Archive for the ‘Obama’s foreign failures’ category

What Hath Barack Wrought?

January 8, 2017

What Hath Barack Wrought? PJ Media, Michael Walsh, January 7, 2017

obama-salman-saudi-sized-770x415xtObama and Saudi “king” Salman (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst – RTS77JX

Over at the Weekly Standard, my friend Lee Smith — one of the shrewdest voices in American journalism on the subject of the Middle East and foreign policy — takes the measure of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. It ain’t pretty:

The Obama chapter in American foreign policy ends like the climax of an action movie—with a fireball growing in the distance and filling the screen as a man in silhouette approaches in slow motion and then veers off camera. Barack Obama has set the Middle East on fire, and now it’s spreading.

The Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran has emboldened the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, which now makes war openly in four Arab states (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen) and is a growing threat to Israel and Saudi Arabia. The deal with Tehran that Obama boasts of as his signature foreign policy initiative guarantees, as the president himself acknowledged, that Iran will have an industrial-scale nuclear weapons program within 15 years.

After a 40-year absence from the Middle East, Russia has returned to the region, where it bombs Syria’s schools and hospitals as America and Europe watch helplessly. Washington’s traditional regional allies are scrambling to adjust to the new reality, which for the likes of Israel, Jordan, and Turkey means an opportunistic power on their borders that is allied with their existential enemies.

For Europe, the millions seeking refuge from the conflagration are agents of potential instability on the continent in the years to come; some in their midst are terrorists plain and simple. In just four years, or one presidential term, a civil uprising that started in Syria became a great Middle Eastern war over a host of sectarian, religious, and political hostilities dating back centuries.

Naturally, the country’s first affirmative action president doesn’t see it that way; no doubt, by his lights, he’s still every bit the equal of FDR and Abraham Lincoln he’s always thought himself to be. For a chief executive like Barack Hussein Obama, coddled practically from birth by a series of handlers, sycophants, media worshipers, excuse-makers and hagiographers, being an utter failure means never having to say you’re sorry.  The half-black president with the Muslim name was supposed to at least bring some cultural empathy to the thorny, if not to say intractable, problems of the Middle East — not just the eternal Arab-Israeli conflict but the even more eternal Muslim-Muslim conflict, not to mention the collateral damage of the one-sided Muslim-Christian conflict. That he hasn’t solved any of it is not his fault, but that he has exacerbated it most surely is.

Critics and even admirers of the president say that Syria will be a stain on his record. But that’s not how Obama sees it. The death and suffering of so many undoubtedly pains him, as he says. He says he wonders if he could have done anything else. Of course he could have, but he believed he had better reasons not to….

Obama’s foreign policy issued in part from his understanding of global realities but more from his interpretation of the American character. He believed that Americans tend to make a mess of things around the world. Obama is like a narrator in a Graham Greene novel; in our relations with the rest of humanity, as he sees it, we are 300 million naïfs abroad, whose intentions may be good but who lack the tragic sense that the rest of the world feels in its bones.

So who’s the naif now? Obama was less a Graham Green figure than Mark Twain’s Innocent Abroad. The way Smith sees it, Obama’s entire rationale was to wean America from what he saw as its shoot-first second nature; his entire foreign-policy apparatus became Dickens’ Circumlocution Office from Little Dorrit, dedicated to the proposition of How Not to Do It:

The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office. If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a family-vault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office.

This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving — HOW NOT TO DO IT.

And that’s the Obama foreign policy in a nutshell. Of course in domestic affairs, the Choom Ganger from Punahou has been the exact opposite, baldly lying about such sub-rosa proclivities as same-sex marriage and hairy transvestites in the ladies’ loo until he was well past his final election. In both areas, however, he’s been a disgrace to the office and to the country, and we will be well rid of him when he finally leaves on Jan. 20.

Obama’s foreign policy, in the end, was not primarily about the rest of the world—it was about transforming the character of America. So where are we eight years on? Gelded, as he intended.

And, to coin a phrase, that’s one of the many reasons we now have Donald Trump. America never has been and never will be a neutered metrosexual among nations. As the Obama-ites are about to find out.

Why Trump and US intel clash over Russia

January 6, 2017

Why Trump and US intel clash over Russia, DEBKAfile, January 6, 2017

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The furious clamor keeping the alleged Russian hacking scandal on the boil is being orchestrated by the outgoing president and his intelligence chiefs to ramp up US-Russian friction to an eve-of-cold war pitch.

It is important to note that Trump and his advisers, including designated Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, don’t propose rushing into détente with Moscow or any sort of honeymoon. They are acting to restore relations to an even keel and end the disequilibrium of the past eight years, during which Obama just talked and Putin did what he wanted, especially in East Europe and the Middle East.

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America’s intelligence chiefs may have been singing their swan’s song Thursday and Friday (Jan. 5-6) when they hurled allegations of election-meddling “ordered at the highest Kremlin level” against Russia at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington. The committee’s chair John McCain picked up the ball and declared that Russian hacking was “an act of war,” after hearing grim testimony from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the National Security Agency head Adm. Michael Rogers.

They disclosed that they had compiled a confidential intelligence report that demonstrated how President Vladimir Putin interfered in the US election campaign in favor of the winner, Donald Trump. They declined to divulge its contents but promised to release a shorter, censored version to the public next Monday, Jan. 9.

CIA chief John Brennan and Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson then proceeded to the White House to present the confidential report to President Barack Obama.

It will be put before President-elect Trump Friday.

The furious clamor keeping the alleged Russian hacking scandal on the boil is being orchestrated by the outgoing president and his intelligence chiefs to ramp up US-Russian friction to an eve-of-cold war pitch.

DEBKAfile’s Washington and intelligence sources find that the campaign is prompted by five motives:

1. The president-elect not only proposes to put relations with Moscow on a new and different footing, his transition teams are already at work with Putin’s advisers to chart areas of cooperation between the two powers, ready for the Trump administration to go forward when he moves into the White House on Jan. 20.

The most prominent area is the war on the Islamic State; another – the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. They are also exploring a joint US-Russian effort to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

2. Obama, who has decided to retain a team for monitoring Trump’s policies, has plunged into a dogged fight against his successor’s decision to reset US-Russian ties.

Battling to salvage a part of his “legacy” is, Obama, exceptionally for departing American presidents, is determined to cast a long shadow over his successors’ actions and policies.

In the next four years, Barack Obama will keep hammering at the Russian hacking affair in order to keep the flames high against Trump’s “Russian steps.”

3. It is important to note that Trump and his advisers, including designated Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, don’t propose rushing into détente with Moscow or any sort of honeymoon. They are acting to restore relations to an even keel and end the disequilibrium of the past eight years, during which Obama just talked and Putin did what he wanted, especially in East Europe and the Middle East.

If the effort to restore balance to the relationship works, cooperation in common areas of concern might follow. But if not, the rivalry will continue, except that henceforth America will operate from a position of strength.

4. Working together in the war on Islamic terror will call for a large measure of cooperation between US intelligence agencies and the Russian secret services.

Sixteen years ago, after 9/11, Putin proposed this kind of cooperation to President George W. Bush in the fight against Al Qaeda.

In 2011, he stepped in again with an offer of assistance to Obama in the Libyan war.

Putin was rebuffed by both presidents rebuffed him. Donald Trump is the first US leader ready to seriously explore Putin’s intentions.

The US intelligence community is up on arms at this prospect, mainly because its clandestine branches were purpose-built to confront Russia, America’s historic Cold War enemy. It is hard for them to wrench the wheel round and head in the opposite direction at the bidding of the Trump administration.

5, Notwithstanding denials by administration officers, the president elect has every intention of overhauling the character and operational methods of America’s intelligence services. His overarching goal is to cut down the vast numbers off officers, analysts and computer operations, which turn out mountains of intelligence reports most of which he claims no one reads.

Trump plans to focus more on the product of secret agents in the field, and so save the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on desk staff and high-tech computer systems. His administration will prefer to rely more on human intelligence and less on technology-based input.

Trump encapsulated his approach to intelligence and computers in a remark to reporters on New Year’s day: “No computer is safe. You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier.”

The Man Who Most Deserves to be DNC Chairman

January 5, 2017

The Man Who Most Deserves to be DNC Chairman, Front Page MagazineJohn Perazzo, January 5, 2017

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In a recent interview with the Fox Business Network, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz announced that because of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s past ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, he (Dershowitz) is prepared to “resign [his] membership to the Democratic Party after 50 years of being a loyal Democrat” if Ellison is named as the next DNC chairman.

It’s actually hard to figure out exactly what’s got Mr. Dershowitz in such a snit. It’s not as if Ellison represents some type of sudden, radical departure from what has become the mainstream Democratic position regarding race and religion. In fact, when it comes to racialism and anti-Semitism, Ellison is a mere piker compared to Barack Obama, for whom Dershowitz voted twice. That would be the same Barack Obama who spent 20 years worshiping in the church of a racist Jew-hater named Jeremiah Wright; the same Barack Obama whose longtime close friend and mentor, Professor Rashid Khalidi, was a devoted ally of the late Jew-killer extraordinaire, Yasser Arafat; the same Barack Obama whose policies toward Israel were described by a Likud Party chairman as “catastrophic”; the same Barack Obama who, according to Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, has plunged “Israel’s ties with the United States” into “a crisis of historic proportions”; and the same Barack Obama who, in an act of historic treachery just a few days ago, permitted the passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank.

By any metric one chooses, Keith Ellison’s resumé makes him an absolutely perfect choice to continue this proud Democratic tradition of endlessly stoking the fires of racial and religious antagonism.

While attending law school in 1989-90, for instance, Ellison, who had converted to Islam in 1982, wrote several student-newspaper columns where he: (a) stated that the U.S. Constitution is “the best evidence of a white racist conspiracy to subjugate other peoples”; (b) advocated slavery reparations as well as the creation of a geographically self-contained “homeland” for black people in the Southeastern United States; (c) praised the Jew-hating Nation Of Islam (NOI) organization for “all of its laudable work”; and (d) defended the incendiary NOI spokesman Khalid Abdul Muhammad—a black supremacist who once praised a black gunman for killing six white commuters (and wounding fourteen others) in a racially motivated atrocity aboard a New York City train—as a hero who possessed the courage to “just kill every goddamn cracker that he saw.”

In February 1990, Ellison participated in sponsoring Kwame Ture (a.k.a. Stokely Carmichael) to speak at his law school on the topic of Zionism’s ties to “imperialism” and “white supremacy.” The speech was replete with anti-Jewish slander—hardly a surprise, given that Ture, who in the ’60s had called for “killing the honkies,” was now in the habit of proclaiming that “the only good Zionist is a dead Zionist.”

Ellison supported, and was affiliated with, the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan for at least a decade, from the late 1980s through the late ’90s. Notwithstanding Farrakhan’s long, well-documented history of venom-laced denunciations of “white devils” and Jewish “bloodsuckers,” Ellison described him as “a role model for black youth” who was “not an anti-Semite”; as “a sincere, tireless, and uncompromising advocate of the black community and other oppressed people around the world”; and as “a central voice for our [black people’s] collective aspirations.”

When Farrakhan supporter Joanne Jackson—the then-executive director of the Minneapolis Initiative Against Racism—asserted in 1997 that “Jews are among the most racist white people I know,” Ellison declared that he and his NOI comrades “stand by the truth contained in [Jackson’s] remarks.”

In February 2000 Ellison gave a speech at a fundraising event sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, on whose steering committee he previously had served. Also in attendance was the former Weather Underground terrorist Bernardine Dohrn, a longtime Obama friend and political ally who had once devoted her life to the goal of fomenting violent revolution across the United States. Incidentally, that 2000 fundraiser was held on behalf of onetime Symbionese Liberation Army terrorist Kathleen Soliah, after her apprehension for the attempted murder of some Los Angeles police officers. Ellison called for Soliah’s release, and also spoke favorably of such high-profile killers and leftist icons as Mumia Abu Jamal, Assata Shakur, and Geronimo Pratt.

But alas, America would still have to wait another six-plus years before Ellison would finally grace the U.S. Congress with his presence. Following his electoral triumph in 2006, Ellison’s victory party featured a number of his supporters shouting “Allahu Akbar!”—the traditional battle cry of Islamic jihadists.

Between 2006 and 2016, Ellison spoke at a minimum of twelve fundraising events sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization whose co-founders had close ties to the Islamic Association for Palestine, which functioned as a public-relations and recruitment arm for Hamas—the infamous horde of missile-launchers and suicide bombers committed to the mass murder of Jews. At one of those dozen CAIR fundraisers, Ellison urged his listeners to support Sami al-Arian, the former University of South Florida professor who already had confessed to aiding and abetting the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which, like Hamas. has always had a fondness for the smell of dead Jews.

Ellison has also spoken at numerous conventions held by organizations like the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, and the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the the North American Imams Federation—all of which are closely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood, you may recall, advocates the use of violent jihad for the creation of a worldwide Islamic caliphate ruled by strict Sharia Law, and is the parent organization of both Hamas and Al-Qaeda.

But apart from that, the Brotherhood is quite moderate.

In 2007 Ellison denounced what he called the baseless “persecution” of several officials of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) who were being tried on charges that they had funneled millions of dollars to Hamas. The trial ended with a hung jury on most counts, but the following year the HLF defendants were retried and convicted on all charges.

In a July 2007 speech, Congressman Ellison likened the Bush Administration’s military response to the 9/11 attacks, to the manner in which the Nazis had exploited the 1933 burning of the Reichstag in Berlin: “It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that. After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader [Hitler] of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.”

During “Operation Cast Lead” (OCL)—a December 2008/January 2009 military operation in which Israel sought to quell the aggression of Hamas and other terrorists in Gaza—Ellison made it quite clear that his hatred for America was equaled by his contempt for Israeli Jews. Stating that he was “torn” on the issue, he refused to support a nonbinding House resolution “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza” and “reaffirming the United States’ strong support for Israel.” In September 2009, Ellison called for an end to all U.S. aid to Israel.

In 2009 as well, Ellison met with Mohammed al-Hanooti—a leading U.S.-based fundraiser for Hamas—at a campaign event for Virginia House of Delegates candidate Esam Omeish, who had previously exhorted Palestinians to follow “the jihad way” in their struggle against Israel.

While Ellison is fond of pro-jihadists like al-Hanooti, he’s not too keen on Muslims who seek to persuade other members of their faith to reject jihad and Islamic supremacism. In the fall of 2009, for instance, Ellison disparaged Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim activist who has consistently warned about the threat that political Islam poses to the West, as an Islamic “Uncle Tom.”

During his 2010 congressional re-election bid, Ellison accepted campaign contributions from such notables as Jamal Barzinji and Hisham Al-Tali—both of whom had previously served as vice presidents of the Saudi-dominated, pro-jihad International Institute of Islamic Thought, and both of whom had been identified by the FBI as U.S. leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In September 2012 Ellison condemned a portion of the Republican Party Platform which stated that “there must be no use of foreign law by U.S. courts in interpreting our Constitution and laws.” Characterizing this as a manifestation of anti-Sharia intolerance, the congressman said: “It’s an expression of bigotry.… They’re demonstrating hatred toward Muslims.… [T]hey’re the party that is basically a bigoted party and they have now officially declared themselves against a whole segment of the American population …”
During Operation Protective Edge—a 2014 Israeli military incursion that was launched in response to a dramatic escalation in rocket fire against Israel by Hamas-affiliated terrorists in Gaza—Ellison pennedWashington Post op-ed arguing that any ceasefire should be predicated on Israel ending its blockade of Gaza. Curiously, he made no mention of the fact that the blockade, which explicitly permitted the import of humanitarian supplies and other basic necessities, had been implemented out of necessity in 2007, due to Hamas’s relentless importation and deployment of deadly weaponry from its allies abroad.

Also in 2014, Ellison was one of only eight Members of Congress to vote against a House Resolution to increase the amount of U.S. financial aid that was earmarked to help Israel maintain and develop its Iron Dome missile-defense system—a system that had successfully intercepted 735 Hamas rockets aimed at Israeli population centers during Operation Protective Edge.

To be fair, we should note that Ellison is no less concerned about Israel’s national security than he is about America’s. Indeed, when President Obama announced in September 2015 that he planned to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. during the ensuing year, Ellison said: “Ten thousand is not enough. Aren’t we the people who say, ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses’? We must do more for families who are not safe in their own homeland.” He said this in spite of the fact that the Islamic State‘s bloodthirsty savages had openly vowed to secrete their own terrorist operatives into the refugee masses, as well as the fact that high-ranking government officials like FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, CIA Director John Brennan, and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Michael Steinbach had all said that it would be impossible to reliably screen out terrorists posing as refugees.

In 2015 as well, Ellison voiced his unequivocal support for the passage of the Iran Nuclear Deal, which allowed the Islamist regime in Tehran to enrich uranium, build advanced centrifuges, purchase ballistic missiles, fund terrorism, and have a near-zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb approximately a decade down the road. “This deal is a triumph of diplomacy over war and proves negotiation is an excellent method of peacemaking,” said Ellison.

Last year, Bernie Sanders used his influence to secure, for Ellison, a major role in formulating the Democratic Party’s platform for the presidential election campaign. As terrorism expert Steven Emerson reports: “Ellison and other delegates supporting Sanders wanted the Democratic Party platform to delete a description of Jerusalem as Israel’s ‘undivided capital’ and wanted to gut language opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting the Jewish state.”

At the Democratic National Convention last July, Ellison was a featured speaker in a session held by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation—part of an alliance of anti-Israel organizations that promote the Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Ellison himself supports BDS, a Hamas-inspired initiative that aims to use various forms of public protest, economic pressure, and court rulings to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently destroying Israel as a Jewish nation-state.

But lest you think that Ellison’s only qualifications for the post of DNC chairman are his Jew-hatred, his admiration for Islamist radicals, and his utter contempt for his own country, don’t neglect to credit him also for the high regard in which he held the late totalitarian dictator and mass murderer Fidel Castro. After Castro died this past November, Ellison sang his praises as a “revolutionary leader” who had nobly “confronted a system of government that excluded everybody except the military and the money-rich”; who had “[stood] up for peace and freedom in Africa”; who had “[taken] on the South Africa apartheid military forces and defeated them”; who had “deployed doctors anywhere … people were sick”; and who had “made medical education very available [and] made medicine available.”

So, here’s to Keith Ellison—in hopes that he will get the DNC chairmanship that a man of his caliber so richly deserves.

The Obama mouse that roared

December 30, 2016

The Obama mouse that roared, Israel National News, Ron Jager, December 30, 2016

(Please see also, Egyptian Daily Close To Egyptian Intelligence Reveals Minutes Of Secret Palestinian Authority Meeting With John Kerry, Susan Rice; U.S.-Palestinian Coordination On UNSC 2334; Rice Says Trump Administration’s Policy Will Be ‘Dangerous’. — DM)

Obama has been perceived for the better part of the past 8 years by many of the world’s leadership as a spineless and weak leader, never feeling comfortable or really knowing how to implement the art of statesmanship. Obama caved in to Putin, the leader of Russia, caved into Assad, the embattled leader of Syria.

China, Iran, North Korea, Libya, have all exhibited nothing but contempt for Obama who always backed down, stood down, and generally did nothing more than wag his Presidential tail.

And then there was Israel.

The objective of the recent Obama-concocted Security Council resolution against the State of Israel is nothing less than a betrayal of the US- Israel alliance and a message to Trump. The Security Council adopted a resolution that brands the Jewish presence in any part of Judea and Samaria (‘West Bank’) or in parts of Jerusalem as illegal will also make the eight hundred thousand Jews in these areas international outlaws.

However, this betrayal of Israel is in actuality Obama’s lame duck way of signaling to the new Trump administration that he has no intention of letting President-elect Trump, the democratically elected President revoke the so-called “transformation’’ that Obama has set for America over the past 8 years. Obama’s action in the UN comes from his longtime distaste for Israel and from his newly found distaste for Trump and everything that Trump stands for. Obama has a lot of “unfinished business” and primal anger concerning Trump’s victory, exposing the Democratic Party and its leader for what they are, hated by Middle America and totally detached from the traditional values of so many Americans.

Obama’s last minute stab-in-the-back of Israel is intriguing considering that he did this with full knowledge that Trump would take an opposite position within weeks. Obama’s decision was based not on strategic thinking or any political pressures of any kind. To understand what motivated Obama, in the guise of condemning Israel, America’s only longtime democratic ally in the Middle East, we must understand his deep and powerful animus against the incoming Trump administration.

Trumps’ greatest sin other than actually winning the election has been that he has exposed the true legacy of Obama. Trump, the unapologetic, wealthy, champion of Middle America is everything that Obama is not. Trump embodies Obama’s worst nightmare and is an antithesis to how Obama envisions America. He is leaving the White House knowing full well that President Trump, in Obama’s own words. will “reverse progress” of the Obama’s Presidential period.

Trump has successfully shared with all Americans the true Obama domestic legacy: BlackLivesMatter, cop killings and violence in the streets, transgenderism,  the failure and bankruptcy of Obamacare,  unrestricted immigration, terror attacks on American soil, and a 10 trillion dollar increase in national debt.

Obama has generally corrupted all three branches of government through the use of Presidential directives ignoring the authority and constitutional mandate of Congress and the Senate,  and by empowering governmental agencies such as the IRS to selectively hound organizations that did not adopt Obama’s vision of America.

Internationally, Obama’s legacy has been even worse: allowing the Islamic terror genie out of the bottle,  half a million dead in Syria, the Muslim refugee invasion of Europe which could lead to the breakup of the EU, the rise of Iran as a conventional power that is devouring one Sunni country after another, the diminution of American power and prestige enabling Russia to invade and conquer neighboring countries, and finally, legitimizing the BDS movement and the criminalization of Israel by encouraging the Security Council of the UN to make Israel a pariah state.

This showdown between Obama and Trump has been unavoidable and in the making since day one of Trump’s declaration to be elected President. The Liberal elite and intelligentsia have failed in shoving down Middle America’s throat their vision of what America should be, Obama has not yet internalized that his 8 years of empty promises and the attempted transformation of America have come to an end, with very little to show for his efforts.

In the coming 3 weeks of what remains of the Obama Presidency, President-elect Trump and the State of Israel should prepare for the worst and expect Obama to take revenge against American voters who chose Trump. He can be expected to do the same against Israel for standing up to Obama for the past 8 years exposing his nothingness, his empty beliefs and his empty panaceas that have failed one by one. Obama will continue with his political carnage until his last day in office in a manner that is unbefitting to the office of the  President.

Obama is fond of quoting Martin Luther King Jr.’s line, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” The Republican Party controls all three branches of government, to the detriment of everything Obama has achieved in the past eight years. President Trump will build an American tent that will include all and be a beacon to the world. Israel will succeed in rescinding the Security Council decision sooner rather than later and continue to build coalitions with neighboring Sunni nations in the coming years and maintain expanding relations with most nations of the World.

Obama will fail in his last ditch efforts to forge his vision of a brave new world, leaving nothing more than a memory of a mouse that roared.

The Resilience of Israel

December 29, 2016

The Resilience of Israel, Town HallVictor Davis Hanson, December 29, 2016

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The Obama administration’s estrangement from Israel has had the odd effect of empowering Israel.

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Israel would seem to be in a disastrous position, given the inevitable nuclear capabilities of Iran and the recent deterioration of its relationship with the United States, its former patron and continued financial benefactor.

Immediately upon entering office, President Obama hectored Israel on so-called settlements. Obama promised to put “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel — and delivered on that promise.

Last week, the U.S. declined to veto, and therefore allowed to pass, a United Nations resolution that, among other things, isolates Israel internationally and condemns the construction of housing in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Obama has long been at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Over objections from the Obama administration, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress last year about the existential dangers of the Obama-brokered Iran deal and the likelihood of a new Middle East nuclear proliferation race.

Obama then doubled down on his irritation with Netanyahu through petty slights, such as making him wait during White House visits. In 2014, an official in the Obama administration anonymously said Netanyahu, a combat veteran, was a “coward” on Iran.

At a G-20 summit in Cannes, France, in 2011, Obama, in a hot-mic slip, trashed Netanyahu. He whined to French President Nicolas Sarkozy: “You’re tired of him? What about me? I have to deal with him every day.”

In contrast, Obama bragged about his “special” relationship with autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Never mind that Erdogan seems to want to reconstruct Turkey as a modern Islamist version of the Ottoman Empire, or that he is anti-democratic while Israel is a consensual society of laws.

The Middle East surrounding democratic Israel is a nightmare. Half a million have died amid the moonscape ruins of Syria. A once-stable Iraq was overrun by the Islamic State.

The Arab Spring, U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the coup of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to regain control of Egypt, and the bombing of Libya all have left North Africa in turmoil.

Iran has been empowered by the U.S.-brokered deal and will still become nuclear.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bombers blast civilians not far from Israel’s borders.

Democrats are considering Rep. Keith Ellison as the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee despite his past ties to the Nation of Islam and his history of anti-Israel remarks.

Yet in all this mess, somehow Israel is in its best geostrategic position in decades. How?

The answer is a combination of unintended consequences, deft diplomacy, political upheavals in Europe and the United States, and Israel’s own democratic traditions.

Huge natural gas and oil finds off Israel’s Mediterranean coast and in the Golan Heights have radically changed Israel’s energy and financial positions. Israel no longer needs to import costly fossil fuels and may soon be an exporter of gas and oil to needy customers in Europe and the Middle East. (America recently became the world’s greatest producer of carbon energy and also no longer is dependent on Middle Eastern oil imports, resulting in less political influence by Arab nations.) Israel is creating its own version of Silicon Valley at Beersheba, which is now a global hub of cybersecurity research.

The Obama administration’s estrangement from Israel has had the odd effect of empowering Israel.

Rich Persian Gulf states see Obama as hostile both to Israel and to themselves, while he appeases the common enemy of majority-Shiite Iran.

After a “leading from behind” U.S withdrawal from the Middle East, many Arab nations now see Israel more as a powerful ally against Iran than as an old existential enemy. They also see Israel as a country that has likewise been snubbed by America.

The idea of an Arab-Israeli understanding is surreal, but it is developing from shared fears of being targets of Iranian bombing and American indifference.

Many of Israel’s neighbors are threatened by either ISIS or al-Qaida nihilists. Those deadly dangers remind the world that democratic, free-market Israel is the sole safe port amid a rising Middle East tsunami.

Changing Western politics are empowering Israel as well.

More than 2 million migrants — for the most part, young males from the war-torn Middle East — have terrified Europe, especially after a series of radical Islamic terrorist killings. Suddenly, Europe is far more worried about Israel’s neighbors than about lecturing Israel itself.

Pushback against the Obama administration extends to its foreign policy. President-elect Donald Trump may be more pro-Israel than any recent U.S. president. And he may be the first U.S. leader to move the American embassy to Israel’s capital in West Jerusalem.For all the chaos and dangers abroad, the map of global energy, Western politics and Middle Eastern alliances has been radically redrawn.At the center is a far stronger Israel that has more opportunities than at any other time in its history. It will have an even brighter future after Obama has left office.

Infamous United Nations Security Council Resolution on Israel is a Symptom of a Deeper Foreign Policy Crisis That Requires Change

December 27, 2016

Infamous United Nations Security Council Resolution on Israel is a Symptom of a Deeper Foreign Policy Crisis That Requires Change, Center for Security Policy, Luis Fleischman, December 27, 2016

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The recent resolution of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemning Israel over settlements represents another foreign policy blow for the United States.

It is consistent with this administration’s policy to appease enemies that do not deserve it (e.g., Iran and Cuba), spit in the face of allies, and thus weakening the image of the United States worldwide.

What is the meaning of this security council resolution for Israel and the settlements?

Let us start with the basics. The resolution fails to distinguish between ‘settlements blocs’ and settlements in areas where a Palestinian state is supposed to be created. Former U.S President George W. Bush accepted construction in a set of Jewish settlements next to the 1967 border as long as the scope of settlements does not expand well into the West Bank.

However, the UNSC resolution, supported and initiated by Obama, defines settlements as every piece of territory that was taken by Israel in the war of June 1967. This includes the Western Wall (the holiest site in Judaism), neighborhoods that have been in existence for decades and had no previous Arab presence, and even the Golan Heights. The latter, having nothing to do with the future of a Palestinian state, was taken from Syria before June 1967, and was used by the Syrians before that date to bomb Israeli civilian targets. Nowadays, if Israel withdraws from the Golan, the territory is likely to fall in the hands of the Iran-backed murderous Bashar Al Assad, or worse, in the hands of the radical Islamist group Al Nusra (now controlling Syrian territory next to the Golan).

On the other hand, the resolution demands nothing from the Palestinians. In the past, peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians failed not because of settlements but because the Palestinian leadership refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state by requiring the so –called “right of return” of three million Palestinians to Israel proper. That proposal is not a formula for peace but a formula for the continuation of war.

Very much in contrast to the Palestinians, Israel offered solutions in the past by offering generous concessions that included withdrawal from most of the West Bank, the creation of a Palestinian state, and agreement to share Jerusalem with the Palestinians. Israel also unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip and dismantled the Jewish settlements in the area.

This unbalanced resolution ignores these past painful and risky Israeli concessions, contemptuously rejected by the Palestinian leadership. Furthermore, the resolution failed to include the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and abandon the “right of return.”

After Egypt backed off from introducing the resolution at the request of the U.S, Vice-President Joe Biden proceeded to recruit other sponsors. He called the Ukraine first, a country that still has serious problems recognizing its population’s collaboration with the anti-Semitic Nazi murderous machine and has even honored a Ukrainian militia that murdered Jews during WWII. The other three were New Zealand, Malaysia, and Venezuela. Malaysia is a country that has refused to recognize Israel and whose former president made statements supporting theories of a Jewish conspiracy. Venezuela has adopted an open anti-American ideology, has cooperated with Iran and Hezbollah and its political and military elite are heavily involved in drug trafficking. Moreover, Venezuela is a massive violator of human rights whose policies have led to the starvation of its population

What kind of message is the United States sending to its enemies when we it makes alliances against its own ally?

This kind of resolution has been long supported by France. France’s foreign policy towards the Middle East is mainly motivated by the desire to diminish the status and influence of the United States and increase its own. Israel is considered to be a U.S ally and an easy political target.

As an example, for France, that resolution constitutes a tremendous political victory from their narrow point of view. However, as they face serious terrorist attacks in their own soil, the French have weakened themselves by voting against the country that is at the forefront of the fight against the kind of terrorism that now they themselves are facing.

However, despite the stupidity displayed by the French, their weakness is our problem too. A defenseless West also exposes America and its citizens to danger and risk. If our western allies are not strong enough, we will collapse and be hung with them.

The Russians and the Chinese provide political backing to their allies such as Syria, Iran or even North Korea. The West does not.

What is now needed is a strong American leadership that can provide a sense of common purpose to the West as a whole. The U.S needs to set the tone as well as take the initiative and leadership in the West, in order to defeat ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas and reduce the power of rogue states such as Iran, North Korea, or Venezuela. Such leadership needs to be expanded to other countries including Latin American countries with significant potential such as Brazil and Argentina.

The anti-Israel UNSC resolution is a problem that transcends Israel. The challenge ahead for President–elect Donald Trump is huge, but the opportunity to make substantial change happen is there too.

How Iran actually lost in Aleppo

December 26, 2016

How Iran actually lost in Aleppo, American ThinkerHeshmat Alavi, December 26, 2016

For 16 years America has failed to adopt a correct policy in the Middle East despite having huge opportunities to make significant changes. The 2003 war literally gift-wrapped Iraq to Iran, parallel to the highly flawed mentality of preferring Shiite fundamentalism to Sunni fundamentalism. This allowed Iran take full advantage of such failures and resulting voids.

Aleppo will be a short-lived success story for Iran. The tides are changing across the globe and Iran will no longer enjoy opportunities from West rapprochement. Understanding this very well, this is exactly why Tehran has resorted to such atrocities and sought to massacre all in Aleppo.

In contrast to how the U.S. handed Iraq in  a silver plate to Iran, Russia never entered the Syria mayhem to hand it over to Iran. The roots of Aleppo remain in the hearts of all Syrians. As world powers, especially the U.S. and Russia review their future objectives, Iran will be the first and ultimate party to suffer.

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Following a historic period of perseverance, Syrian rebels and their families were forced to evacuate eastern Aleppo after its liberation back in 2012. An unjust, intense war was launched upon Aleppo by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its proxy forces on the ground: Russia with its indiscriminate air strikes, and a lame-duck Syrian army of less than 20,000 deployable forces.

After more than 15 months continuous air raids and a long-lasting inhumane siege, Syrian rebels and civilians sealed an international agreement to depart Syria’s once economic and cultural hub.

In the past few weeks widespread bombing campaigns continued relentlessly on civilian areas. No Aleppo hospital was spared. The IRGC and its foot-soldiers, numbering at the tens of thousands, spearheaded the military of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in horrific mass executions of innocent people. The United Nations reported 82 individuals, including women and children, were murdered on the spot in the streets and in their homes. God knows how many more incidents have gone unreported.

The amazing perseverance shown by Aleppo locals for years now in the face of atrocious airstrikes and artillery shelling is unprecedented to say the least. Amidst all this, the silence and inaction seen from the West, especially the United States, will remain forever a source of shame.

Conflict of Interests

In the pro-Assad camp there are three decision-makers. First Russia, second Iran, and third the Syrian regime. The role played by Assad and his military in such scenes is next to nothing.

The West and Turkey became frantic for a ceasefire in Aleppo in the early days of the war due to the negative public opinion resulting from shocking crimes. They sought to have the rebels and remaining civilians transferred to other Syrian opposition controlled areas.

On December 13th, Washington and Moscow reached what can be described a ceasefire agreement. Intense negotiations between Turkey and Russia were started afterwards, resulting in an agreement between the Syrian opposition with Russia and Turkey to evacuate Aleppo. Practically, the parties involved in the talks were Aleppo representatives and Russia, hosted by Turkey. All necessary preparations were made to begin evacuating the city from the morning of Wednesday, December 14th.

However, Iran disrupted this agreement and the IRGC hindered the evacuation process. It was crystal clear Russia and Iran were pursuing different objectives and sets of interests. Iran sought not to have Aleppo evacuated but to exterminate all Syrian rebels and civilians.

Twenty-four hours later, pressure from the international community forced the implementation of the Russia-Syrian rebel agreement on December 15th. On the morning of that day the first convoy carrying the wounded exited Aleppo, only to face roadblocks imposed by Iran-backed forces and the Assad military.

Iran raised certain conditions for the evacuation. Russia later threatened to airstrike any party hindering the evacuation, an obvious warning to Iran. Tehran was forced to wind back under Moscow pressure.

As a result, the last phase of this war and the method chosen to evacuate Aleppo was a defeat for Iran and a victory for the Syrian opposition. Especially since the conflict of interest between Iran/Assad and Russia became crystal clear. Politically speaking, Iran has become a secondary party in Syria.

“For Putin, a political settlement now makes sense. Staying involved in an ongoing insurgency does not. But for that, he needs the opposition — which is fractured — to accept a political outcome, and there is little prospect of that so long as Assad remains in power,” as explained by Dennis Ross, who served as the Director of Policy Planning in the State Department under President George H. W. Bush, the special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton, and was a special adviser for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia (which includes Iran) to the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Is this the end?

The turn of events does not spell the end of the Syrian opposition. The opposition controls large swathes of Syria, with areas over ten times larger than Aleppo and millions of residents. Idlib Province has at a three million strong population; the western coast of the Euphrates in the Turkish border, recently liberated by the Free Syrian Army from Daesh (ISIS/ISIL); large portions of Deraa Province neighboring Jordan; a strategically important section in the north in Latakia Province on the Turkish border; large portions of areas in the Damascus vicinity and large portions in the Aleppo vicinity.

In contrast to Western mainstream media reporting, the Syrian opposition enjoys the capability to rise once again.

Despite all its differences, a comparison made to the Iran-Iraq War may help. In 1986, Iran made significant advances taking control over the Faw peninsula in southern Iraq. Western media and think-tanks all forecasted further advances by Iran and a defeat for Iraq. In 1988 Iran was forced into a U.N.-brokered ceasefire agreement.

Deep divisions between the Syrian nation and the Assad regime have reached the point of no return. Nearly 500,000 have been killed and more than half of the Syrian population displaced. The Syrian nation will never accept the continuation of this regime. Despite sporadic military advances, Assad has no place in Syria’s future.

Where Iran stands in Syria

Iran will not be the final victor in Syria.

First — For Iran, it is vital to maintain Assad in power. His fall will mark the end of Iran’s crusades in Syria. Even if the Syrian opposition becomes weaker, the overall crisis will continue while Assad remains in power. Assad is no longer acceptable in the international stage with an international consensus over his resort to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Second — While Iran is financing and providing the ground forces, in this war, it no longer enjoys the first and final word. Russia calls the shots now with stark differences in interest, as seen in Aleppo.

Trump’s America

U.S. President Barack Obama’s weak foreign policy, especially the failed engagement with Iran, prolonged the Syrian crisis, allowed Tehran to take advantage, Russia to take the helm and America be sidelined.

Where will developments lead with Donald Trump in the White House? What will be the new U.S. foreign policy vis-à-vis Syria, Iran and the Middle East? How can we define Washington’s relationship with Moscow, and what practical measures will Trump take against Daesh (ISIS/ISIL)? Time will tell.

Good relations between the U.S. and Russia will at least not have a negative impact on the region, and this is good news for the Syrian opposition. Russia has weighable interests in Syria. However, what will Trump do with Iran? Considering Trump’s harsh tone on Iran to this day, far more positive outcomes can be forecasted for the Syrian opposition.

Second, Trump and secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson have the potential of eventually convincing Russia to provide concessions. This is not in Iran’s interests, as Tehran remembers Russia ditching Libyan the dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Lesson learned in Syria

For 16 years America has failed to adopt a correct policy in the Middle East despite having huge opportunities to make significant changes. The 2003 war literally gift-wrapped Iraq to Iran, parallel to the highly flawed mentality of preferring Shiite fundamentalism to Sunni fundamentalism. This allowed Iran take full advantage of such failures and resulting voids.

Aleppo will be a short-lived success story for Iran. The tides are changing across the globe and Iran will no longer enjoy opportunities from West rapprochement. Understanding this very well, this is exactly why Tehran has resorted to such atrocities and sought to massacre all in Aleppo.

In contrast to how the U.S. handed Iraq in a silver plate to Iran, Russia never entered the Syria mayhem to hand it over to Iran. The roots of Aleppo remain in the hearts of all Syrians. As world powers, especially the U.S. and Russia review their future objectives, Iran will be the first and ultimate party to suffer.