Category Archives: News snippets

They say that life is what happens while you’re making other plans; I say that stuff is what happens while you’re just trying to live your life.

I might suppose that I owe my readers an apology for not having posted for over six months, but one thing about anonymous blogging is that you don’t really have a relationship with your readers, and apologies are for relationships.

But in case I’m wrong about that, I do apologize, and I’ll just say that a lot of stuff has come between me and blogging since last March. Nothing to write home about—just stuff.

But by the same token, it hasn’t seemed to me that there has been much new stuff going on with regard to Israel and its relations with the world, which is what I write about here. Not that there hasn’t been anything going on—just nothing strikingly new.

But maybe it’s all right to just keep reminding the world of what is going on.

The official IDF blog says that September was a busy month, with the usual rocket attacks and cross-border raids. But what nation should be expected to regard these kinds of things as normal?!

World media continue to do stupid little things like trying to deny Israel the right to designate its own Capital. And even the Democratic Party of the United States got in on the act last month, though I now read that they’ve reconsidered their inanity.

The big news this past week has been of course Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s UN speech, replete with a cartoon drawing of a bomb, as if to drive home the point that the world (or at least the UN) needs to be addressed at a level of less than adult intelligence in order to get the point across that Iran must be stopped. By way of contrast, the UN tirade by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas served mostly to call attention to his increasing irrelevance.

Also increasingly irrelevant are the Gaza “flotillas.” The latest one is reportedly somewhere in Italy and appears to be generating not much more than a collective yawn. Maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself for thinking there hasn’t been much to write about.

On the positive side, my co-laborers in promulgating the truth have continued to publish articles here and there laying out the facts of Mideast life, like this one from Front Page Magazine explaining in great detail why it is a lie to claim that Jewish settlers  are living on land stolen from Palestinian Arabs.

Or check out this video series from Zola Levitt Ministries on eight reasons why you need to support Israel. Yes — you.

 

TTYL.

lineman

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Filed under News snippets, Perspectives

Will they or won’t they? Or when will they? Or will they say?

A friend asked me in passing a few weeks ago, “Well what do you think? A couple of months?” I told him, no, I didn’t think so, not in that short of time, anyway. Neither one of us had to ask the other what the subject was. It was about whether—or more exactly when—Israel would launch a military attack against Iran’s nuclear weapons infrastructure.

There has been a popular impression for quite a while that it has to happen, it will happen, and it could be any time now. I do not have an inside track, and I also tend to be wary of going with the flow. So lately I’ve been on the lookout for information that can fill in some of the missing pieces.

The first clearly presented article I saw as I began to watch for such things laid out several reasons why it was not about to happen just yet, written by Professor Barry Rubin at the beginning of last month. You can (and should) read it for yourself, but the effect it had on my understanding of the situation was that things are not as cut-and-dried as the media would like to think they are. Professor Rubin added some further comments on this just last week.

I’ve seen a few other places where similar observations were presented – that a simplistic view that’s it’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen soon – is just that, simplistic. I’ve been putting off this post, trying to get a more precise handle on this, with more names, dates, & figures, but it’s just too much of a moving target right now. So if my friend were to ask me the same question tomorrow, I’d have the same answer, but that’s just my two cents.

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BHOHeadCrop05March2012So I suppose you could say it was a safe for US President Obama to talk tough in his address to AIPAC on Sunday. Since nothing was going to happen any time soon, he had plenty of room (comparing himself to Teddy Roosevelt) to “carry a big stick.”

But—ah, well!—talk is all it was. Cheap talk, at that. And so transparently dishonest that I take comfort in being certain that the AIPAC delegates saw through it well enough. And that, by the same token, the gracious reception given the speech by Israel President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu will be seen in the proper light. (As someone put it, “just doing their job.”)

I don’t mean to overwork Professor Rubin, but I’ll cite him again here as having written the clearest analysis of the speech that I’ve seen today. He titled his post, “Promise her anything but give her Arpege.” I think you get the idea.

As for all the support President Obama claims he has given Israel, take a look at this video from The Emergency Committee for Israel that puts things in a more accurate perspective:

Barack Obama ran for president as a pro-Israel candidate — but his record tells a different story

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In my last two posts I brought up the possibility that some of the more violent setbacks to Iran’s nuclear program may not be accidents or the work of Israeli agents (exclusively, anyway) either one, but clandestine efforts by loyal Iranians opposed to the Ahmadinejad regime.

I’ve seen some further comments along those lines, but one of the more interesting items was a piece in Haaretz saying WikiLeaks had released “intelligence” that Israeli special forces had indeed cooperated with Kurdish fighters inside Iran to destroy one or more nuke sites some time ago.

Lest we get our hopes up too high, we need to remember that just because we see it on the internet doesn’t make it so. Blogger Elder of Ziyon pointed out a few things in a post titled Tempest in a Wikipot that may help us to keep things in perspective.

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homs_CropBack in December I was also looking at the way the Syrian revolt against the Assad regime has become a dividing point between the various Muslim states and factions in the Middle East. So far Assad is still in, and things are not looking good for the rebels. It’s odd that the entire Arab world plus Turkey is lined up against the regime (including now even Al-Qaeda and Hamas) but nothing is moving. Russia and Iran are the only two entities that I’m aware are still behind Assad. It would appear especially that Hamas’ opposition is a radical move, given their position as merely a proxy for Iran. How can they get away with that? They’re cutting their own umbilical cord—or are they? The more I look at the Middle East, and Arab behavior in particular, the more I see that we make a mistake when we try to view things from our Western perspective of democratic principles and national republics.

I read an analysis by Daniel Greenfield this weekend which pointed out that Arab loyalties really are not to nation states nor even yet ideologies, but to the clan. At which point Syria becomes an excellent example of this: right now it’s the Alawite “splinter sect” in the persons of the Assad clan that’s desperately, brutally holding on to power. And if they fall, will we see a free, democratic Syria emerge? Not likely. We really should stop making such an asserted effort to fool ourselves.

LiebermanheadcropcloseAt least one person is taking away an important lesson from all this. Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman points out that the failure of the international community (and of the UN in particular) to protect the victims of state violence in Syria clearly shows Israel’s wisdom in not trusting international promises of such protection as a basis for allowing a(nother) terrorist state hard on its borders.

Nuff said?

TTYL. Lineman.

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Are Iran explosions an ‘inside job?’ (Or did I already say that?)

In my last post I linked to a column by Caroline Glick which laid out some reasoned speculation that the spate of recent explosions at military and military-industrial facilities in Iran may be due, not necessarily to covert operations by Israel or others as widely thought, but to activities by Iranians resistant to the regime.

Not that I want to take one side or another, but I think it’s significant to point out today’s news coming from inside Iran that may corroborate such a viewpoint. Even more striking is the report that those responsible (whether part of the resistance, or perhaps others within the regime seeking to seize power) may include elements of Iran’s military and even the Ayatollah’s own son.

It’s not at all for certain at this point, and tales of intrigue coming out of Iran are nothing new, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on—especially in view of the things Glick had written.

Can you say stay tuned?

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Could recent Iran explosions be an inside job?

In my last post I wondered aloud whether Israel might be behind several recent explosions that appear to have been directed at Iran’s weapons programs. It seemed a rather obvious possibility, barring more precise knowledge.

But then a few days ago someone called my attention to an analysis by columnist Caroline Glick which presents detailed information suggesting the attacks could be internal sabotage by the anti-regime “Green” movement. Now wouldn’t that be something!?

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UN_syrianprotest_RS Meanwhile, it’s hard to keep up with all the shifting alignments in that part of the world occasioned by events blithely referred to as “the Arab Spring.” The biggest sore spot right now appears to be Syria, and it’s not looking like dictator Bashar al-Assad is going to be there much longer. Europe is against him, the US is pretty sure it’s against him, and significantly the Arab League has also turned against him. Even the UN has finally decided the situation there is outright civil war. (Think Libya a few months ago.)

But don’t write him off just yet. Russia has recently given indications via diplomatic statements backed up by military moves that they intend to support the present regime, with muscle if necessary, and Iran (weren’t we just speaking of them?) continues to stick by its old buddy. Russia and Iran are major players, whether we like it or not.

But then there’s also Turkey. You’d think Turkey would look at a map & see it’s not in a good position to simultaneously take on most of its neighbors, but it’s just not that simple in this part of the world. Turkey has been jockeying for prime influence among the Arab states for quite a while now (the Turks knowing full well that they themselves are not Arab) and therefore is acting prudently in seizing an opportunity to squeeze out Iran. I don’t know what it thinks it will do with Russia if push comes to shove, but the two were never buddies in the first place.

Nasrallah_Surfaces_RS And don’t forget Hezbollah. Now there’s an interesting situation. Hezbollah owes its existence to Iran, and its continued well being to Syria, so it can neither afford to buck the trend nor relax in place. And for all its bluster, it still knows it’s the little guy. Simply put, it’s in the hot seat, and can’t do much but talk.

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Now south of the border, down Egypt way, we have another major concern. Last week’s elections have made it clearer than ever that what was not long ago one of the few more-or-less pro-Western states in the Middle East is now heading down hill fast into becoming another Islamist enclave. Kind of like Iran, but Sunni.

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western-asia-topographical_CR So let’s step back and look at the major pieces. In one corner, you have a sort of Russia-Syria-Iran axis (or sickle) going it alone against not only Europe and the US but also against the Arab states in general. But if Syria is taken out of the picture, you have just Russia and Iran. (Forget, for the time being, North Korea and China–I’m trying to keep this simple. And sadly, Lebanon just doesn’t have any say in the matter.) What do they want with each other? Plenty, no doubt, but that has to await another chapter.

You have Turkey all by itself, trying to pretend to be friends with whoever suits its purposes for the moment, but not actually knowing who that is.

You still have a reasonably stable region consisting of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States, who are also for the moment OK with having Turkey for a friend.

Iraq is too busy sorting itself out to have much influence right now, but don’t expect that to last forever.  Yemen is also presently trying to get its bearings, and once it does, it will likely fade back into the recesses of world consciousness.

Lastly (for the sake of this discussion) you have the emerging Islamist states of North Africa—what we’ve been calling Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and which still go by those names, if only because they themselves don’t yet know who they really are.

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So with all this going on, you’d think that nobody would want to bother with itty-bitty non-Arab, non-Muslim, non-Islamist Israel, wouldn’t you?

You’d think.

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Bombs, Bugs, and Brigadiers

Israel is keeping the world on pins & needles wondering if (or more to the point, when) it will take military action against Iran’s nuclear weapons operations. Good! The world deserves it!

Reports have been swirling in the media for a while now that Israel may soon go after Iran’s nuke sites. Israel isn’t saying much, but what they are saying is tantalizing, quite possibly on purpose.

A couple of months ago Mideast authority Professor Barry Rubin posted several reasons why he thinks it’s not likely to happen, but nobody I know really knows, or will say they know.

Since Professor Rubin’s column, the International Atomic Energy Commission released a report saying that—surprise, surprise—Iran may be closer than we think to getting its bomb. But that report doesn’t seem to have changed the strategic situation much, if any–maybe because it isn’t really new information.

Meanwhile the US is a little miffed that Israel might not let us in on it beforehand if they do go. It’s not like we’d actually be a help—especially considering the current US administration’s Islamist associations.

Then again, America is a truly complex entity, so I’m not altogether surprised that we may, in spite of opposite indications, be making our own preparations. This report of the USAF taking delivery of new, more potent “bunker buster” bombs may be taken as one indication of that.

Speaking of which, why would the United Arab Emirates be getting these huge bombs from us also, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, if not for a similar purpose?

Meanwhile one of Iran’s top military officers—said to be behind Iran’s missile program–was killed in a massive explosion over the weekend. Iran officially says it was an accident, but there are some who say Israel did it. You think?

And let’s not forget Duqu, Son of Stuxnet. Iran now admits the new computer virus is bedeviling their computer systems in a way similar to the one that temporarily shut them down last year. They say they have a handle on it, though. Yeah, right.

Given all this, I’m not at all sure Israel can’t keep Iran’s nuclear weapons program at bay without a massive strike. But it’s not up to us, is it? Sometimes all we can do is watch.

Watch with me, will you?

lineman

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Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a cool idea — or better yet, JUST SHUT THE PA DOWN

An alert reader said to me yesterday, “You need to make a lineman post.” Somebody noticed! I haven’t really been away, just watching. And there’s been a lot to watch; here are just a few snippets.

So what’s the “cool idea” in my title? An item in today’s Israel National News quoted the Palestinian Authority “Communications Minister” as claiming Israel was behind a widespread DoS attack directed against PA computers, coming from “more than 20 countries.” (Don’t ask.)

And what justification might I have for yelling that we should just shut the Palestinian Authority down? Well, aside from the obvious benefits to Israel and to world peace, they negated their own legal basis when they applied for UN membership last September. So if the world (and in particular, the UN) were to adhere to international agreements, the PA would be thereby dissolved. So if Israel is sabotaging their computer networks – so what? Just – shut – the – PA – down. Get it?

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foxnews_unesco While we’re on the subject of the UN, the latest circumvention of its own reason for existing (that’s French for raison d’etre) has been to admit the non-existing state of Palestine to UNESCO. At least in this case the US deserves acknowledgement for withdrawing its funding of that non-august entity. You see, it’s not allowed under US law to give money to any UN agency which admits that particular terrorist organization. So the US is abiding by one of its own laws at the risk of incurring the displeasure of the international mob. It’s a start, anyway.

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And oh by the way, how many of us realize that Israel itself has a solid basis, not only in history, but in international law, predating the UN itself by three decades? I’ve mentioned it before, but look again at the San Remo Agreement.

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WJD_israel-air-force_RS And is Israel getting ready for a pre-emptive strike on Iran? More than usual, I mean. Maybe, maybe not, but there have been a slew of media reports to that effect over the past couple of days. Some reports even fantastically suggest the UK may be planning something. Now wouldn’t that be fantastic!? I don’t mean to disappoint, but Barry Rubin gives several good reasons  to take it all with more than a grain of salt.

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And the ships of fools (“flotillas”) keep trickling out of Turkish ports. As always, they represent more noise than substance. This one says they can disprove the Palmer Commission findings on the 2010 flotilla fiasco. Or something like that.

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Now back to the subject of computer attacks—remember Stuxnet? (Did you think I’d never get back to that?) There has been a new computer virus making the rounds that some folks are speculating may be Son-of-Stuxnet. Maybe, maybe not.

There’s a whole lot more happening than I’ve been able to touch on here, but for the moment I have to stop writing go back to watching. TTYL.

lineman

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Abu Mazen’s bizarre imaginings revealed in the mud-splattered walls of the UN General Assembly.

Giyusgirl_AbuMazen_23_Sept_2011_248X198 Did y’all miss that? I’ve been watching quietly for quite a while now, awaiting “Palestinian Authority President” Mahmoud Abbas’ anticipated presentation to the United Nations of a request for full membership in that august body. So the fateful day—looked for as a showdown of sorts by some—came and went last Friday. And–it seems to me at least–it came and went, not with a bang, but a whimper–a whole lot of whimpering, to be honest with y’all. And a lot of whining, and quite a bit of weaseling. 

I just finished reading the Ha’aretz transcript of Abbas’ speech, and I can’t quite bring myself to believe that anyone in their right mind and with the right information could take what he said seriously.

But there’s a saying I’ve heard that sometimes folks will throw mud at the wall to see if some of it sticks. Translation: people will sometimes make outrageous, unbelievable, unjustifiable claims against someone else, and just maybe there will be somebody gullible enough to buy it. Well, it’s true—mud happens.

And right now there are great globs of mud stuck to the walls in the UN.

At first I thought I might try taking Abbas’ diatribe apart lie by lie, but I soon saw that really the whole thing was one big lie. He starts out by making the broad false statement that there actually is a nation called “Palestine”  acknowledged by various existing UN agreements and resolutions, and that he, as the president thereof, is merely coming to solidify the standing of that nation as a full member in the United Nations organization.

There is no such thing as a nation of Palestine, and there never has been. There is an entity known as the “Palestinian Authority”  which is correctly characterized as an “interim administrative body” having limited administrative authority over defined territories which have been successively occupied over the past 100 years by the Turkish Empire followed by the British Mandate for Palestine under the auspices of the League of Nations, followed by military occupations by the Kingdom of Jordan and by Egypt, followed by Israel, but never a Palestinian national entity.

There have been many documents issued by the UN which have addressed matters of conflict between various parties involving Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Israel, Lebanon and other legitimate nations, but never any acknowledging the existence of a Palestinian national entity.

faisal-weizmann-map_RS One point worth noting here is that the standing legal document acknowledged by the UN Charter which establishes legal right to the territories in question was generated in San Remo, Italy in 1920 and specifies that the area being claimed by “the Palestinians” be designated and recognized as the Jewish National Homeland. The group which Abbas claims to represent has absolutely no historical or legal right, under UN agreements or any other stipulation of international law, to the areas they are attempting to usurp.

Oh, and for the extent of Abbas’ legitimate representation, it is correct that he was appointed “president” of the “Palestinian Authority” in 2005—but his term has long since expired.

So you have a charlatan posing as a representative of a “nation” that doesn’t exist coming to the United Nations with a bucket of mud hoping to foist off the fantasy that it’s time for the UN to acknowledge and instate his imaginary domain.

But you know what—the UN is full of gullible leaders of state who want nothing more or better than to do just that. A whole gallery of dignified men and women who are even now gazing at the muddy walls of their institution and admiring the dirt.

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On top of the overreaching falsehood of Abbas’ basic assertion are a few more outrageous claims that are too astounding to let go.

89px-Woman_nakba_dress_jug One is that the whole source of the problems he is (ever so humbly) attempting to correct is what he calls the “Al-Nakba,” or the forced expulsion of the Arabs living in the area in 1948. Well, OK, there was an expulsion of the Arabs, but not by the Jews—it was the Arab leaders themselves who forced their peons (including, apparently, Abbas’ family) to leave. Which fact Abbas himself admitted in 1976(!) The Jews actually entreated the Arabs to stay and help build a new country with them. But we don’t want to look at facts now, do we?

I’d almost be ready to think that Abbas believes his own lies, but he’s just too smug about it.

There’s another term Abbas introduces which is more of an obfuscation than an outright lie. Twice he calls the security fence (which has dramatically reduced terrorist attacks from the territories over which Abbas claims authority) the “annexation wall.” Excuse me, but what is an annexation wall? To annex is to join something to something. A wall separates. So how do you join by separating? Or separate by joining? Or—oh, never mind! Up is down, down is up, right is wrong, wrong is right, mud is truth, in Abbas La-la-land.

By the way, on the topic of annexation, it’s really not a bad idea. There’s even a move currently in US Congress to encourage Israel to consider just that. See Caroline Glick’s cogent comments on the matter here.

But perhaps the biggest, saddest whopper of the day was when Abbas claimed that they (his party Fatah, the competing party Hamas, and who knows what other “peacemaking”—yes, remember up is down–terrorist groups he meant) were just (cough! gag!) “defenseless people, armed only with their dreams, courage, hope and slogans.”

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Giyusgirl_Bibi_23_Sept_201_302X249 Ah, but this brings us to the one bright spot in the whole affair—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s follow up speech. His tone was, as always, conciliatory, continuing to extend Israel’s hand of peace to its mortal enemies (OK, maybe I don’t completely agree with this approach, but I’m not here to argue against it, either), however he also proceeded to address at least a couple of the more blatant falsehoods put forward by Abbas. One of which was the aforementioned denial of anything but peaceful means on the Arabs’ part. The PM graciously acknowledged their “hopes and dreams,” but went on to point out what everyone knows but many are loath to admit, that those dreams are augmented by “10,000 missiles and Grad rockets supplied by Iran, not to mention the river of lethal weapons now flowing into Gaza from the Sinai, from Libya, and from elsewhere.” Way to go, Bibi!

But will a dab of truth clean off the mud? One can hope, but one should not hold one’s breath. An already oft-quoted line in Netanyahu’s speech rightly pegged the UN as “the theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles: Gadhafi’s Libya chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights; Saddam’s Iraq headed the UN Committee on Disarmament [and] …Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the UN Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrusted with guaranteeing the world’s security.”

Look for the mud to stay where it is for a while, and maybe even get smeared around some.

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Thanks as always are due to my friend at GIYUS for her input and photos which I’ve used here. Please read her blog entry, Leaders appear to lose faith – Is there still hope for peace in the Middle East? for some key points I did not take the time to address.

I could have taken a lot more time and space tonight to cover many additional aspects of this event and its ramifications—goodness knows I’ve been skimpy on comments lately—but  for I just now wanted to get across my sense of wonderment at the bald faced audacity of terrorist Yasser Arafat’s successor before the most important body of statesmen and stateswomen in the world.

The world is ‘way down a sad road when it honors men like that in the ways it appears to be doing.

Oh—did I mention that Abbas funded the 1972 Munich massacre and praised it’s perp?

God help us, is all I can say.

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