11/24/12

Mission Impossible

Arlene from Israel

Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)

My attempts to get a handle on the Gaza situation are serious and earnest. But, as one close associate said to me tonight, “Your problem is that you’re trying to do a rational analysis of a situation that is not rational.” And oh, is that the case.

Every talking head has something else to say. Every Internet sources has different “inside” information. I don’t use talking heads as my sources, and not primarily Internet sources providing that “inside” information, either. I try to pick the brains of analysts and those in the know — as I’ve explained before, including some who are Arabic speaking. And I have found it very difficult.

This, it seems to me, is an important part my report — to reflect the turmoil that is swirling about this issue, with all its complexities. To say that the dust hasn’t settled, and that everyone has a different take.

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I would like to provide an overview here that, hopefully, will be reasonably clear. Then, in coming days, as new information and perspectives emerge, I will share them with you.

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From my perspective, the first concern is not that we stopped before going into Gaza, it’s that ceasefire agreement. I would have been far more comfortable had we simply stopped and let Hamas know that if they start again so will we. But the fact is that a document was drawn up, and it touches upon a number of issues:

[] What we’re seeing here is an agreement between Israel and Hamas (with Egypt as facilitator), for the very first time. Not between Israel and Egypt and/or Israel and the US, concerning Hamas — with Hamas, as a terrorist organization, not directly included. This set-up gives Hamas increased legitimacy internationally, which will create problems down the road.

No where in this agreement is it implicit that Israel was in a self-defensive posture against a totally unjustified and unprovoked Hamas rocket attack. This essential reality has been obscured, as it speaks of hostilities on both sides ceasing.

[] The Muslim Brotherhood Egypt has also been accorded enhanced status by the US for its role.

[] Not insignificantly, that Muslim Brotherhood Egypt has been named as the arbiter, the source to which Israel is supposed to go to register complaints about Hamas violations, rather than responding directly to the violations.

This demeans Israel. In this part of the world it is not just power that matters, it is perceptions of power. Thus is the situation that has been set up with this agreement seriously unsettling. At least in theory, it limits Israel’s autonomy and her ability to act independently to defend herself.

[] Lastly, I am very unsettled by the role of the Obama administration in putting this together. Obviously, Obama and Clinton endorsed and likely promoted the problematic stipulations in the agreement that I have just outlined above. This, once again, puts the lie to the notion of Obama as a friend of Israel who is concerned about Israeli security.

As I see it, it seems similarly clear that there was coercion involved. With regard to Morsi, the issue of US funds for a near-bankrupt Egypt was the key.

But with Israel? The facts are hard to nail down. We know that Obama was opposed to a ground operation in Gaza, and was keen to stop the fighting. He released a statement about the fact that he “advised” Netanyahu to accept the ceasefire; an “interesting” way of putting it that has about it some suggestion of a power play.

I wrote recently about a report from a highly credible source that said Obama carried to Israel information about Morsi’s threat to abrogate the peace treaty if Israel went into Gaza; as Obama could have scotched that threat and didn’t, he was complicit in it. Elsewhere I have read that Obama threatened to side with Abbas at the UN if Netanyahu didn’t cooperate. I don’t know if this is true.

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Carolyn Glick wrote a piece yesterday that, with regard to these concerns, essentially dovetails with my thinking on this issue; I share part of it here (emphasis added):

“The cease-fire agreement that Israel accepted Wednesday night to end the current round of Palestinian rocket and missile attacks is not a good deal for Israel by any stretch of the imagination.

“At best, Israel and Hamas are placed on the same moral plane. The cease-fire erases the distinction between Israel, a peace-seeking liberal democracy that wants simply to defend its citizens, and Hamas, a genocidal jihadist terrorist outfit that seeks the eradication of the Jewish people and the destruction of Israel.

“…At worst, the cease-fire places Israel beneath Hamas. The first two clauses require both sides to end hostilities. The third suggests Israel is expected to make further concessions to Hamas after the firing stops.

“Then there is the cease-fire’s elevation of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government to the role of responsible adult. Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian President Muhamad Morsi openly supports Hamas…

“Over the weekend, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood held what the media claimed was a stormy meeting. Its members were split over what to do about Israel. Half wanted to go to war with Israel immediately. The other half called for waiting until the Egyptian military is prepared for war. In the end, the voices calling for patient preparation for war won the day.

“And for their patience, the Muslim Brothers received the plaudits of the US government. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her boss President Barack Obama were effusive in their praise of the Egyptian government, and joined Egypt in placing Israel on the same moral plane as a terrorist group.

“Moreover, Obama and Clinton compelled Israel to accept wording in the cease-fire that arguably makes Egypt the arbiter of Israeli and Palestinian compliance with the agreement.

“Aside from the administration’s de facto support for the Hamas regime in Gaza, it is hard to think of a greater humiliation than Israel being forced to submit complaints to its sworn enemy about the actions of the sworn enemy’s terrorist client.

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=293128

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Having said that this dovetails with my own thinking, I must now add some provisos and additional information:

Glick speaks elsewhere in this article about Netanyahu signing on the dotted line. She may have meant this metaphorically. But in any event there was no dotted line: It turns out that no one signed this document.

What I am as yet unable to determine is whether the document carries weight even though it is not signed. One analyst said that it most certainly does, for Israel publicly acceded to this. Another said that virtually there is no document and Israel can do as she pleases.

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What we must continue to hope is that whether this unsigned document carries weight or not, when the moment comes for responding to renewed Hamas aggression, the Israeli government will act decisively on her own, without delay.

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The fact that this feels like a bad deal for Israel does not mean that there were no Israeli gains or victories. The pinpoint elimination of Hamas leaders, done with absolutely no collateral damage was fantastic, and struck a note of terror in the hearts of the terrorists.

We also took out a sizeable number of smuggling tunnels — more than we had previously. There are still many more, however, and I’m sure the terrorists are digging like crazy as I write.

And most of the Iranian Fajr long-range missiles were taken out — although thousands of the medium range rockets are still in place.

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As to those long-range missiles, I picked up some interesting information tonight. A few of the Fajrs were launched by Hamas, towards Tel Aviv, certainly, and I believe also towards Jerusalem. I’ve been told that Iran was angry about this, for they didn’t provide those missiles to Hamas for them to use at their discretion. They were intended to be used only when Israel attacks Iran and a second, diversionary, front is supposed to be initiated by Hamas.

Several significant thoughts follow from this:

Israel’s primary objective in responding to Hamas right now may have been taking out those Fajr missiles, precisely so that they will not be in place when (if?) we attack Iran. Israel may not have truly been interested in taking on Hamas beyond this at this point in time. Netanyahu and Lieberman both made comments about now not being the time to take Gaza.

For Netanyahu and his ministers, this entire issue may dwarf the question of whether Israel needs to report to Morsi if there are Hamas violations. This is speculation — I have no private information on Netanyahu’s intentions vis-a-vis Iran, but it provides a different perspective.

If this is the case, then it explains why Iran already has even better missiles in the pipeline. No time to be wasted, it would seem. Our actions in this regard would have alarmed Iran.

And it makes even more critical the issue of how Israel intends to stop the smuggling and prevent the new missiles from being set in place in Gaza. On this, I have no information, and truly wish I did.

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As far as stopping the smuggling is concerned, what I can say is that this will not be accomplished by US troops placed in Sinai by Obama next week. This is not a facetious statement. It is a response to a story making the rounds, sourced by Debka, that claims this is going to happen.

On the face of it, this is not a plausible possibility when you consider how hard Obama is working to extricate US troops from doing battle with Islamists forces; he’s hardly likely to open on a new front. But we also have official denial of this from the Egyptians: http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=59185.

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Glick refers to Israel being required by the ceasefire agreement to make further concessions to Hamas, and we are already seeing indication of this: Israel is now permitting Gazan fisherman to go six miles into the Mediterranean, instead of the three miles permitted until now.

I find this unsettling because of the increased possibility for smuggling via this avenue that this greater latitude presents. Ships farther out at sea can drop weapons, in sections and carefully packaged, into the water, where they move with currents. Fishing boats out another three miles into the sea have a greater chance of picking them up.

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Part of what’s happening here, though, is that Hamas is lobbying for lifting of restrictions that will mprove the economic situation of Gaza, making it a more viable entity. This is just one more step towards encouraging the world to see Gaza as an entity (quasi state) that can be dealt with.

It’s very important to note that the PA and Abbas are increasing irrelevant, with what’s going on — notice that Abbas had no role. Hamas’s goal is the takeover of the PA/PLO in due course. We’re looking at a shifting dynamic.

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As to an Israeli ground operation into Gaza, there is fairly broad consensus on the eventual need for this. There is the feeling that we cannot continue with the status quo, with indecisive battles with Hamas every few years. But there is no unanimity on when or what precisely should be accomplished.

There are those who maintain that we must start to work towards retaking Gaza. (Glick addresses this issue.)

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Others believe that we should do in Gaza what we did in Judea and Samaria in 2002 in Operation Defensive Shield. When horrendous terrorists attacks — which emanated from Palestinian Authority areas of Judea and Samaria — occurred repeatedly, the IDF entered those areas. The PA wasn’t “defeated” or driven out, but the IDF maintains a presence in these places to this day. That’s what keeps Israel quiet today: there are operations nightly that round up terrorists, confiscate weapons and explosives, and shut down weapons factories.

What is suggested is that Hamas not be taken out completely, which would then make us responsible for the civil administration of over a million not particularly friendly Arabs. We would instead maintain a presence there sufficient to interfere with rocket launching operations, while Hamas continued, in a sense, to operate as a civil government in Gaza.

Yet other suggestions include the re-taking of the Philadelphi Corridor at the border between Gaza and Sinai, in order to prevent smuggling, and dividing of Gaza into several sections that would make movement (and thus terrorist actions) difficult.

What will transpire, and when, remains to be seen. But it’s good that we are talking about it. It may well be that this truly was not yet the time, because a take-over in Gaza, at whatever level, would represent a huge undertaking at a time when we truly do have to focus on Iran.

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Obama had said that he was opposed to a Gaza operation by Israel because this would increase unrest in the area and threaten stabililty in both Egypt and Jordan (which is very shaky right now, with Islamists seeking to overthrow the king). I confess that this logic confuses me. Where Jordan is concerned, one would think that a weakening of Islamist elements anywhere in the region would be a good thing. As to a Brotherhood-leaning government in Egypt, what would his preference be?

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One final word in closing. Right after the finish of the operation, I wrote about the groundswell of protest that it had been stopped, and the desire of Israelis to see the IDF move into Gaza. That is, very much, what I was picking up in personal communications. There were demonstrations in the south on this issue, as well, and a poll indicated that some 70% of the population wanted the operation to continue. Thursday night I encountered in town some soldiers who were returning. “Yes, we’re coming back,” one said. “Haval.” (It’s too bad.)

Certainly, 70% is not everyone, and I must acknowledge this. I’ve had messages from two readers making this point to me. One of those readers had a grandson at the border, waiting to go in. She is greatly relieved that he’s not in battle — as undoubtedly are many like her. This is understood and appreciated.

11/24/12

Have we become a nation of sheep lulled to sleep by the wolves?

By: Nelson Abudllah
Conscience of a Conservative

The events taking place in Egypt today are truly remarkable for their speed and degree of violence. In the span of only a few hours thousands of Egyptians stormed into the streets in a fit of rage to protest the newly proclaimed dictatorial powers of the man they only recently elected president. WND.com, quoting a story that first appeared on a French newspaper web site FRANCE24, wrote the blazing headline:

(AFP) Protesters set fire on Friday to the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a day after he assumed broad new powers not subject to appeal. Pro- and anti-Morsi rallies erupted in cities across Egypt.

Protesters torched Muslim Brotherhood offices on Friday, state media said, as supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi staged rival rallies across Egypt a day after he assumed sweeping powers.

The offices of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, were set ablaze in the canal cities of Ismailiya and Port Said, state television said.

The Egyptian protesters knew exactly who the enemy was, the Islamic political group called The Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization behind every Islamic terrorist group in the world. The same Islamic group given bona fide recognition by Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton. And the people in Egypt knew immediately where to take their anger because they also knew exactly what their foreseeable future would be.

Any American reading this news or watching some abbreviated version on television will probably think that such violent reactions are uncivilized and would never happen here at home. They would probably be right because we have become a nation of sheep. A nation that cringes and hides from the embarrassing slander that we cling too much to our guns and religion. Those same Americans don’t realize how brainwashed they have become by the constant news media indoctrination they receive day in and day out. Our culture has been so manipulated by our news media and advertising agencies that we accept as completely normal behavior the blind desire to stand on line for hours waiting for the latest technological marvel to arrive from China, or to wait at all hours of the night to watch a hot new movie. Our senses have been dulled by outside forces that bend and distort the truth so much that most of us have no idea what the difference is between right and wrong.

While a few conservative news sources and bloggers have made some comparisons between the dictatorial power grab by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the similar concentration of powers through the Executive Orders issued by our own Muslim-in-Chief Barack Hussein Obama, we seem to only accomplish the task of preaching to the choir. By and large the American public has completely forgotten recent events within our own government that bore a striking similarity to the power grab in Egypt. The liberal news media did not allow them to think about it or they would remember the power of Executive Privilege proclaimed by Barack Hussein Obama when he denied certain documents subpenaed by the House Subcommittee investigating the Dept. of Justice gun smuggling plan called Fast and Furious. Or the denial to release to the Senate confirmation hearings White House communications between Obama’s then nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Solicitor General Elena Kagan who worked to push Obamacare through Congress. How much difference is that to the proclamation made by President Mohamed Morsi when he declared himself to be above the province of the Egyptian judicial courts stating that any challenges to his decrees, laws and decisions were banned.

If the greater American public should ever be informed the truth about Barack Hussein Obama’s communist background or his present day Marxist/Socialist plan for America or his Muslim connections would there be massive riots setting fire to newspaper offices blaming them for their lies or burning down Democratic Party headquarters because of their deceit? I doubt it. We do not have the spirit of revolution in our collective DNA anymore like our Founding Fathers did. As one right-wing wag already said, “Our Forefathers would be shooting by now”. Today when some citizen commits treason they get celebrated on a TV talk show instead of arrested and prosecuted in court. Not even a massive planned unemployment crisis or millions of foreclosed homes or starving homeless families caused any protests in the streets. Will a law abiding public willingly disarm themselves if the United Nations gun ban is enforced and our Second Amendment rights are dissolved? Would the nationalization of all private pension funds and 401k’s be the straw to break the camel’s back? I wonder if we shall ever see another Concord or Lexington in our future or another Patrick Henry proclaiming his regret to having but one life to give to his country. We can only seem to be interested in Black Friday sales or sports events rather than think about the prospect that our nation just had its government stolen away from them by crooked politicians and a rigged election.

My name is Nelson Abdullah and I am Oldironsides.

11/24/12

Live Streaming: Egyptians Protest vs. Morsi, their Obama

By: Arlen Williams
Gulag Bound

Hillary Clinton visiting Mohamed Morsi, Nov. 22, 2012

Americans voted to re-elect our Muslim Brotherhood president after the Egyptians elected theirs. Now, patriots of one of those nations have the intestinal fortitude to demonstrate against their president’s abrogations of power.

Here are two streams, carried live.

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

 

Watch live streaming video from worldwidespeakout at livestream.com


 

h/t: @colormered

11/24/12

Post Finally Digs into Growing Petraeus Scandal

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post has been greatly embarrassed by the fact that its local editor Vernon Loeb was the ghost writer for the David Petraeus biography by Paula Broadwell and admits he was “clueless” about their sexual relationship. The paper is now making up for lost time.

On Thursday, the Post published an article that debunked claims by Petraeus, who was Obama’s CIA director, that he had never given Broadwell classified information. The story by Carol D. Leonnig, Sari Horwitz and Anne Gearan reveals that Petraeus aides and other high-ranking military officials were often tasked by Petraeus and other top commanders to provide sensitive military documents to Broadwell.

Although some have questioned the basis for the investigation, the Post confirms that the original FBI probe uncovered the fact that Broadwell sent e-mails demonstrating “access to detailed schedules for Petraeus and [General John] Allen, which raised concern about possible national security violations.”

Whether any of this information fell into the hands of America’s enemies remains to be seen.

However, Attorney General Eric Holder seems to have made up his mind. He said on November 15, “We made the determination as we were going through the matter that there was not a threat to national security.”

The day before, Obama declared, “I have no evidence at this point from what I’ve seen that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security.”

But the Post reports that Broadwell turned over her computer to the FBI in late summer, “and agents discovered that it contained low-level classified material.” This is important because the FBI, at this time, did not inform Congress about the investigation. The Post goes on: “On Nov. 12, the FBI searched her home in Charlotte and carried away additional evidence that she had classified documents, law enforcement officials said.”

Of course, this raid took place after the election, and months after the discovery of sensitive information on Broadwell’s computer had already been made. The raid uncovered even more sensitive documents and the Post later acknowledged that “even low-level classified records typically cannot be kept on someone’s personal computer or in their home.”

The story concludes, “Two days after the FBI search at her home, the Army suspended Broadwell’s security clearance.”

The bottom line is that the evidence is mounting that Petraeus gave Broadwell access to classified information, either directly or through his aides.

Since the evidence of wrongdoing is mounting against Petraeus, it is important to review where this story would have been without the FBI whistleblower going outside the Bureau with news about the scandal.

The paper had previously reported that “two longtime military aides to Petraeus said that he did not intend to resign until it became clear that his extramarital affair with Broadwell would become public after the first phase of the FBI investigation of his e-mail accounts.”

This, too, is significant, and justifies the decision by the FBI whistleblower to go to Republican members of the House Eric Cantor and Dave Reichert with information about the scandal. Although they did not go public with the information and even kept it from their House and Senate colleagues, they did go back to the FBI to ask what was going on with the initial inquiry. This was undoubtedly a signal to Obama’s FBI director Robert Mueller that he couldn’t keep the lid on much longer.

He was able, however, to keep the lid on until Election Day, when he went to James Clapper, director of national intelligence, with the information, and Clapper then told Petraeus he had to go. Petraeus departed after the election and the fallout from the scandal continues to get worse by the day.

Obama claimed during his news conference that he hadn’t seen any damage to national security from the Petraeus affair. This position is now impossible to maintain after what the Post has reported about Petraeus aides being involved in shoveling classified and sensitive information to Broadwell.

The Post reaffirmed that some of the “closest advisers” to Petraeus, “who served with him during his last command in Iraq,” said that he had “planned to stay in the job even after he acknowledged the affair to the FBI, hoping the episode would never become public.”

Consider what this says about Petraeus: the top spy in the Obama Administration thought he could get away with having an extramarital affair with a woman young enough to be his daughter and that her receipt of classified information would be covered up for his benefit.

It is good that the Post is pursuing this matter. But where is Post Watergate reporter Bob Woodward? He has been appearing on various programs in recent weeks, such as Fox News Sunday and CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, but there is no indication he wants to get to the bottom of this Obama Administration scandal. His byline is nowhere to be found.

On November 11, he was accepting a journalism award at Colby College in Maine, where he was being adored by young students for his role in the Post’s Watergate coverage that brought down the presidency of Republican Richard Nixon. “We should worry the most about secret government,” Woodward said.

It appears, however, that Petraeus and Broadwell were flaunting this aspect of “secret government.” Neil W. McCabe of Human Events reported that they appeared together as a couple at the October 27 OSS Society Annual Dinner and “mingled as a couple at the VIP reception” before the dinner. As the general made his way around the Washington Ritz Carlton ballroom, he said, “Broadwell followed one pace behind.”

Robert Windrem of NBC News quoted one former senior U.S. intelligence official who attended the event as saying, “It’s mind-boggling that she could be so reckless as to show up at high-profile events like this, shortly after learning the FBI was investigating their affair.”

Perhaps this is because she and Petraeus thought their secret was safe from public disclosure.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at cliff.kincaid@aim.org.