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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Obama Takes America to War in Iraq & Syria, Against ISIS

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

US President Barack Obama announced Wednesday night that America is going back to war, this time against the global terror group ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, known in Arabic as “Da’esh.”

Obama made the announcement in a 15 minute nationally televised address on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attack on America by the international Al Qaeda terrorist organization.

“I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Obama said in his address. “It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil,” he promised.

Nevertheless, the president made it clear that the U.S. would wage a “relentless” military campaign to “degrade and destroy” the terrorist group that beheaded two American journalists, including one with dual Israeli citizenship.

The U.S. will rely heavily on air strikes to get the job done, Obama explained – including air strikes inside Syria, for the very first time. The four-part strategy includes air strikes, support to other forces battling the terrorist organization, counter terrorism efforts to prevent attacks and weaken the group, and continued humanitarian assistance to civilians.

A senior administration official carefully told reporters in a pre-speech briefing that attacks in Syria would be carried out at a ‘time and place of our choosing.” He added that no specific information would be provided to the media, in order not to “telegraph our punches by being specific about the time and nature of the target. We will do that as necessary, as we develop targets and as we continue what is a systematic air campaign that is not going to be restricted by a geographic border that, frankly, has very little meaning anymore, given [the group’s] operations in both Iraq and Syria.”

The official added that the formation of a new Iraqi government was what had allowed the U.S. to expand its support for a war against ISIS. Following the insertion of military advisers into Iraq earlier in the summer, the president said in June that “he would do more when the Iraqi cabinet was appointed. That has now happened and the next phase will be more offensive,” the official said.

The president cited support by what he said were dozens of “coalition” partners to “roll back this terrorist threat” in what will be an open-ended timetable. Several hours before going on the air, Obama authorized Secretary of State John Kerry to allocate $25 million in Foreign Assistance Act funds to train, educate and provide military assistance to the Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional governments in their fight against ISIS. Another 475 U.S. military troops will be sent to the region next week, bringing the total deployed to some 1,600 soldiers thus far.

To date, the U.S. has conducted 153 air strikes against ISIS terrorists in Iraq. The official who briefed journalists prior to the president’s speech said Obama is authorized to move from a humanitarian to offensive campaign against the terrorists without Congressional approval, based on the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress following the 9/11 terror attack by Al Qaeda. The legislation allows the president to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against any entity he believes “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The legislation expires when U.S. forces leave Afghanistan.

Israeli, US Leaders Organize Top Brass to Fight Islamic State

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Israel’s top brass met Wednesday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to discuss the growing threat in the region from the Islamic State terror organization.

Representatives from every security establishment were present, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the National Security Council, Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch, Foreign Ministry representatives, and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

Netanyahu discussed with those present the issues surrounding the threat posed to Israel by the Islamic State. The prime minister warned world leaders about the terror organization during Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge this summer in Gaza.

Netanyahu repeatedly has drawn a parallel between Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization and the Islamic State, which has spread its influence from Iraq and Syria to the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, Lebanon and recently as far as Europe. Israel has officially outlawed the group.

U.S. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, planned to address the American people in a prime-time televised address to the nation Wednesday evening.

Obama was to outline his strategy for dealing with the global threat posed by the Islamic State, which is rapidly becoming a specific threat to the United States as well. There have been reports that up to 100 sleeper cells from the group may already exist in the U.S.

Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Baghdad just two days after Iraq’s newly-sworn Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi installed his top government ministers.

Two car bombs exploded simultaneously in the southeastern neighborhood of New Baghdad, killing 13 people, during the meeting of the two leaders.

“A new and inclusive Iraqi government has to be the engine of our global strategy against ISIL (a former acronym for Islamic State – Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant),” Kerry said.

The next question is, where are the Europeans and how are they planning to fend off this threat in their midst? (Yes, the Islamic State has indeed already arrived on Europe’s shores. It was an Islamic State terrorist who was behind the terrorist attack at the Brussels Jewish Museum this past May 24.)

Obama White House Condemns Designation of Gush Etzion Lot as ‘State Land’

Monday, September 1st, 2014

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has sharply condemned the Israeli government’s decision Sunday to designate a lot in Gush Etzion as state land.

The decision came as a direct result of the kidnapping and murder by Hamas terrorists of three teenage yeshiva students on the site in early June.

The U.S. claimed the move would damage future final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” a Statement Department spokesman said. “This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve and construction tender they issue, is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians. We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision.”

In general, the U.S. has opposed Israeli development in Judea and Samaria, although most past administrations have ameliorated their concerns, depending on circumstance.

The 4,000-dunam lot is located adjacent to the Gush Etzion community of Alon Shevut, not far from bus stop and hitchhiking post where Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha’ar were abducted by Hamas terrorists and then murdered on June 12. Their bodies were found three weeks later in Judea after a massive manhunt by thousands of IDF soldiers and security personnel, in a field owned by the Hebron-based Qawasme clan along Highway 60 between Hebron and Gush Etzion in the PA town of Halhul.

Prior to the designation, the Judea and Samaria civil administration had designated the status of the area — known as Geva’ot — as ‘survey land’ as ordered by the political establishment after the bodies of the three teens were recovered. The move froze the status of the area and prevented construction plans from moving through the system until a determination could be made about its future, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Geva’ot is not new. In 1982, an Israeli cabinet decision laid the groundwork for development of the area as an IDF Nahal community, which started in 1984 and then closed two years later. For the next 10 years the site became the home of the Shevut Yisrael Yeshiva, with small pre-fab homes. In 1998, The Gush Etzion Regional Council reached out to the government, requesting construction of a full-scale city on the site similar to Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, Modi’il Illite and Beitar Illit. Plans began but two years later were dropped due to international diplomatic pressure. In 2008, once again the plans were picked up and moved forward in 2009, especially after the Annapolis Summit came to naught. By 2012, initial authorization for 523 homes was secured from the Defense Ministry — and there the project was frozen.

Gush Etzion is well within the area Israel is likely to retain in any final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

The PA immediately responded that the site belongs to districts of two separate PA-controlled cities: Bethlehem and Hebron. Bethlehem is located across the road and is more than five and a half miles north. Hebron is the same distance, to the south.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, declared Sunday evening, “The settlement enterprise is illegal,” in a sweeping condemnation of every Jewish city, town and village built in Judea and Samaria, including any that might be built on the newly-designated state land. Nearly 400,000 Jews now live in Judea and Samaria.

He, too, said the move would “bring about a further deterioration” in talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – which at this point includes Hamas in its unity government.

The PA has had to be repeatedly dragged to the negotiations table over the years, each time with ‘enticements’ and ‘good will gestures’ forced on Israel by the United States.

Netanyahu: Hamas Mistaken to Think Israel Lacks Unity, Determination or Fortitude

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Hamas terrorists Sunday not to underestimate Israel’s ability to hold out under any ‘war of attrition’ the group might attempt.

“We are in the midst of a combined military and diplomatic campaign,” Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s government cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

“From the first day, the Israeli delegation to Cairo has worked under clear instructions: Insist on the security needs of the State of Israel. Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings,” he said.

The comment came in response to the rejection by Hamas of an 11-point tentative plan reached Thursday in Cairo, in connection which Palestinian Arab representatives had expressed optimism.

That was before Hamas leaders had made the requisite pilgrimage to see politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, who is based comfortably in Qatar – not with his suffering brethren in Gaza – and who over the weekend with his Qatari handlers immediately nixed the deal.

Israeli officials had maintained silence about the plan throughout the weekend, other than to say that any deal must meet the security needs of the Jewish State.

On Saturday night, Hamas leaders returned to Gaza with bluster and brazen attitude, demanding the inclusion of two points that were turned down by Israel: construction of a seaport and airport in Gaza. Both would create an instant express route for the import of weaponry into the enclave, totally impractical from Israel’s security standpoint since Hamas has proved itself to be without honor and incapable of sticking to agreements or cease-fires for any length of time.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed the White House placed a ‘hold’ on an imminent delivery of Hellfire missiles that was due to arrive in Israel and issued an order to the Pentagon that future military transactions must be scrutinized directly by the State Department and the Oval Office.

The move emboldened Hamas and its backers, who might otherwise have reached the point of understanding that it was in the best interest of Gazans for Hamas to reach an agreement for quiet, if not peace, with Israel. Instead, the terrorist group decided it would prefer to continue its campaign of terror.

Late Saturday night, Hamas officials announced that Israel should prepare for a “long war of attrition” if the Jewish State is not willing to “meet all our demands.”

But that’s a mistake, Netanyahu said, despite the sporadic demonstrations that terrorists have seen on television protesting against the government’s handling of the conflict.

“In the past month Hamas has taken a severe military blow. We destroyed its network of tunnels that it took years to dig. We intercepted the rockets that it had massed in order to carry out thousands of deadly strikes against the Israeli home front. And we foiled the terrorist attacks that it tried to perpetrate against Israeli civilians – by land, sea and air,” Netanyahu said.

“If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken,” he warned. “If Hamas thinks that continued sporadic firing will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken.

“As long as quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to take very harsh blows. If Hamas thinks that we cannot stand up to it over time, it is mistaken.

“In the stormy and unstable Middle East in which we live, it is not enough that there be more strength, determination and patience are also necessary. Hamas knows that we are very strong but maybe it thinks that we do not have enough determination and patience, and here it is making a big mistake.”

Obama’s Campaign Against Israel

Friday, August 15th, 2014

It’s getting harder and harder for even diehard apologists to make a case that the Obama administration supports Israel. The latest news comes after a very rocky period in which the administration tried to do an end-around to coerce Israel into a bad ceasefire deal with Hamas, while experimenting with an unseemly and embarrassing (and short-lived) flight ban to Israel’s international airport, and straightforwardly mouthing the false Hamas narrative about an Israeli attack in southern Gaza.

Now administration officials have disclosed, in a leak-blast full of astonishing quotes, that a shipment of arms to resupply Israel after the recent operation in Gaza was stopped when senior officials became aware of it.

But they aren’t just disclosing that the shipment was halted, and that other shipments will be getting a closer look. They are concocting an entire narrative about the Israelis “outflanking” the administration, running off on their own, and being unreceptive to U.S. influence.

Obama is transparent, if you read his oracular signs with the right key. Most responsible observers have been reluctant up to now to use that key. But there’s really nothing else left to do. We’re beyond the point at which the damaging implications of tailored “leaks” from the Obama administration can be explained away.

The most positive interpretation of the administration’s posture, as revealed in the incendiary WSJ article, is that it is ideologically committed to a radical-left view in which Israel figures as the villain. From this ideological motive, Obama hopes to use American influence to limit and confound Israeli policy. Think of the policy the typical flotilla activist would adopt toward Israel, and that’s the thematic pattern in Obama’s executive-branch campaign. The campaign can’t be waged too overtly, because of the inevitable blowback from Congress.

Tending the “BASE

Characteristically, the latest escapade with the halted arms shipment is being disclosed in a way that will gratify Obama’s radical-left political base. Right away, the disclosure has the Obama signature on it (emphasis added):

White House and State Department officials who were leading U.S. efforts to rein in Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval.

Is Obama ever not caught off guard? This opening sentence explains to his base that he and his top officials weren’t responsible for seeming to approve of the IDF’s operation in Gaza by providing supplies to it.

But the sentence also flat-out lies – by implying that there was something sneaky about Israel’s procurement of ammunition. In fact, Israel was reordering ammunition under Foreign Military Sales cases for which reordering is already authorized, without the need for renewed approval. This is not uncommon with foreign military sales (and is actually acknowledged later in the same article, as Jeff Dunetz points out). Depicting a reorder of ammo as “adroit bureaucratic maneuvering” is worse than tendentious, and can have only one purpose. The purpose is clarified here:

But Israeli and U.S. officials say that the adroit bureaucratic maneuvering made it plain how little influence the White House and State Department have with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu —and that both sides know it.

Certainly this can be read as the Obama administration distancing itself from Israel in a diplomatic and geopolitical sense. But don’t discount the reality of who Obama is as a politician. He’s equally invested in distancing himself, in the minds of his most loyal supporters, from whatever outcome Israel is able to secure from the current conflict. The narrative crafted by this very tailored “leak” is perfectly designed to appeal to those supporters, who at this point are virtually certain to be disappointed in Israel’s outcome.

Obama Holds Up Weapons Transfer to Israel

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

An imminent delivery of Hellfire missiles set to arrive in Israel from the US has been held up by the White House.

Moreover, the transfer of any weapons and other military hardware to Israel, even routine munitions requests, is now being blocked by the State Department and the White House.

In clear language, it means that any form of American military aid – once a ‘given’ by Israel’s “closest friend and ally” – is now being scrutinized by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, at a time when Israel is facing an enemy supplied by Iran and Syria, and intent on its destruction.

The move has only served to further wind up an already tense relationship between the White House and Israel.

According to an Israeli government official quoted by the Wall Street Journal, “We’ve been there before with a lot of tension with us and Washington. What we have now, on top of that, is mistrust and a collision of different perspectives on the Middle East. It’s become very personal.”

Specifically, the Pentagon blocked delivery of the Hellfire missiles because officials at the White House and in the State Department were worried about the reaction of Palestinian Arabs in the US and abroad, according to the report.

The WSJ article cited a number of past conflicts between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government. It then went on, however, to say the straw that broke the camel’s back had to do with the attack near the UNRWA school in Gaza.

“The watershed moment came in the early morning in Gaza July 30. An Israeli shell struck a United Nations school in Jabaliya that sheltered about 3,000 people. Later that day, it was reported in the U.S. that the 120-mm and 40-mm rounds had been released to the Israeli military,” WSJ reported.

A US diplomat complained about being “blindsided” and officials at the White House and State Department were disturbed by what they considered a risk to regional stability and Israel’s interests due to a “humanitarian catastrophe,” according to the report.

However, no one was blindsided. The Israelis filed a routine request for munitions as they always did. Israeli bureaucracy is famous for its automated mentality, which is set in motion months in advance. Even the draft notices for upcoming 18-year-olds begin two years earlier – at age 16 – and then are sent out six months before the actual appointment.

A US defense official also said there was nothing unusual about the request.

“There was no intent to blindside anyone. The process for this transfer was followed precisely along the lines that it should have,” the official said.

But with regard to the July 30 attack, the information was reported from Gaza inaccurately from the start, deliberately manipulating and inciting American officials.

Pallywood wins again – but it is a bit odd that top government officials could so easily be misled, unless it’s an active choice on their part.

That’s not the fault of American media but rather due to the Hamas propaganda machine and the willingness of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to collaborate.

It’s also due to the need for journalists to stay alive; there have been more than a few reporters who have managed to leave Gaza and later were courageous enough to admit they were threatened with death if they were to photograph, let alone report, the truth of what they were doing to their own civilians there.

The lone shell that was fired struck outside the school compound, as was already admitted by at least one UNRWA official in a tweet several hours after the event.

Obama Authorizes Targeted Air Strikes Against ISIL

Friday, August 8th, 2014

For the first time since December 2011, US President Barack Obama has authorized targeted air strikes against Al Qaeda-linked ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant) terrorists in Iraq.

“When we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye,” Obama told a news briefing Thursday. “Today, America is coming to help.”

However, White House spokesman later added a blunt clarification for reporters: “No combat boots on the ground.” The US would support Iraqi and Kurdish fighters in their efforts to beat back the Islamic State, but no American soldiers would pay the price in their stead.

Secretary of State John Kerry added that “ISIL’s campaign of terror against the innocent, including Yezedi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide. For anyone who needed a wake-up call, this is it.”

It is not really clear how the Islamic State’s “campaign of terror against the innocent” in Iraq differs from Palestinian Arab terrorist rocket attacks raining down on southern and central Israel, and their stabbing and rock attacks against civilians on the roads and within Israeli communities.

U.S. military aircraft dropped humanitarian aid to Iraqi refugees who have been trapped in the north of the country for some time, officials said, including 16 bundles containing 5,300 gallons of fresh drinking water and 8,000 “meals ready-to-eat” or MREs, near Sinjar. Thousands are trapped on a mountaintop near Sinjar, Defense One reported, trying to flee the Islamic State terrorists.

The terror organization launched a coordinated attack spanning “hundreds of miles” in northern Iraq, administration officials said, leading to fears of “genocide.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-authorizes-targeted-air-strikes-against-isil/2014/08/08/

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