Israelis fail to secure US guarantees on Iranian threat in Syria

Posted August 23, 2017 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

August 22, 2017

Source: Israelis fail to secure US guarantees on Iranian threat in Syria

IDF forces training in the north. (Barak Chen/IDF Spokesperson Unit)

US officials reportedly refrained from pledging to insist on the the removal of pro-Iranian militias at Israel’s border with Syria. 

Israel remains concerned about Iran’s military buildup in southern Syria, at Israel’s northern border, despite high-level discussions between US and Israeli security officials in Washington last week.

The Israeli delegation that visited Washington included Yossi Cohen, head of Mossad and IDF Military Intelligence. The team, which met with US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, Chief Negotiator Jason Greenblatt and others, was reportedly discouraged by the position taken by the US on Syria.

The delegation was sent to the US to warn against the military deployments by Hezbollah, Iranian forces and the Syrian regime, and to tell the US “exactly what is going on there,” according to officials. Such a military buildup directly threatens Israel.

 Trump Administration’s ‘Lack of Clear Position’

Israeli media reports noted that the delegation shared “sensitive, credible and deeply troubling intelligence,” showing the expanding deployment of pro-Iranian forces in Syria, which estimates put at 500 Iranian army soldiers, 5,000 Hezbollah terrorists and several thousand guerrillas from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

American officials reportedly refrained from pledging to insist on the removal of all pro-Iranian militias from Syria in the ceasefire talks currently underway with Russia. Delegation members noted “a kind of embarrassment and lack of a clear position” among Trump administration officials regarding America’s commitments in Syria and the Middle East.

The Israeli report noted concern that the US could be hamstrung on the Syrian issue due to “the domestic problems President Trump is currently mired in, as well as the crisis with North Korea.”

Netanyahu to Discuss Developments with Putin

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, to discuss developments in the region, according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office.

 Russia is a signatory to the ceasefire agreement signed during the G20 summit in July between the US and Jordan, according to which Moscow is responsible for ensuring that forces under its influence—the Syrian regime, Iran and Iranian proxies—abide by its terms.

The unresolved issues include who would guarantee the arrangements in the de-escalation zones, prevent the entry of Iranian, Hezbollah or Shi’ite militia forces, and monitor the ceasefire, and are expected to be high on the agenda for the Netanyahu-Putin meeting.

“Israel has no objection to a (peace) agreement in Syria, but we are firmly opposed to such an agreement in which Iran and its proxies will be left with a military presence in Syria,” Netanyahu told Putin in May.

Credit: The Tower via BICOM

 

Tillerson to Taliban: ‘We May Not Win,’ ‘But Neither Will You’

Posted August 23, 2017 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

by Pam Key

22 Aug 2017

Source: Tillerson to Taliban: ‘We May Not Win,’ ‘But Neither Will You’ – Breitbart

Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said President Donald Trump’s new strategy in Afghanistan is to make the Taliban negotiate with the understanding that they would not “win a battlefield victory,” adding that, “We may not win one, but neither will you.”

Tillerson said, “I think the president was clear, this entire effort is intended to put pressure on the Taliban to have the Taliban understand you will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you. So at some point, we have to come to the negotiating table and find a way bring this to an end.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

Palestinian Authority Payments to Terrorists Far Exceed Regular Welfare

Posted August 22, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Palestinian heroes in Israeli jails, Palestinian incitement

Tags: ,

Palestinian Authority Payments to Terrorists Far Exceed Regular Welfare, Investigative Project on Terrorism, August 22, 2017

Palestinian terrorists and their families are receiving far higher payments than welfare recipients, according to an analysis of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) budget by The Middle East Media Research Institute.

A family on welfare receives less than $170 per month, while the PA pays Palestinian prisoners a maximum monthly payment of roughly $3,340 – more than 20 times more than a needy Palestinian family. By amending the Palestinian Prisoners Law in 2010, PA President Mahmoud Abbas increased monthly installments from approximately $275-$1,110 per month to $390-$3,340.

Payments to current and former Palestinian prisoners fall under the “fighting sector” category and terrorists’ families receive a “monthly salary,” while poor families receive quarterly “monetary aid.”

The practice triggered a civil lawsuit by American victims of Palestinian terrorism. A jury awarded the victims $210 million in damages, which under law would be tripled. Evidence indicated that payments from the second Palestinian intifada were approvedby then-PA President Yasir Arafat. But an appeals court found the U.S. District Court in New York lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case, wiping out the judgment.

Today, a terrorist’s socioeconomic status is not factored into the salaries. Payments to released prisoners and jailed Palestinians are based on the length of a prison sentence, which is a function of their action’s severity. The more brutal the attack or murder, the more money a Palestinian prisoner gets. Even jailed Israeli Arabs receive terror salaries – almost $140 more than prisoners with PA residency. The detailed PA budget is concrete proof that the Palestinian government systematically incentivizes terrorism through financial compensation.

This comes as a U.S. Senate committee approved legislation earlier this month to suspend aid to the PA until it stops its financial support programs for Palestinian terrorists and their families. The PA budget clearly shows how the PA prioritizes segments of Palestinian society – people who try or succeed in killing Israelis above all else.

In May, President Trump tried to pressure Abbas, his PA counterpart, to end the terrorist payments. A top PA aide called the idea “insane.”

In June, Palestinian sources revealed that Abbas refused another U.S. demand to halt the practice of paying terrorist salaries. Reports in Arabic media, according to The Times of Israel, suggest that an American delegation eventually reduced its demands and insisted that the PA only cut payments to roughly 600 prisoners directly responsible for the Israeli deaths. The day after the meeting, Abbas defended issuing salaries to all Palestinian prisoners and terrorists as a “social responsibility.”

Alan Dershowitz: ‘Violent’ Antifa movement is ‘trying to tear down America’

Posted August 22, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: "Anti-Fascists", Alan Dershowitz, American history, Antifa, Freedom of speech, Racism

Tags: , , , , ,

Alan Dershowitz: ‘Violent’ Antifa movement is ‘trying to tear down America’, Washinton Times, Jessica Chasmar, August 22, 2017

Prominent Harvard law professor and liberal author Alan Dershowitz rebuked the hard left militant movement Antifa on Tuesday, saying liberals need to avoid turning violent leftist factions into heroes. (Fox News)

Prominent Harvard law professor and liberal author Alan Dershowitz rebuked the hard-left militant movement Antifa on Tuesday, saying liberals need to avoid turning violent leftist factions into heroes.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning, Mr. Dershowitz said the movement sweeping the country to take down Confederate-era statues that some find offensive is setting a dangerous precedent.

“Do not glorify the violent people who are now tearing down the statues,” he said. “Many of these people, not all of them, many of these people are trying to tear down America.

“Antifa is a radical anti-American, anti-free market, communist, socialist, hard, hard left censorial organization that tries to stop speakers on campuses from speaking,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “They use violence. And just because they’re opposed to fascism and to some of these monuments shouldn’t make them heroes of the liberals.”

“I’m a liberal, and I think it’s the obligation of liberals to speak out against the hard left radicals just like it’s the obligation of conservatives to speak out against the extremism of the hard right,” he added.

Mr. Dershowitz acknowledged that while some historical monuments are better suited in museums, liberals should avoid becoming Stalinist in trying to erase or revise history.

“We have to use this as an educational moment,” he said. “We have to take some of the statues that were put up more recently, for example, during the Civil Rights Movement and perhaps move them to museums where they can be used to teach young students about how statues are intended sometimes for bad purposes, to glorify negatives and to hold back positive developments.”

“But the idea of willy-nilly going through and doing what Stalin did — just erasing history and re-writing it to serve current purposes — does pose a danger, and it poses a danger of educational malpractice, of missing opportunities to educate people, and of going too far,” he said.

Mr. Dershowitz argued that the movement against Confederate-era statues ignores other discriminated groups in America, like Jews, women, and the Japanese.

“Once you start rewriting history of African Americans in this country, you have to start rewriting history of discrimination against many, many other groups,” he said. “Look, we’re both a nation of immigrants and a nation of discrimination against immigrants. That’s an important history for us to remember.”

Kushner Team Heads to Middle East as Arab Leaders Emphasize ‘No Peace’ Without Palestinian State

Posted August 22, 2017 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

By Ben Cohen/The Algemeiner

Source: Kushner Team Heads to Middle East as Arab Leaders Emphasize ‘No Peace’ Without Palestinian State | United with Israel

Kushner Team Heads to Mideast as Arab Leaders Emphasize ‘No Peace’ without Palestinian State

PM Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and US President Donald Trump (lL) with senior adviser Jared Kushner at the start of their May 22 meeting in Jerusalem. (Kobi Gideon/GPO

The PA foreign minister asserted that the “united Arab position” was that “there will be no peace without the establishment of a Palestinian state within the ’67 borders,” while his Jordanian counterpart said the Americans must understand that “we are not coming up with a new proposal.”

As a high-level negotiating team headed by US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner heads to the Middle East this week, Palestinian and Arab leaders have underlined that they will not consider any solutions that deviate from the 2002 Saudi-backed peace initiative — which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Kushner will arrive in the region on Thursday accompanied by Jason Greenblatt, the administration’s special envoy for international negotiations, and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell. The team will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, before heading to further meetings in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt.

In a joint declaration in advance of the American visit, the Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers, meeting in Cairo, welcomed US involvement in advancing the peace process, but implicitly warned against any flirtation with political solutions that do not involve a separate Palestinian state. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki asserted that the “united Arab position” was that “there will be no peace without the establishment of a Palestinian state within the ’67 borders,” while his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman al-Safadi, said the Americans needed to understand that “we are not coming up with a new proposal.”

Palestinians Disillusioned with Kushner

Behind the scenes, however, Palestinian leaders are said to be increasingly disillusioned with Kushner and his team. In part, this is because of the Trump administration’s tougher stance on the PA’s policy of paying monthly salaries to convicted terrorists and their families — a practice widely regarded as incentivizing terror, at an annual cost of $300 million. After his last meeting with Kushner on June 23, Abbas was reported to have been furious at an American demand that the PA cut the payments to the families of 600 Palestinian terrorists serving life imprisonment sentences in Israeli prisons. Should the forthcoming session of Congress pass the Taylor Force Act — which would severely restrict US aid to the PA until the State Department certifies that it is no longer inciting and funding terrorist violence – the PA’s relationship with Kushner and his team is likely to be further strained.

“If we don’t succeed this time, all the options are Armaggedonist,” the PLO’s Washington representative, Husam Zomlot, told the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National last week.

“For the last three months we have done the talking, the microphone was with us, we explained in detail where we see things going, and now it’s time to listen,” Zomlot said. He added that the PA wants to now “hear the Trump administration publicly endorse a vision for a solution.”

Adamant that the “only final solution is the two states based on 1967 borders,” Zomlot demanded “crystal clarity from the US before we start the journey, on where we are going and how we will get there.”

But if the official line from the White House is anything to go by, such clarity will come ultimately from the negotiating parties themselves. On Monday, in advance of the Kushner team’s visit, a White House official stated: “While the regional talks will play an important role, the president reaffirms that peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties and that the United States will continue working closely with the parties to make progress towards that goal.”

Trump Makes the Right Decision on Afghanistan… and Pakistan

Posted August 22, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Afghanistan, Obama and Afghanistan, Pakistan, Trump and Afghanistan

Tags: , , ,

Trump Makes the Right Decision on Afghanistan… and Pakistan, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, August 21, 2017

Immediately after Donald Trump’s Afghanistan speech, Lindsey Graham — not always the president’s biggest fan — praised the address and noted Trump was smart to leave the actual direction of day-to-day conduct of warfare to those trained to do it: the generals. He contrasted Donald with Obama, whom Graham called a “bad general.”

True enough, but it’s worse.  Obama wasn’t just a bad general or even an atrocious one.  Consciously and/or unconsciously, he was on the other side.

Sound exaggerated? Then ask yourself this — why would a man as intelligent as Barack Obama 1. telegraph his intentions and pull-out date to the enemy, 2. not keep a decent military presence in Iraq, leaving it wide open to the nascent ISIS or similar religious maniacs and 3. give so much money to the Iranian mullahs in pursuit of a chimerical nuclear deal with a result that they are now all over the Middle East, killing as many people as possible and perpetuating the endless Syrian civil war (with literally millions of refugees), while testing ICBMs for the day when that (sort of) deal expires? And that’s leaving out the red line, the complete punting on North Korea, etc.

I thought this was supposed to be the smartest guy in the room.  Well, if you don’t like America and want to see it neutered, maybe he is.

But our media of course will not even go near this.  They would rather attack Trump for whatever — in the case of his Afghanistan speech for using it to again downplay Charlottesville.  (For an example, see the tweets from NPR’s oh-so-sophisticated political editor. These people are so fixated on Trump’s non-existent racism, they probably wouldn’t have even alter their views if half their families had been wiped out on Barcelona’s La Rambla last week.  It’s almost a monomania with them.  Two hundred hapless loser neo-Nazis with comb-overs are more of a threat than radical Islamists who have killed 1275, wounded 932, in 179 attacks in 25 countries in July 2017 alone! )

As for the specifics of the speech, I have always thought Donald Trump would end up a hawk after all, because — much as we may like to think otherwise — you can’t make America great again without being one.  I never bought the palaver coming from the alt-right and Rand Paul about having to withdraw from all or most international engagements.  It’s based on a theory of human nature that alas makes no sense.  The world has been filled with evil since the beginning of recorded time and no doubt before. Historian Victor Davis Hanson has noted that war, not peace, is the natural human condition.   Someone’s got to be the sheriff to keep things under control, to actually maintain the peace. America — of all nations — has done by far the best job of that, historically. No one else is even close.

So, unfortunately, we’re stuck with the job — unless you can think of a good replacement. That means we have to hold down the fort in Afghanistan lest it be used once again as a staging area for international terrorism, just as it was for 9/11. They seem to have been planning that and more already.  In October 2015, the U.S. military took out an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan that was an incredible thirty square miles.  That’s approximately half the size of Pittsburgh.

This does not, of course, mean that we have any business or should waste one minute trying to turn places like Afghanistan or Iraq into Denmark.  While we can excuse ourselves for believing that dream before the Iraq War, certainly the results of the conflict — actually about a week of it — should have  disabused us of that notion.  It wasn’t the first time idealism has been smashed, but that’s what happens when, just as in life, political reality collides with your ideological theories. Hopefully, you learn.

Praise is also due Trump for, finally, challenging Pakistan, the nuclear-armed, semi-terror state that hid Osama bin Laden virtually in plain sight. The nefarious Pakis and their notorious intelligence service have played both sides agains the middle for too long.

With all that, questions arise about the size of Trump’s commitment.  No mention was made of the number of new troops in the speech, though 4,000 has been bandied about.  Not many, it would seem, in the grand scheme of things.  But who knows?  It would be nice if such a small amount could keep things under control.  If not, as Trump has said himself, it’s in the hands of the generals.

WORTH NOTING: The speech was again well-crafted.  Trump has some excellent writers in Stephen Miller and Michael Anton (aka Publius Decius Mus).

Winning Afghanistan: Support Trump’s Strategy

Posted August 22, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Afghanistan, India, Islamic terrorists, Pakistan, Taliban, Trump and Afghanistan

Tags: , , , , ,

Winning Afghanistan: Support Trump’s Strategy, Clarion ProjectRyan Maur0, August 22, 2017

A US soldier holds the national flag ahead of a handover ceremony at Leatherneck Camp in Lashkar Gah in the Afghan province of Helmand on April 29, 2017. (Photo: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

We have made progress, but the American public rarely heard about it because President Obama did not wish to bring attention to the war and its political liabilities. The progress was then lost due to the rapid withdrawal based on an arbitrary timeline.

“We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistakes our leaders made in Iraq,” Trump said.

****************************************

President Trump is pledging to “win” in Afghanistan by defeating the terrorist “losers.” He is correct about the disaster ahead if the U.S. retreats from Afghanistan, but his speech doesn’t seem to have addressed the concerns of those who believe that the campaign there is a lost cause.

Trump rightly pointed out that there are 20 groups designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the U.S. State Department operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If the U.S. abandons Afghanistan, these groups will use the country as a launching pad to target the U.S. and destabilize the region, including nuclear-armed Pakistan.

From this base, they will likely be able to roll back progress we’ve made against terror havens in Iraq, Syria and Libya. And, of course, each success breeds a multitude of new members for the victorious terrorist group as momentum is interpreted as Allah’s blessing.

Yet, these realities do not address the core skepticism of those who oppose the war in Afghanistan — that there’s simply nothing more we can do. President Trump needed to confront this head on.

It’s extremely important that the American public understand that the war in Afghanistan is not like a videotape on loop. We have made progress, but the American public rarely heard about it because President Obama did not wish to bring attention to the war and its political liabilities. The progress was then lost due to the rapid withdrawal based on an arbitrary timeline.

“We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistakes our leaders made in Iraq,” Trump said.

Addressing the need to make a long-term commitment to Afghanistan to defeat the terror forces there, Secretary of Defense Mattis said it best when he told President Trump, “Mr. President, we haven’t fought a 16-year war so much as we have fought a one-year war 16 times.”

In 2014, 95% of all operations were being done by the Afghans and they were taking 95% of all casualties, according to Michael O’Hanlon. Foreign forces were only 15% of coalition manpower. The Taliban and other jihadists had a growing presence in the areas where foreign forces decreased, but this territory only encompassed about 10% of the Afghan population.

The Defense Department’s April 2014 report said that U.S. casualties had “dropped significantly” over the previous year and the Afghan forces conduct “virtually all of these operations independently.” The Afghan economy was lunging forward and the Defense Department reported a “dramatic increase in basic education.”

The mantra we always hear in the media is that the Afghans won’t fight the Taliban and other terrorists. They did.

There was also major economic, educational and political progress.

That year, Afghanistan held a hotly-contested presidential election where all of the major candidates agreed that the U.S. military should be asked to stay. The election was a big success, as U.S.-backed Afghan forces made the Taliban and other Islamist terrorists fail miserably in achieving their stated goal of wreaking havoc during the voting.

Despite the extremely high risk, voter turnout was about 58%, matching that of America’s 2012 presidential election. One in three voters were women and a record number of women were running for office, including two for vice president.

After the vote was held, accusations of fraud came from both sides. Sectarian tension was high as each candidate represented different constituencies. Amazingly, despite all these pressures, the parties then reached a power-sharing agreement and had Afghanistan’s first peaceful transfer of the presidency through elections.

It is absolutely essential for President Trump to mention this progress to the skeptical American public so that they can know we haven’t been simply running in circles in Afghanistan. It is also important for the U.S. military that sacrifices so much to hear that their gains are known and appreciated.

Any progress that this new strategy makes will be limited by the assistance that the Taliban and other terrorists are receiving from Pakistan, Iran and Russia.

President Trump put Pakistan on notice like never before. The Pakistani government is going to be held accountable for harboring and materially supporting the terrorist network that sustains the jihad in Afghanistan. It is probable that we’ll see an increase in cross-border operations.

Trump’s praise for India as a strategic partner is a powerful lever to pull to pressure Pakistan. The State Department’s recent designation of Hizbul Mujahideen as a Foreign Terrorist Organization shows that the Trump Administration is serious about this. Hizbul Mujahideen is a terror group that primarily targets India and is backed by Pakistan.

It was strange that Iran’s role in assisting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda went unmentioned in Trump’s speech. Iran is actively murdering U.S. and Afghan troops. However, Secretary of Defense Mattis’ desire to deliver some payback to the Iranian regime for targeting the U.S. military is well-known. You can bet he has plans in mind for that.

All of the talk about the war in Afghanistan inevitably brings up the experience of the Vietnam War. Although there is much to criticize about National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster, he wrote a critically-acclaimed book about the Vietnam War.

There should be no doubt that the lessons of Vietnam are in the mind of McMaster and have been discussed within the Trump Administration every step of the way towards crafting the U.S.’ strategy in Afghanistan.

As Trump acknowledged, Americans are understandably frustrated and sick of being at war in Afghanistan. But there is reason to believe we can be successful. Moreover, advocates of a withdrawal have yet to explain how we can withdraw and still stop Afghanistan from becoming an extremely dangerous terrorist base.

If we would withdraw from Afghanistan now, how would we feel seeing images on our TV screens of the Taliban coming back to power, carrying out massacres and once again stopping girls from going to school, knowing that we could have stopped it.

We’ve sacrificed too much already to hand Afghanistan back to the Taliban and regressive forces. The consequences of retreat are so dire that it’s worth giving Trump and his team a chance for their strategy to work.