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Total number of comments: 1138 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Mark Koroi

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  • Top 7 Ways Assassination Fails USA as Policy
    • "We did need Ho Chi Minh's cooperation to get us out of Vietnam."

      Ho Chi Minh died in 1969, when U.S. Armed Forces personnel strength in Vietnam reached its maximum of 543,000.

      The Treaty of Paris was signed in 1973 ending U.S. direct involvement in the conflict, and South Vietnam collapsed in April of 1975 as the U.S. evacuated its Saigon embassy.

      The only cooperation the U.S. received from the North in "getting out" was U.S. personnel at Ton Son Nhut air base in 1975 were permitted to leave without being fired on.

  • The Yezidi Minority, Daesh/ISIL, and Iraq's Human Rights Catastrophe
    • Re: The role of the YPG:

      In June of this year, Human Rights Watch issued a scathing report that YPG was violating international law by allowing children to fight within its ranks - many are female.

      As a result YPG signed a protocol pledging to refrain from using children in combat. Although dozens have reportedly been demobilized, there are still reports of children fighting with YPG units.

  • Cuba: Top 5 other Dictatorships with which US has Diplomatic Relations
    • Re Israel:

      Fidel Castro has been fully supportive of the Palestinian cause, labeling events in Gaza a genocide:

      link to

      Conversely, Cuban-Americans in U.S. Congress are among the staunchest supporters of Israel. This would include Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Ilena Ros Lehtinen of Florida; both are Republicans.

      On the other hand, Justin Amash, a GOP Congressman of Michigan, who is the son of Palestinian immigrants to the U.S., has recently urged a normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

    • "We actually have an embassy in Vietnam of all places......"

      This is not surprising. The Vietnamese Embassy is in D.C. and they have consular offices in Houston and San Francisco.

      The U.S. conducts $20 billion in bilateral trade with Vietnam and there was a May 2012 visit of then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to the former Cam Ranh Bay naval station, once constructed by America and later leased to the Russian government for $200 million per year until they could not afford the base's rent anymore.

      There are vast crude oil and natural gas reserves beneath the South China Sea that are subject to disputed claims by the governments of Vietnam, China, and other adjacent countries. The U.S. has sold "defense equipment" to Vietnam for maritime purposes so that Vietnam's oil and gas rights can be enforced - although the State Department denies the arms are envisioned to be used against China.

      President Clinton initiated the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Vietnam - and Vietnamese-Americans do not have a cohesive community eager to use force against their former country as the politically influential Cuban-American community does.

      Remember what the Cuban-American community did in Florida in the 2000 presidential race after the Clinton administration supported the return of Elian Gonzales to Cuba - it cost Al Gore the presidency.

  • If Jeb Bush Is In, Who Will Win Wall Street's Money?
    • Other dynasties:

      (1) John Adams and John Quincy Adams;

      (2) Wm. Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison;

      (3) Theodore Roosevelt and FDR;

      Only FDR was in a war - and that was after the Pearl Harbor attack.

      Dynasty members have had generally peaceful presidencies in America.

  • Why Europe must stop blocking Palestinian membership of the Int'l Criminal Court
    • The issue also is Israel allowing construction materials into Gaza to permit rebuilding after Israeli military incursions.

      Saudi Arabia authorized $1billion in aid to Gaza after Operation Cast Lead and the U.S. $900 million - but Israel did all it could from preventing rebuilding and also later destroying massive amounts of housing, commercial buildings and infrastructure in the 2014 invasion.

    • The IDF'a closing of the internal invesitigation of the killings of 21 members of the Samouni family in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead without charges was heavily criticized even by Israeli human rights organizations, including B'Tselem:

      link to

      A war crimes prosecution against Israel and former IDF general Amos Yaron commenced last year in Kuala Lampur:

      link to

  • Why the Founding Fathers thought banning Torture Foundational to the US Constitution
    • Torture is not unconstitutional in and of itself.

      In Brown versus Mississippi, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1936 held that confessions extracted via torture by police were inadmissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

      While the proofs extracted by a confession induced via torture are always inadmissible on constitutional grounds, the torture could conceivably be legalized by legislative bodies in certain situations for other police or military use.

  • Nowhere to Run: Broken Homes and Broken Lives in Gaza
    • Israeli cabinet minister Naftali Bennett has described stories as the Awajahs as "self-genocide".

      The Gazans collectively support Hamas, an organization firing rockets into Israel, and they receive the IDF's counter-measures in return. When the rockets stop - the IDF will stay away and the Gazans will live in peace.

      This deterrent policy is and has been the cornerstone of Israeli right-wingers. Others in Israel have called it "addiction to force".

  • Will the next Israeli Gov't be even more Far Right & Colonial?
    • "Israeli politics is lurching ever more to the right....."

      The Nineteenth Knesset was dissolved by 93-0 vote today with elections slated for March 17th, 2015.

      During the past year Isaac Herzog, Labor Party leader, and Tzipi Livni, chair of the centrist Hatenua Party have discussed building a coalition.

      Livni had initiated unofficial negotiations with the Palestinian Authority after U.S.-sponsored negotiations between the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the P.L.O. broke down earlier this year. In the years since she left the Likud Party in 2006, she has been a vocal supporter of a negotiated two-state solution and has been criticized by the far right in Israel.

      Herzog achieved prominence and popularity over his reorganization of Israel's cell phone industry.

      Polls taken in Israel in April suggested that a Livni/Herzog-led coalition would be voted in if elections were held at that time.

      The best chance for a negotiated peace settlement would be if a coalition led by the Labor and Hatenua parties were formed following the March 17th Knesset elections.

    • If elections were held today, Yesh Atid would likely lose half of their twenty seats. MK Yair Lapid, its leader, has seen his popularity plummet since his election under his new party Yesh Atid. MK Lapid, son of former Likud deputy prime minister Yossi Lapid, was viewed as a novice on foreign policy matters and his positions against the privileges enjoyed by the Haredi had infuriated those ultraorthodox Israelis.

      This makes me believe that the traditionally-powerful ultraorthodox parties will rejoin the governing coalition to be formed after the expected March of 2015 Knesset elections.

  • UN General Assembly Demands Israel Mothball its Nuclear Arsenal
    • One aspect needing to be mentioned is that Israel has not hesitated to violate international law and kill innocent bystander civilians even when nuclear reactors have been constructed for apparently peaceful purposes.

      When the Osirak reactor was bombed in Iraq by Israel Air Force jets in June of 1981, a 24-year old French nuclear engineer was killed; the Israeli government later paid out compensation to his surviving family members. The U.N. General Assembly condemned the Osirak raid by a 44-7 vote.

      It was estimated that between 10 and 36 civilian workers were killed in the Operation Orchard air strike by the IAF that destroyed the Al Kibar nuclear reactor facility in Syria in 2007; Pres. G.W. Bush was reportedly consulted by PM Olmert and did not object to the planned bombing:

      link to

    • Edward Teller had a close relationship to Israeli leaders, especially David Ben-Gurion, and warned CIA official Carl Duckett in the 1960s that Israel was constructing an atomic bomb arsenal. DCI Richard Helms did not notify President Johnson of this information until one year later.

      It was Edward Teller in the 1960s who persuaded the Israeli government NEVER to be tempted to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty:

      link to

      Also needing to be mentioned is the 80-100 ton purchase from Argentina of enriched uranium Israel received in 1964 that was traced by Canadian intelligence that made the Israeli atomic bomb possible:

      link to

      The 1964 shipment was first publicly exposed in 2013 by William Burr and Avner Cohen, PhD.

      Dr. Cohen has taught at MIT and Harvard and is considered a top expert on Israeli nuclear capabilities Dr. Cohen has been previously banned by Israel's Office of Chief Censor from giving lectures in Israel of the nation's nuclear program.

  • Could Years more of Syrian Civil War be Avoided by Comprehensive Talks with Iran?
    • "America's interests include a stabilized Syria which minimizes the threat to Israel........."

      In fact, it was reported that Israel has been aiding Syrian rebel interests in various ways in the Golan Heights area:

      link to

  • Far-Right Israeli FM Lieberman: Offer Israeli Arabs Money to Move to [Non-Existent] Palestinian State
    • Avigdor Lieberman's position is disturbingly close to that of Kach Party founder Meir Kahane, who proposed deporting Palestinians from "the Land of Israel" with compensation in the 1980s.

      Lieberman was a card-carrying member of the Kach Party, which held one seat in the Eleventh Knesset in 1984-88 before the Israeli Supreme Court upheld its decertification on grounds of promotion of racist policies and barred it from the 1988 Knesset elections. It was estimated that the Kach Party would have gotten 3 or 4 seats in the 1988 Knesset election but for decertification.

      Rabbi Kahane, a New York resident, denounced his U.S. citizenship in 1988 and was reviled by mainstream Jewry in the U.S. and Israel - Mayor Ed Koch labeled him "scum".

      Today, Kahane is revered by the settler movement in Israel and his posters are displayed throughout Jerusalem; the Kahane Youth movement today has seen exponential increases in membership and some of its members have been accused of anti-Arab hate crimes within Israel.

      It is stunning that almost 25 years following Kahane's death that one of his former followers holds an influential cabinet seat and publicly espouses similar views.

  • Rudy Giuliani Wants To Prosecute Ferguson Witnesses
    • I believe that there is no question but that intermeddlers who were not even present when the Michael Brown killing occurred did make false statements to investigators and provided perjured testimony before a state grand jury. Such conduct is clear grounds for criminal charges against such "witnesses".

      That said, prosecutorial officials rarely bring charges in such instances because it sends a message to witnesses in other criminal prosecutions that assisting police and prosecutorial staff in providing statements or court testimony may result in the witness being a prosecutorial target.

      I suspect the prosecutor in the Brown case may have intentionally allowed such dubious witnesses to appear before the grand jury so that the case against the officer would appear weak and fabricated.

      If U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder believes he can do better, a federal civil rights criminal indictment can be sought by the Justice Department.

  • How Israel's Bus Segregation Affects Palestinian Workers
    • This is just one more step toward complete segregation between Arabs and Jews in the region that is being proposed by an Israeli cabinet minister.

      Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has just proposed offering financial incentives to Israel's approximate 21% Arab population to vacate the country. Ironically, Jewish emigration from Nazi Germany to Palestine during the 1930s was promoted by an eerily similar arrangement - the Haavara Transfer Agreement - which had been negotiated between the German government and the Lehi terror gang leaders.

      Lieberman has also proposed recently that areas of Israel with a large percentage of Palestinian Israeli citizens be ceded to the Palestinian Authority - thus lowering the overall percentage of Arabs within Israel proper.

      This is also against the backdrop of PM Netanyahu's attempts to have Israel declared a "Jewish State" by the Knesset and to decertify Arabic as a state-recognized national language.

  • Racial Fearmongering and Ferguson: US Stereotype of "violent" African-American Men as old as Slavery
    • In the City of Ann Arbor, there have been demonstrations over the controversial police killing of a female black artist. Two AAPD officers are under suspension and their names have not been released despite the fact the shooting occurred weeks ago.

      "The Killing of Aura Rosser/Beauty and Police"

      link to

      Ann Arbor is known for its left-leaning tendencies.

  • Top Five Washington Assumptions on Mideast that Are not True
    • I agree that Egypt has been useful as a U.S. ally (and Prof. Bacevich does not appear to disagree on this point) however he feels the current Egyptian military government is corrupt and therefore an unworthy recipient of massive ongoing foreign aid from the U.S.

      Corrupt foreign regimes have traditionally been the staunchest allies of the U.S. Think of Chile's Pinochet, Nicaragua's Somoza, Iran's Shah and Cuba's Batista as a few examples. Perhaps Hosni Mubarak may be the best example of all.

      As Henry Kissinger once mused on Iran's former head of state: "He's not much of a Shah - but he's our Shah."

      Should the U.S. donate foreign aid to human rights violators? Not according to the Foreign Assistance Act - but how often is that federal statute observed?

    • I saw him interviewed by Phil Donahue about a year ago.

    • Excellent observations, as usual, by Mr. Bacevich.

      Some additional points:

      (1) the secret intent of the Likud Party and other right-wing parties in Israel is ultimately to force Palestinian Arabs to vacate Gaza and the West Bank so a unified Jewish Israel can be established in those areas pursuant to annexation. The economies of both areas are being sabotaged by the Israeli government as a central strategy in achieving this goal.

      (2) Afghanistan generates 87% of the world's opium production; the poverty created by ongoing civil war and a lack of a strong central government have fueled the entry of Afghan farmers into cultivating opium poppies; the same phenomenon has occurred in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon where opium is harvested and later trafficked via Hezbollah-controlled areas in South Lebanon - the Baathist Syrian government and its officials reap an estimated $300 million to $1 billion annually in payoffs to permit this activity.

      (3) there are Salafist extreme elements in Saudi Arabia that have supported international terror activities and the nationality makeup of the 9/11 hijackers, as duly noted by Mr. Bacevich, is prime evidence of this - yet the U.S. is in no position to impose or demand a crackdown given the State Department perception that U.S.-Saudi relations may suffer and may endanger further receipt of the 28% segment total oil consumed annually by the U.S. that is represented by Saudi oil imports.

      (4) there has been relative peace and calm in South Lebanon in the 8 years since Israel withdrew following the August of 2006 conclusion of the South Lebanon War - many Lebanese political leaders who dislike Hezbollah and its odious policies have credited its militia with creating a mutual deterrence between itself and the Israeli government that has withstood the test of time.

      Overall, Mr. Bacevich has succinctly set forth crucially important points that should be heeded by the White House and U.S. Department of State.

  • Jerusalem: This Is Why The Temple Mount Matters To one Israeli-American
    • There's a plethora of theological theories that surround the Jewish Temple, the Ark of the Covenant, and Temple Mount and whether these areas and items have retained their sacred status or are simply old relics.

      Christian Zionists have made the Third Temple and restoration of the temple objects of worship a priority due to eschatological concerns. On the Jewish side, the Temple Institute, funded by the Temple Foundation, is trying to make the Third Temple a reality.

      Rabbi Chaim Richman had been the longtime director of the Temple Insitute.

  • Jerusalem: where religion divides but lives are entwined
    • "The dead policeman, Zidan Seif, was not a Jew but an Israeli Druze, a distinct branch of Islam whose members often serve in Israel's police or armed forces......"

      This is accurate. The IDF commander who led the army invasion of Gaza last summer was Druze (he was wounded in battle) and a number of right-wing Knesset members are likewise Druze Arabs, who are members of the conservative Likud Party or extremist Homeland Party.

      Palestinian Druze ties to Zionism extend to at least the 1930s when they were allied with Jewish underground militias against the British.

      Druze-Jewish ties have traditionally been the most cohesive of Arab-Jewish relations within the Middle East.

  • Two Different American Futures: With an Iran Deal & Without
    • "Manipulation of the global finance system......"

      This has been done with Syria - U.S.-imposed sanctions have resulted in money laundering attempts by the Syrian government and its central bank and other evasive maneuvering with Russian and Qatari financial institutions, not to mention petroleum purchases from ISIS on the black market.

  • 3rd Possibility: Coming Civil War in West Bank/ Jerusalem?
    • An independent Palestinian physician/pathologist examining the body of an Arab bus driver in Jerusalem found hanged recently has concluded that it is a probable murder, per a recent article in Haaretz, the Israeli daily.

      The victims brother had earlier reported that he observed wounds on the corpse and that the brother had exhibited no previous signs suggesting he was suicidal; he also believed that his brother had been the subject of foul play.

      An Israeli police spokesperson had initially indicated they believed the death was suicidal.

  • Should Iran and the US accept a Good, but not perfect Nuclear Deal?
    • Iran has asserted a "right to enrich" however there have been alternate proposals argued in the international arena.

      Since the IAEA was founded in 1957, there have been discussions of creation of a "nuclear fuel bank" which can control the production and supply of enriched uranium and avoid the need of countries to have "enrichment technology" that can be used for the manufacture of atomic weapons.

      Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn has written about this idea:

      link to

      The IAEA Board of Governors approved the creation of the first such facility and that bank commenced operation in December of 2010 in the city of Angarsk in Siberia. The project is owned and managed by the Russian government.

      Other nuclear fuel banks have been proposed, including a second facility in Siberia which would itself manufacture enriched uranium, plus a separate bank in Kazakhstan, however this proposal has not yet been effectuated.

      Pro-Iranian advocates and other critics have countered that denying Iran its own enrichment program opens the door international manipulation and they point to what occurred in the wake of the 1979 Iranian Revolution when several events occurred which would hamper Iran from effectuating its nuclear program ambitions. They point out that the U.S. not only breached a supply agreement that would have furnished Iran with enriched uranium stocks, but that the U.S. influenced the international community from assisting Iran in these regards.

      Firstly, the U.S. openly admitted it had pressured the IAEA from continuing technical assistance to Iran to facilitate development of uranium oxide and uranium hexafluoride production technologies. Not only did the IAEA cease this technical assistance program but so did China - who discontinued its bilateral agreement with Iran in the 1980s when the United States government offered China a sweeter business deal to induce discontinuance of Chinese-Iranian nuclear development joint venture agreements. This left Iran "out in the cold" until it struck a nuclear fuel supply deal with the Argentine government and began receiving copious amounts of "yellowcake" from that country in 1993.

  • Daesh/ ISIL calls for Terror attacks on Saudi Arabia
    • While it is true that the umbrella group of autonomous brigades that operate as the "Islamic Front" receive appreciable funding from Saudi Arabia, there exists credible information that ISIS had at some point in time been the product of a covert intelligence operation of the Saudi government, per an article in the Atlantic magazine.

      There have also been information that a substantial relationship exists between Turkish intelligence and ISIS; there are also reports that Turkish border guards are often bribed to permit passage of individuals wishing to join ISIS.

      Some authorities suggest ISIS receives only as much as 5% of its total funding from external sources, with other income received from black market oil revenues it sells at a discount below OPEC prices as well as looting banking institutions coming under its control in such major population centers as Mosul and shaking down individuals and businesses within its borders.

  • Has the Third Palestinian Uprising Begun?
    • Marwan Barghouti, the jailed leader of Tanzim, the military wing of Fatah, has just several hours ago, called for the initiation of a Third Intifada against the State of Israel:

      link to

  • Critics Slam US Military's 'Disturbing' Praise for Israel's Gaza Offensive
    • The U.N.'s Goldstone Commission report findings on the Operation Cast Lead incursion into Gaza applied the disproportionate force doctrine in concluding that Israel violated international humanitarian law and cited the public statements of IDF leaders (e.g. "100 homes destroyed for every rocket fired into Israel") as proof that the IDF was targeting civilian infrastructure as a form of mass punishment of civilians.

      The Goldstone Commission's findings were not without controversy as to the disproportionality doctrine as applied therein:

      link to

    • "Disproportionate force" as an accepted military doctrine was also embraced in a public speech given by Israeli PM Ehud Olmert immediately following the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead in January of 2009.

      Olmert is currently under a sentence of six years imprisonment for an unrelated public corruption conviction - but remains free pending appeal.

      Under international law, disproportionate force is a war crime.

    • In order to extract the cease-fire agreement of Hamas in late August of this year, Israeli military commanders expressly stated that they were targeting Hamas leaders with extrajudicial killings and demolishing some of the largest commercial and residential complexes in Gaza.

      The Italian Mall, a 15-story elegant mixed-use commercial and residential complex which represented the tallest building in Gaza, was destroyed by six missiles from an Israel Air Force fighter jet on the evening of August 25th - 25 Gazans were injured in the air strike. Israeli media shortly thereafter broadcast film footage of the explosions:

      link to

      The Israeli government later issued an unsubstantiated statement suggesting intelligence they uncovered revealed the complex was used for Hamas military conferences.

      Also that same evening the "Basha Tower" another Gazan skyscraper, was destroyed by the Israel Air Force.

      Hamas acceded to a truce with Israel shortly after these two devastating air attacks.

  • Amid Jerusalem Clashes, Israeli Housing Minister Claims al-Aqsa Site, Declaring War on 1.5 bn Muslims
    • The establishment of the Third Temple coupled with the demolition of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is something that is of immense and central interest to both Christian Zionists and Orthodox Jewry.

      Here are some additional links to the fascinating positions of Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel:

      link to

      link to

  • Fierce Entanglements require Dialogue: Israeli-Palestinian conflict rooted in their different stories about the World
    • The article is correct where it presumes that grassroots attitudes of Israelis and Palestinians have been the primary force fueling the ongoing conflict and it is these attitudes which must be neutralized before there can be a resolution of that conflict.

      The political extremism on both sides that has flourished since the promising developments of the Oslo Accords in mid-1990s has been driven by the attitudes of the respective citizenry who have thrown their support to political parties whose platforms have promoted violence as a solution - the extremist governments are merely a product of prevailing public attitudes - in other words, do not blame politicians like Avigdor Lieberman, PM Netanyahu, or Khaled Meshaal for the violence that has been ongoing - but blame the collective attitudes of the Jewish and Arab electorate who continue to support the destructive policies that these leaders promote and implement with their respective approvals.

  • US Dilemma in Syria: Moderate Stronghold Falls to al-Qaeda, Fighters desert to Extremists
    • It's like Iraq or Afghanistan where you need a scorecard to find out who is fighting who at what time.

      Other questions:

      Who is CIA-backed?

      Who is getting arms support from the Russians or the Saudis or other Persian Gulf sponsors?

      Who is on the State Department list of terror organizations?

      Who has representation in the Syrian National Coalition?

      Which Kurdish groups are involved - PKK?

      Who is allied with the Baathists? Hezbollah? Local militias?

      How many Americans are in combat? How many Brits? Who are they fighting for? Who pays them?

      Where are other foreign fighters coming from? Chechnya? Iraq? Lebanon? Which side are they on?

      Ahhh!! The Great Game!!!

  • Israel's Exclusion of Palestinians from Area C Costs Pals. $2.2 bn a Year
    • The Oasis Casino of Jericho was an example of a successful business venture that realized 1 million dollars per day in revenues and whose primary clientele were Israelis. It was organized by European business magnate Martin Schlaff, but was shut down by the Israel Defense Forces.

      It was one example of the Israeli government stifling the West Bank economy of Palestinians.

      The casino would later become part of a corruption investigation where it was alleged Ariel Sharon's son had received improper payments.

  • Iraq: US dismayed Shiite Gov't hasn't Armed Sunni Tribes fighting ISIL
    • The WP article illustrates a further disintegration of the anti-Assad rebels as a collective entity.

      Previously, Jabhat al-Nusra ("Succor Front") had coordinated its efforts with the Free Syrian Army when victories were being rolled up against the Assad regime in 2012 and 2013. While not allies, they nevertheless saw the Baathists as the common enemy and did not battle each other. Furthermore, while designated by the U.S. State Department as a terror organization, the Succor Front did not undertake any known terrorism against any American interests - and the Syrian National Coalition, whom the U.S recognizes as a government-in-exile, attempted to lobby the U.S. to drop this odious designation.

      The Obama administration in 2013 damaged the fortunes of the FSA by suspending aid when one of their arms depots were raided by Salafist fighters. This caused numerous FSA personnel to defect to other groups. The Islamic Front became an umbrella group that consisted of brigades of varying fundamentalist Sunni ideologies. - they received their financing from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states.

      Jabhat al-Nusra also began fighting ISIS - which led to glee among Baathist leaders. The Islamic Front has eschewed Western covert aid support, but largely considers itself friendly to the FSA - who receives substantial supplies from the CIA and pro-West countries such as Turkey and Jordan.

      There are essentially four discrete armed organizations who largely fight each other despite the fact their primary goal is to topple Assad. Much of this discord can be blamed on policy failures of the U.S. State Department.

  • Unprecedented Damage to Gaza & its People can't be repaired with Just more Aid
    • "A whole indigenous economy has been all but destroyed........"

      This is and has been the goal of the Israeli government with respect to Gaza. The additional goal being to disrupt food supplies.

      During Operation Cast Lead it was noted in the Goldstone Commission Report that Israeli bulldozers demolished a Gazan chicken farm. killing 31,000 hens representing 10% of Gaza's egg production. The report verified the prior existence of the farm by satellite imagery taken before the IDF invasion and cited this along with other incidents as examples of IDF conduct constituting either war crimes or crimes against humanity.

      Later, it was revealed via WikiLeaks disclosure that the Israeli government had plans to keep Gazans on a near starvation diet on a level that would operate to narrowly avoid a humanitarian crisis by the barest of levels.

      In 2014, during Operation Defensive Edge, the Israel Air Force bombed a biscuit factory that represented the largest private business enterprise in Gaza, employing 400 persons and contracted to supply the UN with needed food to distribute to Gazans.

  • Far Right Extremist Avigdor Lieberman says Swedish Recognition of Palestine will Strengthen Extremists
    • A couple of additional points:

      (1)Lieberman had previously been a card-carrying member of the later-outlawed Kach Party founded by U.S. born Rabbi Meir Kahane;

      (2)Rabbi Kahane's father was a close friend of Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the founder of Revisionist Zionism, who is today regarded as one of Israel's most respected historical leaders and having many parks and other public places named after him;

      (3) Benzion Netanyahu, also a Revisionist Zionist, was an admirer of and served as a personal secretary to Ze'ev Jabotinsky - he is the father of the current Israeli PM and is considered to have a profound influence on his son's political worldview.

      PM Netanyahu, Lieberman, and Kahane are politically indistinguishable in their respective attitudes toward Palestinians.

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  • Jerusalem tensions over al-Aqsa Mosque turn bloody as Far Right-winger is Shot
    • " is not hard to imagine that the Israeli Knesset would vote to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque and build a temple on top......"

      Pastor John Hagee, a Christian Zionist and published author, as well as a personal friend to every Israeli PM since Menachem Begin, has predicted that this scenario will eventually happen -and he further predicts armed conflict and insurrection shall be the inevitable result.

    • One observer, Ali Abunimah, has suggested two points about the Yehuda Glick shooting:

      (1)the suspect, Mutaz Hijazi, may have belonged to a "target bank" in which he was chosen to be located by Israeli police on accusations that were dubious or unfounded;

      (2) an "extrajudicial execution" occurred as witness statements exist suggesting that Hijazi was hiding and unarmed when apprehended. There are also statements suggesting that Israeli police attempted to "confirm the kill" on Hijazi by shooting him as he lay helpless.

  • BDS Success: Israeli Firm Sodastream Leaves Palestinian West Bank after Boycott
    • Ali Abunimah's Electronic Intifada website has pointed out that the Israeli government has given Sodastream a $20 million grant to construct another factory in the Negev Desert where Bedouins are in the process of being displaced. The idea being that the pastoral Bedouin community will be broken up by the factory job opportunities to be afforded by Sodastream in a future Negev facility.

      There's also the question one may ask as to what is going to happen to the actual factory building in the West Bank where the Sodastream is closing down - will it simply revert to the control of another Israeli corporation trying to take advantage of the cheap labor market there?

    • The organizers of the boycott:

      Some have pointed out that Sodastream employs many Palestinian Arab factory workers, providing them with a substantial wage, and this boycott's goal will cause hundreds of West Bank Palestinians to lose their jobs.

  • Protests after Israeli Troops kill American Teenager near Ramallah
  • The Ultra Orthodox vs. The Israeli Army: Israel's Other Religious War (VICE)
    • On a religious level, the Haredim do not see the State of Israel as legitimate without a Messiah. They nevertheless feel that their presence in the region makes them closer to their religious identity.

      Orthodox Jews, on the other hand, see 1967 as a momentous year when the West Bank was received by the State of Israel and that their presence on that conquered region redeems them. Their ranks formed the bulk of the membership in the Gush Emunim settler movement that was prevalent in the 1970s and 80s.

    • The ultraorthodox traditionally held a very powerful role politically in Israeli politics as their coalitions with the Likud ensured copious seats in the Israeli cabinet while simultaneously keeping the Labor party and its allies from controlling the Israeli prime minister's seat.

      That enviable position ended with the election of the Yesh Atid party of Yair Lapid, who campaigned heavily against the privileges granted the ultraorthodox community, and allowed Netanyahu to dump the ultraorthodox political parties, led by Shas and United Torah Judaism, from his coalition. Part of the fallout was the conscription exemption controversy as to the ultraorthodox community coming to a head and these Haredi attempting to successfully protest to retain this exemption.

      It is now estimated, however, that Yesh Atid would receive only about half the Knesset seats they currently hold if elections were held today in Israel. Yair Lapid's popularity has, likewise, plummeted.

  • US Negotiator: All the Components of an Enrichment Deal with Iran are on the Table
    • Israel's Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz has recently indicated that the Iranian military base at Parchin was used for testing nuclear detonation technology and there ave even been at least one report that the Parchin site was the target of a recent Israel Air Force strike:

      link to

      link to

      link to

  • Is Egypt's Sinai going the Way of Syria? 30 Troops Killed by Militants
    • It is estimated that since 1991, the year the Persian Gulf War ended, there has been 10 trillion dollars in economic cost incurred due to armed conflict in the Middle East region.

      By comparison, this represents over one-half the amount of the U.S. national debt.

      Iraq, with its vast crude oil reserves and production capacity, should be a prosperous country, but the dual costs of virtually non-stop armed conflict and imposition of crippling economic sanctions have created poverty for a large percentage of Iraqis.

    • "Doesn't the US have troops in Sinai monitoring the border?"

      The U.S. has about 700 soldiers as part of a 13-nation contingent composing the Sinai Peacekeeping Force. They are not authorized to either gather intelligence or conduct offensive operations - so their usefulness remains limited.

  • The momentum to recognize a Palestinian State is unstoppable
    • President Rivlin just made news when he appeared at a ceremony memorializing the massacre of 47 Arabs in 1956 by the IDF for unwittingly violating a curfew.

      He acknowledged the incident as a crime.

      Rivlin has previously had a reputation as a conservative Israeli politician, having defeated the more liberal Meir Sheetrit to succeed Shimon Peres as Israel's largely ceremonial head of state.

      His recent actions have made some waves among the Jewish-American community.

    • "Did that mean Iraq was not a state in 2003?"


      (1)Iraq had many its own citizens supporting the toppling of the Baathists.

      (2)The U.S. did not re-settle hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens in Iraq;

      (3)The U.S. did not prolong military occupation for decades after 2003 but established an interim government;

      (4)The U.S. did not try Iraqi citizens in U.S. military tribunals.

    • Agreed, Theodore Herzl, the primary founder of modern Zionism, was heavily influenced by a Christian minister.

      Later, the impetus came mostly from highly-organized and effective Jewish public relations networks based in the U.S.

      In its beginning in 1945, the American Zionist Emergency Council (AZEC) booked Madison Square Garden, ordered advertisements, and mailed 250,000 announcements - the first day. By the second day, they had organized demonstrations in 30 cities, a letter-writing campaign, and convinced 27 U.S. senators to give speeches.

      Grassroots Zionist action groups were organized with more than 400 local committees under 76 state and regional branches. AZEC funded books, articles and academic studies. Millions of pamphlets were distributed.

      Purely viewed as a public relations effort, the level of organizational efficiency and ultimate effectiveness were nothing short of astounding.

      Today, AZEC is largely forgotten, but is the spiritual ancestor of the vaunted Israel Lobby of today.

      The Israel Lobby today in the U.S. has been described by a University of Michigan professor as "six times as large and 100 times more organized" as its Palestinian-American counterpart.

    • There were influences in U.S. Congress in 1948 that led to Israel's creation, including New York's Emanuel Celler and Jacob Javits.

      There were also 26 pro-Zionist U.S. senators that made foreign aid dependent on a commitment that those recipients' representatives at the United Nations vote in favor of the November 29, 1947 Partition Plan. Many of the nations were still rebuilding after WWII and badly needed the funding from the U.S. State Department.

      It also should be noted that the U.S. gave only de facto recognition to Israel in 1948 and de jure recognition did not come until 1949.

      1948 was an election year and Truman's advisers recommended his support of a Zionist state due to the fact many swing states, such as New York and Illinois had substantial Jewish populations and his opponent, New York's Thomas Dewey, was about to declare his support for an independent Israel.

    • "Is Palestine a state or merely a territory?"

      Depends on who you ask, however it is not much of a "state" if the IDF controls the sea, air, land and population there.

      "What will it take for Israel to agree to end the occupation?....."

      (1) a UN Security Council resolution;

      (2) a final status agreement between Israel and Palestinian factions;

      (3) a unilateral Israeli pullout - as occurred in Gaza in 2005

      Another 66 years could pass before Israeli "peace negotiations" bear any fruit.

  • Why is this Man Smiling? Iranian Officials say Confidant of US Deal on Nuclear
    • "Iran is prone to earthquakes, which makes it a terrible place to build a reactor."

      Yes, after the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns in Japan, you would think that the last place anyone would want to construct a nuclear reactor was where earthquakes were likely to occur.

    • The "breakout capability" you reference is what has been causing so much international concern.

      The Institute For Science and International Security in a January of 2013 report predicted that Iran would have the capability to produce a nuclear weapon by mid-2014 and recommended that the U.S. president threaten military action if such an event occurred:

      link to

      "..........such as Israel's arsenal of nuclear weapons."

      Israel had evaded the IAEA for decades and only very recently allowed that regulatory body to inspect the Soreq Nuclear Research Facility and have never permitted any inspection of the Negev Nuclear Research Facility at Dimona by the IAEA. As a result of this evasiveness, Israel has manufactured 400 launchable fission and thermonuclear fusion bombs, according to a declassified 1997 U.S. Air Force Intelligence report "Holy of Holies"; this conclusion is accepted by most experts as accurate.

      Israel's acquisition of an atomic arsenal would have been avoidable if the U.S. and United Nations had taken swift action when intelligence was available to substantiate Israel's intentions.

      The fact that Shia theocrats have denounced nuclear weaponry is of no moment either - as other elements within the Iranian government may seek construction of a nuclear arsenal with honorable intentions - as Israeli leaders did secretly in the 1960s.

      In the mid-1960s the members of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, a civilian agency, expressed reservations that elements within the Israeli government were secretly intending to manufacture nuclear bombs - and that such conduct would open up Israel to international vilification. Those otherwise astute observations vastly overestimated the zealousness of Western powers in confronting Israel in its bold attempts to acquire a nuclear arsenal that currently menaces the well-being of not only those in the Middle East, but all consumers of the world's food chain.

      Iran is a de facto ally of the West in the fight against ISIS and should give its unfettered cooperation with to allay fears of the international community that it may seek to weaponize its uranium holdings via enrichment.

  • Will Ireland Recognize Palestine?
  • Surprising Map of Which Countries Recognize Palestine
    • The Palestine Liberation Organization had a close relationship with the former Soviet Union and its satellites throughout the 1960s and 70s.

      The P.L.O. had significant capital investment in factories in the Eastern bloc; Yasser Arafat maintained a tight relationship with Romanian intelligence - per former Romanian Lt. General Ion Pacepa. P.L.O. fighters were trained in bases in the former Soviet Union.

  • The New McCarthyism on Israel: Naming and Shaming . . . Hillel
    • You are absolutely correct - the term anti-Semitic is often misused to imply anti-Jewish attitudes. Arabs are clearly Semitic in origin.

      Likewise, 21% of Israeli citizens are Arabic - with a majority of these Arabs of the Muslim faith - so we even have "Israeli Muslims", although that term is rarely used.

      Druze Arabs in Israel are usually Zionist in orientation and have held high-ranking positions in the Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces.

  • Is Baghdad next? ISIL takes Hit Base in Iraq, loots it for Weapons
    • Also you did not mention the popularly-elected Sunni majority government in Syria that was overthrown in 1949 by a Syrian army general conspiring with the Central Intelligence Agency because the Syrian legislature would not allow an oil pipeline to be run through their country by U.S. oil interests.

      That coup led to Baathist rule for decades following a series of further military coups that deprived the Sunni majority of power and led to the jailing of PM Atassi in 1970 and the ascension of Hafez Assad as Syrian president in 1971.

  • In Symbolic Vote, UK Parliament urges Recognition of Palestine
    • The State of Palestine was declared on November 15, 1988 by the P.L.O.

      The entire goal of a final status agreement is for that state to be free of Israeli interference and have true sovereignty.

      Israel wants to maintain control over roads and open areas in the West Bank, giving the Palestinian Authority only "islands" of self-rule within that region.

    • Actually Rep. John Conyers of Detroit has a virtually perfect pro-Palestine voting record in U.S. Congress.

      He voted against H.R 268, which opposed the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

  • Hundreds of Israeli public figures urge British Parliament to recognize the State of Palestine
    • The British Parliament passed the bill by a 274-12 margin, notably however, PM David Cameron and members of his government abstained - and it is Cameron's government who has the sole power to actually confer diplomatic recognition - not the parliament, whose resolution is merely advisory.

    • These signators primarily represent the "fringe left" in Israel - many are Meretz Party members - Israel's version of the Green Party.

      Former MK Uri Avinery was a close friend of Yasser Arafat.

  • Israeli Squatters beat up woman picking olives in Palestinian West Bank (400 Attacks a Year)
    • The area you speak of is under the control of the Civil Administration of the Israel Defense Forces. The settlers that live there do so in violation of international law and the IDF occupation itself is unlawful.

      It is sad if any children are targeted for violence, but Palestinian children have sustained far more pervasive violence at the hands of settlers and the IDF. Additionally, Palestinian children in the West Bank have been abducted for interrogation by Israeli security officers and placed on trial in IDF military tribunals that have a conviction rate of over 99%.

      Were these illegal Israeli activities to cease, Arab violence against Israeli Jewish citizens would likely drop correspondingly.

  • Will Egypt Intervene in Libya as part of Generals' War on Political Islam?
  • Listening to Nobelist Malala Yousafzai instead of just Honoring Her
    • Ironically, she has also been awarded the Sakharov Prize, named after an anti-Soviet dissident, and often awarded to those who oppose Communism.

  • Does the Houthi Takeover of Yemen's Sanaa Endanger World Trade?
    • Nice article, however what about the impact on the dreaded Political Security Office (PSO), the 150,000-person Yemeni equivalent of the FBI whose job it is to suppress suspected terror activities within Yemen?

      There were suspicions that this CIA-connected group had been infiltrated by jihadist elements, causing U.S. national security organizations to "double-track" anti-terror investigations to prevent al-Qaeda from effectively penetrating the U.S. intelligence community.

      There were some later concerns that the PSO's primary objective was simply to suppress political dissent directed at criticizing the current regime - which led to its long-time director being fired.

      link to

      Everyone has head of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee:

      There is also a Yemeni equivalent known as the Yemeni-American Public Affairs Committee:

  • Pan-Mideast War: ISIL and al-Qaeda attack Hizbullah outposts Near Lebanese Border
    • The Bekaa Valley is a key area for Hezbollah control and has historically played a significant role in the international drug trade:

      link to
      link to

      Hezbollah has not been known to seriously enforce any "moral code" when it has come to the drug trade that flourishes where it rules.

    • Repesentatives of the two leading Maronite clans, the Franjiehs and the Gemayels, had previously met months ago at the Gemayel estate in Bikfaya and agreed their militias would keep out of the civil war in Syria.

      This was despite the fact that the Franjiehs have been traditional allies of the Assad family.

    • "They even converse with Israelis and have received medical treatment by Israel........."

      Israel has provided medical treatment for wounded Syrians for two primary reasons:

      (1)the patients are debriefed and can provide useful intelligence about what is occurring within Syria;

      (2)Israel is getting positive public relations from the rendition of such injury treatment.

    • Hezbollah and its allies........decisively triumphed in the popular vote...."

      The Amal Party received 13 seats in the 2009 parliamentary elections in Lebanon and Hezbollah received 12 seats and together they formed a coalition.

      That said, Amal is a secular Shi'ite political party whose philosophies differ substantially from the jihadist Hezbollah, who follow the Shi'ite form of political Islam modeled after Iran and seek imposition of Sharia law where it rules.

  • Defying US, Sweden to Recognize Palestine (First in Western Europe)
  • The Alamo of the Kurds: Kobane Near Falling to ISIL
    • I perhaps should have been more precise and artful in my above post.

      The State Department did not perform the actual "re-arming" of the FSA but was instrumental in conveying the right recommendations to those in the White House so the CIA could begin anew brokering arms purchases and initiating later deliveries to Turkish and Arab countries for eventual re-delivery via cargo planes to Turkey and subsequent distribution to the FSA.

      The Free Syrian Army had expressly adopted a declaration of commitment to democratic principles and the now-defunct Syrian Support Group (SSG) had been named as the "implementing agency" for non-lethal U.S. aid to the FSA. The SSG board of directors consisted of members of the Syrian expatriate community in the U.S. and its staff was composed of both Syrian exiles and those with a background in U.S. national security.

      The FSA owes its allegiance to the Syrian National Coalition whom the America and most of the free world recognizes as the Syrian government-in-exile.

    • It was the decision of the State Department to suspend aid to the Free Syrian Army after Islamist extremists raided an arms depot under FSA control.

      This strategy weakened the legitimacy of the FSA at a time when Syrian-Americans and others in the U.S. were raising millions in funding for the FSA and the FSA was gaining ground against the Assad regime.

      As a result:

      (1)Many FSA fighters defected to other entities, such as the al-Nusra Front, ISIS, and the Islamic Front;

      (2)private donations to the FSA began drying up and the Syrian Support Group - a State Department-backed group raising funding for the FSA - closed its doors last month.

      (3)the FSA began losing ground against both ISIS and the Syrian government forces.

      The State Department recognized their folly and began re-arming the FSA again.

  • Palestine goes to UN Security Council to Demand Israeli Withdrawal by 2016
    • Uri Avinery, currently 90 years of age and a former Knesset member, represents Israel's far left and was a close friend of Yasser Arafat.

      He had warned PM Golda Meir in the 1970s about the rise of Palestinian nationalism when she doubted Arabs had any legitimate claim to a Palestinian state.

    • Obama has mid-term Congressional elections coming up, so don't expect him to do anything groundbreaking between now and Election Day in November.

    • When G.W. Bush was in office, the "Road Map For Peace" called for Palestinian statehood by 2005.

  • Netanyahu's Nuclear Hypocrisy on Iran; In fact, Everyone in the ME needs to Disarm
    • Israel's nuclear program itself has had its history of controversy:

      An Israeli nuclear technician at the Negev Nuclear Research Facility at Dimona in a lawsuit alleged a few years ago that workers were forced to drink uranium; this was admitted by the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, but disputing the levels consumed were toxic:

      link to

      During the recent Gaza conflict several Syrian-manufactured rockets were fired at the aforesaid Dimona facility:

      link to

      In 1973, a strayed Libyan airliner neared Dimona and was shot down by the Israel Air Force - killing 108 civilian passengers.

      Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

      In 1990, an accident occurred at the Soreq Nuclear Research Center that resulted in the death of a worker due to radiation exposure. Soreq's reactor was supplied by the U.S. in 1960 under the Atoms for Peace program that Israel was a signator to.

      The Negev Nuclear Research Facility at Dimona has never been subject to IAEA inspection - and U.S. inspectors allowed onsite have had their access severely limited.

      The Dimona facility had its view obstructed by palm groves and the U.S. only became aware of its existence in 1958 via a U-2 overflight. It was constructed with French technical assistance and component parts - such as the reactor tank - were imported from France by deceiving French customs officials about the country of destination.

      France and Israel entered into joint atomic research for purportedly peaceful purposes pursuant to negotiations between Pres. De Gaulle and Shimon Peres. This research gave Israeli scientists incidental access to detonation reports of atomic testing supervised in the South Pacific by French physicists; Israel misused this access to acquire expertise in advancing their nuclear weapons program. DeGaulle suspected such misuse and ordered the joint research to cease, although outstanding contractual obligations to the Israeli government required French technical assistance to continue in administering the Dimona facility until 1966.

      Heavy water used at Dimona was purchased in bulk quantities by Israel from Great Britain via a Norwegian front company dubbed "Noratom" under a supply contract that forbade Israel from using the heavy water for eventual construction of atomic weaponry; the water was shipped directly from England to Israel. The Noratom transaction was not publicly known until the BBC exposed the sale in a 2005 story.

      Israel purchased 80 tons of enriched uranium from the Argentine government in 1964 that was traced by Canadian intelligence. This transaction was not publicly revealed until 2013 and also exposed the carelessness of both the British and U.S. security establishments in following up on the information uncovered by Canada.

      Israel is believed to have acquired its first fission bomb in the late 1960s and had hydrogen bombs in its arsenal by the mid-1980s.

      There has been far more concern about Iran's virtually non-existent capability to build a nuclear arsenal contrasted with the real dangers that have been ongoing due to Israel's unsupervised and careless nuclear research activities

  • Top 5 Differences between Hamas and ISIL (Pace Netanyahu)
    • "Hamas (was) created in part by Israeli conniving.........."

      While this is true and that Hamas collaborated with the Israeli governor during the late 1970s and early 80s, Israel saw the P.L.O. as the greater problem and sought Hamas as a counterbalance, but later the growth of Hamas was fueled by negligence and policy failures of the Israeli government.

      In the period 1989 through 1992, literally hundreds of Gazan members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad were deported to Lebanon as punishment for initiating the First Intifada.

      The United Nations Security Council condemned this action of Israel by unanimous vote.

      The deportations backfired when the deportees formed relationships with the Hezbollah terror organization and this would fuel further violence against Israeli interests.

      Further, the targeted killings during the Second Intifada of Hamas' civilian wing leaders, such as Dr. Rantissi, backfired as these assassinations empowered the more militant military wing of Hamas and, also, led to greater cooperation and cohesion between Hamas and the more radical and violent Islamic Jihad of Palestine, an organization modeled after the Iranian Shia form of political Islam; this result was predicted by Israel's own anti-terrorism experts, but not heeded by the Likud-led government at the time.

      Hamas and Islamic Jihad both endorsed the Israeli Gaza disengagement plan of Ariel Sharon implemented in 2005, which denied the P.L.O. an an orderly transition of power from IDF Civil Administration rule. As a result of this, P.L.O leaders never had established firm control over Gaza as a governing entity and Hamas effectuated a violent full takeover in 2007, jailing and torturing many leaders of the Fatah movement.

      Hamas has won support among Gazans for establishing scholarships and other educational opportunities for Gazan children, maintaining food distribution programs, and providing monetary relief to Gazans who have had their homes destroyed by Israeli military activity.

      "(Hamas) is neither like Iran, which is a Shiite state (Hamas and ISIL are hard line Sunni fundamentalists)"

      Hamas has had financial assistance and weaponry supplied by Iran. It was the Iranian-manufactured Fajr missile with a 200-lb warhead that menaced Tel Aviv in November of 2012. Numerous Hamas leaders have visited Iran, including military wing chief Mohammed Deif, who received medical treatment there after being wounded in several assassination attempts by the IDF. Hamas' main terror organization collaborator, Islamic Jihad of Palestine, is modeled after the Iranian version of political Islam, as stated above, even though most of its Gazan members are Sunni in orientation.

      The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency chief recently indicated that if Hamas is removed from power by Israel in Gaza - which Israel's own senior leaders have said is difficult if not impossible - an extremist ISIL-like organization is likely to emerge as the pre-eminent power there.

      Hamas is a necessary party to any final status agreement between Palestinians and Israelis - and most Israeli moderate Knesset members have acknowledged this reality.

  • Palestine Pres. Abbas will urge Int'l Boycott of Israel if US vetoes UN Resolution
    • "Why wait three more years to take Israel to the ICC when this could have been done years ago?"


      I speculate that both Israel and the U.S. have some "hammer" such as foreign aid or other financial incentive hanging over Abbas and the PA to dissuade the PA from bringing in the ICC to investigate and prosecute.

      Abbas' popularity has waned among Palestinians as even Hamas sees ICC jurisdiction as advancing the Palestinian cause even though the ballistic missiles they have fired on Israel are evidence of war crimes that they themselves may be prosecuted for.

  • Is Mahmoud Abbas right that Israel is Guilty of War Crimes, Genocide in Gaza?
    • Under Bennett's logic, the Lidice Massacre in 1942 was "self-genocide" due to the assassination by Czech patriots of the Czech "protector".

      The perpetrators of Lidice were tried for war crimes.

    • "A recent World Health Organization report worries that in just 8 years, in 2020, if current policies continue, Gaza will be virtually uninhabitable..........."

      That is the hidden agenda of the Likud government - making Gaza unlivable so the Arabs will leave and having Jewish settlers replacing them - it is merely a step toward complete ethnic cleansing.

  • What Arab partners will get in return for strikes on Syria
    • "The main backers for al-Qaeda-type organizations...... is Saudi private donors in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf..."

      The U.S. has 10 trillion dollars in Saudi investment in real estate, publicly-traded stock in Fortune 500 companies and other high-profile financial holdings that have served to prop up the American economy for the last four decades. If this money were withdrawn back to Saudi Arabia or invested in other foreign countries, it would cause a devastating effect on the U.S. economy. As a result of this vast economic power of the Saudis, the U.S. government has been extremely reluctant to oppose the government of Saudi Arabia on any issue.

      The evidence of Saudi nationals' complicity in both the actual 9/11 hijackings and extensive financial and political support of al-Qaeda in general is overwhelming. Despite this evidence, very little corrective action was taken that could be perceived as offensive to the Saudi government.

      The Saudis have financed Pakistani nuclear research programs that resulted in the development of atomic weaponry for that nation. There is speculation that this research has led to Saudi possession of such nuclear weapons. The Saudi government in December of last year, it was reported, embarked on an 80 billion-dollar plan to construct nuclear reactor facilities to generate its energy needs in the coming decades. Yet there is no outcry over such conduct as there has been with Iran's nuclear energy programs.

      Saudi Arabia, like the State of Israel, gets a "free pass" from the U.S. State Department on issues such as human rights violations, complicity in terror activity, plus research and development of unsupervised nuclear energy and weapons programs.

  • Shock & Awe In Syria: It never Works
    • Sadly, the Syrian Support Group (SSG), an NGO based in Washington D.C. which had been designated as the implementing agency for U.S. government aid to the Free Syrian Army, and whose activities were supported by former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, closed its doors about one month ago.

      SSG had raised millions of dollars in funding from the Syrian expatriate community in Europe and North America for non-lethal aid to the FSA pursuant to a U.S. State Department license in addition to distributing aid from the federal government.

      Here's the link:

      link to

    • "War is a racket" - Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler.

      Check the stock page tomorrow and let's see if the shares of Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, DuPont and Dow Chemical have not skyrocketed in value.

    • That has been the reaction that Free Syrian Army commanders have issued to the press over the bombing runs.

    • "......against the wishes of the Syrian government."

      Secretary of State John Kerry notified the Iraqi foreign minister, who then notified his Syrian counterpart of the impending bombing raids.

      A Syrian government spokesman issued a statement that Kerry's notification satisfied them that Syrian sovereignty was respected and appropriate consent, therefore, had been obtained from the Syrian government for the air force action by the U.S.

      One suspects the Assad regime may be celebrating the U.S. air intervention against ISIS.

  • I lived to see the Day when thousands of Kurds take Refuge in Turkey
    • The Halabja chemical attack occurred in 1988.

      That city was under Iranian military occupation at the time.

  • Israeli forces begin home demolitions in Bedouin village near Jerusalem
    • Israeli social reformer Daphni Leef in her famous speech that gave rise to the J-14 activist movement spoke of the Israeli government's victimization of Bedouins.

      They had been known as the "Likud Arabs" for their support of then-PM Ariel Sharon's attempts to develop the Negev Desert region.

      The Bedouins had served in the Israel Defense Forces with distinction and were prized by the IDF leadership due to their reputation as pathfinders. They bore the brunt of casualties during the IDF occupation of Gaza that ended in 2005.

      One female Bedouin activist was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for her promotion of a peaceful coexistence between Jews and Bedouins.

      Hamas had authored an open letter to the Bedouins prior to the 2005 Gaza disengagement commending the Bedouins for their honorable history and establishing a scholarship fund for their youth while trying to dissuade them from volunteering for IDF service.

  • How does this End? 35 Military Interventions since 1980 and Terrorism Grows
    • In a landmark court decision, a U.S. District Court jury found the Amman, Jordan-based Arab Bank - one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East - liable under federal anti-terror statutes of knowing complicity in facilitating financial transactions for the benefit of Hamas terror activities.

      The jury will determine the amount of money damages at a later hearing.

      link to

  • The Next Conflict in Iraq? Will the Kurds try to Annex Kirkuk Permanently?
    • Since the Persian Gulf War concluded in 1991, the Kurdish Regional Government had come into being (in 1992) and surprisingly, the Kurds have emerged as the region's most stable democracy and their militia, the Peshmerga, has become one of the most formidable armed forces in the Middle East.

      Remember the end of the Persian Gulf War when Kurds were waving "We Love Bush" placards and a no-fly zone was established in northern Iraq areas inhabited by Kurds. Since that time, the Kurdish people have flourished economically as the two main politically influential clans, the Talabanis and the Barzanis have learned to coexist in the government.

      Some voices, including Professor Daniel Pipes, have felt that an independent Kurdistan composed of the Kurdish-inhabited areas of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran would be a political boon to the Middle East. The Turkish government would benefit by losing an area that has traditionally been a thorn in its side, the Syrian government currently has engaged in little fighting with Kurds in northern Syria - who are largely autonomous already as in Iraq - and there are also benefits to Iran in ceding its northwestern Kurdish-dominated areas to a newly-minted Kurdish state.

      Israel would likely give diplomatic recognition to a new Kurdish state - there are 100,000 Kurdish Jews living in Jerusalem alone. Many Israeli observers have compared the historic persecution of Kurds to their own history as a religious minority and expressed support for the creation of an independent Kurdish nation.

      The Kurds have had a historically favorable relationship with the U.S. and the Central Intelligence Agency has had a sporadic but significant relationship with Kurdish elements for decades.

      The Kurds were never given their independent nation that had been contemplated by world powers following the conclusion of World War I. Now is the time to allow the Kurds to fulfill their people's dream of an independent Kurdistan.

  • I refuse to serve – the lonely conscience of Israel’s refuseniks
    • Israel's Unit 1200 had a system of blackmail targeting Palestinians who were gay or had life-threatening conditions:

      link to

    • The Israelis, per an Israeli newspaper citing a recently published book, supposedly had real-time transmissions of wiretaps of the White House telephone system that allowed then to intercept and listen, in Israel, to the Monica Lewinsky conversations with Pres. Clinton - with PM Netanyahu raising the Lewinsky tapes at the Wye Conference as a bargaining chip to release Jonathan Pollard, a convicted Israeli spy:

      link to

  • How the Gaza War Backfired on Netanyahu
    • Actually, for the first time Gazan militants were able to inflict sizeable numbers of casualties upon IDF soldiers during a ground invasion - 66 killed in action. The IDF eventually withdrew from Gaza - despite initial indications they were going to leave behind a "security belt".

      If and when Gazan militants acquire an anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile capability - as Hezbollah did in Lebanon - they shall be in a better situation to establish a deterrent against violations of their airspace and sea by Israel.

    • "Now he can continue to play the security threat of Hamas."

      Absolutely true.

      One observer stated is that Hamas and Likud cannot survive without each other.

      The Likud Party reached its lowest ebb in popularity last decade in Israel after the 2005 Gaza disengagement, the creation of the centrist Kadima Party and the corresponding end of the Second Intifada.

      Its popularity soared after the Second Lebanon War and conclusion of Operation Cast Lead.

  • Russia denounces Obama Plan for Syria Air Strikes as Violation of Int'l Law
  • Obama's ISIL Actions are Defensive, Despite Rhetoric of going on Offense
    • "It seems as though ISIL has been useful in Iraq against Iran & Syria against Assad..........."

      I disagree.

      Many feel that the Iraqi government is controlled by Iran, so to oppose Iran, to the extent this may be occurring, does not advance American foreign policy objectives since both the Iranian regime and the U.S. State Department both want a stable government in Baghdad.

      ISIL has not been useful against Assad for the primary reason that even Assad's most bitter critics concede that ISIL acquiring control over areas in Syria now occupied by the Baathists may result in violent reprisals against Alawites and Twelver Shiites - not to mention Christians - and that this fear has led Syrian citizens to support continued Baathist control over government-held areas within Syria.

      Secondly, many commentators have pointed out that ISIL is actually damaging the rebel movement by committing atrocities as well as engaged in combat against other groups fighting the Baathists. ISIL is also supplying the Baathist regime with oil.

    • In a Reuters article today, it was reported that Obama is seeking from Congress a $500 million aid package to the Free Syrian Army.

      It is improbable that the U.S. will enter into any alliance with Assad in the foreseeable future.

  • ISIL Fighting With Weapons From US and 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels: Report
    • No surprise here.

      Remember the Vietnam War in which heavy trucks and other vehicles were not exported to the Soviet Union for fear that the U.S. would have suffered the embarrassment of seeing Ford Motor Company vehicles traveling down the Ho Chi Minh Trail in support of the Viet Cong.

      The international arms black market is lucrative and once U.S.-made arms leave American custody its anyone's guess where they will wind up.

      The Free Syrian Army (FSA) had defectors and, also, individual brigades broke away to form the Islamic Front. The U.S. froze arms shipments to the FSA at one point - which led more fighters to abandon the FSA for Islamic-oriented brigades. More U.S.-supplied arms likely departed with these defecting troops.

      There was also at least one situation where an FSA arms depot was seized by Islamic fundamentalist fighters.

      Afghanistan is an excellent example of CIA-supplied arms winding up in the hands of Muslim extremists.

      The CIA expended $10 million dollars during Operation MIAS to buy back Stinger missiles that had been furnished to Afghan rebels to fight the Soviets.

      The international community needs to develop strategies to combat this serious - and potentially very embarrassing problem - of having dangerous extremist terror elements acquiring sophisticated U.S. supplied weaponry.

  • Gaza and Israel: Serial "Ceasefires" and the 70-Year War Continues (Chomsky)
    • As always, great scholarly commentary by Noam Chomsky, who actually was in Gaza and greeted there as a hero in 2012, just before Operation Pillar of Defense commenced.

  • 3 Years War? Obama to Bomb Syria in fight against ISIL
    • The Patriot Act can be used to prevent banks involved with extremist-linked money laundering or other connection to terror activity from transacting business with financial institutions in the United States.

      The Central Bank of Syria has been subject to Patriot Act sanctions since 2006 via presidential executive order.

      Syria has tried to circumvent imposition of sanctions by using Russian or Qatari banks. A Russian bank was placed under sanctions in 2014 by the U.S. government due to its ties to Syria.

      The imposition of sanctions has been damaging to the economy of the Assad regime.

      To the extent that foreign banks can be proven linked to ISIS or other extremist terror groups among the Syrian rebels, the U.S. government may consider imposing sanctions upon such financial institutions.

      The Council of Foreign Relations in its Foreign Affairs periodical published an article describing a situation that "black banks" - those proven to be complicit in illicit activity would be barred from transacting business with "white banks" - those banks with no suspected involvement in illegal activity.

      The European Union can impose similar sanctions.

      The theory behind sanctions being that financial institutions would be careful to avoid involvement with financing terror activities or facilitating such suspected transactions.

  • Are ISIL fighters Afraid of Women with Guns?
    • The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), designated by the U.S. State Department as a terror organization, has for decades a significant percentage of its fighters being female - this is consonant with their Marxist view of gender equality.

      Since the early 1990s, it is estimated about 30% of the PKK's armed wing is composed of females.

  • Did Anyone win the Gaza Conflict? Was it even a "War"?
    • The conflict gave the Israeli government a "black eye" in several ways:

      1. American young adults 35 and under who were polled blamed the conflict on the Israeli government over Hamas by a 29%-21% margin.

      2. There was worldwide revulsion at acts of the Israeli public in (A) Sderot in sitting on rooftops and cheering Israeli warplanes drop bombs on Gaza, and (B) hundreds chanting "Death to Arabs" to a Jewish and Arab couple marrying at a wedding in Tel Aviv while the Gaza conflict raged.

      3. Obama publicly questioning the necessity of the IDF blockade of Gaza.

      4. Intense U.S. media coverage of Gazan children being maimed and killed by IDF action with no apparent military purpose.

      5. A Dutch lawyer returning to the Israeli embassy his medal for sheltering a Jewish child during the Holocaust after learning Gazan relatives were killed by the Israeli air force in a bombing of their home.

      6. A group of Holocaust survivors in and their relatives signing in London a public petition both denouncing Israeli action in Gaza and encouraging the BDS movement.

      7. Thousands of Jewish Israelis in Tel Aviv protesting the Gaza assault.

      8. Revelation that Israel received weaponry from the Pentagon during the conflict while circumventing the necessary approval from the White House.

      9. An estimated 20% of all businesses in southern Israel are expected to fold due to the conflict.

      10. The apparent targeting of U.N. relief shelters for IDF aerial bombardment.

      Israel's greatest failure in this Gaza conflict is the unprecedented international disgust it has generated over its conduct and corresponding sympathy generated due to the perceived suffering of innocent Gazan civilians - even among certain quarters in the United States where Israel has traditionally enjoyed very positive public relations.

  • Israel: Reverse Illegal Plans for West Bank
    • "Abbas has repeatedly delayed acceding to the ICC statute."

      Is there any explanation why he has been so reluctant?

      Does the Israeli government have some leverage over his proceeding toward ICC jurisdiction pursuant to the non-member observer state status accorded the Palestinian Authority by the U.N. General Assembly on November 29, 2012 ?

  • In 1948, Jewish Forces in Palestine outnumbered Palestinian and Arab Fighters
    • The Haganah and Irgun both wanted the Deir Yassin Massacre publicized - for different reasons.

      The Haganah felt that attention to the incident would discredit the Irgun as an organization.

      The Irgun felt that publicizing the massacre would encourage Palestinian villagers to voluntarily abandon their homes without resistance.

  • Would a US/ NATO war in Syria be Legal in International Law?
    • Addressing each of your points:

      1. No American president has accepted the War Powers Act as a constitutional Act of Congress and each has been comfortable with ignoring it.

      2. America succeeded in counterinsurgency efforts in the Phillippines with largely positive results also in Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. Think of Northern Ireland as a successful model where the British government's peace negotiations coupled with tough anti-terror measures largely defused the effectiveness of the Provisional Irish Republican Army as a paramilitary threat.

      3. Agreed. The fracturing of the CIA-backed Free Syrian Army into two separate camps - the other being the Islamic Front - was a huge blow to the anti-Assad movement and American interests in general. An unintended consequence of all this activity is that ISIS came into Syria and became a key player and drove fear into those living under Assad's rule to support the Baathists for fear that ISIS would oppress Syrian citizens coming under their rule.

    • The U.S. intelligence community and American military special operations personnel have operated within Syria against its government and other interests for years:

      link to

      link to

      link to

  • History and Betrayal: UNSCOP and Palestine, 1947
    • The UN Partition Plan was passed on November 29, 1947 but was only advisory as a General Assembly resolution and never actually implemented. It was happily accepted by Jewish emigrants to Palestine, but rejected by Arabs.

      U.S. recognition for the State of Israel came on May 15, 1948 and the Palestinian lands were largely assigned to Egypt as to Gaza and the West Bank to Jordan following the 1949 armistice ending the War of Independence negotiated by Ralph Bunche, which also established the "Green Line" - the demarcation between Israel and Arab-occupied territories.

  • The Military Diminishment of Judaism
    • Excellent observations.

      In addition to the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, the decades of violence in Lebanon since the 1970s was exacerbated by Israeli military occupation initiated by the concept of military necessity.

      That occupation led to rise of the Hezbollah terror organization in the 1980s, which led to the group attaining political influence and an extensive paramilitary capability with the assistance of the Syrian and Iranian governments.

      Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Israeli military encroachments in south Lebanon have been all but non-existent and there has been relative peace in that region.

      ".........a response characterized by an indifference to all suffering other than Israeli Jewish suffering....."

      The Winograd Commission report was criticized over the fact that the casualties and other suffering imposed upon the Lebanese people by the IDF incursion were ignored, while the adverse effects of that conflict upon Israeli citizens were emphasized.

  • Israelis Alarmed as al-Qaeda Captures Golan, UN Peacekeepers
    • Agreed.

      Bolton has been a fierce supporter of Israel, although he believes the legal sovereignty to Shebaa Farms belongs to Syria.

      In 2008, he criticized then-PM Ehud Olmert for engaging in indirect negotiations with the Syrian government via Turkish intermediaries - which included discussions for a possible Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

    • There are voices within the secular elements of the Syrian rebel movement who believe that potential Israeli intervention against the Baathists would be a positive thing.

      The Islamic Front brigades had been formed after having broken away from the Free Syrian Army over the FSA's allegiance to the Syrian National Coalition and have, further, eschewed ties to Western interests. It has been fighting ISIS and has received a large share of its funding from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states.

    • Former U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has stated that Israel has no legitimate right to Shebaa Farms.

      Israel can annex anything it wants but absent agreement from interested parties and international recognition, those annexation claims are not binding on other countries.

      The Golan Heights has long been a bargaining chip in final status negotiations between Israel and her Arab neighbors.

    • " there any past history of such madness?"

      Recall the ongoing battles between the Sunni, Shi'ite and Druze militias in Lebanon during the 1970s and 80s.

      It tore up the country and led to Syrian and Israeli occupations.

    • Actually, there is very little history of confirmed direct conflict between al-Qaeda and Israeli interests.

      One incident was an al-Qaeda attack at the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania several years ago.

      The proffered reason for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center was Israeli destruction of Beirut's skyline in the 1982 Operation Galilee invasion.

  • Syrian Rebels welcome US Air strikes on ISIL Terrorists
    • ISIS was believed by some to have backing from Assad when they fought Americans in Iraq at Falluja.

      There is also speculation that the Baathist regime in Syria is covertly helping ISIS and point to the fact that the bulk of the military efforts against ISIS have been other Syrian rebel groups.

      ISIS sells petroleum to the Syrian government.

  • Open-Ended Ceasefire reached in Israel/ Gaza: But how Long will it Last?
    • The war devastated both sides.

      PM Netanyahu admitted openly recently that the cease-fire was motivated in part to save the lives of IDF soldiers - implying that Hamas has built up a deterrent effect against IDF ground invasion. The 64 IDF soldiers killed in action - including a brigade commander - represent a new level of fatalities that Palestinians have not inflicted upon Jewish forces in battle situations since the 1982 war in Lebanon, and far more than the 13 IDF personnel and civilians combined in Operation Cast Lead. By comparison, 112 IDF personnel were killed in action in the Second Lebanon War.

      The war will also cost Israel billions of dollars in military costs, property damage, decreased economic productivity and other expenditures.

      The phenomenon of having rockets strike almost every corner of Israel from Gaza is unprecedented and has a profound psychological impact upon Israel's population.

      Israel may now face investigation by the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes and crimes against humanity. It has continued to isolate itself in the world community and may face increased BDS activity.

      Gazan damages are even more massive and have been estimated as high as 8 billion dollars. Over 2,000 Gazans - chiefly civilians - perished in the war. Children will likely face further malnutrition issues. Gaza's "win" may be some increased fishing privileges and limited easing of the blockade, however this ignores the fact that damages its residents has incurred is massive.

      This conflict achieved little on each side; the corresponding damages incurred by each, however, have been prohibitive.

  • Victim of McCarthy-Era Witch Hunt calls on U-Illinois not to Fire Critic of Israeli Policies
    • Dr. Baruch Goldstein, the West Bank settler who massacred Palestinians in Hebron, ironically was a graduate of Albert Einstein College of Medicine - he had refused to render medical treatment to Arabs in his practice.

    • Other sources say the opposition resulted from the Bush administration officials who were angry over his criticism of the handling of the Iraq situation.

    • University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, has a significant pro-Israel contingent on its faculty represented by the Scholars for a Middle East Peace and a student movement represented by the American Movement for Israel.

  • Obama's budding Cambodia Policy in Syria
    • "........our media may start fawning over Mrs. Assad the way they did over Madame Chang."

      This already happened. Asma al-Assad had an article about her in Vogue magazine a few years ago entitled "Rose of the Desert" which covered her life detailing her London romance with future husband when he was studying medicine and she worked as an investment banker for JP Morgan Chase.

      The article congratulated President Assad on his ability to maintain order in his country via superior security services in stark contrast with neighboring Arab countries and showed the Assads playing with their small children in their sprawling mansion.

      The impetus behind the Vogue article was a public relations firm hired by the Syrian government and the article later became a huge embarrassment for Vogue who eventually removed it from their website version of their magazine.

    • There should be absolutely no collaboration with the Baathist regime in Syria with respect to ISIS - doing so would add legitimacy to the Assad regime which it does not merit.

      ISIS is one of the major reasons that more Syrians do not oppose the Baathist government in Damascus - they fear harsh reprisals in the event ISIS becomes a governing power over their areas. This fear is especially prevalent among Alawites, Twelver Shias, and Christians within Syria.

      President Assad, per former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, in a recent speech at Tufts University immediately following his resignation from the Obama administration, made it clear that Assad is hugely unpopular within practically all ethnic and religious constituencies within Syria. Ford cited the fact that the Alawite minority community of Syria, of which the Assad family belongs, have been demonstrating even within the hometown of the Assad clan.

      There is nothing that would discredit the U.S. more to the Free Syrian Army, which has a significant relationship to the State Department and Central Intelligence Agency, than collaboration in even the most minimal way with the Baathists in Damascus. It would place doubt in the minds of those Syrian rebels, who have chosen to trust and collaborate with the U.S. government interests, how deep the actual collusion is between America and the Syrian government.

  • Israeli Assault killed Half of all Chickens in Gaza, Damaged Agriculture
    • The Goldstone Commission report on the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 cited an incident where the IDF had a bulldozer level a farm and killing 31,000 chickens that produced 10% of all Gazan egg production.

      It is important to note this conduct was purely intentional by the IDF and the Goldstone Commission finding credible proof of its occurrence via not only witness accounts but satellite imagery.

  • Dutch Lawyer who saved Jewish Boy in WWII returns Medal to Israel over Bombing of his Family in Gaza
    • ".....[t]here is no reason on earth why they cannot be moved back behind the original line of 1947...never mind 1967."

      Colette Avital, former Labor Party Knesset member and a former Israeli Foreign Ministry official has advocated just that - all West Bank Jewish settlers to be relocated behind the 1967 Green Line with just compensation awarded them from the Israeli government. She is a Holocaust survivor from Romania who came to Israel shortly after it was founded.

    • You are incorrect.

      The "Righteous Among the Nations" award was established by the Israeli Knesset when it created Yad Vashem in 1953.

      Since 1963, a commission organized by the Israeli Supreme Court and headed by one of its justices has been entrusted with issuing the award to worthy recipients according to selected criteria.

      No private organization has ever been involved in the bestowing of this honor - only the government of the State of Israel.

    • Obviously not the first Holocaust-era hero to oppose Israel as a Zionist state.

      Warsaw Ghetto uprising subcommander Dr. Marek Edelman, a non-Zionist, had ,until his death a few years ago in Lodz, Poland, met with Palestinian activists and corresponded with Palestinian activist Dr. Mustafa Barghouti about initiating a joint movement between leftist Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs to push for a final status agreement between Jews and Palestinians in the region.

      He is a virtual non-person in Israel due to his opposition to Zionism. He had bitter arguments with David Ben-Gurion over the decision to declare a Zionist state in 1948.

      Dr. Edelman was a renowned cardiologist and fought with the Polish Resistance after escaping the Warsaw Ghetto. He eventually became a delegate in Lech Walesa's Solidarity Congress.

  • Iraq Intervention? More like Ceaseless Escalation
    • The U.S. had, along with Syrian expatriates in the U.S. and Europe, had provided millions in financial backing to the Free Syrian Army and diplomatic recognition for the Syrian National Coalition - that is undeniable. The State Department and CIA played key logistical roles in funneling lethal and non-lethal aid to the FSA.

      What eventually grew out of that instability in Syria were Sunni extremists known as Jabhat Al-Nusra, who gave their allegiance to al-Qaeda and had a significant percentage of foreign fighters under their control. ISIS, with primarily non-Syrian combatants, later came into Syria from Iraq and battled all rebel groups as well as the Syrian army.

      A number of brigades then defected from the FSA and were organized under the umbrella group known as the Islamic Front. The Islamic Front received their funding primarily from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf oil-producing states. The Islamic Front later met with Western diplomats in Ankara, Turkey but were not interested in allying themselves with the U.S. or European states.

      Most Syrians want Assad deposed, however they fear being under control of Islamic extremist forces such as ISIS. Assad has portrayed himself as anti-terrorist to gain support among Syrian civilians.

      170,000 have died in the civil war in Syria.

    • The Kurdish Peshmerga is armed to the teeth and is likely to take advantage of the ISIS-Shia conflict to advance their own territorial consolidation.

      While nominally an ally of Iraqi government forces, the Kurds are viewing this as an opportunity to expand their power base within northern Iraq.

    • The points made in this article are well-taken.

      It was the Central Intelligence Agency that was complicit in the overthrow of Prime Minister Qasim in 1963 that resulted in the installation of a Baathist regime in Iraq. In the 1990s the State Department funded the Iraqi National Congress and assisted the Iraqi National Accord to attempt to overthrow the Baathists. Now ISIS is the entity that is being bombed by the U.S. to protect a regime that is a close ally of the fundamentalist Islamic government in Teheran.

      The CIA also inspired the overthrow of the popularly-elected Syrian civilian government in 1949 that gave rise to a series of military juntas and Baathist domination for decades that has culminated in the current civil war. The rationale for CIA intervention in 1949 was that its legislature would not approve an oil pipeline desired by U.S. oil companies. We are now supplying the Free Syrian Army with guns and other aid to overthrow the Baathists in Damascus.

      The CIA overthrew the moderate nationalist Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 due to his opposition to Western oil interests - this eventually resulted in the Iranian Revolution that brought the Shi'ite fundamentalists from Qom to power in 1979. The U.S. military later provided signal intelligence training to a bizarre Islamo-Marxist cult currently trying to destabilize the Iranian government.

      The U.S. has failed to understand the complexities of these religiously and ethnically diverse countries and become embroiled in non-stop intervention activities after they toss out popularly-elected governments.
      . .

  • The Battered People of Gaza: "We're not Abandoning the Resistance & No Peace until the Blockade is Lifted"
    • The immediate cause of the ongoing military conflict in Gaza is the Israeli blockade that chokes the Gazan economy. Without the blockade there would be no rockets fired into Israel. This has nothing to do with the mutual recognition of Israeli and Palestinian states - Israel is violating international law by imposing such a blockade and the Hamas rocket attacks at Israeli population centers likewise are war crimes.

      Israeli newspaper editorials have been critical of the Israeli government for squandering 2.5 billion dollars on a military operation that does not fully and finally defeat Hamas but drains the Israeli treasury at a time when a growing percentage of Israelis are living beneath the poverty line.

      The ongoing violence in Gaza is detrimental to all sides and the blockade being lifted shall accomplish this.

  • Wiping another Country off the Map: Israel does it to Palestine
    • Operation Cast Lead commenced on December 27th, 2008 - just two days after Christmas. This would serve two purposes -

      (1)it would not interfere with the Christmas tourism season in Israel;

      (2)Western governments were largely closed down for the holidays.

      Further, George W. Bush was in the post-election lame duck segment of his second term and had little reason to restrain Israel from committing wholesale war crimes as would occur and be found by the Goldstone Commission.

      Operation Cast Lead ended on January 18, 2009 - two days before the Obama inauguration - so the Obama administration would not be burdened with the need to be adversarial with Israel in an attempt to achieve a cease-fire.

      "Netanyahu ended Cast Lead just days before Obama was inaugurated."

      This is erroneous. PM Ehud Olmert was the head of the Israeli government during Operation Cast Lead and his Kadima party was facing upcoming elections - Hamas publicly declared that Cast Lead was initiated for the purpose of advancing the Kadima Party in those election races. As it turned out, Netanyahu had a significant rise in polling during this military operation and would eventually be elected as prime minister within a few months and the Likud making a very strong showing.

  • Gaza and Soweto
    • "How can one explain that the victims of the Holocaust should be the perpetrators of the same?"

      p.7 of Israel's Sacred Terrorism, a 1980 book by Livia Rokach, daughter of a former mayor of Tel Aviv:

      "The creation of a siege mentality in Israeli society was necessary to complement the pre-fabricated myth of the Arab threat. The two elements were intended to feed each other. Although Israeli society faced a serious risk of social and cultural disintegration under the impact of a mass immigration of Asian and North African Jews into the pre-State's ideological homogenous community, the purpose of the siege mentality was not so much of attaining a defensive cohesiveness in Israel's Jewish society. It was principally calculated to 'eliminate the moral brakes' required for a society to fully support a policy which constituted a complete reversal of the collective ethical code on which its formal education was based and from which it was supposed to derive its vital strength."

  • Israel Bombs Gaza back to Stone Age: Razes only Power Plant & Plunges Strip into Darkness
    • The "ineffective" rockets have the power to economically damage the Israeli economy via the vast expense of maintaining the Iron Dome system and initiating IDF reserve call-ups, causing further economic injury via siren drills that shut down normal activity, property damage and psychological injury upon the Israeli public.

      Sderot has been the target of Hamas missiles for years and has teetered on the brink of bankruptcy even with substantial charitable aid from Jewish-American donors. 70% of its children have post-traumatic stress disorder.

      The projected expense of Operation Defensive Edge to Israel is 2.5 billion dollars, not including other related costs.

      While Israel does inflict a painful price on Gazan civilians in this operation, there is a corresponding cost to Israel that in the long-run may not justify its actions. The Gazans have been content to continue backing Hamas just as Israelis in general are supportive of the IDF's actions in Gaza thus far.

  • In Palestine, R2P isn't Dead; It was never on the Table
    • The Goldstone Commission Report of the United Nations found credible proof of both war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza against the Israel Defense Forces during the Operation Cast Lead incursion in 2008-2009. That report also found Hamas had committed war crimes via the indiscriminate targeting of Israeli population centers with rockets.

      That report contained lurid accounts of reprehensible conduct by the IDF such as firing an artillery shell into a Gaza mosque during religious services (killing over a dozen worshippers) on the pretext that weapons may have been inside that building; another account is the bulldozing of a chicken farm that represented 10% of Gaza's egg production - 30,000 chickens were killed; a third account was of a soldier in the IDF shooting a Gazan woman in the temple while she was waving a white flag.

      The U.S. veto in the U.N. Security Council effectively prevented enforcement action against proscribed conduct that the Goldstone Commission had substantiated in that conflict.

      While the U.S. and its Western allies have blamed Gazans for this conflict, but the international community as a whole has recognized that the root cause of the Hamas missile fire into Israel is the perpetuation of an illegal and economically crippling blockade that chokes the general livelihood of almost all Gazans, and includes the imposition of malnutrition upon its children.

      Then-President Emile Lahoud, a Maronite, in Lebanon recognized that Hezbollah, whom the U.S. recognizes as a terror organization, had done his country a public service during the Second Lebanon War by finally and fully ridding south Lebanon from occupation of the Israel Defense Forces - even though Israel had traditionally been an ally of the Maronite Christian militias and that war cost Lebanon over 1,500 lives - mostly civilians.

      Israel commenced this round of violence with Hamas by arresting a large number of its supporters in the West Bank on the pretext that Hamas ordered the kidnapping and killing of three hitchhiking Jewish youths. They knew at the time there was no proof of Hamas involvement.

      Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority at this time have standing, pursuant to the November 29, 2012 U.N. General Assembly resolution granting them non-member observer state status within that body, to seek the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli leaders for war crimes. Unless this is done, or a reasonable diplomatic solution is reached which gives Gazans relief from the Israeli blockade, expect the cycle of violence between the IDF and the Hamas military wing to continue indefinitely.

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough
    • Hamas has, per the British newspaper, the Telegraph, indicated that North Korea and Hamas have reached a deal for the purchase of missiles to replenish its stock.

      North Korean technology was reportedly behind the construction of the vast tunnel system beneath Gaza.

      This was reported today by an Israeli news source:

      link to

  • Where is Palestine?
    • The Jewish leadership, especially David Ben-Gurion, only accepted the Partition Plan with the intent of acquiring land to be allocated to Palestine under that plan. It gave Jews something where they had nothing previously.

  • The World Asks: Is Israel Targeting Civilians in Gaza?
    • "The Likudniks know they will never face any personal retribution for all this...."

      Polls taken by a conservative group in Israel show an 80% approval rate of Operation Defensive Edge by the general Israeli public and 71% want to see it expanded.

      The Likud Party looks very good right now within Israel.

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