Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Sabre-Rattling Over Indo-Pakistani Nuclear War

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Forget that false missile alarm in Hawaii. The biggest chance for someone dropping The Big One this week comes not from crazy North Korea, but from the long-simmering Indo-Pakistani conflict, where two nuclear-armed nations are once again trading shots:

India and Pakistan exchanged gunfire Monday in the disputed Kashmir region, killing several soldiers on both sides. Each side blamed the other starting the altercation, giving its own figures for the number of dead.

India claimed its troops killed seven Pakistani soldiers, while one Indian soldier died. Pakistan said four of its soldiers died in Indian firing, while its forces killed three in retaliatory fire.

India accuses Pakistan of sending militants across the border to carry out terrorist activities on its soil. Pakistan, on the other hand, accuses India of grave human rights violations in the part of Kashmir under Indian control, which has long faced a separatist movement.

My guess is that both of these allegations are true, and that both Pakistan and India fairly ruthlessly suppress a number of different Kashmiri separatist groups, some of which are aligned with international jihadists.

It doesn’t help that both nation’s military officers have been posturing in best “Come at me, bro!” fashion:

Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said Friday his military was ready to call Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff” and carry out aggressive military operations across the [Line of Control].

“We will call the (nuclear) bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff,” Gen. Rawat warned, responding to a question during a press conference on the “possibility of Pakistan using its nuclear weapons in case the situation along the border deteriorates,” said the Hindustan Times.

On Saturday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif unleashed a Tweetstorm denouncing Rawat’s comments as “very irresponsible. Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter. If that is what they desire, they are welcome to test our resolve. The general’s doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah.”

The threatening and irresponsible statement by the Indian Army Chief today is representative of a sinister mindset that has taken hold of India. Pakistan has demonstrated deterrence capability,” he tweeted.

“These are not issues to be taken lightly. There must not be any misadventure based on miscalculation. Pakistan is fully capable of defending itself,” he added.

The spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Office Mohammad Faisal also criticised Gen. Rawat’s comments as very “irresponsible.” Further, the Pakistani army said its nuclear weapons have deterred India from launching another full-scale conventional war, as both nuclear superpowers are playing chicken.

Escalating the war of words, Pakistan army spokesman Asif Ghafoor said on state-run television, “should they wish to test our resolve, they may try and see it for themselves. We have a credible nuclear capability, exclusively meant for threat from east. But we believe it’s a weapon of deterrence, not a choice.”

The Line of Control (LoC) refers to a heavily militarized zone in Jammu and Kashmir, in which it splits some of the India-Pakistani border. In 2017 alone, the Indian Army killed 138 Pakistani troops in tactical and retaliatory operations along the LoC. In the same period, 28 Indian soldiers perished. In late December, we reported on an intense battle between Indian and Pakistani forces leaving 4 Indian troops dead, where it was believed that Pakistan was the aggressor.

All this comes in the wake of the United States suspending most military aid to Pakistani over the continued presence of jihadi safe havens in the country.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the suspension would remain in effect until Pakistan takes “decisive action” against the Taliban and Haqqani network, militant groups blamed for stoking violence in Afghanistan and prolonging a conflict that has become America’s longest war.

“No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials,” Nauert said.

Pakistan’s continued support for the Taliban is no surprise, given that the Pakistani ISI created the Taliban over two decades ago.

India’s Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi is not exactly an exercise in enlightened virtue, either, but his government is fighting rather than backing jihadis, and he’s had some small but notable reforms, such as warming relations with Israel.

My guess is that all this sabre-rattling is for deterrence and domestic consumption rather than a sign of looming wide-scale conflict or actual nuclear war. Having just been put on notice by its primary arms supplier, I doubt Pakistan is eager to go to war with India over Kashmir just right now.

Liberals have been whinging that President Donald Trump has brought back “the specter of nuclear war.” That specter never went away, Democrats just ignored it for a quarter-century…

Iran Roundup for January 2, 2018

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Widespread protests against the corrupt theocratic regime continue across Iran, so here’s a roundup of news. Here’s a liveblog on the protests, courtesy of Austin Bay at Instapundit.

  • This piece makes the case that Iran’s corrupt theocratic government has used up all its remaining legitimacy:

    As with the Soviet Union in its last days, the Islamic Republic can no longer appeal to its ideals; it relies only on its security services for survival. That is deadly for a theocracy, by definition an ideological construct. Ideological authoritarian states need a vision of the future by which their enforcers can condone their own violence. The theocracy’s vast patronage system will not cure this crisis of legitimacy. In many ways, Mr. Rouhani was the ruling clergy’s last gasp, a beguiling mullah who could enchant Westerners while offering Iranians some hope. That hope has vanished.

  • “US gives Israel go-ahead to kill powerful Iranian general.” The would be the same Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani Obama saved three years ago in pursuit of his precious, asinine Iran deal. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • How President Donald Trump saw the Iranian protests coming. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Some pessimism about protestor’s chances:

    In Iran, the obstacles to success are daunting. Whereas most Middle Eastern countries are ruled by secular autocrats focused on repressing primarily Islamist opposition, Iran is an Islamist autocracy focused on repressing secular opposition. This dynamic—unarmed, unorganized, leaderless citizens seeking economic dignity and pluralism, versus a heavily armed, organized, rapacious ruling theocracy that espouses martyrdom—is not a recipe for success.

    And yet, against this inauspicious backdrop, Iran’s mushrooming anti-government protests—although so far much smaller in scale than the country’s 2009 uprising—have been unprecedented in their geographic scope and intensity. They began December 28 in Mashhad, a Shiite pilgrimage city often considered a regime stronghold, with protesters chanting slogans like “leave Syria alone, think about us.” They soon spread to Qom, Iran’s holiest city, where protesters expressed nostalgia for Reza Shah, the 20th-century modernizing autocrat who ruthlessly repressed the clergy. They continued in provincial towns, with thousands chanting, “we don’t want an Islamic Republic” in Najafabad, “death to the revolutionary guards” in Rasht, and “death to the dictator” in Khoramabad. They’ve since spread to Tehran, and hundreds have been arrested, the BBC reported, citing Iranian officials.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Iran Charges Russia With Selling Out its Air Defense Secrets to Israel. The Islamic Republic says Russia sold codes to Israel that neutralize its air defenses.” Attacking your primary arms supplier, and your ally Syria’s effective air force, is a pretty desperate look. If true, it also means that America (and probably Saudi Arabia) have those codes as well… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Obama toadies vs the Iranian people:

    In the US, former members of the Obama administration and the liberal media have determinedly downplayed the importance of the protests. They have insisted that President Donald Trump should stop openly supporting the protesters and so adopt former president Barack Obama’s policy of effectively siding with the Iranian regime against the Iranian people who seek its overthrow.

    These talking points have been pushed out into the media echo chamber by Obama’s former deputy national security adviser and strategic communications chief Ben Rhodes, his former national security adviser Susan Rice and former secretary of state John Kerry.

    Obama’s Middle East coordinator Philip Gordon stated them outright in an op-ed in The New York Times on Saturday. Gordon called on Trump “to keep quiet and do nothing” in response to the protests.

    In Gordon’s view, no matter how big their beef with the regime, the protesters hate the US more. And they really hate Trump.

    Gordon wrote, “Whatever Iranians think of their own government, they are unlikely to want as a voice for their grievances an American president who has relentlessly opposed economic relief for their country and banned them from traveling to the United States.”

    Just as Obama’s surrogates have repeated Gordon’s claims, so the Obama-supporting liberal media have gone out of their way to diminish the importance of the protests in their coverage of them and use Obama’s surrogates as their “expert” analysts to explain what is happening (or rather, distort what is happening) to their audiences.

    Obama administration officials have been so outspoken in their defense of the Iranian regime because they rightly view the prospect that the protesters will succeed in overthrowing the regime as a mortal threat to their legacy.

    Obama’s foreign policy rested on the assumption that the US was a colonialist, aggressive and immoral superpower. By their telling, the Iranians – like the Cubans and the Russians – were right to oppose the US due to its legacy of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. This anti-American worldview informed the Obama administration’s conviction that it was incumbent on the US to make amends for its previous decades of foreign policy.

    Hence, Obama traveled the globe in 2009 and 2010 apologizing for the policies of his predecessors. Hence, Obama believed that the US had no moral right to stand with the Iranian people against the regime in the 2009 Green Revolution. As he saw it, anyone who stood with the US was no better than an Uncle Tom. Truly authentic foreign regimes were be definition anti-American. Since the Green Revolutionaries were begging for his support, by definition, they didn’t deserve it.

    Since the current wave on anti-regime protests began last Thursday, the liberal media have parroted the Obama alumni’s talking points because they feel that their war against Trump requires them to embrace Obama’s legacy just as they embraced his talking points and policies for eight years.

    After all, if Obama is not entirely infallible, then Trump cannot be entirely fallible. And if Trump may be partially right and Obama partially wrong, then their dispute may be a substantive rather than existential one. And so, the New York Times’ coverage of the most significant story in the world has deliberately distorted and downplayed events on the ground in Iran.

  • A relevant Twitter thread:

  • The Middle East in 2017: Sucking Slightly Less

    Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

    For all the talk of Donald Trump being unworthy of the Presidency and inadequate for the job, there have been a number of positive developments in a surprising number of places this year, not least of which is the Middle East.

    That mostly wretched hive of scum and villainy haven’t turned into stable democratic states (nor is that likely to happen in my lifetime), but there has been modest-to-radical improvement on a number of fronts:

  • At the beginning of the year, the nightmarish Islamic State was a going concern that held vast swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, including the major cities of Mosul and Raqqa. As 2017 closes, both those cities have been liberated and the would-be caliphate has lost some 90% of it’s territory, the overwhelming majority of its soldiers, and has been dismembered into a few sparsely inhabited desert enclaves. This is a big win for the entire civilized world.

  • Before President Trump took office, Saudi Arabia was the same oppressive Wahhabist-backed monarchy it had always been. But in 2017, for the first time since the founding of the Kingdom in 1930, something resembling real reform finally seems to be afoot under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Remember Trump’s much-derided visit to Saudi Arabia? Trump not only repaired the rift between the United States and Saudi Arabia created by the Obama Administration’s inexplicable Iran deal, he apparently gave bin Salman the greenlight for radical change, both domestic and foreign, including stripping the religious police of their arrest powers and detaining many hardline clerics in the course of consolidating his own power.
  • Israel already found Trump a vast improvement over the Obama administration’s open hostility, but President Trump implementing the long-delayed move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem has further solidified ties and brought additional dividends, with other countries in talks to follow suite. And despite predictions to the contrary, widespread Palestinian violence in reaction to the move has not materialized.
  • Relations with Eqypt have improved since Obama’s ill-advised snit over the overthrow of the brutal Morsi Muslim Brotherhood government.
  • To be sure, myriad problems continue to plague the Middle East: The Syrian civil war, the Saudi-Iran proxy war, Turkey’s oppressive Islamist government, instability in Lebanon, and Qatar’s friction with other gulf nations (and possibly continued support for terrorism). It is, after all, still the Middle East. But there has still been remarkable (and frequently unexpected) improvement in a number of areas in the Middle East during Donald Trump’s first year as President of the United States of America.

    LinkSwarm for December 15, 2017

    Friday, December 15th, 2017

    Another week, another abbreviated LinkSwarm. I’m running out of year and a variety of tasks (including work) keep crowding more extensive blogging out.

  • Gallup poll shows support for decreasing immigration holding steady. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus’ Twitter feed.)
  • More on that same poll (also via Kaus):

    An overwhelming majority of Hispanics opposes increasing immigration, but their position is entirely unrepresented in the Democratic party. It seems possible that the Democrats will throw away a winnable Senate seat in Alabama because they have nominated a pro-abortion extremist against a Republican who has been credibly accused of sexual assault and ephebophilia (probably better that you don’t look that up).

    Even ten years ago, Democrats were willing to nominate candidates who were culturally conservative (or at least willing to pretend to be culturally conservative) in order to replace conservative Republicans with somewhat-more-liberal Democrats. What changed?

    The first thing was the alleged coming of the “emerging Democratic majority,” which was supposed to be brought about by demographic change and a larger nonwhite share of the electorate. This Democratic majority has been a little late in arriving, but that isn’t the only important part of the story.

    Many liberal whites wanted to be rid of the culturally conservative, economically liberal, working-class white voters whom Democrats had courted in the previous decade. Upper-middle-class whites were embarrassed by these people. After all these centuries of white privilege, they never managed to get into a good school—or even a state college—and now they were making demands about trade and immigration.

    One of the themes that emerges from Shattered (a chronicle of the Clinton campaign) is that the Clinton operation didn’t want to make a strong play for working-class white voters in swing states. The Clintonites thought these voters were disposable. It was left to Barack Obama to point out that he had done better than Clinton in many heavily working-class white areas, because he had done those voters the courtesy of treating them as though they were as important as any other American.

  • Paul Ryan to retire?
  • Little appreciated is the fact that Ryan is also an expert fundraiser.
  • Former Massachusetts Democratic state senator Brian A. Joyce arrested on 113 counts, including “mail fraud, theft of federal funds, money laundering, scheme to defraud the IRS, 20 counts of extortion, seven counts of money laundering, and conspiracy to impair the functions of the IRS.” How did he do all that? He’s a coffee achiever! (Seriously. Read the story.)
  • The hard-left sorts over at Counterpunch are not at all impressed with the myriad serial flavors of liberal Trump Derangement Syndrome:

    This initial post-election propaganda was understandably somewhat awkward, as the plan had been to be able to celebrate the “Triumph of Love over the Forces of Hate,” and the demise of the latest Hitlerian bogeyman. But this was the risk the ruling classes took when they chose to go ahead and Hitlerize Trump, which they wouldn’t have done if they’d thought for a moment that he had a chance of actually winning the election. That’s the tricky thing about Hitlerizing people. You need to be able to kill them, eventually. If you don’t, when they turn out not to be Hitler, your narrative kind of falls apart, and the people you’ve fear-mongered into a frenzy of frothing, self-righteous fake-Hitler-hatred end up feeling like a bunch of dupes who’ll believe anything the government tells them. This is why, normally, you only Hitlerize foreign despots you can kill with impunity. This is Hitlerization 101 stuff, which the ruling classes ignored in this case, which the left poor liberals terrified that Trump was actually going to start building Trump-branded death camps and rounding up the Jews.

    Fortunately, just in the nick of time, the ruling classes and their media mouthpieces rolled out the Russian Propaganda story. The Washington Post (whose owner’s multimillion dollar deal with the CIA, of course, has absolutely no effect on the quality of its professional journalism) led the charge with this McCarthyite smear job, legitimizing the baseless allegations of some random website and a think tank staffed by charlatans like this “Russia expert,”who appears not to speak a word of Russian or have any other “Russia expert” credentials, but is available both for television and Senate Intelligence Committee appearances. Numerous similar smear piecesfollowed. Liberals breathed a big sigh of relief … that Hitler business had been getting kind of scary. How long can you go, after all, with Hitler stumbling around the White House before somebody has to go in there and shoot him?

    In any event, by January, the media were playing down the Hitler stuff and going balls-out on the “Russiagate” story. According to The Washington Post (which, let’s remember, is a serious newspaper, as opposed to a propaganda organ of the so-called US “Intelligence Community”), not only had the Russians “hacked” the election, but they had hacked the Vermont power grid! Editorialists at The New York Times were declaring that Trump “had been appointed by Putin,” and that the USA was now “at war” with Russia. This was also around the time when liberals first learned of the Trump-Russia Dossier, which detailed how Putin was blackmailing Trump with a video the FSB had shot of Trump and a bunch of Russian hookers peeing on a bed in a Moscow hotel in which Obama had allegedly slept.

    This nonsense was reported completely straight-faced, and thus liberals were forced to take it seriously. Imagine the cognitive dissonance they suffered. It was like that scene in 1984 when the Party abruptly switches enemies, and the war with Eurasia becomes the war with Eastasia. Suddenly, Trump wasn’t Hitler anymore. Now he was a Russian sleeper agent who Putin had been blackmailing into destroying democracy with this incriminating “golden showers” video. Putin had presumably been “running” Trump since Trump’s visit to Russia in 2013 to hobnob with “Russia-linked” Russian businessmen and attend the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. During the ensuing partying, Trump must have gotten loaded on Diet Coke and gotten carried away with those Russian hookers. Now, Putin had him by the short hairs and was forcing him to staff his Manchurian cabinet with corporate CEOs and Goldman Sachs guys, who probably had also been videotaped by the FSB in Moscow hotels paying hookers to pee on furniture, or performing whatever other type of seditious, perverted kink they were into.

    Before the poor liberals had time to process this, the ruling classes launched “the Resistance.” You remember the Pussyhat People, don’t you? And the global corporate PR campaign which accompanied their historic “Womens’ March” on Washington? Do you remember liberals like Michael Moore shrieking for the feds to arrest Donald Trump? Or publications like The New York Times, Salon, and many others, and even State Satirist Stephen Colbertaccusing Trump and anyone who supported him of treason … a crime, let’s recall, that is punishable by death? Do you remember folks like William Kristol and Rob “the Meathead” Reiner demanding that the “deep state” launch a coup against Trump to rescue America from the Russian infiltrators?

    Ironically, the roll-out of this “Russiagate” hysteria was so successful that it peaked too soon, and prematurely backlashed all over itself. By March, when Trump had not been arrested, nor otherwise removed from office, liberals, who by that time the corporate media had teased into an incoherent, throbbing state of anticipation were … well, rather disappointed. By April, they were exhibiting all the hallmark symptoms of clinical psychosis. This mental breakdown was due to the fact that the media pundits and government spooks who had been telling them that Trump was Hitler, and then a Russian sleeper agent, were now telling them that he wasn’t so bad, because he’d pointlessly bombed a Syrian airstrip, and dropped a $314 million Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb on some alleged “terrorist caves” in Afghanistan.

  • Intelligence Leaks Reveal Erdogan Regime Arming Criminal Turkish Gangs in Germany.” He’s just a barer of light and joy all around… (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Where was that explosion on the “Arab Street” all those “experts” warned us about if President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?
  • Sweden has an antisemitism problem, but refuses to admit it’s a result of its Muslim refugee problem.
  • Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001. Is it working? Mostly. But it’s not a cure-all. Interesting piece.
  • How Jennifer Rubin turned into Dana Milbank. (Hat tip: Dr. Milton Wolfe’s Twitter feed.)
  • Police: “This man is a rapist!” Judge: “Were you just going to ignore the 40,000 texts from the alleged victim asking for sex?”
  • Senior Hamas leader arrested. Good.
  • Did a Long island woman launder money to the Islamic State using Bitcoin? (Hat tip: Director Blue.) (And let me apologize for ruining your previously Bitcoin-free LinkSwarm…)
  • More on the Wisconsin John Doe Witch Hunt.
  • Everyone’s favorite Tweeter, Texas Supreme Court justice Don Willett, was confirmed to the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Congrats, Justice Willett!
  • As was former Texas Solicitor General James Ho.
  • With Ho’s appointment, President Donald Trump broke broke the all-time record for first year judicial appointments.
  • This week’s winning pervert in the Sexual Harassment Sweepstakes is… senior Disney music executive Jon Heely. Now I feel even more conflicted about Devo 2.0.
  • Seven woman have now accused 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski of sexual harassment.
  • Speaking of sexual abuse, I really hope these horrific “blind” sexual abuse allegations against unnamed Hollywood celebrities are untrue. If not, life in prison for the perpetrators is too good for them…
  • Russia has a new stealth fighter, the Su-57. Too bad for them its engines won’t be ready until 2027… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • (screamingheadline)RUSSIA TROLLS BOUGHT ADS BEFORE BREXIT!!!! (in small type) All of 97¢ worth. And Slashdot thought this was worth a entire post.
  • “Net Neutrality” scrapped, Slashdot hit hardest:

  • The top-ranked restaurant in London, The Shed at Dulwich, is so exclusive it doesn’t exist. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)
  • Bring Me My Bow Of Burning Gold

    Thursday, December 7th, 2017

    Wednesday President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, finally fulfilling the terms of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. (Trivia: It passed the Senate by a vote of 93-5. The only Democrat to vote against it? Sen. Robert Byrd.)

    The usual idiots are in full poo flinging mode. “Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Mr Trump was ‘throwing the region into a ring of fire.'” Yes, because the Middle East was such a garden of peace and understanding before the announcement.

    Those notorious peace lovers in Hamas stated that President Trump’s move had “opened the gates of Hell. Which is sort of their go-to move:

    Maybe they can turn it into a tourist attraction: “Be there at sunset to see Hamas open the Gates of Hell!”

    I guess we’ll have to live with Hamas abandoning the peaceful, reasonable, constructive engagement with Israel that’s been their hallmark.

    And there’s the usual gnashing and wailing over the blow to the mythical “peace process” that’s all process and no peace.

    As one official notes: “Delaying the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has done nothing to achieve peace for more than two decades.”

    Naturally the Palestinians are rioting because it’s the only thing they’re good at. Maybe they’ll launch Intifada 3: Little Bombers. The Second Intifada did manage to ramp the annual deaths of Israelis into the low hundreds, but that was before Israel built most of its security wall. (They’re also far along in building an underground wall around Gaza to thwart those Hamas Peace and Happiness kidnap tunnels.) So the scope of Israeli killing they can accomplish is probably fairly constrained.

    In the Netherlands, Muslims responded by smashing the windows of a kosher restaurant, trying to ensure those blintzes never oppress Palestinians again.

    Meanwhile, a bill to cut off payments to the Palestinian government for supporting terrorism sailed through the House.

    Being hypersensitive to the tender sensibilities of Palestinians and the “Arab street” has gotten the United States exactly jack over the years (unless you count dead ambassadors). Let the Arab street rage and boil over Jerusalem this week. Next week it will be something else. And the week after. And the week after. And the week after.

    Israel Hits Iranian Base in Syria, World Shrugs

    Monday, December 4th, 2017

    Remember how every time Israel committed an act of self-defense, a chattering array of The Usual Suspects would freakout and accuse Israel of “risking war,” “escalating tensions,” “derailing the peace process,” or whatever standard platitudes the global political establishment use to make anytime Israel did something other than pretend to make nice with those Arabs trying to kill them?

    Those days appear to be over.

    In a follow-up to last week’s story about Israel threatening to hit Iranian bases in Syria, guess what happened? Israel hit an Iranian base in Syria.

    Israeli warplanes attacked an Iranian military base near the Syrian city of ​​Al-Kiswah early Saturday morning, according to Sky News Arabia and other Arab media outlets. The construction of the base, which was the target of the airstrike, began last year and had accelerated in recent months.

    According to the reports, the Israeli fighter jets fired from Lebanese airspace and the Syrian defense systems responded by firing anti-aircraft missiles. It was also reported that the Syrian missiles were fired from Damascus’ Mezzeh base and that the Israeli aircraft were flying at a low altitude above the Lebanese city of Baalbek. Media outlets affiliated with the Syrian regime confirmed that several missiles were fired at the Iranian base, which was apparently used for storing ammunition.

    Israel has an extraordinarily good air force, and they usually hit what they aim at. And like most Middle East operations since the U.S. withdraw from Iraq in 2011, reporting is so sparse that it’s hard to judge how successful the operation was.

    But Israel’s latest strike is most notable for all the dogs that didn’t bark after it occurred. This is the sort of story that used to dominate media cycles for a day or two, but this time around, if you blinked, or weren’t scanning Twitter shortly after it happened, you very likely missed it.

    So what’s changed? I can think of two possibilities:

    1. America’s liberal media is so consumed with Trump Derangement Syndrome that they can’t expend the usual time, space and energy on reflective anti-Israel/pro-Arab pieces anymore. Call it Freakout Fatigue.
    2. Maybe all Mohammed bin Salman’s actions in Saudi Arabia has sidelined various royal family factions that were actively bankrolling anti-Israeli agitation among the chattering classes.

    Mark this down as yet another thing that the Trump Administration has changed, though most likely indirectly. Less indirect is the fact that relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel are probably the warmest they’ve been since Israel’s founding (having common enemies will do that for you).

    There appears to be more real reform afoot in the Middle East right now than the “Arab Spring” ever unleashed…

    Israel Threatens to Destroy Iranian Positions Near Its Border

    Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

    If you’re tired of all this Arab-on-Arab fighting, Israel is indicating it may have to do some direct clobbering itself:

    Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida revealed on Sunday that an Israeli source disclosed a promise from Jerusalem to destroy all Iranian facilities within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of Israel’s Golan Heights.

    The source, who remains unnamed, said that during Syrian President Bashar Assad’s surprise visit to Russia last week, Assad gave Russian Premier Vladimir Putin a message for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Damascus will agree to a demilitarized zone of up to 40 kilometers from the border in the Golan Heights as part of a comprehensive agreement between the two countries, but only if Israel does not work to remove Assad’s regime from power.

    The report also claims that Putin then called Netanyahu to relay the message, and that the Israeli prime minister said he would be willing to accept the deal, but that Israel’s goal of eradicating Iran and Hezbollah from the country would remain.

    According to the source, Jerusalem sees Assad as the last president of the Alawite community, indicating that a change of regime in Syria – at least towards a government less-linked to Iran – would be favorable for Israel. The Alawites are a minority Shi’ite community in Syria, and have long been supported by Iran, which seeks to extend its influence from the Gulf across the region to the Mediterranean.

    Here’s your regular reminder that Alawites are Shiite in the same sense that Mormons are Jews.

    The source also commented that after the defeat of the Islamic State, the conflict in Syria would become ”more difficult,” likely pointing towards a vacuum that would be left without the group. Russian, Syrian and Iranian-backed forces have been fighting against ISIS, while also seeking to knock out rebel groups that oppose the current regime. Russia’s stated interests have been in line with Iran’s in wanting to keep Assad in power.

    Israel has participated mostly on the periphery of the war in Syria, responding to fire on the northern border and occasionally bombing positions, including a weapons depot and scientific research center that allegedly produces chemical weapons. Damascus and Jerusalem have exchanged heated remarks as well, with Netanyahu threatening to bomb Assad’s palace, and Syrian officials warning of ”dangerous repercussions” to Israeli strikes on Syrian targets.

    Naturally Hezbollah says it’s perfectly willing to fight if its Iranian masters snap their fingers:

    The head of a large Iranian-backed Iraqi militia that has been fighting in Syria said his group was “fully prepared” to fight Israel if Damascus asked it to.

    Sheikh Akram al-Ka’abi, the leader of Iraq’s Hezbollah al-Nujaba, told the Lebanese news network Al Mayadeen Friday night his group would participate in a Damascus-led attack on Israel’s Golan Heights.

    “We are fully prepared to participate in any war with the Syrian Arab Army to liberate the Golan if the Syrian state agrees or requests so,” Ka’abi said.

    He said this would be done through the militia’s newest branch, the Golan Liberation Brigade, which was formed in March of this year.

    Hezbollah al-Nujaba is reportedly controlled by Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite foreign operations unit, the Qods Force.

    Ka’abi, who controls a reported 10,000 men in Syria, also said his group was prepared to defend the Lebanese terror group and fellow Iranian proxy Hezbollah from any Israeli attack.

    I doubt either Assad or Russia wants to tangle with Israel right now, especially with the Saudi’s making threats and President Donald Trump being both far more pro-Israel (and unpredictable) than the previous occupant of the White House.

    Meanwhile, Israel’s leadership is openly talking of war with Hezbollah and bumping off its leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

    Interesting times…

    LinkSwarm for November 24. 2017

    Friday, November 24th, 2017

    I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy a short LinkSwarm for a short week!

  • “Unsealed court documents reveal that the firm behind the salacious 34-page Trump-Russia Dossier, Fusion GPS, was paid $523,000 by a Russian businessman convicted of tax fraud and money laundering, whose lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was a key figure in the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower arranged by Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone.”
  • Fusion GPS, the DNC and Hillary Clinton sampaign-funded organization behind the fake Trump dossier, has been paying journalists.
  • In this week’s MSM scumbag sexual harasser sweepstakes, both CBS and PBS fire Charlie Rose after sexual harassment accusations from eight different women.
  • And three more accusers just came forward.
  • You know the Arab-Egyptian Peace Treaty signed after the Camp David Accords in 1979? Jimmy Carter did his best to derail it.

    Carter wanted his Geneva talks. He didn’t care that the peace process already begun by Sadat and Begin might lead to peace, Carter wanted his plan or nothing. You see Carter’s vision of a Geneva conference would be run by the U.S. and the USSR, and Israel would be facing the terrorist PLO, and Israel’s neighbors including, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, and Jordan. It would not be a negotiation because when one considers that the Arab countries were Soviet satellites, and the Carter administration’s ideological orientation was anti-Israel it seemed to ensure the conference would be all the participants vs. the Jewish State.

    Thankfully Carter couldn’t stop the approaching peace train. Within days Israeli journalists were allowed into Cairo, breaking a symbolic barrier, and from there the peace process quickly gained momentum.

  • Kevin Williamson examines more of the left’s Manson worship.
  • How congress runs its illegal sexual harassment slush fund out of the public eye.
  • Washington Post reporter Janell Ross helped secret Democratic donor conference “craft liberal economic message without notifying superiors.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Cop killer captured. Update: Authorities have now released the name of the slain officer, which was Damon Allen.
  • “California State Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) announced Tuesday that he will resign next year after six women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances.”
  • Want to download Skype in China? Tough.
  • Brooklyn College doesn’t want police using campus bathrooms.” Because snowflakes must make painfully clear that the people who keep them safe are beneath them…
  • Can a Ketogeneic (low-carb) diet cure diabetes? Evidence suggests a firm maybe.
  • Environmental activist convicted. “A Montana jury found Leonard Higgins of Portland, Oregon, guilty of criminal mischief and trespassing. Higgins could face up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine on the felony criminal mischief charge.” (Hat tip: Steve Malloy’s Twitter feed.)
  • Florida Woman Pro Tip: If you’re going to rob a bank, it’s best to rob one you didn’t formerly work at.
  • Larry Correia spells out exactly what writers “owe” their fans on unfinished series installments: namely “Jack” and “Squat.”
  • As A Male Feminist, I Really Think I’d Absolutely Crush It If I Ever Had To Publicly Apologize For Sexual Misconduct.” Heh: “I’d use the word ‘apologize’ and say ‘I’m sorry.’ I’d check off all the boxes that feminist Twitter looks for in an airtight apology, and I’d continue expressing remorse in the ensuing weeks to wow the world with the magnitude of my self-reproach.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Rama?
  • LinkSwarm for September 8, 2017

    Friday, September 8th, 2017

    It would be swell if I could stop leading the LinkSwarm off with hurricane-related news, but Irma is now a class five hurricane headed straight at Florida. If you’re in any evacuation zones, heed authorities, as this does not look like a storm you want to ride out in place unless you have to. Hsoi’s preparedness checklist is also a good thing to go over earlier rather than later.

  • One reason President Donald Trump had to act on DACA: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other states were threatening to sue to end Obama unconstitutional backdoor amnesty program.
  • “¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Obama lawyer who worked on DACA admits it’s probably unconstitutional.” And yes, the ASCII Shrugging Emoji is actually in the headline, so it just wouldn’t have felt honest to leave it out…
  • “Trump’s Crackdown on Illegal Aliens is Driving Wage-Growth in US Construction Industry by up to 30%.” In other news: Basic economics have not been repealed by liberal talking points. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Congress passes hurricane relief bill and debt ceiling hike. Both John Cornyn and Ted Cruz voted in favor of the bill. I haven’t read the bill, but I’m hoping it’s less stuffed with pork than the Sandy bill.
  • J.J. Watt’s Hurricane Harvey flood relief fundraiser hits $29 million.
  • What it takes to keep HEB stores up and running after a hurricane.

    One of my stores, we had 300 employees; 140 of them were displaced by the flooding. So how do you put your store back together quickly? We asked for volunteers in the rest of the company. We brought over 2,000 partners from Austin, San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley. They hopped into cars and they just drove to Houston. They said, we’re here to help. It’s shitty work. For 18 hours a day, they’re going to help us restock and then they’ll go sleep on the couch at somebody’s house.

  • The bribery trial for New jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez gets under way.
  • “It Appears That Out-of-State Voters Changed the Outcome of the New Hampshire U.S. Senate Race.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Why Israel had to bomb Syria’s chemical weapons complex. For one thing, it looks like Iran, Assad and Hezbollah will all emerge strengthened from the Syrian civil war…
  • Speaking of Iran, they’re amassing new weaponry. “While all eyes are on North Korea, Iran is advancing its weapons technology. The country recently tested and announced the success of their new Bavar 373 long range, mobile, anti-missile defense system. Everything in the system is manufactured in Iran; it requires no support from outside sources.” However, since Iran has (to my knowledge) no wafer fabrication plants to produce integrated circuits, this statement is almost certainly false, at least as far as electronics goes. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “Bulgaria is projected to have the fastest-shrinking population in the world.” I suspect this is a combination of communism (and its aftermath) sucking, of it wrecking disproportionately more damage on backward, mostly rural countries, and of the general trend in Europe toward a modern, unchurched, welfare state society, with its attendant population decline.
  • Betty DeVos vows to dismantle the Obama-era campus kangaroo rape courts. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Twitter Bans Activist Mommy for Tweeting Her Dislike of Teen Vogue’s Anal Sex Guide.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • This is disappointing.
  • Texans handled Harvey better than Louisianans handled Katrina because both their governments and societies are more functional.
  • Another day, another fake hate crime. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • The American Railway union was founded on segregation. “George Pullman famously hired African Americans to work for him. Eugene Debs infamously did not allow African Americans to join his union striking against Pullman’s company.”
  • Al Gore’s new book being outsold by scientist’s book debunking Al Gore.
  • I laughed.
  • Israeli Strike On Syrian Chemical Weapons Facility Confirmed

    Thursday, September 7th, 2017

    Looks like we have confirmation of Israel’s strike on the Masyaf chemical weapons facility:

    The Syrian army says Israeli jets have attacked a site in the west of the country where Western powers suspect chemical weapons are being produced.

    An army statement says rockets fired from Lebanese airspace hit a military post near Masyaf, killing two soldiers.

    A monitoring group says they struck a scientific research centre and base storing surface-to-surface missiles.

    Israel, which has carried out clandestine attacks on weapons sites in Syria before, has not commented.

    The attack comes a day after UN human rights investigators said they had concluded a Syrian Air Force jet had dropped a bomb containing the nerve agent Sarin on a rebel-held town in April, killing at least 83 people.

    Funny how Israel is far more willing to enforce Obama’s chemical weapons “redline” in Syria than Obama ever was…