Posts Tagged ‘Allies’
For the first time in five years, Turkey and Israel are talking officially again, with an official delegation from Turkey arriving today (Mon. Aug. 31) to discuss development in Jenin.
The Turkish delegation, led by Guven Sak, a co-director of the Turkish Manufacturers and Traders Association, are set to meet Monday in Israel with Israeli Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Karal
The Turkish business leaders are allegedly planning to discuss development of an industrial zone in the Jenin are, a project worth a Turkish investment of at least $100 million.
Monday’s visit is the first since the 2010 incident on the Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel that illegally attempted to breach Israel’s maritime security blockade of Gaza. The vessel, sponsored by a Turkish activist group, was filled with violent, armed activists who attacked Israeli commandos who boarded the vessel to redirect it to Ashdod port, after the captain refused to change course away from Gaza.
Although the group sponsoring the ship claimed it was filled with “humanitarian supplies”for Gaza residents, upon inspection in Ashdod it was discovered there were no supplies for Gazans. But during the clashes on board the vessel between the attacking activists on board, and the Israeli commandos who boarded to redirect the ship, nine Turkish attackers were killed. A number of Israelis were seriously wounded, including one critically, as well.
The incident sparked years of acrimonious rhetoric from then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now the country’s president, who expelled the Israeli ambassador and recalled his own from Tel Aviv. Erdogan is a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, which gave birth to Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization. He was outraged when Israel has launched counter terror operations to silence the incessant rocket and mortar fire being aimed at its civilians in southern areas.
Nevertheless, over the past several years various figures behind the scenes have been working quietly to repair the damage to the relationship between the two former allies, which has continued to grow economically in commercial trade.
A number of religious leaders on both sides have also maintained ties and continued to meet for interfaith dialogue facilitated by Istanbul-based Islamic scholar Adnan Oktar.
The delegation is arriving one day after Turkey’s “ambassador to the Palestinian Authority,” Mustafa Sernich, traveled to Gaza, Al Resalah reported Sunday.
Semich was accompanied by a delegation of economists who paid their own way, and who are scheduled for meetings with heads of Gaza economic institutions.
The Turkish official was scheduled to meet with “deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.”
Until recently Haniyeh was recognized as the de facto prime minister of Gaza. The use of this new title by Palestinian Arab media suggests Haniyeh was demoted in a quiet internal political battle out of the public eye.Hana Levi Julian
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset on Wednesday that Israel’s “deep ties” with the United States will continue.
Netanyahu reassured lawmakers that the strong bond between the two countries would weather the current “crisis” claimed Tuesday in an article published in The Atlantic quoting an anonymous senior staffer in the Obama White House.
“The safety of Israel is not important to those who anonymously attack us and me personally,” Netanyahu told the special session, held in memory of former Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, assassinated 13 years ago.
“I stand for our safety and security interests.”
Netanyahu added that he values and respects “our deep ties with the United States” and promised that strategic ties between Israel and America will continue.Hana Levi Julian
The United States and allies began bombing fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the city of Raqqa on Monday, near the northern Syrian border.
Raqqa is considered to be the “capital” of the ISIS attempt at a caliphate (state ruled by Islamic law.)
Both Russia and Iran, who are firm allies of the Syrian government, have warned the United States and others not to attack ISIS terrorists in Syria without first securing permission from President Bashar al-Assad.
However, according to a report posted Tuesday morning by the New York Daily News, Damascus said that “Washington informed Syria’s United Nations envoy before bombing the country.”
ISIS has swallowed a huge swathe of territory across Iraq and northern Syria, and is hoping to continue its bloodthirsty campaign to conquer as much territory as possible across the Middle East in order to establish an Islamic caliphate. The group simply slaughters those it calls “non-believers” wherever it goes – including other Muslims — usually by shooting or beheading them.
The military campaign, conducted by air with fighter jets and by warships at sea, is open-ended, the Pentagon told journalists in a briefing Monday. Buildings and arms depots were the primary targets.
The attack marks the first time the U.S. has carried out air strikes against the global jihad terror group outside of Iraq. U.S. air strikes against ISIS began in Iraq on August 8.
“U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against (Islamic State) terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk land attack missiles,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time,” he added.
Several Arab nations participated in the operation, although the Pentagon did not identify them. According to CNN and other international outlets, there were four: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.Hana Levi Julian
Ted Cruz and his allies get it. They get that Americans can’t afford to have Obamacare implemented against our groaning, near-collapse finances. They get that we are disgusted (and alarmed) at the idea of being the GOP’s economic attrition strategy for the 2014 election: the strategy that says, “Let things get as bad as they’re going to with Obamacare, and then people will finally blame the Democrats.” The problem with that strategy is that someone has to pay the price for it – has to accept the financial losses, which for many people could be disastrous, even permanently life-changing – and that someone is us.
Cruz – and Mike Lee in the Senate, along with Matt Salmon (AZ) and others in the House – show that they get what the stakes are, by being willing to take a big risk on a deliberate strategy. They’re making an attempt they could actually be defeated in: to galvanize the rest of the GOP and get it to take a risk.
Contrast that with the bet-hedging and consultation-begging we see from the GOP leadership. Here’s where my confession of populism comes in: I don’t recall ever having such a sense of revulsion against the air of protecting privileged insularity that hangs over Beltway insiders, both politicians and pundits. As we understand it, GOP leaders sent unsolicited “opposition research” to Fox News on Sunday, in order to undermine Cruz in his appearance with Chris Wallace. Karl Rove excoriated Cruz on the Sunday show for failing to properly “consult” with his colleagues. Tucker Carlson, Charles Krauthammer, and even Brit Hume took up the cry on Monday’s Special Report, accusing Cruz of grandstanding, and personalizing their criticisms of him to a startlingly petty degree.
Meanwhile, as the GOP impugns Ted Cruz’s motives with slam-book-quality allegations, it quietly accepts Obamacare exemptions and special subsidies for Congress. The whole scenario seems like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington come to life. All that’s missing is misleading photos of Cruz making bird calls.
But the truth is, this isn’t Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – because the plot of Mr. Smith turned on a relatively small matter, one that might have had symbolism for the operation of the whole government, but that in a literal sense affected only a small number of citizens. The implementation of Obamacare is the biggest issue America has dealt with since how to get rid of the atrocious institution of slavery, and what “union” and “states’ rights” mean. It profoundly affects everyone who will ever be an American from this day forward. Issues don’t come any bigger. Obamacare is about government’s relation to the citizen; about what government can dictate and control in our lives; and about what our economic liberties will mean, not in a decade, not a year from now, but tomorrow — and for the rest of our life as a nation.
From where I sit, it looks like Ted Cruz gets that. He gets that we can’t just sit still, paralyzed by bad press and Democratic talking points, and let these questions be decided through the back door by the implementation of brain-deadening regulations. He gets that that’s what’s happening. He recognizes that a time comes when risk must be taken: when it just isn’t good enough for the well-worn remedies of consultation and deferral to produce the same unsatisfactory outcomes that they always do. This time, the cost of taking that risk-averse route is too high.
Cruz did what he had to do on Fox on Sunday, remaining on message with admirable rhetorical discipline. What he said was an accurate and succinct representation of the alternative he and his allies are offering: fund the government without Obamacare in fiscal year 2014, as the alternative to funding it with Obamacare. Delay implementation of the individual mandate, if that’s the best deal we can get, but go for the most we can get while still funding the government. Don’t shut it down. I found him to be effective in getting his point across.
But the old-school GOP leaders won’t get onboard with that message, apparently preferring to emphasize that they haven’t been consulted with. They might as well just concede the terms of the fight to the Democrats and have done with it.
There are an awful lot of Americans out here who don’t know when the next shoe is going to drop, as the predator in the dark stalks their jobs, insurance, and finances. Despising these people and their worries about Obamacare and the trend of big government – in the manner of Harry Reid – is as much bad karma as it is bad politics. Yet senior Republicans seem to join Reid in being annoyed with the people for not wanting to play the role of the sacrifice in an electoral-politics ritual.
Instead of deferring an Obamacare fight to a future point we can’t guarantee we’ll even reach – i.e., after a Senate victory in 2014 – Cruz and his allies propose to fight today, on ground we can at least define clearly and prepare for in the present. Are they right? There are arguments pro and con. But I don’t hear GOP leaders making any of those arguments in a forthright or convincing manner – or in any other way, for that matter.
One thing we can guarantee: we, Republican leaders and voters, won’t come to a unified position on that by refusing to address the question on the terms proposed by Cruz and his allies. Cruz is trying to force the issue, which accords it the weight and immediacy that I give it. He’s carrying my water. If GOP leaders want to lead, they need to get out in front of this issue. Go in strong with Cruz to make the strategy theirs – give the people something to applaud or reject – instead of merely sniping from the shadows.J. E. Dyer
Originally published at Rubin Reports.
It’s really pretty simple. The American people understandably don’t want to go to war with Syria, not to mention Syria’s patron of Iran and especially not to put into power the Muslim Brotherhood and murderous Islamists. Going to war is a serious matter to say the least. There’s no assurance how long it will take, how many lives it will cost, and what turns it may take.
In fact the Middle East has just had several examples of these wars. Iraq and Afghanistan cost a lot of money and lives as they extended for a much longer time than had been expected. In addition they derailed the Bush Administration’s electoral fortunes and domestic programs. With the main emphasis of the Obama Administration being a fundamental transformation of America such distractions are not desired.
There is one other important consideration. The Obama Administration does not accept the traditional diplomatic and great power strategies. It believes that it can reconcile with Islamist states; it does not comprehend deterrents; it does not keep faith with allies; and it does not believe in credibility, which is the belief that only power exerted can convince a foe of seriousness.
Of course, that wouldn’t rule out a one -time targeted attack but even if that were to be done is America going to fight a full-scale war on the ground with the American allies (including al-Qaeda) never satisfied and eager to stab them in the back?
The administration has trapped itself with two problems. One is that the rebels who are being supported in Syria are extreme radicals who may set off blood baths and regional instability if they win. The other is that a challenge has been given to very reckless forces: Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. When the United States threatens these three players the response is “make my day!”
So this is the situation. The United States is bluffing, it does not want to exert force and probably won’t. In other words, Iran and Syria would be quite willing to fight a war but the United States and its government doesn’t have the will to do so.
What is the optimum option for the Obama Administration ? To try to negotiate – as unlikely as it is – a deal in which some kind of interim or coalition arrangement would be arranged with Russia and Iran to make a transition from the current regime. And that mainly means stalling for time.
That could work, though, if the regime does not actually win in the war. Aid to rebels and some gimmicks, perhaps but no decisive action. Remember. though, that Iran cannot be said to have won as long as the civil war is continuing. The Administration can simply depend on denial, which should be sufficient for domestic purposes.
There is, however. a problem. The two sides Syrian sides want to wipe each other out. Why should the Russians and Iranians make a deal if they have a winning hand? No diplomatic arrangement is possible. In fact the diplomatic option is fictional or, to put it flatly, there is no alternative.
It is not inconceivable that the White House would consider easing sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program to have a chance on making a deal on Syria.
What is likely then is stalling, with the probability that the civil war will settle into stagnation for several years and thus a de facto partition of Syria. The United States simply can’t win given what it is willing to do. And in a great power standoff that’s a very dangerous situation.
Remember. though, that Iran cannot be said to have won as long as the civil war is continuing. The Administration can simply depend on denial, which should be sufficient for domestic purposes.
Finally, ask yourself one question: Will the United States under Obama dare a confrontation with Iran, Syria, and Russia to keep up American credibility, deterrence, and confidence of allies who it is already opposing on Egypt?
Of course not. This is already a president who could barely decide to kill Osama bin Laden.Barry Rubin
Could it be that the elusive needle in the haystack exists? Just what so many people have been looking for: Arabs who understand that people who don’t obey the rule of law are bad neighbors, bad classmates, and bad for business. Those bad guys are also more likely to kill other Arabs than law-abiding citizens who wish to create a strong, safe country that unifies people of all religions and races.
Bishara Shlayan is creating a new Arab Christian political party in Israel. The party was originally called “Allies of the New Covenant” (B’nai Brit Hahadasha), but recently changed its name to “Allies” so that more Jews will feel comfortable supporting it.
In a recent intervew, Shlayan makes several profoundly important statements: first, he strongly opposes the boycott not only of Israel, but also, specifically, of the territories: “The boycott is a big mistake – it is the livelihood for many, mainly Arabs in the West Bank,” he told The Jerusalem Post.
And when asked what he thinks about the release of Arab Palestinian prisoners as an inducement to getting the Palestinian Authority to sit down to talk with Israel, his response is indistinguishable from most Israelis: “Releasing murderers is not going to bring peace.”
On the other hand, perhaps as evidence of the enormous difficulty any Middle Eastern Arab is guaranteed to have if he is either critical of anti-Israel efforts or supportive of belonging to – or even co-existing with – the Jewish State, there are inconsistencies in some of the positions attributed to the Allies party, and even to Shlayan.
For example, according to a Messianic website the Allies party is “a revolutionary and courageous move,” because the Arabs involved realize “their future is with Israel and the Jews, and not with the Muslims who are trying to push the ancient Christian community out of Nazareth,” the birthplace of Jesus, which is now 65 percent Muslim and only 35 percent Christian.
But in an earlier Jerusalem Post interview from July, Shlayan sure sound as if he is endorsing the Two State concept, with his own home in Nazareth being part of the Muslim state: “I want every Jew in the world to have a place – a state to go back to – but I do not want to lose this state, and that is why I am for separation – two states.”
But perhaps what Shlayan is really hoping for is…three states! In last week’s Jerusalem Post article, Shlayan talks about his dream of having an “Arab Christian community, open to all, in the West Bank.” He even recognizes the appeal such a community should have from world funders because it would “promote peace since it would be open to anyone.” And although Shlayan wants his dream community to be open to all, his dream is for it to “have a statue of Jesus in Nazareth, similar to the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue in Rio de Janeiro.”
And just to confuse issues a little more, on Shlayan’s Facebook page, a page he has “liked” is one for “Palestinian Christians.” This group, unlike Shlayan’s vision, is for only one state. And although the page refers to the one state as a secular one, the symbol is a large cross instead of the Magen David.
On the other hand, perhaps the strongest evidence possible that Shlayan and his new party is firmly committed to the support of a strong Israel, is Shlayan’s own family.
Major Ihab Shlayan, Bishara’s uncle, is a career military man in the Israeli Defense Forces, and was recently made an adviser on Christian issues for the IDF. Major Shlayan is also a leader of the Christian IDF Enlistment Forum.
Bishara Shlayan first floated the concept of a new Judeo-Christian party in July. The original plan was to have members run in local elections, which are scheduled for October.
While there has been an outpouring of support from various Jewish and Christian communities around the world, the Allies have also received a lot of hate mail and messages from “Muslim and certain Christian communist groups.” Shlayan hopes to be able to maintain cordial relations with his Muslim neighbors, so he wants to take it slowly and the plan is now to register Allies as a political party next year.Lori Lowenthal Marcus