curdling rhetoric, including the glorification of Yehudah Glick’s attempted murder as “stupid.” “Stupid” is a term that should be applied to one who texts while driving or chain smokes. Stupid is not a term that one normally associates with visceral anti-Semitism and incitement to murder. When the leader of the Palestinians extolls the virtues of the murderer of Jews, that is incitement to murder and anti-Semitism, plain and simple. To call it anything else is “stupid” and delusional. I wonder if Issacharoff would refer to Goebbels’s propaganda pieces in which he depicts Jews as rats as “stupid.”

Second, contrary to Issacharoff’s assertions, it is Abbas who remains the impediment to negotiations, not Netanyahu. In 2009, Netanyahu agreed to an unprecedented 10-month settlement freeze in the hopes of spurring on the anemic “peace talks.” Abbas waited nine months before engaging Netanyahu ensuring that there would be virtually no time for any meaningful substantive negotiations.

In the latest round of negotiations, Abbas remained the stumbling block, refusing to budge on the so-called Right of Return issue, refusing to acknowledge that the Jews have some rights here too and in general, maintaining the same tired rejectionist posture of his mentor-in-chief, Yassir Arafat, who in turn adopted his views from the Nazi collaborator, Haj Amin el-Husseini.

Let us call a spade a spade and be honest with ourselves. Abbas is an autocratic ruler whose term of office was supposed to have ended six years ago. He is therefore a leader with absolutely zero legitimacy. He is also a Holocaust denier, who, in his doctoral thesis, denied the existence of gas chambers, called the deaths of 6,000,000 Jews “a fantastic lie” and somewhat paradoxically blamed the Holocaust on the evil Zionists, who incited the Germans to hate Jews. In other words, the Jews are responsible for the Holocaust, which, incidentally, never happened. These repugnant views place Abbas in the same category as former “Grand Wizard” David Duke and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The sad truth is that the Palestinians, whether Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Army of Islam or Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, share the same pernicious goals, which is the total eradication and annihilation of the State of Israel. The only difference between the former three groups and the latter is that Abbas and his cronies on the PA payroll wear ties whereas the other groups have adopted the fashion style of their brethren in the Islamic Republic. The sooner the left understands this concept and stops treating Abbas as though he was some toddler, dismissing his deleterious statements as the product of “stupidity” rather than something much more malevolent, the closer we’ll come to a sustainable peace but not before then.

Ari Lieberman


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Oils Well for American Energy Independence - Michael Curtis

by Michael Curtis

A pressing question lies in determining what effects considerable cuts in the price of oil, the glut in oil supplies, and the remarkable growth of the U.S. oil industry, has and will have on international politics as well as on the global economy.  Almost certainly, the United States and Western countries will benefit both politically and economically, while most of the members of OPEC, and countries including Russia, Iran, and the Islamic State of Iraq, and Syria, will be hurt. More broadly, there will be a global economic benefit as lower energy costs will help both producers and consumers.

It has come as an unexpected surprise that the price of crude oil, $85 in November 2014, is far lower than it was a few weeks ago. Uncertainty over the future price will probably be ended by decisions of the 12-member OPEC meeting in Vienna on November 27, 2014 on the levels of production and price. OPEC controls about 40% of global oil output. It faces a dilemma. Cuts in oil production will lead to price increases that would help some of the OPEC countries, Venezuela, Angola, and Iran. Cuts in oil prices is likely to reduce output from non-OPEC countries that are unable to be competitive. They would make American shale production in North Dakota and in Texas unprofitable.

At the core of the issue is the decision of Saudi Arabia to increase its output of oil to 9.65 million barrels a day while the price is declining. The Arab Gulf region still has the largest concentration of oil and gas fields in the world. Those countries account for about one-third of global oil production and 17 per cent of gas output. Saudi Arabia has long been the commanding power in this respect, and with its vast resources is not tied to a particular price target. Saudi Arabia can benefit from a lower oil price which could stop or delay production in other countries or their attempts to develop new sources of energy.

The United States, and its national security, has been linked to Saudi Arabia since the meeting on the USS Quincy in February 1945 between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud, the man who would become King of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis at first promised to supply cheap oil in return for U.S. protection of its security. That, together with other events and political instability in the region, has meant American presence, including maintaining a military presence at considerable cost in the area.

Since the days of the Greeks, we know that you cannot step into the same river twice. The relation between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is changing to the benefit of the U.S. One factor affecting this is the rapid decline in oil reserves in the Gulf areas of production: currently it is about 48 per cent of world reserves, compared with 64 per cent thirty years ago. More immediately important is that the political threat to the West of sanctions imposed by Arab states as was done after the Yom Kippur war of 1973 is now not a viable option for at least two reasons. One is the oil glut, the increase of oil supplies available from the U.S., from Central Asia, Libya, Russia, Israel, and other countries. There are now more than 1600 oil rigs in the U.S., where production has grown by 15 per cent in 2013. U.S. production of crude oil increased from 5.7 million barrels a day in 2011 to 8.4 million in November 2014.

A second, related, factor is the increase due to extraordinary technological developments, particularly in the U.S., in horizontal, deep water, and shale gas drilling, and in hydraulic fracturing. Most important is the decline in demand for oil as a result both of a decline in global economic growth, especially in Europe and in China, the policy of environmental concerns, and conservation, accompanied by greater energy efficiency, especially in new cars.

In addition, a decline in oil price has great economic benefits. It is likely to boost consumer growth, as it did in the 1990s, during an earlier price reduction, and reduce inflation because of more business and consumer spending, and reduce the cost of food. Farmers, especially those producing ethanol, and U.S. airlines, which spent $51 billion on fuel in 2013, will benefit from the price cut.

Only the paranoid can believe that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are engaged in a conspiracy to lower the price of oil, yet both countries can benefit from it both economically and politically, especially regarding relations with Iran and Russia. Saudi Arabia has two reasons for selling crude oil at below prevailing market price, though it needs a $90 barrel price for its economy. It hopes to discourage production of shale oil in the world, but more particularly aims to hurt the economy of Iran, its most feared religious rival, Shia not Sunni.

U.S. national security no longer depends on the availability of Arab oil. American policy on Middle East issues should change accordingly, paying less attention to the views of the Arab lobby on those issues and being more actively responsive to the Islamist threat of terrorism.

Here comes that rainy day for Iran. Estimates suggests that Iran needs at least $140 a barrel to balance its budget. The Obama administration and other democratic countries should take the opportunity to pressure Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions and intentions to make a nuclear weapon, rather than make concessions to it.

It is an open question whether the price cut will change Putin’s foreign policy especially towards Ukraine. Russia has had at least fifteen years of high oil prices, and has not used the consequent revenue for sufficiently advancing the economy in an adequate way. It now is obliged to deal with both the problem of sanctions against it as well as the price cut.

Russia is the world’s third largest producer. Oil and gas account for 70 per cent of its exports and more than half of its budget revenue.  It needs a price of $100-$150 a barrel to balance its budget. Already, the price cut has meant a fall in the value of the ruble, which has been supported by the Russian Central Bank, and a rise in inflation. Two possibilities arise. Popular discontent may cause political problems for the regime, or, Putin’ may adopt a more conciliatory policy towards the West.

However, neither is likely. At present Putin is playing pipeline politics. Germany is still Russia's largest single oil customer, and the whole EU is important for the Russian economy. But Putin is skillfully cultivating China, the second largest importer of oil. Earlier in May 2014 an agreement worth about $400 billion was signed. On November 9, 2014 a second ambitious long-term agreement was signed for Russia’s OAO Gasprom to supply 30 billion cubic meters of gas every year for the immediate future, through a pipeline from western Siberia to China.

The U.S., paradoxically is all at once the world’s largest producer, consumer, and importer of oil, and will benefit from the price cut, in spite of the issue of shale production that is relatively more expensive in price. The Obama administration should seize this moment when the country is able to free itself of Arab pressures, and is not dependent on the availability of Arab oil. President Obama has told us he has a pen and a phone. He can now use the pen to sign a Declaration of Energy Independence.

Michael Curtis


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Amnesty Countdown Begins - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

Fox News has learned that the administration plans to announce the executive orders on immigration as early as next Friday. The 10 point plan will, as expected, exempt millions of illegal aliens from deportation.
The president's plans were contained in a draft proposal from a U.S. government agency. The source said the plan could be announced as early as Nov. 21, though the date might slip a few days pending final White House approval. 
Obama was briefed at the White House by Homeland Security officials before leaving on his Asia-Pacific trip last week, Fox News has learned. 
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with Obama in Burma Thursday that the president had not made a final decision on any executive actions concerning immigration and would not announce any until he returned to Washington. 
The plan contains 10 initiatives than span everything from boosting border security to improving pay for immigration officers. 
But the most controversial pertain to the millions who could get a deportation reprieve under what is known as "deferred action." 
The plan calls for expanding deferred action for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children -- but also for the parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. 
The latter could allow upwards of 4.5 million illegal immigrant adults with U.S.-born children to stay, according to estimates. 
Critics in the Senate say those who receive deferred action, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, receive work authorization in the United States, Social Security numbers and government-issued IDs.
Another portion that is sure to cause consternation among anti-"amnesty" lawmakers is a plan to expand deferred action for young people. In June 2012, Obama created such a program for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, entered before June 2007 and were under 31 as of June 2012. The change would expand that to cover anyone who entered before they were 16, and change the cut-off from June 2007 to Jan. 1, 2010. This is estimated to make nearly 300,000 illegal immigrants eligible. 
That's five million illegals made legal with the stroke of a pen, but who's counting? Other parts of the plan include giving a 50% discount on naturalization fees to the first 10,000 applicants - presumably as a spur to get the ball rolling. Also, ICE agents and border patrolmen will receive a raise. Also,
Tech jobs though a State Department immigrant visa program would offer another half-million immigrants a path to citizenship. This would include their spouses as well. 
The other measures include calls to revise removal priorities to target serious criminals for deportation and end the program known as "Secure Communities" and start a new program.
Because who needs "secure communities," right? 

This is worse than most people thought, although there is still a chance some of it will be scrubbed for political reasons. What can Congress do about it?
In a recent op-ed in Politico, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said Congress would stop Obama from taking executive action by adding language explicitly barring money from being used for that purpose. "Congress has the power of the purse. The President cannot spend a dime unless Congress appropriates it," Sessions wrote. He also pointed out that similar language in the past has prevented the president from closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Obama has shown a willingness in the past to take money from other accounts he controls to fund his pet schemes. He did it with the Obamacare rollout and will probably do something similar with immigration if Congress cuts off funds to implement his plan.

Other presidents have used "deferred action" executive orders for illegal immigrants but never on such a massive scale. This is classic executive overreach - perhaps the biggest expansion of presidential power in history. And it comes without the consent of Congress and the clear opposition of the American people.

The sad truth is, he will probably get away with it.

Rick Moran


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Ongoing Arab Destruction and Denial of History - Eli E. Hertz

by Eli E. Hertz

Denial, disregard - and destruction of evidence of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount has become the Arab way to claim Jerusalem.

Arabs deny the bond between Jews and Jerusalem; they sabotage and destroy archaeological evidence, even at the holiest place of Judaism – the Temple Mount.

Arabs continue to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish people’s connection to Jerusalem.

Arab leaders insist that there never was a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount.

They also claim that the Western Wall is really an Islamic holy site to which Muslims have historical rights.

Putting rhetoric into action, Islamic clerics who manage the Temple Mount have demonstrated flagrant disrespect and contempt for the archaeological evidence of a Jewish presence.

Between 1999 and 2001, the Muslim Waqf removed and dumped more than 13,000 tons of what it termed rubble from the Mount and its substructure, including archaeological remains from the First and Second Temple periods, which Israelis found at dumping sites.

During construction of a new underground mosque in a subterranean hall believed to date back to the time of Herod, and the paving of an “open air” mosque elsewhere on the Temple Mount, the Waqf barred the Israel Antiquities Authority from supervising or even observing work.

When archaeological finds from any period – Jewish or otherwise – are uncovered in the course of construction work, the Authority is mandated by law to supervise and observe everywhere in Israel – legislation that dates back to 1922 and documented in the international accord of the League of Nations – the “Mandate for Palestine.”

Such gross disregard for the pre-Islamic Jewish heritage of Jerusalem – particularly on Judaism’s holiest historic site – is a far more insidious form of the same Islamic intolerance that motivated the Taliban to demolish two gigantic pre-Islamic statues of Buddha carved into a cliff in Afghanistan.

Eli E. Hertz


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The Intifada of Initernal Palestinian Disappointment - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

The "Palestinians" are furious at their own inner reality, one that makes a viable state impossible.

One of the most important characteristics of a nation is a strong feeling of unity that allows its people to achieve the goals that it deems important. A people with a strong and unified national identity is able to put aside personal, political, ideological and sectorial differences so that its citizens can work together to succeed in reaching a goal that is important and significant to all of them.

Real leaders sense the people's will to unite for the sake of a national cause and can overcome the differences between them; if they do not, they will be replaced by others who are better than they, who know what the priorities are when there is a crucial national objective at stake. A people with a strong feeling of unity can handle a democratic country that does not fear differences of opinion and changes in government, because these do not degenerate into violence and therefore do not endanger its existence.

In contrast, a nation with a weak and fragile identity has chronic disputes that spill over into rhetorical violence and violent acts between its different sectors, with very little cooperation occurring between them. Different sectors feel threatened by each other leading to serious distrust. The nation's symbols are not strong enough to unite its population groups, each of which has goals differing from the other. This kind of nation will invent an external enemy in the hope that the war against it will unify the people for the sake of a higher interest, a war. This kind of nation raises the question of whether its citizens have enough of a feeling of commonality to keep them together and allow them to form a nation-state.

The Palestinian street has been demanding unity between Hamas and Fatah for a long time now, because everyone realizes that the split between the two organizations lets Israel claim that there is "no partner for peace." This limits the ability of the Palestinians to be effective ih the PA, the Middle East and the international arena. That is the reason the two sign agreements every so often, and why the PA has developed a unity government of technocrats, not politicians, who are approved by both organizations – meaning,naturally, that no one is pleased. And despite the "unity" government, Hamas rules Gaza and comes down heavy on Fatah members in Gaza.

On Friday, November 7, bombs exploded in the doorways and vehicles of ten Fatah leaders in Gaza, and another explosion destroyed the stage that Fatah had prepared for the Arafat memorial ceremony that was planned for the tenth anniversary of his death on November 11. Fatah blames Hamas for the bombings, especially since they all took place at the same time and there is no other group in Gaza that can coordinate the timing of eleven bombings. As a result of the bombings and the bad blood between the two organizations, the memorial event was cancelled. The official reason given was that "Hamas refused to guarantee the safety of participants", in other words: Hamas threatened to harm the participants, just as they did the stage. And that means that even Arafat is not a national symbol that can hold the two groups under one roof in his memory

Hamas' real objective is the establishment of an Islamic state with the law of the land being Sharia law that favors Muslims, while Fatah wants something entirely different, a nation-state where Muslims and Christians  have equal rights and status. There is no way to bridge these two diametrically opposed goals, it is the reason the battle between Fatah and Hamas, that began as soon as Hamas was formed in December 1987, is still  going strong and with no end in sight.

Fatah's problem is that Hamas joined the political game and won most of the legislative seats in the January 2006 election. The PLO fears another election victory for Hamas and that is why there are no elections in sight. That is the real reason that since 2005, when Abbas was elected, about 10 years ago, there have been no elections for the legislature. When a nation lacks national cohesiion, it fears democratic processes and changes in government.

The Palestinian narrative talks about a Palestinian nation in Israel, Gaza, Judea and Samaria, Jordan and about refugees in Syria and Lebanon. If there were a Palestinian nation we would have seen evidence of solidarity between its parts. But did we see the Palestinians residing in Judea and Samaria go out to protest in a grass roots uprising when the IDF attacked Gaza in Operation Protective Edge a few months ago? No,we did not. Did the Israeli Arabs, who call themselves Palestinians, rebel against the state of Israel because of its treatment of the Gazans and the Arabs of Judea and Samaria? No, they did not. Did we see masses of Arabs in Judea and Samaria rushing to Syria to save their people from the Assad government's plans to destroy them? Maybe a few. Did the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria offer to absorb their "brothers" who fled or were expelled from Israel during the 1948 War of Independence? Not at a;;. They kept them in refugee camps, without running water, sewage systems, electricity, communications - for years. Is that how one treats one's brothers?

Why do the "Palestinians" who live in Judea and Samaria view the "Palestinians" living in Gaza as members of another culture? Why don't the young women of Hevron marry young men from Shchem (Nablus)? Why do the "Palestinian" citizens of Israel treat the "West Bank Palestinians" who work for them like foreign workers, taking shameful advantage of them? Why does the municipality of Tira - a "Palestinian" village near Kfar Saba - forbid Kalkilya's "Palestinians" use of its local swimming pool?  Is it because they are "one people"?

The answer to all these questions is the same: the "Palestinians" are just a bunch of tribes, clans (hamulot) and extended families headed by notables, who never blended and never created a people with a common national consciousness. Some have lived in the land of Israel for generations, but some are recent arrivals. Just for the sake of proving this point: there were two terror attacks in recent weeks in which drivers purposely targeted Israeli civilians. One terrorist was an Arab whose name is Higazi, meaning Saudi, and one was named al-Akri, meaning from northern Lebanon.

Similarly, the "Palestinians" include many families whose names bear witness to the fact that their origins are not in "Palestine", with the letter "i" at the end of a surname meaning "from" in Arabic. Thus, al-Masri and al-Fiumi - mean Egyptian; Halabi - means Syrian;  the names Trabolsi, Sidani, Tyrani (from the cities of Sidon and Tyre) all mean that they are from Lebanon; Zarkawi, Kraki - from Jordan. The residents of the village of Jisr al-Azarka to the south of Haifa are Sudanese, and the Bushnak family of Kafar Manda are from Bosnia. One of Mahmoud Abbas' advisers is named Damiri, meaning that he comes from the Syrian village of Damir. 

The sectoral schisms typifying the "Palestinians" are not any different from those existing in most Arab countries - Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Algeria and others.This is the real and deeply rooted reason for the terrible crises these countries have suffered over the last four years, where inter-group rivalries turned into such horrible violence that hundreds of thousands of men, women and children have already lost their lives. The cycles of violence that took place in Gaza before Hamas took over in 2007 also stemmed from these schisms: the PLO in Gaza was a coalition of families that opposed another coalition calling itself Hamas. There is no escaping the conclusion that the "Palestinians" ability to form a functioning state based on common "nationhood" with a solid national identity is the same as that of the Syrians, Iraqis, Libyans, Sudanese and Yemenites.

The only thing uniting the "Palestinians" is their virulent hatred of Israel and their animosity towards the Zionist entity. This is the real reason they cannot stop incitement against Israel and the Jewish people, and for the fact that they cannot bring themselves to put Israel on the maps appearing in their school textbooks. Without hatred of Israel and incitement against the Jewish state, there is no glue holding them together. This is also the reason there are no peace organizations among the "Palestinians", because peace with Israel means disintegration for them.

Now they are bursting into the streets, stabbing, running over people, shooting, attacking for several reasons, some of them immediate and some running deep: the immediate ones result from the murder of the youngster Abu Khdeir and the deeper ones from their refusal to view the Jews as a nation in its own land, and the jealousy that consumes them at the sight of the Jews building a nation that is to a great extent united, a democratic state with peaceful government changes, one that wins every war. Jealousy breeds hatred and what we are seeing now is the result of their long term failure to establish a "Palestinian nation" with a feeling of togetherness, with any chance of running an organized and stable state.

It is clear to everyone that a Palestinian state formed by the PLO will turn into a Hamas state in record time as soon as there are elections. That is what happened in January 2006. On the other hand, there can also be a violent takeover, as occurred in Gaza in June 2007. Their frustration breaks out into the street in fury at their own reality. The PA tries to deflect the anger towards Israel in order to win supporters in the rivalry with Hamas, and Hamas deflects the public's anger towards the Zionist entity so as to gain points in its struggle against the PLO.

That is why the only operative solution, the only one that can be implemented on the ground, is one based on Arab sociology, one that creates eight Palestinian emirates: in Gaza, Shchem, Jenin, Tulkarem, Kalkilya, Ramallah, Jerico and Arab Hevron. Details at

Dr. Mordechai Kedar


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