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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

Kerry Meets Turkish Pres., Egyptian FM in Washington

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

U.S. Secy of State John Kerry met Wednesday with Turkey’s President Recep Tayip Erdogan and Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry separately in Washington for what officials there called “brief visits.”

With Erdogan, Kerry discussed ongoing efforts to secure a political transition in Syria and assessed coalition efforts to “degrade and defeat Da’esh (ISIS) in the country.

The two men “reviewed the progress that has been made on the ground and discussed ways to strengthen [their] cooperation against this shared threat,” according to State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby.

Erdogan has been visiting the United States this week for the opening of a new mosque in Maryland, about 10 miles from the White House. The new center is considered to be the largest Turkish mosque outside the country. The Diyanet Center of America, as it is called, is a vast complex with the capacity to seat 10,000 worshipers on a 60-acre site. In addition to the mosque, the site is home to a cultural center, Turkish bathhouse, 10 different representative Turkish homes, a museum and more. Workshops and cultural exhibits on traditions such as Islamic calligraphy, Turkish marbling and visual storytelling will be held there as well.

President Barack Obama has declined to attend the opening of the mosque event set for this Saturday morning (April 2), despite publicized reports last November that he would be there. Erdogan will be joined by Turkey’s head of religious affairs, Dr. Mehmet Gormez.

With Shoukry, Kerry discussed a range of regional and bilateral issues, including Libya and Syria, Kirby said.

The U.S. Secretary reiterated America’s “commitment to help Egypt fight terrorism, increase economic growth, govern democratically, and bolster regional security,” according to a statement by Kirby.

Kerry and Shoukry “also discussed the importance of easing restrictions on association and expression in Egypt” and that of “allowing human rights non-governmental organizations to operate freely.”

Hana Levi Julian

Kerry Pirouettes Halfway Out on a Limb About ISIS and Genocide

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

In a statement on Wednesday, March 17, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went halfway out on a limb and announced that ‘in his judgment,’ ISIS is committing genocide against Yezidis and Christians and Shia Muslims and other living things.

But –fair minded man that he is — Kerry refused to say definitively that ISIS actually is committing genocide.  Such a definitive statement, Kerry insisted, could only be made by an international court.

Once upon a time, our world had people — they were called “leaders” — who were not afraid to name evil, and condemn evil when they saw it.  Can you imagine Churchill or Roosevelt issuing a statement that, in their opinion, the Nazis were evil, but that any definitive conclusion on the subject would have to be issued by someone else?

So if you see other reports about Kerry’s statement today, you may find headlines saying the U.S. has announced that ISIS is committing genocide. Sadly, though, Kerry did not quite say that. He said ISIS (he now calls it Daesh, its Arabic acronym) is doing lots of terrible things that the U.S. and its coalition partners detest and want to stop.

Kerry mentioned, at the outset, the taking over of major cities and seizing of territory in Syria and Iraq, committed by ISIS over the past two years. He mentioned that ISIS has overrun major cities, seized territory in Syria and Iraq.

Those are not the first things most humanitarians would list, when listing the atrocities which ISIS has committed.

Kerry then boasted about the U.S. efforts, that it “responded quickly by denouncing these horrific acts and – more importantly – taking coordinated actions to counter them.” He mentioned the international coalition which is working “to halt and reverse Daesh’s momentum.” And ticks off the coalition’s successes and actions.

Kerry boasts that the international coalition has “attacked their revenue sources, and disrupted their supply lines,” and is currently working on a diplomatic initiative to end the civil war in Syria.

Then the U.S. Secretary of State gets to the heart of his statement: how to characterize what ISIS is doing. Is it genocide? Is it simply extreme aggressiveness? Is it random killing, albeit on a large and gruesome scale?

And here it is that Kerry disappoints. He cannot bring himself to actually state: ISIS is committing genocide.

In the administration’s world of moral relativism, in that world in which legal niceties trump reality, the Secretary of State of the greatest nation in global history can only come up with: “in my judgment, Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims.”

And then he musters a lengthy legal and factual basis for his flaccid statement. Yes, “Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions – in what it says, what it believes, and what it does. Daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities.”

Okay, then, but Kerry continues to hedge because heaven forbid he actually flat-out accuses ISIS of genocide. He cannot do that, you see, because there is not yet a complete record: it is “impossible to develop a fully detailed and comprehensive picture of all that Daesh is doing and all that it has done.”

Further down in his statement, Kerry lays out the the rather compelling – one would think – argument that ISIS is committing genocide, to wit, that ISIS “kills Christians because they are Christians; Yezidis because they are Yezidis; Shia because they are Shia. This is the message it conveys to children under its control. Its entire worldview is based on eliminating those who do not subscribe to its perverse ideology. There is no question in my mind that if Daesh succeeded in establishing its so-called caliphate, it would seek to destroy what remains of ethnic and religious mosaic once thriving in the region.”

Still, even after naming what it is that ISIS does, is doing and promises to continue doing, Kerry states that the opinion that he draws from all the evidence currently available does not amount to an actual and official position.


Because Team USA believes it is not worthy of making such a determination. Nope. They want a legal determination to be made by a judge or legal tribunal after all the facts are put forward, though an independent investigation.

Kerry wrote:

I want to be clear. I am neither judge, nor prosecutor, nor jury with respect to the allegations of genocide, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing by specific persons. Ultimately, the full facts must be brought to light by an independent investigation and through formal legal determination made by a competent court or tribunal.

It isn’t as if Kerry or his staff are even vaguely unaware of all the horrors ISIS has committed and promises to continue to commit. Kerry ticks off many of them, near the end of his lengthy statement: faith-based sexual slavery, mass rape, starvation, forced dehydration, executions, forced conversions and destruction of cultural heritage treasures.

Kerry said he wanted his statement to assure the victims of ISIS that the U.S. “recognized and confirms the despicable nature of the crimes that have been committed against them.”

Recognize and confirm? Yes. Name it for what it is? Not yet.

And what is to be served by refusing to take that last final step? Nothing, except to make clear that the U.S. does not value, and therefore neither should anyone else, its ability to pass judgment.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

US Cravenness Gave Iran Green Light for Missile Launches

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

This U.S. administration’s  desperation to conclude the Iran Nuclear Deal – whatever its actual terms or deterrence power – led to the likelihood that Iran’s latest militaristic provocations are immune from censure. That is so, despite America’s stated horror at Iran’s actions and even despite the Obama administration’s claim that Iran’s actions are a breach of its international law duties.

On March 8 and 9, Iran conducted missile tests from several different locations within its borders. The missiles were launched by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps with the express intent “to demonstrate Iran’s deterrent power and the Islamic Republic’s ability to confront any threat” against it, according to an official statement.

A Revolutionary Guard commander was quoted as saying that the missiles were designed to hit Israel, “our enemy the Zionist regime,” from a safe distance. The missiles were reportedly stamped with the words, in Hebrew: “Israel should be wiped from the pages of history.”

Obviously what Iran did was belligerent, but did it violate any agreements to which it should believe itself to be bound, and which would provide for international censure?

The answer seems to be that while Iran’s firing those missiles would have been prohibited before the U.S. and its international partners entered into the Iran Nuclear Deal, as the result of concessions made in order to induce Iran to sign the deal, we no longer have a supportable basis for complaint. Before the deal, yes, after the deal – which was touted by its proponents as making us all safer, no.

Nicely done you guys.

In fact, the Iran Nuclear Deal did not, until the very late stages, address ballistic missiles at all. At least one good reason why it did not is that there already was a United Nations Security Council Resolution in place that explicitly dealt with this problem.

UNSCR 1929, passed in 2010, prohibited Iran from engaging in any activity relating to ballistic missiles: “Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles.” The “shall not” language is crystal clear, and allows no wiggle room, ballistic missile activity by Iran is verboten.

But late in the game during the recent negotiations, when the U.S. became desperate to close the deal, Iran not only held firm on its initial conditions, but began making new demands. That was when the issue of ballistic missiles came into play.

And the U.S., so desperate for a deal, gave Iran two enormous missile-sized gifts.

First, it crossed its own red line of not including anything in the Nuclear Iran Deal that was not about Iran’s nuclear program. It did this by inserting into the deal a provision which put an end date on Iran’s ballistic missiles ban. Eight years after the signing of the Nuclear Iran Deal, Iran, with the official blessing of the international community, will no longer be subject to a ballistic missiles embargo.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry considered that a win. Why? Because Iran wanted it lifted immediately.

This missile gift was recognized and heavily criticized by the few critics of the Nuclear Iran Deal, most of whom were ignored.

The second Iran Missile Gift was far more serious, and, incredibly, received far less attention.

This gift applied to Iranian ballistic missile activity during the eight years until the ban was lifted. And it removed every last tooth in that provision, at least domestic ballistic missile testing, production and launches.

Recall the language quoted from UNSCR 1929? It was a blanket prohibition: “Iran shall not” engage in any ballistic missile activity.

During the final drunken haze of granting concessions to achieve a “deal,” the U.S. changed the impregnable “Iran shall not,” by endorsing the full Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and incorporating various implementation schemes, to instead read “Iran is called upon not to” develop ballistic missiles. That’s in Annex B, Para. 3, of UNSCR 2231, which was adopted by the full Security Council on July 20.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Kerry on Syria: May Be Too Late to Keep Whole, May Get Much Uglier

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday the world community may not be able to save Syria – what once was Syria, anyway – if the current fighting continues much longer.

Speaking at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the State Department’s annual budget request, Kerry had a grim outlook for the future of Syria.

“It may be too late to keep it as a whole Syria if we wait much longer,” the Secretary said, according to Reuters.

Even if the regime’s Russian-backed forces re-take the northern city of Aleppo – the largest commercial hub in the country – Kerry said it is hard to hold territory in Syria at this point.

For starters, the Secretary told the committee that he cannot guarantee that Russia will stick to the new cease-fire signed this week between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and moderate opposition forces. Moscow and Washington also signed on to that truce, which excluded the Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist groups.

The U.S. military is already looking ahead to a “Plan B,” he said, and will continue to support rebel efforts to overthrow Assad if Russia abandons its obligations under the truce.

“This can get a lot uglier,” Kerry warned. “Even if Russia took Aleppo… holding territory has always been difficult,” he said, according to Foreign Policy magazine. “Russia has to be sitting there evaluating that.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) asked Kerry what would happen if in fact “this cease-fire doesn’t hold? I don’t think Russia believes that anything is going to happen.”

Kerry ducked the question, replying instead, “I’m not going to say this process is sure to work because I don’t know. But I know that it’s the best way to end the war, and it’s the only alternative available to us if indeed we’re going to have a political settlement.”

The Arab world, on the other hand, may not be as willing to wait around and see.

Gulf nation governments and that of Saudi Arabia have already warned their citizens to leave Lebanon if they haven’t already. As early as last week, rumors were flying that Turkey and Saudi Arabia were preparing their troops for a ground invasion of Syria to deal with the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist threat on their own.

Hana Levi Julian

US Secy John Kerry, PA Leader Mahmoud Abbas to Meet in Jordan

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) in Jordan on Sunday, according to the U.S. State Dept.

Kerry arrived in Amman on Saturday. The Secretary had meetings scheduled with Jordanian monarch King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

Among the items on the agenda is the situation in Syria and the increasing impact the war is having on the Hashemite Kingdom.

Kerry and Judeh are scheduled to meet Sunday morning before the Secretary is to visit the king for a discussion on the military campaign against Da’esh (ISIS) in Syria.

According to Amnesty International, Jordan currently hosts approximately 635,324 refugees from Syria, about 10 percent of its own population.

More than 4.5 million refugees have fled Syria and are to be found in five host countries: Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt.

Kerry also discussed the Syria crisis with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Saturday morning in London, prior to his trip to Jordan.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at a briefing the two men discussed efforts to broker a partial cease-fire in Syria, and ways to get humanitarian aid to civilians trapped and starving in villages and towns that are still under siege.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey Shells Kurds in Syrian Border Village After Recapture

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Over the weekend, Turkish forces shelled the Syrian village of Maranaz and the Menagh airbase, both of which were re-captured recently by the Kurds.

Israel is watching the situation in Syria closely; events across the northern border have serious potential to affect Israeli national security. Although Israel coordinates its activities with Russia, that doesn’t mean every move by Moscow is one that works well for Jerusalem across the northern border. Nor does Russia necessarily take into consideration how its military activities might impact Israeli security. The same holds true for Turkey.

Coverage earlier in the day by international media claimed Turkish artillery was aiming its shelling at villages that were under the control of Jaysh al-Thuwar (Revolutionary Army), not YPG, (Kurdish People’s Protection Units militia). A Turkish government source told Reuters on Saturday that Turkey’s military force shelled YPG targets near the town of Azaz in northern Syria. The source did not explain the extent or reason for the shelling.

The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), like the YPG, is considered by Ankara to be a branch of the Turkish PKK terror organization.

The PKK is recognized by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist entity. However, neither considers the YPG or the PYD to be terrorist organizations.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the shelling struck areas of Aleppo, including Menagh, that were recently taken by YPG. The Syrian Kurdish YPG group confirmed the news in a tweet early Saturday evening. Local sources said the shelling did not have any major impact and was not hampering YPG efforts or operations at either location.

“It’s just a propaganda show to pretend they are not idle while al-Qaeda is smashed,” wrote a local source in a response on the Twitter social networking site.

But the artillery aimed Kurdish positions, rather than Da’esh targets, has raised more questions about the Ankara’s goals at a time when Turkey has turned up the pressure over its candidacy for European Union membership.

Moreover, as a member of NATO, Turkey has flatly stated that it expects the world organization to come to its aid in the event that its borders are breached.

But what if those borders are breached by desperate Kurds fleeing flaming wrecks of cities shelled by Turkish artillery?

Those same Kurds are viewed by Turkey as “terrorists” and yet the United States does not view them in the same light. How would this conflict be resolved among two members of NATO, sworn to protect each other under “siege” ?

Meanwhiel, special forces from the United Arab Emirates are reportedly being sent to Syria to help Sunni fighters recapture Raqqa, the northern Syrian city seized by Da’esh (ISIS) for use as the capital of its world caliphate.

It is not clear how many forces the UAE plans to send to Syria for the mission. But Saudi Arabia has also pledged to send forces to train and help local fighters recapture Raqqa.

Numerous Kurds fell in the initial battle to hold the city.

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, however, warned other nations they not interfere in the Syrian conflict. Medvedev said in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt that more foreign intervention will only exacerbate the conflict and could lead to a “permanent war.”

Meanwhile, Israel could easily be caught between all parties and find itself dancing at numerous weddings all at the same time.

Having managed to maintain a cold peace with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for decades on the Golan Heights border, Israel has lately been forced to maintain a much closer watch in the area. The various groups jockeying for position in what is colloqually now being referred to as “the Syrias” are coming closer and closer to the Israel-Syria border — close enough to be seen with binoculars.

Hana Levi Julian

Kerry’s State Dept ‘Appalled’ by (Unnamed) Terrorist Attacks on Israelis

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Apparently attacking two defenseless women, one the mother of six, the other a pregnant woman, was too much for even Secretary of State John Kerry’s State Dept. to ignore.

About midday D.C. time on Monday, Jan. 18, the U.S. State Department issued a statement condemning the barbaric attacks on two Israeli women in less than 48 hours. One of the women was murdered at the door of her own home as several of her children watched or heard in horror. The other victim, a woman five months pregnant, was stabbed in a clothing store in her home community, who remains in Shaare Tzedek Meical Center’s Trauma Unit.

The U.S. acknowledged the horrific attacks on the two Israelis, mentioning each by name.

This is the full, six sentence, one paragraph condemnation issued by Kerry’s State Department’s spokesperson John Kirby:

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attacks over the past two days against Israeli civilians. We were appalled and deeply saddened by the death of Dafna Meir, a mother of six, who was attacked on Sunday in her own home. We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and community. Today, a pregnant Israeli woman, Michal Froman, was stabbed in the West Bank. We wish her a full and complete recovery. These horrific incidents underscore the importance of affirmative steps to restore calm, reduce tensions and bring an immediate end to the violence.

It is appropriate for the State Dept. to condemn these brutal attacks, as they do others even when far less brutal, when they occur in the region.

The title of the statement uses the term “West Bank” to note where the attacks took place, rather than simply stating Israel. On the other hand, at least neither the title nor the statement itself describes the places where the women were attacked as “settlements,” as did, for example, the BBC  and even the JTA, in their reports.

At least as significant is that while the U.S. condemned the savage attacks, no responsibility was placed on any actors. The “terrorist attacks” happened, but nothing was said about who committed the acts, or who directed the attacks. In both instances it is already known that Palestinian Authority Arabs were the terrorists who knifed the women, one to death. One of the terrorists was an Arab who had been welcomed in to work in the community where he stabbed to death the mother of six. The other terrorist was an Arab teenager from nearby Bethlehem who entered the yishuv through a hole in the fence surrounding the community.

Not assigning blame when Palestinian or Israeli Arabs stab, slash, shoot or ram innocent Israelis is part of the modus operandi of John Kerry’s State Department, as it also was when State was run by now presidential-candidate Hillary Clinton.

This time, at least, the victims were particularized, but the people and entity responsible were not. That’s a problem that allows the responsible parties to remain anonymous and blameless on the world stage, where Israel, Israelis and, in particular, the Israeli government is always named and blamed.

Just wait to see what is the response to the new dictate by the chief security officer for Gush Etzion, the area south of Jerusalem in which the pregnant woman was stabbed. Arabs will now be barred from entering any of the Jewish towns in the area. Collective punishment? Apartheid? It’s coming. Four…three….two….one.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kerrys-state-dept-appalled-by-unnamed-terrorist-attacks-on-israelis/2016/01/18/

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