Tag Archives: Obama

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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The screws turn a notch, but nobody’s crying “uncle.”

In an earlier post I noted one subtle indication from Washington that the US may not veto the expected UN bid for statehood by terrorist party Fatah (Palestinian Authority) next month.

Now comes another hint from the Obama administration, not quite so subtle, but still not as blatant as it could yet become. (Not-so-cleverly hidden, by the way, in comments regarding last year’s flotilla incident.)

And PM Netanyahu just says no.

It’s slowly coming to a head-on between superpowers. (Yes, Israel is a superpower, albeit tiny in geography and population. Something to do with the backing they have from the Super Power, imho.)

Baby, it ain’t over!

Watch with me.

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Obama is still driving blind, and still thinks he owns the freeway.

US President Barack Obama was blindsided by the “Arab Spring” revolts as much as anyone else was, yet somehow he acts like he is on top of it all, and like he knows how he can use the events to his advantage. Why is that?

Short answer: he’s a megalomaniac, as became horribly apparent even during his election campaign. (Or if that is too wild a term, compare his behavior with the DSM-IV definition of narcissistic personality disorder, aka NPD.)

I don’t know of anyone, world leader or otherwise, who claims to have foreseen the past four months’ tumult in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, or Syria. There are some now who offer ideas as to where it’s all going, and I can’t say I’m in a position to evaluate the various scenarios being set forth, but neither do I for one minute believe that President Obama has any more of a clue than my next door neighbor.

Benjamin-Netanyahu-to-address-joint-session-320x206 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address the US Congress next week, and there is pretty much nothing that Netanyahu can do that Obama will like. So Obama is doing the best he thinks he can by trying to get in a speech of his own before Bibi can get to the podium. From what I’m reading currently, Obama plans to praise the Arab uprisings (as if they’re one unified movement, which they certainly are not), and perhaps somehow morph that into an admonition to Israel that it had better surrender to its enemies while it still has a chance to do so.

Dear Mr. President, you had nothing to do with the Arab movements, and you certainly don’t control them, so what makes you think you can use them as leverage against Israel? And anyway, haven’t you heard that in a war of words, it’s to one’s strategic advantage to speak last? So why do you want to go first?

Narcissus_Caravaggio_Crop_Wikipedia The only rational explanation that comes to mind is that the President of the United States is indeed afflicted with NPD. That’s anything but comforting to me as an American, but somehow we’ve survived the first two years of his rule, so maybe we just need to hang on.

(Added note: I’ve expressed a few times privately since the 2008 election the hope that, if push comes to shove, our top military brass will somehow find a way to avoid implementing an order from the Commander-in-Chief which would clearly destroy the nation.  We may have seen something close to that with the recent hit on Osama Bin Laden. An unnamed White House insider reports that Leon Panetta, Robert Gates, and Hillary Clinton were successfully able to overcome Obama’s unwillingness to authorize the hit, by staging what the source has called a “temporary coup.” That’s a pretty fantastic claim, but the beauty of it is that it makes the three look pretty good in the eyes of the American people, and that Obama doesn’t dare punish them, since that exposes his unwillingness to defend this country against its former public enemy #1. Maybe he has a lick of sense after all. Of course, he could use a good deal more than a lick, or even two, but there’s always hope. TTYL – lineman.)

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Why don’t we just call it “IDS” – ?

For “Israel Derangement Syndrome.” I addressed this issue last month, and last year before that, but I keep running across more explanations for this bizarre affliction.

The latest is suggested on page 119 of a marvelous book by the late Abraham Joshua Heschel titled Israel : An Echo of Eternity. Rabbi Heschel points out that Israel is the setting for, and focal point of, the most momentous encounters in human history. I’m not sure why, but I think this makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Odd, isn’t it?

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time_cover_sep2010 Also odd was the way Time magazine jumped on the anti-Semitic bandwagon a little over a week ago. I’m a little late in addressing this, but Time’s statements were so off the wall, it was hard to think they could be taken seriously. What was I thinking!? The world (or that part of the world—not everyone is like that, I gladly acknowledge) which loves to hate Israel will of course jump on any opportunity to distort the truth, no matter how absurd the distortion. Having said that, I couldn’t help but notice a small article in Israel National News pointing out that the Time writer admitted he was wrong, after receiving a tour of the areas he’d thought were the setting for Israel’s wrongdoing. He admitted it to the Israelis, anyway; there has yet been no sign of an apology or retraction in the more widely read magazine.

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story.robinad On another interesting note, it is reported that Barack Obama—wonder of wonders—actually admonished Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN this week. Granted, the subject of the admonition wasn’t Israel, but still it’s progress. Then again, it’s been suggested that the true motivation for the sudden appearance of a backbone has more to do with trying to make his administration look a little better for the sake of the upcoming elections. He stands to lose quite a large chunk of his Democratic congress, and many of the congressmen he’d like so desperately to keep are trying to downplay their connection to him. “Please, Mr. President, don’t campaign for me. That’s OK – thanks, but no thanks…”

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Then again, when he doesn’t think so many people are watching, he doesn’t mind sending ‘shovels full’ of US tax dollars straight into the hands of Hamas.

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And here’s one more intriguing development on the global scene: Iran’s computer infrastructure has been hit this week by extremely sophisticated malware.  It seems that someone has put in place remotely operated software capable perhaps of running Iran’s (nuclear?) power plants from outside the country. Which also means of course that whoever is doing this has also the capability of shutting down said power plants. And experts are also saying that the level of sophistication is so great that it would take a foreign nation to be able to come up with something like this; it would be too much for a private group or individual. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Israel? Oh, don’t be silly! Then again, why is it only Iran that is (so far) being targeted? I really don’t think Ambassador Bolton could have known about this when he issued his famous warning last month. I sure didn’t! We’ll see what happens…

lineman

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As the world burns…

The reference to burning has to do with the recent revelation that Hamas has been shooting phosphorous bombs into Israel. Remember the big hullabaloo the world made over Israel’s use of phosphorous during Operation Cast Lead? Never mind that it was later established upon investigation that Israel was not directing phosphorous weapons at enemy combatants, let alone civilians–where is the world outrage at Hamas deliberately targeting civilian populations with this stuff?

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One of the reasons I haven’t posted much lately is that I’ve been waiting for some definite outcome from the ongoing face to face talks between PM Netanyahu and PA President Abbas, and trying to make head or tails out of it all. Is Netanyahu giving away the store, or just being cagey, or what? An interesting piece in Haaretz this week takes the caginess tack, and seems to be saying that any good world leader will follow just such a strategy. So is he, or isn’t he? I frankly don’t know. I’d like to think he knows what he’s doing, but some of my sources closer to the ground aren’t seeing it that way.

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Hillary_and_Bibi_The_Happy_Couple_Ynet On the giving-away-the-store side is this troubling report in Ynet. Is the PM honestly considering releasing more terrorists, and extending the construction freeze, and ceding territory in some vain hope of getting the Arabs to come along nicely? Is the US holding some leverage we don’t know about? A surprising item in Arutz7 about a sudden visit to Washington (one Tweeter said something about Obama saying “fetch”) could be seen as further submission to American arm-twisting. I still hope not; one of my sources said simply that Netanyahu is “smoking out” the opposition. I still don’t know—let me know if you do, would you?

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John_Holdren_Wikiped And one more thing to leave you wondering, though it’s not directly tied in to the Middle Eastern Mess: do you remember John Holdren, President Barack Obama’s “Science Czar?” As I had written about earlier, he’s the one who was advocating forced abortions, among other things, in the interest of the greater good. Now we read about a recent interview in which he reiterated another one of his odd beliefs: the need for “a massive campaign …to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States.”

De-develop!? Now what do you think that means? This time, don’t tell me—I don’t really want to know.

See y’all around, Good Lord willing, and if our government doesn’t escort us gently back to the stone age any time soon.

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Back from the South 40 for a few 140s

LAF_Sniper_view It’s been a busy week, for sure. I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks, and it looks like the world got a little impatient without me.  OK,  it doesn’t have anything to do with me, but somebody sure got impatient.

The Lebanese army apparently became particularly impatient to score. The biggest news item out of the Middle East this week was the sniper attack by the LAF on a brush clearing operation of the IDF. You can read the details here, as well as other places, but the upshot is that at least one LAF sniper took well-aimed potshots at two IDF officers, killing one & severely wounding the other.

Plenty of better armed bloggers than I have posted on this, so I’ll just mention it here in passing that somehow the nations of the world forgot to scream at Lebanon in outrage, as they surely would have screamed at Israel for a much lesser infraction, had it been the other way around.

At least the UN representative did give a surprisingly honest statement.

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One of the odder aspects of the incident is the possibility that, astounding as it sounds, anti-Israel news media had reps in place to oversee the operation. Not to mention they of course misrepresented the facts in their initial reporting. Maybe they’re so accustomed to fooling the world, that they figured it would be just another piece of cake to do it again. Maybe the world is catching on—that would be great, wouldn’t it?

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As I’ve mentioned before, the idea behind this “140s” post category was the wonderfully rapid fire way that information travels over Twitter. One of the oddities of Twitter is that sometimes little flame wars break out, or short of that, people begin to follow each other not in a friendly way, but in order to snipe at another tweeter.

Something like that came my way a few days ago: I had the honor of being “listed” as one of the enemy by an anti-Israel site. Wondering who else I shared the honor with, I found an interesting essay on the Palestinian Authority’s own version of apartheid, and how it involves ethnic cleansing (of Jews, naturally).

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Another intriguing analysis that turned up on Twitter is an essay published in American Spectator speculating that Barack Obama’s apparent need to please the Arab world stems from early childhood rejection issues. And that these issues may eventually lead to a US attack on Iran. I’m not saying (not right here anyway) whether taking military initiative against the Iranian nuclear threat is or isn’t a serious consideration at this point, but it is a matter of grave concern that the reasons may have more to do with our president’s aberrant psychological needs than with matters of, oh, say, national security.

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Way over on the opposite end of the spectrum of gravity (so to speak) is the latest news of – get this – Arabs placing fake graves in a Jerusalem neighborhood. It had something to do with laying false claim to property that wasn’t theirs, if I’m understanding it correctly. Fortunately, due to alert action by Arutz7 news, the local authorities found out about it and laid the whole matter to rest. Hopefully. Should we stay tuned on this one?

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A smattering of 140s

Rahm_und_Bibi_Ynet Last week I wrote that so far there didn’t appear to be much substance coming out of Israeli PM Netanyahu’s latest visit to the White House.  Of course, since then there has been ample opportunity for the greatest and the least of pundits and prognosticators to weigh in on the matter. The upshot still seems to be that it was all a jolly good show, but that’s about all.  I’ve seen a few glass-half-empty analyses, and some glass-half-full ones, but the overall consensus appears to be that the whole meeting was about Obama trying to look a little more supportive of America’s only real democratic ally in the Middle East than he has been up to now. A sensible move on his part, realizing both what a miserable failure his policy has been up to this point, and how little domestic support he has in it. Of all the comments I’ve read on the subject this week, I find Barry Rubin’s to have been the most insightful.

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Meanwhile Obama thought he’d try to increase his PR leverage a little by giving an interview on Israel TV. A good idea I suppose, but I can hardly believe a couple of the racist, ill-informed statements he made. I’m still shaking my head.

He seems to think that if there is any “suspicion” of his motives on the part of Israel or American Jews,

some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein.

Nothing to do with anything he’s said. Or with anything he’s done. No, of course not. Just his middle name. Never mind that, as the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs points out, 

More than 76 percent of the Jewish electorate VOTED for him.

And — they should all know he loves Jews because some of his best friends are Jewish; he even has some on staff.

obama-emperor1 There was a very brief time during the sixties when that type of statement wasn’t immediately perceived as the racist sentiment it is (albeit perhaps subconsciously). Oh, but this is the “post racial” presidency… I’m beginning to wonder if he’s really stupid enough to believe that, or just thinks we’re that stupid.

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On a lighter note (depending on how you view it), The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs relates an interview with another Gaza merchant who has become quite wealthy trading in household goods regularly smuggled in through those ubiquitous tunnels. That in itself is not surprising. (In case you weren’t aware of the high level of prosperity ‘suffered’ by the Gazans under the Israeli blockade, check this out.) What I found amusing is that this is yet another complaint of an illicit business being cut into by the abundance of cheaper, better quality goods coming in directly from Israel these past few weeks. Maybe we’re just killing them with kindness?

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Another world-is-upside-down reading coming out last week was that, since Israel is allowing more Palestinian newspapers into Gaza, Hamas feels the need to set up their own blockade of sorts, keeping their own countrymen’s information out.

‘Cutting off their nose to spite their face,’ as the saying goes, seems to be business as usual for these folks. Kind of like when they rejected all that so badly needed “humanitarian aid” Israel allowed in from the blockade runners after they’d been brought into port and offloaded. Maybe the Israelis have cooties or something.

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QDaffy_Flag_Banner_via_AP_JPost Speaking of the flotillas, as of this writing the latest grandstanding effort is a Libyan ship due to be intercepted some time tonight or early tomorrow, having (of course) refused instructions to divert to an Egyptian port. A peaceful, humanitarian ship, doubtless, just like all the others, in spite of at least one of its crew members “having said Muslims ‘love martyrdom,’ and highlighting Libya’s long ties to terrorism,” according to Jerusalem Post.

We’ll likely know by tomorrow.

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