Archive for July 13, 2018

Congress Demands State Department Release Secret Report Busting Myth of Palestinian Refugees

July 13, 2018

Cruz, congressional insiders pressuring Trump administration to expose long classified report

Palestinian protestors uses slings to throw stones towards Israeli forces during clashes across the border, following a demonstration calling for the right to return

Palestinian protestors uses slings to throw stones towards Israeli forces during clashes across the border, following a demonstration calling for the right to return / Getty Images

BY:

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/congress-demands-state-department-release-secret-report-busting-myth-palestinian-refugees/

Key lawmakers in Congress are increasing pressure on the Trump administration to release a long classified government report on Palestinian refugees that insiders have described as a potential game changer in how the United States views the refugee issue and allocates millions in taxpayer funding for a major United Nations agency, according to conversations with senior congressional officials working on the matter.

The State Department has, since the Obama administration was in office, been hiding a key report believed to expose the number of Palestinian refugees as far smaller than the U.N. and other have claimed for decades. The public release of this information could alter how the United States provides funding for Palestinian refugees.

The Washington Free Beacon first disclosed the existence of the refugee report in January, when the Trump administration decided to significantly cut funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, an organization long accused of harboring anti-Israel bias and of aiding Hamas terrorists in the Palestinian territories.

Though the State Department is legally required to publish an unclassified version of the report, it has repeatedly ignored demands by Congress that the report be released.

The State Department, when asked by the Free Beacon, could not provide any information or timeframe on the report’s possible release.

“The State Department is committed to taking all appropriate measures to provide information in response to requests from Congress,” a State Department official said.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.) spearheaded the initial effort to declassify the report. Congress must have a complete picture of the Palestinian refugee situation in order to ensure that U.S. taxpayer funds are not being wasted, he told the Free Beacon in April.

“It is critical that Congress investigates the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which operates under the United Nations (UN) using a different definition of a refugee for Palestinians than all other UN refugees around the world,” Lamborn said.

Congressional demands that the report be publicly released come at time of mounting criticism for UNRWA, which is facing a severe cash crunch following the Trump administration’s decision to reduce U.S. funding. The tense situation with UNRWA has sparked protests in the Gaza Strip, where UNRWA mainly operates and employs hundreds.

 

In addition to regional protests over UNRWA’s inability to pay salaries, Turkey was recently appointed at the U.N. to chair the agency’s advisory committee for the next year. This has stoked concerns that UNRWA could take an even more anti-Israel position in the coming months.

Sources with direct knowledge of the report’s contents have told the Free Beacon it puts the number of actual Palestinian refugees at around 20,000, far fewer than the 5.3 million figure routinely pushed by UNRWA and pro-Palestinian advocates who want to see the United States and international partners continue sending millions in aid to the Palestinian government.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), one of the main lawmakers pressuring the Trump administration to release the report, told the Free Beacon that efforts to suppress the information on the actual Palestinian refugees is preventing Congress from providing oversight for the U.S. taxpayer.

“UNRWA lashes out against America and engages in anti-Semitic incitement. Hamas terrorists use UNRWA facilities to target Israeli civilians,” Cruz told the Free Beacon. “The American people deserve to see this reported State Department assessment, so Congress and the administration can have a transparent and productive debate about America’s role in the organization.”

Now that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is running the State Department following the ouster of former head Rex Tillerson, lawmakers and senior congressional officials see a renewed opportunity to ensure the refugee report is released.

They continue to view the classified report’s findings as a critical tipping point in the debate over UNRWA’s funding and core mission, which has found itself subjected to increased scrutiny as a result of what many allege is UNRWA’s anti-Israel bias and close relationship with Palestinian terror groups.

One senior congressional official who has been involved in the UNRWA issue for several years questioned why the Trump administration is continuing to keep the report classified, particularly as the White House amps up efforts to foster peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. The refugee issue has long been a sticking point in peace talks.

“It’s not really a question of what they’re hiding,” said the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the situation. “We know what’s in the report because it’s just a matter of mathematics and demographics. The number of refugees was half a million people to begin with, and that was 70 years ago so many of them have passed away, so it can’t be five million now.”

“The question is why the Trump administration is trying to lock in the Obama era policy of never letting this report see the light of day,” the source said.

Update July 13, 3:16 p.m.: This post has been updated with further information.

Florida: Mass Murder Plot Thwarted, CAUGHT Before Blowing Up Building to “Kill All The F***king Jews”

July 13, 2018

By – on

https://gellerreport.com/2018/07/jewahtred-mass-murder-miami.html/

This Jew-hater was captured in the act. He was setting up the gas containers, had poured gas down the hallways and elevators and had padlocks to put on the fire hoses to prevent the fire department from using them. But this story will get nary a mention in the elite (antisemitic) left-press. But comment on a hijab and you are worldwide news.

Note the first sentence of this local news report: “A Miami Beach man upset with his Jewish neighbors” as if that is some justification. My colleagues and I are excoriated for opposing jihad terror and sharia savagery but they imply justification becasue he was “upset with his Jewish neighbors.”

 

A Strategic Reset for NATO

July 13, 2018

Donald Trump’s criticism that the alliance isn’t fit for form is valid. NATO needs an overhaul.


Image: A U.S. Air Force pilot looks at a KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft as he refuels his F-16 fighter during the U.S.-led Saber Strike exercise in the air over Estonia June 6, 2018. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

By Zalmay Khalilzad July 10, 2018 National Interest

Source Link: A Strategic Reset for NATO

{Excellent article and outstanding photo. I suggest you visit the source web page and view this pic in higher resolution. Truly inspiring.  I’ll dub it ‘Photo of the Week’  – LS}

At the NATO summit this week, President Donald Trump will undoubtedly criticize allies for not spending enough on defense and for pursuing their own economic wellbeing, in part at the expense of the United States. The president has been lambasted for criticizing U.S. allies and indeed, our alliances are important and represent some of the greatest achievements of U.S. foreign policy. However, Trump’s criticisms are justified. NATO must reform; it is not sustainable in its present form.

The alliance is ill-structured, ill-equipped and ill-financed to deal with the European region’s two major security problems—an aggressive Russia and the spillover of instability and terrorism from the Middle East and North Africa—leaving aside emerging global security challenges. Worse, at times some members can even be said to have enabled the threat. One example being the massive German purchase of Russian gas, which provides Putin with ongoing financing. To deal effectively with these challenges on an equitable and sustained basis among allies, the terms of the partnership must be renegotiated and its common ground redefined. This is in Europe’s best interest too.

Despite the best efforts of the Clinton, Bush (43) and Obama administrations, Russia has embarked on a more aggressive path, going to war against Georgia and Ukraine, conducting cyber attacks on Estonia and otherwise threatening the Baltic states. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, NATO members are directly threatened by Russian aims. Efforts at finding common ground with Russia based on mutual interest in a changing global environment should continue, but so must preparations to deal with threats from Russia.

Also, Europe faces a threat from the south, as the crisis in the Middle East and Europe’s permissive asylum laws and expansive welfare systems have triggered a flow of hundreds of thousands of refugees. The series of terrorist attacks in Europe inspired or coordinated by the Islamic State is one consequence. This terrorist threat—which combines external and internal security problems—is one NATO is ill designed to address.

Many of NATO’s members have effectively disarmed since the end of the Cold War, with only eight of NATO’s twenty-eight members even spending the required 2 percent of GDP on defense. Meanwhile, the United States faces major fiscal constraints, particularly rising entitlement costs and interest payments, and growing demands to meet its other global responsibilities, particularly in the Western Pacific. Additionally, many European members have favorable balances of trade vis-à-vis the United States, giving credence to the claim that we subsidize them on defense and they take advantage of us on trade.

Gentle persuasion by past presidents failed to induce Europeans to spend more on defense. By contrast, Trump’s demands for greater burden sharing are starting to have an effect. Yet much more still needs to happen. Moreover, we need to focus not just on inputs—how much money is spent—but also on outputs. A reformed NATO must hold members accountable in terms of actual military capabilities they can field. Those who care about NATO should criticize free-riding alliance members, not the efforts of Trump to get the alliance to up its game. At the same time, the Trump administration needs to articulate alliance priorities and the steps needed to adequately address them.

A Strategic Reset for NATO

In a new arrangement, NATO members would first agree on specific plans and capabilities needed to meet the threats from the East and the South as well as an operational division of labor. This doesn’t mean abandoning the requirement to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense, but instead would require every NATO member to commit to spending the necessary resources to meet identified defense responsibilities, which in some cases could require expenditure of more than 2 percent.

Specifically, the alliance should collectively take three steps to field an agreed set of defense outputs:

– Develop integrated defense plans within the NATO military committee for dealing with the Russian threat in northeast Europe, and instability and terrorist threats emanating from the Middle East and North Africa, thereby creating a strategy and a division of labor. This will entail a combined planning effort of the major NATO powers and the members living nearest or most directly affected by these threats.

– Agree to specific outputs—forces, weapons systems, operational capabilities, logistics support, and command and control—that each NATO member must develop and maintain at high readiness. This should take into account the capabilities that are needed now but also look to exploit emerging technologies to solve military problems more effectively as these technologies mature.

– Engage in realistic large-scale annual exercises—analogous the Exercise REFORGER of the Cold War—that will serve as a deterrent for would be aggressors, demonstrate resolve and compliance with NATO commitments and identify shortfalls for remediation.

In addition, the United States should candidly inform the European NATO members that the larger share of these agreed upon capabilities must come from them. We must explain that geopolitical realities require the United States to augment our own defense commitments in other priority regions, especially the Western Pacific. They must also understand that the American public expects wealthy countries to defend themselves principally on their own, with the United States playing a supporting role on an as-needed basis.

We must deliver the hard message that the future of the U.S. commitment under Article 5 is contingent on European performance. Those capabilities provided by the United States should be specifically tailored to reinforce NATO war plans and the security of the front-line states. European states would carry the burden on the southern threat, which affects their states domestically.

This would form the basis of a new global division of labor where America’s European allies assume the primary role for the security of Europe; the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia would assume the primary role for security in the Western Pacific; and collectively, America and its global and regional allies would share roles in providing for security in the Middle East. Thus, working together, America and its allies would be meeting critical security demands in three critical regions.

Elements of the New Construct

To address the Russian threat in northeast Europe, the United States should lead the planning effort in NATO to develop the requirements for forces capable of deterring and, if necessary, defeating Russian irregular and conventional aggression, and to deter nuclear use. While the specifications for these forces requires comprehensive military analysis, we can conclude that a small tripwire force is inadequate to the task.

Among the capabilities that European NATO members would need to develop would include the following:

– An integrated air defense and surface-to-surface strike capability that would create an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) belt covering the territory of NATO members and extending into adjacent areas of Russia.

– A counter-A2/AD capability that would defeat Russia battle networks and weapons systems, and Moscow’s ability to threaten NATO forward-deployed forces and reinforcements.

– A special operations forces capability sufficient to counter Russia’s sub-conventional operations involving the so-called “little green men.”

– A ground maneuver force that would combine the kind of light infantry that Hezbollah used against Israel’s offensive forces with heavy armor and artillery units that would consolidate territorial control.

As part of the new NATO security construct, the United States should offer to take the following steps:

– Maintain a small, highly capable ground maneuver force in Europe that would partner with a larger European force.

– Maintain a POMCUS capability in Europe, proximate to the locales where it would likely be needed, that would enable a surge of U.S. capability on a rapid basis if needed. Other major NATO powers, such as France, Germany and the UK should also provide POMCUS-style capability.

– Sell to European allies and partners, or license the right to produce, the high-end weapons systems needed to create the required European A2/AD, counter A2/AD, and maneuver force capabilities. Interoperability is vital and should be programmed into the strategy and plans.

– Agree to back up European arsenals of precision-guided munitions with U.S. stockpiles and production capabilities.

– Provide European NATO members with access to U.S. high-fidelity training capabilities and technologies.

– Provide the C4ISR capabilities that would enable integrated NATO operations in the event of conflict.

– Undertake a new look at what would be needed at every step in the escalation ladder—including tactical and intermediate-range nuclear forces—to ensure that Russia would not gain an advantage though escalating to high levels of conflict. This would be a first step to address any deficiencies in our deterrent.

A similar process should be undertaken regarding the threat from MENA. The flood of migrants from MENA and the infiltration of terrorists into European countries should be treated as a first order security problem for NATO. While these challenges principally affect European security, the United States should work through NATO to help enable European members better to address these challenges. This should include the following steps:

– Assist European NATO members in creating stabilization forces capable of brokering political compacts in fragile states, training local security forces, and building key state institutions.

– Work with European NATO members to develop a political-military plan for the stabilization of Libya and play a supporting role to the main European effort, which will likely require deployment of stabilization forces and establishment of a beachhead to deal with the source of refugees embarking across the Mediterranean Sea.

– Develop a counter-terrorism intelligence fusion and operations center that is part of the NATO command structure, thus coordinating the police, internal security and military responses to terrorism.

– Develop an agreed strategy and political-military plan to defeat the remnants of the Islamic State which is a threat to the member states.

A Trump Doctrine for NATO

In essence, the new construct is analogous to the Nixon Doctrine, only this time for the wealthy countries of Europe. Nixon pledged to come to the defense of allies in the developing would should they be threatened or attacked by major power. However, he insisted under the Nixon Doctrine that these states principally carry the burden for internal defense and lesser contingencies, though assisted with U.S. training and economic and military aid. In Europe today, European NATO members are fully capable of providing for their own defense.

To implement this doctrine, the United States should play an active supporting role and develop a three- to five-year timeline and program to create the needed European capabilities. We need to shore up vulnerabilities now, but this has to be part of a plan to create European capabilities and to set limits on the U.S. role that enable us to prioritize the challenge in East Asia, deal with ongoing threats in the Middle East, and work within our fiscal constraints.

Zalmay Khalilzad was the Director of Policy Planning in the Department of Defense and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations.

 

Iran will leave Syria, Iraq only if Baghdad, Damascus want it, aide to Khamenei says

July 13, 2018

Reuters Staff July 13, 2018 Writing by Parisa Hafezi, editing by Larry King

Source Link: Iran will leave Syria, Iraq only if Baghdad, Damascus want it, aide to Khamenei says

Bonus Link: After a week of Russian propaganda, I was questioning everything

{I think the USA and Israel might have something to say about that. Besides, anyone smell the Russian propaganda? – LS}

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A top aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday that Iran would immediately withdraw its “military advisers” from Syria and Iraq only if their governments wanted it to.

“Iran and Russia’s presence in Syria will continue to protect the country against terrorist groups and America’s aggression … We will immediately leave if Iraqi and Syrian governments want it, not because of Israel and America’s pressure,” said Ali Akbar Velayati in a conference in Moscow.

Iran and Russia back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s civil war.

{Back Syria in civil war?  How about helping Assad murder more of his own people while displacing millions more.  Put that in your morality pipe and smoke it. – LS}