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May 26, 2015 / 8 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘United States’

US Replenishing Israeli Arsenal, Hoping for Peace on Iran

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

The United States has just promised to replenish Israel’s arsenal in an arms sale worth $1.897 billion.

The State Department approved the transaction this week, which includes a sale of bunker buster bombs, Hellfire missiles, laser-guided bombs and other ordnance, pending Congressional approval.

But there may be a catch. Although U.S. officials are not making the sale conditional, it is clear the Obama administration is hoping for peace from the Netanyahu government in return for ensuring Israel’s military survival.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” read a statement from the U.S. Department of Defense. “Israel, which already has these munitions in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing the additional munitions into its armed forces. The proposed sale of these munitions will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a section of the Department of Defense, submitted to required certification to Congress on May 18.

However, U.S.-led world powers is continuing talks with Tehran over a 10-year deal to limit, but not to end, its nuclear technology program. Israel has insisted the deal under discussion is a “bad deal” and one that will facilitate Iran’s path to an atomic bomb, rather than obstruct it.

In addition, President Barack Obama recently made new commitments during last week’s summit at Camp David to arm Arab nations in the Persian Gulf region.

The arms supplies approved for Israel are aimed at smoothing the ruffled feathers in the Jewish State over that agreement as well.

Gulf Arab Leaders to Confront Obama on Iran

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama just can’t catch a break.

First he is questioned about Iranian aggression by Israel or members of the U.S. Congress, and now he’s about to be confronted by Arab leaders at a summit.

And that comes after some fast footwork to bring Saudi Arabia back into the loop altogether. Over the weekend King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud decided to excuse himself from Thursday’s upcoming summit, throwing the White House into ‘scramble’ mode.

The king was clearly sending a strong message to Washington: “Stop dithering and making excuses; let’s see some action on Iranian violations and on ending the nightmare in Syria.”

Saudi Arabia itself has led the way in its own mini-war against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen. Its disregard for “collateral” casualties and damage in favor of simply “getting the job done” is a typically Middle Eastern way of doing things but in fact also makes it clear that players in the region expect no less from Obama.

Leaders of Persian Gulf nations are arriving at Camp David to meet Thursday with the U.S. president, according to the Saudi state-run SPA news agency.

Discussion at the summit will focus on Iran’s “aggressive” moves in the region, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Monday.

“We see Iranian support for terrorist organizations and facilitating the work of terrorist organizations, so the challenge will be in how to coordinate US-Gulf efforts in order to collectively face these aggressive moves on the part of Iran,” al-Jubeir told the news agency.

Several weeks ago, Iran captured a cargo ship sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands and seized its crew of 34 sailors. The ship, its cargo and crew was stopped as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and boarded by members of the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Its captain was forced to navigate the vessel into a southern Iranian port city, where it has remained since.

The United States is obligated under a mutual defense treaty to protect vessels and personnel operating under the flag of the Marshall Islands.

For a number of days after the capture, U.S. warships escorted American and British-flagged vessels traveling through the Strait of Hormuz. The escort, however, has since been discontinued, according to media reports.

At least four U.S. citizens still remain captive in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

ISIS Claims ‘Credit’ for Attack at Mohammed Cartoon Contest

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack Sunday night in Garland Texas, where a contest was being held for drawing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

The radio channel run by ISIS announced the claim Tuesday, and tweets by the two terrorists killed in the attack have been linked with ISIS.

It added:

We tell America that what is coming is more bitter and harder and you will see from the soldiers of the Caliphate what harms you.

One of the gunmen, Elton Simpson, posted a tweet shortly before the attack that wounded a security guard, “#texasattack:May Allah accept us as mujahideen.” He also encouraged his followers to read tweets by an ISIS propagandist, who tweeted after the attack, “Allah Akbar!!!! 2 of our brothers just opened fire.”

The same tweet stated that he and the second terrorist, Nadir Sofa, pledged allegiance to “Amoral Mu’mineen,” which means “the leader of the faithful,” a likely reference to the recently wounded ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

The apparent success of the ISIS to infiltrate into the United States coincides with polls showing that terror, especially the Islamic State, is the biggest worry of Americans.

As the campaigns rev up for the Republic and Democratic presidential nominations, the Democrats will be on the defensive to show their party is best equipped to win the war against terror.

 

 

US Navy Begins Escorting UK Ships in Strait of Hormuz

Monday, May 4th, 2015

The United States has added vessels from Britain to the list of ships to be given protection in the Strait of Hormuz.

U.S. Navy warships have already begun to provide an escort to UK-flagged vessels as they sail through the Strait, said Army Col. Steven Warren, a Pentagon spokesperson.

Warren told reporters at a briefing on Monday the Navy has escorted one British ship through the strait so far.

The decision followed a discussion between London and Washington over the security status in the Persian Gulf.

U.S. vessels have been under escort protection of the Navy since April 28, 2015, when Iran seized the M/V Maersk Tigris. The Maersk, a Danish ship, was flagged under the Marshall Islands at the time it was captured.

The United States is obligated to defend vessels flagged under the Marshall Islands according to a mutual defense treaty between the two countries. The 34 sailors who were aboard the captured vessel were last heard from about 24 hours after the seizure, and said they were in good condition but were being confined to quarters. They have not been heard from since, nor has there been any independent confirmation of their whereabouts or condition following that contact.

Black Republican Ben Carson Running for President

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Retired neurosurgeon and black Republican Dr. Ben Carson has announced he is running to be his party’s nominee for president in next year’s election.

Dr. Carson visited Israel in December, reported here, an unofficial prerequisite for presidential candidates.

The 63-year-old Republican is from Detroit, lived in Baltimore for more than 35 years and now lives in Florida. He was the first black doctor to head the Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgery unit.

His lack of both political experience and ties with such factions as the Tea Party offers Republican voters a distinct choice among the growing number of candidates. However, he does not have the organization and political experience of other contenders, the most popular being Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, also from outside the political world, is considering tossing her hat in the political ring.

Dr. Carson grew up in poverty and has the appeal to white voters as their desired image of an America where anyone can achieve success through hard work and without making himself out to be a victim.

He has been a harsh critic of President Barack Obama, whom Dr. Carson once described as someone who “seems to believe more in a utopian view of cradle-to-grave care.”

He has made headlines, for better and for worse, on the issue of same-sex marriage. Below is an interview on CNN in which he maintained that homosexuality is a choice and that each state should decide for itself whether or not to allow marriages of homosexuals. He said in the interview that many people become homosexuals after being in prison.

After harsh criticism, he apologized, and Dr. Carson stated before announcing his candidacy today:

I’ve come to recognize that when you use certain terms, people can no longer hear anything else you say. As you’ll notice in the last several weeks, I’ve been able to get my points across without inflammatory language.

In his visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem in December, Dr. Carson placed a note between the bricks and later referred to King Solomon in an interview with CBN and said he asked God for “Solomonic wisdom on what to do” concerning the race for president.

His stand on Israel is clear, and he told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,

“Until such time as their neighbors are no longer desirous of their elimination,” Israel’s continued control of the West Bank “makes perfectly good sense.”

Dr. Carson’s strong conservative stand may appeal to Christian evangelists despite his being black.

He said at the national Prayer Breakfast earlier this year that the United States is headed for “moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility.” He also declared:

We have imposed upon people restrictions on what they can say, on what they can think. And the media is the largest proponent of this, crucifying people who say things really quite innocently.

President Barack Obama was sitting a few feet away, and although Carson did not directly blame the president for America’s ills, the White House was upset.

“Within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him,” Carson later wrote in his book “One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future.”

Carson added in his book, “I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”

From Segregation to Confrontation – No Nostalgia for Baltimore

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The riots in Baltimore are symptomatic of a world-wide disease that has been spreading for decades: Violence.

I have good memories of a good life in the Golden Ghetto where I grew up in Baltimore but I have no nostalgia, not for the Orioles, not for the peace and quiet in our white-only and Jewish-only neighborhood, not for segregation, not for our black maid and not for integration.

Not even for the Orioles when they beat the Dodgers in the World Series, believe it or not.

Yes, I did write “segregation.” Before 1954, when the Supreme Court ruled against school segregation in the Plessy vs. Ferguson suit, I never questioned the practice. What do you want from an eight-year-old?

Those were the days of law and order, but the deep white hatred of blacks in the south was superior to the rule of law, and it took years of protest marches and the assassination of Martin Luther King before integration in school was accepted.

Jews in my youth in Baltimore, like elsewhere in the Diaspora, always were worried about being politically and socially acceptable. The rabbis, especially the modern Orthodox, Conservative and Reform leaders, always spoke out for the blacks, the same people who rented from Jewish slumlords and worked for minimum wages from Jewish employers who were lucky if their employees showed up for work without being drunk.

Our rabbi marched in Washington in a huge rally for integration. Somehow, he always managed to connect it to the Torah.

Listening to King, one would think that God told the whites in the south, “Let my black people go.” That is what happens when Jews desecrate the Torah to co-exist with non-Jews.

Those were the days of the Limousine Liberals, the rich Jews who were in favor of integration, on condition that it was not in their neighborhood.

Those were the days of peaceful protests. They worked.

Today, they don’t.

There were many blacks in my high school class who studied hard, went to university and became part of the “haves.” Many remained with the have-nots.

When the United States declared “war on terror” after the 9/11 attacks, it was a bit late. It should have started years before and should have been called a war on violence., because violence has been working for decades.

Everyone can come up with his or her own reasons for excuse – liberalism, social media, television, movies and drugs, among others.

Underneath all of them is the undercurrent of “gimme, and if you don’t “gimme,” I will kill you.

Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens has been seen all cross America this week for his rant against violence:

No way. No way. No way can this happen in our city. No. Young kids you got to understand something, get off the streets.

Violence is not the answer. Violence has never been the answer. Freddie Gray, we don’t do nothing for him doing this….

You don’t have any right to do what you’re doing to this city. Too many hard-working people build this city… We know what’s going on. We know the problems. We know there was wrong done. We know we’re not getting the right justice. We know all these answers.

But rioting in our streets is wrong. It’s dead wrong.

 

Lewis is speaking of values. He stated, “It takes a whole village to raise one child. We have to redefine what this looks like. We have to redefine what rebuilding Baltimore looks like. Cause there’s too many people putting real sweat, real tears to make our city a better place.”

His values are not “their” values. “Their” values are violence. “Gimme or violence, take your pick.”

Iran Tests US Resolve, Forces Maersk Vessel to Coastal Waters

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Iran appears to be testing the resolve of the United States and President Barack Obama in its latest adventure with a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship in the Strait of Hormuz.

U.S. forces operating in the region heard and responded to the distress call sent by the M/S Maersk Tigris, sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, during a confrontation with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Marshall Islands are under a defense treaty with the United States; the U.S. is obligated to come to the defense of that nation should it be attacked.

The Iranian forces contacted the master of the cargo ship as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz, ordering him to divert to Iranian waters. When he refused, the Iranian vessel fired warning shots across the bow of the Danish ship. IRGC forces then boarded the ship and guided it towards southern Iran.

By the time the U.S.S. Farragut, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer reached the location – more than 60 miles away at the start of the distress call – the Maersk was heading to Iran.

Apparently under Admiralty law, a commercial firm is allowed to go to court and obtain a court order to seize a ship to satisfy a debt, according to retired U.S. Navy captain and Fox News military analyst Chuck Nash.

Nash told Fox News journalist Gretchen Carlson on Wednesday that an Iranian company did just that about 10 or 12 years ago, after cargo that was to be shipped with a Maersk vessel never arrived.

Last Friday, four Iranian ships also dogged the heels of a Maersk ship as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz. But that vessel was sailing under the flag of the United States of America, and eventually the Iranians abandoned their pursuit.

This week the targeted Maersk vessel was flagged under the Marshall Islands, which clearly emboldened its pursuers.

“The U.S. is under no obligation” to do [anything to defend the vessel] in the maritime realm, Nash explained. He pointed out the treaty with the Marshall Islands is a “clear spoken defense agreement should they be attacked” – on land.

The U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense has confirmed the above facts, saying the shipping company told U.S. Central Command that the Iran Navy “contacted the vessel and directed the Maersk Tigris’s master to divert further, into Iranian waters.” He added: “The master initially declined and one of the IRGC patrol craft fired shots across the Maersk Tigris’s bow. The master then complied and diverted under escort by the IRGC vessels.”

The Maersk issued a distress call when the shots were fired. The U.S.S. Farragut received that call and immediately launched a maritime reconnaissance aircraft to monitor the situation, and itself headed to site, he added.

The real questions now are:

  • What is the status of the MaerskTigris, forced to a southern Iranian port city by Iranian forces?
  • Where are the 34 sailors who were aboard the Maersk and what is their condition? Are they now hostages of Iran?
  • Who has the obligation to rescue the crew of the Maersk? Who will ensure their safety?
  • How will the United States consider this situation as it continues to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear development activities?

It’s important not to forget that Iran continues to hold U.S. citizens hostage, even as Secretary of State John Kerry carries on his nuclear development negotiations with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. They are:

  • Saeed Abedini, 34, of Idaho, arrested during a 2012 trip to Tehran to visit family and sentenced to eight years in prison. Married father of two;
  • Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent seized by Iranian intelligence in 2007 as he was investigating a cigarette smuggling case on Kish Island, an Iranian free-trade zone — the longest-held hostage in Iranian custody, assuming he is still alive;
  • Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine arrested and charged with espionage in 2011 while visiting family in Tehran; and
  • Jason Rezaian, the bureau chief for The Washington Post in Tehran, arrested in July 2014 on undisclosed “security-related offenses.” In January 2015 an Iranian prosecutor revealed Rezaian would be tried in a revolutionary court by one of the country’s most notorious hanging judges.
  • It is important to remember the names and circumstances of each of the hostages and to remind each candidate who stands for office as elections approach in 2016.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iran-tests-us-resolve-forces-maersk-vessel-to-coastal-waters/2015/04/29/

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