Archive for July 27, 2017

Modernizing America’s Nuclear Capabilities Is a Must

July 27, 2017

Modernizing America’s Nuclear Capabilities Is a Must, Gatestone InstitutePeter Huessy, July 27, 2017

(Russia is not our only nuclear or nuclear-capable enemy. What about Iranian, Chinese and North Korean nukes and delivery systems, now and in the future? — DM)

In 1989, America had 1,000 nuclear missile silos, and a small number of additional bomber and submarine bases and submarines at sea, facing 13,500 Soviet warheads. Today, the U.S. has 450 such silos facing 1,750 Russian warheads. That is a switch from a ratio of 13 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo, to a ratio of 4 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. Getting rid of Minuteman ICBMs would reverse that progress and make the ratio even worse, with 175 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. How is that an improvement?

The U.S. “cannot afford to delay modernization initiatives” while the “American people and our allies are counting on congressional action to fund our nuclear enterprise modernization efforts.” — General Robin Rand, the commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command.

America’s ability to defend itself is at stake.

In April 2017, the Pentagon launched the U.S. Defense Department’s legislatively mandated quadrennial Nuclear Posture Review to determine American policy, strategy and capabilities. The process now underway involves testimony from experts arguing over how the estimated $27 billion spent annually (growing over the next decade by an additional $10 billion a year) on America’s nuclear arsenal should be allocated.

One claim, made by a number of experts, is that investing in the effort to upgrade America’s exiting nuclear arsenal — the land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) — would be destabilizing and wasteful. They are, it is claimed, highly vulnerable to enemy attack and therefore do not provide deterrence. Among the 40 House members who suggest killing the land-based missiles is the ranking Democratic member of the House Armed Services Committee.

The opposite position was expressed recently by General Robin Rand, the commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). He persuasively argued that, far from being either destabilizing or unnecessary, “Our bomber and Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) forces, and our nuclear command, control, and communications systems defend our national interests, assure our allies and partners, and deter potential adversaries.”

Addressing the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee on June 7, Rand said, “ICBMs are the sole weapon system capable of rapid global response and impose a time-proven and unpalatable cost to attack by peer, near-peer and aspiring nuclear nations.”

The discrepancy in viewpoints stems from the difference in perception about American nuclear power and deterrence. Those who disagree with Rand are stuck in Cold War thinking, which has become largely irrelevant in today’s world. To understand this better, a review of the history of the U.S.-Soviet arms race is necessary.

In January 1967, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced that the USSR had greatly expanded its powerful multiple-warhead land-based missiles, as well as having begun to build an anti-ballistic-missile defense system (ABM) around Moscow — which would enable it to launch a first strike against the U.S. without fear of an effective retaliation against Soviet leadership bunkers — and called for strategic arms limitations talks (SALT).

Johnson’s successor, Richard Nixon, continued with the process, formally launching the negotiations in November 1969 that led to the signing of the SALT I executive agreement in May 1972. When Gerald Ford became president, he agreed with Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev on a general framework for a second agreement — SALT II — marginally to limit the deployment capabilities of each side, but still allow major increases in warheads, especially powerful, multi-warhead land-based Soviet missiles.

Although SALT II was signed in June 1979 by Ford’s successor, President Jimmy Carter, it was never ratified by the Senate, members of which, on both sides of the aisle, argued that it would not “reverse trends in the military balance adverse to the United States.” A week after 19 senators expressed this warning in a letter to Carter, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and Carter withdrew the treaty from further consideration.

Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan — who had been vehemently opposed SALT II before his election — knew its upward limits would readily accommodate his proposed modernization efforts and thus agreed to abide by it in principle. But here, he switched gears while pursuing a markedly different military and diplomatic avenue, in the form of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Reagan proposed that the U.S. simultaneously modernize while seeking reductions, instead of merely allowing huge increases in warheads under the SALT process. This also challenged the Soviet idea of a nuclear freeze — especially in that the Soviets were well through their nuclear modernization and the United States had not even begun.

Early in the Reagan administration, the U.S. still continued seeking to make its land-based silo missiles better able to withstand a massive Soviet strike. Many plans were examined, but all were expensive and required the use of a great deal of land on which to move the missiles on trains, trucks or mobile launchers.

Ultimately, in 1983, Reagan reached a simple, but elegant, solution: a three-step program. First, deep reductions in nuclear weapons; second, putting the new, modern, large 10-warhead Peacekeeper land-based missiles in existing Minuteman silos, and third, simultaneously developing a much smaller mobile missile with only one warhead, to be built later. This was essentially accomplished during the three successive administrations after the end of the Cold War, but with one key change. Given that the number of Russian and American strategic warheads eventually were reduced by more than 90% under the START I, Moscow and New START Treaties, American silo-based missiles — all with only a single warhead — became fundamentally survivable, even deployed in silos where they remain today.

A Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile in its silo in Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, circa 1980. (Image source: U.S. Department of Defense)

The situation is therefore now the opposite of what it was during the 1970s and 1980s. At the height of the Cold War, the U.S. — with 1,000 American missile silos — faced more than 13,000 Soviet (subsequently Russian) warheads, or a 13-to-1 ratio. Today, we face roughly 1,750 Russian warheads but have 450 silos, a 4-to-1 ratio. In other words, the strategic environment became more stable, not less, and eliminating the very nuclear triad responsible for this stability makes no sense.

Although the nuclear triad was conceptualized and developed during the Cold War, maintaining it is just as imperative today. ICBMs are as highly stabilizing now as they were highly destabilizing prior to the dramatic reduction in the number of warheads from 1981-2017.

Why is that?

In 1989, America had 1,000 nuclear missile silos, and a small number of additional bomber and submarine bases and submarines at sea, facing 13,500 Soviet warheads. Today, the U.S. has 450 such silos facing 1,750 Russian warheads. That is a switch from a ratio of 13 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo, to a ratio of 4 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. Getting rid of Minuteman ICBMs would reverse that progress and make the ratio even worse, with 175 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. How is that an improvement?

It is crucial, therefore, to continue to invest in modernizing the ICBMs. As for the suggestion — among some of the less extreme anti-ICBM analysts — that the current ICBM force be extended for a few more years and modernization be reassessed later — is not a viable option, according to General Rand. He says that the U.S. “cannot afford to delay modernization initiatives” while the “American people and our allies are counting on congressional action to fund our nuclear enterprise modernization efforts.”

Let us hope that those who do not grasp how necessary it is for the United States to go forward with the ground-based strategic deterrent have little influence over the Nuclear Posture Review that is currently underway. America’s ability to defend itself is at stake.

Dr. Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis, a defense consulting firm he founded in 1981, as well as Director of Strategic Deterrent Studies at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. He was also for 20 years, the senior defense consultant at the National Defense University Foundation.

Time for US to Support Regime Change in Iran – Raymond Tanter

July 27, 2017

Time for US to Support Regime Change in Iran – Raymond Tanter, Iran News Update, July 27, 2017

(Please see also, US seeks to test Iran deal with its new inspections and The Iran dilemma of the Saudi crown prince. Is a “peaceful transition”  possible? Even if it is not, we should support it. — DM)

When asked whether the Trump administration supports “a philosophy of regime change in Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would work with Iranian opposition groups toward the “peaceful transition of that government.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) echoed Tillerson’s view, saying “it’s time the Iranian people had a free and open society and a functioning democracy,” effectively a call for regime change.

The Obama quote reassuring the Iranian regime that its survival was not on the table stands in marked contrast to those of Tillerson and McCain, for whom the idea of regime change from the people of Iran is on the table, or at least under the table in and around the Trump White House.

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The following is an op-ed by former US National Security Council staff member Professor Raymond Tanter on Iran policy options for the United States. The article was published on The Hill website on Wednesday, July 26:

The time may be right for President Trump to consider and pursue regime change in Iran. Consider three quotes that provide a way of looking back to look forward:

President Obama in 2013 address to the United Nations:

“We are not seeking regime change, and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.”

When asked whether the Trump administration supports “a philosophy of regime change in Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would work with Iranian opposition groups toward the “peaceful transition of that government.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) echoed Tillerson’s view, saying “it’s time the Iranian people had a free and open society and a functioning democracy,” effectively a call for regime change.

The Obama quote reassuring the Iranian regime that its survival was not on the table stands in marked contrast to those of Tillerson and McCain, for whom the idea of regime change from the people of Iran is on the table, or at least under the table in and around the Trump White House.

On July 1, an event was held in Paris; there, I had conversations with Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who explicitly called for regime change from within Iran by supporting Iranian oppositionists, in particular, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Ditto for other Trump allies, including John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration. On July 1, Bolton, said:

“There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs, and that opposition is centered in this room today. I had said for over 10 years since coming to these events, that the declared policy of the United States of America should be … to change the regime itself. And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!”

The Way Forward

“Trump time” suggests a period of analysis of options as the President’s National Security Council reviews Iran policy. The review could present three options to Trump.

First, follow the Obama precedent of reassuring Tehran the United States will not challenge the rule of the unelected Ayatollahs. Trump and the Congress, however, are so strongly opposed to the Iranian regime, they are unlikely to countenance the Obama policy toward Iran, which Trump considers “appeasement.” Obama lost his bet that Iran would moderate its ballistic missile testing, state-supported international terrorism, and human rights violations. His nuclear deal was inconsistent with regime change from within, e.g., via a coalition of dissident groups.

Second, order preparations for the kind of coup d’état the CIA and British MI-6 intelligence service carried out in 1953, which overthrew a democratically-elected government in Iran. “All the Shah’s Men” describes how the coup occurred and the unintended negative consequences for Iranian perceptions of America for changing Iran’s government by covert action.

Indicative of this option is an editorial in The New York Times of July 18, which sounds the alarm that, “A drumbeat of provocative words, outright threats and actions — from President Trump and some of his top aides as well as Sunni Arab leaders and American activists — is raising tensions that could lead to armed conflict with Iran.”

But regime change from within is more than just an American issue. It is a “people of Iran” issue and what they want; it is not about the U.S. military going to war with Iran, as the editorial suggests.

Third, support the pro-democracy coalition of dissidents, the NCRI, which is best able to mobilize other oppositionists into an even wider coalition. Also, there’s a new sheriff in town, President Trump, and he expressed a strong presence in his Riyadh address: Trump the deal-maker but one with core principles like “Drive them out.”

“Drive them out of your places of worship,” Trump said of extremists, “drive them out of your holy land. Drive them out of this earth.”

After the July 1 rally in Paris, Fox News reported the next day the president might defy the Iranian regime by signaling his willingness to look kindly on the resistance: “The Trump administration is potentially considering seeking a strategy to try to topple the regime.” The resistance, however, only needs American political and perhaps economic support to effect “regime change from within.”

Even if he does not go so far as to topple the regime, Trump could increase his leverage against the Ayatollahs by supporting the resistance, conditioned on its continued eschewing of terrorist tactics. Doing so is bound to weaken an already faltering regime. In this respect, the tide is turning against Tehran in favor of the opposition.

The Bottom Line

The Iranian resistance benefits from aligning with the United States because the resistance is firmly in the camp of civilized states and does not commit acts of barbarism. Hence, President Trump is more likely to reach out to the Iranian opposition during his review of Iran policy than did President Obama, who valued the nuclear deal with Tehran too much to jeopardize it by opening up to the resistance.

Dr. Raymond Tanter (@AmericanCHR) served as a senior member on the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan.

McMaster Ousts Trump Adviser who Tried to Fire Obama Holdovers

July 27, 2017

McMaster Ousts Trump Adviser who Tried to Fire Obama Holdovers, The Point (Front Page Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, July 27, 2017

(We elected Trump to be our President. But who is running the Trump administration? — DM)

But Mattis and McMaster have forced out Derek Harvey. And it’s up to President Trump to act. Or to let the McMaster-Mattis swamp control his foreign policy. And make sure it’s Jeb Bush’s foreign policy.

President Trump can reverse his decision. Just as he overruled McMaster’s bid to replace Ezra Watnick-Cohen, the guy who outed the Obama spying on Trump’s people, with the woman who drafted the Benghazi talking points. Not to mention Mattis’ plan to bring in Hillary’s Secretary of Defense and the Muslim Broptherhood’s favorite woman.

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Derek Harvey was the key figure when it came to the Middle East. He was against the Iran Deal and the funding of Palestinian Authority terror. He called out Islamic Jihad. He tried to force out the Obama holdovers running our foreign policy. 

And now he’s gone.

McMaster’s purge at the NSC continues. Flynn’s people get forced out and replaced with establishment zombies. The Obama holdovers continue to run foreign policy. The swamp is now in full control of the NSC.

This one is a really big win for McMaster. And a great loss for America. It will set back our ability to fight Islamic terrorism. Iran, Al Qaeda and the Palestinian Authority are celebrating today.

President Trump can reverse his decision. Just as he overruled McMaster’s bid to replace Ezra Watnick-Cohen, the guy who outed the Obama spying on Trump’s people, with the woman who drafted the Benghazi talking points. Not to mention Mattis’ plan to bring in Hillary’s Secretary of Defense and the Muslim Broptherhood’s favorite woman.

But Mattis and McMaster have forced out Derek Harvey. And it’s up to President Trump to act. Or to let the McMaster-Mattis swamp control his foreign policy. And make sure it’s Jeb Bush’s foreign policy.

Derek Harvey, a top Middle East adviser to President Donald Trump, has been fired from his position at the National Security Council, effective today…

Two sources tell TWS that Harvey’s departure is not a direct result of the internecine staff fighting, but he was viewed by some top Trump aides as too close to Steve Bannon

Harvey has experience as an intelligence officer, as an analyst at military commands, American embassies, and in the Defense Intelligence Agency. He’s viewed as an out-of-the-box thinker who has shown a keen knack for identifying threats before they’ve matured.

Here’s how Bob Woodward described Harvey in his 2008 book The War Within:

“In the late 1980s, Harvey traveled throughout Iraq by taxicab—500 miles, village to village—interviewing locals, sleeping on mud floors with a shower curtain for a door. He [was] full of questions, intensely curious and entirely nonthreatening. After the 1991 Gulf War, when the CIA was predicting the inevitable fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Harvey, then a major, insisted that Hussein would survive because members of the Sunni community knew their fortunes were tied to his. He was right. Months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Harvey wrote an intelligence paper declaring that al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan posed a strategic threat to the United States.”

Harvey hasn’t been afraid to call out Islamic terrorism as a threat. And he was the point man for trying to force out the Obama holdovers.

That dispute was followed by a bigger one. Bannon and Trump, according to White House officials, pressed McMaster to fire a list of Obama holdovers at the National Security Council who were suspected of leaking to the press. The list of names was compiled by Derek Harvey, a former Defense Intelligence Agency colonel who was initially hired by Flynn. McMaster balked. He refused to fire anyone on the list and asserted that he had the authority to fire and hire National Security Council staff. He also argued that many of these appointees would be ending their rotation at the White House soon enough.

Instead the holdovers forced him out. McMaster and Mattis and Obama won. Again.

Harvey has been a firm opponent of the Iran Deal. He’s not perfect on Islam, but he has emphasized the theological connection to Islamic terrorism. And he tried to halt the funding of Palestinian Authority terrorism.

Haaretz has learned that Harvey – whose appointment was reported Thursday in The Wall Street Journal – was one of the officials who earlier this week instructed the U.S. State Department to issue a statement saying it was reexamining the outgoing administration’s decision to transfer $221 million to the Palestinian Authority during President Barack Obama’s last hours in office.

A government source described Harvey as “the new Rob Malley,” referring to the former Obama administration official who was in charge of Middle East affairs at the outgoing NSC.
But while Malley’s background was mostly academic and diplomatic, Harvey spent most of his adult life either in uniform or working for the intelligence community.

Harvey has also published articles and analyses, many of them critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East.

Harvey called to strengthen the U.S. relationship with Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. “Why won’t President Obama talk to Egyptian President Sisi [sic]? Sisi has taken on the threat of violent, intolerant Islamic jihadism at great personal risk. Obama will reconcile with the Castro brothers and Iranian Mullahs but won’t talk to a friend like President Sisi,” Harvey wrote.

“They’re ignoring the intelligence — and I think Secretary Kerry, I hate to say it, must be smoking dope,” Harvey was quoted as saying on “Newsmax Prime.” “He is not paying attention to the intelligence and he does not understand the enemy with his statements.”

The left hated Derek Harvey for his views.

Harvey shares Trump’s belief that in order for the United States to prevail in its fight against the self-declared Islamic State, al-Qaida, their various offshoots and a variety of other groups, American officials need to declare that the country is at war with “radical Islamic extremism” or the “radical jihadist agenda” or “militant Islam” — all of which he uses interchangeably. On his blog, which has been shut down since he joined the Trump administration, Harvey argued that Obama’s failure to do so hampered the effort against such groups.

It really is past time to drain the foreign policy swamp.

The Iran dilemma of the Saudi crown prince

July 27, 2017

The Iran dilemma of the Saudi crown prince, Washington Times, S. Rob Sobhani, July 26, 2017

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Associated Press photo

The first step that Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince can take is to deliver an address to the Iranian people in which he lays out his vision for a peaceful and friendly relation with people of Iran. In this address, Mohammed bin Salman can touch upon the rich history of Iran, its unique culture and heritage, and end by extending his hand of friendship to his natural allies — the people of Iran.

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The starting point for any policy that the new crown prince of Saudi ArabiaMohammed bin Salman, adopts toward the Islamic Republic of Iran is to understand two basic facts. First, the Iranian regime continues to be the most serious threat to regional security in the Middle East and the major state sponsor of terrorism. Second, the Iranian people continue to be the most serious threat to the Islamic regime and the only real hope for a fundamental change in Iran.

If Mohammed bin Salman adopts the right policies in his dealings with the Islamic regime, not only will he go down in history as the leader who solved the “Iran Problem,” he will also usher in a new economic dynamic within the broader Middle East. In view of his friendship with President Trump, any new and bold approach by Mohammed bin Salman toward the Islamic regime in Tehran will no doubt have the full support of the president and his entire national security team.

To date Saudi policy toward Iran has not produced the results that Riyadh had hoped would either appease the mullahs or contain the bad behavior of the regime in Tehran. For example, the latest policy decision by Saudi Arabia to confront the Iranian regime by war through proxy in Yemen has not deterred the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The conflict in Yemen is fast becoming a quagmire for Riyadh. According to some estimates, the Saudi effort to confront Iran in Yemen is costing the kingdom around $600 million per month. After spending billions of dollars, Saudi Arabia is not close to thwarting the designs of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to build a beachhead on the Arabian Peninsula by supporting his Houthi allies.

Indeed, the Saudi narrative against the Iranian regime, eloquently enunciated by Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubair, captures the essence of Tehran’s dangerous behavior in places like Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and Lebanon, but it does not address the fundamental underlying challenge: how to deal with a regime that is the mortal enemy of Saudi Arabia.

The overarching policy that Mohammed bin Salman should seriously consider is to adopt a soft-power approach to solving his Iran dilemma. This policy starts by drawing a clear distinction between the people of Iran and their rulers. The first step that Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince can take is to deliver an address to the Iranian people in which he lays out his vision for a peaceful and friendly relation with people of Iran. In this address, Mohammed bin Salman can touch upon the rich history of Iran, its unique culture and heritage, and end by extending his hand of friendship to his natural allies — the people of Iran.

The concrete steps the young crown prince may wish to consider following his address to the Iranian people are as follows: First, he can announce the creation of a fund to pay for the pilgrimage of elderly Iranians to Mecca and Medina. For the average Iranian whose per-capita gross national product has shrunk since the overthrow of Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, making the obligatory visit to Islam’s holiest sites has become a financial burden. Mohammed bin Salman can endear himself to millions of Iranians through this act of charity.

Abbas is playing a dangerous game

July 27, 2017

Abbas is playing a dangerous game, Israel Hayom, Yaron Blum, July 27, 2017

(Please see also, Israel’s public diplomacy challenge. “Of course, the world rightly assumes that no nation would willingly give up what is rightly theirs, and so millions watching from the sidelines throw their support behind the violent side that refuses to compromise.” — DM)

The threat of stopping the security coordination with Israel is likely to turn on Abbas, as Hamas is lurking around the corner, waiting for the opportunity to stage a coup against the Palestinian Authority as it did in 2007 in the Gaza Strip. The need to calm these players down is of the utmost importance if the wave of incitement is to stop becoming a wave of more lone terrorist attacks.

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The Temple Mount crisis is far from over. The latest excuse for the Palestinians’ riots is Israel’s decision to conduct manual security checks on the Temple Mount complex.

How transparent and pathetic. Everyone with something at stake on the Temple Mount or Al-Aqsa mosque understands that the site has become a fantastic vantage point from which to promote personal interests. For the average Muslims, the Temple Mount and any change in its status quo is a red line. Indeed, this motif prompts millions in the Muslim world to take to the streets and is strong enough to glue the various streams in Muslim and Palestinian communities worldwide together.

Tensions apparently came to an end after an agreement between Jordan and Israel to take down the metal detectors and security cameras installed on the Temple Mount after the July 14 terrorist attack carried out by three gunmen from Umm al-Fahm. Despite this, the Muslim players found an excuse to reignite the playing field. And who are these players’ captains? The Palestinian Authority, Hamas, organizations active around Al-Aqsa, Waqf workers, the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, and Turkey.

Even though Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is once again disparaging Israel and its policies, despite agreements between him and Israel, the star of the week is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. From a point of great weakness against rivals in the Fatah movement, such as exiled party official Mohammed Dahlan — not to mention Hamas — Abbas realized that the “Al-Aqsa is in danger” narrative had the potential to add to his failing power. At the moment he is doing everything to ignite the streets, whether through his own voice or through the heads of the Tanzim, one of Fatah’s militant factions, and Fatah itself.

Palestinian Authority and Palestinian security apparatus officials, who had received orders to suspend the security coordination with Israel before its decision to remove security measures on the site, are now calling to further escalate the popular struggle by taking to the streets in protests planned for Friday in the Temple Mount area against the “occupation.”

Abbas’ recent declarations and direct involvement in the escalation stand out in their irregularity and are worrying. Most of all, however, these are new because they do not hide behind excuses. He is not meandering, maybe because he feels that the bullets in his gun are running out and this step can improve his current low position. Abbas is playing a double game: With the U.S. and the international community, he conveys a message of willingness to negotiate with Israel; while on the other hand, when speaking of the Temple Mount crisis, he comes out with contradictory, obtrusive statements on cutting ties, as well as calls likely to be construed as condoning terrorist activity by young Fatah and Tanzim members.

The threat of stopping the security coordination with Israel is likely to turn on Abbas, as Hamas is lurking around the corner, waiting for the opportunity to stage a coup against the Palestinian Authority as it did in 2007 in the Gaza Strip. The need to calm these players down is of the utmost importance if the wave of incitement is to stop becoming a wave of more lone terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, a handful of residents in the Jewish community in Hebron are taking advantage of the situation by invading the Machpelah House, adjacent to the Cave of the Patriarchs, over which they claim ownership. This creates a new and dangerous point of contention, as well as a post the Israeli army and police are forced to protect. Some would understand this development as a provocation for escalation — and it is difficult to argue with that.

Yaron Blum is a former senior Shin Bet security service officer.

Watch: Arabs riot on Temple Mount after metal detectors removed

July 27, 2017

56 injured as riots break out in Old City of Jerusalem shortly after Muslim worshippers return to holy site.

David Rosenberg, 27/07/17 17:56 | updated: 18:40

Source: Watch: Arabs riot on Temple Mount after metal detectors removed – Israel National News

At least 56 people were injured in the Old City of Jerusalem Thursday, shortly after Muslim worshippers returned to the Temple Mount following a nearly two-week ban by Muslim authorities on prayer at the holy site.

Riots broke out within minutes as thousands of Muslims flooded the Temple Mount, attacking police officers who responded with crowd-control measures including tear gas, shock grenades, and rubber bullets.

Earlier on Thursday, the Jordanian Waqf – the Muslim trust which manages the Temple Mount – and the Mufti of Jerusalem permitted renewed Muslim prayer on the Mount, after Israel removed security cameras and magnetometer metal detectors at the entrances to the holy site.

For nearly two weeks, Muslims have largely avoided the Mount, praying instead near entrances to the holy site in protest of new security measures following a terror attack by three Arab Israelis who shot and murdered two Israeli Border Police officers earlier this month. Muslim clerics had called upon worshippers to avoid the Temple Mount so long as the metal detectors remained in place.

Shortly before the rioting began, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich spoke at the Western Wall Plaza, to “dispel misinformation” regarding Israel’s sudden decision to remove the metal detectors and security cameras, claiming they were ineffective, “and served no purpose.”

The metal detectors had been installed after authorities revealed that employees of the Waqf had likely assisted the terrorists who carried out the June 14th attack by concealing their automatic firearms in a mosque on the Mount, after the guns were smuggled onto the holy site.

According to reports by the Red Crescent, at least 56 people have been treated both inside and around the Temple Mount complex since the riots broke out.

 

House Judiciary Committee Officially Approves Effort to Launch Investigation of Comey, Lynch

July 27, 2017

House Judiciary Committee Officially Approves Effort to Launch Investigation of Comey, Lynch, BreitbartMatthew Boyle, July 26, 2017

Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee has officially approved an effort to launch an investigation into former FBI director James Comey’s leaking activities and apparent mishandling of a federal investigation by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The new investigative effort, authorized by the passage of the amendment in the Judiciary Committee, 16-13 along partisan lines, digs deep requesting documents and information related to Comey’s leaks of conversations he had with President Donald Trump before Trump fired him. According to the Washington Post, Democrats on the committee were infuriated Republicans pressed forward with the probe.

“This is the most astonishing moment I’ve ever experienced in the Judiciary Committee,” one Democrat, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), said. “To take a question about the firing of James B. Comey and turn it into a question about Hillary Clinton? The chairman has left the room. Justice has left this room. Common sense has left this room. A lot of stuff has left this room, and maybe never entered it.”

The amendment was offered by Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Mike Johnson (R-LA). It passed Wednesday evening, authorizing the opening of the Judiciary Committee probe. It remains to be seen if subjects of the investigation will cooperate, and if they do not cooperate it remains to be seen if the Committee will use its broad subpoena power to compel document production and testimony.

It also remains to be seen if House Speaker Paul Ryan will support the probe, or intervene and use his power to block it. Ryan’s spokesman has not responded to Breitbart News’s requests for comment on this matter.

“There is little question that members of Obama’s administration repeatedly broke protocol throughout their investigations into Hillary Clinton,” Johnson told Breitbart News in an emailed statement. “What is unclear, however, is why we have received few answers over the past twelve months to our questions about their actions, especially concerning the former attorney general and FBI director. The House Judiciary Committee has continued to seek answers on various issues of interest stemming from their hearings and oversight responsibilities. This is simply an effort to finally get some of those important questions answered.”

The effort was first reported by Breitbart News on Tuesday, when a draft copy of the amendment was circulated demonstrating these conservatives’ efforts to probe deep into the left’s network of leaks and corruption.

The probe is wide-ranging and includes a mandate for the House Judiciary Committee to dig deep into Lynch’s order to Comey that he should refer to the criminal investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s illicit email server as a “matter,” not an “investigation.” Clinton was the failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

The probe also will press for document production regarding Comey’s communication with Columbia University Law Professor Daniel Richman, Comey’s friend, of conversations Comey had with President Trump. Richman was the vessel through which Comey leaked to the media details of those conversations with the president after his firing, with an apparent intent of using the media pressure from said leaks to spark the launching of the special counsel investigation of the Russia scandal. That special counsel investigation is being led by Comey’s longtime friend Robert Mueller, another former FBI director.

The investigation will also, per the amendment passed by the House Judiciary Committee, dig into Comey’s decision to “usurp the authority” of Lynch by making his “unusual announcement” that Hillary Clinton would not face criminal charges over the email scandal. It will inspect Comey’s knowledge of the firm Fusion GPS, the firm that made the fake news anti-Trump dossier that Comey brought to Trump’s attention when he was president-elect, and look at any “collusion” between Comey and Mueller—the special counsel leading the Russia probe now—especially regarding Comey’s leak through Richman to the media.

The probe, too, will look into Comey’s potential knowledge of “unmasking” of intelligence and surveillance collected on Donald Trump’s campaign or transition teams—and specifically any role that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice played in that.

But that’s not all: The probe will dig into potential immunity deals given to “co-conspirators” in Hillary Clinton’s email server scandal, including specifically Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson, and John Bentel.

It will also look into matters related to the Clinton Foundation’s influence from foreign governments and specifically the Uranium One deal exposed by Clinton Cash—whereby Russians obtained ownership in U.S. uranium assets. And it will investigate the infamous tarmac meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch in Phoenix at Sky Harbor International Airport.

Biggs, one of the sponsors of the now approved amendment to officially launch the committee probe, told Breitbart News in an interview before the measure was introduced that the American people want answers to these questions.

“My constituents ask the same questions that so many people want to know the answer to, and that is why have all these investigations stopped?” Biggs said. “There was a whole lot of fire there and they just seemed to end when the new administration came in and I think there’s two or three reasons,” Biggs said in a brief phone interview on Tuesday afternoon. “Number one, I think you want justice and that leads to number two—if you don’t have justice and you’re not following the rule of law then government and lawmakers and those who enforce the law are held in derision by the public. They lose faith and confidence in those they elect and so I think this is really important to get back to those basics and find out what happened and so that’s why I think it’s important.”

Gaetz, another original sponsor, said in an emailed statement that this is a step in the right direction. “It’s time for Republicans in Congress to start playing offense,” Gaetz said.

And Jordan, the fourth original sponsor, added that Democrats have for years “obstructed justice,” but they will no longer succeed.

“For the past several years, Democrats have obstructed justice and blocked every Congressional investigation imaginable,” Jordan said in an emailed statement to Breitbart News. “Now they want to investigate? Ok, let’s investigate! Both parties have criticized James Comey over the past year for his performance as FBI director. Even Sen. Feinstein says there should be an investigation into Loretta Lynch and James Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation. Let’s have a special counsel for that and see how serious Congressional Democrats are about getting to the truth.”