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May 5, 2015 / 16 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘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.

The Saudis are Trembling – Quietly

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

These days, the Arab media are full of reports about diplomatic activities regarding the Syrian issue, and commentators’ articles dealing with this matter fill whole pages in the newspapers of the Arab world. They all try to ascertain if there will be an American military action, what its scope will be, how powerful it will be, what its goals will be, how long it will last, and especially, what the consequences of the action will be. But there is one important voice which is almost not heard at all in this whole chorus of analysts – the Saudi voice – and it seems that someone there – the king? – may have imposed a gag order on the commentators.

To get a deeper understanding of the reason for this, I contacted a Saudi colleague, with whom I correspond occasionally. He is a member of the royal family, but is not in the inner circles of decision making. Nevertheless, he is well acquainted with the way the Saudi leaders think, he is aware of the considerations and feelings that drive it and has a deep understanding of what is said and what is not said there. At first he refused to speak, and only after a “preliminary conversation” did he consent. This is how it is in the Middle East: everything is based on personal relationships, and Arabic is the entry bridge into the emotions of the region’s people.

He preferred to speak about “The Gulf,” not Saudi Arabia, in order to present a united front regarding the events in Syria and its environs. This is not exactly correct, because the positions of Saudi Arabia (which is the main supplier and supporter of the Salafi fighters in Syria) and those of Qatar (which stand behind the Free Syrian Army), are not identical, and the United Arab Emirates is much more active than Oman. But despite the differences in approach among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, their basic attitudes are very similar.

My colleague hinted at an important aspect of Middle Eastern character, which is “murou’a” – “manliness.” A man will always be sure to act according to rules of manly conduct, and will make every effort to avoid feminine patterns of behavior. Emotionality and whining are considered feminine qualities that express weakness, while a male is expected to keep a cool head and emotional balance and remain calm and functional even in difficult and complex situations. It seems that the Saudi government’s silence during the last few days stems from this characteristic. One could say that the greater the internal emotional stress, the quieter and more relaxed the Arab man will try to appear. It relates to the obsession with honor, because if a man sounds like a woman he is considered contemptible.

The longer the conversation continued, the more open it became, and the more my colleague complained about the Western world in general and the United States in particular. “You (he included Israel in the Western world) speak all the time about human rights, so why are you quiet about what is happening in Syria? After chemical weapons have been used ten times, you still do not manage to find a reason to eliminate Asad? Are two hundred thousand fatalities not enough to bring you out of your complacency? Is issuing condemnations the only thing you can do? Making threats without carrying them out? You have all of the proof you need to do what you said you would do, so why are you not doing what you promised?” And then came the knockout question: “Is the Libyan’s blood redder than the Syrians’? Or maybe Libyan oil is blacker than Syrian oil?” These things were said somewhat scornfully, because the coalition of Europe and America attacked Qadhaffi for less terrible things than Asad is doing.

I asked him: “So how should the Arab world deal with a mass murderer?” He answered with a rhetorical question: “Don’t you know what Saudi Arabia has done and is still doing for the Syrian people?” He was referring to what Saudi Arabia usually does: it gives money, lots of money, for purposes that it believes in. Saudi Arabia – and all of the other Gulf countries – have poured many billions of dollars into the Syrian rebellion to pay the fighters, to buy weapons, ammunition, communication devices and civilian aid, and even to bring women to Syria in order to “serve” the fighters. Saudi Arabia funds training camps in other countries that train fighters to join the fight against Asad in Syria.

Assad Has Scattered Chemical Weapons throughout Syria: Report

Friday, September 13th, 2013

The Assad regime has moved its chemical weapons to dozens of locations in the country to avoid detection, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In a separate report, a rebel leader said that Hezbollah, which has deployed thousands of its soldier in Syria to help the war against rebels, has gotten its hands on one ton of poison gas, banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

After being threatened with a military strike by the United States following last month’s deadly chemical attack, Assad has joined the Convention, another double-faced move, which with Russian support allows him keep the West at bay.

The Journal, citing American officials, said a secret military unit has been scattering the chemical weapons for as long as several months. Intelligence officials said they know where most of the weapons have been placed, but know “a lot less than…six months ago.”

Assad’s forces possess more than 1,000 tons of chemical and biological weapons, according to the newspaper report, but one senior U.S. official added, “There might be more.”

Syria has taken the position that it is now a legal member of the Chemical Weapons Convention. “Legally speaking Syria has become, starting today, a full member of the convention,” Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told reporters in New York.

Did Iran and Russia Just Save Israel?

Friday, September 13th, 2013

It would be ironic if true, but it may very well be that Iran and Russia (and Syria) just saved Israel (or God did, using them as proxies).

Obama stated on Thursday that he’s going to be pivoting his focus away from the international arena and instead concentrate on domestic issues and politics (God help America).

After having been burnt in Syria, and completely played by Russia and Iran, it’s as close to an admission of policy failure and incompetence as you can possibly get.

On the downside, it means the U.S. military may not be dealing with Iran if it tries to cross the nuclear red line, but based on what we’ve heard during the Syrian debacle, it seems unlikely they were going to do so in the first place.

A number of respected U.S. military commentators were saying outright that the U.S. could not financially afford a full-scale war with Syria. The U.S. would need to be prepared for escalation into a full-scale war, if they were going to undertake even a limited military strike.

So, if the U.S. wasn’t prepared or capable of running a small or full scale operation/war in third world Syria, how can anyone reasonably have expected that they would be in a position to do so in Iran?

The message here for Israel, is that Israel is going to have to turn directly to their true source of power for this one.

On the upside, if Obama feels burned by Syria, the Arab Spring, Egypt, Russia, and everything else International, then maybe, just maybe, he’ll leave Israel alone too.

Maybe this is the end of Obama trying to embed Hamas into Judea and Samaria, and trying to divide Jerusalem, trying to kick out Jews out of our homes, and trying to promote this latest “peace process”.

One can hope.

G’mar Chatima Tova

White House Briefs Reform and Conservative Rabbis on Syria

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Nearly 700 rabbis and other Jewish communal officials were briefed by a top White House aide on President Obama’s Syria plans.

The call Tuesday with Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, was organized by the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center and the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly and attracted 691 callers from all religious streams, according to Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the RA’s executive vice president.

She said that rabbis were eager to be briefed on Syria so they could better discuss the issue in their Yom Kippur sermons.

Rabbis on the call pressed Rhodes on the moral underpinnings of striking Syria, distinctions between responses to the use of conventional weapons on civilians as opposed to chemical weapons, what the administration’s endgame in Syria was, and on how its Syria considerations affected its relationship with Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/white-house-briefs-reform-and-conservative-rabbis-on-syria/2013/09/12/

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