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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

What the Benghazi Leaks Mean, and what Difference Would it Have Made?

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Imaging this: it was well-known that in 2011 the United States was facilitating the weapons supply to Syrian rebels. The weapons were paid for by Qatar and Saudi Arabia and delivered through Turkey.

We have known for more than a year about this traffic. There were two big UN Reports on this traffic.( By the way this meant that the United States was arming Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist groups.)

What wasn’t known was a simple detail: the United States was also collecting and shipping the weapons.

That’s it! This is what was being concealed. After all, it was openly known previously that the Libyan rebels against Qadhafi were armed by the United States.

The whole mess was unnecessary!

If it were known that the CIA guys in Turkey weren’t just watching the weapons supply but delivering it, to quote Clinton, what difference would it have made?

Would Congress have stopped the weapons’ traffic? No, they wouldn’t even do anything about the arms to Mexican drug gangs that killed Americans?

Would Americans rise in revolt? No.

Would it have cost one percent of the votes in the election? No.

Sure, some bloggers would have talked about parallels to Iran-Contra and a handful of members of Congress would have complained but the massive media machine would have ignored it and the majority of Republicans would have snored.

Did President Obama have to lie in a UN speech saying the ambassador was just there to supervise a hospital and a school? No.

Did a video have to be blamed so as to blame Americans and Islamophobia for the attack? No.

Was the cover-up necessary even to defend the administration’s “perfect” record against terrorist attacks on Americans”? No.

The expose of this arms’ supply channel would have bothered few and changed nothing. But since we knew already that the administration was helping arm anti-American, antisemitic, anti-Christian, and homophobic, and anti-women Islamist terrorists I don’t think the difference was huge.

Did the cover-up have to lead to the refusal to defend properly American personnel to prevent what they were doing from leaking out? No.

In short this program of lies and deception and cover up wasn’t even necessary. Those Americans may have been rescued and those lies might have been avoided with no harm to the administration.

I think that tells a lot about how the Obama Administration treats and manipulates the American people. And it also tells about its very profound incompetence and ignorance.

America’s Real ‘Dangerous Slide’ to the Wrong Side

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Would you ever imagine that the leading American newspaper would openly advocate siding with radical Islamist forces in the Middle East against all of America’s allies and friends, and I mean with eyes wide open and with full awareness that it sought to overthrow them? Well, the day has come.

How has the argument for this strategy, which the Obama Administration is already pursuing being made?

A New York Times July 30th editorial entitled “Egypt’s Dangerous Slide” shows a real catastrophe for the United States. What is amazing is that it takes less than five minutes to deconstruct Obama Administration’s Middle East policy.

But be wary since if you do this—even once—you will be barred from 95 percent of mass media and academic jobs. [Note: What’s amazing about the previous sentence is that it is in fact accurate. That’s why the public debate is so bad.]
 
After all, we are at a moment when Israel-Palestinian talks haven’t even agreed on pre-conditions (a point which is usually reached before the two sides even begin talks) yet Secretary of State John Kerry predicts success within nine months (and the mass media quotes him without snickering).

“Deadly blundering by Egypt’s military rulers is making a bad situation much worse,” starts the editorial.

One of the most blatant, arrogant views of the American foreign policy establishment today is the frequency with which its members insist that leaders know nothing about their own countries. Thus, Obama, a man who has spent a few hours in Israel and has no empathy with it, can dare to say that he knows better what the country needs than does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Last weekend’s massacre of marchers supporting the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, will make national reconciliation and a return to democracy far more difficult.”

No kidding. First of all, there was never going to be conciliation. Second, the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t exactly eager to get national conciliation, a point  the editorial and the Obama Administration never mention.

Third, the military wants massacres because it seeks to intimidate the Brotherhood. That’s how things work in Egypt. In fact, that’s what happened last time, when the Brotherhood was crushed in the 1950s and 1960s, with its leaders sent to concentration camps, tortured, and hung. And that’s what the Brotherhood would be doing to its opposition if its regime had survived.The Brotherhood is portrayed simply as the victim.

In other words it is not Egypt’s leaders who don’t understand Egypt but rather America’s current leaders.

“The stakes are too high for any country to give up on the search for a peaceful resolution.”

No! Egyptians know that the stakes are too high not to give up on the search for a peaceful resolution. This is the Middle East. And this is true just like as with the Syrian civil war, the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and every secular/nationalist/traditionalist versus give up on the search for a peaceful resolution Islamist battle in the region.But fourth the Brotherhood is also provoking a lot of violence which is neither reported or protested by the U.S. government. The Brotherhood is portrayed simply as the victim. That’s why millions of Egyptians now say they hate Americans. See here. And here. And a brutal murder of an anti-Mursj demonstrator here.

Al-Ahram writes: “The current misinformation campaign bears the hallmarks of a fully-fledged psychological warfare campaign aimed at deceiving the population.” Funny, it hasn’t fooled Egyptians but it has fooled the American elite.By the way, we should notice that Yusuf Qaradawi, the leading Sunni Islamist in the world, has just accused the military government of recruiting Egyptian Christians to kill helpless Muslims. Look for massacres of Christians in other Arab countries and Egypt. Perhaps the Obama Administration better worry about that. It is already happening.

In other words it is not Egypt’s leaders who don’t understand Egypt but rather America’s current leaders.

“Washington’s leverage has been limited, despite…its good intentions undermined by years of inconsistent American policies. President Obama urgently needs to rebuild that trust. And he cannot hope to do so by maintaining a cautious diplomatic silence while the Arab world’s most populous and most important country unravels.”

Where to begin! First, American policies have not been undermined by inconsistent policies. Doesn’t anyone know Egyptian history?

1952-1956: America supported the Egyptian military coup and even saved the regime! Only when President Gamal Abdel Nasser behave aggressively—not so much toward Israel but by conservative Arab states–and allied with the USSR, did America turn against him.

1956-1973: An anti-American regime allied with the Soviet Union and aggressive against America’s friends was opposed.

1974-2011: The United States was allied with a moderate regime.

Get it? It must be hard for the current establishment to understand so let me capitalize it and put in bold:

IT WASN’T AMERICA’S FAULT U.S. POLICY WAS ‘INCONSISTENT”; IT WAS EGYPT’S.
 
As for “good intentions” may I remind you that Obama did not have good intentions at all. Just like any British or American imperialist in a previous century, Obama has sought to overthrow regimes and replace it with a Muslim Brotherhood and thus inevitably Sharia regime.
 
How’s that for “good intentions?”

And if Obama wanted to rebuild trust–as opposed to protecting the Br0therhood’s interests–he would rebuild trust with the Egyptian army and people by supporting the  new government rather than seek to empower an anti-Christian, anti-Western, antisemitic, anti-American, homophobic, genocidal, anti-woman totalitarian-destined regime.

The editorial continued:

“Whatever Egypt’s new military strongman, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, thought he was doing by summoning people to Tahrir Square last Friday to demand a `mandate’ to fight terrorism, the result was to undermine Egypt’s prospects for stability even further. Whatever self-described pro-democracy groups thought they were doing by endorsing his call, the result was to strengthen the military and inflame raw divisions between civilian parties.”

He knew exactly what he was doing. He wanted to build and mobilize a civilian support base. And the civilian parties weren’t “inflamed,” they hate each other and know they are engaged in a life-and-death struggle.

“And whatever the Muslim Brotherhood leaders thought they were doing by urging followers to challenge security forces, the result was to add to the bloodshed and give the military new excuses for repression.”

Same patronizing tone. The Brotherhood knows what it is doing, too: it doesn’t want conciliation; it wants revolution.

“And things are likely to get worse until the military can be persuaded to hand over power and return to the barracks.”

Wrong again. They will get worse if the military does hand over power. For every day—except a few disastrous weeks under Mursi—during the last 61 years the army basically held power even if it was in the barracks.

“Other Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia and its allied Persian Gulf emirates, are unlikely to help. They are more concerned with stamping out any potential political threat to their own autocratic rule at home than in encouraging democracy in Egypt.”

Of course because they understand Arab politics! And are they wrong? Listen to them. A Brotherhood takeover of Egypt would increase the political threat to them! Now you want to overthrow Saudi Arabia and any other remaining American friends in the Arab world?

“Israel has its own legitimate security concerns, mostly centered on preventing threats from Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula and Hamas-ruled Gaza.”

And in parallel you want to further undermine Israel’s security?

“That leaves the United States and the European Union.”

Right. If Egypt, the Arab states, and Israel don’t undermine their own security the United States and the EU will. People, think what you are saying here! Consider what insanity you are advocating!

In other words, the pro-Islamist forces are the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists (and in a sense the Taliban and al-Qaida) backed by the EU and United States, ([plus Turkey and Qatar along with Iran, Syria,  and Hizballah); while the anti-Islamist forces are the Arab countries and Israel?

Does that seem strange? .

“But Washington has been doing less than its share. Excessive concerns with maintaining good relations with Egypt’s generals and fears that a loosened military grip on Sinai and the Gaza border might throw off nascent Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have wrongly muffled America’s public voice.”

I’m not believing this stuff. Let’s get tough with the generals, not the Islamists? And the best way to help peace talks is to return an Islamist regime in Egypt? That will surely quiet Hamas and the jihadists in Sinai and make Israel feel real secure. Oh by the way, the main threat to even the Palestinian Authority (PA) is Hamas! No doubt the PA will thank you, too.

“Most of all, President Obama needs to clarify what America stands for as Egypt struggles over its future.”
He sure does. By changing sides away from the Islamists and toward others, including Israel.

Now We Know the Truth: What’s Behind US ‘Peace Process’ Policy

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

At last we have an explanation for what has been going on with Israel-Palestinian talks. It is credible yet ridiculous. And it is very important.

Here is today’s New York Times.

“In recent weeks, Mr. Kerry and his aides have outlined several basic arguments for why his efforts might bear fruit. Perhaps the most important one, which Mr. Kerry advanced almost the moment he was picked for the State Department post, is that the United States does not have the luxury of staying on the sidelines.” “With the Palestinians poised to take their claim for statehood to the International Criminal Court and United Nations bodies, American officials say the two sides were facing a downward spiral in which the Israelis would respond by cutting off financing to the Palestinian territories and European nations might curtail their investment in Israel, further isolating the Israelis.”

Now, what is this saying?

–The Palestinian Authority (PA) intends to violate all the pledges used over the last 20 years of negotiations and in obtaining the West Bank and, previously, Gaza Strip. (Not a good precedent for the likelihood of their keeping future commitments.)

–For doing so it is not being punished but rewarded.

–The PA will seek statehood not through negotiations with Israel but unilaterally. No Israel agreement will be necessary.

–Note a key assumption here: The United States either will not oppose, or effectively oppose, this effort. Let’s pause here.  You mean the United States cannot lead or pressure such countries as Britain, France, Germany, or Italy in saying “”no.” The New York Times doesn’t point out what a failure of Obama Administration influence that would be. Let’s also note the incompetence and failure of that government to stop leading allies at the UN General Assembly to vote for non-member statehood (a non-binding vote) last year despite a one-year warning the PA would try this.

–To summarize, the United States proposes surrender to a development breaking its more than 20-year-long policy that no comprehensive solution would be achieved without real mutual agreement. –After the “”success” of the unilateral independence for Palestine–remember, with no control of the PA over Gaza–Israel will take action, understandably since it has been sold out by its allies.

–European states, again with no effective action by America, will punish Israel and Israel will be worse off. Where to begin in analyzing this remarkable foundation for policy?

First, as I pointed out, it presumes incompetence and betrayal by the Obama Administration. It presumes that any battle to block either unilateral independence or punishment of Israel for opposing it would be doomed. This includes a refusal for the United State or European states to punish the PA even while they are believed they will eagerly punish Israel.

Incidentally, this explains Kerry’s seeming slip about Palestine already being an independent country! Will the Obama Administration recognize a state of Palestine not achieved through negotiation with Israel?

Second, it presumes that after everything it has done for 20-40 years has proven to be based on false promises, Israel should base itself on more of such promises.

Third, it presupposes that the punishment would be worse than the risk taken by Israel, and ignores any possible costs faced by the Palestinians. Just because the EU has put sanctions–far looser and less significant than they seem–against special economic privileges for Israeli settlements in Europe does that mean the EU will do major sanctions against Israel in its recognized territory? (If Israel has such indications we don’t know about it and, again, it shows how the United States has not fought against this.

Fourth, it assumes that having been given every reason to believe that they hold all the cards, the PA will make any compromises. This is not likely to result in a deal since Kerry has already told them that in a year or two more they can have anything. Here is Mahmoud Abbas radiating confidence that he is about to get a state.  Remember that Kerry’s last Middle East negotiations was when he thought he would easily wean away Syria’s dictatorship from Iran.

And fifth, why would the PA keep any post-treaty commitments? We know that Hamas will not, and that Iran would not accept them. How long before new cross-border attacks and new demands would be made.

Netanyahu: Future Deal Must Pass Referendum

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that if a peace agreement is reached with the Palestinians, it would have to receive approval through a national referendum.

Netanyahu said Israel is entering the talks honestly, with the hope that they will be conducted in a responsible and realistic way, and, at least in the early stages, with discretion.

He added that the negotiations are not going to be easy, but emphasized that renewing the political process is a vital Israeli interest. He said Israel would have to strike a balance between preventing the creation of a binational state and the creation of yet another terrorist state under the influence of Iran.

Netanyahu pointed out that Israel’s negotiations partners must also offer concessions that would allow the Jewish state to maintain its security and national interests.

Several government ministers, including those from Netanyahu’s own Likud-Beiteinu faction have expressed their objection to the release of Palestinian terrorist from prison as part of the renewing negotiations.

Minister Israel Katz from Likud said that while he is pleased with the renewed talks, he would vote against releasing murderers, once the issue is brought up to a cabinet vote. Katz added that he also objects to the creation of a Palestinian state. Still, Katz sees the reopening of talks as a strategic achievement for Israel, which would afford it a better maneuvering ability.

Minister Uri Ariel of Jewish Home said he could not figure out how the Americans are demanding that Israel release murderers, while insisting on keeping Jonathan Pollard imprisoned.

Despite promises similar to Netanyahu’s, Israel has never had a referendum on any issue whatsoever. Indeed, the most recent episode of uprooting thousands of Jews from their homes in Gaza was accompanied by a campaign of deception on the part of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over the issue of a referendum.

Initially, there was a consensus, at least on the right, that a major decision like the uprooting of an entire Jewish enclave would certainly have to go through a referendum. This seemed even more necessary after Sharon had been unable to receive approval from the majority in the Knesset for the move. In February, 2005, the Gush Katif decision was passed by a vote of 59 to 40, with 4 abstentions, not a resounding support for such a move.

Sharon refused to take the law to a national referendum, but did present it to the Likud membership for a party-wide vote. There Sharon’s proposition suffered a humiliating defeat, 59.5 to 39.7 percent, which prompted his desertion from his own party and the creation of the Kadima party.

Netanyahu, however, will not have Sharon’s wiggle room once a treaty is signed. A law passed by the Knesset in 2010 requires that any political deal that would require a retreat from disputed territories would have to be approved by a nation-wide referendum.

It’s getting interesting.

A Coup by Any Other Name Allows US Aid to Continue

Monday, July 8th, 2013

The fact that the White House has decided to continue providing aid to Egypt, despite what has taken place in that country over the past week, is big, big news.

The White House Spokesperson, Jay Carney, with his frequent invocation of the delay weapon known as calling a sticky situation “complicated,” made clear to reporters that the administration will take its time reviewing the matter before making any  final decision on U.S. aid to post-Morsi Egypt.

“I think it would not be in the best interest of the United States to immediately change our assistance programs,” Carney said.

Why is this big news?

Because the overthrow of the Egyptian regime headed by former President Mohamed Morsi is, technically speaking, a coup.  What happened was a coup backed and initiated by mass support for Morsi’s overthrow – technically called a “democratic coup,” but a coup is the correct term, nonetheless.

That matters, because the United States is forbidden, by law, to provide aid to governments which assume power through a coup.

And there are those who immediately pointed out the dangers of supporting any government which takes power as the result of a coup.  Most famously, perhaps, was Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

“Reluctantly, I believe that we have to suspend aid until such time as there is a new constitution and a free and fair election,” McCain said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”

Other U.S. politicians in leadership positions refused to join McCain in his call to suspend aid, some by refusing to call the ouster of Morsi a “coup,” while others simply refused to address the pertinent legal issue and instead preferred to focus – understandably, if not responsibly – on what would most promote U.S. interests in Egypt: stability.

Egypt’s Ambassador to the U.S., Mohamed Tawfik, consistently insists that the ouster of Morsi – his own boss until just days ago – does not amount to a coup.

In a National Public Radio interview with Tawfik from July 5, the interviewer attempts to corner the ambassador, forcing him to admit that Morsi’s overthrow was a military coup that renders whatever comes next as illegitimate, Tawfik is resolute.  The interviewer paints the Muslim Brotherhood as if it were a benign political organization which has now been thwarted after dutifully following all the rules.

SIEGEL: Ambassador Tawfik, your country, Egypt, has this problem, which is how to deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, a very old and powerful institution in Egyptian life. And one reading of what’s happened this week is, if you’re an active member of the brotherhood, is, well, so much for electoral politics. You can win the presidency. You can win the parliament. You can win a referendum on the constitution that your guys drafted, and it’ll all be negated. Take other means of trying to advance your cause, not elections. Try to subvert the state instead, the way perhaps you used to do.

TAWFIK: That would be a completely wrong way to proceed. What we want to do now is we want to correct the mistakes made by President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. We want an inclusive process. We want everybody to be included. We want every single Egyptian, including Muslim Brotherhood members, to feel that they own the country. Everybody should enjoy their rights.

We cannot accept to have a situation in which the whole country is run for the interests of a particular group. This was the case with Mubarak, and this – again, unfortunately, Morsi repeated the same mistake. We have to stop making that mistake. This is the time for true democracy. The people of Egypt will accept nothing less.

So the US government is in a bit of a pickle.  Does it withhold support from a leadership backed by the masses of the Egyptian people? And does it do so despite pledging enormous support to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government as it giddily dispensed with freedoms and commitments of fairness and diversity so fast that millions took to the streets to boot them out?

Another significant factor the U.S. has to consider, is that the Egyptian economy is so far past being called a train wreck, there are no longer even any railroad ties with which people can make fires to warm themselves.  The only powerhouse industry in Egypt used to be tourism, and the past few years of relentless violence has crippled that industry.  Unless the US provides essential aid, what had been the most stable Arab country, the anchor of the Arab world, may disintegrate into, well, what so much of the rest of the non-oil-rich Arab world looks like.

Netanyahu Invokes Herzl’s Vision on Eve of Kerry’s Visit

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a clear message to Jews and the United States on Thursday, the 109th anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, that there is no peace without security.

“Peace is based on security,” said the Prime Minister. It is not based on goodwill and legitimacy as is believed. It is based, first of all, on our ability to defend ourselves.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kelly is n Jordan on Thursday prior to talks on Friday and Saturday with Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu have made every effort prior to his arrival to justify their positions, and the memorial ceremony for Herzl was a golden gift of timing for Israel.

Kerry is carrying with him the coffin of the peace process that the United States has been treating as a live animal since its inception more than 20 years ago. Netanyahu’s speech emphasized security and did not even hint about the status of Jerusalem or of borders for a Palestinian Authority state.

Without security, without the army, the establishment of which Herzl called for, we will be unable to defend the peace, we will be unable to defend ourselves if the peace frays. A basic condition for the existence of peace, for achieving it and for preserving it is security,” he declared.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also cast aside illusions of the international community that satisfying Arab world demands will change attitudes towards Jews and Israel.

“Let no one among us delude him or herself that if we make a peace agreement with the Palestinians, that this agreement would eliminate the wild defamation of the state of the Jews. What has been the lot of the Jews beforehand, for generations, today is the lot of the state of the Jews. Peace is desirable in and of itself,” he said.

Kerry began his 10-day Middle East and Asian junket last Friday, arriving in Doha. Except for India, his stop-off points have been in countries directly related to the Iranian nuclear threat, the Syrian civil war and the Arab-Israel conflict.

Egypt Convicts 43 American NGO Workers

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

An Egyptian court on Tuesday convicted 43 employees of NGOs in Egypt, including 19 Americans, of using foreign funds to incite violence in the country.

The workers were sentenced to jail terms of one to five years and fines. Most of the American workers, including Sam LaHood, the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, had already left the country.

Sam LaHood worked as director of the Egyptian program for the International Republican Institute, a nongovernmental organization with close ties to the Republican congressional leadership.

The verdict also ordered the closure and seizure of the offices and assets in Egypt belonging to the nonprofit groups. Along with LaHood’s group, the other American NGOs are the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a center for training journalists.

The crackdown on the groups, which also included Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation, began in December 2011 while Egypt was under military rule following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

U.S. Publishes Details of Secret Israeli Military Base

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

The U.S. government published on a federal website details of a top-secret base in Israel to house the Arrow 3 missile defense system.

A 1,000-page detailed description of the project, to be built by the United States for Israel, was published on a federal business opportunities website in order to allow contractors to prepare bids on the $25 million project.

“If an enemy of Israel wanted to launch an attack against a facility, this would give him an easy how-to guide,” an unnamed Israeli official told McClatchy newspapers. “This type of information is closely guarded and its release can jeopardize the entire facility.”

The bidding documents were first cited in Jane’s Defense Weekly, which discussed them in a story that provides details about the new defense system.

When it becomes operational in 2015, the Arrow 3 is expected to be able to intercept ballistic missiles at a range of up to 1,500 miles outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Wesley Miller told McClatchy that the U.S. routinely publishes construction plans on the website to allow contractors to accurately estimate costs.

The facility is so top secret in Israel that the military will not confirm its exact location, between Jerusalem and Ashdod in the South.

The head of the Arrow 3 project, Col. Aviram Hasson, on Monday told a conference at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv that the Arrow 3 program has been accelerated due to fears of the threat from Iran.

McClatchy reported that the U.S. has built some $500 million in Israeli military facilities, including an air base, intelligence offices and underground hangars.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/u-s-publishes-details-of-secret-israeli-military-base/2013/06/04/

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