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No one can envy President Obama’s current dilemma over Syria.
His decision to begin arming the Syrian rebels challenging Bashar Assad’s regime drew charges that the rebel forces are driven by jihad movements, particularly al Qaeda. Further, many rebel spokesmen have regularly denounced Israel and suggested that once in power they will end Mr. Assad’s policy of not rocking the boat with Israel. How, then, critics ask, could the president align the U.S. with the rebels?
On the other hand, Mr. Assad is directly supported by Iran and Hizbullah and, at least equally as significant, by the Russian government. If he were to overcome the rebel challenge and remain in power, it would represent a great step forward for Iran in its drive to become the preeminent power in the region.
Similarly, Hizbullah would come away with greatly enhanced stature and further erode any challenge to its leading role in Lebanon. As for the Russians, they will have established a beachhead in the Middle East from which to challenge the United States. How, then, could the president not act to thwart the supporters of the Assad regime?
When you connect the dots, the centrality of Russia to the current dynamic in the Middle East as it relates to U.S. interests becomes clear. Indeed, many will recall that when President Eisenhower refused to meet Gamal Abdel Nasser’s request for funding his pet project, the Aswan Dam, the Egyptian president turned to the Russians, who were more than happy to do business with him.
Russia’s cooperation with Iran and Hizbullah in the Syrian imbroglio has received much attention. But it passed without much notice almost two weeks ago that Russia announced the deployment of a permanent, powerful naval presence in the Middle East. The newspaper Israel Hayom, citing Russia’s military chief of staff, reported that Russia has stationed sixteen warships and three ship-based helicopters in the region.
This was the first such move since the Soviet era, and Israel Hayom quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying that the employment was not “saber rattling”; that the Middle East “is a strategically important region and we have tasks to carry out there to provide for the national security of the Russian Federation.”
However, Russia also held large-scale naval maneuvers near Syria several months ago and sold state of the art weapons, including antiaircraft missiles, to the Syrians. And as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it torpedoed any serious action against Syria there. It also offered to station Russian troops on the Golan Heights, between Israel and Syria, as part of the UN peacekeeping mission to replace the Austrian forces that recently pulled out after a spillover of the fighting between the Assad regime and the rebels.
After a two-hour meeting this week between President Obama and President Putin that focused on Syria, Mr. Putin told reporters that “of course our opinions do not coincide.” President Obama added, “We have different perspectives on the problem.”
So President Obama’s Syria dilemma must properly be seen not only in the context of the major jihadist component of the rebel forces, but also the Russians’ drive to restore their superpower role and the aspirations of Iran and Hizbullah.
Sadly, these seemingly intractable problems are largely of his own making. The president hit the ground running after his first inauguration with a vision of resetting the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world. This led to his terrible misstep in trying to force Israel to embrace much of the Palestinian narrative, with destructive results to the peace process. He failed to fully take into account the Arab penchant for demanding unilateral concessions and pocketing every concession while reneging on their own promised compromises.
More to the point, it also led Mr. Obama to fully embrace the Arab Spring. He seemed intoxicated with the notion that the boiling over of honest dissent in several Arab countries meant that democracy was about to break out all over the area. So he abandoned longstanding American policy that called for cooperation with some nasty Mideast leaders who were able to keep the lid on dissent and constituted an international order of sorts, while delivering relative stability to the region.
Much to the president’s dismay, however, what followed the overthrow of the dictators was a chaos stemming from the religious rivalries that had been kept in tow by the deposed strongmen. Moreover, as it turned out, the only organized elements in countries across the Middle East were the very militant religious movements that had been suppressed and were now sniffing victory.
In turn, the divisions unleashed by the Arab Spring presented opportunities for the projection of Russian power in the Middle East and for new targets of opportunity for Iran and Hizbullah.
As The New York Times reported earlier this month,
The Syrian civil war is setting off a contagious sectarian conflict beyond the country’s borders, reigniting long-simmering tensions between Sunnis and Shiites, and, experts fear, shaking the foundations of countries cobbled together after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
Mr. Obama was so taken up in the dream of being on the right side of history that he was unable or unwilling to realize that the Muslim countries of the Middle East were just not ready for the emergence of democracy. As the Prophet Hoseah said, “They have sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind.”
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The fact that ObamaCare was sold with lies multiplies the political resonance tenfold.
Like his father, Lapid believed that the Hareidim, together with the Palestinians, are parasites.
Terrorists are not folks and Americans were not attacked but murdered in a despicable and cold-blooded act of terrorism.
It would still be too hazardous for an Arab government to accept Israel’s nationhood.
Ignoring the wages of “forgiveness” in South Africa and Gush Katif, Rabbi John L. Rosove usurps the Genesis story of Joseph and his brothers.
Singling out Israel is not only malevolent, it is absurd.
The term “apartheid” is often used by advocates determined to achieve their own goals for their own purposes.
The arrest of a businessman is part of a campaign by the PA to intimidate and extort money.
To date, all the Bedouins’ legal land ownership claims that reached the courts have failed.
“It was quite an institutionalized racism, and we didn’t come to get involved in politics.”
Israel’s R&D expenditure is higher than any western country.
With the passage of time, fewer and fewer people are left to testify about life and death in the camps at the hands of the Nazis.
A fascinating Biblical echo
So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.
After nearly five years in office it should be clear that President Obama has always been a man on a mission to change America and the world. To be sure, we couldn’t disagree more with his vision – and in this we think we speak for most Americans.
We find it noteworthy, if not surprising, that with all the well-documented systematic human rights abuses committed by governments around the world – including, but not limited to, China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zimbabwe – not one resolution condemning any of them is planned by the UN General Assembly.
There is no shortage of pundits who, in pointing out the negatives inherent in the deal the Obama administration struck with Iran over its pursuit of nuclear power, suggest the president and his secretary of state were hoodwinked by the Iranians.
Last week, at the urging of President Obama, the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 52-48, muscled through a change in Senate rules that will severely restrict the use of filibusters by the Republican minority.
It is no secret that The New York Times editorial page is ordinarily in the tank for President Obama or that, conversely, it rarely misses an opportunity to cast Israel in a negative light.
The controversy over President Obama’s several public assurances that Obamacare would permit people to keep their insurance plans is a disturbing reminder of some very troubling things about this president that have come to light during the course of his presidency.
Soon after taking office in 2009, President Obama spoke of reining in the U.S. role around the world and of making a concerted outreach to non-Western countries, particularly the Arab states and Iran, which he said had been unfairly dealt with in the past by the U.S.
Ray Kelly will soon be stepping down as New York’s police commissioner. While he gets near universal kudos for presiding over law enforcement in a city with crime at record lows, he also has his share of critics who fault him for the way he managed the NYPD’s crime fighting effort, particularly its stop and frisk program.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/reaping-the-whirlwind/2013/06/19/
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