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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

Egypt’s President El-Sisi Narrowly Misses Assassination, Twice

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi narrowly missed losing his life in two recently thwarted assassination attempts, according to a report Sunday by MENA, the Egyptian state news agency.

The attempts on el-Sisi’s life were planned by operatives from the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization, and were to be carried out during a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, and in Egypt.

Also on the list for murder was the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Nayef, according to the indictments submitted by the Egyptian state prosecutor to a military tribunal in connection with the plots.

The indictments charged 292 suspects with helping to establish 22 terrorist cells affiliated with the ISIS-linked terror group in the Sinai Peninsula. The operatives charged in the plots received their instructions from senior ISIS figures, according to the Al Ahram news outlet.

Hana Levi Julian

Protester Attacks Ashton Kutcher, Airbnb, for Listing Judea and Samaria Homes [video]

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Ariel Gold, from the group Code Pink on Saturday stormed the stage of an Airbnb event in Los Angeles with celebrity investor Ashton Kutcher and company CEO Brian Chesky, to roll open a banner saying “Airbnb out of Settlements,” Page Six reported.

Airbnb is a peer-to-peer online marketplace and homestay network that enables people to list or rent short-term lodging in residential properties. It has more than 2,000,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 191 countries. Code Pink, which is associated with a group called The Stolen Homes Coalition, which describes itself as “women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement.”

Gold protested Airbnb’s inclusion of homes owned by Judea and Samaria Jews.

Kutcher, known for his roles in the TV series “Two and a Half Men” and movies such as “What Happens in Vegas,” was an early investor in Airbnb. He told the protester that she did not have the stage, adding: “We all can belong in a world together without borders. I can appreciate that this doesn’t happen seamlessly. I can appreciate that it does not happen easily. I can appreciate that where there is change, there will be a fringe case that feels objectified. But this company is about bringing people together.”

Inte3restingly, out of a list of Airbnb destination that includes countries where women are treated as second class citizens, if not worse, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Libya, to name only three, Gold and her women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement focused on Israeli Jews for spreading peace and social justice.

David Israel

Haredim Block Muezzin Law, Say It Threatens Pre-Shabbat Siren

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Health Minister and United Torah Judaism Chairman Yakov Litzman on Tuesday appealed the decision of the Government Legislative Committee Sunday approving a bill prohibiting the use of Mosque PA systems. The appeal will require a new committee debate.

Comparing the Mosques’ loudspeaker announcements, which reverberate through entire neighborhoods in Israeli mixed cities five times a day every day, starting as early as 4 AM, to the pre-Shabbat loudspeaker warnings in many Israeli cities, which take place, by definition, once a week (more if there’s a holiday), Litzman suggested the “Muezzin law” might damage the status quo between the state and the religious Jewish community.

Litzman was supported by Shas Chairman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, and also by MK Issawi Freij (Meretz), who wrote Litzman that “the right to worship is a fundamental right for everyone. Noise problems should not be resolved through legislation.” Joint Arab List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh congratulated Minister Litzman on his move, saying it was “a significant step toward cooperation between the weakened segments of society.” Meaning, presumably, that both the Arabs and the Haredim face government policies intended to keep them down.

MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) stated in the bill itself that he has no intention “to harm religious freedom, rather it is intended to prevent the sleep interruption suffered by the majority of citizens due to muezzin calls.”

Interestingly, several Muslim and European countries have enacted laws compelling their mosques to “muffle” their loudspeakers, including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Cities that have banned or restricted the use of loudspeakers by mosques include Cairo, Egypt, Mumbai, India, Lagos, Nigeria, and several cities in Michigan. Restrictions of calls of prayers by muezzins exist in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, the UK, Austria, Norway, and Belgium.

JNi.Media

German Police Raid 200 ISIS Cells in 10 States

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

German police on Tuesday morning carried out more than 200 raids against the “True Religion” Salafist group, Deutsche Welle reported. The raids took place in more than 200 homes and offices across 10 federal states.

According to Soeren Kern, Salafists make up only a fraction of the estimated five million Muslims in Germany, but authorities believe they attract impressionable young Muslims who are potential candidates for carrying out terrorist acts in the name of Islam. The Salafists, a movement that originated in Saudi Arabia, openly promote replacing German democracy with an Islamic government based on sharia law.

The Interior Ministry at 6:30 AM local time Tuesday confirmed the raids in a tweet, and announced a ban of the organization. Out of the 200 cells, 65 raids were carried out in the state of Hesse, 15 of them in Frankfurt.

Last week, German authorities arrested five men accused of aiding the Islamic State in Germany by recruiting members and providing financial and logistical help. The arrests were made in raids in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the northern state of Lower Saxony. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas called the arrests “an important blow to the extremist scene in Germany.”

Among those arrested a week ago was Ahmad Abdelaziz, an Iraqi citizen known as Abu Walaa, 32, a preacher who has been a leading figure of the Jihadi movement in Germany. Walaa has been at the center of a year- long investigation, which also yielded arrests in the city of Hildesheim in July 2016.

Abu Walaa’s arrest was likely based on information provided by a former ISIS fighter, Anil O., 22, who identified Walaa as Germany’s ISIS leader. The mass raids that followed on Tuesday most likely were based on information received through last week’s arrests.

David Israel

Report: Israel to Purchase New German Submarines Targeting Iran, Syria

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Israel and Germany have begun top echelon political and security negotiations of the purchase of new Dolphin class submarines, Israel Defense reported Friday. The IDF’s five-submarine fleet, its most expensive weapons system, is its longest arm in a potential war with a nuclear Iran. The purchase of the sixth submarine was an option that was part of the 2012 deal signed between the two countries, with Germany paying for about a third of the cost of each sub — $180 million out of half a billion dollars.

In the past the IDF’s strategic thinking regarding the submarine fleet was in dispute between former Defense Minister Ehud Barak and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert accused Barak of planning to buy a sixth submarine not because this was what the IDF needed (then Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi was vehemently against such a purchase) but because the Germans bribed him. Eventually, it was Olmert who ended up being sentenced to prison over  taking a bribe. Takes one to know one?

The reason Lieut. Gen. Ashkenazi was against the deal was that it was being paid for out of the shekel part of the IDF budget, rather than the US aid dollars.

As the new Dolphin class submarine arrives, in 2018, one of its older sisters will be decommissioned. Despite past IDF reluctance, the Israeli Navy has now developed a five-submarine strategy, and will buy two more new Dolphins to replace older ones, all with German subsidies.

The diesel-electric Dolphin 2-class submarines, developed and constructed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG for the Israeli Navy, are the largest submarines to have been built in Germany since World War II. Each Dolphin-class submarine is capable of carrying a combined total of up to 16 torpedoes, as well as cruise missiles with a range of 930 miles. This means the Israeli subs can hit anywhere in Iran should the need arise, including with nuclear warheads.

According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, the Dolphin class submarines are nuclear armed, offering Israel a sea based second strike capability, in case its own territory had been struck by nuclear weapons and its land bases had been destroyed. It could still wipe out Iran, for instance.

Most of Israel’s Dolphins are normally based in the Mediterranean, but at least one was sent through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea for exercises in June 2009, and docked in the naval base in Eilat, probably as a warning to Iran. According to Haaretz, the Eilat naval base is strategically unsuited for Dolphin class boats, and getting them out of the Red Sea at a time of war would necessarily involve the consent of Egypt and Saudi Arabia who both control the Straits of Tiran.

According to The London Sunday Times, the Israeli Navy keeps at least one submarine equipped with nuclear missiles permanently of the Lebanese and Syrian coast.

David Israel

Trump in 2nd Debate: Aleppo Has Already Fallen

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Focusing, as we always do, on the Jewish-Israeli niche of presidential politics, we paid great attention Sunday night to the exchange between candidates Trump and Clinton on the situation in Syria. In general, both debaters agreed the situation was tough, and neither was eager to get into specific solutions. What stood out for us was the statement by Donald Trump that the battle of Aleppo between the US-backed rebels and the coalition of Assad, the Russians, Iran and Hezbollah will go to the pro-Assad forces.

Martha Raddatz (ABC News) asked Trump: “What do you think will happen if [Aleppo] falls?” Which Trump answered, “I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It basically has fallen.”

It should be noted that on Saturday in the UN Security Council Russia vetoed a French resolution calling for an immediate halt to its air strikes on east Aleppo, where reportedly hundreds of civilians are being killed, including many children. The Russian delegation, accusing the rest of the council of “Russophobia,” watched many council members walk off as the Russians were giving the floor to an envoy of the Assad regime. The Russians are fast running out of friends over this campaign — except, apparently, for Trump, who described Allepo as collateral damage of the effort to destroy the real enemy of the US in the Middle East — ISIS.

“I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS,” Trump said during Sunday night’s debate. “Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.”

Raddatz pointed Trump’s attention to the fact that not only the entire Western world objects to what the Russians have been doing in Syria, but his own running mate, Mike Pence, had said a week ago, that the “provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.”

Trump, who had praised Pence’s debate performance, came right out and said, “OK, he and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.”

Raddatz: “You disagree with your running mate?”

Trump: “I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran, who [Clinton] made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and a very rich nation, very, very quickly, very, very quickly.

“I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria. They had a chance. And that was the line. And she didn’t.”

To delineate Trump’s foreign policy point on Aleppo from all of the above, the defeat of ISIS justifies permitting Russia, Iran, the Assad regime and its Hezbollah satellite to recapture all of Syria and turn it into their permanent base, with all the ramifications for Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and, of course, Israel.

A debate then ensued between Raddatz, who as her network’s Chief Global Affairs Correspondent is probably familiar with the issue, and Trump, over the need for secrecy before attacking a target like the oil rich city of Mosul in Iraq. “The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy, we have Mosul,” Trump argued. “They think a lot of the ISIS leaders are in Mosul. So we have announcements coming out of Washington and coming out of Iraq, we will be attacking Mosul in three weeks or four weeks.”

“Well, all of these bad leaders from ISIS are leaving Mosul,” he continued. “Why can’t they do it quietly? Why can’t they do the attack, make it a sneak attack, and after the attack is made, inform the American public that we’ve knocked out the leaders, we’ve had a tremendous success? People leave. Why do they have to say we’re going to be attacking Mosul within the next four to six weeks, which is what they’re saying? How stupid is our country?”

Raddatz suggested, “There are sometimes reasons the military does that. Psychological warfare.”

Trump retorted, “I can’t think of any. I can’t think of any. And I’m pretty good at it.”

Raddatz: “It might be to help get civilians out.”

Perhaps. Trump could also be correct in pointing out that the US campaign in Iraq has remained as undisciplined and as badly coordinated as it has been since the 2003 invasion, under two different administrations.

Hillary Clinton sounded as hapless as the Obama Administration when she said the Russians don’t care about ISIS, and are instead “interested in keeping Assad in power.” As remedy, she proposed: “…when I was secretary of state, I advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need some leverage with the Russians, because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution, unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground.”

Of course, there’s no way the US and its allies would be able to enforce a no-fly zone on the Russian air force, short of starting WW3, which is why Clinton sounded hollow when she declared, “I’ve stood up to Russia. I’ve taken on Putin and others, and I would do that as president.” And she sounded even less realistic when she warned, “…I do support the effort to investigate for crimes, war crimes committed by the Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable.”

Hillary Clinton then committed a blunder that could haunt her in the future should she be elected president, when she suggested, “There are a lot of very important planning going on, and some of it is to signal to the Sunnis in the area, as well as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, that we all need to be in this. And that takes a lot of planning and preparation. … I would also consider arming the Kurds. The Kurds have been our best partners in Syria, as well as Iraq. And I know there’s a lot of concern about that in some circles, but I think they should have the equipment they need so that Kurdish and Arab fighters on the ground are the principal way that we take Raqqa after pushing ISIS out of Iraq.”

That’s not something an American president should say if he or she wish to elicit Turkey’s support in the Syrian campaign. Proposing to arm the Kurds sounds about as bad to Ankara as the idea of the US arming Hamas would be received in Jerusalem. That would be one of those cases where Clinton would be well advised to have one policy for public consumption and another for insiders.

You probably noticed we did not deal at all with the Trump tapes or the Clinton emails, because everyone else in the media are offering a wealth of information on those. We only tried to point out that when it comes to one of Israel’s most burning issues, the escalation of the war north of its border, neither candidate has offered a particularly convincing formula, and Clinton actually declared she would definitely keep US ground troops out of the Syrian civil war.

We should note with satisfaction that Israel was not mentioned even once in the debate and neither was the two-state solution or Jewish settlements. Thankfully, both candidates are too clever to step on that landmine.

JNi.Media

Obama Unites Congressional Democrats, Republicans, in Overriding Veto Damaging 9/11 Families

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby was in the middle of his daily press briefing Wednesday when a reporter informed him that the House had just joined the Senate in overriding the presidential veto on a law permitting the families of 9/11 attacks victims to sue Saudi Arabia should it turn out that the Kingdom was involved in carrying out those attacks. The reporter wanted to know if the Obama Administration, as it had warned would happen, had been approached by any foreign government threatening to “pass legislation that could affect the sovereign immunity of the United States and U.S. officials abroad?”

As expected, Kirby admitted he was not aware “that any government has expressed an intention to do so since the President’s veto. Before the President’s veto, though,” he noted, “some of our European friends — who are less likely to have been affected by the intent of the law itself — have expressed concerns about the issue of sovereign immunity surrounding the law. … France being one of them.” But no country like, say, Saudi Arabia, has so far stated its intent to seek anti-American retribution.

Possibly because Saudi Arabia is not interested in alienating the American public even more at this stage of the game, when the Iranians are running roughshod along its borders and the only reliable protection for the Saudis comes from the US.

However, as Kirby pointed out, the new law, now officially on the books, is forcing the US’ European allies “to rethink the whole issue of sovereign immunity. We didn’t make that up. That was communicated to us by other countries.”

Is the State Dept. expecting diplomatic difficulty with Saudi Arabia as a result of the veto? In Kirby’s view, “it goes beyond just Saudi Arabia. It goes to a larger concern that we have had about this idea of sovereign immunity — not just for diplomats but for our troops, for US companies that operate overseas.”

Possibly. What was most poignant about this vote was the fact that Congressional Democrats clamored to support the veto override, signaling to their voters that they are not captives of an irrational White House on this and other issues. Congressman Jerry Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat whose 10th Congressional District actually includes Ground Zero, was adamant in attacking the president’s arguments.

“Despite the overblown rhetoric of some critics of this bill, JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act) will not pose a threat to American military personnel or diplomats,” Nadler told the house. Debunking Kirby’s fretting, he added, “They would be absolutely protected if another country passed legislation mirroring this bill because JASTA applies only to governments. To the extent that a foreign government might pass broader legislation that would make American personnel subject to liability, that country would not be reciprocating. It would be engaging in a transparent and unjustifiable act of aggression.”

Nadler also noted that, despite Obama’s exaggerated fears, “the economic, diplomatic, and military strength of the United States makes such action unlikely, and any rogue state inclined to target US interests can already do so. We must not hold justice for the 9/11 families hostage to imagined fears.”

Over at the Senate, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cast the only vote in favor of Obama’s veto. No Democrat argued in favor of Obama’s version of reality before the vote. The Senate voted 97-1 Wednesday to override the veto.

The White House was irate, obviously, and spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One following the Senate override, “I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983.”

For speculations as to what act of the Senate Earnest was referring to, check out this website, which tried to figure it out (White House Is Profoundly Wrong About the Most Embarrassing Thing Senate Has Done). We went to Wikipedia (so you won’t have to) and dug up possible embarrassing things Joe may have been thinking about, although, to be fair, most of them were attributed to the president, not the Senate:

On February 24, 1983, a special Congressional commission released a report critical of the practice of Japanese internment during World War II. That sure was embarrassing, but the shameful stuff didn’t happen in 1983, obviously.

On April 18, 1983, the US Embassy was bombed in Beirut, resulting in 63 dead. Then, on October 23, 1983, simultaneous suicide truck-bombings destroyed both the French and the US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, killing 241 US servicemen, 58 French paratroopers and 6 Lebanese civilians. That was horrifying and embarrassing, especially since at that point President Ronald Reagan decided to cut and run — a point not mentioned often enough in those stories glorifying him as a brave commander-in-chief.

Finally, on October 25, 1983, American troops invaded Grenada, possibly to show the US could still defeat somebody. Yes, that was pretty embarrassing.

Of course, Earnest was not referring to any of the above. He was merely responding to a reporter who had told him that Wednesday’s veto was the most overwhelming since a 1983 95-0 veto override. President Reagan vetoed a land bill that gave a few acres to six retired couples who had paid good money for it only to find out later that, due to a surveying error, it was still government property.

No Saudis were harmed in the commission of that other veto.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-unites-congressional-democrats-republicans-in-overriding-veto-damaging-911-families/2016/09/29/

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