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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘chemical weapons’

Back in the USSR

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Those among us who are middle-aged or older will remember a song by the Beatles called “Back to the USSR”. Ever since the minor crisis regarding the Asad regime’s use of chemical weapons, this song has been stuck my head.

This minor crisis has revealed, emphasized and demonstrated what we wrote about here long ago, which is the weakening of the Western bloc, especially the United States, and the return of the opposing group to the center of international stage under Russian leadership.  Putin’s article in the New York Times openly expressed his opinion about the old-new international situation, in which the world has stopped being a unipolar system, and has gone back to being a bipolar system, as it was until the end of the eighties, when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the allies in Eastern Europe left it in favor of joining with the Western, democratic world, and afterward, the European Union.

The Russian Bloc is based on non-democratic countries that are hostile to the West, whether from a cultural point of view, like China and Syria, or a religious point of view, like Iran. Countries where democracy is limping along like Venezuela and Nicaragua, also join up with Russia, who doesn’t bother them too much about marginal matters like human rights and political freedoms. North Korea also enjoys China’s and Russia’s political protection, especially in the UN Security Council.

Today’s anti-democratic glue is apparently better than the glue of Slavic identity that formed the “Warsaw Pact” because it is a world view and a cultural perspective. Back then, membership in the Soviet bloc was forced on the states (for instance, in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet invasion of 1968), while today, states freely choose to belong to the Russian bloc. It is not yet a consolidated and unified bloc, but one definitely sees that this union of anti-democratic forces is winning ever more diplomatic territory in the international sphere. There is an important military aspect to this alliance, due to the supply of Russian weaponry to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

Many countries in the world compare the behavior of the bloc under Russian leadership to the conduct of the West under United States’ leadership and conclude: The United States betrays her friends and abandons them, while Russia is faithful to her friends and defends them. When the world analyzes what the United States has done for states and rulers in recent years it finds Mubarak, who was abandoned by President Obama with the start of demonstrations against him; the president of Tunisia – bin Ali – who was forced to flee from the demonstrations without even one of his European friends  to rescue him; the United States abandons its friends in the Gulf and in Saudi Arabia in the face of Iran’s threatening buildup; the West does not back Israel in its efforts to maintain its security and its strategic assets, and urges it to establish another Palestinian terror country in the mountains of Judea and Samaria, overlooking most of the territory of the State of Israel.

On the other hand, the world sees that Russia defends Iran and its nuclear project in the Security Council faithfully, and even supplies its reactors and the means of defending them; Russia is faithful to Asad and supplies him weaponry, ammunition and means of defense necessary for his survival; Russia supplies China with raw materials and places of employment.

In Economic matters as well, the West appears weak relative to Russia. Since six years ago, the Western economy – Europe and the United States together – has been caught in a structural crisis, not in a recession from which it is relatively easy to emerge. It seems that the unification of currency (the Euro) and production standards are not enough to make Europe into one body, so divisive forces exist there that even threaten the stability of some countries: the region of Catalonia wants to secede from Spain, and the Scots apparently will leave the United Kingdom in another year. Europe is addicted to Russian gas, and to oil that, by Iran’s “good will”, is allowed to pass through the Strait of Hormuz on its route from the Emirates to Europe.

Regarding the issue of Syrian chemical weapons, the West has seemed like a crumbling and disintegrating body, with no leader and no shared agenda. The British parliament is against war, the French is for it, and the American administration says that it’s getting ready to attack, Congress doesn’t support it, the American army is preparing for war and the State Department puts forth a compromise. The right hand does not know what the left is doing, and each one acts according to a different agenda. This is no way to build a bloc of states that is capable of executing a mission that everyone agrees is ethically justified: to defend the citizens of Syria from chemical weapons. And when ethics ceases to be the leading cause for the West, what is left of its values?

British PM: Holocaust Teaches not to Ignore Syria Crimes

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

British David Cameron said that the horrors of the Holocaust should bring out outrage in people who are against facing the reality that the Assad regime is using chemical weapons in Syria.

He told the Holocaust Education Trust’s annual dinner in London on Monday, “The evidence [is] before our eyes,” the London Jewish Chronicle reported. He referred to “the flagrant breach of an international taboo against the use of chemical weapons, the refugee crisis of our time, and a man-made humanitarian catastrophe where 6.8 million in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance.”

The House of Commons dealt Cameron a several political blow three weeks ago when it narrowly rejected his requests for agreeing to military intervention in Syria to stop the use of chemical weapons.

Speaking of his reaction to watching videos of the victims after the poison gas attack last month that killed more than 1,000 people,, he stated, “I saw children’s bodies stored in ice. Young men and women gasping for air and suffering the most agonizing deaths — all inflicted by weapons that have been outlawed for nearly a century. I saw young people suffering agonizing deaths

“And let’s not forget, these chemical weapons also pose a massive potential threat to Israel….

“Let me assure you that the safety of Israel will always be a fundamental concern for me. With me as Prime Minister, Britain will never stand by. We will not stand by when people talk with genocidal intent about the Jewish people — as the Iranian regime has done. We will not stand by as the Iranians continue their path to nuclear weapons.

“And we will back Israel’s right to defend itself, when rockets from terrorists… are fired into Israeli homes.”

Netanyahu, Obama to Meet during UN General Assembly

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will discuss stopping Iran’s nuclear program during a meeting with President Barack Obama later this month during the United Nations General Assembly, he told his Cabinet on Tuesday.

Until Iran actually stops its nuclear program “the pressure on Iran must be increased and not relaxed, and certainly not eased,” Netanyahu said.

The German newspaper Der Spiegel reported Monday that Iran is willing to close its uranium enrichment facility at Fordo under international supervision in return for an easing of Western sanctions. In addition, U.S. officials have suggested that the Obama administration would be willing to ease or lift some sanctions on Iran in return for progress in talks on stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu outlined four steps needed in order to call Iran’s nuclear program stopped: halting all uranium enrichment; removing all enriched uranium; closing Fordo; and stopping plutonium enrichment.

He reiterated that “Israel must continue to build up its strength so that it will always be able and ready to defend itself by itself against any threat.”

Netanyahu and Obama also are expected to discuss during their meeting the threat of Syrian chemical weapons.

Netanyahu Denies Urging Kerry to Reach Deal on Syria

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denies an incredulous Wall Street Journal report Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to talk to Russia about a deal to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

The Journal is a very credible source, and governments often deny the truth, but this time around it can be assumed that Netanyahu is telling the truth and that the newspaper got its fact wrong.

It stated that on Sept. 11, Netanyahu told Kerry on the telephone that he did not think Russia was bluffing about striking a deal on international inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

The report also said that Israel shared U.S. concerns that military strikes on Syria in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens would strengthen the Syrian rebels, who are linked to al-Qaida, and would allow them to take possession of Syria’s chemical weapons.

“The comments attributed to the prime minister from his conversation with Secretary Kerry on Sept. 11 are untrue,” a government official told the JTA. “The Wall Street Journal report is erroneous.”

Even if the Prime Minister told Kerry that Russia is not bluffing, that does not mean the Prime Minister “encouraged” the United States to accept the deal.

Netanyahu has been aggressively pushing for actin against the Assad regime. If the chemical weapons were to fall into the hands of the opposition, it might be a lot easier to make sure they don’t stay in their hands rather than to trust Assad and President Putin.

The JTA contributed to this report.

Netanyahu Told Kerry Putin ‘Not Bluffing’ On Weapons Deal

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to talk to Russia about a deal to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

The Wall Street Journal, citing American and Middle Eastern officials briefed on the exchange, reported Monday that Netanyahu and Kerry spoke about the issue on Sept. 11.

During the conversation, according to the newspaper, Netanyahu said he believed Russia wasn’t bluffing about striking a deal on international inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

Israel also shared U.S. concerns that military strikes on Syria in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens would strengthen the Syrian rebels, who are linked to al-Qaida, and would allow them to take possession of Syria’s chemical weapons.

Netanyahu Expects ‘Full Destruction’ of Syria’s Chemical Weapons

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he expects “the full destruction of the stocks of chemical weapons that the Syrian regime has used against its own people.”

Speaking at a state ceremony at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem to mark the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, he added, “We hope that the understandings that have been achieved between the US and Russia regarding Syria’s chemical weapons will show results, and indeed, these understandings will be tested by results.”

His remarks did not ignore the Iranian nuclear threat. The Prime Minister stated, ”The test of results also applies to the international community’s diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons. Here as well, it is not words that will be decisive, but rather actions and results. In any case, Israel must be prepared and ready to defend itself by itself against any threat. Today, this ability and this willingness are more important than ever.”

 

PA Back in Town to Wink at PA’s Loaded Deck of Cards

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority Sunday to rah-rah “peace talks” even though the Palestinian Authority continues to violate the ground rules by threatening it will win recognition by several countries if the talks fail.

“Failure” in PA language means Israel’s insistence to actually negotiate at negotiations instead of signing on the dotted line, which would make Kerry and Obama very happy.

It is no wonder that Kerry, fresh from letting Vladimir Putin saving President Barack Obama from himself, is using the visit to show how much he loves Israel by meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to update him on Syrian President Bassar al-Assad’s pledge to get rid of his chemical weapons.

That is the same Assad who said last week that Syria he has no chemical weapons.

The United States knows just as much, if not more, about Assad’s chemical weapons thanks to Israeli intelligence than it does to its own. The most probable positive outcome for Kerry in his visit to Netanyahu will be a great photo-op for Jews to marvel how the Secretary of State thinks so much of Israel.

Of course, Kerry also will spread his wings over Ramallah and talk with Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, even though they met in London exactly seven days ago in London to discuss the “developments in direct peace talks that were resumed on July 14.”

PA and Israeli negotiators pledged to abide the American ground rules and to uncharacteristically be quiet, not update the media on progress or lack of progress and not negotiate through the media.

That rule applies to Israel but not to Saeb Erekat, senior negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, which has broken virtually every agreement it has signed with Israel, under American auspices, the past 20 years.

Erekat last week threatened that if the talks fail, the Palestinian Authority will go back to its two-year-old tactic of simply violating the Oslo Accords again and taking the unilateral move to obtain recognition as an independent country from countries ready to sign up.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which has senior authority over the PA, distributed to its executive committee a document in which Erekat states that some countries already have promised to recognize the “State of Palestine” if Israel does not grant it all of its political and territorial demands.

Erekat last week also issued a rather thinly-disguised threat of violence.

“We hope that the Israeli government understands that their impunity is evaporating and that it is in Israel’s interest to go for justice and peace rather settlements and Apartheid. Settlement construction shows a lack of seriousness towards the idea of a Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace and security. We will be contacting different members within the international community in order to make clear to those who are trying to sabotage our efforts, that settlement construction has a price and that this price will continue to grow.

“Some people in Israel continue to believe that the endgame for negotiations should not be peace but rather, further colonization. We call upon all parties that had vigorously advocated for the resumption of negotiations to do whatever is needed to block and to punish the latest decisions made by the Israeli government and the Occupation Municipality in Jerusalem.”

That is pretty strong language for someone who is supposed to be holding “secret peace talks.”

Earlier this month, PLO secretary-general Yasser Abed Rabbo, always good for an anti-Zionist quote, pitched in and warned that Israel is risking a “political catastrophe” in the PA if it does not simply keep quiet and sign. A “political catastrophe” in the Palestinian Authority can only mean one of two things: an overthrow of Abbas or a new campaign of violence – oops, make that “resistance.”

He accused Israel of encouraging “settlers” to continue “violations” by building homes in Judea and Samaria and areas of Jerusalem claimed by the PA.

Abed Rabbo also violated Kerry’s ground rules by stating, “Until now there has been no progress” in the secret talks and that we’re now seeing what we expected — that there is little hope for their progress, in fact that hope is non-existent and negotiations are futile.

Liberman: No Confirmation that Assad Sent Poison Gas to Iraq

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Israel has no information to confirm Syrian rebel claims that the Assad regime has sent part of its stockpile of chemical weapons to Iraq, Knesset Member and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Voice of Israel radio Sunday.

However, the regime still is planning to ship the illegal weapons to Iraq and to Hezbollah, Free Syrian Army (FSA) spokesman Luai Al-Mekdad told the London-based pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. He claimed that Syrian President Bassar al-Assad is “returning the Iraqi chemical arsenal, which Saddam Hussein had sent to

Syria before the 2003 Iraq war.”

He also that Hezbollah “received the first batch of chemical weapons almost a year ago…and now is preparing to receive the second batch, which it will stockpile in areas along the border with Syria, as…in the Beqaa Valley.”

The rebels already have gained a reputation for spreading propaganda and lies just as much as Assad, but if Assad succeeds in transferring even a small amount of chemical weapons to Hezbollah, it would make mockery of Russian-Syrian agreement to turn its weapons over to international authorities.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/liberman-no-confirmation-that-assad-sent-poison-gas-to-iraq/2013/09/15/

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