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September 3, 2015 / 19 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘NATO’

Influential Chicago Jewish Federation Says ‘No’ to IranDeal

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

The Jewish Federation of Chicago has added its voice to the growing opposition to the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration with Iran. In doing so, joining at least 17 other Jewish groups who have already expressed their opposition to the agreement.

In a statement released Friday after a three-hour meeting, the board of directors said a “majority opinion emerged and was adopted: to call on Congress to oppose the JCPOA as originally submitted, and to ask legislators to work with the Administration to produce better solutions addressing Iran’s nuclear program.”

The board noted that it had met with officials from the Obama administration, Israel, independent experts and members of the Illinois Congressional delegation, in addition to discussing the matter with “many hundreds” of its own community members.

The influential Jewish United Fund / Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, which claims to represent “the diversity of our beloved Chicago Jewish community,” sees an annual revenue of some $100 million. The organization also coordinates the collective policies and programs of 46 constituent Jewish organizations through its support of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Although President Barack Obama continues to claim that “war” is the only alternative to approving the deal with Iran, those who oppose the agreement don’t see it that way; neither does the Chicago Jewish Federation.

In its statement, the board said Friday: “Iran’s threats to annihilate the US and Israel, its role as the leading state-sponsor of terrorism, its destabilizing of neighboring countries including US allies, its theocratic, anti-democratic regime, its abysmal human rights record, and its Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism must no longer be rationalized or minimized. It is long past time to place Tehran where it belongs on the world’s political map: isolated and ostracized. Hence, no nuclear accord should provide Iran with an unearned ‘express pass’ to international legitimacy.”

The board pledged to continue its past work against a nuclear Iran, which has included the creation of “United Against a Nuclear Iran,” and passage of Iran divestment legislation in Chicago, Cook County and Illinois.

In addition, the board said it would pressure the U.S. government to intensify international efforts against Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and to upgrade military cooperation with Israel, including the possibility of adding Israel as a member of NATO, among other pledges.

IDF Took More Precautions in Conflict than NATO Member Armies

Monday, June 15th, 2015

By Zack Pyzer

A group international military experts submitted a report to the UN Friday, concluding their analysis of Israeli and Palestinian actions during the 2014 Gaza conflict. The group of eleven independent experts are experienced authorities on military conflict, as well as the laws of armed conflict. Among the investigators were ex-chiefs of staff and generals of NATO member states, as well as politicians from the US, Italy and Spain.

Col. Richard Kemp, the UK’s former commander of forces in Afghanistan, spoke to the Tazpit News Agency on Sunday.

He reflected on the main argument of the report, which stated that the IDF went to great lengths to keep to the rules of conflict, and in some instances went beyond the call of duty.

“The members of the group know of no other army that takes such great steps to avoid civilian casualties, including their own,” Kemp told Tazpit, saying that only a small number of the panel were familiar with Israel before the investigation.
Kemp, who has himself been to Israel numerous times in recent years, explained his colleagues were in general surprised at what they found. “Israel actually goes further than most to stick to international law and protect non-involved civilians,” he contended.
Expanding on previous criticism of the organization, Kemp said that many of the misconceptions among the experts were due to misinformation coming from the UN itself.
Kemp’s also hoped that the UN’s forthcoming publication of a report on last summer’s 50-day conflict would take the group’s report into account.
The UN’s controversial Human Right’s Council (HRC) is set to release its report on the conflict at the end of the month. The HRC have often been described, including by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, as disproportionately focused on putting Israel under the spotlight.
More vocal critics have denounced the HRC, who have had Saudi Arabia, Russia and China on its council in recent years, as completely biased against Israel.
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also published its detailed report into the conflict on Sunday, presenting their findings to the Prime Minster, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The report claims that Gazan victims of the 50-day conflict were roughly 50 percent armed combatants, at current estimations.
The ratio puts Israel at the forefront of minimizing civilian casualties in urban warfare, ahead of coalition forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and other western armies.
Regarding the MFA report, Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting, “Israel and the IDF are committed to the rules of international law even when fighting terrorist organizations that intentionally violated those rules.”

IAF in Greece Training Against S-300

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

The Israeli Air Force recently completed a joint training exercise in Greece, together with the Greek Air Force.

Over 150 different planes took part in the exercise.

According to Greek sources, the purpose of the training was to gather information on the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, and test out different tactics against the S-300.

Greece is the only NATO member that has an S-300 system in service.

NATO Chief Added to Obama’s ‘Diss List’

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama — America’s Commander-in-Chief — seems to have added the head of the North America Treaty Organization, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, to his “diss list.” No one has any idea why, however.

Stoltenberg, whose office notified the White House staff of the dates well in advance, but his office didn’t even receive the courtesy of a reply from the White House, according to Bloomberg View columnist Josh Rogin.

The NATO chief is in Washington DC for a three day visit that includes attendance at the annual NATO Transformation Seminar. NATO leaders, various experts and top officials from the host company gather to brainstorm on strategies in the sessions, organized by the Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia and the Atlantic Council.

Bernadette Meehan, spokesperson for the National Security Council, could not say why Obama did not respond to Stoltenberg’s request for an informal meeting. At last minute, the NATO leader was able to obtain a meeting with Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

But there’s just no getting around the fact that Obama’s behavior is an outright insult. Where was he and what was so incredibly important that he could not make time for the head of NATO –an alliance in which the U.S. is a pivotal member?

The only event on Obama’s schedule for Wednesday, media moguls said, was a short speech to launch the Affordable Care Act. On Thursday he is also pretty free: he heads to Alabama to deliver a speech. Wow. Stressful…

And Stoltenberg isn’t exactly small potatoes: the NATO chief served two terms as Norway’s prime minister prior to starting in October as head of the largest military alliance in the world.

Moreover, he’s on a pretty tight schedule: on Monday he met in Toronto with Canada’s Stephen Harper, where the two discussed the crisis in Ukraine and the threat of the Daesh terror organization, known also as ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Both issues are of equal concern to the United States, so one would think that President Obama might at least be somewhat invested in hosting Stoltenberg at the White House.

Tuesday he was involved in other affairs. Wednesday was the seminar.

But nary a phone call, text or email was made. Not even an acknowledgment of the request for a meeting. Weird, particularly when one considers the fact that America’s membership in NATO is its main treaty obligation.

In particular, the president has ticked off former U.S. permanent representative to NATO Kurt Volker, who actually served under Obama, as well as under Pres. George W. Bush before him.

“It is hard for me to believe that the president of the United States has not found the time to meet with the current secretary general of NATO, given the magnitude of what this implies, and the responsibilities of his office,” Volker told Josh Rogin at Bloomberg.

Perhaps he was not present to cover the day Obama had his first tiff with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, stalking out of the Oval Office and leaving Israel’s top leader to hang around while the president had dinner in his private quarters with the family.

Or the time he sneaked Netanyahu out through a side door of the White House, and the time he refused to end a meeting with the routine joint news conference to address questions from international media, because he didn’t want Netanyahu to have the benefit of a photo op.

The list is endless, petty and getting stranger by the day.

It is not at all clear what minor infraction the NATO chief has committed against Barack Obama, but clearly it was something he considers to be of magnified importance – important enough to risk offending the chief of the largest allied military force in the world.

I sure hope it’s worth it.

Western Leaders Head to Ukraine to Try for Peace with Russia

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all intend to try and make peace between Ukraine and Russia this week.

Kerry is already in Ukraine to show America’s support for the Kiev government.

Hollande told international media Thursday in Paris that he and Merkel would head first to Kiev and then to Moscow on Friday to present Russian President Vladimir Putin with a proposal “based on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

NATO, meanwhile, is unveiling details of a plan to bolster its military presence in eastern Europe in response to the Ukraine crisis, according to the BBC. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told the news service it will be the biggest reinforcement of its collective defense since the end of the Cold War, centering on a “spearhead” force of up to 5,000 troops with lead units able to deploy within two days. A network of command centers is being established in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, Stoltenberg said, in response to “the aggressive actions we have seen from Russia, violating international law and annexing Crimea.”

The French president described the months-long conflict with pro-Russia rebels that wreaked havoc in Ukraine as a full-fledged war. “Ukraine is at war. Heavy weapons are being used and civilians are being killed daily,” Hollande said.

Kerry told the BBC in Kiev that the U.S. wants to see a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but will not close its eyes to Russian aggression.

“We want a diplomatic resolution but we cannot close our eyes to tanks that are crossing the border from Russia and coming into Ukraine,” Kerry said at a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

More than 5,000 people have died in the fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebel troops, some of which include Russian “volunteers,” since April 2014. The eastern Ukraine cities of Donetsk and Lugansk are both under rebel control.

Turks Hate Everyone (Except Turks)

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

A new Pew Research Poll found that more Turks dislike Israel than dislike either Hezbollah or Hamas. In fact, Israel is the most disliked country in Turkey, according to the poll, with 86 percent having an unfavorable opinion of the Jewish state.

Of course, Israel is portrayed by the leadership in Turkey as a detestable nation, so it is no wonder that the people share their leader’s view.

As Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has grown first slowly and now ever more quickly away from the policies of the secular heavyweight Ataturk, his belligerence and growing Islamic fervor has frequently found expression in his criticisms of Israel.

The most public ugliness between Israel and Turkey was over the Mavi Marmara disaster in May 2010. Erdoğan blamed Israel completely, loudly and with great fervor, despite the anti-Israel, terrorist-supporting Turkish thugs who attacked the Israelis (who were not permitted to use their live side weapons) boarding their ship when it attempted to break Israel’s legal blockade of Gaza. See the video clip at the end of this article. Ten Turks died in the ensuing meleé and Erdoğan, with his buddy Mr. Obama, demanded Israel both apologize and provide compensation.

Surely the Turks look favorably upon the United States. After all, U.S. President Obama has fawned over the Turkey’s leader Erdoğan, referring to his Turkish counterpart as his closest friend in the Middle East.

No, nearly two-thirds of all Turks have an unfavorable opinion of the U.S., and that less than loving picture has remained fairly constant for more than a decade.

But neither Israelis nor Americans should feel bad. The Turks don’t much like anyone. Other than Turkey. Almost four-fiths of Turks have a positive opinion about their own country.

How do other countries stack up in the opinion of Turks? Not too well. In addition to Israel, the U.S. and Iran being viewed unfavorably by more than three-quarters of all Turks, Russia, Brazil and China are disliked by well more than half of the population.

In fact, the only state which almost – almost – half of the Turkish population does not detest is Saudi Arabia, and still, only 26 percent have what they consider to be a favorable opinion of the Saudis.

Even NATO, of which Turkey has been a member for 60 years, does not rank high with the Turks. Only 19% of the Turkish population has a favorable opinion about NATO, and 70 percent have an unfavorable one.

But perhaps of greater interest is that well more than half of the population has an unfavorable (66 percent) opinion of the European Union, and only a quarter think favorably about the EU. Turkey has been trying desperately for years to join the EU. No doubt its star has fallen with EU members as well.

Another interesting finding is that although Turkey is currently on the hot seat with ISIS gaining strength on its borders, only half of Turkey’s population expressed concern about the growth of Islamic extremism in its country.

What does Israel really detest? Not so much ISIS. It is the tiny Jewish State which is rock bottom as far as the Turks are concerned. Only two percent of the population of Turkey has a favorable opinion of Israel.

UPDATE: With respect to the Mavi Marmari incident: The Israeli soldiers who boarded the ship were not unarmed, as was stated in the original version of this article,they had sidearms. But the Israeli soldiers were not permitted to use their sidearms when they boarded and that order remained in place for the first full hour they were on board, despite the brutal attacks launched on them as they repelled down the ropes, by the ship’s passengers, as seen in the video, above.

Russia Scolds NATO, USA on Sanctions, Troop Movements

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

As pro-Russian separatists eat up town after town in eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin is closely monitoring NATO’s reaction – and the White House response.

Extra troops – 600 from the United States – were sent this week to Poland and the Baltic States to reassure NATO allies. In addition, new sanctions were imposed against Russian officials and pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists by the United States and the European Union.

The moves came following the kidnapping by pro-Russian separatists of some 40 people in eastern Ukraine.

Among the hostages were an Israeli American journalist (freed after Ukrainian government troops entered the city of separatist-controlled Sloviansk). Three members of the Ukraine security service and seven military observers for the Geneva-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are still being held.

The Jewish mayor of Kharkov in eastern Ukraine was likewise shot in the back by would-be assassins on Monday; he was airlifted in critical condition for advanced medical treatment to a hospital in Israel.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rebuked the United States and the European Union Tuesday over the sanctions imposed on Russia due to the Ukrainian crisis.

“We reject sanctions in any of our relationships, in particular those sanctions that were sponsored by the United States and the European Union, which defy all common sense, regarding the events in Ukraine,” Lavrov told reporters during a trip to Cuba.

He complained the West was “attempting to blame others” for the crisis after sanctions in the United States imposed Monday on seven Russians and 17 companies directly linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The European Union similarly named 15 new targets for sanctions on Tuesday, including General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian General Staff, and Lt.-Gen. Igor Sergun, head of the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU. Also on the list are Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and pro-Russian separatist leaders in Crimea and the eastern Ukrainian cities of Luhansk and Donetsk. A total of 48 individuals have so far been hit by EU sanctions thus far.

“The attempts to blame others is the result of weak politicians, or rather of those politicians who understand that their geopolitical ambitions have failed, and they are attempting to blame others,” Lavrov said.

Ukraine’s Crimea region was summarily annexed by Russia’s Kremlin after the province “elected” to secede from Ukraine following the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president in February due to massive protests by a population demanding closer ties to Europe.

In response, eastern Ukraine has become a hotbed of separatist activity, with one town after the next falling to pro-Russian terrorism. Nevertheless, Russia denies encouraging the attacks, even though the separatists who carried the assault weapons all spoke a guttural Russian, as heard in videos shot by news reporters.

Recently the pro-Russian eastern Ukraine Donetsk province also declared itself independent from the country, and now refers to itself as the “independent Republic of Donetsk.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russia-scolds-nato-usa-on-sanctions-troop-movements/2014/04/30/

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