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America and Israel

Americans Remain Staunchly in Israel's Corner

March 15th 2018

Israeli flag and clouds

As the Trump administration prepares to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and is reportedly finalizing its broader Middle East peace plan, Americans' stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is as strongly pro-Israel as at any time in Gallup's three-decade trend. Sixty-four percent say their sympathies in the dispute lie more with the Israelis, tying the high previously recorded in 2013 and 1991.

Just 19% of Americans today sympathize more with the Palestinians than with the Israelis, slightly higher than the 15% in Gallup's initial 1988 measurement and ranking among the highest percentages favoring the Arab side of the conflict in Gallup's trend.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who sympathize with neither side, with both sides or who have no opinion about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is now 16%, the lowest to date. This neutral category has been shrinking as more Americans take positions on the dispute. Read more ..

Palestinians on Edge

Palestinians Angry at Arab Countries for Failing to Stop US Foreign Policy

March 11th 2018

Palestinans for Yeshua?

The Palestinians are angry at the Arab world’s lack of action in response to President Donald Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki on Thursday decried the Arabs’ “failure to carry out their decisions over the past decades” which he claimed “has encouraged the United States to continue with its unfortunate approach and to make its decision on Jerusalem.”

The Arab countries have repeatedly threatened to cut diplomatic ties with any country that recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel or move its embassy there. However, when the US made that decision in December, no Arab action was taken against it other than to condemn it in statements or by voting in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution denouncing the US move. Read more ..

The Race for Alt Fuel

Alternative Fuels vs. Oil: Which is Cheaper?

March 7th 2018

Oil Barrels

Something we hear a lot is “It’d be nice if America could use more alternative fuels that are cleaner and American-made, but they’re just not affordable compared to oil.” It’s time to put that myth to bed.

Apologists for the oil industry would like us to think that the reason alternative fuels haven’t put them out of business already is because they cost too much. However, a closer look at the cost of transportation fuels shows that, far from being expensive, alternative fuels are actually cheaper than oil-derived gasoline and diesel.

Gasoline, diesel, and ethanol price is per gallon. As electricity and natural gas are not liquids, their prices were determined using the gallon of gasoline equivalent (GGE)


Islam's War Against Christianity

Islamic Terror kills Five Christians in Boston bomber's Homeland

February 20th 2018

Iraqi Christians praying

Warning: Readers are advised that this report includes graphic photographs and video.

The Islamic State took credit for a deadly attack on Christians worshiping in an Orthodox church in Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim region located between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea. While the authenticity of the statement posted on a website associated with ISIS cannot be ascertained, it is frequently utilized by the Muslim terrorist group to post its statements. The notice on the website claimed that an ISIS operative had carried out an attack on a “Christian temple.”

On Monday, Russian authorities said that they are looking into all leads in order to determine the motivations of the attack that took the lives of five women. According to a TASS news report, Russian Investigative Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko said, "Investigators are looking at various theories of the incident, trying to find out the attacker’s motives."


The Obama Era

Republican Report Suggests Obama Direct Involvement in Clinton Email Probe

February 10th 2018

Obama and bright lights

A new report released on Wednesday by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin alleges that texts between FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page show that then-President Barack Obama was being informed about the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton email controversy. The senator’s report puts a focus on the scandal, and includes Strzok, who was one of the top FBI agents assigned to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of supposed ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, and Page. Johnson serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Sen. Johnson alleges that texts between Page and Strzok show that they were preparing talking points for then-FBI Director James Comey because Obama may have wanted to be apprised of the case. Page wrote on Sept. 2, 2016, that she was preparing the talking points because "potus wants to know everything we’re doing." POTUS is an abbreviation for President of the United States. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Why the Muslim Brotherhood Declared U.S. an Enemy State

January 16th 2018


In the first official statement of its kind, the Muslim Brotherhood announced last month that it now regards the United States of America as an enemy, following President Trump's decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The statement was published on the Brotherhood's Arabic language website, where it often publishes more incendiary rhetoric.

"Jerusalem is an Islamic and Arab land, for which we make blood, freedom and life, and we fight every aggressor and every supporter of aggression," the statement said.

It called for a unified Islamist and Palestinian response "to ignite an uprising throughout the Islamic world against the Zionist occupation and the American administration in support of the occupation and against the rights and freedoms of the peoples." Read more ..

European Jewry on Edge

As Attacks On Jews Rise in Europe, Anti-Semitism is the New Cool

January 12th 2018

European Anti-Semitism

More disturbing than the alleged arson at a suburban Paris kosher supermarket on Tuesday – the third anniversary of the terror attack at the kosher Hyper-Cacher market, also outside Paris – is this: no one was terribly surprised. Shocked, yes; of course people were shocked – but not entirely surprised.

How could they be, after a rash of anti-Semitic attacks and regular calls for "death to Jews" that have plagued Europe in recent months? At this point, in Europe, Jew hate has practically become the norm.

The fire, which destroyed the shop, broke out in the early morning hours in the southern suburb of Creteil, where about a quarter of the population is Jewish. But the shop owner, who is Muslim, also found swastikas painted on the door a week ago, as did the owner of a neighboring market, which was also slightly damaged in the fire. Read more ..

Financing the Flames

In 2017, Palestinian Authority Paid Terrorists $358 Million

January 10th 2018

Hamas protester

The Palestinian Authority spent 1.23 billion shekels ($358 million) on payments to terrorists and their families last year, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday. The figure represents 7% of the Palestinian Authority's total budget for 2017.

Get Financing the Flames and read the original Edwin Black investigation on the topic

In 2016, the Palestinian Authority spent 1.15 billion shekels ($322 million) on terrorists' stipends. The Defense Ministry released the figures as part of the government's work on the so-called "terrorist wages bill," which passed its preliminary Knesset reading in June 2017.

According to the latest figures, each terrorist serving a three- to five-year sentence in an Israeli prison receives a monthly stipend equivalent to NIS 2,000 ($580).

Terrorists serving a life sentence receive a monthly stipend amounting to NIS 10,000 ($2,900). Married terrorists receive an additional NIS 300 ($87) a month, and those who are married with children receive an additional NIS 50 ($14) per child a month. Terrorists who have Israeli citizenship receive an additional NIS 500 ($144) a month.


The Trump Era

Major Jewish Groups Back Trump On Cutting Palestinian Aid, Left-Of-Center Voices Disagree

January 8th 2018

Money Bands=Happiness

Many major Jewish organizations are expressing support for the idea of reducing U.S. aid to the Palestinians after President Donald Trump mentioned the possibility of a cut in a tweet this week. 

In a Jan. 2 tweet, the president wrote, “We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect…with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the same day that Trump “doesn’t want to give any additional funding until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiation table.”


Iran on Edge

Iran’s Mullahs: Dictators Who Need A Perpetual Enemy

January 5th 2018

Iranian clerics

Nikki Haley, America’s formidable ambassador to the United Nations, has done it again. The Iranian uprising has been hard to “see.”  Cell phone videos, photos, Facebook posts and Twitter allow us only sporadic peeks, and even those are being shut down in places, as the Islamic regime works to close Iranian access to the wider world. Ambassador Haley used her microphone to spread the slogans of the protesters:

    “Let go of Palestine”
    “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life (only) for Iran”
    “Leave Syria. Think about us.”
    “Don’t be afraid; don’t be afraid, we’re all together.”
    “Feel some shame (Khameini). Let go of the country.”
    “All these brigades have come out to the street; they’ve come out against the leader.”
    “Political prisoners must be freed.”
    “Independence, freedom, Iranian Republic.”

Weather on Edge

Mini Ice Age Could hit by 2030

January 2nd 2018

Washington Blizzard


Jerusalem as Capitol

Defining ‘Occupied’ and the Semantic Battle for Peace

December 29th 2017


In a demonstration of how completely at odds his views are from those of the foreign policy establishment, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman reportedly asked the State Department to stop using the term “occupied territories” and instead refer to the “West Bank.” According to accounts that have filtered out of Foggy Bottom, the State Department said no. But we are also told that after pressure “from above”—i.e. President Donald Trump, the current boss of everyone at State as well as Friedman—the issue has yet to be decided.

If this strikes you as a lot of bother about mere words, you’re wrong. These words are part of a high-stakes battle to determine the outcome of the debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


The Obama Years

Josh Meyer Gets an Echo Chamber Beat-Down

December 29th 2017

Obama pensive with flag

A week after Josh Meyer’s Politico expose,“The Secret Backstory Of How Obama Let Hezbollah Off the Hook,” former Obama officials are still berating Meyer for his 13,000-word article detailing how the Obama administration killed a nearly decade-long DEA effort to stem a global Hezbollah cocaine-smuggling-and-organized-crime ring to help secure its nuclear deal with Iran. “This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” former Defense Department analyst David Asher explained in the article. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

Asher helped establish and oversee the project, codenamed Cassandra, that looked into Hezbollah’s wide-range of illicit activities across the globe, including weapons procurement, drug trafficking, and money laundering. Senior Obama officials, according to Asher, ignored the legal and financial instruments that he and others had provided to target a terrorist organization with American blood on its hands and was still plotting against the United States. Read more ..

Jerusalem on Edge

Displeased with Palestinians, Arab states Chart new Jerusalem Policy

December 26th 2017


Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are displeased with the way the Palestinian Authority has reacted to U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and his decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy to the city, Israel Hayom has learned.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit announced over the weekend that he would head a new committee, comprising the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Saudia Arabia and the Palestinian Authority, to devise a new policy on Jerusalem.

Sources in Ramallah, Cairo and Amman told Israel Hayom that the decision to establish the committee was made after it became apparent that the Palestinian Authority's efforts to counter Trump's announcement had been ineffective.

"The decision to establish this committee was, in effect, imposed on the Palestinian Authority by  Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan in a move that was backed by the Arab League," a senior Jordanian official told Israel Hayom.

"This is a super committee that is headed by the secretary general of the Arab League, and it effectively puts the Arab League in charge of the policy on Jerusalem, taking it away from the Palestinians.

"The Palestinians' efforts to sway public opinion have been a complete failure, and as a result, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has created a rift between us [the Arab world] and Trump. We are once again left with the demagogic, hollow and inflammatory rhetoric of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan." Read more ..

The Caliphate

Success for al-Qaeda in Syria?

December 20th 2017

IS with Missile

One of the most common concepts to describe al-Qaida’s presence in Syria has been that of ‘playing the long game.'[1] That is, whereas its rival the Islamic State focused on quickly defeating other Syrian insurgent groups and opponents, establishing a state project and imposing the harshest aspects of Islamic law (i.e. the hudud punishments for serious crimes), al-Qaida has chosen to embed deeply within the insurgency fighting the Assad regime. Thus, al-Qaida affiliates and al-Qaida-linked groups have generally proven themselves to be valuable military partners for other factions, while not working to impose all aspects of Islamic law immediately on the populations in their zones of control and influence, but rather working to condition the locals to accept their imposition eventually. Read more ..

The Book World

Why Is It So Goddamned Hard to Make a Living as a Writer Today?

December 15th 2017


Reprinted from the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of the Authors Guild Bulletin.Doug Preston was the keynote speaker at the inaugural New Mexico Writers Dinner at La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe on March 2nd. We reprint his remarks here with his permission and our thanks.

I have no doubt that almost all of you in this room struggle with a central question in your lives: Why is it so goddamned hard to make a living as a writer today?
A recent study by the Authors Guild showed that from 2009 to 2015, the average income of a full-time author decreased 30 percent, from $25,000 a year to $17,500 a year. For part-time authors, the average income decreased 38 percent, from $7,250 a year to $4,500. Full-time authors with more than 25 years of experience saw the greatest drop — a 67 percent decrease from $28,750 to $9,500.

The collapse of authors’ incomes is not a problem. It’s not even a crisis. It’s a catastrophe. And not just for us, but for our nation as a whole. Writing is the lifeblood of American culture, of democracy, and of freedom. It is under assault as never before in the history of the Republic.

As a nation, we’ve always been on high alert against censorship. When a book is banned from a school library, when a journalist is arrested covering a protest or sued for libel, we pay attention. These events make the newspapers.

But what about the even more serious problem — when an important book isn’t even written? Not written because the author couldn’t get a decent advance or was rejected — not because the idea was bad, but because the publisher was unable to take the financial risk. Read more ..

Turkey and Israel

Erdogan Invokes Islamic Text Sanctioning Killing Jews at Party Convention

December 13th 2017


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invoked a Muslim hadith commonly used by Hamas and other terrorist supporters to sanction killing Jews during a party convention Sunday.

"[T]hose who think they own #Jerusalem better know that tomorrow they won't be able to hide behind trees," Erdogan's said, according to a translation by dissident Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt. Last year, Erdogan shut down Bozkurt's former newspaper, Today's Zaman, which had Turkey's largest circulation.

"[This is] a veiled threat of killing each and every Jew with a shocking reference to apocalyptic prophecy of tree story," Bozkurt wrote. Read more ..

After the Vote

Is the Left Throwing the Clintons Under the Bus

Hillary Clinton

There are new suggestions Bill Clinton should be held accountable over sex scandals.  Is it honest reflection?  Or just politics?

Starting a generation ago, any woman who accused Clinton of inappropriate behavior including sexual assault was blamed, shamed, humiliated and attacked. The political and cultural left and their media partners piled on. Saturday Night Live belittled the women. Late night comedians made jokes about them.

National news outlets ignored them.  Or portrayed them as the perpetrators.  The narrative was 22-year old, unpaid intern Monica Lewinsky was the stalker and the most powerful man on the face of the planet was the victim.

Clinton advisor James Carville infamously said of Paula Jones:  “If you drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.”

Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos admitted one of his jobs was “smothering . . . bimbo eruption[s].” NBC News interviewed Juanita Broaddrick over her rape allegations.  But held the story for weeks until after Clinton’s impeachment proceedings ended. Read more ..

Kurdistan Rising

Why Did Israel Support the Kurdish Referendum?

November 22nd 2017

Kurdistan Map

Israel was alone in its support for the Iraqi Kurdish referendum in September, and it has since become evident that KRG President Masoud Barzani miscalculated in deciding to hold the vote then. The Kurds overestimated both U.S. support for their independence movement and their own internal solidarity, while simultaneously underestimating the intensity and the near unanimity of the international community’s opposition to Kurdish independence. Erbil is now paying the price for its mistake, as the Iraqi federal government has retaken much of the disputed territory that the Peshmerga controlled since 2014 and closed the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) airspace. Israel, too, will likely suffer negative consequences as a result of Erbil’s overreach—so did Jerusalem commit a strategic error in supporting Barzani’s secessionist agenda?

It is true that Israel could suffer negative consequences as a result of the Kurds’ failed bid for independence? The PUK and Gorran parties, rivals of Barzani’s KDP, stand to gain from Barzani’s misstep and the ensuing crisis, and they are far more oriented towards Iran and against Jerusalem. Read more ..

Vote 2017

Alabama Republicans Remain Steadfast for Judge Moore

November 11th 2017

Vote Buttons

The embattled Roy Moore, the Republican candidate the represent Alabama in the U.S. Seante, is currently tied with his Democrat opponent Doug Jones. According to the most recent Opinion-Savvy/Decision Desk HQ poll, the two are tied. Moore had led Jones by 5.7 percent in a previous survey by the same organization, while other polls had the former Alabama Supreme Court justice up by double-digits. The poll was conducted on Thursday via landline automated calls to 515 likely voters in Alabama. It cited a margin of error 4.3 percent ±.

The poll was released after the Washington Post released a report on Thursday in which four women allege that Moore made sexual advances on them when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers. President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and other Republicans have called on Moore to step out of the race should the allegations prove to be true. Trump had not endorsed Moore in advance of the Republican primary last month. Voters go to the polls to select their new senator on December 12. Read more ..

Kurdistan Rising

Iraqi Kurdistan's Crisis: A Failure of Strategy

October 25th 2017

PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party) Fighter

As the war against the Islamic State as an entity controlling territory comes to a close in Iraq, control over territories disputed between the Iraqi central government and the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government (KRG) has come to the forefront. Forces officially affiliated with the Baghdad government, as well as militias aligned with it on this issue, have taken control of several key disputed sites, including Kirkuk city and Sinjar, which were previously held by Kurdish forces.

While it initially seemed that the aim of the operations was just to assert the boundaries that existed prior to the Islamic State surge of 2014, there are indications the rollback may go as far as the 2003 boundaries. What is the root of this crisis? And what, if anything, should be the U.S. role? Read more ..

Kurdistan Rising

The Fall of Kirkuk: Made in Iran

October 23rd 2017

Kurdistan Frontline

Iraqi forces took Kirkuk city from the Kurds this week with hardly a shot fired. Twenty-two Kurdish fighters were killed in the sporadic and disorganized resistance, while seven Iraqi soldiers also lost their lives. It is a remarkable setback for the Kurds, who just a few weeks ago held an independence referendum. The loss of Kirkuk especially, given the city's vast oil resources, lessens the likelihood that an independent state will emerge from the Kurdish Regional Government area in northern Iraq.

Now the Iraqi forces are rolling into other areas conquered by the Kurdish Regional Government in the course of the war against ISIS, including Sinjar city, close to the border with Syria. Meanwhile, an exodus of Kurdish civilians is streaming in the direction of Erbil and Suleymaniya cities. Kurdish forces are withdrawing from the areas of Makhmur and Khanaqin as well. Yezidi civilians, who bore the brunt of the ISIS assault in the summer of 2014, are again uncertain of their fates as they wait for the arrival of Iraqi forces. Read more ..

Iran's Nuke's

Iran's Secret Sites Linked To Nuclear Weapons Development Revealed

October 13th 2017

Iran Nuclear Equipment centrifuges

President Donald Trump is expected this week to “decertify” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known simply as the Iran deal, declaring that the agreement reached in 2015 by the U.S. and five other international powers is not in America’s national interest. The matter will then be tossed back to Congress, which will have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose hefty pre-2015 sanctions.

While the President’s likely move has generated wide condemnation from foreign policy leaders — who reiterate that the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has maintained Iran is in compliance — a new 52-page investigative report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), entitled: “Iran’s Nuclear Core: Uninspected Military Sites,” obtained exclusively by Fox News and slated for release Wednesday, asserts that the country’s nuclear weapons program has far from halted. Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

The Iranian Dictator's Clothes

October 11th 2017


The clock appears to be ticking on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); more than some may think, less than others may hope. Whatever President Donald Trump decides to do with the unsigned, unratified, unagreed-upon text of the untreaty, it should be clear that the agreement did not moderate Iran’s ambitions — nuclear or otherwise — and pretending will not make it so. The JCPOA was not designed to end Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability.

One reason there is no agreed-upon text is that the sides were negotiating different ends: the U.S. wanted to constrain Iran’s enrichment and other nuclear weapons-related capabilities for a period of time during which President Obama and others said/hoped Iran would become a constructive regional player. Iran was negotiating the terms under which it could continue to enrich uranium with an international imprimatur. Deal supporters acknowledge as much Read more ..

Palestinians on Edge

How Palestine “Occupies” Itself

October 10th 2017

Nabi Saleh Villagers with Rocks

“Occupation” has become an all-purpose Palestinian tool. On the one hand, the Palestinians claim the Israeli “occupation” makes serious negotiations with Israel impossible. On the other, they claim the “occupation” makes the development of local institutions and civil society impossible. Western and Israeli diplomats have largely avoided criticism of this strategy, possibly because it has become a central tenet of Palestinian identity.

A consistent Palestinian strategy for seeking statehood while blaming Israel for its absence has been codified through the narrative of “occupation.” The anniversary of the 1967 war brought this to the forefront in endless accusations regarding the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank. There is even an assertion that Gaza is still “occupied.” Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

If the U.S. Reimposes Sanctions on Iran, Allies Will Follow

October 3rd 2017

Iran-US Hatred

“We will not be able to coerce Europe, Russia, and China into shunning Iran’s economy over policy interests that they do not share.” — Adam Szubin, former director of the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control

“The United States would have to threaten all customers who buy Iranian crude. The response would be global outrage and resistance, especially from our allies.” — Matthew Reed, vice president at Foreign Reports

In November 2011, Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk — with help from then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — took the Obama White House by surprise, filing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that imposed crippling sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran. Days later, Kirk and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez forged a bipartisan compromise and a vote was scheduled. Read more ..

Kurdistan Rising

What Next for Kurdistan?

October 1st 2017

Kurdistan Map

Calling a referendum on Kurdish independence in Iraq was the easy part. The difficulty after the vote on September 25th concerns the route ahead. The vote took place in the three provinces that make up Iraqi Kurdistan, and in the contiguous Iraqi regions that Kurdish forces took from Islamic State (IS). It was a resounding success for the pro-independence movement, with the electoral commission claiming that 93% of the 3.3m votes cast were in favour.

But though billed as a step towards statehood, the result is non-binding. Iraqi leaders, who had previously agreed to negotiations on the status of the territory, now reject them on the grounds that the referendum was unilateral, unconstitutional and divisive. On September 29th the Iraqi government stopped international flights from using the airport in Erbil. Iraq’s neighbours are also vowing to torpedo any Kurdish attempt to go it alone. Iran has stopped flights to the region and Turkey has closed one of its crossings to the landlocked territory, which relies heavily on imports. Read more ..

Inside Judaism

Is the Western Wall Judaism's Holiest Site?

September 26th 2017

Western Wall

Few beliefs have resonated more widely, or among a more diverse set of Israelis and Jews, than the perception of the Western Wall as Judaism's holiest site, the place where they feel the greatest sense of sacredness, "the holy of holies of Jewish national unity" to use the words of the Wall's rabbi, Shmuel Rabinowitz. Chief rabbi of Jerusalem Shlomo Amar has similarly asserted that "no one can annul the holiness of the Western Wall, not the government, not the courts."[2]

But when did the Western Wall become the holiest Jewish site? Historical evidence suggests that the Temple Mount was actually Judaism's "holy of holies," and that the Western Wall's venerated position is a relatively late development with a more prosaic and even non-Jewish origin. Would these facts change the tenor of the debate about the Western Wall's future status? And can they help ameliorate the widening schism between Israel's Orthodox religious establishment and the Diaspora Conservative and Reform movements over this holy site? Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

Trump Has Created Leverage Against Iran. Now He Needs a Closer.

September 25th 2017

Iran Missiles

Supporters of the Iran nuclear deal are in panic mode.

Obama administration alumni are warning that President Donald Trump's threats to not certify Iranian compliance next month will unravel a bargain that makes the world safer. European leaders and Iranian envoys say the deal cannot be renegotiated. Quietly, many career State Department officials, according to administration sources, are trying to figure out a way to at least delay Trump's plan to throw the deal into turmoil.

The alarm is understandable. If Trump decertifies Iranian compliance with what is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, then it will be up to Congress to vote to impose the crippling sanctions on Iran's banks and oil exports that President Barack Obama waived as part of the nuclear deal. If Congress does that, it really would blow up the nuclear deal. Read more ..

The Trump Era

Rising scandal 'bigger than Russia'

September 21st 2017


Author and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said in an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News that the surveillance conducted by the Obama administration on Trump campaign director Paul Manafort was an “egregious” abuse of power that endangers the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution and dwarfs the allegations made about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 general election. 

There is speculation that the FBI, through the Obama administration’s FISA requests, taped Manafort’s conversations with Donald Trump into 2017. According to CNN, Manafort had been under FBI surveillance since 2014 and into this year. Manafort served briefly as Trump’s campaign director in 2016, and the two remained in contact this year. Gingrich said of the development, “this may be the most egregious abuse of the criminal justice process in American history.”  He said that he fears that “the country that you and I know is under siege by a deep state which illegally wants to create a very different America and is willing to break the law and abuse the law.”


Gaza on Edge

Gaza Strip’s Crisis Leaves Qatar Vulnerable

September 19th 2017

Emir Qatar Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani & Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh

The head of Qatar’s Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi, recently visited the Gaza Strip to reaffirm Qatar’s commitment to its people and government. Al-Emadi’s trip, which began June 6, brought with it a $3 million commitment to rebuilding the homes for 600 Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip.

The families chosen to benefit from the rebuilding were deemed some of the poorest in Gaza. The project, however, is just a small fraction of the $1.4 billion Qatar has pledged to give to Gaza over five years.

Naji Sarhan, the Palestinian undersecretary of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, praised al-Emadi’s visit, which has come amidst a humanitarian crisis for Palestinian Arabs in Gaza. Just recently, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has cut Hamas leaders’ paychecks and refused to continue paying Israel for electricity supplied to Gaza. Shortly after the PA’s announcements, Israel acquiesced to PA officials requests and reduced its electricity supply to Gaza. Both actions have put Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement, rival to the PA’s key party, Fatah) under great pressure. Read more ..

North Korea's Nukes

Mystery Shock after North Korea Nuclear Test Still Puzzles

September 16th 2017

Kim Jong-Un


Eight-and-a-half minutes after North Korea set off a nuclear bomb on September 3, a second burst of energy shook the mountain where the test had just occurred. More than a week later, researchers are still puzzling over what caused that extra release of seismic energy—and what it says about North Korea’s nuclear-testing site, or the risks of a larger radiation leak. Monitoring stations in South Korea have already picked up minute levels of radiation from the test.

A number of theories have emerged to explain the second event, ranging from a tunnel collapse or a landslide to a splintering of the rock inside Mount Mantap, the testing site. But seismologists can’t agree and say that they may not get enough evidence to pin down the cause.

“This is an interesting mystery at this point,” says Göran Ekström, a seismologist at Columbia University in New York City. 

The nature of the first seismic signal is clearer because it matches the profile of a bomb blast. The US Geological Survey (USGS) determined the magnitude of the seismic event associated with the nuclear explosion at 6.3, whereas the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna calculated it at 6.1 on the basis of a separate analysis. The explosion was many times the size of past North Korean tests and was the largest seismic signal from a nuclear test ever detected by the international network of seismic monitoring stations used by the CTBTO. Read more ..

Israel on Edge

Hijacking the Laws of Occupation

September 5th 2017

Russian privates on parade

The fact that there are 40 or more ongoing conflict and occupation situations throughout the world, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Western Sahara, East Timor, East Congo, Nagorno-Karabakh, Northern Cyprus, and the Crimea, is not widely known.1

The international community does not appear to be very bothered with these occupation situations. In fact, curiously, these situations are rarely seen by the international community as “occupations.” Nor are the respective parties involved described as “belligerent occupants” or “occupying powers.”

It is rare to find resolutions or agenda items in the highly politicized and partisan UN Human Rights Council that deal with such situations of occupation and transfer of people to establish settlements in the territory they are occupying.

However, the objective criteria for such occupations are evident for all to see, and they clearly fall within the factual definitions of occupations, as set out by the international law of armed conflict and specifically in the 1907 Hague Regulations2 and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.3 Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

Russia in Syria: Between Iran and Israel

September 4th 2017

Medvedev and Assad

The central issue discussed in the August 23, 2017 meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Putin was the growing Iranian involvement in Syria and the role that Russia is assigning to Iran in shaping the future political arrangement in the war-torn state. Israel's struggle against Iran's growing influence in Syria will be determined by the ability of both Iran and Israel to exercise effective levers of influence on Russia. Russia for its part will try to maneuver between Israeli demands and the need for cooperation with Iran, partly by making conflicting promises to each side. Therefore, Israel should treat Russia's promises in this context with caution, and improve its readiness to use force wisely and with a low signature, against Iran's objectives for establishing itself in Syria.

There are conflicting reports, mostly speculative, regarding the August 23, 2017 meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. The central issue discussed was growing Iranian involvement in Syria and the role that Russia is assigning to Iran in shaping the future political arrangement in the war-torn state. Already before the meeting, Israel sent strong messages relaying that the continued Iranian presence in Syria constituted a concrete threat to it. Read more ..

Campus Jihad

Follow the Money: The Israel-Boycott Movement and Its Accomplices

September 1st 2017

boycott Israel t-shirt

U.S. banking giant Comerica's closure of an account earlier this year held by an organization that wages legal and economic warfare against America and Israel may be the harbinger of a successful strategy against BDS.

BDS—or the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement—is a global effort that seeks to isolate the Jewish state from the international community in order to secure a Palestinian state by endangering Israel's existence. BDS seeks a one-state solution rather than an Israeli and Palestinian state living side by side in peace. Our research shows many BDS organizations are entwined with states and other entities that advance hate groups and terrorism at large.

Dallas-based Comerica said in May that it closed the account of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, also known as IADL, due to a "business decision." Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's signing into law of an anti-BDS law in early May set the stage for the shutdown of the anti-Israel organization's account,


The Battle for Syria

Stormclouds over Syria

August 16th 2017


In the past five weeks, U.S. forces in Syria have struck directly at the Assad regime and its allies in Syria no less than four times. On May 18, U.S. warplanes struck regime and allied militia forces that breached a 34-mile exclusion zone around a U.S. outpost in southeastern Syria. Then on June 8 and June 20, the United States shot down Iranian-made drones as they approached the outpost.

But the most dramatic event so far was the June 18 downing of a Syrian air force Su-22 by a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet. This took place after regime forces attacked a town held by the U.S.-aligned Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Tabqa, in northern Syria. The Su-22 dropped bombs near the SDF fighters, ignored U.S. warnings, and was then shot down.

The downing of the Su-22 threatened to bring Washington and Moscow into conflict in the war-torn country. In the aftermath of the incident, Russia announced the end of deconfliction arrangements with U.S. forces and that it had decided to treat future U.S. flights west of the Euphrates River as hostile. Read more ..

Russia and Iran

Russia Re-examines Relationship with Iran

August 15th 2017

Khameni and Khomeini

As the Islamic State (IS) has been in steady retreat, Iran and Russia are facing real difficulties sustaining their partnership. Each took advantage of the fight against IS to further its military campaign in Syria. Both sides avoid discussing their differences, keeping their critics from making the most of the situation, but both fail to completely conceal the friction. In 2016, Moscow and Tehran jointly shielded Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime from the opposition and sought to preserve the remaining state institutions. In an attempt to freeze the six-year-long civil war, Russia is currently opting for agreements beyond the peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan — that is, behind Iran’s back. Examples include the de-escalation zone in southwest Syria that Russia negotiated with the United States in Amman, Jordan, as well as de-escalation zones in eastern Ghouta and northern Homs, both of which were negotiated in Cairo. Read more ..

The Qatar Crisis

Qatar Crisis: Worst Case Scenarios

August 6th 2017

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani

The crisis between an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on one side, and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member Qatar on the other, shows no signs of abating. Qatar has responded to the list of 13 demands presented to Doha last month. At a meeting in Cairo on July 5, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE said they regretted Qatar’s “negative” response to their list of demands, and restrictions they had imposed would continue.

The origins of the tensions stretch back decades – probably generations in the minds of the main characters – but it is unclear why they suddenly erupted in May with the breaking of diplomatic relations and the cutting of air, sea, and land links. The alleged cause – that Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani of Qatar made pro-Iranian remarks – is fiercely contested. With hindsight, both sides seem to have been preparing for such a schism for months.


After the Vote

Countermeasures to Russian Disinformation

August 5th 2017


The mind of society is the battlefield in the current global struggle for geopolitical domination. The uses of soft power dominate in this battle and information warfare is the name of the game-not "cyber war" in all the ways it has been described but the influence and ultimately control of individual minds that, like cells in a body, make up the Mind of Society. Then control is used as leverage to achieve objectives that are often hidden.
The recent illumination of Russian operations in this area has received a great deal of publicity. Russian operations of this kind are by no means new or unique, but the scale is unprecedented. This is thanks to distributed means of communication, which in turn created distributed digital islands of simulated life as a habitat on which more and more people (some of the time) and some of the people, all of the time, live their lives. The fragmented efforts of the United States and her allies to defend our mind-space and respond with equally effective operations have been less than adequate.
Effective countermeasures require unified, coordinated strategies recognized to have a high priority so that they will, in fact, be executed. They require clout, funding, and leadership to succeed. Once executed, they need to be evaluated to determine their efficacy. Offensive strategies must attack enemies as they attack us, by gaining access to the insides of their hives and securing the queen, not easy to do when the control of the information space in authoritarian and dictatorial regimes closes many of the gaps that in our more open society leave us unprotected.

Islam's War Against Christianity

A War against Christians

July 26th 2017

Coptic woman weeping at funeral

A pervasive persecution of Christians goes on throughout the Middle East and South and  Southeast Asia with relatively small organized efforts to oppose it, even among Western churchmen.
True, both the Pope Francis has spoken out against discrimination, and in many instances, imprisonment and worse. In April the Roman Catholic Pope made a ceremonial visit to meet the leader of Egypt's indigenous Christian Coptic leader who may head as many as 20 million Egyptian Christians. But the Mainline Western Protestant churches with their preoccupation with social issues, often to the neglect of articles of faith, have largely left opposition to such oppression to the Western democratic governments led by the U.S.

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