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December 1, 2015 / 19 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Moscow’

Obama’s UN Speech Ignores Israel but Hits Hard at Putin and Assad

Monday, September 28th, 2015

President Barack Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly Monday was extraordinary in its total exclusion of Israel and the Palestinian Authority and its hard-hitting attack on the Assad regime in Syria and its ally Russia.

A strong indication that President Obama has finally realized what he and numerous predecessors did not understand was this statement:

There are no simple answers to the changes that are taking place in much of the Middle East and North Africa.

It is not the first time he has said that, but unlike previous speeches, it was not followed up by the usual pie-in-the-sky statements that “Peace is made with enemies.” or “Solving the Israel-Palestinian Authority struggle is the key to bringing peace to the Middle East.

Saeb Erekat, who chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority and is secretary-general of the parent PLO, was extremely disappointed with Obama’s speech. He said:

Does President Obama believe that he is able to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) and terror or bring stability and security to the Middle East by ignoring the continuing Israeli occupation, settlements and the ongoing Israeli attacks on Al Aqsa [the mosque on the Temple Mount]?

Obama’s speech was a resounding “yes” to Erekat.

The “occupation” never was a threat to the Middle East, but the United States foreign policy gurus couldn’t figure that out, even when the Arab Spring rebellions upended stability and brought anarchy, termed by the United States as democracy, to Egypt, Libya, Iraq and other boiling pots in Arab Muslim countries.

Years after the United States ignored ISIS, it has become Public Enemy No. 1 and is being used brilliantly by Russian President Vladimir Putin to justify direct Russian military force in Syria.

When Putin told the United Nations he is fighting the Islamic State, he could have been more accurate, Russia may be the only country fighting ISIS.

The American-led strike force has proven to be pitiful, as the JewishPress.com reported here last week on the American-trained Syrian rebels who betrayed the United States and delivered American weapons to Al Qaeda.

The President verbally attacked ISIS but he was extremely careful to be polite to Islam, stating:

Part of that effort [against ISIS] must be a continued rejection by Muslims of those who distort Islam to preach intolerance and promote violence, and it must also a rejection by non-Muslims of the ignorance that equates Islam with terror.

President Obama mentioned “Israel” zero times in his speech. Ditto for the terms “Palestinian Authority” and Palestine.”

The only time he mentioned “Middle East” was in the context quoted above, that there are no simple solutions.

But he mentioned Syria eight times and Russia 15 times with harsh comments that were nothing short of cold war speech.

For example:

The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable.

Consider Russia’s annexation of Crimea and further aggression in eastern Ukraine. America has few economic interests in Ukraine. We recognize the deep and complex history between Russia and Ukraine. But we cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated. If that happens without consequence in Ukraine, it could happen to any nation gathered here today. That’s the basis of the sanctions that the United States and our partners impose on Russia. It’s not a desire to return to a Cold War.

But his speech was remarkably chilly towards Moscow. He flatly stated:

Russia’s state-controlled media may describe these events as an example of a resurgent Russia… And yet, look at the results. The Ukrainian people are more interested than ever in aligning with Europe instead of Russia. Sanctions have led to capital flight, a contracting economy, a fallen ruble, and the emigration of more educated Russians

Imagine if, instead, Russia had engaged in true diplomacy, and worked with Ukraine and the international community to ensure its interests were protected. That would be better for Ukraine, but also better for Russia, and better for the world.

President Obama claimed he does not mind a strong Russia so long as it works with the United States “to strengthen the international system as a whole.”.

That gave him a platform to plow into the Assad regime Putin and Russia’s presence in Syria and ISIS, which he still refers to as ISIL and which he called ” an apocalyptic cult.

President Obama stated:

When a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of his own people, that is not just a matter of one nation’s internal affairs… Likewise, when a terrorist group beheads captives, slaughters the innocent and enslaves women, that’s not a single nation’s national security problem — that is an assault on all humanity.

Putin has taken the military offensive in Syria, giving him a military and political base across from Israel’s northern border. Putin knows that the Muslim Middle East understands only one word – “force” – but Obama dealt with the issue from weakness because without a military presence, the United States has little ammunition except Obama’s oratory.

He told the United Nations:

But while military power is necessary, it is not sufficient to resolve the situation in Syria. Lasting stability can only take hold when the people of Syria forge an agreement to live together peacefully. The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict. But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo.

He could have used that as an excuse to throw in something about the “Israel-occupied Golan Heights,” but he did not.

His speech was remarkable in that it exposed how weak his administration has become in international affairs following the debacles in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, which now is under growing ISIS influence.

American influence had been on the decline for years but accelerated with the inevitable failure of the “peace process.” which was focused on the wrong country and the wrong issue at the wrong time.

High-Ranking Security Team Joins Netanyahu Meeting With Putin in Moscow

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is traveling to Moscow today (Monday Sept. 21) to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.

Military Intelligence director Maj.-Gen. Hertzi Halevy, National Security Council head Yossi Cohen and Netanyahu’s military secretary Col. Eliezer Toledano are also accompanying the prime minister to the meeting, which is scheduled to last three hours.

The officials are expected to discuss Russia’s activities and military involvement in Syria, as well as questions about Russia’s cooperation with Iran.

The United States is holding parallel talks with Moscow on the same issues, according to numerous media reports.

There are no journalists on the plane with the prime minister for this trip, underscoring the gravity of the meeting.

Last week a source told the Reuters news agency that new, advanced weapons have been delivered to Syrian government troops, who are being trained in their use. It is believed the weapons are being sent from Russia.

Russia Steps Up in U.S.-led Nuclear Talks with Iran

Monday, July 6th, 2015

With a wide gap remaining between the delegation of world powers led by the United States and Iranian negotiators, the prospects for a nuclear deal look questionable with one more day till the July 7 deadline.

On Monday, July 6, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met separately in Vienna with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, in an effort to break the deadlock.

Russia has been deeply involved in helping Iran with its nuclear technology development from the start. Moscow has helped Iran build a number of nuclear energy plants in the Islamic Republic, and has also sold Tehran a sophisticated surface-to-air anti-missile defense system as well.

“A mutual desire to find as soon as possible mutually acceptable solutions on disputed issues was expressed,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a cryptic statement released to media.

Iran, however, appears to still not be budging on its positions, with the deadline less than 24 hours away. An Iranian source told news agencies that ‘serious differences’ remained between the two sides.

“The ministerial meeting between Iran and the [six] world powers showed there are still serious differences,” a source close to the Iranian negotiating team told the Iranian state news agency IRNA. “But both sides are also serious about resolving the differences.”

Negotiators on both sides indicated they may stretch the deadline past July 7, as had been done with the June 30 deadline and the deadline prior to that.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing on Monday, “I wouldn’t set any expectations at this point… I would say that it’s certainly possible” that the “final, firm” deadline for the talks could once again “slip.”

What is even more likely is that Iran will continue to demand impossible concessions — and the world powers will be forced to decide whether they are willing to simply cave to Tehran, or find the strength to walk away from the table.

Lebanese Media Report Russia Offers to Host Fatah-Hamas Meeting

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Russ has offered to host a peace-pipe meeting between Hamas and Fatah, the Lebanese as-Safir newspaper reported this week.

It added that Hamas accepted the proposal while Fatah, headed by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, is still thinking about it.

A meeting hosted by Russia would solve the thorny problem of where Fatah and Hamas officials could meet without one side feeling the other has a home advantage.

Russia for years has been trying to play the heavy-weight in the Middle East to counter American influence, which is eroding.

Moscow always plays on both sides of the fence, It is one of the P5+1 countries trying to convince Iran to accept terms to supervise its nuclear development, but it also is building nuclear reactors for the Islamic Republic,

Russia’s trade with Israel amounts to $4.6 billion, but it also has generously armed the Palestinian Authority with weapons and material, such as armored personnel carriers.

Art Spiegelman’s ‘Maus’ Removed from Moscow Bookstores for Promoting Nazism

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

A Russian government’s plan to rid the capital Moscow of swastikas and everything else of Nazi origin, in time for Victory Day, when Russians celebrate the Soviet Union’s defeat of Hitlerism, resulted in an unhappy consequence: eager to comply with the new policy, Moscow bookstores removed cartoonist Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” from their display windows, the NY Times reported.

The Pulitzer-Prize winning graphic novel, depicting the tribulations of a family of Jewish mice during the Holocaust (their persecutors are evil cats), bears a big swastika on its cover, so off the window shelves it went, together with everything else Nazi-related.

“They just got scared that someone would see the swastika on the cover,” Varvara Gornostaeva, chief editor of Spiegelman’s Russian publisher, Corpus, told the Times. “But the swastika there is just a caricature. It does not fall afoul of the law banning fascist symbols.”

The Respublika bookstore chain said it decided to remove the book for fear that government inspectors would fail to discern the subtle differences between books for and against Nazism. A swastika is a swastika, apparently.

Boris Kupriyanov, co-owner of an independent bookstore in Moscow, said his fellow bookstore owners should be forgiven, because, alas, they’re idiots.

Kupriyanov quoted from Alexander Griboyedov’s satirical work “Woe From Wit,” about Moscow’s post-Napoleonic society: “An obliging fool is more dangerous than an enemy.”

Russia Backs Down and Says Iran Won’t Get S300 System in ‘Near Future’

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Russia has backed down on delivering the advanced S-300 advanced anti-missile system to Iran in the “near future,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Russian media on Thursday

Moscow announced two weeks ago that it was lifting the bean of selling Iran the S-300, causing “concern” in Washington and fierce anger in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Russian president Vladimir Putin last week that Israel would bomb the S-300 systems if Iran were to ship them to Syria or the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Tass News agency quoted Ryabkov on Thursday as saying:

I do not think that it is a matter of near future. It is far more important that a political and legal decision has been taken to open up such an opportunity

Before the ban, Iran had paid nearly $170 million in advance for five of the anti-missile systems that would make it more difficult for Israel or any other country to attack Iran.

Russia’s retreat will somewhat calm down a storm in Congress, where support is growing to cripple the emerging deal with Iran after President Barack Obama and the other P5+1 countries agreed to a temporary framework arrangement.

Lithuania Restores Military Draft, Eyes Ukraine’s Fight for Life

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

As the situation in Ukraine provides an object lesson in what to avoid in national defense strategies, Lithuania has decided to restore mandatory army service to its list of “to do”s for young men entering adulthood.

Lithuanian males from ages 19 to 27 will be called to serve their country for a period of nine months beginning in September 2015. The draft will be in force for the next five years.

Some 3,000 eligible males will be drafted, government officials told international media on Tuesday. President Dalia Grybauskaite said after a meeting of top government officials and military leaders the measure was necessary due to the “growing aggression in Ukraine. Lithuania has no tanks or military aircraft, however. Its entire military force totals some 15,000 troops.

The move comes amid tensions that continue to widen concern around the region — as well as around the world — as Ukraine fights for its life with pro-Russia separatists seizing control over an increasingly wide area.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday, according to the DW website.

Speaking to a meeting of U.S. senators, an irritated Kerry said Tuesday that officials in Moscow had been “lying” about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.

“Russia has engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I’ve seen since the height of the Cold War,” Kerry told the Senate subcommittee meeting. “And they have been persisting in their misinterpretations — lies — whatever you want to call them — about their activities to my face, to the face of others, on many different occasions,” he added.

On Saturday, he and the Russian foreign minister would meet to discuss “Syria and other things” before leaving for Iran to continue negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear development program.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/lithuania-restores-military-draft-eyes-ukraines-fight-for-life/2015/02/25/

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