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Total number of comments: 1373 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Mark Koroi

Showing comments 1373 - 1301

  • No, Donald Trump, Mideast wouldn't be more Stable under Saddam & other Dictators
    • Regarding NATO's role in the overthrow of Gaddafi:

      (1) agreed that Mistrata was bravely defended by rebels for months without outside intervention;

      2) Benghazi was being invaded by Gaddafi's forces and his son announced the eventual fall of the rebel movement within a few weeks as the Libyan army had been rolling victories along the Mediterranean coast on the way to Benghazi - until French jet bombers struck against regime forces and drove them back in a long retreat that resulted in the fall of Tripoli;

      (3) U.S. cruise missiles destroyed Libyan government communication facilities which not only hastened Gaddafi's fall, but were welcomed by the Libyan populace.

      Without NATO intervention in Libya, the Arab Spring revolution there may have failed or at least been delayed.

  • Syria: Russians volunteering to fight ISIL alongside Leftist Kurds
    • The Peshmerga are not "leftist Kurds". They are affiliated with the mainstream Kurdish leadership largely controlled by the Talabani and Barzani clans and been around for many decades.

      The Peshmerga are cooperating with the U.S. Central Command as part of an anti-ISIS coalition under Operation Inherent Resolve.

      There is a leftist Kurdish organization - PKK - that is Marxist in orientation that the U.S. State Department and the Turkish government has designated as a terror organization. They are fighting ISIS in northern Syria - with a large percentage of female fighters. PKK has been led by the imprisoned Abdullah Ocalan.

  • Facing ISIL Propaganda, Russia Denies its Syria Campaign is a "Holy War"
    • Hardly a "holy war" by the Russian government.

      It is estimated that about 60% of Russia is atheist or otherwise classified as "non-religious".

      Russia's ties to Syria are primarily economic as opposed to purely military presence.

      Russia is a supplier of billions of dollars in military hardware and other war materiel to the Assad regime. Russia has an even deeper relationship with Syria economically with development and maintenance of Syria's infrastructure. This relationship has existed for decades between the two countries.

      That said, the Russian Orthodox Church undoubtedly has concerns over the those Syrian-rite Orthodox adherents who may be endangered by ISIS.

  • Turkey fears fallout from Russian strikes in Syria
    • Syrian Kurds have been the most vocal group that have alleged collusion between Turkish intelligence services and ISIS against Kurdish interests - although those ties have never been proven and the extent and nature of such collusion - if it exists at all - has been murky.

      What is clear, however, is that PKK has been a thorn in the side of the Turkish government and, also, is fighting ISIS inside Syria - thus the motivation for Turkey engaging in such collusion.

      What is also clear is that there has been a porous border between Turkey and Syria by which foreign ISIS volunteers have entered Syria for the purpose of joining the civil war - and that the Turkish government has failed to crack down on bribe-receiving border guards allowing passage of these volunteers.

  • Is Putin Gambling it all on Syria?
  • Trump Supports Putin's Russia Policy in Syria
    • There is evidence that Russian jets are not bombing ISIS positions, with some reports that Syrian moderate rebel forces are the actual Russian targets in areas such as Homs:

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      American political leaders should be wary of actual Russian intentions in intervening in this civil war - it appears to be a manifestation of Cold War politics as opposed to a bona fide desire to stop ISIS

  • Disillusioned Daesh/ ISIL Fighters joined for 'Adventure, Luxury & Saving Muslims'
  • How Henry Kissinger created a world of bad guys Armed to the Teeth
    • The 1973 Nobel Peace Prize co-awarded Kissinger with North Vietnamese foreign minister Le Duc Tho was one of the most controversial events surrounding the Nobel Committee:

      (A) Le Duc Tho declined the award as he believed that peace had not yet been achieved in the region;

      (B) the U.S. Air Force was still conducting massive aerial bombing of Cambodia that would continue until October of 1973;

      (C) evidence exists that at near this very time Kissinger was engaged with the policy formulation and planning of the overthrow of popularly-elected Chilean president Salvador Allende with President Nixon and CIA director Richard Helms.

  • Israel's Real Fear: w/out a Demonized Iran, West will see Tel Aviv as Irrelevant
    • "......Israeli support for terror groups such as........Jundullah, a militant terror organization based in Baluchestan...."

      The real scandal that outraged U.S. intelligence officials was when Mossad personnel impersonated CIA officers in attempting to recruit Jundullah members to carry out attacks on Iranian interests, thus exposing CIA personnel and Americans in general to possible retaliatory violence:

      link to

  • US-trained Syria rebels gave weapons to al-Qaeda Pentagon confirms
    • This is a phenomenon that former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford (who also is a fellow commenter on this blog) had warned about.

      In my opinion, the U.S. should be concentrating efforts on a concerted effort with allied nations as to aerial bombing campaign if they intend to keep ISIS in check. This was done with a degree of success with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan to dislodge the Taliban from power in Kabul.

      America's primary strategy should be to keep ISIS and the al-Nusra Front from taking control in Damascus.

  • Things like Ted Cruz's threat to Murder Iran's Ayatollah are why Iranians don't Trust US
    • Cruz is not Roman Catholic - his father is a Baptist minister.

    • The Cuban-American community has traditionally enjoyed close ties to the Central Intelligence Agency as part of Operation Mongoose - which attempted to destabilize the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba by means which included plans to kill Castro himself.

      Cruz himself worked closely under Pres. G.W. Bush - the son of a former CIA director with close ties to Cuban-American exiles.

      Dr. Orlando Bosch, a violent leader of the Cuban exiles in Florida who served prison time for anti-communist violence, contended that he was trained by the U.S. government to commit the violence he engaged in. He was pardoned by Pres. George H.W. Bush in 1989 for firing a bazooka at a Polish freighter off the Florida coast in 1967.

      Cruz, as a U.S. president, would most likely push the same agenda as the Bush family did, giving free rein to the authorization of violent covert operations activities of the U.S. intelligence community.

  • With Iran deal, & Russia in Syria, is Israel being Boxed In?
    • Not only ICBMs, but also German-manufactured Dolphin submarines, that cost Israel, with some financial help from the German government, billions of dollars.

      Israel reportedly keeps a portion of its submarine fleet in the international waters of the Persian Gulf armed with sea-launched nuclear missiles as a deterrent to Iran.

    • In the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah was outnumbered many times over by the Israel Defense Forces and, further, had no tanks, warships, helicopters or jet bombers.

      That war was one of the few conflicts where Israeli soldiers had fought extensively in face-to-face combat situations - and they did not fare very well. In an olive grove skirmish near Bint Jubayl that the IDF studied extensively as to what went wrong, the Israeli commander was killed in action almost instantly and most IDF soldiers who fought there were either killed or wounded. One IDF soldier was later quoted as saying the Bint Jubayl battle was "hell on earth".

      Only about 100-150 Hezbollah militiamen manned the garrison at Bint Jubayl, but they repulsed 5,000 elite Givati and Golani Brigade infantrymen of the IDF after 30 days of fighting. One IDF unit commander was later court-martialed and jailed after ordering his men to retreat in violation of direct orders of his superior.

      The IDF's vaunted Merkava tanks were targets of the Russian-manufactured anti-tank missiles - damaging or destroying 21 tanks in the war. Those missiles often left the entire tank crew killed in action if the tank was so struck during battle.

      The Winograd Commission in Israel issued a report chronicling the deficiencies in the performance of the IDF in that conflict.

      The IDF performance against Hezbollah in 2006 shattered any myth of overwhelming military superiority by Israel in south Lebanon. Despite indications that Israel might return to Lebanon after 2006, there has been no re-occupation by the IDF of that region.

  • A First: New York City Schools close for Muslim Holy Day
    • In Hamtramck, MI, a Yemeni-American Muslim, Saad Almasmary, is expected to be sworn in to fill a vacancy on City Council which will make it the first majority Islamic city council in U.S. history.

      The Almasmary appointment - due to the death of a sitting City Council member - leaves three Bangladeshi-Americans and now a Yemeni-American on its seven-member City Council. Almasmary had finished just behind the now-deceased City Council member in the last City Council election and will accede to that member's seat by operation of the City Charter.

      While Dearborn, MI has an Arab-American majority city council, half of its Arab members are Christian.

  • Aqsa Crisis: PM Netanyahu wants Israeli Forces to use Live Fire against Rock Throwing Demonstrators
    • You hit the nail right on the head.

      Pastor John Hagee of Texas, a Baptist, is one of America's most influential Christian Zionists, who has been a personal friend of every Israeli prime minister since Menachem Begin.

      In one of his books, he has predicted that the Israeli actions against the Al-Aqsa Mosque will culminate in its eventual demolition so the Third Temple may be built - thus causing a cataclysmic future war which will usher in the Second Coming.

      Hagee's controversial positions are not only well known by Israeli Jewry - but by Palestinians as well, who denounce his activities as cynical and with no actual concern for either Jews or Arabs.

      The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has denounced Christian Zionism as a false teaching.

      The "Friends" (Quakers), however, have been generally pro-Palestinian, and have sponsored educational institutions for Arabs in the West Bank dating back to the 1870s.

  • US Intel Chief: Iraq and Syria may not Survive as States
  • Leftist Corbyn win as head of UK Labour alarms Israeli Right Wing
    • Actually, the Israeli public is more right-wing than ever before.

      Polls taken in the 1980s suggested that 65% of the Israeli public then wanted the Israeli government to vacate Gaza - today 51% of Israelis polled want the Israeli government to colonize Gaza.

      50% of Gazans polled recently would emigrate out of Gaza if they could.

      The Israeli right-wing is winning their "war" against Gaza via blockade and military incursions to make life so unbearable for Arabs that they will eventually be able to take over Gaza and incorporate it as a part of "Greater Israel". This was the goal of Revisionist Zionists who eventually became the leadership of the Likud Party.

      The "hate-mongers" you reference enjoy substantial electoral popularity from Israeli Jewry.

  • 14 Years after 9/11, US, Israel Tempted to ally with Al-Qaeda in Syria
    • "The first American alliance with al-Qaeda came in the 1980s (in Afghanistan)......"

      There is no conclusive proof that al-Qaeda had any direct link to U.S. intelligence during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (although it is debatable). Bin Laden at that time eschewed Western support, although other Afghan Mujahidin, such as Gulbuddin Hekmyatar, has clear ties to the CIA with respect to supplying of weapons.

      Furthermore, Bin Laden's fighters in Afghanistan against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul were only a very small percentage of the overall rebels fighting at that time.

      It was eventually the US.-backed Mujahidin that formed the backbone of the Northern Alliance who eventually removed the Taliban from power in post-9/11 Afghanistan - this includes fighters loyal to the charismatic Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was assassinated just days prior to 9/11.

    • This is no different than what was done after the end of WWII.

      The U.S. saw some former Nazis as useful and placed a number in intelligence positions.

      Nazi spymaster Reinhard Gehlen not only was not prosecuted for war crimes, but was named West Germany's postwar intelligence chief. Klaus Barbie became an agent of the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps.

      Syria themselves became hosts to a number of wanted Nazis - including Alois Brunner, deputy to Adolf Eichmann; Brunner became a "consultant" to Syrian intelligence services.

      Intelligence agencies often ignore morality in the equation of who to recruit as an asset.

  • 'Bibi in Bible Land': The Likud Party Miscalculates and loses on Iran Deal
    • Revisionist Zionists were militarily active as part of the Irgun terror gang during the period around the time of independence in 1948 - and vigorously opposed by PM David Ben-Gurion.

      In June of 1948, Ben-Gurion authorized the newly-minted Israel Defense Forces to attack the Altalena - a cargo ship owned by the Irgun that was carrying explosives to be used by that group against Arabs.

      A young IDF commander named Yitzhak Rabin ordered the ship fired on as it reached the Israeli coastline and Irgun leader Menachem Begin appeared on deck to defuse the situation and ensure all sailors were escorted off ship. The Altalena had caught fire and several Irgun members and IDF soldiers were killed after firing on each other. The incident nearly led to a civil war between these two factions within Israel.

      Ben-Gurion's Mapai Party had as its emblem a symbol closely resembling the hammer and sickle of the Soviet Union.

      Begin and Rabin would eventually each receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Invented Traditions: No, Christianity doesn't forbid Abortion
    • "Scriptural support for the "Pro-Life" position /There isn't any."

      Yes, there is:

      "The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.' " Jeremiah 1:4-5

  • 1000s of Palestinians mourn as victim of Israeli Terrorist dies after losing her Toddler
    • "The perpetrators of the attack still have not been arrested by Israeli authorities."

      True. A lot of hoopla over the arrest of Meir Ettinger, a grandson of Kach Party and Jewish Defense League founder Meir Kahane, and his placement in "administrative detention" after being arraigned by an Israeli magistrate, however Ettinger is under house arrest and cannot come out at night or speak on the telephone - but otherwise remains free:

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  • Pope Francis' call to host Refugees contrasts w/ anti-Immigrant US "Religious Right"
    • This is not accurate as to all GOP leaders.

      Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has expressed a willingness to accept up to 50,000 Syrian refugees to re-settle in the depressed City of Detroit:

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      This initiative would require the Obama administration to raise current quotas.

  • Netanyahu: Israel Not To Be 'Submerged' by Syrian Refugees
    • Ironically, Israel demolished numerous Syrian farms and villages in the Golan Heights after the Six-Day War in 1967 and began allowing Jewish settlers to enter the region.

      About 20,000 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights today and the pre-1967 Syrian Arab population in the Golan Heights was about 150,000 but declined to about 7,000 after the 1967 war. There is a substantial Druze population there.

      Seems to me Israel could re-settle those recent Syrian refugees in the depopulated areas of the Golan Heights that the United Nations has already ruled is being illegally occupied by Israel.

  • Whether Jewish Refugees in '30s or Syrians today, USA Falls Short of own Ideals
    • Other Israeli politicians want Israel to permit entry of Syrian refugees and have drawn analogies with the Holocaust:

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    • In 1975, the United States evacuated thousands of young Vietnamese children in Operation Babylift - other than a single plane crash the mission was a huge success.

      Whatever argument there may be that accepting refugees from Syria may result in security risks, these arguments have no validity where the evacuation of small children is concerned.

  • Why some European countries do more than others to help refugees
    • "The countries that supply the most weapons and spend the most on bombing do the least to help the refugees......"

      PM Netanyahu recently stated "small Israel" has no room to accept Syrian refugees. This is despite the fact this July an Israeli cabinet minister welcomed 221 American and Christian Jews immigrating into Israel as part of welcomed and organized aliyah. Further, Netanyahu has promoted aliyah aggressively during his tenure in office.

      Leader of the Opposition Isaac Herzog, on the other hand, has publicly expressed support for accepting Syrian refugees into Israel.

  • What Iran sacrificed in Deal: Accepted dependence on Imported Enriched Fuel
    • During a special plenary session of the Knesset to honor Revisionist Zionism leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, of the Likud Party, made the following statement:

      "This agreement is the beginning of the collapse of the Western wall of resistance against the murderous takeover of radical Islam."

      Israel's military and intelligence leaders have recognized the value of this accord, however only 10% of the respondents in public opinion polls in Israel have expressed support for its implementation.

  • Top 4 Issues Saudi King Salman will discuss in first visit to Obama's White House
    • "..............[i]n the meantime, the U.S. needs the Shi'ite militias to defeat Daesh, which means not angering Iran by getting rid of their ally in Damascus."

      This is quite amazing that the U.S. is a de facto "ally" of Hezbollah - as well as the Baathists in Syria - in ensuring the defeat of Daesh, despite the fact that Hezbollah has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a "foreign terrorist organization" (FTO) and has an economic embargo imposed upon Syria.

      Israel has found itself in the same quandary - finding itself with similar interests as the al-Qaeda affiliate, the Succor Front, since in Israel's case, that terror organization is fighting not only the Baathists - but more importantly - Israel's arch-enemy Hezbollah.

      There is some evidence that Turkish Intelligence is aiding Daesh - and the logic behnd this is Daesh is fighting Kurdish militants in northern Syria - whom Turkey opposes.

      The wiser approach by these outside nations that has been suggested is perhaps to withdraw from contacts with these known terror organizations and focus their efforts upon humanitarian aid to refugees streaming out of Syria.

  • Obama 1, Netanyahu 0, as Dems & Public rally to Iran Deal
    • Congressman Sander Levin from Michigan's Ninth Congressional District Metro Detroit, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, Jewish, and a strong Israel supporter, has given unflinching support to the Iran deal as in that nation's best interests:

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      In response, the GOP Ninth Congressional District and other local Republicans have sponsored rallies in opposition to the Iran nuclear accord and targeted the Jewish community for political recruitment. The Michigan Republican Party's executive committee has added a plank to its platform expressing support for Israel.

  • A CIA Eyewitness blows the Whistle on Bushie Torturers still Justifying Crimes
    • "I wish some foreign court would bring war crimes charges against these evil people who are still running around free."

      This is next to impossible where CIA officers operate under diplomatic cover out of the local U.S. Embassy and are protected via immunity.

      It was reported that CIA undercover officers had shadowed a Hezbollah leader, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus, Syria in 2008 before killing him in a car bombing in a joint mission with the Mossad:

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      It would be highly unlikely that the CIA would undertake such an operation without diplomatic immunity protection for its personnel involved with its execution. The same logic applies to torture situations.

      The use of torture was documented in the "Family Jewels" report issued in the 1970s which gave special attention to the extended detention and torture perpetrated upon KGB defector Yuri Nosenko; the CIA conceded that laws appeared to have been broken in the Nosenko case. No CIA employee was prosecuted, however, as a result of such torture activities.

  • Israel: Surge in Unlawful Palestinian Home Demolitions: 126 in West Bank Left Homeless
  • Is Israeli military using Barak in struggle w/ Netanyahu over Iran Deal?
    • Actually, the citation I believe you are referring to is Judges 4:6-22.

    • "Isn't it a matter of political expediency that Barak has always has always positioned himself immediately to Bibi's left?"

      The 1999 commitment of Barak to withdraw the IDF from Lebanon was based on firm public sentiment within Israel to stop the casualty count of Israeli military personnel during the occupation of south Lebanon - the 1,000th IDF fatality milestone had been reached in 1996 during the 15th year of that occupation following the Operation Galilee invasion in June of 1982.

      On a personal level, both Netanyahu and Barak have similar backgrounds - in fact, Barak was a key organizer of the 1976 Entebbe raid in which Netanyahu's older brother, Yonaton, was killed as a young army officer.

    • "While speculation rages in Israel that Barak is trying to undermine his enemies as part of a bid to come back as head of the Labor Party and make another bid to become prime minister......."

      This is not the first dispute Ehud Barak has had disputes with PM Netanyahu.

      Recall as defense minister, Barak abruptly resigned after the targeted killing of Hamas acting military wing leader Ahmed Jebari occurred. That death happened shortly after Hamas and Israel had already reportedly agreed in principle on a long-term truce and had prepared a written draft of the agreement. While Netanyahu thought the ruse to be clever (flushing out Jebari from hiding on the premise of an impending peace deal) - Barak saw this as an underhanded move and quit the cabinet.

      It was Ehud Barak, as a Labor Party PM, who made the controversial decision in the late 1990s to have the IDF withdraw from Lebanon. He has earned a reputation as a pragmatic liberal politician who as PM had sought to advance peace negotiations with the Palestinians. When he lost his prime minister seat to Ariel Sharon, this fueled the intensity of the Second Intifada. Ehud Barak was defense minister during Operation Cast Lead and unsuccessfully recommended to PM Ehud Olmert to end that Gaza operation well before Olmert agreed to do so.

      Barak has often critically opposed hawkish elements within the Israeli government, and I do not see any "attempt to undermine", on his part, anyone by his recent interview revelations.

      "Israeli parliamentarians are demanding an inquiry as to how in the world the military censors allowed the Ehud Barak tapes to air..............."

      The Office of Chief Censor is headed by Brigadier General Sima Vaknin Gill. That office has in the past been accused to engage in politics in deciding what gets censored or not. It is possible that the IDF - whose leadership recently, in large part, opposed Netanyahu on the Iran deal - wanted to have the Barak statements as a way of embarrassing PM Netanyahu.

  • Israel issues demolition order for mosque in Palestinian East Jerusalem
  • Barak-- Netanyahu was on verge of Attacking Iran 3 Times 2010-12 (Why Listening to him on Iran Diplomacy is Daft)
    • Most members of the Knesset are backing PM Netanyahu's position on the Iran deal - and with only 10% public support of that deal within Israel - it is easy to see why elected politicians there are reluctant to oppose it.

  • "The Iranian Threat": Who Is the Gravest Danger to World Peace?
    • My interpretation of the cited sentence was that the U.S. essentially abandoned (the "defeat") its intent to establish Iraq as an American"colony" via exploitation of its natural resources and setting up a network of U.S. military installations and instead allowed Iran to exercise significant influence within the Iraqi government, the "Iraqi enemy".

      There are perceptions within Iraq that the Shi'ite controlled government in Baghdad is heavily influenced by Tehran - and a corresponding lessening in American influence - a "zero-sum" phenomenon.

  • Iran's Support for Syria Pragmatic, not Religious (or, Who are the Alawites?)
    • Several points:

      (1) There are 200,000 "Twelver" Shi'te Muslims who live in Syria that depend upon the Assad regime for protection from the Sunni extremist groups - such as the Succor Front and ISIS;

      (2) Damascus is the home of the Sayyida Zeinab shrine - which is one of the most revered sites in Shia Islam - it has previously been targeted by suicide bombers and, also, received protection due to its status to Shi'ites;

      (3) Syria acts as an important land route for weapons supplies to the pro-Iranian Hezbollah Shi'ite organization from Iran into Lebanon - without Syria, Hezbollah is in a very precarious position and this explains the "odd couple" alliance emerging between the Israeli government and the al-Qaeda affiliate within Syria known as the Succor Front that has been reported recently in various reliable sources.

  • New Proof: AT&T and NSA’s Long Surveillance Partnership shredded 4th Amendment
    • The seminal books revealing the United States intelligence community - including "The Secret Team" by L. Fletcher Prouty and "The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence" by Victor Marchetti and John Marks, and "Inside the Company - a CIA Diary" - had each emphasized the links of that community to big business interests.

      Banks and communication companies often have a cozy relationship with the federal law enforcement and "help" them in investigating citizens without observance of legal formalities.

      Fortune 500 companies often recruit personnel from federal agencies as the FBI and CIA. Former FBI Assistant Director Cartha DeLoach, for example, took a position as a vice-president of Coca Cola after retiring.

  • Did Ayatollah Sistani just save Iraq from Iran-backed militias by pushing Gov't Reforms?
    • Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has had an incredible duration of influence as a Shi'ite cleric - which extends back into the early 1960s.

      He has assumed a path of "quietism" - meaning general non-interference in governmental affairs; however in emergencies al-Sistani has not hesitated to issue recommendations to his followers - which are usually followed.

      His influence extends beyond Iraq and is respected among Lebanese Shias. Hassan Nasrallah visited Iraq to meet him several years ago. A Shi'ite adherent from Lebanon once compared him to what the pope represents to Roman Catholics.

      Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani overall has been a positive and stabilizing force in Iraqi affairs when his input is needed.

  • Top Iran General Endorses Nuclear Deal with US, UNSC
    • Several points:

      (1) In the best-selling book "By Way of Deception", a former Mossad officer conceded that Israel targeted and did kill Iraqi nuclear scientist personnel;

      (2) there are strong suspicions that Israel was behind the killing of several Iranian atomic physicists in recent years;

      (3) Iraq's suspicions during the Saddam Hussein regime that the CIA would misuse UN WMD inspections to obtain Iraqi "executive communications" information useful to assassinate Hussein were later confirmed when it was revealed the CIA had, in fact, infiltrated the UN inspection team for that purpose;

      (4) there has been credible information and satellite photos published by blogger Richard Silverstein that the Israeli Air Force in preceding months had bombed a suspected atomic weapons research facility at a military installation in Parchin, Iran;

      (5) Iraq's former Osirak reactor is not the only one Israel has targeted - the New Yorker magazine confirmed that Israel bombed a Syrian nuclear reactor at al-Kibar in 2007 during Operation Orchard - the mission was so complex that the Mossad had psychologists issue reports on President Bashar Assad to divine whether his predisposition would likely result in a retaliatory counter-strike (they were correct in that he was unlikely to retaliate).

      In sum, it is not unreasonable to assume that Israel would use IAEA inspection information made available to them to assist them to target Iranian government leaders or atomic energy interests either militarily or via covert intelligence operations.

  • How Iran Deal Could Change the Middle East
    • Israel recently allowed an IAEA inspection of its Soreq nuclear reactor - however has never permitted an IAEA team to visit Dimona - nor can they be compelled to do so since they are not a signator to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

      When the U.S. conducted an inspection of Dimona a number of years ago, the examiners were only shown areas of that facility that the Israeli government wanted them to see - and concealed areas that housed controversial weapons-producing research and equipment.

  • Leader of extremist Israeli organization calls for torching churches
    • The trial in the Mohammed Abu Khdeir murder case, where a 17-year old was bludgeoned and burned to death, has been proceeding in a Jerusalem court.

      The family of the victim has complained of being spat on by settlers as they leave court:

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  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the single greatest acts of terrorism in human history?
    • "There is little disagreement that the atomic bombings, constituted war crimes, even among its architects....."

      Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. Chester Nimitz - who disagreed on many things - concurred in their moral opposition to dropping an atom bomb on a civilian population center - and MacArthur stated that it was against the moral code he was taught as a military officer.

  • Support for Iran Nuclear Deal: L. A. Jews for Peace Statement
    • "We hear all Israelis oppose the deal but that is not true...."

      Opinion polls in Israel show about 10% support in the general public for the deal.

      "In fact, many prominent Israeli security leaders support the agreement."

      This is not only accurate - but has been a manifestation of long running criticism by the Israeli intelligence community against the Netanyahu government on the Iran issue:

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  • Rebuilding destroyed Palestinian homes: Resistance one house at a time
  • Grandson of Meir Kahane arrested for burning baby; part of extremist network
    • ".....the grandson of Meir Kahane, known for his racism and incitement against Arabs..........."

      On Easter Sunday morning in1982, Alan Harry Goodman, a follower of Rabbi Meir Kahane wearing an IDF uniform and toting an M-16 rifle, shot his way into al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and inflicted heavy casualties. Kahane's Kach Party denounced the carnage, PM Menachem Begin declared the shooter insane and a court in Jerusalem convicted Goodman, a former Case Western Reserve University student, of counts of murder and attempted murder and sentenced him to life plus 40 years in prison.

      Despite this severe sentence, two separate sentence reductions were ordered by President Chaim Herzog and a third by his successor and Goodman was granted a parole at the earliest opportunity in late 1997 - he was flown by El Al jet to his native Maryland. It was rumored that then-PM Netanyahu was instrumental in securing his release on parole.

      Netanyahu's father, Benzion, had been a close friend of Meir Kahane's father

      PM Netanyahu, a few months ago, delivered a eulogy at the funeral of a Jewish settler extremist leader - second in historical stature only to Kahane - in which he labeled the deceased, Rabbi Moshe Levinger "a great example"; Levinger, like Goodman, had served jail time for killing a Palestinian.

      PM Netanyahu denunciation of the latest violent death and purported sympathy for the toddler's family have a hollow ring to many observers.

  • Autopsy confirms Palestinian infant was 'burned alive' by Israeli Squatters
    • Iraqi-born Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who died in 2013 at the age of 93, chaired the ultraorthodox Shas Party; this party has historically, along with ultraorthodox United Torah Judaism, formed a highly influential political bloc in the Knesset that has usually joined Likud in a coalition government - and been generally successful in keeping liberals outside of any governing coalition.

      Rabbi Yosef has made similar controversial pronouncements:

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    • PM Netanyahu has visited the family of the deceased toddler at the hospital.

      Just a few months ago he lauded Rabbi Moshe Levinger as a "great example" at his funeral. Levinger had previously been imprisoned for homicide for shooting a Palestinian shopkeeper and had been charged ten times prior for violence in connection with his settlement activism.

      It will be interesting to see what Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked will say or do regarding this incident. One recalls that, as a member of the Knesset, she posted on her Facebook site, an essay by an extremist settler calling for genocide against Palestinians shortly before Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burned to death last summer after being kidnapped.

  • Syria's al-Qaeda captures US-Linked Free Syrian Army Commander, troops
    • According to Iraqi intelligence officials quoted in an Israeli periodical, Abu Muhammed al-Joulani, the leader of the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, was born in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, is a college graduate in his 30s or early 40s who attended medical school for two years in Damascus and who served time at Camp Bucca as an inmate in Iraq where he taught classical Arabic to fellow inmates. He split with the Islamic State in Iraq over their renunciation of allegiance to al-Qaeda:

      link to

      I found it interesting that the al-Nusra Front leader appears to have lived under IDF occupation and, later, imprisoned by the U.S. Department of Defense at a sprawling camp in Iraq and how those experience may have shaped his worldview.

    • Several points:

      The al-Nusra Front had been designated by the U.S. State Department as an FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) several years ago and has admitted complicity in no less than 57 suicide bombings within Syria - a number of other countries have followed suit in likewise identifying Jabhat al-Nusra as a terror group.

      Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had, also, identified a sub-group within the al-Nusra Front - known as Khorasan - that were hardcore foreign al-Qaeda fighters that had entered Syria for purposes of jihad.

      That said, Moaz al-Khatib, a political moderate and then-chairman of the Syrian National Coalition, the entity that America and Western nations recognize as the Syrian government-in-exile, had urged the U.S. State Department to rescind its terror organization listing for the al-Nusra Front.

      Secondly, Israel has had documented ties to Jabhat al-Nusra and were giving them valuable assistance - including aerial bombing runs against Syrian army positions opposing the al-Nusra Front.

      Thirdly, the Free Syrian Army has had an ongoing "love-hate relationship" with the al-Nusra Front - often praising them for their battlefield prowess and coordinating military operations with them - but often fighting them as well - especially after the U.S. Air Force has bombed al-Nusra positions.

      Lastly, there have been accounts that suggesting that Muhammed al-Joulani, the Jabhat al-Nusra chief, may renounce allegiance to al-Qaeda due to their inability to provide financial assistance coupled with the fact such allegiance has inhibited many would-be Qatari and other Gulf states benefactors from otherwise donating to Jabhat al-Nusra.

      Here are some links:

      link to

      link to

  • Has Iran cut off Hamas? Is Hamas turning to Saudi Arabia?
    • The Muslim Brotherhood was the entity that initially rose up against the Baathists in Syria in 1982 at Hama and whose adherents are prevalent in the current Free Syrian Army - and was the forerunner in Gaza of Hamas.

      Iran had however long been a financial backer of Palestinian Islamic Jihad - who is based on the Iranian political model of Shia Islam. A U.S. federal court held the Iranian government responsible in a wrongful death case when an American was killed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in a terror operation - the judge alluded to proof that the Iranian government publicly disclosed funding in their national budget for terror activities to that group.

      Hamas has closely worked with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the past and there has been no signal from Tehran that it will completely abandon Gazan militants there - especially since it provides a base for paramilitary activity against Israel. Further, the Baathist regime in Damascus could conceivably collapse within the next year.

  • Iran Deal: The Calculus of Power in the Mideast just Changed Forever
    • "...........doesn't this represent a genuinely existential threat to Israel.....that is Israel's traditional way of doing business?"

      Yes. Israel has tried to isolate or economically damage its perceived enemies - Iran, Lebanon and Gaza - either via military intervention, occupation or international sanctions.

      The Likud Party and its allies in Israel feed off of conflict and confrontation with Arab and/or Iranian governments to maintain internal cohesiveness and popular support for a hawkish foreign policy agenda.

      The recent approvals of settlement expansion in the West Bank and the raiding of the al-Aqsa mosque compound by police with full approval of the Israeli government illustrate that their government is unconcerned about offending the Obama administration - but rather wish to promote conflict between that administration one one hand, and other political forces in the U.S. that will support Israel without any hesitation - especially the conservative GOP leadership.

    • Several points:

      (1) Iran had been deeply involved in funding international terror operations both in Lebanon and Gaza and its intelligence agents fomenting the destabilization of Iraq - this deal will encourage Iran to join the community of nations and integrate herself economically with the West while simultaneously creating a disincentive to continue to promote such further terror activities or destabilization of Iraq;

      (2) Israel has no moral standing to complain of Iranian complicity in past terror activities when she has had a history of support for the South Lebanon Army as a partner in illegally occupying that region, armed the Tamil Tigers during its atrocities against the citizens in its rebellion against the government of Sri Lanka, and most recently, had ties to an Islamic-Marxist terror organization operating within Iran as well as giving support to the al-Qaeda affiliate within Syria;

      (3) Iran is a necessary partner with the U.S. both promoting stability in Iraq and also fighting the ISIS menace;

      (4) Iran's ability to market its petroleum products in the West will lead to a glut in the international market that will benefit consumers at the gasoline pumps via lower retail prices while simultaneously lowering U.S. manufacturing costs in general;

      (5) Iran had sustained 500 billion dollars in damages as a result of imposition of international economic sanctions while trying to complete a nuclear program that it had invested $6 billion to create with initial encouragement and technological support supplied by the West during the Shah's regime;

      (6) the finalized deal represents a profound foreign policy failure of the Netanyahu government in Israel;

      (7) the consummation of this nuclear deal with Iran will give the international community stronger arguments to place Israel's nuclear program under more strict supervision - especially the Dimona reactor facility - and to pressure Israel into acceding to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

  • Jerusalem: Israeli forces, extremist Jews, storm Aqsa mosque compound
    • Three significant points:

      An Israeli cabinet minister, Uri Ariel, took part in the visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He has previously advocated the rebuilding of the Third Temple, and Israeli pro-Temple advocates have even, in the past, suggested to Christian Zionists that that mosque should be demolished to make way for the Third Temple:

      link to

      Secondly, the Arab League's ministers are slated to meet next month to discuss the actions by Israeli police and Jewish worshippers.

      Lastly, recall that excavations by Jewish activists in 2000 along with Ariel Sharon led to Arab rioting and the eventual commencement of the Second Intifada - also known as the "Al-Aqsa Intifada".

  • Iraqis Divided on Iran Deal: Sunnis say, "The US sold us to Iran"
    • "......although Allawi is a Shi'ite Muslim too, he leans toward the secular lobby and he is well known for his antipathy toward Iran."

      Ayad Allawi of the Iraq National Accord has had close ties to the Central Intelligence Agency going back to at least 1990.

      In early 2003, he and a former Baathist official from the Saddam Hussein regime met in Langley, Virginia at CIA headquarters with senior CIA officials to organize the General Services Directorate as the new intelligence agency for the Iraqi government. This project was funded with 3 billion dollars appropriated from U.S. Congress.

      Today, the al-Wataniya coalition he leads has a number of seats in the Iraqi parliament, but the coalition controlling the Iraqi government has close ties to Iran. Allawi is likely concerned over the extensive influence Iran has in Iraqi affairs - including Iranian intelligence services perceived ties to Shia militia leaders that have been a destabilizing force within Iraq.

  • Israel's Netanyahu & Iran: Even former Intel Officials think he's Unhinged
    • ".....he had the Israel Air Force completely destroy the Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981."

      This is not accurate.

      Iran in late1980 in "Operation Scotch Sword" damaged the Osirak reactor in a historic raid by F-4 Phantoms at the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War. The raid was the first time any nuclear reactor was ever bombed.

      Israel's June 7, 1981 raid only caused further damage to the Osirak reactor.

      It was not until the Persian Gulf War in 1991 when the Osirak facility "completely destroyed" and this was done by U.S. bombers. Begin felt these actions vindicated his earlier orders that Osirak was a danger to be used as part of an atomic weapons program.

      In reality, Osirak was designed under the supervision of a French nuclear engineer who ensured that it would be extremely difficult to convert it to create nuclear weapons.

      The French had designed the Negev Nuclear Research Facility at Dimona in Israel and Pres. De Gaulle eventually suspected Israel was misusing the facility to manufacture atomic weaponry and in the early 1960s ordered an end to its joint program with the Israeli government, although outstanding contractual obligations the French owed to Israel resulted in ongoing performance by France of technical assistance in administering the Dimona reactor until 1966.

      The French knew that they had been "had" in unwittingly establishing an Israeli nuclear weapons program under the cover of an "Atoms for Peace" program pursuant to which the Israeli government was a signator in 1957. The French had designed Osirak with those concerns in mind.

    • Many important points in this article.

      Additional points:

      The only defense minster who openly advocated a pre-emptive military strike against Iran's perceived nuclear weapons facilities was Shaul Mofaz, himself of Iranian extraction, in 2005 and 2006. He actually hosted a radio program where Iranians called in and Mofaz fielded questions regarding such a prospective military operation.

      Two things put a damper on Mofaz's plans:

      (A) the Bush administration refused to back such a mission;

      (B) after Mofaz was replaced as defense minister by Amir Peretz, Israel's mediocre performance against a 1,500-member Hezbollah militia in Lebanon in 2006 questioned whether Israel should embark on a military attack of a nation with 60,000,000 people.

      There have been leaks to blogger Richard Silverstein that he has published suggesting that the IDF has recently bombed a suspected nuclear weapons research facility at a military base in Parchin, Iran. Silverstein posted before-and-after satellite photos of that base reflecting heavy damage to certain buildings.

      The 1981 bombing of Osirak was condemned by a UN general Assembly vote of 44-7. A number of civilians were killed in the Israel Air Force air raid - including a 24-yearold French nuclear engineer - his estate was later paid compensation in a legal settlement by the Israeli government.

  • Iran's Khamenei Praises Nuclear Deal, but slams US Foreign Policy
    • "........sanctions has brought the Iranians to their knees...."

      Look at the $18 trillion-dollar national debt, a massive import-export deficit, and huge U.S. auto manufacturing costs that were due in substantial part to the Arab oil embargo, activism of OPEC and the sanctions against Iran and explain how blind U.S. support for Israel has not harmed American interests.

      The sanctions against Iran cost that country $500 billion - but U.S. economic interests sustained serious damage as well.

  • Iran Deal: Winners & Losers in the Greater Middle East
    • Ron:

      The consensus is that gasoline prices in the United States will decline to about $2.00 per gallon as a result of this nuclear deal with Iran.

      Since the deal was announced I have seen retail prices in Metro Detroit where I'm from drop about thirty cents per gallon. I just saw a station this morning market its gasoline for $2.57 per gallon where other stations one week ago had it selling around $2.90-$3.00 per gallon.

      This petroleum glut will no doubt irk the Arab oil-producing states in the Persian Gulf - but U.S. consumers will be happy with all the money they will be saving.

  • Iran Deal: Why doesn't US Media interview Real Allies on American Policy?
    • Interestingly enough, Israeli cabinet minister Tzipi Hotovely called Iran part of the "Axis of Evil" in a statement denouncing the historic deal, and 69% of Israelis polled oppose the deal - but a majority of top Israeli military and intelligence officials that have spoken have expressed support for the pact.

      This historic deal will likely promote integration of Iran into the international community and strengthen the influence of moderates in the Iranian government. While celebrations have erupted within Iran, the recent weeks have seen Ramadan demonstrations there with the overly familiar "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" chants.

      This deal will be a win-win situation for all interested nations if observed in good faith. The losers will be the respective political hardliners in both Israel and Iran.

  • That Time Ronald Reagan opened Iran and Illegally sold Khomeini Weapons
    • The Reagan administration's sale of weapons to Iran were technically legal - but violated the spirit of the law.

      The sale of TOW missiles was to replenish Israel - and Israel sold its TOW missiles to Iran from its prior stock. The weapons-for-U.S.hostages trade to get Lebanese Shi'ites to release these captives was legal and authorized by federal law granting the president broad powers to recover hostages. No one was prosecuted for these shipments of weapons because the independent counsel had no legal basis to initiate prosecution. Criminal offenses occurred in the diversion of funds to Contra operations in Nicaragua and the cover-up that followed.

      John Kerry was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at this time and received lurid testimony from convicted U.S. drug traffickers about their involvement with CIA-organized Contra resupply operations in which American pilots unloaded weapons to Contra bases and brought drugs in on the return flight. Testimony was received about the complicity of Latin American government leaders, including Manuel Noriega, in the international drug trade - which led to his investigation and eventual indictment. These traffickers received short prison terms due to their cooperation with Kerry's committee.

      There was one story about a marijuana shipment that came in via Homestead AFB in Florida on a return weapons supply flight. The flights were financed by the U.S. government.

      Much of these drug shipments obviously must have eventually reached the streets of America and distributed with the prior help of the U.S. government during Contra resupply operations. This flies in the face of the Reagan administration's purported commitment to the "War on Drugs".

      While Reagan went on television to present proof the Sandinista involvement in the cocaine trade - he did not reveal that the U.S. shut down the DEA station in Honduras since it interfered with Contra resupply operations or that many Contra leaders were equally as culpable in their involvement in the drug trade.

      The NY Times #1 bestseller "By Way of Deception" also implicated the Israeli government in that drug trade and led to an internal investigation within Israel in which the author was questioned at deposition. The author, a former Mossad officer, described his disgust at seeing cargo planes bearing the Star of David carrying cocaine shipments in Latin America.

      Kerry's investigation of these links of the U.S. government to the drug trade are well document and present the most controversial aspect of Iran-Contra scandal.

  • How the Washington Post got Taken in by Syria's Taliban
    • Very good points in this article.

      In 2013, Ahrar al-Sham was affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) but was one of several anti-Assad brigades to split off and eventually form part of the Islamic Front.

      The departure of a number of brigades was due the FSA's allegiance to the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) based in Doha, Qatar. The SNC was diplomatically recognized by Western governments as the Syrian government-in-exile - but a number of brigades were upset abour the SNC's willingness to enter into the Geneva II conference and commence a peace dialogue with the Baathists.

      The Islamic Front eschewed aid at the Ankara Conference that was proposed by Western diplomats. The Islamic Front is heavily funded by Saudi and Qatari interests.

      It is important to note that the FSA and Islamic Front constituent brigades fighting in Syria are highly autonomous and the Islamic Front is primarily a supply line and information conduit to the member units.

      Ahrar al-Sham is Salafist - but the FSA had a number of brigades under its command that had been Salafist in orientation and welcomed these units and also coordinated with Jabhat al-Nusra.

      Former U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford has recently stated that arming the FSA will likely lead to those armaments finding their way to Islamic extremist fighters. This is accurate.

      In my opinion the various armed rebel factions are highly fragmented and often turn on each other or may also collaborate with each other. In one reported incident, 250 Jabhat al-Nusra militants refused to fight ISIS and laid down their weapons on the basis that the considered ISIS fighters their brethren - all 250 were summarily executed by ISIS.

      It is becoming like Iraq - you cannot really trust any militant group completely and you do not know who is dealing with who. Plus you have Russia and Israel supporting interests that are inimical to U.S. foreign policy.

      If the U.S. helps the FSA defeat the Baathists - then a possible scenario is that ISIS and/or Jabhat al-Nusra enter into Damascus and declare themselves the new Syrian government with the FSA being in a position to becoming tantamount to what the "Northern Alliance" was in post-9/11 Afghanistan.

      No end to the carnage in sight - a sad situation, indeed.

  • Amira Hass: "Let me be blunt: Gaza is a Huge Concentration Camp"
    • Both Max Blumenthal and Amira Hass are vilified by right-wing Israelis.

      Blumenthal has correctly placed a spotlight on violent racism in Israeli society and how liberal American Zionists have fostered these attitudes via their inaction.

    • What has always amazed me about the respect she receives in Gaza - even though she is Jewish.

      There have been pro-Palestinian activists kidnapped and even executed by Gazan extremists - Craig and Cindie Corrie were detained at one point and al_Qaeda extremists abducted and later killed an Italian activist affiliated with Rachel Corrie's International Solidarity Movement.

  • Ghosts of King George III: Top 5 Things that threaten American Independence Today
    • In Michigan, a law to strike registered voters from the clerk's rolls who have not voted in a certain number of elections was challenged by the United Auto Workers union.

      That challenge was upheld as an appellate court ruled that a registered voter can make the decision NOT to cast a vote for any candidate and be solidly within his rights as a citizen and should not be penalized for that inaction.

  • The Ghost of Soviet Collapse haunts the West: Military Hegemony isn't what it Used to Be
    • Since WWII we have seen a worldwide decline in the prestige of the military and naval forces of the world's superpowers despite their nuclear capabilities with non-state guerrilla and terror organizations being deployed as counter-measures.

      Dienbienphu in 1954 saw a vastly better armed and trained French force defeated by the Vietminh. Twenty-one years later the Vietcong and North Vietnamese army captured Saigon. Billions of dollars and tens of thousands of young American servicemen's lives were wasted fighting a futile political war against an opponent they could not understand.

      In 1979, the Soviet Union fought a war in Afghanistan that cost thousands of its soldiers their lives and resulted in victory for fundamentalist Islamic guerilla fighters.

      Israel's Operation Galilee in 1982 to dislodge the P.L.O in south Lebanon gave rise to the radical Shi'ite fundamentalism embodied by Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. Despite over 1,000 IDF soldiers killed in action, Israel was forced to declare its withdrawal from Lebanon under PM Ehud Barak in 1999 and allowed Hezbollah to proliferate into the seventh largest military force in the world, possessing between 40,000 and 100,000 missiles currently and having effectively a "state-within-a-state" in southern Lebanon. Without Israeli occupation in that region, Hezbollah would not likely have been created. The best that can be said of Hezbollah is that they have availed themselves of the political processes in Lebanon and parlayed their popularity into seats in the Lebanese parliament and cabinet.

      Today Israel finds itself in ongoing armed conflict with terror organizations in Gaza and the West Bank that are in a direct result of their illegal and oppressive occupation of those areas. The Israel Chamber of Commerce estimates the Second Intifada alone from 2000 to 2006 cost Israelis between 25 and 35 billion dollars until Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and released 700 Arab prisoners to the West Bank.

      The U.S. and British invasion of Iraq in 2003 has resulted in ongoing futility due to insurgent forces that have prevented a stable government from taking root in Baghdad.

      Much of the guerrilla and terror activities that have been ongoing in the Middle East and other parts of the Third World since WWII have been a direct result of unpopular foreign occupations.

      It also simply cannot be denied that the extrajudicial assassinations and drone strikes being carried out by the U.S. and Israeli military and intelligence communities did not result in a greater cohesiveness of members of radical terror groups and increased recruitment of new members. This phenomenon has been observed especially in Gaza, Afghanistan, and Yemen - where extreme poverty exists.

  • Is Congress Using Trade Rules to Blacklist Critics of Israel?
  • Think California’s Drought Is Bad? Try Palestine’s.
  • Lone Wolves and Soft Targets: Or how our Press, Politicians are being Played by ISIL
    • You could also include Hamas in Gaza as yet another example in which a Muslim Brotherhood-oriented group has been under outside attack and which violent jihadist extremists are the likely alternative if Hamas is toppled as the governing organization there.

      The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency chief has opined that an ISIS-like entity would probably emerge as the pre-eminent ruling power in Gaza should Hamas be removed from its rule via Israeli military action.

      The Israeli government is beginning to realize that rapprochement with the Hamas regime - even indirectly - serves its own interests. The recent doubling of sales badly-needed potable water from Israel's national water utility to Gaza and indirect contacts with Hamas via Qatari diplomatic channels are several ways in which the Netanyahu government is beginning to cooperate with Hamas to advance its own best interests.

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