Friday, May 29, 2015

Converging Enemy Threats to Israel - Dr. Louis René Beres



by Dr. Louis René Beres

For Israeli military and defense planners, there can be no more important or urgent expression of synergy than one particularly critical pair of threats. These are the seemingly discrete, but integrally linked, hazards of Iranian nuclear weapons and Palestinian statehood.
Iran-Palestine-Ties

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 299, May 28, 2015

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israeli strategic planners must beware the converging twin hazards of Iranian nuclear weapons and Palestinian statehood.

The following brief essay makes an informed case for a substantially enhanced Israeli consideration of foreseeable enemy “synergies.” The concept of synergy signifies that the ordinarily binding axioms of geometry can sometimes be overridden by certain intersecting phenomena. Whenever synergy is understood in expressly military or strategic terms, these complex phenomena may include a variety of converging or interpenetrating threats. Here, however counterintuitive, the geo-strategic whole offered by enemy perils could turn out to be greater than the sum of its adversarial parts.
In essence, it means that when individual perils are examined from the standpoint of how each one affects another, the cumulative effect can be worse than would be suggested by a simple addition of increments. For Israeli military and defense planners, there can be no more important or urgent expression of synergy than one particularly critical pair of threats. These are the seemingly discrete, but integrally linked, hazards of Iranian nuclear weapons and Palestinian statehood.

This unique and widely-unrecognized synergy should now be treated with an appropriate intellectual regard. Iran and Palestine, as “negative force multipliers,” do not represent separate or unrelated hazards to Israel. Instead, they define mutually reinforcing, and potentially existential perils. Consequently, Jerusalem must do whatever it can to simultaneously eliminate or reduce the expected harms on both conjoined fronts.

To be sure, Israel will need to continuously enhance its multilayered active defenses. As long as incoming rocket aggressions from Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon were to remain conventional, the inevitable “leakage” could still be considered tolerable. But once these rockets might be fitted with chemical and/or biological materials, any such porosity could rapidly prove “unacceptable.”
Facing Iranian nuclear missiles, Israel’s “Arrow” ballistic missile defense system would reasonably require a fully 100% reliability of interception. To achieve any such level of reliability, however, would be impossible. Now, assuming that the prime minister has already abandoned any residual hopes for a cost-effective eleventh-hour preemption against pertinent Iranian nuclear assets, which is an altogether credible assumption at this very late date, Israeli defense planners must look towards long-term stable deterrence.

Israel’s leaders also will have to accept that certain leaders of its overlapping enemies might not always satisfy the complex criteria of rational behavior in world politics. In such improbable but still conceivable circumstances, assorted Jihadist adversaries in Palestine, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, or elsewhere might sometime refuse to back away from their contemplated aggressions against Israel.
Facing a new and incalculable synergy from Iranian and Palestinian aggressions, Israel will need to take appropriate steps to assure that it does not become the object of any non-conventional attacks from these enemies, and that it can successfully deter all possible forms of non-conventional conflict. To meet these ambitious goals, Jerusalem must retain its recognizably far-reaching conventional superiority in pertinent weapons and capable manpower, including effective tactical control over the Jordan Valley.

In principle, such retentions could reduce the overall likelihood of ever actually having to enter into any chemical, biological, or nuclear exchange with regional adversaries. Correspondingly, Israel should plan to begin to move incrementally beyond its increasingly perilous posture of “deliberate nuclear ambiguity.” By shifting toward prudently selective kinds of “nuclear disclosure,” Israel may be able to better deter its enemies.

Paradoxically, Israeli planners may soon have to acknowledge that the efficacy and credibility of their country’s nuclear deterrence posture could sometime vary inversely with enemy perceptions of Israeli nuclear destructiveness. However ironic or counter-intuitive, enemy views of a too-large or too-destructive Israeli nuclear deterrent force, or of an Israeli force that is not sufficiently invulnerable to first-strike attack, could undermine this deterrence posture.

Also critical is that Israel’s current and prospective adversaries will see the Jewish state’s nuclear retaliatory forces as “penetration capable.” This suggests forces that seem assuredly capable of penetrating any Arab or Iranian aggressor’s active defenses.

The Israeli task may also require more incrementally explicit disclosures of nuclear targeting doctrine, and accordingly, a steadily expanding role for cyber-defense and cyber-war. Alas, even before undertaking such delicately important refinements, Israel will need to systematically differentiate between adversaries that are rational and irrational.

Overall, the success of Israel’s national deterrence strategies will be contingent upon an informed prior awareness of enemy preferences, and of specific enemy hierarchies of preferences. In this connection, altogether new and open-minded attention will need to be focused on the seeming emergence of “Cold War II” between Russia and the United States. This time around, for example, the relationship between Jerusalem and Moscow could possibly prove helpful rather than adversarial.
It may even be reasonable to explore whether this once hostile relationship could turn out to be more strategically gainful for Israel, than its traditionally historic ties to the United States. At this starkly transitional moment in geostrategic time, when Washington could conceivably decide to align itself with Tehran and Damascus against ISIS, virtually anything is possible.

The creation of a Palestinian state would, by definition, reduce Israel’s already-residual strategic depth. Israel’s missile bases (that constitute part of its second-strike capability) would be within easy reach of missiles from Palestinian-ruled territories. Palestinian control of the Judean mountain heights also could affect negatively Israel’s early warning capabilities.

These detrimental realities would be exacerbated by the nuclearization of Iran. Israel would then have to focus on several mutually reinforcing strategic dangers at the same time, and would likely discover that the combined effect could prove overwhelming.

All this is aside from the danger that a Palestinian state could fall victim to Jihadist insurgencies raging across the region such as ISIS. Palestine might also end up in the Iranian ideological orbit, in either case the hazard to Israel would exceed the simple sum of intersecting threats.

The coming together of threats from Iran and Palestine warrants utterly resolute and rapt attention in Jerusalem.

* Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is Emeritus Professor of Political Science and International Law at Purdue. He is the author of ten books, and several hundred journal articles. Most recently, he has published in The Harvard National Security Journal (Harvard Law School), The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Parameters: Journal of the U.S. Army War College, The Brown Journal of World Affairs, and the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs.

BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family
Click here for a PDF version of this article in English
(Photo Credit: the-levant)


Dr. Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is Emeritus Professor of Political Science and International Law at Purdue. He is the author of ten books, and several hundred journal articles. Most recently, he has published in The Harvard National Security Journal (Harvard Law School), The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Parameters: Journal of the U.S. Army War College, The Brown Journal of World Affairs, and the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs.


Source: http://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/converging-enemy-threats-to-israel/

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

Muslims react to Obama's recent "climate change" speech - MEMRI



by MEMRI

Hat tip: Jean-Charles Bensoussan

Muslims express their amazement with Barack Obama's focus on climate change as the primary threat to US security (recorded from Egypt's al-Balad TV channel).





MEMRI

Source:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXodRLLkth4&feature=youtu.be

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

Filling the Vacuum in Syria: Islamic State, Al-Nusra Front, and Hezbollah - Yaakov Lappin



by Yaakov Lappin


  • The idea that, because Sunni and Shi'ite elements are locked in battle with one another today, they will not pose a threat to international security tomorrow, is little more than wishful thinking.
  • The increased Iranian-Hezbollah presence needs to be closely watched.
  • A policy of turning a blind eye to the Iran-led axis, including Syria's Assad regime, appears to be doing more harm than good.

As the regime of Bashar Assad continues steadily to lose ground in Syria; and as Assad's allies, Iran and Hezbollah, deploy in growing numbers to Syrian battlegrounds to try to stop the Assad regime's collapse, the future of this war-torn, chaotic land looks set to be dominated by radical Sunni and Shi'ite forces.

The presence of fundamentalist Shi'ite and Sunni forces fighting a sectarian-religious war to the death is a sign of things to come for the region: when states break down, militant entities enter to seize control. The idea that, because Sunni and Shi'ite elements are locked in battle with one another today, they will not pose a threat to international security tomorrow, is little more than wishful thinking.

The increased presence of the radicals in Syria will have a direct impact on international security, even though the West seems more fixated on looking only at threats posed by the Islamic State (ISIS), and disregards the possibly greater threat posed by the Iranian-led axis. It is Iran that is at the center of the same axis, so prominent in entangling Syria.

The threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq to the West is obvious: Its successful campaigns and expanding transnational territory is set to become an enormous base of jihadist international terrorist activity, a launching pad for overseas attacks, and the basis for a propaganda recruitment campaign.

It has already become a magnet for European Muslim volunteers. Their return to their homes as battle-hardened jihadists poses a clear danger to those states' national security.

Yet the threat from the Iranian-led axis, highly active in Syria, is more severe. With Iran, a threshold nuclear regional power, as its sponsor, this axis plans to subvert and topple stable Sunni governments in the Middle East and attack Israel. Iran's axis also has its sights set on eventually sabotaging the international order, to promote Iran's "Islamic revolution."

This is the axis upon which the Assad regime has become utterly dependent for its continued survival.

Today, the radical, caliphate-seeking Sunni organization, ISIS, controls half of Syria, while hardline Lebanese Shi'ite Hezbollah units can be found everywhere in Syria, together with their sponsors, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) personnel, fighting together with the Assad regime's beleaguered and worn-out military forces.

The increased Iranian-Hezbollah presence needs to be closely watched. According to international media reports, an IRGC-Hezbollah convoy in southern Syria, made up of senior operatives involved in the setting up of a base designed to launch attacks on the Golan Heights, was struck and destroyed by Israel earlier this year. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan too has reason to be concerned.


Lebanese Shi'ite Hezbollah fighters are deeply involved in Syria's civil war. (Image source: Hezbollah propaganda video)

Syria has become a region into which weapons, some highly advanced, flow in ever greater numbers, allowing Hezbollah to acquire guided missiles, and allowing ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front to add to their growing stockpile of weaponry.

Other rebel organizations, some sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, are also wielding influence in Syria. These groups represent an effort by Sunni states to exert their own influence there.

Despite all the efforts to support it, the Assad regime suffered another recent setback when ISIS seized the ancient city Palmyra in recent days, making an ISIS advance on Damascus more feasible. To the west, near the Lebanese border, Al-Qaeda's branch in Syria, the Al-Nursa Front, also made gains. It threatened to enter Lebanon, prompting Hezbollah to launch a counter-offensive to take back those areas.

These developments provide a blueprint for the future of Syria: A permanently divided territory, where conquests and counter-offensives continue to rage, and the scene of an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe, producing waves of millions of refugees that could destabilize Syria's neighbors. Syria is set to remain a land controlled by warring sectarian factions, some of whom plan to spread their destructive influence far beyond Syria.

Events in Syria have shown that the notion that air power can somehow stop ISIS's advance is a fantasy. More importantly, they have also illustrated that Washington's policy of cooperation with Iran in a possible "grand bargain" to stabilize the region, while failing to take a firmer stance against the civilian-slaughtering Assad regime, is equally fruitless.

A policy of turning a blind eye to the Iran-led axis, including Syria's Assad regime, appears to be doing more harm than good.


Yaakov Lappin  Follow Yaakov Lappin on Twitter and Facebook


Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5834/syria-vacuum-islamists

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

Syria's Death Rattle - Dr. Mordechai Kedar



by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Syria's situation is bleak, no matter which way the tide of war turns. And it won't stop there.

 Written for Arutz Sheva, translated from the Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky

The situation in Syria is deteriorating. To the east, the city of Tadmur has fallen into the hands of Islamic State, giving that organization control over nearly half the country, including the areas bordering on Iraq and Jordan. Assad's regime has lost the border crossings to Iraq, while the military airfields in the desert -Tadmur and T4 - have fallen to ISIS. Hundreds who lived in the city and helped the regime have been slaughtered by Jihadist knives and their bodies flung onto the streets. The world is concerned that Tadmur's antiquities, priceless relics of ancient cultures, will suffer the same fate at the hands of ISIS  as did the ancient artifacts of Iraq. 

Currently, there are several combat zones focused on the western part of the country, the area where most Syrians live and where most of the agriculture and industry are located. Battles rage between the regime and a coalition of rebel forces, most of them Islamists attempting to overthrow Assad. The main centers are the Qalamoun mountains and the Idlib region. Fierce fighting is taking place in both areas and over the past few weeks, the regime and its ally, Hezbollah, have been losing ground as well as more and more fighters and equipment.
 
The deteriorating situation in Syria has forced Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader who led his organization into the Syrian quagmire, to schedule three appearances in which he found himself facing mounting criticism from Lebanese Shiites. The large number of Hezbollah casualties has raised the possibility of a general draft, causing high school pupils to be kept from school by their Shiite parents for fear of forced induction into the Hezbollah militia.

The terrible situation in which the Syrians have found themselves has sown panic among  the Alawites, who know full well that the connection between their heads and their bodies has a good chance of being severed if the Jihadists prevail. This, naturally, causes them to look for someone to blame and their natural choice is Bashar Assad. Many Alawites accuse Assad of destroying the country and creating the situation in which they - that is, close to two million people - are now in mortal danger. They know how the majority of Syrians view them after forty five years of the Assad family's regime and its extreme cruelty, cruelty which was especially evident when dealing with Sunni opponents.
 
The Alawites are deathly afraid of the day that mass graves of about twenty thousand people who "disappeared" in Tadmor prison between 1980 and 1981 will be found. Most were peaceful citizens murdered for being suspected of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. The regime has never told their bereaved parents, widows and orphaned children the fate of their loved ones.  The discovery of the graves and the sight of the many skulls they contain will serve to exponentially increase Sunni hatred and thirst for revenge against the Alawites. 

Alawites are fleeing enclaves and neighborhoods located in Shiite cities - Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama - for the regions they came from in northwest Syria, but the rebels are getting closer and threatening to annihilate them. Suspicions run rife, with Alawites accusing one another of collaborating with the enemy, or attempting to flee the country in order to save themselves. In the city of Qardaha, the Assad family's home town, a fight broke out several days ago, in which two of the ruler's cousins were killed.
 
Even the Druze, who are traditionally loyal allies of the Alawites, have begun washing their hands of any connection to them and their regime. Sheikh Sheikh Hamoud Al Hinawi, one of the Druze spiritual leaders, said,this week,that "recent events have shown that reliance on what was once called 'the Syrian Army' is of no value." The Sheikh despaired of the ability of Assad's forces to protect Druze enclaves in southern Syria, especially after the transfer of significant forces that had been keeping the Sunni rebels at bay to other fronts - the Qalamoun mountain range and the Idlib region. The sheikh called on the regime to return to the Druze the heavy and medium strength weaponry that was moved from the area so as to enable them to defend themselves.

The deterioration of the Syrian army is causing it to lose all restraint and it is beginning to act as if there are no rules of warfare. There have been an increasing number of incidents in which civilians were blown up by explosives including chlorine gas and where scud missiles were launched at towns taken over by the rebels without taking into account the possibility of innocent civilian casualties.
 
All  this is happening at the time when several rebel groups are uniting under one umbrella, hoping to take advantage of the resulting momentum to topple the Assad regime once and for all.

Bashar Assad has lost faith in his  Alawite security forces and the only guards  who surround  him day and night are Iranians of the Quds  force, an elite unit of the Revolutionary Guards sent by Iran in order to aid the weakened ruler.
 
The entire region is experiencing upheaval as a result of the developments in Syria, chief among them the efforts expended by the Saudis and Turks to overthrow Assad. The significance of this joint effort is that the Saudis will fund purchases of weapons, armaments, communications equipment and other tools of warfare which will reach the rebel forces via Turkey. In addition, Turkey will make it easier for foreign volunteers to enter Syria, join the rebels and enhance their ability to operate.

During the last few weeks, there have been reports citing the possible places where Assad can seek refuge - Russia, Iran and Switzerland have been named. Russia and Iran are listed due to their being friends, while Switzerland, it is surmised, is listed due to the Assad family's secret bank accounts in that country. The billions stolen by the ruling family from the Syrian people over decades will be enough to ensure a life of opulence and maximum security for centuries.
 
It is, however, quite clear that even if Assad leaves the stage, Syria's problems will be far from over and that the country will soon be in the throes of violent power struggles between warring organizations, tribes and factions. Rivers of blood will continue to flow as they do today until the country is divided into homogeneous regions, each under independent rule: the Kurds in the northeast, Alawites in the northwest, Druze in the south, Bedouin in the east, plus Damascus and Haleb. It is realistic to assume that Hezbollah will take over the area along the Lebanese border in order to provide the Shiites with a security zone. The breakup of Syria will strengthen Islamic state, which may then go on to threaten Jordan and its regime.

Assad has been reiterating that if his regime falls, those who will suffer most from the aftershocks are the countries that helped to topple him - Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel,  America and NATO - who will not be able to escape the black scourge of rising Jihadist and extremist Islamism as, encouraged by Assad's fall, it continues to butcher and destroy. Thousands of volunteers will stream into Syria from all over the world to take part in the looting, pillaging and expansion of Islamic State that will move on to take over Turkey, Iraq and all the other countries created by colonialist European powers.
 
The war in Syria will continue, exactly as the war in Libya is still going on four years after Qaddafi's fall. Bashar Assad is only part of the problem. His legacy will be a lethal mix of organizations and groups that will continue to squabble and battle over the dead corpse of the Syrian state. It must be kept in mind that among these groups there are Iranian forces, who, it can safely be assumed, will remain there to see to the Ayatollahs' interests. It is entirely possible that Iranian forces will take over Damascus to protect Shiite holy sites located in the city and its environs.

There remains the possibility that Russia will take control of Latakia and its surrounding area - "temporarily," of course - to permit its naval craft to dock in the last port Russia has on the Mediterranean. If this scenario becomes a reality, it may spread to other ports, namely Baniyas and Tartus.

Assad's regime is fast becoming a thing of the past. Jihadist, destructive anarchy that can easily turn into another Afghanistan, will take the place of the state of Syria, spawning organizations bent on International Jihad whose extremist Islamist message will spread throughout Europe, America and the rest of the world.
 
The world will yet mourn for Assad, as Libya longs for Qaddafi, and Iraq for Saddam Hussein to rise from the grave and return to power. The new order in the Middle East may return it not only to the days of the ancient Muslim Empire but to the period of endless tribal warfare that preceded it - the trivial difference being, of course, that in those days they waged war with daggers, swords and camels whereas today's tools of war are rockets, tanks and bombs, all fruits of modern industry.

All that's missing is a nuclear powered Iran to complete the utter chaos that will be the new Middle East. Oddly, there are those who think that the world can live with these developments and are willing to reach an agreement with Iran that allows it to achieve that nuclear power.
 
Written for Arutz Sheva, translated from the Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky


Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/16989#.VWcjFUazd-8

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

As deadline looms, France says ready to block nuclear deal with Iran - Eli Leon, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff



by Eli Leon, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

France won't sign deal unless Tehran provides inspectors access to all installations • Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei rules out international inspection of Iran's military sites • U.S. insists on June 30 deadline, says not contemplating extension.



Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a leaked video showing him arguing with hard-line lawmaker Mahdi Kouchakzadeh

France warned on Wednesday it was ready to block a final deal between Iran and the six major powers on Iran's nuclear program unless Tehran provided inspectors access to all installations, including military sites.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week ruled out international inspection of Iran's military sites or access to nuclear scientists under any agreement. Iran's military leaders echoed his remarks.


 

 Credit: Reuters

"France will not accept [a deal] if it is not clear that inspections can be done at all Iranian installations, including military sites," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told lawmakers in Paris.


As talks resumed in Vienna on Wednesday to bridge gaps in negotiating positions before a June 30 deadline, the United States said it was not considering an extension, despite comments from France and Iran indicating wiggle room.

"We're not contemplating any extension beyond June 30," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters in Washington, saying the United States believed it was possible to meet the self-imposed deadline.

To that end, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Geneva on May 30. Lead U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman flew to Vienna on Wednesday for nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers and will join Kerry in Geneva before resuming talks in the Austrian capital.

Iran's state TV quoted senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi as saying the deadline could be extended, echoing comments by France's ambassador to the United States. Gérard Araud said on Tuesday that a deal was not likely by June 30 because technical details would still need to be resolved.

"The deadline might be extended and the talks might continue after the June 30 [deadline]," Araqchi said. "We are not bound to a specific time. We want a good deal that covers our demands."

France is considered to be demanding more stringent restrictions on the Iranians under any deal than the other Western delegations, officials said, although U.S. officials have cautioned that France's position privately is not as tough as it is publicly.

Pace Slows

A tentative agreement was reached between Iran, the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China on April 2, but several issues remain unresolved.

Among them are the pace of easing Western sanctions imposed over the Iranian program and the monitoring and verification measures to ensure Iran could not pursue a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Iran denies any ambition to develop nuclear weapons and says its program is purely peaceful.

"The talks are serious, complicated and detailed. The pace of talks is slow as we have entered final stages," Araqchi said upon his arrival in Vienna, state TV reported.

Speaking a day after meeting the head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency in Paris, Fabius also appeared to suggest differences with other members of the P5+1, saying he hoped all of them would adopt France's position.

"'Yes' to an agreement, but not to an agreement that will enable Iran to have the atomic bomb. That is the position of France, which is independent and peaceful," he said.

Meanwhile, amid the new round of Iran nuclear talks, Iranians have been captivated this week by a leaked video showing a vehement argument between a hard-line lawmaker and the country's foreign minister.

Differing statements from Iranian officials over what's acceptable for Tehran at the talks with six world powers have accompanied the negotiations since the start of international attempts nearly a decade ago to reach a diplomatic solution over Iran's contested nuclear program. Hard-liners fear that negotiators are betraying Iran's interests by being too conciliatory, while moderates chastise their opponents for jeopardizing the talks with unrealistic demands.

But Iranians usually are not privy to the kind of bitter recriminations that a video posted on social media Monday has revealed. It shows Zarif and hard-line lawmaker Mahdi Kouchakzadeh in a heated exchange, apparently at the end of a closed session of parliament.

Khamenei "calls you a traitor," Kouchakzadeh says. "I say this from his tongue."

But Zarif, his face red with anger, berates the lawmaker for daring to speak for Khamenei.
"You are damned dead wrong," he declares.\

The footage appears to have been filmed with a mobile phone and leaked by a lawmaker. Several legislators are demanding that the incident be investigated and the leaker be prosecuted.


The video was posted with the talks moved closer to the June 30 deadline. As they resumed Wednesday in Vienna, Khamenei indirectly backed Zarif, who has been Iran's lead negotiator at previous sessions and is expected to rejoin the negotiators at a later stage.



Eli Leon, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=25779 Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

UN Push to Blacklist IDF - Cynthia Blank



by Cynthia Blank


UN's Children and Armed Conflict group says IDF should be added to blacklist for deaths of Palestinian children during Protective Edge.

A push is currently being made in the United Nations to have the Israeli Defense Forces added to the blacklist of the council for Children and Armed Conflict.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui of Armenia, has recommended the IDF be included because of the 500 Palestinian children killed and 3,300 wounded during last summer's Operation Protective Edge.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon seems likely to resist the call, Yediot Ahronot reported, particularly in light of heavy opposition from Israel, and threats such a move could fully terminate relations between Israel and the UN. 

However, Palestinian pressure abounds not only from the Palestinian Authority, but also its supporters and human rights groups. According to Yediot, UN Secretariat officials also back the Palestinians and have urged Ban not to give in to Israel's threats. 

One ally Israel likely can count on is the United States. Discussing the issue with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday night, US Senator Lindsey Graham warned that continued mistreatment of Israel would result in a "violent pushback" against the UN.

Graham threatened to cut all American funding to the United Nations, should it continue to function in a manner that "marginalizes" Israel. 

Israel's response, meanwhile, was deservedly angry, with Foreign Ministry officials condemning the UN's bias against the Jewish state.

"Israel's enemies threaten and frighten the UN and no one complains. This is an outrage. How many children were killed in the Saudi-led bombings in Yemen? I want to see the Algerian Special Representative dare to put Saudi Arabia on that blacklist."


Cynthia Blank

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195936#.VWclBUazd-8

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

China Warns that War is Inevitable - Daniel John Sobieski



by Daniel John Sobieski

China’s State Council, the Communist giant’s version of our cabinet, has issued a policy paper declaring that Beijing is facing “a grave and complex array of security threats” that forces it to switch its strategy from defense to offense and that as a result China will increase its “open seas protection”.

The power vacuum created by the Obama administration’s withdrawal from world leadership and resistance to tyranny is not only being filled by the Islamic State and its terrorist affiliates like Boko Haram and state sponsors of terror like soon-to-be nuclear Iran but also by an increasingly belligerent and resurgent China.

China’s State Council, the Communist giant’s version of our cabinet, has issued a policy paper declaring that Beijing is facing “a grave and complex array of security threats” that forces it to switch its strategy from defense to offense and that as a result China will increase its “open seas protection”.

This means that China is not about to give up its territorial claim in the South and East China Seas, which include the Spratley, Paracel, and Shenkaku Island chains but will protect them with aggressive force if necessary. China will also continue its building of artificial islands as bases from which to strike. This is a clear response to President Obama’s “Pacific pivot” and an indication of how little Beijing is impressed.

An editorial in the Global Times, a newspaper seen as a mouthpiece for hard-line nationalists in Beijing, warns of the consequences of resistance warns, “If the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt these activities, then a U.S. China war is inevitable in the South China Sea.”

As Investor’s Business Daily has noted:
Beijing has long declared the South China Sea to be its territorial waters and has laid claim to two disputed chains: the Paracel Islands, about 200 miles from the coast of Vietnam, and the Spratly Islands in the southeastern part of the South China Sea. China's territorial ambitions include the Senkakus in the East China Sea, part of what Chinese military doctrine refers to as the "first island chain" that surrounds China.
In the South China Sea, as of February, according to Reuters, China had finished construction on no less than six different island reefs from which to project its power in the South China Sea. Included in its military effort is the construction of a 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) long runway on the artificially expanded Fiery Cross Reef as a base for Chinese fighter aircraft.
China's creation of artificial islands in the South China Sea is happening so fast that Beijing will be able to extend the range of its navy, air force, coastguard and fishing fleets before long, much to the alarm of rival claimants to the contested waters.
Reclamation work is well advanced on six reefs in the Spratly archipelago, according to recently published satellite photographs and Philippine officials. In addition, Manila said this month that Chinese dredgers had started reclaiming a seventh.
China also is laying claim to the Senkaku Islands in the East China which are under Japanese administration and which Tokyo claims as Japanese territory. This has caused Japan to inch farther away from its post-World War II neutrality and with three consecutive increases to its military budget to, for it, a whopping $42 billion.

Beijing has established what it calls Air Defense Identification Zones in the East China Sea, one of which overlaps the Senkaku Islands. Beijing insists that aircraft flying through these zones file their flight plans in advance for the approval of Chinese authorities as part of its long-term plans to dominate the region. The Zones met only token resistance from the Obama administration:
China obviously has not been deterred by the Obama administration's response to the imposition of the East China Sea ADIZ. After China declared that ADIZ encompassing the Senkakus, two U.S. B-52s flew through the claimed air space without informing Beijing. But the Obama administration then instructed U.S. carriers to accede to China's demands for prior notification.
China's establishment of the ADIZs is carefully timed and part of a strategy to project power beyond its coastal waters. Its goal is to secure the waters from Japan's home islands through Taiwan and to the Strait of Malacca, encompassing the East and South China seas.
China’s military has grown apace with its territorial ambitions and has come a long way since the incident on April 1, 2001, when a Chinese J-8 fighter collided with an American EP-3 surveillance aircraft, forcing it to land on China’s Hainan Island. Hainan also happens to be home to a Chinese submarine base for its ballistic missile and attack submarines.
As Bill Gertz noted in the Washington Free Beacon recently, a report b y the bipartisan U.S.-China Economic and  Security Review Commission noted the threat posed in the region by China’s growing military prowess:
China’s rapid military modernization is altering the military balance of power in the Asia Pacific in ways that could engender destabilizing security competition between other major nearby countries, such as Japan and India, and exacerbate regional hotspots such as Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea,” the report concludes in a section on military developments.
This power shift in Asia caused Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III to testify before, chief of U.S. Pacific Command, to warn at the annual Surface Navy Conference in Virginia: “Our historic dominance that most of us in this room have enjoyed is diminishing, no question.”

China is on the rise and on the march and is preparing to call our “Pacific pivot” bluff. We need to hear the warnings of China’s ambitions versus our diminished ability to challenge them.


Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.          

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/05/china_warns_that_war_is_inevitable.html

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

Israel downplays concern over S-300 missile defenses for Egypt - Danny Brenner, Reuters, and Israel Hayom Staff



by Danny Brenner, Reuters, and Israel Hayom Staff

Israeli Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel: "We're at peace with Egypt," says system a much bigger problem in the hands of Iran • President Reuven Rivlin makes military tour of northern border, says IDF is ready for anything.



Senior IDF officials brief President Reuven Rivlin during a military tour of the northern border, Wednesday
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Photo credit: Mark Nyman / GPO


Danny Brenner, Reuters, and Israel Hayom Staff

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=25773

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

The real reason the EPA wants to regulate puddles and ditches - Newsmachete



by Newsmachete

By extending its control to puddles and even totally dry areas where water once flowed years ago, the EPA can prevent development and further its global warming ideology.

The EPA has promulgated rules to regulate waterways as small as potholes.  The EPA is supposed to have authority over "navigable" waterways, ones deep enough for a boat to drive on.  The theory behind the Clean Water Act of 1972 was that if a company on private property discharged pollution into a body of water that touched on other private properties, that was a harm that was being transmitted to other property owners, and thus it was justified to regulate what the property owner was putting into the water.  This makes perfect sense, even from the perspective of private property rights.
The Obama administration announced new protections Wednesday for thousands of waterways and wetlands, pushing ahead despite a fierce counterattack from powerhouse industries like agriculture, oil and home-building — and their supporters in Congress.
On its face, the Waters of the United States rule is largely a technical document, defining which rivers, streams, lakes and marshes fall under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. But opponents condemn it as a massive power grab by Washington, saying it will give bureaucrats carte blanche to swoop in and penalize landowners every time a cow walks through a ditch.
The rule is meant to make it clearer which waterways EPA and the Corps of Engineers can oversee under the 43-year-old Clean Water Act, which covers “navigable waters” such as the Mississippi River and Lake Erie but is vague on how far upstream protections must go to keep those water bodies clean.
The final rule ensures protections for tributaries that have physical signs of flowing water, even if they don’t run all year round, and ditches that “look and act” like tributaries, said Jo-Ellen Darcy, the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works.
So, for example, the government could regulate a dry stream bed, in addition to ditches of water.

What is really going on?  Liberals at the EPA are not totally unlike doomsday cultists.  They believe that the acts of man are slowly destroying the Earth.  The original mission, of protecting other property owners from proven contaminants, has been left by the wayside in pursuit of the larger, more theoretical cause of protecting the Earth.

A puddle or a ditch filled with water on a property certainly won't harm anyone outside the property.  But the EPA wants to regulate it because it feels that without guidance, a private property user will do something with it to harm the Earth.  For example, a private property owner might want to demolish a pothole, or a ditch, to build a commercial or residential building, one that could use electricity, increase consumption, and further "global warming."  By extending its control to puddles and even totally dry areas where water once flowed years ago, the EPA can prevent development and further its global warming ideology.

That's what it's all about.

Unlike a situation where the government buys land outright, there will be no compensation for these restrictions, or "regulatory takings."  It's simply one more restriction on private property rights, and one more restriction on our individual liberties.  But with media propaganda like the Huffington Post, which had a giant photo accompanying the article showing a small child drinking from a water fountain, it's likely that the uneducated masses will only applaud this latest diminution of their liberties.

This article was produced by NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.


Newsmachete

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/05/the_real_reason_the_epa_wants_to_regulate_puddles_and_ditches.html

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

From Communists to Progressives, the Left's Takedown of Family and Marriage - Paul Kengor



by Paul Kengor


Efforts to fundamentally transform family and marriage have been long at work, but never (until now) accepted and pushed by the mainstream. In the past, these efforts were spearheaded by the most dangerous leftists.

As the Supreme Court considers rendering unto itself the right to redefine marriage -- that is, to arrogate to itself something heretofore reserved to the laws of nature and nature’s God -- it’s a good time to have something that liberals always insist we have: a conversation. And given liberals’ constant calls for “tolerance” and “diversity,” they ought to be willing to sit back and join us in a civil, healthy dialogue.

To that end, I invite them to consider something so crucial and yet so neglected that I wrote a full book on it, released just in time for this national conversation on marriage. It’s titled, Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage, and I sincerely wish liberals would lend it their professed toleration and open-mindedness.

Before I share my thesis, I should clarify my own stance.

I support the natural-traditional-biblical definition of marriage that has been Western civilization’s standard for multiple millennia. My position echoes my Roman Catholic faith. Basically, in a nutshell, my position is Pope Francis’ position (properly understood). Though Piers Morgan marvels at my position as “extraordinary,” it’s merely the one held by your grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents… great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents and the ongoing long line of ancestors who preceded them. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans, long viewed as the models of perversity, never broached the unthinkable prospect of same-gender people marrying. That simply has never been marriage. What millions of Americans are rushing to do right now is completely unprecedented.

Today’s leftists should understand that they are the new One Percenters. They stand against the literal 99%-plus of humans who ever bestrode the planet, who never conceived of marriage as anything beyond man and woman.

As for those who disagree with me, and no longer support marriage as reserved to one man and one woman – a redefinition which will ultimately open the door to numerous new configurations -- I’d like to address you politely with a point I’m sure you haven’t considered. Do I expect to change your mind or those of Elena Kagan or Ruth Bader Ginsburg or the wider culture? No, I don’t. America has entered a protracted phase of post-Judeo-Christian thinking, where individualism and relativism reign supreme, fostered by a steady stream of incredibly naïve parents who marched their children in wide-eyed cadence through the educational system at giant costs both financial and moral. Nothing short of a major religious revival will save it. This culture and country will redefine marriage, either this month or in the months and years ahead.

That said, I would like to inform gay-marriage supporters of something they haven’t considered. Here it goes, a brief summary of what I detail over a couple hundred pages in Takedown:

Efforts to fundamentally transform family and marriage have been long at work, but never (until now) accepted and pushed by the mainstream. In the past, these efforts were spearheaded by the most dangerous leftists. For two centuries, leftist extremists made their arguments, from the 1800s to the 1960s, beginning with the Communist Manifesto, where Marx and Engels wrote of the “abolition of the family!” Efforts to revolutionize family and marriage continued from socialist utopians like Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, and Albert Brisbane, to cultural Marxists in the Frankfurt School such as Herbert Marcuse and Freudian-Marxist Wilhelm Reich, to 20th-century leftists and progressives ranging from the Bolsheviks -- Lenin, Trotsky, Alexandra Kollontai -- to Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan, Kate Millett, and ‘60s radicals like Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Mark Rudd. When Tom Hayden and Robert Scheer ran a “Red Family” colony in near Berkeley in the 1960s, they were merely following the footsteps of socialist-utopian colonies in the 1800s in places like Oneida, New York and New Harmony, Indiana.

Were these “ideological colonists” (to borrow an apt description by Pope Francis) supporting gay marriage? Of course, not. No group of radicals, no matter how unhinged, ever contemplated that. The mere fleeting contemplation, the mere momentary notion, the slightest passing fancy of a man legally marrying another man in the 1850s or 1950s would have been scoffed at as incomprehensible. Such proponents would have been deemed certifiably insane. Public authorities might well have hauled them away as menaces to society.

These fundamental transformers did, however, seek to break down natural-traditional-biblical boundaries for family and marriage. They sought every means to reshape and redefine. They did so to the point that now, today, the Communist Party USA, the People’s World, and even Castro’s Cuba, not to mention leftist groups like the Beyond Marriage campaign, have picked up their mantle and embraced gay marriage as the vehicle to achieve what their leftist forbears were unable to achieve.

For the far left, gay marriage is the Trojan horse to secure the takedown of marriage it has long wanted, and countless everyday Americans are oblivious to the older, deeper forces at work. And even more delicious for the left, gay marriage is serving as a stunningly effective tool in attacking what the far left has always hated most: religion.

In a telling moment about a year ago, I received an email from a reader who once had been part of the “gay left.” He told me that even most gay people, who are either not political or nowhere near as political as the extreme left, have no idea how their gay-marriage advocacy fits and fuels the far left’s anti-family agenda, and specifically its longtime take-down strategy aimed at the nuclear family. The emailer is exactly right (and inspired me to begin collecting the material that led to this book).

Indeed, most of the gay people I have known are Republicans. Generally, I have had no problem easily dialoguing with them, though it is getting more difficult, as liberals have done their usual excellent job convincing an entire group that I as a conservative hate them. Even when socially liberal -- and, even then, mainly on matters like gay rights -- the gay people I’ve met have been economic conservatives, not to mention pro-life on abortion. But in signing on the dotted line for gay marriage, they have also, whether they realize it or not, enlisted in the radical left’s unyielding centuries-old attempt to undermine the family. The same is true, ironically, for “conservatives” who support gay marriage, for libertarians who worship a golden calf of “freedom” that is fully separated from faith, and for the “moderates” swimming (as they usually do) with the cultural tide.

Unlike the communists who ripped marriage as “bourgeois claptrap,” as a form of “slavery” and “vile patriarchy,” as a system of “captive housewives,” and who forcibly collectivized children into full-time nurseries in order to deliberately undermine the traditional family, the vast majority of today’s proponents of same-sex marriage have friendly motives. Their goal is not to tear down but to “expand” marriage to a new form of spousal partner. They do this with the intent of providing a new “freedom” and “right” to a new group of people. I get that. Unfortunately, there’s so much that they are not getting.

Today’s advocates of same-sex marriage need to be aware of the quite insidious deeper historical-ideological forces they are unwittingly serving. Sure, that knowledge still will likely not change their minds, but it’s something that a well-informed, thoughtful person should at least be willing to learn before urging the unprecedented action that our culture and court may be about to take.


Paul Kengor’s newly released book is Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage. His other books include The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/05/from_communists_to_progressives_the_lefts_takedown_of_family_and_marriage.html

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

Thursday, May 28, 2015

'Moderate' Muslim Orgs. Lines Up Radicals for Conference - Ryan Mauro



by Ryan Mauro

One of the largest Islamist gatherings took place over Memorial Day Weekend at the annual joint convention of two prominent organizations.



One of the largest Islamist gatherings happened in Baltimore over Memorial Day Weekend at the annual joint convention of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the  Muslim American Society (MAS).

Below is a partial list of the speakers included:

Nihad AwadNihad AwadNihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Like ISNA, CAIR was branded an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation. During the trial, the Justice Department said CAIR is an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a secret body set up to support Hamas. A 1994 Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee meeting agenda organized a discussion to “future suggestions to develop the work of” CAIR.

Awad publicly supported the terrorist group Hamas as far back as 1994 and referred to Hamas as well as Hezbollah as “liberation movements” in an Arabic interview with Al-Jazeera in 2004. The FBI monitored his emails from 2006 to 2008.

Siraj WahhajSiraj WahhajImam Siraj Wahhaj, whose history of extremist and anti-American incitement is almost too long to review. For example, in 1992, he said, “If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a Caliphate. If we were united and strong, we’d elect our own emir and give allegiance to him. Take my word, if eight million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us.”

His rhetoric became more cautious after the 9/11 attacks. In 2011, he preached, “The trap we fall into is having a premature discussion about Sharia when we are not there yet.” In November, the New York Police Department disclosed frightening information about his mosque’s activity to defend its intelligence-gathering practices.

Naeem Baig, President of ICNA. Under his leadership, ICNA has gone to bat for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and pressured the U.S. government to stop the Bangladeshi government's crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami, the Islamist parent group of ICNA. It was particularly upset over the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leader for war crimes.

Baig is a signatory to the anti-ISIS letter that endorses the caliphate, Sharia governance and jihad against Israel and accused oppressors of Muslims. His group published a radical teaching guide for its members in 2009.

Sheikh Yusuf Islahi, whose biography boasts that he's been a member of the Indian branch of Jamaat-e-Islami since he was 25 years old and is a five-term member of its Central Advisory Committee. Islahi is the "chief patron" of ICNA's "Why Islam" campaign. He and the Jamaat-e-Islami he helps lead have a history of anti-Americanism and support for violent jihad.

Sheikh Mohammad Qatanani, the imam of the Hamas-linked Islamic Center of Passaic County. He was arrested and convicted by Israel in 1993 for being a member of Hamas and the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood.

The Department of Homeland Security seeks his deportation because of his terrorist links and decision not to disclose his conviction on his green card application.

“It is certainly suspicious when a person who has been convicted of being a member of, and providing services, to Hamas, who has personal ties to a Hamas militant leader, and a Hamas fundraiser also sends undisclosed cash to the West Bank,” a 2008 court filing by Homeland Security explains.

In Arabic lectures between 2007 and 2009, he prayed for the defeat of “occupation and oppression” in Iraq, Palestine and Chechnya, inferring the U.S., Israel and Russia. He also said it is permissible for Muslims to donate to the families of suicide bombers and that Muslims should not criticize Yousef al-Qaradawi, the pro-terrorism spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatanani has also said that the U.S. needs to limit its free speech to stop “hate” speech towards Islam.

Jamal Badawi, formerly listed on ISNA’s website as a member of its Board of Directors, is personally listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial and is a founder of the Muslim American Society, another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. His name is listed as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood official in an internal document from 1992.

Badawi’s history includes endorsing suicide bombings and “combative jihad” and praising Hamas as “martyrs.” He is also close to Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi.

Sheikh Abdool Rehman Khan is the chairman of ICNA's Sharia Council and a member of the Fiqh Council of North America, which is dominated by Islamist radicals.  He used to be a scholar for the Islamic Foundation but was apparently fired, based on an online petition demanding his reinstatement.

Sheikh Omar Suleiman, a member of the ICNA Sharia Council. His bio states that he studied under Sheikh Salah As-Sawy and Dr. Hatem al-Haj. These are two Salafist clerics that lead the very radical Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America. The closest the organization can bring itself to foreswearing violent jihad is to oppose it because “the Islamic community does not possess the strength to engage in offensive jihad at this time [emphasis added].”

Imam Suhaib Webb is the former leader of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. Webb says Muslims should refuse to work with the FBI unless the FBI restores its relationship with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. The FBI severed ties with due to evidence tying it to Hamas.

He also condemned secularism as a “radical, lunatic ideology…we’re talking about the loss of holy power in politics. It’s very difficult to find any place in the world now that is ruled by someone who is ruling by divine authority.” He said that only the Islam of Prophet Mohammed’s era is equipped for political rule today.


Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.

Source: http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/moderate-muslim-org-lines-radicals-conference

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