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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Putin’

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.

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

Another Dark Day for America

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

I think it’s fair to say that Putin spit in Obama’s face yesterday, and then rubbed it in for good measure.

Just the other day, President Obama made a Clintonian-like statement regarding a possible intervention in Syria, “First of all, I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line.”

Um, except that Obama did set a red line.

On Aug. 20, 2012, Obama said, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime … that a red line for us is, we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”

That’s a pretty pathetic attempt to extricate himself from a poorly thought out statement, but not unexpected anymore.

Obama painted himself into a corner, and he’s been trying to weasel his way out of it, ever since he realized that people were listening to what he said and trying to hold him to it.

And now Obama apparently believes that Putin has pulled his chestnuts out of the fire. Syria will (maybe) give up their chemical weapons. Russia and Iran(!) will be guarantors of the deal.

Of course, Putin wasted no time in using this victory to reposition Russia as the world’s new, undefied superpower. He announced he is going to complete the sale to Iran of the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles that he was forced to halt 3 years ago. He’s going to build another nuclear reactor in Iran. (And let’s not forget Snowden). Everything that America doesn’t (shouldn’t?) want to happen.

[ED: Putin is denying yesterday’s reports that he will be completing the S-300 deal]

So, if you haven’t gotten the point yet, Obama just unilaterally demoted the US from being the sole global superpower. He just gave Iran a green light to do what they want without fear of reprisal, and he personally conceded world leadership to Vladmir Putin.

September 11 will once again go down in history as another dark day for America.

Russia Heats Up Cold War with Sale of Iran S-300 Missiles (Video)

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Russian media reported Wednesday that Moscow now is ready to go through a long-promised deal to supply the Iranian regime with advanced S-300 missiles that can shoot down ballistic missiles and commercial airplanes from a distance of up to 120 miles.

It is one of most lethal, if not the most lethal, anti-aircraft system in the world. Iran signed a purchase deal in 2007  for five S-300 missile batteries, but the sale was frozen three years ago when the U.N. Security Council slapped sanctions on Tehran..

Russia got around the embargo in its sale of the S-300 to Syria by claiming the weapons were for defense, and presumably that will be the excuse to sell them to Iran.

Just in case the international sanctions get in the way of the sale, Russia has come up with an alternative that might be just as useful for Iran and which does not fall under the sanctions. It would sell Iran the  Antei-2500, AKA S-300VM, or SA-23 Gladiato, according to the Russian Kommersant Daily.

The Antei-2500 was specifically tailored for the needs of ground forces, which could also be an advantage for Iran, known for its large land force,” the Iranian government-controlled Fars News Agency stated.

Kommersant said Iran has asked it to fulfill its promise to complete the S-300 missile sale, and Russia has thrown in an extra goodie by agreeing to build a second nuclear reactor in Bushehr, just what the United States and Israel don’t need.

The Russian and Chinese appetite for money has driven it to become huge weapons suppliers to Iran and Syria, giving them the lever to counter Western influence. The missile sale to Iran will add approximately $700 million to the Kremlin coffers.

Besides the financial angel, Putin is doing his best to establish Russia as the most powerful influence in the Middle East, at the expense of President Barack Obama. Moscow and Beijing have consistently thrown up barriers to American-led efforts to place sanctions on Iran and Syria.

Iran more than welcomes Moscow in its campaign to rid the world of American influence that goes against fundamentalist Muslim regime policies, such as the deprival of human rights..

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said earlier this week that Russia should complete the 2005 deal and supply Iran with S-300 missiles and “should believe themselves and don’t follow the US so much,”  Fars reported Wednesday.

Russia is Playing a Losing Hand like a Winner

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

History is back and so are the Russians.

After an interregnum of twenty years, during which the communist Soviet Union was demolished and a crony capitalist, Russian kleptocracy turned inward to establish firm control of journalists (oh wait, that might have been the Obama Administration), civil society practitioners including lawyers, businessmen, and little girl punk bands, Vladimir Putin has laid down a marker in the Middle East. The suggestion that advanced SS300 air defense missiles are already in Syria and that Yakhont ship-to-ship missiles are coming, plus Russian warships steaming toward the region along with obstruction in the U.N. are all steps toward establishing Russia as the “go to” imperial power to control or end the Syrian civil war.

The Russian interest is twofold. First is to be the master of the diplomatic front. Whether the Russian-touted “peace conference” results in “peace” or a change of government in Damascus is less relevant than whether the Putin is in the driver’s seat. Second is to stop the spread of Sunni expansionist Islam that threatens Russia with the potential to reignite the Caucasus. Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ossetia are historically restive, but now are increasingly Islamic rather than nationalistic in their hatred of Orthodox Russia.

Two things make this really interesting. First, Putin is dealing with Israel much more forthrightly than he is with the United States, something that should be considered less a sign of respect for Israel’s red lines than disdain for the Obama Administration. Second, he has taken a narrow view of a broad problem — and thus is playing a losing hand.

On the American side, neither Secretary of State Kerry nor the president he serves seem to understand Russia’s goals in the region, and thus neither is prepared to uphold our own interests. When Kerry flew off to Moscow in early May to find a mechanism for an international conference on Syria, Putin kept him waiting three hours and, according to the London Daily Mail, “continuously fiddled with his pen as the top American diplomat spoke about the ongoing crisis.” Ever the good guest, Kerry told Putin, “The United States believes that we share some very significant common interests with respect to Syria — stability in the region, not having extremists creating problems throughout the region and elsewhere.”

Actually, we don’t. Kerry touted “stability,” but without specifying acceptable and unacceptable parameters for achieving it, he abdicated fundamental American principles. “Stability” is a tricky word. Russia was stable under the communists at a price of millions dead, and is working its way out of the messier parts of capitalism and back to stability by jailing people and having prominent “enemies of the State” conveniently drop dead. (See BerezovskyMagnitsky and Politovskaya for starters.) Syria was stable for years under Assad & Fils — and Russia would like to see it stable under Assad control again. If “stability” is all we seek, Kerry can just jump on the Russian bandwagon.

Moreover, aside from the rude treatment Kerry received in Moscow, contrasted with the very polite reception Prime Minister Netanyahu received a week later, the Russians waited until Kerry left to drop a bombshell. On May 16, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Lebanon’s Al-Madayeen that Iran would have to take part in any international conference. The State Department spokesman was forced to say the U.S. wouldn’t rule it out, because to do so would admit that Kerry’s trip was a failure. The U.S. may find itself negotiating directly with Iran on an issue other than nuclear weapons, which would be an abject failure for stated U.S. priorities.

David Kramer, President of Freedom House, reminded Washington Post readers that Moscow also detained a former U.S. official in the airport for 17 hours without food or water before deporting him; had camera crews film a civil-society activist when Kerry arrived at his home; and publicized the name of the presumed CIA station chief in Moscow, calling him a spy.

President Obama chalked it all up to the Cold War.

I don’t think it’s any secret that there remains lingering suspicions between Russia and other members of the G8 or the West… It’s been several decades now since Russia transformed itself and the Eastern Bloc transformed itself. But some of those suspicions still exist.

On the one hand, he gives Russia far too much credit for “transforming” itself; the roots of Russian imperialism haven’t changed in centuries. On the other hand, he can’t imagine that the current situation is driven by current Russian needs, not the old Cold War.

Is Turkey Leaving the West?

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Recent steps taken by the Government of Turkey suggest it may be ready to ditch the NATO club of democracies for a Russian and Chinese gang of authoritarian states.

Here is the evidence:

Starting in 2007, Ankara applied three times unsuccessfully to join as a Guest Member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (or SCO, informally known as the Shanghai Five). Founded in 1996 by the Russian and Chinese governments, along with three (and in 2001 a fourth) former Soviet Central Asian states, the SCO has received minimal attention in the West, although it has grand security and other aspirations, including the possible creation of a gas cartel. More, it offers an alternative to the Western model, from NATO, to democracy, to displacing the U.S. dollar as reserve currency. After those three rejections, Ankara applied for “Dialogue Partner” status in 2011. In June 2012, it won approval.

One month later, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reported about his saying to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, “Come, accept us into the Shanghai Five [as a full member] and we will reconsider the European Union.” Erdoğan reiterated this idea on Jan. 25, noting stalled Turkish efforts to join the European Union (E.U.): “As the prime minister of 75 million people,” he explained, “you start looking around for alternatives. That is why I told Mr. Putin the other day, ‘Take us into the Shanghai Five; do it, and we will say goodbye to the E.U.’ What’s the point of stalling?” He added that the SCO “is much better, it is much more powerful [than the E.U.], and we share values with its members.”

On Jan. 31, the Foreign Ministry announced plans for an upgrade to “Observer State” at the SCO. On Feb. 3 Erdoğan reiterated his earlier point, saying “We will search for alternatives,” and praised the Shanghai group’s “democratization process” while disparaging European “Islamophobia.” On Feb. 4, President Abdullah Gül pushed back, declaring that “The SCO is not an alternative to the E.U. … Turkey wants to adopt and implement E.U. criteria.”

What does this all amount to?

The SCO feint faces significant obstacles: If Ankara leads the effort to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, the SCO firmly supports the beleaguered Syrian leader. NATO troops have just arrived in Turkey to man Patriot batteries protecting that country from Syria’s Russian-made missiles. More profoundly, all six SCO members strongly oppose the Islamism that Erdoğan espouses. Perhaps, therefore, Erdoğan mentioned SCO membership only to pressure the E.U.; or to offer symbolic rhetoric for his supporters.

Both are possible. But I take the half-year long flirtation seriously for three reasons. First, Erdoğan has established a record of straight talk, leading one key columnist, Sedat Ergin, to call the Jan. 25 statement perhaps his “most important” foreign policy proclamation ever.

Second, as Turkish columnist Kadri Gürsel points out, “The E.U. criteria demand democracyhuman rights, union rights, minority rights, gender equality, equitable distribution of income, participation and pluralism for Turkey. SCO as a union of countries ruled by dictators and autocrats will not demand any of those criteria for joining.” Unlike the European Union, Shanghai members will not press Erdoğan to liberalize but will encourage the dictatorial tendencies in him that so many Turks already fear.

Third, the SCO fits his Islamist impulse to defy the West and to dream of an alternative to it. The SCO, with Russian and Chinese as official languages, has a deeply anti-Western DNA and its meetings bristle with anti-Western sentiments. For example, when Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad addressed the group in 2011, no one refused his conspiracy theory about 9/11 being a U.S. government inside job used “as an excuse for invading Afghanistan and Iraq and for killing and wounding over a million people.” Many backers echo Egyptian analyst Galal Nassar in his hope that ultimately the SCO “will have a chance of settling the international contest in its favor.” Conversely, as a Japanese official has noted, “The SCO is becoming a rival block to the U.S. alliance. It does not share our values.”

Turkish steps toward joining the Shanghai group highlights Ankara’s now-ambivalent membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, starkly symbolized by the unprecedented joint Turkish-Chinese air exercise of 2010. Given this reality, Erdoğan’s Turkey is no longer a trustworthy partner for the West but more like a mole in its inner sanctum. If not expelled, it should at least be suspended from NATO.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/is-turkey-leaving-the-west/2013/02/12/

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