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The US and China

China vs America-- Competing Economic Superpowers

November 29th 2016

Bank of China

Depending on how one crunches the numbers, China’s economy has either already surpassed, in size, that of the United States, or will do so in a within a couple of years.  According to data from the World Bank, it is the former, China’s nominal GDP was $19.3 trillion in 2015, while U.S. GDP came in at $17.9 trillion.  One difficulty in comparing national economies is calculating each country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in a common currency—usually in U.S. dollars.  A second is adjusting the GDP numbers to take into account purchasing power parity (PPP).

Whether or not China’s economy is larger than the U.S., the former’s economic growth over the past three decades is nothing if not incredible.  In turn, it has created some angst among Americans.  Mike Patton writes in Forbes:  “China’s economy will become more significant than America’s.  How is this possible?  Is the golden era of “Made in America” in our rearview mirror?  Is China entering a modern-day economic dynasty?”  Based solely on the dollar size of GDP, yes China is projected to far surpass the U.S. in the coming years. Read more ..


Lebanon on Edge

Lebanon Walls in Palestinian Camp

November 29th 2016

Beirut Hizbollah Street Violence

It is no secret that Arab countries have long mistreated their Palestinian brothers and sisters, governing them with inhumane laws and imposing severe restrictions on their public freedoms and basic rights. Building a wall around a Palestinian community to prevent terrorists from entering or leaving, however, has raised the bar on such infringements.

This is precisely what is happening in Lebanon these days. The construction of a security wall around Ain al-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp (with a population of nearly 120,000), has drawn sharp criticism from Palestinians and revived memories of the abuse they regularly receive at the hands of their Arab brethren.

Read more ..

Egypt and Israel

Egypt-Israel Relations 'At Highest Level' Ever

November 22nd 2016

General Al-Sisi

Almost four decades since former Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat extended a hand of peace to Israel, the two governments have reached "full partnership and unbreakable alliance", analysts say.

Although many Egyptians continue to regard Israel as a threat and sympathise with the Palestinian cause, the relationship between the two countries has become markedly explicit under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. 

"Egyptian-Israeli relations are today at their highest level in history," said Nathan Thrall, a Jerusalem-based senior analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), a research NGO.  And it certainly appears so.

In 2016, Egyptian foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, visited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a much-publicised meeting at the latter's home in Jerusalem. It was the first visit by any Egyptian FM in close to a decade. Netanyahu said the two "made time to watch the Euro 2016 final" football game together.  Read more ..


The Trump Era

Social Media Helped Americans Elect President Trump

November 10th 2016

Online dating keyboard

Donald Trump's election as President of the United States totally vindicates his strategy and his understanding of the electorate which was far superior to his opponent.

There are two interesting factors in the election:

Trump was not afraid of the media which he saw as deeply corrupt and biased against him -so much so that at virtually every rally he pointed an accusatory finger at the media in the hall or field where he was speaking.  This was truly revolutionary because conventional wisdom says attacking the media is a recipe for political disaster.  Trump proved otherwise.

Trump also demonstrated that People in America no longer believe "conventional" news sources, where conventional is defined as reporters or elitist pundits writing stories and opinion that most Americans found offensive and intentionally misleading. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

US Intel Is Fighting Blind Against ISIS

November 8th 2016

National Fusion center

Gathering intelligence about the plans, intentions, and capabilities of one's enemies has always been difficult. The United States has always committed to do exactly that. The financial investment has been tremendous.

The U.S. ability to utilize breathtaking tools to steal and manipulate electronic communications and data, as well as operating in the cyber world has proven effective. Spy satellites have unbelievable methods to penetrate enemies' defenses, and to be able to see the unseeable.

The intelligence community now trains skilled professionals to "connect the dots" from these divergent data sources. These are remarkable capabilities of modern technology and human analysis that is being implemented by the U.S. to keep its citizens safe, but there is a massive gap.

Read more ..

EWgypt and Israel

Egypt and Israel's Growing Economic Cooperation

November 4th 2016

General Al-Sisi

On October 18, Ynet news reported that Egypt and Israel were planning to pursue joint economic projects after years of cold relations on that front. Although officials are still ironing out the details, the announcement reflects the next stage in an economic relationship that has fluctuated considerably since the 1979 peace treaty. It also highlights how bilateral cooperation has expanded well beyond improvements in the security realm.

Formal economic relations between the two countries began in 1980. Once the peace treaty was signed, the Egyptian parliament approved the first trade agreement with Israel on May 8, 1980. Yet while joint committees were established to enhance engagement in various sectors, actual cooperation was kept to a bare minimum during the long rule of President Hosni Mubarak. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Post 'Caliphate': The Future of the Salafi-Jihadi Movement

November 2nd 2016

ISIS Army

The future trajectories of al-Qaeda (AQ) and the Islamic State (IS) do not leave cause for optimism, nor do the faulty paradigms that have been widely accepted about both groups in recent years. Five years ago, many argued that AQ was on the verge of strategic collapse: its founding leader was dead, a succession of key lieutenants had been eliminated, and the Arab Spring was seemingly poised to bring about the changes that terrorists had promised for years. Yet when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before the Senate this February, he painted a bleak picture of a newly resurgent AQ that was "positioned to make gains in 2016." Read more ..


Financing the Flames

The Hostility and Hypocrisy of Left-Wing Israeli NGOs

November 1st 2016

Euro Bills

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem recently appeared before a special session of the United Nations Security Council, excoriating Israel and pleading with the body to act against Israel's settlements.

In 1975, the UN famously declared that "Zionism is racism" and, four decades later, the organization continues to hound Israel. In each of the last four years, as the Syrian bloodbath claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, there were at least five times as many resolutions condemning Israel as those rebuking the rest of the world.

The UN's cultural body, UNESCO, recently passed a motion ignoring any Jewish (or Christian) historical ties to East Jerusalem holy sites, referring to the Temple Mount and Western Wall only by their Muslim names and condemning Israel as "the occupying power." It turns out that some of Israel's left-wing NGOs worked to help produce the UNESCO motion. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

A Solution for Syria?

October 28th 2016

PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party) Fighter

A respected Turkish journalist, Mahmut Borzarslan has told about an important Russian initiative to broker a deal to set up an autonomous entity in Syria for the Syrian Kurds. Borzarslan's article was translated from the Turkish and published this week (October 27th) in the blog, AL Monitor. His reports are most interesting because it tells us something about where the Russians are trying to go.

Simply put, a Russian team flew into Khmeimim Air Base, the Russian base in Syria, probably on a military transport. While the team is not precisely described, it consisted of members from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense. One can be sure, therefore, that this was a fairly high-level initiative. The team met with Syrian and Kurdish representatives and presented a plan to grant Syrian Kurdistan "special status" meaning, in effect, that Syrian Kurdistan would become an autonomous area while remaining part of Syria. Read more ..


Jewry on Edge

Antisemitism in America is rising on the Right and the Left

October 27th 2016

uc davis swastika door

For thousands of years Jews have been targeted, persecuted and hated for a range of irrational and paradoxical reasons. We have been blamed for the crucifixion and killing of Jesus, even though Jesus was a Jew. We have been hated for maintaining our distinct Jewish identity – and, when we do assimilate, for threatening the racial purity of the society where we live. We have been criticized as pacifists and as warmongers, as capitalist exploiters and as revolutionary communists.

During World War II, the Nazis and their allies exploited this age-old hatred to carry out the Holocaust, systematically murdering six million Jews, while others around the world didn’t act or couldn’t act to prevent this horror from taking place.
Read more ..

Israel and The Gulf States

How Israel Can Contribute to Saudi Vision For Alliance

October 13th 2016

Saudi Oil

The topic of establishing a relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel raises many theories, assumptions, and emotionally charged arguments. Some of these arguments have merit, while others amount to nothing more than poorly formulated conjecture. These strongly held positions are especially interesting because they are put forward despite the current lack of an existing relationship between the two countries.

However, the prevailing political discourse might not only indicate that it is in the interest of both countries to form a collaborative alliance, but in the interest of the greater Middle East and their global allies as well.

In fact, there are some opinions suggesting that having a common enemy in Iran will help accelerate any sort of rapprochement between two of the Middle East’s most powerful nations. While that could be partially true, a more solid foundation for establishing deep-rooted ties between the two countries could manifest in the context of a mutually beneficial economic partnership. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Why Russia and Iran Are Abetting the Syrian Government

October 11th 2016

al-Assad and Generals

The Syrian government, Russia, and Iran (SRI) are trying the change the demographic makeup of Syria.  They aim to depopulate Syria of the Arab Sunnis, which, before the Arab Spring was the largest religio-ethnic group in Syria. They mostly inhabited a very fertile strip of land between Aleppo in the north, down to Damascus, and then southward to the Jordanian border. Those Arab Sunnis who did not leave are being forced to move to Idlib and Raqqa, near the Turkish border.1

Examining SRI’s military campaign and its policy towards the refugees they have created suggests this SRI strategy. The groups and places which the Russians have been attacking are the traditional strongholds of the Sunni Arab population – as of late Aleppo – the largest city in Syria.

 

What is SRI’s goal and why are they doing this?

Bashar Assad’s regime is Alawite, a sect that was recognized by the Lebanese Shiite religious establishment as a branch of Shi’ism. But Syria’s Arab Sunnis never recognized the Alawite rulers as Muslims.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

Discovery: Battleground State Hides Illegal Alien Voters

October 4th 2016

Vote Buttons

Virginia, a key battleground state in the coming presidential election, has at least 1,046 illegal alien voters registered to go to the polls this November. These illegally registered voters are found in eight different districts in Virginia. Even while it is a felony to commit fraud in voter registration, there is no requirement for positive identification or proof of citizenship.

Virginia joins other states where the integrity of the voting process has been brought into question. A recent study by the Public Interest Foundation (PILF), in cooperation with Virginia Voters Alliance (VVA), suggests that as many as 1,046 illegal alien voters may be registered to vote in as many as six voting districts among the 833 in the Old Dominion state. Entitled “Alien Invasion in Virginia,” the study has led the president of the watchdog group to conclude that Virginia officials are unconcerned by the number of ineligible foreigners who are registered to vote. J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Foundation, also suggested that Virginia officials are actually covering up the practice. Read more ..


Campus Hate

Anti-Semitism On Campus Is Not Just Uncivil, It’s Intolerant

September 29th 2016

boycott Israel t-shirt

“Events like these are not welcome on our campus anymore.”
Head of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at University of California Davis addressing a group of more than 70 activists preparing to disrupt a Jewish student event about Israel.

Incivility: “Rude or unsociable speech or behavior”
Intolerance: “An unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own”

When more than a dozen Jewish student events about Israel were violently disrupted at schools from coast to coast this year, including San Francisco State University, University of California Irvine and Davis, University of Maryland, Boston University, University of New Mexico, University of South Florida, University of Georgia, University of Chicago and the University of Minnesota, is it “incivility” or “intolerance”?
When Jewish students who attempt to express their opposition to anti-Israel boycott resolutions are viciously mocked, vilified and heckled during student government meetings at schools such as Vassar College, Ohio University, UC Santa Barbara and University of Illinois, is it “incivility” or “intolerance”?
Read more ..

Economy on Edge

UN Fears Third Leg of The Global Financial Crisis, With Epic Debt Defaults

September 22nd 2016

International Currency 2

The third leg of the world's intractable depression is yet to come. If trade economists at the United Nations are right, the next traumatic episode may entail the greatest debt jubilee in history.

It may also prove to be the definitive crisis of globalized capitalism, the demise of the liberal free-market orthodoxies promoted for almost forty years by the Bretton Woods institutions, the OECD, and the Davos fraternity.

"Alarm bells have been ringing over the explosion of corporate debt levels in emerging economies, which now exceed $25 trillion. Damaging deflationary spirals cannot be ruled out," said the annual report of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

We know already that the poisonous side-effect of zero rates and quantitative easing in the US, Europe, and Japan was to flood developing nations with cheap credit, upsetting their internal chemistry and drawing them into a snare. What is less understood is just how destructive this has been. Read more ..


Israel on Edge

At the U.N., Israel Is the Only ‘Occupying Power.' But what about Russia in Crimea, Armenia in Azerbaijan, and Vietnam in Cambodia?

September 14th 2016

Western/Wailing Wall

The United Nations began its annual session this week, and Israel will be prominent on the agenda. Many fear the Security Council may consider a resolution setting definite territorial parameters, and a deadline, for the creation of a Palestinian state.

President Obama has hinted that in the final months of his term, he may reverse the traditional U.S. policy of vetoing such resolutions. The General Assembly, meanwhile, is likely to act as the chorus in this drama, reciting its yearly litany of resolutions criticizing Israel.

If Mr. Obama is seeking to leave his mark on the Israeli-Arab conflict—and outside the negotiated peace process that began in Oslo—there is no worse place to do it than the U.N. New research we have conducted shows that the U.N.’s focus on Israel not only undermines the organization’s legitimacy regarding the Jewish state. It also has apparently made the U.N. blind to the world’s many situations of occupation and settlements. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Syria’s Civil War: Stage For Greater Chinese Involvement In The Middle East?

September 5th 2016

Chinese soldier at Tienamen Square

Years of armed conflict and unrest have turned the security situation in Syria into a refugee crisis and humanitarian nightmare. The Syrian civil war has entered its sixth year, becoming one of the worst crises of the twenty-first century in the Middle East. From the start of the Syrian conflict, China has kept its distance and focused mainly on protecting its expanding commercial and investment interests in the region.[1] Nevertheless, escalating violence from Syria in 2016 has pressured Beijing to move off the sidelines and take a more active role in the international efforts to bring peace and stability to the country.

Since the 1950s, the concepts of sovereignty and of non-interference have been seen as a cornerstone of China’s foreign policy. Specifically, China does not involve itself in the internal affairs of other countries, unless it is in its own national or economic interests.[2] Chinese leadership considers the Middle East the “graveyard of great powers,” and generally seeks to avoid becoming involved in the region’s internal affairs or being perceived as aligning with particular countries or stakeholders.[3] Notwithstanding this, recent political upheavals such as the Arab Spring, power changeovers in Egypt, and incidents in Africa, have given Beijing the opportunity to enlarge its presence in the region, which it does using its diplomatic, military, and economic capabilities wisely and creatively.[4] Read more ..


Turneky on Edge

Turkey's Exhausting Zigzagging between East and West

August 26th 2016

Turkish Military convoy

Turkey has been a republic since 1923, a multi-party democracy since 1946, and a member of NATO since 1952. In 1987, it added another powerful anchor into the Western bay where it wanted it to remain docked: It applied for full membership in the European Union (EU). This imperfect journey toward the West was dramatically replaced by a directionless cruise, with sharp zigzags between the East and West, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist AKP party came to power in 2002. Zigzagging remains the main Turkish policy feature to this day.

Until the summer of 2015 Turkey was widely known as the "jihad highway," because of its systematic tolerance for jihadists crossing through Turkey into neighboring Syria to fight Erdogan's regional nemesis, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey supported various jihadist groups in the hope that they would help Ankara unseat Assad. Then, under pressure from its NATO allies, it decided to join the U.S.-led, international campaign to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria. Feeling betrayed, ISIS started to blow up Turkish cities.

At the end of 2015, Turkey risked tensions with Russia in order to advance its pro-Sunni Islamist agenda in Syria. Russia, together with Iran, provided the lifeline Assad needed to stay in power while Turkey stepped up its anti-Assad campaign. In November, Turkey once again zigzagged toward the West when it shot down a Russian military aircraft, citing the violation of its airspace along its border with Syria. Turkey also threatened to shoot down any Russian aircraft that might violate its airspace again. It was the first time in modern history that a NATO ally had shot down a Soviet or Russian military airplane. Read more ..


The Caliphate

Al-Qa’ida Uncoupling: Jabhat al-Nusra’s Rebranding as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham

August 25th 2016

Free Syrian Army

On July 28, 2016, Jabhat al-Nusra, which had previously identified itself as a branch of al-Qa’ida in Syria, announced the changing of its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (‘Conquest of al-Sham Front’) in a video recording that for the first time revealed the appearance of its leader, Abu Muhammad al-Julani. The nominal decoupling of the organizations was approved and coordinated with al-Qa’ida’s senior leadership and was designed to unify Islamist efforts in Syria and to make it more difficult for the United States and Russia to justify targeting the group. With its popularity on the rise and other rebel groups welcoming the announcement, the move appears to have paid off so far.

Read more ..

Kurdistan on Edge

Israel's Kurdish Conundrum-- Choose Between the Turks and the Kurds.

August 19th 2016

PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party) Fighter

A comparison and contrast between two developments of great significance for Israel's regional future - the Kurdish question, and the development of the offshore natural gas fields -  are more related than may appear on the surface.
The recent Turkish-Israeli "deal", assuming that post-coup Turkey can live up to its commitments, poses a serious policy dilemma for Israel.

The Kurds are perhaps Israel's closest allies in the Middle East and will very likely, sooner rather than later, declare independence, with either the Iraqi Kurdish area and the Syrian Kurdish area joining forces, or declaring independence separately. In the meantime, the principal organization of Iranian Kurds outside Iran has declared virtual war on the Iranian regime and incidents in Iranian Kurdistan have been increasing. Read more ..


The Refugee Crisis

Misplaced Charity

August 4th 2016

Syrian refugees

Pres. Barack Obama's proposal for what would be a substantial new entry of Syrian refugees is a major miscalculation of traditional American morality and generosity.
It is true that the 13.5 million Syrian refugees, half of them expelled or hounded out of their country, are a momentous human tragedy. And America has almost always responded to some calamities.
But the question of additional Syrian refugees coming to the U.S. is part of a challenging failing American immigration policy which has become an extremely divisive political issue. Read more ..

Turkey on Edge

Crushing Dissent in Turkey

July 28th 2016

Turkish KFOR soldiers riot training

In 1853, John Russell quoted Tsar Nicholas I of Russia as saying that the Ottoman Empire was "a sick man -- a very sick man," in reference to the ailing empire's fall into a state of decrepitude. Some 163 years after that, the modern Turkish state follows in the Ottoman steps.

Turkey, under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule, was staggering between a hybrid democracy and bitter authoritarianism. After the failed putsch of July 15, it is being dragged into worse darkness. The silly attempt gives Erdogan what he wanted: a pretext to go after every dissident Turk. A witch-hunt is badly shattering the democratic foundations of the country. Read more ..


Vote 2016

The Uncanny Road Ahead for Trump

July 14th 2016

Armstrong_Williams

With the GOP convention finally at hand, team Trump faces the truly daunting task of keeping his brand afloat and maintaining a course to victory in the fall. It appears that the GOP is anything but all hands on deck, with splinter factions threatening to abandon the candidate and some delegates actually planning a convention floor revolt.

And yet, despite the apparent disunity and chaos, Trump’s polling numbers versus his challenger, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, have barely taken a hit. Coming out of a widely publicized email scandal in which she was spared criminal indictment, Clinton’s reputation as someone who used bad judgment has wounded her deeply. In a newly released New York Times/CBS poll 67 percent of voters indicated that Clinton ‘is not honest and trustworthy.’ And the poll also showed the candidates are essentially neck and neck in the race.

The implication is that Trump need not run a perfect race to beat Clinton, just merely a race free of major blunders. But if past is precedent, a mistake-free performance may be a bit much to ask from Trump. Several times over the past weeks, Trump’s antics have snatched headlines away from a major Clinton scandal and turned attention on himself. The email scandal is a case in point. Read more ..


Kurdistan on Edge

The Case for Kurdish Statehood

July 12th 2016

PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party) Fighter

Why has the West been so supportive of Palestinian nationalism, yet so reluctant to support the Kurds, the largest nation in the world without a state?

The Kurds have been instrumental in fighting the Islamic State (ISIS); have generously accepted millions of refugees fleeing ISIS to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG); and embrace Western values such as gender equality, religious freedom, and human rights. They are also an ancient people with an ethnic and linguistic identity stretching back millennia and have faced decades of brutal oppression as a minority. Yet they cannot seem to get sufficient support from the West for their political aspirations.

The Palestinians, by contrast, claimed a distinct national identity relatively recently, are less than one-third fewer in number (in 2013, the global Palestinian population was estimated by the Palestinian Authority to reach 11.6 million), control land that is less than 1/15th the size of the KRG territory, and have not developed their civil society or economy with nearly as much success as the Kurds. Yet the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, and other international bodies have all but ignored Kurdish statehood dreams while regularly prioritizing Palestinian ambitions over countless other global crises. Read more ..


The Academic War Against Israel

Why We Sued the American Studies Association

May 16th 2016

Boycott Israel

In the past few years, the American Studies Association (ASA) has been diverted from its scholarly mission—promoting the study of American culture—to a political one, by leaders seeking to turn the ASA into an organization that advocates for social change far beyond American borders, and with an unwavering focus on delegitimizing Israel.  This effort culminated in a resolution for an academic boycott of Israel in December 2013.

The Israel boycott was put together by a small group that has commandeered the ASA, and is opposed by a substantial number of ASA members. It has torn the group asunder. It has sullied the name of the ASA. And, we contend, it violates the law.  Read more ..


Destination Israel

For Many, Israel is Geopolitical Tourist Destination

April 28th 2016

El Al Boeing 747-200

For a hard-core segment of travelers to Jerusalem, when the sun sets at the Sabbath, the magic in the air is not just the serene image of a peaceful dusk in an enchanted land. It is the empowering knowledge that the sun still shines on a Jewish State surrounded by fiery military and diplomatic turmoil. Israel remains a nation determined to survive and preserve its sense of magnetic amazement. In the minds of many, a visit to Israel is more than just a vacation. It is a geopolitical destination. Traveling to and enjoying Israel makes a statement to the world and to history. It reflects the steeled determination to be happy and fulfilled in one of the most treasured places on earth, despite a virtual siege around every corner. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Saudi Arabia, The Golden Chain -- and The Missing 28 Pages

April 24th 2016

Twin Towers 9/11
Prince Bandar

The American media, which continues to concentrate on a bill making its way through Congress that would allow American citizens to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for losses suffered as a result of the 9/11 attacks, paid no attention to the Golden Chain.

The victims claim that the release of the 28 pages missing from the 9/11 Commission Report is of crucial importance to their case. Those pages, they say, would show the interrelationship that ties the hijackers to the Saudi regime itself and therefore would offer a damning indictment of the Kingdom. But President Obama, like President Bush before him, refuses to make it public. And the Saudi Royal Family that vehemently denies funding al Qaeda, threatened that if the 28 pages are released, they would sell more than $750 billion of Saudi investments in the U.S.

Of equal if not of greater importance than the missing 28 pages, is the forgotten investigation of the Bosnia-BIF office. Crucially, among the boxes and files was found a note ostensibly written by Osama Bin Laden that lists a "Golden Chain" of twenty Arab plutocrats who were and remain suspected of financing international terrorism, including the funding of al Qaeda. Read more ..


Israel and Turkey

Israel, Turkey, Russia and Egypt

April 20th 2016

Turk flags

Turkish sources assert that Turkish-Israeli governmental relations are about to come out of the deep freeze. But this is a reflection of Turkey's regional unpopularity and glides over Turkish demands for Israel to end the blockade of Gaza. To meet Turkey's condition, Israel would have to abandon the security arrangement it shares with Egypt -- which has increased Israel's security and has begun to pay regional dividends. To restore full relations between Israel and Turkey would irritate Russia, with which Israel has good trade and political relations, and a respectful series of understandings regarding Syria. Israel's relations with the Kurds are also at issue here.

After the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla -- in which Turkey supported the Hamas-related Turkish organization, the IHH, in its effort to break the blockade of Gaza -- Turkey made three demands of Israel: an Israeli apology for the deaths of Turkish activists; a financial settlement; and lifting the Gaza blockade, which Turkey claimed was illegal. The last would provide IHH with the victory it was unable to achieve with the flotilla.

Read more ..

Campus Hate

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Leaders Hate America: Listen to Their Own Words!

March 23rd 2016

Anti-Israel Protest at UC Irvine

In recent years, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement has steadily advanced a poisonous culture of hate and anti-Semitism in our country. Across college campuses and in churches, in labor unions, academic institutions and in shareholder meetings of American Corporations, they have sought to demonize the State of Israel, with the eventual goal of destroying it.

Yet, what many do not realize is that the BDS agenda threatens not only the Middle East’s one democratic state; it threatens the entire democratic world, and the U.S. is in the eye of its storm. The tie that binds together the radical leftists and radical Islamists driving forward the BDS Movement is a common hatred for the U.S. and for the Western values and freedoms that America, Europe and Israel share. Indeed, BDS leaders publically call for the destruction of the very society that protects their right to free speech.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at exactly what the most senior BDS leaders have to say about the United States.

BDS leaders hate America’s leadership role around the world. In an op-ed for the International Socialist Review titled “Palestine, BDS, and the battle against US imperialism,” Purdue University professor Bill Mullen, one of the BDS leaders who lobbied the American Studies Association to adopt a boycott of Israel, writes, “We can build a still-stronger BDS movement beginning in the name of Palestinian freedom and ending in a permanent blow against American empire.” Read more ..


Jewry on Edge

Merkel Warns of Growing Anti-Semitism in Wake Influx from the Arab World

January 25th 2016

Muslim girls German flag

As millions flee war-torn countries where anti-Semitism is rampant, several world leaders are calling on citizens to challenge this hatred everywhere they find it, especially when it comes to young people with anti-Semitic ideologies.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday urged citizens to remain vigilant and to beware of anti-Semitism especially when directed by young people coming from “countries where hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism is widespread.”

Currently, millions of people are claiming to seek refuge throughout Europe as they flee war-battered nations including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. 1.5 million refugees including several from throughout the Arab world entered Germany in 2015 alone.

Read more ..

China on Edge

A Vote for Democratic Taiwan

January 17th 2016

Taiwan Protest

Largely ignored by the mainstream media, Friday's Taiwan elections have enormous implications not only for the Island's 25 million people but also China - and the U.S.
Ironically, the election of the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] leader, Tsai Ing-wen, a woman at that - reinstalled a movement dedicated to maintaining Taiwan's separate identity, the Island's culture remains Chinese. It marks only a second time in its 2,000-year a Chinese entity has peacefully transferred power. The DPP earlier won power in 100-1008 as a minority government.

The meeting last fall between Beijing's Pres. Xi Jinping and Taiwan's outgoing Pres. Ma Ying-jeou was not only unprecedented but finally marked the tacit recognition by the Communists of the Island's stature. Beijing now has to bite its lip, having apparently Communist leadership thought that protocol concession after six decades would help Ma's Party. Read more ..


Turkey on Edge

Russian Imperialism Meets Delusions of Ottoman Grandeur

January 7th 2016

Erdogan

 

In a 2012 speech, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, then foreign minister, predicted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's days in power were numbered and that he would depart "within months or weeks." Almost three and a half years have passed, with Assad still in power, and Davutoglu keeps on making one passionate speech after another about the fate of Syria.

Turkey's failure to devise a credible policy on Syria has made the country's leaders nervous. Both Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have lately resorted to more aggressive, but less convincing, rhetoric on Syria. The new rhetoric features many aspects of a Sunni Islamist thinking blended with delusions of Ottoman grandeur. Read more ..


The Caliphate

U.N. Resolution Will Not Stop ISIS Funding

December 18th 2015

IS with Missile

Today’s U.N. Security Council’s resolution to curb the funding of ISIS is essentially the same as resolution 2199 that was adopted earlier this year, and the sanctions that were adopted in mid-2013 under the “Al-Qaida Sanctions List”.

The major difference between today’s resolution and the previous ones is that higher level officials, the finance ministers of the Security Council’s member states attended the meeting, which added the ban on “the payment of ransoms to individuals, groups, undertakings or entities on the ISIL [Da’esh] and Al-Qaida Sanctions List regardless of how or by whom the ransom is paid.” Read more ..


Campus Hate

Campus Fascists and the Suppression of Academic Free Speech

December 17th 2015

Yale University

Of the many intellectual perversions currently taking root on college campuses, perhaps none is more contradictory to what should be one of higher education’s core values than the suppression of free speech. With alarming regularity, speakers are shouted down, booed, jeered, and barraged with vitriol, all at the hands of groups who give lip service to the notion of academic free speech, and who demand it when their speech is at issue, but have no interest in listening to, or letting others listen to, ideas that contradict their own world view.

This is the tragic and inevitable result of a decades of grievance-based victimism by self-designated groups who frame their rights and demands on identity politics. Those who see themselves as perennial victims also feel very comfortable, when they express their feelings of being oppressed, in projecting that same victimization outward on their oppressors. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

PA Says Killing Israelis Is Good - But PA Must Choose Place And Time So World Accepts It

December 3rd 2015

Abbas UN

Jibril Rajoub, Head of PA Sport and Youth Affairs:
"The international community does not agree to a bus exploding in Tel Aviv. But the international community does not ask what happens to a settler or soldier in the occupied territories at the wrong time and in the wrong place. No one asks about him! Therefore, we want to fight in such a way that the world and the international community will remain by our side."
Official PA TV, Oct. 17, 2015
 
Hafez Barghouti, columnist and former editor of official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:
"After the events of September [9, 2011] in New York, [Ariel] Sharon
applied the term 'terror' used to refer to those attacks, to our national struggle (i.e., terror campaign - Intifada). I warned about this at the time, and called to keep a low profile until the New York turmoil had passed...
Now, after the Paris attacks, we must keep a low profile so that we are not charged with the crimes of ISIS... We must learn our lessons and wait."
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 24, 2015
Read more ..


Osraelis and Palestinians

Oslo Architect Yossi Beilin Says Netanyahu To Unilaterally Pull Out of West Bank

November 3rd 2015

Netanyahu Boehner Biden Congress

Predicting the future is always a dicey proposition, especially in the Middle East. But one of Israel's foremost peace negotiators is doing precisely that, and in dramatic fashion.

According to Yossi Beilin, one of the architects of the Oslo Accords, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will unilaterally withdraw from most of the West Bank. And he will do so sooner rather than later.

Beilin claims such a move is inevitable due to demographic realities.

"It's a matter of three or four years before a minority of Jews is dominating a majority of Palestinians" between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, he says. "And what then? What will you say then? What will Netanyahu say? He is going to ask for a recount of the Palestinians?" Read more ..


China on Edge

How China's Currency Policies Will Change the World

August 27th 2015

Chinese currency

The recent fluctuations in China's currency typify the best and worst of a globalized world, where developments in one place can instantly change the political and financial calculations of governments in others. For most of human history, the communities, cultures and economies of the world existed independently of one another, separated as they were by vast distances and difficult terrain. It would, for instance, take months or even years for news of China to reach Europe across the great Silk Road trading route during the height of its use some 1,000 years ago. Even then, the communities along that route could hardly be considered entirely coherent.

But that is clearly no longer the case. And now, as China continues to adjust the yuan, markets throughout the world will react accordingly, even as they react differently.  Read more ..


The World on Edge

Quantum Geopolitics

July 28th 2015

Syrian Rebels in Aleppo

Forecasting the shape the world will take in several years or decades is an audacious undertaking. There are no images to observe or precise data points to anchor us. We can only create a picture, and a fuzzy one at best. This is, after all, our basic human empirical instinct: to draw effortlessly from the vivid imagery of our present world and past experiences while we squint and hesitate before faint, blobby images of the future.

In the world of intelligence and military planning, it is far less taxing to base speculations on the familiar — to simulate a war game that pivots on an Iranian nuclear threat, a seemingly unstoppable jihadist force like the Islamic State and the military adventurism of Russia in Eastern Europe — than it is to imagine a world in which Russia is weak and internally fragmented, the jihadist menace is contained by its own fractiousness and Iran is allied with the United States against a rising Sunni threat. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Deal Repeatedly Refers to Iran's "Voluntary Measures": Does Iran Have No Real Obligations?

July 21st 2015

Iran holy missiles

Virtually every treaty and agreement contains language clearly binding the parties to definitive terms, such as "the parties agree to the following terms."  However, the Iran deal - formally called the "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (or JCPOA) - is different.   Strangely, supposed obligations are merely called "voluntary measures."

It is frightening and of great concern that even the minimal supposed obligations of the Islamic Republic of Iran in this disastrous, lopsided deal may not be binding on Iran.

Right at the outset, the introduction to the Iran deal's provisions calls these provisions "voluntary measures."  At the end of the introductory "Preamble and General Provisions," which is immediately prior to key Section A (entitled "Nuclear"), the JCPOA states:

"Iran and E3/EU-3 will take the following voluntary measures" within the timeframe as detailed in this JCPOA and its Annexes." Read more ..


Greece on Edge

An Empire Strikes Back: Germany and the Greek Crisis

July 14th 2015

PARTHENON

A desperate battle was fought last week. It pitted Germany and Greece against each other. Each country had everything at stake. Based on the deal that was agreed to, Germany forced a Greek capitulation. But it is far from clear that Greece can allow the agreement reached to be implemented, or that it has the national political will to do so. It is also not clear what its options are, especially given that the Greek people had backed Germany into a corner, where its only choice was to risk everything. It was not a good place for Greece to put the Germans. They struck back with vengeance.

The key event was the Greek referendum on the European Union's demand for further austerity in exchange for infusions of cash to save the Greek banking system. The Syriza party had called the vote to strengthen its hand in dealing with the European demands. The Greek government's view was that the European terms would save Greece from immediate disaster but at the cost of impoverishing the country in the long term. The austerity measures demanded would, in their view, make any sort of recovery impossible. Facing a choice between a short-term catastrophe in the banking system and long-term misery, the Greeks saw themselves in an impossible position. Read more ..



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