Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

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 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?
  • Middle East News Roundup for 11/19/17

    Sunday, November 19th, 2017

    Want to know what’s happening in the Middle East and why?

    Ha! Good luck with that.

    But this roundup will should at least elevate you to a slightly higher level of informed incomprehension.

  • Syrian Army takes Abu Kammal again.

    The Syrian army and its allies took complete control over Albu Kamal, Islamic State’s last significant town in Syria, a military news service run by Hezbollah said on Sunday.

    The army had declared victory over Islamic State in Albu Kamal earlier this month but the jihadists then staged a counter-attack using sleeper cells hidden in the town.

  • What’s going on in Lebanon? Even Michael Totten doesn’t seem to know.
  • Saudi Arabia and its allies are meeting in Cairo to talk about what to do about Iran, Lebanon and Hezbollah. “The emergency Arab foreign ministers meeting was convened at the request of Saudi Arabia with support from the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait to discuss means of confronting Iranian intervention, Egypt’s state news agency MENA said.”
  • “The Trump administration said Friday it will shut down the Palestinian Liberation Office (PLO) in Washington, D.C., unless the Palestinians get serious about peace talks with Israel.”
  • Iraqi Kurds are backing down off their demands for independence.
  • No link, but suddenly the entire Washington MSM seems to be wringing their hands about the Saudi blockage of Yemen in precisely the way they weren’t when Iran was destabilizing the country with a proxy war the last three years.
  • Confused? You probably will be, even after this week’s episode of Soap

    Russian Ambassador to Turkey Shot Dead

    Monday, December 19th, 2016

    This could be what people call “a pretty big deal“:

    The Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, has been badly wounded in an armed assault in Ankara according to Turkish press. According to CNN Turk man opened fire in the air then fired twice at the ambassador, who was shot in the back. It is reported that police is still exchanging fire with the attacker.

    The attack took place at the opening of the “Russia through Turks’ eyes” photo exhibition, Turkish NTV news channel reports, and adds that there is information that three other people are injured.

    Karlov was immediately rushed to a hospital after the assault, according to Turkish media. The ambassador is reported to be in a critical state.

    Russian Embassy in Ankara has not issued an official statement concerning the assault yet. However, soon after the news emerged, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russian Foreign Ministry would soon issue a statement. The attack comes just a day before Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s planned visit to Moscow for Syria talks with his Russian and Iranian counterparts.

    No word yet on who is responsible for the attack. The Islamic State’s a good candidate, but if the Turkish government announces the PKK was behind it, there’s a 99% chance it’s a false flag operation.

    Let’s hope it’s not a “Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo” big deal…

    Update: The attacker evidently shouted “Allah Akbar” during the attack which is far more Islamic State than PKK.

    Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored photo exhibition in the capital when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted “Allahu Akbar” and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience. The attacker also said some words in Russian and smashed several of the photos hung for the exhibition.

    CNN Turk reported that the gunman entered the gallery with a police ID and opened fire on the ambassador as he made a speech. CNN Turk is reporting that a brief hostage situation has ended after special forces entered the building, adding that Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu is at the scene.

    Haaretz also offers this photo of the attacker:

    More Russian looking than Middle Eastern, and a bit on the light-skinned side for a Chechen.

    Update 2: The Russian ambassador has died. Not the sort of things those cheerful, forgiving, happy-go-lucky sorts in the Kremlin are inclined to sweep under the rug…

    Update 3: “Turkish security officials identified the attacker as Mert Altıntas, who had graduated from İzmir Rüştü Ünsal Police Academy in 2014.” Also: “He said something about ‘Aleppo’ and ‘revenge’.”

    Update 4: Holy fark! Footage of the shooting:

    Update 5: Evidently assassin Mert Altıntas has himself been slain. Graphic-ish pics in Tweet that follows:

    Update 6: Turkey’s Foreign minister is flying to Moscow of Syria talks. Meanwhile, Russian capo Vladimir Putin isn’t sounding overly belligerent over the assassinations. “This murder is clearly a provocation aimed at undermining the improvement and normalization of Russian-Turkish relations, as well as undermining the peace process in Syria promoted by Russia, Turkey, Iran and other countries interested in settling the conflict in Syria.” Notably absent from Putin’s statement: the phrases “Casus belli,” “glass parking lot” and “sew the earth with salt.”

    Aleppo Falls

    Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

    The Syrian city of Aleppo has fallen to pro-Assad forces. This was an all-but-inevitable result, given the Russian airpower backing Bashar Assad and the disorganized nature of the opposing forces and the desultory backing those forces received from the likes of Saudi Arabia and, intermittently, a feckless Obama Administration.

    The reduction of Aleppo had all the hallmarks of modern urban siege warfare: grinding, bloody and merciless. (Having advisors from a military with extensive institutional experience with it (Stalingrad, Grozny) probably helped Assad.) Many western observers wailed about the horror of it, evidently unaware either than this is the way modern urban warfare is fought, or that Bashar Assad’s father Hafez was every bit as ruthless in destroying Hama in 1982 as his son was in the investment of Aleppo. Endless heart-tugging pictures of bloody children aren’t going to change the ruthless nature of Middle East conflict, nor obscure the fact that America had no good options in Syria. Remember, there were no good sides in the Syrian civil war, and no faction worth backing.

    The wider Syrian civil war still grinds on, as does the war against the Islamic State and the wider Sunni-Shia conflict (never mind that Alawites are about as Shia as Lutherans are Jewish). If Obama’s goal was to engender a Sunni-Shia civil war throughout the Middle East (and there’s a grimly Machiavellian case to be made that this might be in the best long-term interests of the United States), he’s done a bang-up job. Otherwise Obama’s policy there (like the rest of the world) has been an unmitigated disaster. Foes like Iran and Russia feel contempt for us, while erstwhile allies like the Saudis (who are, indeed, scumbags, though preferable to whatever nightmare Islamic caliphate would replace them were they to fall) no longer trust us. (And indeed, have even less reason to do so now that Obama has cut off precision munitions sales to them over targeting policy in Yemen, a position both irrationally petulant and deeply ineffectual.)

    Those worried about the effect Donald Trump’s inexperience might have on our Middle East policy needn’t. How could he do worse?

    Obama’s Israeli Ambassador Encouraged Palestinian Uprising

    Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

    Hey, what’s encouraging a few dead Palestinians and Israelis when Thomas Pickering has a peace process to pursue?

    Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton considered a secret plan created by her then-advisers to foment unrest among Palestinian citizens and spark protests in order to push the Israeli government back to the negotiating table, according to emails released as part of the investigation into the Democratic presidential frontrunner’s private email server.

    In a Dec, 18, 2011, email, former U.S. ambassador to Israel Thomas Pickering suggested that Clinton consider a plan to restart then-stalled peace negotiations by kickstarting Palestinian demonstrations against Israel.

    Pickering described the effort as a potential “game changer in the region,” recommending that the United States undertake a clandestine campaign to generate unrest. Clinton requested that his email be printed.

    “What will change the situation is a major effort to use non-violent protests and demonstrations to put peace back in the center of people’s aspirations as well as their thoughts, and use that to influence the political leadership,” Pickering wrote.

    Right. Because “Palestinian” and “peaceful protest” so frequently walk hand-in-hand together along the boulevard, enjoying the sun. Remember all that jolly fun in those peaceful protests of the Second Intifada, when some 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis died?

    And nothing says “trustworthy ally” quite like trying to foment unrest in your ally’s country for political advantage. And not political advantage to the United States, since treaties signed by Palestinians are demonstrably worthless, and the “Middle East Peace Process” is all process and no peace. No, the only entities to benefit from such a treaty would the egos of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Thomas Pickering and other delusional leftists to whom any Middle East treaty is a good treaty, no matter how quickly broken or how disadvantageous to ourselves or our allies.

    It’s still another example of how the Obama Administration prioritizes vainglorious fantasy over the harsh realities of the Middle East, and the self interest of the Democratic Party over the self interest of both Israel and the United States. And of how Obama has turned the respect of our allies and fear from our enemies into contempt from both.

    Do You Know More Foreign Policy Than Donald Trump? Take This Quiz

    Saturday, September 5th, 2015

    I got six of six. And anyone who doesn’t know who the Kurds are since no later than 1991 shouldn’t be President…

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)

    Why Did Obama Back Jihadists in Syria?

    Monday, August 10th, 2015

    This piece in Foreign Policy Journal is certainly eye-opening:

    In Al Jazeera’s latest Head to Head episode, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn confirms to Mehdi Hasan that not only had he studied the DIA memo predicting the West’s backing of an Islamic State in Syria when it came across his desk in 2012, but even asserts that the White House’s sponsoring of radical jihadists (that would emerge as ISIL and Nusra) against the Syrian regime was “a willful decision.” [Lengthy discussion of the DIA memo begins at the 8:50 mark.]

    Amazingly, Flynn actually took issue with the way interviewer Mehdi Hasan posed the question—Flynn seemed to want to make it clear that the policies that led to the rise of ISIL were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making:

    Hasan: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?

    Flynn: I think the administration.

    Hasan: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?

    Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.

    Hasan: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?

    Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.

    The deeply puzzling thing about Obama’s Middle East policy is it’s sheer incoherence (except, of course, his unwavering dislike of Israel). His fixation on taking out Bashar Assad (a bad actor, to be sure, but not in the same league as the Iranian Mullahs who back Assad, and who Obama evidently has no qualms negotiating with) makes no strategic sense. In light of the above, he’s evidently funding the Islamic State in Syria, fighting it (in the most desultory manner possible) in Iraq, giving in to Iran on nuclear weapons, alienating allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, and has no discernible policy for a post-Morsi Egypt. Obama’s moves only make sense if he wants to promote a Sunni/Shia civil war, or as Obama’s personal fits of pique where he feels slighted. (Screw Syria for ignoring his red lines. Screw Israel for daring to reelect Netanyahu. Screw Iraq for Bush succeeding.)

    The only certainty about Obama’s foreign policy is that future administrations will be dealing with the repercussions from his feckless, aimless foreign policy for decades to come.

    (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)

    LinkSwarm for July 24, 2015

    Friday, July 24th, 2015

    Today will be full of Stuff. And Things. So enjoy a LinkSwarm!

  • Barack Obama, the MegaBanker’s friend. “Three top Democrats are accusing the Department of Housing and Urban Development of quietly removing a key clause in its requirements for taxpayer-guaranteed mortgage insurance in order to spare two banks recently convicted of federal crimes from being frozen out of the lucrative market.”
  • Companies that continue to fund Planned Parenthood. I believe the American Cancer Society should come in for a particularly hard time for sponsoring an event called “The Race For Life”…
  • And those same companies are scurrying for cover now that the lights have been flipped on.
  • On the New York Times running interference for Planned Parenthood. Which should surprise no one. Of course one branch of the Democratic Party will always defend another.
  • Five examples of that voting fraud Democrats swear doesn’t exist from 2015.
  • 93% unionized A&P supermarket chain files for bankruptcy. Again. Gee, what could be the cause?
  • Republicans chastise their extremists, Democrats pander to them.
  • Salman Rushdie says the world learned the wrong lesson from his fatwa. Namely to cower down in the face of jihad and really lick boot… (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Not just Israel: Border walls are going up all across the Middle East to help keep out jihadists. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • How Uber is taking on Bull De Blasio. Man, Democrats hate it when you threaten the profits of their favored entrenched monopolies.
  • Return to the joyous heydays of lesbian feminists collective. “Sitting in endless meetings, unable to reach agreements, and taking days to produce one leaflet because someone objected to the word seminal.” Can’t imagine why they didn’t take the world by storm…
  • All the people who should sue Gawker. It’s a lengthy list. Plus this: “Gawker is the kind of place where they hold up pictures of Sabrina Erdely and say: ‘Now this is how you do it!”
  • Guns don’t kill people, Austin policemen bumping off their 7-month pregnant girlfriends kill people. Allegedly.
  • Sorry Instapundit, but I read this piece and I instantly think Grizzly Man 2.