web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘transition’

Syria’s Chemical Weapons May Not Be in Safe Hands

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The bloodbath in Syria continues unabated. The manner in which it is being addressed by the nations of the world has something instructive to say to us Israelis who believe – rightly or not – that wholesale deaths in the Syrian style are what might await us, Heaven forbid, if our collective guard were to be let down from keeping an array of vicious enemies at bay.

Unabated might not actually be the best way to describe the Syrian slaughter, since the lust for blood on both (all?) sides is absolutely no less intense than it was when the chaos and barbarism erupted nearly two years ago.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which reports on such matters from London puts out rather laconic-sounding updates via its Facebook page every few days. On Monday, it gave us Sunday’s numbers:

Preliminary Death toll for Sunday 9/12/2012: About 60 Syrians killed so far, today. The dead include: 24 unarmed civilians, 13 rebel fighters, 5 unidentified fighters, and not less than 10 regime forces. 24 unarmed civilians.

Earlier this week, its tally for killings to date stood at something over 40,000.

But all is not lost. The friends of Syria – or to be more precise about this, the Friends of Syria, including the United States once Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recovers from an illness – are meeting this Wednesday in Moroccoto find ways of backing the political transition in the event of President Al-Assad’s fall, and mobilising vital humanitarian aid as winter sets in” [source].

What might we expect to come out of their discussions? The track record until now is depressing. The customary mechanisms for resolving catastrophic wars like the one that has Syria in its grip have been a complete failure. The Russian and Chinese governments have vetoed three separate UN Security Council resolutions that sought to get the al-Assad regime in Damascus to reduce the violence of the war it is waging against other Syrian groups. The Russians see themselves as Very Good Friends of Syria and prove it by accusing [source] the US and other states of wanting to achieve the deplorable goal of destabilizing Syria’s family-owned government.

An LA Times article this week says Moscow:

“will not seek the ouster of Assad, as international negotiators again fail to reach a breakthrough on the crisis in Syria… Russia downplayed White House fears that a desperate Assad could deploy chemical weapons and said the greatest danger was that part of Syria’s chemical arsenal could fall into the hands of rebels. Both U.S. and Israeli officials have also voiced concern that chemical armaments could end up in the hands of insurgents, who have overrun a number of military bases. Syria’s fragmented rebel legions includes hard-core Islamist brigades hostile to the West and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

So the killing continues. But it appears we may be heading for some moments of truth.

This past Sunday, Israel’s man in Washington used the term “game changer” when referring [see this Wall Street Journal article] to reports that the Syrians are handing parts of their huge chemical warfare arsenal off to Hezbollah and other militant groups. Being a diplomat, he chose diplomatic language. But when Ambassador Michael Oren said he could not confirm reports that Bashar al-Assad’s forces had prepared sarin gas for use, he was understood by most people as saying that the government of Israel is indeed able to confirm those reports. (And an article today called “Israeli spies track Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapon stocks” based on a report in the Times of London gives that some credence).

“We are watching the situation very carefully,” Oren said. “Syria has a very varied, deep chemical weapons program. It is geographically dispersed as well. Were those weapons to pass in to the wrong hands, Hezbollah’s hands, for example, that would be a game changer for us… Can you imagine Hezbollah, with its 70,000 rockets, could get its hands on chemical weapons? That could kill thousands of people.”

The Americans use different terminology. President Obama said four days ago that if the al-Assad regime used chemical weapons against their own people (as they did in 1982) that would amount to the crossing of “a red line.” It’s the same term he used many thousands of dead Syrians ago, back in August ["Obama warns Syria not to cross 'red line''].

New US Poll: Strong Favorable View of Israel

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Seventy percent of Americans view Israel favorably, according to a survey conducted by the Foreign Policy Initiative.

Moreover, when asked their view of Israel, nearly 81 percent of political conservatives share that view while the number is at 68.5 percent for moderates and roughly 63 percent of liberals.

The survey, called Foreign Policy Matters in 2012, was conducted from Sept. 15-17 by Basswood Research for the Foreign Policy Initiative. It’s margin of error is 3.1 percent. Roughly 40 percent of respondents identified as Republicans, 40 percent as Democrats and 20 percent as either Independents or with no party affiliation.

When asked the open-ended question who was “America’s  best ally in the world?” Israel came in at 15.9 percent, second only to the United Kingdom, which had 54 percent.

On Syria, nearly 66 percent of Americans support Washington working “with our allies to establish no-fly zones in Syria to protect civilians and help ensure a transition to a more pro-Western government instead of the terrorist-supporting regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Back To School Made Easy

Friday, August 31st, 2012

The new school year is just around the corner, and as the summer days wind down the air is filled with the anticipation of the approaching back-to-school season. During this time, students and their parents often feel the apprehension and worry of preparing for school. Of course, we’d rather take advantage of these final warm vacation days and really enjoy ourselves, but the nervousness of the new school year is palpable. The best cure for this anxiety is to help ease the fear of the unknown by preparing for school. Set your children up for success by helping them prepare for this transition smoothly. Here are some tips to help you and your children experience this season bump-free.

* Display interest and excitement as the school year approaches. If you are enthusiastic and confident about the new experiences your children will have, they will be too. It’s contagious.

* Feelings of nervousness and worry about the new school year are common and expected. Take the time to discuss which areas your child is concerned about. Listen to his/her worries and talk about what to expect on that first school day.

* Another great idea is to specifically discuss with your children the various aspects and schedule of the school day. Some scenarios to discuss include the morning bus ride, what davening will be like, different subjects you anticipate they will learn, and the change of teachers during different subject times. You can make the discussion very detailed and really paint the picture of that first day of school. For example, chat about which familiar faces they will see walking into the classroom, who they will sit with on the bus and at lunch, what they will eat during lunch and recess, what activities will they opt for during recess time, and most importantly what to expect at the end of the day. Will they be picked up from school or take the bus home, what will your children find when they walk through the door – you waiting with a smile, a snack and a note on the table from you or a sibling or neighbor to play with. Remember, knowledge and familiarity is the sure way to extinguish the jitteriness of a new school year.

* Help your children acclimate to the school year routine and schedule. Have your children go to bed at “school-night bedtime” for a few nights prior to the first day of school and get up at the time they will need to on school days. This process will ease the adjustment and transition from summertime to school year schedule.

* Create a predictable routine during the first week of school that you will stick with throughout the school year. You and your children should prepare school clothes, book-bags, lunch, and snacks each night for the following school day. Also, have a set routine for after school hours. For example, decide how much time will be allotted to play and unwind after school; when dinner will be served; when homework will get done and a consistent bedtime and routine.

* Find out what materials will be needed for school and make sure your children are prepared with it on the first day. This may seem like common knowledge, but often in the rush to get everything done for school vital materials are forgotten until well into the school year. Having your children prepared with the necessary materials will help prevent anxiety, and empower them on the first day of school to succeed. Moreover, shopping for school supplies can be a fun experience if done with enough preparation (and without the stress that comes with last-minute tasks). These excursions are a great way to turn your children’s nervousness into the similar feeling of excitement for the renewal of the school year.

* If this is your child’s first time attending school, have him/her explore the classroom and school grounds before the first day. This will familiarize your child with the school setting and help reduce his/her nervousness.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy school year.

Clinton Meets Morsi, Urges Egyptian Control over Hamas

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met President Mohamed Morsi on Saturday, marking the latter’s highest level meeting to date with a U.S. government official.

Clinton restated Washington’s support for Egypt, which has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy since 1978. She said the U.S. favors democratic rule in Egypt and urged the return of Egypt’s military to its defense role

Al Ahram on Saturday quoted an anonymous U.S. official who said that, in addition to stable relations with Israel, “the U.S. is expecting Egypt to use the good ties that link the Muslim Brotherhood with the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip to curtail any plans that Hamas might have towards escalation with Israel.”

The U.S. is also expecting President Morsi’s Egypt to remain committed to its traditional policy of limited engagement with Iran, according to Al Ahram.

Also on the list of U.S. expectations is a clear cut commitment from the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president on ensuring respect for the rights of women, Copts, and other minorities in Egypt.

On Sunday Clinton will meet with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the council of generals supervising the transition from the old regime.

“The United States supports the full transition to civilian rule with all that entails,” Clinton said at a news conference after her meeting with Morsi. “But there is more work ahead. And I think the issues around the parliament, the constitution, have to be resolved between and among Egyptians. I will look forward to discussing these issues tomorrow with Field Marshall Tantawi and in working to support the military’s return to a purely national security role.”

Rubin Reports: Extra! Extra! World Agrees on How to Solve Syrian Civil War!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
http://rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/
“The early bird might catch the worm but the early cat catches the bird.”
–Me
Here it is at last. The perfect case study of the “international community’s” diplomacy on the Middle East, as quoted from a Wall Street Journal article describing efforts to resolve the Syria conflict. And the article has the perfect headline, too!
World Powers Reach Syria Compromise
So the problem is solved, right?
“‎An international meeting in Geneva on Saturday on Syria’s crisis agreed, with support from Russia, to support a political transition. However, officials at the meeting said any chance for a political transition to succeed rests on the willingness of the Syrian regime to cooperate.”

That’s right! The powers have agreed to a transition to a new government which will go into effect as soon as the current dictatorship agrees to be overthrown and its rulers flee for their lives and watch their supporters probably be massacred. Perhaps the world will then install a new Islamist government in Syria, forcing it down the throats of the real democratic opposition, which will be dedicated to spreading revolution and striking against Western interests.

Isn’t diplomacy wonderful?

Next week: The world solves the Israel-Palestinian conflict!

Bringing Home Baby

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Ahh, that wonderful time when you return home from the hospital with a brand new bundle of joy nestled in your arms. Without getting into the pros or cons of sending yourself or your other children away, or the benefits and possibilities of family or paid help, eventually everyone will go home and you’ll be all by your lonesome, raising the family. So how to make this momentous occasion truly memorable, instead of weeks of what could be construed by some as torture?

I work in a Williamsburg WIC office where large families with eight to ten children are the norm. While pregnant with my third child, I asked these wise women for some handy tips. Their advice was simple: prepare as much as possible before hand, and then gird yourself for the worst. As one forty-year old woman, who came in with her tenth child, put it succinctly: “I never thought I’d say this ten years ago, but cleanliness is history. Current forecast is hurricanes and volcanoes.” More likely than not, the house will be in an uproar, the laundry will pile up, the kids will eat cereal and milk three times a day, and you will live on less then four hours of sleep at night. But, it’s not all gloom and doom. You have a brand new baby! Mazel Tov!

Here are a few practical tips for a smooth transition with an additional baby:

Prep and freeze as many dinners as possible: soup, breaded cutlets, tuna patties, etc. If you you know the gender of the baby – depending on your family’s minhag – consider buying the paper goods and begin baking and preparing for the shalom zachor, vacht nacht (when kids come to say shema), bris or kiddish.

When the baby first comes home, have her or him “give” the older children presents. A gift from someone brings feelings of joy and gratitude – hopefully.

The first few weeks, keep the newborn in a separate room, away from the other kids. This way, the younger children don’t feel displaced by the newest member of the family, and you don’t have to spend half your day preventing the two year old from playing ball with the baby.

Keep the kids involved with the care of the baby, by either fetching diapers, rocking the baby gently in a bouncer or swing, holding the bottle, or my daughter’s favorite activity: reading the baby a book.

It takes approximately six months for the baby to be fully acclimated to the household. During that time limit any additional responsibilities i.e. hosting guests for Shabbos, volunteering for the PTA, or even hosting play dates. Focus on your family and don’t forget about yourself! Take the extra help you need. If money is tight, then figure out what help would be most appreciated and get that. I personally prefer to do my own cleaning and cooking while a babysitter holds the baby. Other women may opt to buy take-out, which cuts back on shopping, cooking and cleaning time. Remember, a Jewish mother is not a martyr. Hashem will provide the resources that are necessary for you to manage.

Savor the joy and mystery of this brand new human being! This time is so fleeting, and just as quickly forgotten. Capture the moment as much as possible, mentally and on camera. These days, with the cameras on your phones just as good as any digital camera, it’s easy to collect a treasure trove of memories of your precious little one just as he is starting his new life.

Personally, I prefer not to find out the gender of the baby, as it gives me something to focus on instead of the rapidly climbing number on the scale, but as we are already blessed with a daughter and son, I felt we were prepared for either one. I did, however, prepare presents for my children, and arranged meals for following my delivery. My son Noach was born after a particularly traumatic cesarean section, and frankly, I didn’t see how I would ever recover. But now two months later, I find that our household has settled into a comfortable transition from two to three children. To give myself a much needed break from the excitement of having two babies less then two years apart, I send my toddler to the babysitter three hours a day and if necessary, I give my children oatmeal and yogurt for dinner guilt-free.

Although this may be a tad controversial, one of the biggest factors that contributed to my rapid recovery after my delivery is that I have the baby sleeping down the hall from me, in a separate room from the other kids. Like many mothers, I found that I had trouble sleeping with the newborn in my room. His soft sighs and turns would wake me up and leave me staring at the bassinet, wondering if he was going to want to nurse or just go back to sleep. At the tender age of three weeks old, I sent him down the hallway, where he learned to have a night schedule and wakes up me only to eat. Afterwards, I quickly fall back asleep for a reasonable amount of time until the next feeding.

Canada Supports Peace Talks Without Preconditions

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

John Baird, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, gave a speech Monday supporting the Israeli government’s call for Palestinians to return to negotiations without preconditions.

“By resisting temptations to apply preconditions to talks and by avoiding measures that would seek to prejudge the outcome of the talks, the Palestinian leadership could immediately take steps toward a more measured, stable transition to statehood,” Baird was quoted as saying.

Baird also said he was “proud” to watch Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly last September. “One line in particular that resonated with me was the call to ’stop negotiating about the negotiations.’ “

Egyptian cabinet resigns

Monday, November 21st, 2011

With Egyptian parliamentary elections just ahead on November 28th, the Egyptian cabinet resigned today in response to the dozens of civilian casualties since Friday from clashes between Egyptian security forces and civilian protesters in Tahrir Square. The military have indicated that they plan to hold off accepting the resignation of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf until a replacement can be found. While Al Jazeera is reporting that the military accepted the resignations.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said it is important that Egypt move toward democratic elections, and US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland called for “free, fair elections,” and hoped the electoral process would remain on schedule.

The protests began last Friday when 50,000 people, predominantly Islamist, protested the lack of transition to a civilian government.

The makeup of the protesters has since changed, and now it is primarily the secular protesters who have returned to the square to face the violence and demand an end to the military rule. Over 30 people have been killed, and more than a 1000 injured since this round of clashes began.

The Egyptian military have been running Egypt since Mubarak was ousted during the original Tahrir Square demonstrations. No date has been set yet for presidential elections, at which point the military are supposed to turn over control of Egypt to the civilian government.

The protesters are demanding presidential elections by April 2012.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/middle-east/egyptian-cabinet-resigns/2011/11/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: