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Total number of comments: 1250 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Mark Koroi

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  • President Hillary Clinton's Middle East Policy: Interventions, Wars, More of Same
    • "..........[t]here are no other likely candidates from the Democratic Party........"

      Pundits said the same thing in 2008 when an obscure junior senator from Illinois declared his candidacy and Hillary's support base of African-Americans and liberal young people began defecting over to Barack Obama.

      A charismatic young liberal in 2016, perhaps another black ,or even Hispanic, presidential candidate would give Hillary a tough race.

  • How Iran won Bush's Iraq War
    • Coalition forces had claimed to have identified and detained within Iraq many members of the Iran Revolutionary Guard and Iranian intelligence agents who had strong ties to Shia militias, including Muqtada al-Sadr's militia and the Iraqi government; these connections are not seriously disputed.

      However, the better question is whether these Iranian government agents actively trained, supplied, encouraged and directed IED attacks against Coalition targets.

      A fine line exists between the former and latter.

    • "Left out of Van Buren's account is an explanation of why Iran's rise would be entirely negative. What is Iran's endgame........"

      Agreed.

      Firstly, Iran's proxy in Lebanon Hezbollah has largely avoided engaging in international terrorist activities and even when it has, has tended to do so reactively to Israeli criminal acts - such as extrajudicial assassinations. Hezbollah has mainly engaged as a self-defense organization opposing Israeli military encroachments into south Lebanon - and has created a credible deterrent to Israeli invasions since its fighters fought the clearly better-armed Israel Defense Forces to a stalemate in 2006. Hezbollah's missile arsenal has multiplied from 12,000 at the beginning of the 2006 Second Lebanon War to between 40,000 and 100,000 currently, according to the best expert estimates.

      Hezbollah has also been the most effective force against ISIS and Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in that nation at a time when U.S. bombers are also engaged in sorties against those entities - while Israel has maintained a cooperative relationship with the al-Nusra Front, designated by the U.S. State Department as a terror organization.

      Secondly, Iranian influence in Iraq has led to better stability of the Shi'ite-controlled government there, which has provided a counterbalance to ISIS. Iranian support to Iraq is consistent with U.S. interests - especially since American military forces have engaged in some fighting with ISIS personnel approaching a U.S. base in Anbar province.

      Thirdly, the rise of Kurdish autonomy and regional influence in the last 24 years since the Persian Gulf War has resulted in advancement of U.S. interests - and Iran's historical support of the Kurds against initially the Baathists in Iraq, and now ISIS, certainly dovetails with U.S. policy interests in the region as the Peshmerga has been a bulwark against ISIS recently after having battled the Iraqi Baathists for decades. The Kurds have even enjoyed positive relations with Israel.

      Iran, also, has been one of the few countries that has diplomatically recognized Gaza as an independent state, although critics correctly point out that the Iranian government has funded the terror activities of Islamic Jihad of Palestine and also supplied weaponry - such as Fajr missiles - to Hamas that has used to menace Israel with.

      Overall, U.S. foreign policy interests in recent years have been advanced by Iran's conduct in the Middle East.

  • US history of coup-making Overshadows Obama's outreach to Iran, Latin American Left
    • Agreed.

      The Castro regime could have attempted armed force against the U.S. base in the previous decades to enforce its claims, however they wisely thought better of this.

    • Guantanamo Bay is subject to a lease pursuant to which the Cuban government receives annual rent checks for a nominal amount from the United States.

      While Cuba has protested the U.S. occupation of the base, it has done little to seek enforcement of its claims of invalidity of the lease. It has not cashed the tendered rent checks from the U.S. government in decades.

  • Homeless in Gaza: UN only has funds to rebuild 200 of 9K homes Destroyed by Israelis
    • Gaza has been pledged $3.5 billion for reconstruction by the international community but the Israeli government controls the borders and has only allowed in $945 million toward that envisioned reconstruction.

      For a good link to reconstruction and other post-conflict issues facing Gazans, see:

      link to foreignpolicy.com

  • What if US & UN Sanctioned Israel over its Nukes as they did Iran over Enrichment?
    • Renowned U.S. nuclear physicist Edward Teller, a close friend of PM David Ben-Gurion, warned Israel NEVER to sign the NPT unless they intended to perform obligations imposed by the treaty.

      Teller had warned CIA deputy director Carl Duckett in the late 1960s that Israel intended to build a nuclear arsenal, but DCI Richard Helms did not convey this information to LBJ until a year later.

      Israel's accession to the Atoms For Peace program in 1957 and its joint atomic energy research with France and construction of the Dimona nuclear reactor facility were cover for its secret nuclear weapons program, which could have never been initiated and progressed while complying with NPT obligations.

      It was not until the early to mid-1960s that DeGaulle and Israel's own civilian nuclear regulatory authority had suspicions that the Israeli national security apparatus was trying to construct a nuclear arsenal - but the absence of NPT inspections and the granting of only very limited access to American inspectors effectively thwarted international confirmation of Israeli atomic weapons research and construction.

      There is absolutely no reason for Israel to accede to the NPT at this juncture as its non-membership has served it well.

    • I believe boomer Bob speaks of the Apollo, Pennsylvania controversy. Here is a link to an article in the Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists:

      link to thebulletin.org

  • The von Moltke Fallacy and avoiding another World War, with Iran
    • A former CIA deputy director has opined that the proposed Lausanne agreement is a good one for U.S. interests, delaying significantly Iran's nuclear weapon capability, while simultaneously asserting that Iran's agenda is to promote a regional Persian Shi'ite empire:

      link to businessinsider.com

  • Netanyahu on Iran Deal: threatens ‘survival of Israel’, ‘horrific war’
  • Why Palestine joining the International Criminal Court could be a total game changer
    • Truth be told:

      The ICC has received 600 million dollars of funding from the international community since its inception in 2003 when its first judges were sworn, employs over 570 persons, and has convicted only two individuals since that time - both of whom may be released in 1 to 5 additional years despite being convicted of serious crimes.

      The ICC pre-trial detention facility is a "Club Fed" type of jail, having a gym, personal trainer, luxurious conference rooms adorned with flowers, language instructors, and each cell has a plasma TV, and personal computer.

      After conviction, prisoners are sent to the facilities of sponsoring states, where they are guaranteed by treaty certain minimal guarantees of human rights.

      All cases brought this far have had African defendants - although the tribunal hearing Yugoslav war crimes is in the same building in the Hague and the Yugoslav defendants use the same gym facilities - but are generally separated from contact with the ICC defendants.

    • "How is it that Israel collects taxes for the Palestinian Authority?"

      The Palestinian Authority is landlocked in the West Bank but receives tariffs on imports received in Israel destined for the West Bank. Since Israeli ports of entry actually process such incoming merchandise, the Israeli government acts as collecting agent for the Palestinian Authority tariffs associated with those imports.

      These tariffs form a large percentage of aggregate revenues derived by the Palestinian Authority.

  • More Palestinians killed than any year since1967, Says United Nations
    • The comments above from the U.N. report and quoted officials speak for themselves and succinctly summarize the human rights situation in the Occupied Territories and underscore both the inability of the U.N. to implement adequate remedial measures and the necessity for international intervention via the International Criminal Court and the imposition of economic sanctions upon Israel.

      The only question is how much more severe will the humanitarian situation have to get before the world community acts with sufficient measures to restrain the Likud-led government from continuing its systematic violations of the civil rights of the Palestinian people.

  • Ted Cruz Thinks Non-Christians Have Too Much Power
    • Ted Cruz has strong ties to Jewish GOP leaders and the collective Republican Party activists at the grassroots level have a heavy influence from Christian Zionists as well.

      Some GOP leaders are modifying the semantics of their message to couch their support for "Judeo-Christian" values.

      Before Sheldon Adelson came along, Detroit's Max Fisher of United Jewish Appeal was a heavy pro-Israel influence in the Republican Party nationally for decades.

  • The rise of the Israeli far right & the future of Palestine
    • "........Israel to undergo social change...."

      Daphni Leef, the leader of the J-14 social reform movement which held a large demonstration in Rabin Square in 2011 was interviewed last fall on why her movement seemed to fizzle from its peak. She relied that the 2012 and 2014 Gaza incursions diverted the attention of Israelis away from internal issues.

      She had earlier stated that the government had ramped up pressure on her by wiretapping her phone and assigning 300 undercover police operatives to infiltrate her movement. As she was considering running for mayor of Tel Aviv, she was arrested and beaten by police during a demonstration, but eventually all criminal charges were dismissed arising out of that arrest.

      Despite this, her two associates in the J-14 leadership, Stav Shaffir and Itzik Shmuli, were elected to the Knesset and retained their seats in the last election.

      It is clear that the Israeli government has attempted to intimidate those who seek peaceful social reforms within Israel.

    • ".....eventually Israel as a "Jewish" state will cease to exist, being replaced by a secular state with a very large Jewish minority."

      The Likud-led government will do everything to prevent this from occurring by:

      (A) encouraging Jews residing outside Israel to immigrate under the Law of Return;

      (B) continue to oppress Palestinians via such things as home demolitions, police brutality, administrative detention, school closings, and water theft with the hope that they will emigrate to other countries;

      (C) deny West Bank Palestinians citizenship and, hence, voting rights;

      (D) effectively disenfranchise Arab Israelis by providing legal roadblocks in the electoral processes for Arab candidates and political parties in Knesset elections;

      (E) continue to deny Arab Israelis access to social welfare programs in an invidiously discriminatory manner by demanding military service of a family member as a pre-requisite to benefits;

      (F) engage in provocative conduct (e.g. blockades, mass arrests) as a pretext for initiating devastating "search and destroy" military incursions such as Operation Cast Lead, Defensive Edge, etc.

      Right-wing Israelis have gotten away with war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza and the West Bank with impunity since the Six-Day War in 1967 while being secure in their government's occupation of the West Bank - the mentality of politically conservative Israelis is that the 48 years of illegal occupation has occurred and will continue to occur as long as the majority of Americans tolerate their government's inaction and indifference toward the human rights of Palestinians.

    • "Palestinians..........have made a mess of their own affairs."

      Agreed.

      The Palestinian Authority (P.A.) has been plagued by a multitude of allegations of corruption since its inception. It is one of the reasons that Hamas has been allowed to flourish as an organization both in the West Bank and Gaza.

      The P.A. has even been compared to the Judenrat organization that was the self-governing body of the Warsaw Ghetto due to its collaboration with the Israeli government. One of the dangers pointed out by the Council on Foreign Relations following the creation of the Oslo Accords was the appearance that the P.A. was economically dependent on Israel in order to operate. This appearance has done much to discredit the P.A. in the eyes of Palestinians - as does the joint security relationship the P.A. has with the Israeli government.

      During the Second Intifada, the Tanzim (Order) private militia of the Fatah Party and the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade - designated by the U.S. State Department as a terror organization - actively engaged in insurrection and suicide bombings against Israeli interests - but that endeared them to radical Palestinians. By Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09, however, Fatah militants in Gaza were actually cheering the IDF invasion and fired rockets into Israel as a cease-fire was being declared so that the IDF could come back and continue to decimate and degrade Hamas' ruling power in Gaza.

      The P.A. must continue to be perceived as an opponent of Israel to gain credibility with its supposed constituents. Steps like applying for membership in the International Criminal Court is a good start.

  • Obama-Netanyahu Tiff worsens: US won't rule out using UN to create Palestine
    • "Ahem. A flat-out untruth."

      You missed my point.

      You are correct that Great Britain abstained from the General Assembly vote - however British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin was emphatically against the Partition Plan, the British Parliament later debated the matter in December of 1947 and in the end their own plan to leave on their own terms was implemented to dissolve the British Mandate.

      U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947 (the Partition Plan) had practically nothing to do with Israel's creation - it was the British Crown that initiated the transition of power as they saw fit.

    • "UN created Israel in 1947."

      This is inaccurate.

      The United Nations General Assembly passed its Partition Plan on November 29, 1947 that was merely advisory in nature.

      The State of Israel was not declared until May 14, 1948 when the British Mandate ended. It was the agreement of the British government - who voted against the General Assembly's Partition Plan - that made the birth of the State of Israel a reality.

  • Mideast Apocalypse 2030: Why Obama wants the Palestine Issue Solved. Now.
    • The possibility of ISIS or some other jihadist group coming into control of nuclear weapons technology is not farfetched.

      In 2007, the Israeli Air Force, as part of "Operation Orchard", destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria via bombing that was believed to have a weapons-producing capability. The land the destroyed reactor sits on is under the current control of ISIS.

      The Dimona reactor facility in Israel was targeted from Gaza by M-302 ballistic missiles in the last conflict with Israel and many observers feel that it would be easy for a Palestinian paramilitary organization to install effective guidance systems in these missiles that would likely inflict heavy damages in a future war with Israel.

  • Obama with Drama: Translating his comments on Israel's Netanyahu from the Vulcan
    • The International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over any person - Israeli citizen or otherwise - who may commit a war crime on the territory of a member state - such as Palestine - and whom the internal justice system of the offender's state is inadequate or unwilling to initiate criminal prosecution.

  • Tom Friedman & funding ISIL: Israel/Iran Derangement Syndrome
    • Israel perceived Iran as a counterbalance to Iraq and did not want to weaken it.

      Although it was major news that Israel's air force bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, comparatively few were aware that Iran had also attempted to bomb the same reactor during the Iran-Iraq War.

      The Osirak reactor was destroyed by U.S. Air Force jet bombers in 1991 and Israeli fears over the Iraqi nuclear program shifted to Iran.

      Iran during the 1990s was making inroads into Israeli hegemony in Lebanon via Hezbollah and in 1997 received a rude awakening when an IDF naval commando force was routed on the Lebanese coast by a joint force of Hezbollah militiamen in conjunction with the Lebanese Marines. The ongoing resistance to Israeli occupation in south Lebanon was driven by Iran's Hezbollah proxies and eventually led PM Ehud Barak's decision to withdraw all IDF occupation from Lebanon in 1999 after the IDF had accumulated over 1,000 fatalities during its 17-year occupation.

    • ".......it was the US-supported groups in Afghanistan which morphed into the Taliban and Al-Qaeda."

      The Taliban militia was created by the Pakistani ISI intelligence service in the mid-1990s and fought the CIA and Saudi Arabian funded and supplied warlords who led the Afghan government following their defeat of the Marxist-led government in 1992. Those warlords would become the "Northern Alliance" resisting the Taliban after the warlords were forced out power in Kabul - they would eventually defeat the Taliban with U.S. backing following 9/11.

      It is debatable whether the CIA had a direct or indirect relationship with Osama bin Laden during the 1980s when his "Afghan Arabs" fought the Marxist government in Kabul - but his fighters were only a tiny fraction of overall rebel forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Al-Qaeda was permitted by the Taliban in the late 1990s to establish training camps that would lead to the terror attacks that included the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, the USS Cole incident and of course, 9/11. There is no credible proof, however, that the US provided any support to Osama bin Laden while he was allied with the Taliban - although there exists some evidence that wealthy Saudi benefactors financed bin Laden in the late 1990s.

  • Mideast Reacts with Horror: "Israel has elected Extremism and Racism"
  • The Palestinian-Israelis' Selma Moment?
    • The Joint Arab List does not have to be included in the government to wield power as they could simply oppose a no-confidence vote and support Zionist Union proposals as opposition members - the Joint List's power primarily would be to keep the right-wing out of government and ensure the ruling government respects Palestinian interests.

      If Pres. Rivlin's suggestion is followed - a national unity government - then the possibility becomes that the Joint List "top dog" will become the Leader of the Opposition and the Israeli PM will be required by law to brief him/her on classified national security matters.

    • ".......... [i]f Herzog did form a government with the Joint Arab List in the coalition this would be a historic first for Israel."

      87% of Arab Israelis polled want the Joint Arab List to help form the next government and 74% prefer inclusion of the list in a new government formed by Zionist Union.

      Zionist Union and the leftist Meretz Party combined will likely have 31 to 32 seats in the new Knesset to be seated and centrist parties headed by Yair Lapid and Moshe Kahlon likely have another 22 seats - meaning the 12-13 seats the Joint Arab List will receive are enough to seat Zionist Union as the leaders of a new coalition without inclusion of any right-wing parties.

      Kahlon, a Libyan-born Mizrahi Jew, is now being seen as a power broker in the formation of the next Israeli government. He has been a bitter foe of Netanyahu and it has been suggested that Likud may have to relinquish Netanyahu as its prime minister nominee to allay Kahlon and, further, Kahlon may receive a position as finance minister in a Likud-led government as the price for his support.

  • Syria: Signs of Popular Backlash Against al-Qaeda
    • Ambassador Ford has also pointed out that some U.S.-backed rebel leaders have failed to perceive the al-Nusra Front as an enemy and that American supplies often find their way to the al-Nusra Front.

      He has pointed out that secular rebel forces may be as low as 20,000 in fighters and that the Obama administration policy in Syria has been a profound failure.

      Ford has described the fighting as Baathist vs. jihadist extremists.

      Here are some links:

      link to pbs.org

      link to mcclatchydc.com

  • Apartheid Forever: Israel's Netanyahu rules out Palestinian Citizenship Rights
    • "..........how did Resolution 242 get past the U.S.'s watchful, protective eye?

      Surprising answer:

      Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban helped draft Resolution 242 and it was not controversial when passed.

      Also surprising:

      Per Noam Chomsky, there was considerable support even in the leadership of the Israeli intelligence services immediately following the Six-Day War for the creation of a binational single joint Arab-Jewish state comprised of Israel and the Occupied Territories.

    • Israel has the U.S. as a "surrogate" to veto any resolution in the U.N. Security Council to enforce 1948-67 borders.

      The U.N. Security Council already has Resolution 242 to call for Israel to vacate the Occupied Territories.

    • The Kulanu Party led by Moshe Kahlon, a former Likud member bitterly critical of Netanyahu and emphasizing cost-of-living issues is projected to win 10 seats; its platform is similar to Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid Party who is expected to obtain 12 seats. Lapid was tossed out of the Israeli cabinet previously by Netanyahu over policy arguments.

      Should these two parties continue to oppose Netanyahu and decide to join a Zionist Union government, Zionist Union will only need the Joint Arab List to form a government by surpassing the 61-seat threshold.

    • "But in fact, Netanyahu and the right are dedicated to Greater Israel, to annexing the West Bank territory and finding a way to expel the Palestinians from it..........."

      30 years ago, Rabbi Meir Kahane proposed, as an extremist Knesset member of the later-outlawed Kach Party, the expulsion of Arabs from Israel and the Occupied Territories with compensation. He was met with public condemnation from the world's Jewry. Now the PM is espousing the same nonsense to ensure his re-election.

      Hopefully, the U.S. State Department will recognize that the Israel Foreign Ministry's "negotiations" with the Palestinian Authority have been a smokescreen by Israel to allay the U.S. that progress is being made - however no intention ever existed by the PM to permit a Palestinian state.

  • Top 5 ways Netanyahu sabotaged US and Israel Interests
  • Could a Netanyahu loss in Israeli Elections change Everything?
    • "Are the wild-card ultra-Orthodox parties known to be bribable?"

      Answer:

      link to israelnationalnews.com

      link to jweekly.com

      link to nytimes.com

    • There are some indications Isaac Herzog may sincerely try to resolve the Palestinian question. He met in December of 2014 with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who has previously visited Hamas leadership in Gaza and publicly called on Ireland to recall its ambassador to Israel due to its chronic human rights violations of Palestinians:

      link to theguardian.com

      link to algemeiner.com

      link to haaretz.com

    • Here are a couple of links referencing Gideon Levy and that op-ed piece:

      link to mondoweiss.net

      link to frammentivocalimo.blogspot.com

    • Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid Party has declined in popularity since its initial surprise finish of 20 seats in the last Knesset election and is expected to receive maybe 12 seats in the upcoming election.

      Lapid had rallied against the privileges accorded the ultraorthodox and the decline of the Israeli middle class standard of living - but achieved little after joining the Likud-led coalition and causing Likud to dump the ultraorthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties as coalition partners.

      I see Yesh Atid and ultraorthox parties as wild cards who could either join either a Netanyahu or Herzog-led coalition. Lapid has had a very weak understanding of the Palestinian issue and the ultraorthodox party leaders have had divergent opinions on this issue.

      Given current polling numbers, it appears that if Netanyahu can persuade all other rightist parties to join him in a coalition - and can receive support from either the ultraorthodox parties or Yesh Atid (whose policies are widely divergent) - then he should be re-elected; however right now it is not clear if all other conservative parties will automatically bolt toward Likud in forming a coalition post-election. In sum, many variables exist which make the March 17th election largely unpredictable.

      One surprising result is that the criminal probe of the Israeli Attorney General of Avigdor Lieberman's right-wing party leaders that has resulted in a decline in the polling numbers of that party to about six projected Knesset seats would translate in those conservative voters switching to Likud - but Likud's polling numbers have ben on the decline also.

    • "....the Livni Herzog double act seems likely to maintain the status quo..."

      Not exactly.

      Livni and Herzog will need the Joint Arab List parties and the leftist Meretz Party as coalition partners in order to form a government in the event Hatenua and Labor parties win enough seats in the March 17th election.

      It was the inclusion of the then-new Meretz Party in 1992 as a coalition partner with Labor Party that formed the impetus for the highly controversial Oslo Accords.

      If Zionist Union does do well in the election and is able to cobble together a ruling coalition - then the Joint Arab List and Meretz can simply withdraw from the coalition and allow a no-confidence vote if they feel that Herzog is going to simply drag his feet on final status negotiations with the Palestinians.

      The real possibility potential inclusion of Arab parties in a ruling coalition is unprecedented and would allow these parties to negotiate real political power in the Israeli political processes via appointment to influential cabinet positions.

      The last two centrist Israeli prime ministers - Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert - were hampered in their abilities to achieve significant inroads against gridlock in the peace processes since they had no leftist party inclusion in their respective governments - as Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres did when they negotiated the Oslo Accords.

  • Not a Jewish State: Palestinian-Israelis form Coalition that could be 3rd Largest Party
    • @Avi Green:

      Bibi has no coalition yet - he siphoned off votes from smaller right-wing parties to get Likud's 30 seats.

      When and if Bibi persuades Moshe Kahlon's party to be a coalition partner - then he can pop the champagne cork.

    • The prominent longtime Israeli newspaper Maariv has polled prospective voters and disclosed results showing that the center-left Zionist Union - composed of the Hatenua and Labor parties, led by Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog, respectively - is likely to receive 25 seats and the Likud Party 21 seats in the Knesset in the upcoming election.

      Sixty-one seats are needed for a majority in the 120-seat Knesset and it is absolutely certain that Zionist Union will need the projected 13 seats that the Joint Arab List is expected to realize if it intends to form a coalition government - meaning it would be the first time in Israel's history that an Arab-dominated party or party union would be a coalition partner in the Israeli government - and likely place an Arab for the first time in an influential cabinet seat.

      Although not a Arab party, the leftist Meretz Party is likely to be another potential coalition partner of Zionist Union - and would be necessary to form a governing coalition if Zionist Union does well enough in the upcoming election and wishes to form a government.

  • Insulting Netanyahu: How Bibi got Everything Wrong and called you Stupid
    • There was one obvious falsehood that PM Netanyahu made in his speech to U.S. Congress: Iran was behind the U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998.

      There is absolutely no proof of Iranian government complicity in this attack.

      It had been carried out by al-Qaeda operatives; al-Qaeda is a jihadist Sunni terror organization - not Shia as the Iranian government is - and al-Qaeda has generally been opposed to Shi'ite interests.

      As the above article correctly points out, al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra (the Succor Front), enjoys a positive cooperative relationship with the Israeli government. This is something that the PM obviously did not disclose to Congress during his speech since that al-Qaeda affiliate has been designated on the U.S. State Department list of terror organizations subject to sanctions.

  • Syria: As al-Qaeda defeats 'moderate' US allies, will US ally with al-Qaeda?
    • ".....whenever the US meddles, the momentum of effective resistance shifts to the other side."

      When Jabhat al-Nusra was designated as a terror organization be the U.S. State Department, the practical effect was nil as far advancing American foreign policy interests as this designation allows the U.S. to do such things as freezing bank accounts the U.S. has jurisdiction over and imposing other penalties that require effective power over the designee that the U.S. does not have over the al-Nusra Front.

      In Syria, thousands took to the streets to protest this odious designation, which actually helped al-Nusra protect their reputation and expand within Syria.

    • The al-Nusra Front military wing commander was just recently killed in Aleppo by the Baathist Syrian army:

      link to bbc.com

    • The CIA's Operation Cyclone funded and armed Islamic fundamentalist forces fighting the Soviet-backed Marxist puppet regime headquartered in Kabul.

      Osama bin Laden was allied with those rebels and may or may not have had direct ties to U.S. intelligence - but it was clear bin Laden was fighting the same enemy. This collective rebel alliance - who often fought each other - eventually seized power in Kabul in 1992.

      The Taliban, however, did not exist during the 1980s, but was a creation of the Pakistani intelligence service ISI during the mid-1990s and eventually forced the Islamic fundamentalists out of power and largely into northern regions of the country - thus named the Northern Alliance.

      The Taliban, however, allowed al-Qaeda to establish training camps inside of Afghanistan that eventually hosted training in terror tactics. Absent American involvement in Afghan affairs due to Cold War concerns, the camps would likely not have existed and al-Qaeda not jelled as a terror organization.

  • 4 Things more Dangerous to Israel than Iran's civilian Nuclear Enrichment
  • Palestine to take Israel to Int'l Criminal Court for War Crimes
    • Israel has tried via its court system to hold the P.L.O liable for monetary damages for bombings and there are cases going on in New York to hold the P.L.O legal responsible for terror activity as well as the Arab Bank liable for doing business with Hamas as a customer.

      The ICC action against Israel will be as about as groundbreaking as the Nuremberg trials were in Germany to hold a Western power responsible for the war crimes and crimes against humanity of its political or military leaders.

      The Israeli government is currently consulting with international law experts on ways to fight the jurisdiction of the ICC. In the past Israel has been successful in avoiding the reach of such nations as Belgium in asserting "universal jurisdiction" over putative war crimes occurring in the Middle East.

  • Gaza's sole power plant to close as funding runs out
    • Israel bombed Gaza's power plant in 2006 causing $15 million in damages as immediate retaliation for the capture of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

      Israel's military and intelligence leaders had recommended the release of Palestinian prisoners, but PM Ehud Olmert initiated protracted air and military operations against Gaza. In the end. Israel released 1,000 Arab prisoners in return for Shalit.

      The great irony is that Israel as an occupying power is legally obligated to supply electricity to Gaza despite their status as military adversaries.

  • 180 Frmr Israeli Security Officials to PM Netanyahu: Cancel US Speech, which pushes Iran toward Bomb
    • It should be noted that the Labor Party and Hatenua Party leaders that are trying to unseat Netanyahu both have intelligence backgrounds.

      Isaac Herzog served in the IDF Unit 8200 - the Israeli equivalent of the National Security Agency.

      Tzipi Livni spent several years as a Mossad employee.

  • Frmr Israeli Intel Head: Netanyahu's Clash w/ Obama 'Intolerable', Risks end of US UN Veto
    • Several points:

      (1) Meir Dagan has, in the past, opposed any military action taken against Iran's nuclear program;

      (2) he served as Mossad director during the development of the Stuxnet computer virus - believed to be a joint U.S.-Israel intelligence operation - that targeted the enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran and was subject to intense debate about its ultimate effectiveness in thwarting Iran's ability to produce weapons-grade uranium material;

      (3) Dagan believes that PM Netanyahu's defiance and antagonism toward the Obama administration may endanger the "umbrella veto" power Israel benefits from U.S. presence on the United Nations Security Council;

      (4) there has long been sentiment within the Israeli intelligence leadership to enter final status negotiations with the Palestinians and achieve a just peace - "The Gatekeepers", an Oscar-nominated documentary, interviewing the five living Shin Bet former directors, indicated that the peace process is being "murdered" for political motives.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel
    • The State of Israel is one of the few democracies in the world with NO constitution.

      There is a reason for this.

      At the time of its creation, religious parties within Israel wanted the new country to have an expressly religious foundation, however secular Israelis opposed this - so no constitution has ever been adopted - and essential governmental institutions, such as the Israeli Supreme Court, exist at the pleasure of the Knesset.

      The "Basic Law" passed by the Knesset early in Israel's history established the organization and operation of the Israeli governmental structure and exists to this day.

  • Top 5 Reasons Palestinian-Israelis Could shape the Israeli Election
    • There are good points you are making, however even if Hadash and Arab List parties are not part of an Israeli coalition government any time soon, the Palestinians will no doubt benefit from a Labor or Hatenua Party coalition rather than a Likud-bloc-led government.

      Tzipi Livni attempted to revive the Israeli-Palesstinian peace process after official talks broke down. During Operation Cast Lead she as foreign minister advised, without success, for PM Olmert to scale down ongoing military operations in Gaza. Herzog, the current Labor Party PM candidate, has likewise in the past given support to final status negotiations toward the creation of a Palestinian state.

      The Labor Party succeeded several years ago in seating the very first Arab Muslim as a cabinet minister and would likely promote a greater Arab inclusion in Israeli government. It is an open question whether they would make Hadash or other Arab-dominated parties coalition partners in a future government.

      No Arab has ever held a seat on the powerful Defense and Foreign Relations Committee of the Knesset - and it is doubtful if one will anytime soon.

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