Archive for March 18, 2017

BREAKING : Nigel Farage On Trump Meeting Merkel is Clash of Cultures

March 18, 2017

BREAKING : Nigel Farage On Trump Meeting Merkel is Clash of Cultures, Fox News via YouTube, March 17, 2017

(Please see also, Dr. Jasser discusses Pres. Trump’s meeting with German Chancellor Merkel & Politico’s headline. — DM)

Dr. Jasser discusses Pres. Trump’s meeting with German Chancellor Merkel & Politico’s headline

March 18, 2017

Dr. Jasser discusses Pres. Trump’s meeting with German Chancellor Merkel & Politico’s headline, AFID and Fox News via YouTube, March 17, 2017

(Dr. Jasser contends that rather than the “leader of the free world” as referenced at Politico, Frau Merkel is the “undertaker of the free world”. Please see also, A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in France: February 2017. — DM)

China, U.S. in talks on meeting between presidents

March 18, 2017

China, U.S. in talks on meeting between presidents, Xinhuanet, March 18, 2017

(Even without trying to analyze this, I understand it:

No matter how hard I try to derive any substance from the following article, I can’t. It must have been written in Chinese and then translated into “diplospeak,” a universal language designed to convey as little substance as possible.– DM)

On the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Wang also expressed his hope that all concerned parties, including the U.S. side, would be cool-headed and make wise choices.

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BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) — China and the United States are now in close communication on arrangements for a meeting between the two presidents and exchanges at other levels, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his talks with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Saturday.

“We attach great importance to your visit,” Wang told Tillerson at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

It is Tillerson’s first visit to China since he assumed office last month.

“We have had in-depth discussions on a meeting between the two presidents and begun preparations,” Wang told reporters after their talks.

He said that the two sides agreed to keep close communication to ensure the success of the meeting between the two presidents as well as exchanges at other levels.

China-U.S. ties are now developing positively and steadily, Wang said, calling for implementation of the consensus reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Wang said China is willing to communicate and cooperate more with the U.S. side, enhance trust and handle differences properly, in a bid to promote a healthy and stable development of bilateral ties and benefit the people of both countries and the world at large.

Wang called for more cooperation in foreign affairs, the economy and trade, the military, law enforcement, people-to-people exchanges and sub-national communication.

China and the United States should do more to coordinate on major international and regional affairs, Wang said, calling for closer communication under the multilateral framework.

Wang also restated China’s position on Taiwan and the South China Sea issues, emphasizing that China and the United States should respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, properly handle sensitive issues to protect bilateral ties from unnecessary influences.

Reviewing the achievements of bilateral ties, Tillerson said it is necessary for both countries to have closer cooperation and coordination, noting that the United States is ready to work with China to implement the consensus reached by their leaders.

Tillerson said the U.S. side adheres to the one-China policy and is willing to explore more cooperation in the spirit of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

The U.S. side stands ready for more high-level exchanges, and more dialogue in diplomatic security, macroeconomic policy coordination, law enforcement, cyberspace and people-to-people exchanges.

The two sides exchanged views on the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and other issues of common concern. Wang reiterated China’s opposition to the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in the Republic of Korea (ROK).

On the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Wang also expressed his hope that all concerned parties, including the U.S. side, would be cool-headed and make wise choices.

Tillerson began his first Asian tour Wednesday taking in Japan, the ROK and China.

A new foundation for Saudi-US relations

March 18, 2017

A new foundation for Saudi-US relations, Al ArabiyaDr. Theodore Karasik, March 18, 2017

(A Saudi perspective on Trump and his policies. Saudi Arabia is a fierce opponent of Iran. To the extent that our interests align, we should cooperate. — DM)

Saudi Arabia’s support for Trump Administration’s Executive Orders is significant. Mohammed bin Salman supports Trump’s extreme vetting program calling it a “vital and urgent precaution” that Saudi Arabia does not see as discriminatory. The Deputy Crown Prince also vouched for the president himself, remarking that Trump “expressed his deep respect for the religion of Islam.” He called Trump “a true friend of Muslims” whose commitment to achieving the Muslim world’s interests is “unprecedented.” He also described negative portrayals of Trump’s posture toward Muslims as insulting.

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Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to meet with US President Donald Trump and his top advisors establishes a new foundation for US-Saudi relations. The visit occurred in extraordinary settings with participants from the White House to the Pentagon. The US State Department was, however, nowhere to be seen.

The visit to Washington is occurring during a full court press for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the drivers to bring that vision, mainly next year’s Aramco IPO and the growth of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), to fruition in a logical and timely manner. While King Salman is on a momentous trip to Asia focusing on energy, investment, counter-terrorism, and religion, and with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef coordinating with allies against a number of internal and external extremist and state threats, the Saudi defense minister is cementing with the Trump administration a robust binary relationship to not only counter Iran and extremism but to see both Trump’s America First and MBS’s Vision 2030 succeed.

The US and Saudi Arabia agreed that the new foundation with Riyadh could create up to one million American jobs, as well as millions more indirect American jobs, and an unspecified number of jobs in the Kingdom. The Trump administration and the Saudis voiced support for creating joint working groups on energy, industry, infrastructure, and technology, with the goal of generating $200 billion in new investments by the end of Trump’s term. 2020, of course, is the end date for the National Transformation Program (NTP) so Riyadh’s investments, in theory, will boost popularity for Trump’s economic plans.

To be sure, this new US-Saudi basis is notable. The Deputy Crown Prince said that the White House meetings were a “historical turning point in relations between both countries … which had passed through a period of divergence of views on many issues.” MBS of course was referring to the wreckage of the Obama Administration’s policies towards the Middle East. Now, the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince argues, that the US and Saudi Arabia “restored issues to their right path” and signal a “change in relations” between Riyadh and Washington D.C. when it comes to “political, military, security and economic issues.”

Clearly, the Trump Administration and Saudi Arabia see that they need each other now more than ever.

Dr. Theodore Karasik

To this point, the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, when asked about Saudi sending troops to Syria, replied: “We are ready to do anything that will eradicate terrorism without limits.”
Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the Pentagon for a three-hour meeting between Saudi officials and a mix of Pentagon and Strategic Initiative Group (SIG) leadership was remarkable on a number of fronts. Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ comment to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir regarding his “survivability” from an Iranian assassination plot set the tone for the Pentagon meeting.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told his opposites across the table, including Senior Presidential Advisor Stephen Bannon and Jared Kuchner, thatthe Kingdom faces hostile activities as the Iranian regime supports extremists and terrorists in the region and around the world, and challenges posed by terrorist organizations. Mohammed bin Salman asserted “That’s why we need to work and cooperate with our allies. On top of the list comes the United States, the leader of the world. Today we are very optimistic under the leadership of President Trump and we believe these challenges will be easy to tackle under the leadership of the president.” The Saudi Deputy Crown Prince made very clear to his audience the view from Riyadh: Iran and its proxies, combined with terrorism, threatens the very core of the Kingdom.

The presence of both Bannon and Kushner at the Pentagon meeting with Mohammed bin Salman deserves special attention. Both senior presidential advisors represent the Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG) within the White House. The SIG is generating Executive Orders (EOs) for President Trump to sign as well as working on grand strategic vision for “American First” but also how the United States will partner with Arab allies to push back Iran and destroy ISIS. We do not know if other issues came up in the meeting such as Syria and Yemen safe zones or actual discussion on Saudi contributions to any future US-led force in the Levant. Nevertheless, for Bannon and Kushner to listen to MBS directly helps them to better understand where Saudi Arabia fits into Trump Administration’s plans and goals not only in the Middle East but also in terms of American economic nationalism and revival.

To be sure, Saudi Arabia’s support for Trump Administration’s Executive Orders is significant. Mohammed bin Salman supports Trump’s extreme vetting program calling it a “vital and urgent precaution” that Saudi Arabia does not see as discriminatory. The Deputy Crown Prince also vouched for the president himself, remarking that Trump “expressed his deep respect for the religion of Islam.” He called Trump “a true friend of Muslims” whose commitment to achieving the Muslim world’s interests is “unprecedented.” He also described negative portrayals of Trump’s posture toward Muslims as insulting.

Consequently, there is no doubt that Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) is likely to be dismantled as a hold-over from the Obama Administration and being too litigious. Pending US congressional action on the Muslim Brotherhood and IRGC terrorist designations may now accelerate.

Clearly, the Trump Administration and Saudi Arabia see that they need each other now more than ever. From Riyadh’s perspective, the Trump administration is the perfect strategic business partner. The two meetings illustrate that both sides succeeded in a “meeting of the minds” on strategic issues affecting both countries. There is much more binary cooperation in development between Washington and Riyadh on the way.

Cartoons and Video of the Day

March 18, 2017

Her Bunk via YouTube

 

H/t Vermont Loon Watch (and in celebration of no more Obamamesses Obamamases)

 

H/t Power Line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No offense to the ‘Arrow,’ but greater threats loom from the north

March 18, 2017

Source: No offense to the ‘Arrow,’ but greater threats loom from the north | The Times of Israel

While Friday’s use of surface-to-air missiles by Assad against Israeli jets is worrying, Iranian-built rocket factories in Syria and Lebanon are worse

March 17, 2017, 2:57 pm
The Arrow 3 missile defense system that was delivered to the Israeli Air Force on January 18, 2017. (Defense Ministry)

The Arrow 3 missile defense system that was delivered to the Israeli Air Force on January 18, 2017. (Defense Ministry)

Set aside for one moment the celebrations here regarding the successful interception by the Arrow missile defense system of a Syrian missile early Friday. Israel has no shortage of reasons to be concerned by “the message” involved in Syria’s firing of surface-to-air missiles at Israeli fighter jets overnight. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the increasingly worrying situation taking shape in the north.

It would seem that Assad wants to put Israel on notice that he no longer intends to sit idly by while weapons convoys headed from Syria to the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon are destroyed by the IDF.

Illustrative: An Israel Air Force airplane F-16 takes off, June 28 2010. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

Illustrative: An Israel Air Force airplane F-16 takes off, June 28 2010. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

According to Arab-language media reports, the target of the Israeli airstrike — which is said to have occurred near the Lebanese town of Baalbek — was a convoy of trucks carrying “strategic weapons,” a term which Israel has previously used to define advanced missiles and chemical weapons.

In the past, Assad has rarely responded to reported Israeli air and missile strikes on targets deep within Syria.

His apparent growing confidence would appear to come from his recent successes in defeating rebel groups and the Islamic State in the brutal Syrian civil war, thanks largely to massive Russian support.

It is unlikely that there was any Russian involvement in firing the missiles at the Israeli jets. Israel works very hard to coordinate with Moscow to ensure no accidental clashes with the superpower in Syria’s crowded skies.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a frequent visitor to Moscow, most recently last week where he went to press Russian President Vladimir Putin to try and prevent Israel’s arch-foe Iran from filling the vacuum in Syria left by the nearly vanquished Islamic state.

These concerns show that the use of surface-to-air missiles against Israeli fighter planes is only a minor headache for Israel.

A much greater problem for the Jewish state lies with a report published earlier this week in the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida that Iran has established rocket factories in Syria and Lebanon capable of producing long-range missiles.

According to the al-Jarida report, the missile production facilities are built deep underground and are operated by advisers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as Lebanese experts trained at the Imam Hossein University in Tehran, a key training institution for IRGC personnel.

The goal of these factories is said to be to produce highly accurate missiles and rockets capable of striking strategic targets in Israel, and if reports leaking out in the Arab-language media are true, then it is safe to say these factories will not be easily destroyed in Israeli airstrikes.

The Iranian missile factories in Syria and Lebanon also correspond with Iran’s desire to establish a naval port in Syria to be leased for 50 years, which would help Iran guarantee its interests in the war-torn nation.

All of this points to a trend that we will likely see much more of in 2017: as the Islamic State terror group gets weaker, the influence of the Islamic Republic of Iran expands and gets stronger.

Paris airport suspect previously investigated for Islamic extremism

March 18, 2017

Source: Paris airport suspect previously investigated for Islamic extremism | The Times of Israel

French interior minister says man shot dead trying to grab soldier’s weapon was ‘known to the police and intelligence services’

March 18, 2017, 4:55 pm
RAID police unit officers secure the area at the Paris' Orly airport on March 18, 2017 following the shooting of a man by French security forces. (AFP PHOTO / Benjamin CREMEL)

RAID police unit officers secure the area at the Paris’ Orly airport on March 18, 2017 following the shooting of a man by French security forces. (AFP PHOTO / Benjamin CREMEL)

The 39-year-old suspected attacker who was shot and killed at Orly Airport Saturday after attempting to seize a soldier’s weapon had already crossed authorities’ radar for suspected Islamic extremism, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

Prosecutors said the suspect’s house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of suicide bomb-and-gun terror attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. Those searches targeted people with suspected radical leanings.

French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux confirmed he was “known to the police and the intelligence services.”

French President Francois Hollande on Saturday said investigators were working to determine whether the suspect “had a terrorist plot behind him.”

French media reports identified the suspect as Ziyed Ben Belgacem, a 39-year-old born in France.

Hollande ruled out any link between Saturday’s attack and the upcoming French presidential election, and said the thwarted shooting showed that France’s policy of having military patrols guarding public sites “is essential,” and that the nation “must remain extremely vigilant.”

French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux speaks to the press on March 18, 2017 at Paris' Orly airport following the shooting of a man by French security forces after tried to grab a soldier's weapon. (AFP PHOTO / Benjamin CREMEL)

French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux speaks to the press on March 18, 2017 at Paris’ Orly airport following the shooting of a man by French security forces after tried to grab a soldier’s weapon. (AFP PHOTO / Benjamin CREMEL)

The prosecutor’s office said its anti-terrorism division was handling the investigation and had taken the attacker’s father and brother into custody for questioning.

The incident further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks over the past two years that have killed 235 people.

The suspect was pulled over by police at around 6:55am (0555 GMT) Saturday while driving in Garges-les-Gonesse. He drew a gun and fired shots at the officers, slightly injuring one in the head, before fleeing.

He then continued south to steal another car in the suburb of Vitry-sur-Seine about 10 kilometers (six miles) from Orly airport. In Vitry, he also “burst into a bar and threatened those present,” Le Roux said.

Minutes later, at around 8:30am (0730 GMT), he walked onto the departures floor of Orly-Sud terminal, where he tried to grab the rifle of a female officer on patrol with two others.

French Red Cross workers stand by as travelers are evacuated from Paris' Orly airport on March 18, 2017 following the shooting of a man by French security forces. (Benjamin CREMEL)

French Red Cross workers stand by as travelers are evacuated from Paris’ Orly airport on March 18, 2017 following the shooting of a man by French security forces. (Benjamin CREMEL)

A senior military source said he knocked the soldier to the ground and grabbed her rifle. The two other soldiers then opened fire, killing him, the source said. Le Roux was adamant that he “did not succeed” in taking the rifle.

No-one else was injured in the melee.

Identity documents found on the attacker matched those presented by the man who fired at police in Garges-les-Gonesse.

All flights in and out of Orly airport were suspended Saturday morning. Many inbound flights were diverted to the bigger Charles de Gaulle airport to the north of Paris.

Around 3,000 passengers were evacuated from Orly-Sud terminal, where the attack took place, while elite police teams secured it and swept it for possible explosives. Those at the nearby Orly-Ouest terminal were confined to the building.

By early afternoon Orly-Ouest had reopened and flights were starting to resume.

The soldier who was attacked is part of the Sentinelle special force installed around France to protect sensitive sites after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks. The force includes 7,500 soldiers, half deployed in the Paris region and half in the provinces.

Police officers cordon off the access to the Orly airport, south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Police officers cordon off the access to the Orly airport, south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Saturday was at least the fourth time that Sentinelle soldiers have been targeted since the force was created. It was set up after the attack January 2015 attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and reinforced after the assaults that left 130 people dead in Paris in November of that year.

Orly is Paris’ second-biggest airport, behind Charles de Gaulle. It has both domestic and international flights, notably to destinations in Europe and Africa.

The shooting comes after a similar incident last month at the Louvre Museum in which an Egyptian man attacked soldiers guarding the site and was shot and wounded. It also comes just days before the first anniversary of attacks on the Brussels airport and subway that killed 32 people and wounded hundreds of others.