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Europe on Edge

Centrist Contenders Arise in Europe

March 24th 2017

euro flags

The emergence of strong nationalism and Euroskepticism across Europe has challenged Europe's traditional political parties and threatened the continuity of Continental integration. But in the past few weeks, the political establishment has found itself under fire from a different direction. In Germany and France, which hold general elections this year, candidates who express dissatisfaction with the political status quo yet defend closer European ties have gained popularity. If those candidates are successful, immediate fears about the eurozone's future could fade, even though the underlying causes of the populist wave sweeping Europe would remain.

Read more ..

Japan on Edge

In Japan, Russia and China Find Common Ground

March 23rd 2017

sunset in japan

For the first time in three years, Russia and Japan have revived an avenue of negotiation that had stalled in the face of enduring tension between the two nations. Foreign and defense ministers from both countries met in Tokyo on Monday to hold 2+2 talks on security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. As expected, Japan took the opportunity to question Russia's recent attempts to bolster its defenses on the southern Kuril Islands, to which Tokyo has long laid claim. Russia fired back with its own objections to Japan's desire to build up its ballistic missile defenses as North Korea pushes ahead with its nuclear program.

For the Russians, not to mention Pyongyang's Chinese backers, the deployment of U.S. antiballistic missile (ABM) technology around the world is becoming a bigger and bigger concern.

Read more ..

The Calipgate

Who Will Dominate Iraq and Syria after ISIS?

March 16th 2017

ISIS

On the surface, the wars in Syria and Iraq are continuing at full intensity. The fight between Iraqi government forces and Islamic State in western Mosul is proving a slow, hard slog.

This week, government forces captured the police directorate and the courts complex in the city, moving toward the denser warren of the Old City. The jihadists are fighting for every inch of ground.

Further west, the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) succeeded in cutting the last road from the Islamic State capital of Raqqa to its stronghold in Deir al-Zor.

In the fight between the Assad regime and the Sunni Arab rebellion against it, a rebel attempt at a counterattack in the city of Deraa has led to renewed bloodshed. The regime is continuing its attacks on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta east of Damascus, despite a new Russian-brokered cease-fire. Read more ..


Jewry on Edge

From Noble to Ignoble: Quaker Relations with Israel

March 15th 2017

boycott Israel t-shirt

Unwittingly, Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, PA, a well-regarded Quaker establishment, has once again come under fire for its ties to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement supported by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

The school operates in accordance with the Quaker philosophy of "simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship. Underlying all facets of School life is the belief that 'there is that of God in everyone.' Meeting for Worship is central, providing time for connections among members of the community and between individuals and their spiritual sources. Peaceful resolution of conflicts, seeking truth and collaboration are key aspects of a Friends' Central education."

The Quakers have cultivated their image as peaceful and supremely benign. Few suspect, much less know, that one of their central missions is promoting the BDS movement that opposes Israel's existence. Read more ..


Europe on Edge

The EU May Bend to Keep From Breaking

March 10th 2017

euro flags

The European Commission is taking a clear-eyed look at Europe's future. On March 1, the institution presented a report proposing five different visions for what the European Union might look like in 2025. The report will doubtless take center stage at the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday between discussions of such issues as migration, security, defense and the economy. Along with suggesting that member states could integrate at different speeds, the white paper raises the possibility that EU member countries may regain control of some prerogatives currently under Brussels' authority.

Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Banning The Muslim Brotherhood

February 9th 2017

Morsi

Two days before he signed the Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) began organizing nationwide protests against the anticipated order, which the mischaracterized the suspension of U.S. visas to Muslim refugees and travelers from only seven out of fifty Muslim-majority countries, as a “ban.”

CAIR was immediately joined by progressive Left organizations that protested the election of Donald Trump as President. Thus Left-leaning ill-informed organizations, CEOs of tech companies (How many of their employees are immigrants, or Work-Visa holders from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen?)  and Democratic-run-States joined forces with MB-affiliated groups to undermine the power of the President and the security of the nation. Read more ..


The Edge of Policing

Is Police Training on Mental Health and Developmental Issues Enough to Stop the Shootings?

February 3rd 2017

Police riot squad

As mentioned in our article, The Dangers of Ignoring Mental Health and Developmental Issues: How Law Enforcement Continues to Fail the Most Vulnerable, adults with severe mental illness generate 1 in 10 of all law enforcement responses. The way in which officers are trained to respond to emergency calls plays a crucial role in deciding between a positive or negative outcome. Though it is an integral part of the solution, can the problem of excessive force be eradicated by training alone?

CIT Training

CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) training is a 40-hour program designed to educate police officers on mental health conditions and medications, connect them with local mental health resources they can call upon when faced with a crisis, and provide scenario-based trainings that introduce strategies for de-escalation. Read more ..


The Trump Era

Protecting America from Ill-intended Refugees

January 29th 2017

Syrian Refugees

President Donald Trump’s draft executive order on “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals,” which was leaked on Wednesday, has been met, as anticipated, with alarm by opponents at home and abroad who resent the new American president and his actions to protect the country, as he promised to do.

His executive order proclaims (emphasis added): “The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism. In order to protect Americans, we must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes towards our country and its founding principles.

Read more ..

Israel on Edge

Leading Int’l Legal Scholar Kontorovich Emphasizes at ZOA Event: US Embassy Should Move to Jerusalem

January 24th 2017

West Bank Construction

One of the world’s leading international law and Constitutional law scholars, Northwestern University Law School Professor Eugene Kontorovich, emphasized that it is important to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem – and in particular, urged moving the U.S. embassy to the eastern portion of Jerusalem, during Professor Kontorovich’s well-attended speech at an event sponsored by ZOA – New York and Safra Synagogue on Thursday January 19, 2017.   Professor Kontorovich noted that the best way to combat UN Security Council Resolution 2334 is to combat the false idea that any Jewish presence beyond the 1949 Armistice lines is “illegal.” And the best way to do that is to put the U.S. Embassy in eastern Jerusalem.  European ambassadors will visit and do business there. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

The Inside Story of How John Kerry Secretly Lobbied to Get CAIR Removed From UAE's Terrorist Organization List

John Kerry

On Nov. 16, 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took the unusual step of designating the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the Muslim American Society (MAS) – as terrorist organizations.

They were among 83 groups named for their connections to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

This outraged CAIR officials, who immediately began efforts to get their organization removed from the list. They found a powerful ally in Secretary of State John Kerry, who authorized State Department officials to meet regularly with UAE officials to lobbying on behalf of CAIR and MAS .

CAIR already had a sympathetic ear in the Obama administration, including the State Department, that had openly embraced and legitimized the entire spectrum of radical Islamist groups falsely posing as religious or civil rights groups, which both CAIR and MAS had done. Read more ..


Campus Hate

How the Government Can Crack Down on Anti-Semitism on College Campuses

January 12th 2017

Boycott Divest Israel demo

When the Senate begins to consider President-elect Donald Trump's choice to run the Department of Education, Congress should focus on the surge of anti-Semitism that continues to plague our nation's campuses. Over the past few years, anti-Semitism has reached a tipping point around the country. The FBI reported that there were more Jewish hate crime victims last year than victims of all other religious groups combined.

Nowhere is this problem worse than on college campuses where anti-Semitic incidents are escalating at an alarming rate. More than half of Jewish students reported experiencing or witnessing anti-Semitism in 2014 and 2015, according to two recent studies. Another study showed a 45 percent increase in campus anti-Semitism in the first half of 2016, compared with the first half of 2015. This year, the numbers are likely to be even worse: In the 10 days following November's election, the Southern Poverty Law Center recorded no fewer than 100 incidents of anti-Semitic hate in the United States.

Read more ..

Obama and Israel

What is Obama’s End Game on Israel?

January 6th 2017

President Obama sunglasses and flying cravat

President Obama’s decision to engineer passage of U.N. Security Council 2334 in the final weeks of his presidency wasn’t a bid to revive the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process,” a “parting shot” at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or any of the other characterizations splashed across cable news chyrons over the weekend. Rather, it was intended to irrevocably destroy the viability of the very “two-state solution” the president claims to be protecting.

Obama was widely expected to take some kind of action against Israel, which he blames for both the failure of his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiatives and his difficulties convincing a skeptical Congress to back his Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. Most thought this would come through a public speech in the form of an Eisenhower-type farewell warning about Israeli perniciousness or proposed final settlement terms. The smart money had the president giving his assent to a U.N. Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlement policies or recognizing Palestinian statehood in some way. Read more ..


Obama and Israel

Five Ways the Trump Administration Can Negate The Anti-Israel U.N. Security Council Resolution

January 3rd 2017

UN HQ NYC

The U.S. decision to allow a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements to pass was met with bipartisan condemnation, including from leading players in efforts to achieve a two-state solution, such as Democrats Dennis Ross and George Mitchell.

Of course, the goal of the Obama administration was to box in President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy. The most direct way to reject the Security Council Resolution 2334 is to reject the opinions it expresses and act against its recommendations. Trump will likely seek to reverse the measure, not only because of substantial policy disagreements, but to reject the notion that a president can bind his successors more tightly through U.N. action than through statutes or executive orders. Read more ..


Obama and Israel

Obama, Kerry and Netanyahu Go Visceral

December 30th 2016

Western/Wailing Wall

How to explain the recent uproar in U.S.-Israel relations? I refer to President Barack Obama's decision to abstain at the U.N. Security Council, precisely contradicting his own views of just a few years earlier; Secretary of State John Kerry's 75-minute rant against Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu; and Netanyahu's intemperate responses, such as warning the New Zealand government that its support for the UNSC resolution amounts to a "declaration of war."

High politics of this sort is usually viewed through the lens of ideas and principles. But at times, it's better to leave all that behind and look at psychology - in other words, the basic human emotions and relations we all experience.

Read more ..

Obama and Israel

Obama’s Final, Most Shameful, Legacy Moment

December 30th 2016

Obama with baseball bat

The audience — overwhelmingly Jewish, passionately pro-Israel and supremely gullible — applauded wildly. Four years later — his last election behind him, with a month to go in office and with no need to fool Jew or gentile again — Obama took the measure of Israel’s back and slid a knife into it.

People don’t quite understand the damage done to Israel by the U.S. abstention that permitted passage of a Security Council resolution condemning Israel over settlements. The administration pretends this is nothing but a restatement of long-standing U.S. opposition to settlements.

Nonsense. For the last 35 years, every administration, including a re-election-seeking Obama himself in 2011, has protected Israel with the U.S. veto because such a Security Council resolution gives immense legal ammunition to every boycotter, anti-Semite and zealous European prosecutor to penalize and punish Israelis. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

An Existential Battle for the Demographic Future of Syria

December 21st 2016

Syria fighting injured baby

The Syrian government, Russia, and Iran (SRI) are trying to 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.

Read more ..

The Trump Era

On the Eve of Trump's Deregulatory Revolution

December 20th 2016

Wall Street Bull

President-Elect Trump has the unprecedented opportunity to eliminate thousands of  useless federal regulations without any Congressional involvement.  Trump is uniquely not beholden to a political party, patrons, pollsters, pundits, lobbyists or ideologues.  His Cabinet and federal agency appointees can use the Administrative Procedure Act to rescind eighty years of outdated, useless and, in some cases, stifling regulations that have impeded business and stunted the growth of the US economy. 

Mr. Trump, not Congress, should appoint "a Special Advisor to the President for Deregulation" who would work out of the White House with all Cabinet members and agency heads to implement the Deregulatory Revolution. 

In 1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote the immortal words that launched the Age of Revolution throughout Europe and America (somewhat contemporized): "Man is born free and everywhere he is in the chains of excessive regulation!"  Right now in America before the beginning of the Trump Presidential Administration in January 2017, we are on the eve of a deregulatory revolution that will be unprecedented in American history.  Read more ..


The Edge of Justice

Planned Parenthood Faces Criminal Prosecution by Trump’s Justice Department

December 19th 2016

medical malpractice law

Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey referring four Planned Parenthood affiliates in California and three fetal tissue brokers for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. While the current Attorney General Loretta Lynch isn’t budging on the Obama administration’s disregard for the unborn, many believe that after the January 20 inauguration of President Donald Trump there will be legal action against those involved in the sordid practices of Planned Parenthood.


Following the investigation of Planned Parenthood as the result of the release of a series of videos by citizen journalist David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the Senate Judiciary Committee obtained additional evidence revealing that Planned Parenthood, its affiliates, and the fetal tissue traffickers have violated the federal ban on buying and selling the body parts of unborn babies.
Read more ..

The Trump Era

New U.S. Drug Policy For President-Elect Trump

December 18th 2016

Cocaine intercepted in Europe in rice sacks from Africa
Cocaine hidden in rice bags.

President-Elect Donald Trump promised to tackle the fast-growing widespread use of
illegal drugs in the United States.

Since the 1970's - except the Reagan years - the use of illegal drugs in the U.S. has increased and reached into every segment of society. The failure to control illicit drug use has led to a quasi-defeatist attitude. As a result, the media and the liberal/progressive establishment declared that since the "war on drugs has been a failure" it should be abandoned. Claiming the 'war on drugs' led to mass incarceration of non-violent criminals, draining excessive resources from the enforcement community, destroying the lives of young users, and in general, caused more harm than good. This led to new policies that effectively limited the enforcement of anti-drug laws. Read more ..


Israel and the Muslim World

Muslim Ambassadors Receive Menorahs as Gifts at Leading Jewish Group’s Hanukkah Party at Trump Hotel in DC

December 15th 2016

White House menorah

A group of Muslim ambassadors were among the guests at the Hanukkah party co-hosted by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Embassy of Azerbaijan at Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC on Wednesday evening.

All the diplomats in attendance — who included representatives of Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Tajikistan and Turkey — received menorahs as gifts from CPMAJO Executive Vice President Malcolm Hoenlein.

“We were moved by [Azerbaijani] Ambassador [Elin] Suleymanov’s suggestion to hold this event,” Hoenlein said in remarks at the party, which took place during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s two-day visit to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. “It represents an essential part of who the Jewish people are to publicly mark Hanukkah, to express our respect for other religions by joining with Muslims, both Sunni and Shi’a, Christians and every other faith tradition and to promote understanding by focusing on what we have in common rather than what separates and divides us.” Read more ..


Obama and Israel

High Anxiety Continues Over Obama in the UN Until January 20

December 7th 2016

Edwin Black

Anxiety continues to roil through the pro-Israel world over a possible last-minute political move by the Obama administration that could permanently alter the Israeli-Palestinian geo-political landscape.

Forty-eight hours after the November 8 election, I flew to South Florida for a series of lectures and briefings organized by StandWithUs, NOVA Southeast University and other organizations as part of the State Department’s International Education Week, this to analyze the prospects regarding relations with Israel in the last weeks of the Obama administration. Everywhere, audiences were on the edge of their seats asking whether President Obama would take extraordinary passive or active steps in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to recognize a Palestinian state or impose a peace settlement, including a territorial mandate following the lines of the 1948 truce. Unlike General Assembly resolutions, which are not binding, the UNSC generally creates lasting pillars of international law.

As we approach Noon, January 20, 2017, uncertainty continues to abound among even the most astute of political insiders.

President Barack Obama remains personally silent. Administration assurances in recent days proffer comfort to those hanging on every word to discern a course of action. But embedded ambiguities in each of those assurances only increases the speculation.

For example, in recent days, unnamed administration sources were quoted by the Associated Press suggesting that President Obama "has nearly ruled out any major last-ditch effort to put pressure on Israel over stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians." The phrase "nearly ruled out" shines brightly in that report to emphasize that no decision has been made.

Read more ..

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 ..


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