Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
The original expectation that Syria would not retaliate for Israel’s hits inside of that country appears to be holding true:
A Syrian government official has indicated that Syria would not be responding “immediately: “Syria will respond to the Israeli aggression and will choose the moment to do so. It might not be immediate because Israel now is on high alert. We will wait but we will answer.”
It has been suggested that statements by Israel regarding the need to prevent Iranian weaponry from making its way to Hezbollah provides a possible out for Syria. While indeed, the strikes were on Syrian soil, they weren’t intended as attacks on Syria — which would require a response.
The situation with Hezbollah is somewhat more complex, and there has certainly been some saber-rattling, with talk about responding to aggression. However, according to YNet:
“Lebanese media published Monday that certain circles within Hezbollah say that there is a need to wait before setting any position beyond condemnation.”
Said one operative who was cited: “‘The situation is sensitive and there cannot be any quick steps against the aggression due to the sensitivity of the matter, and since a response is related to contacts and consultations between Syria, Iran. Hezbollah and Russia.”
Not certain how significant this is, but I found some of the Times of Israel reporting on the Syrian response to the attacks, from a purely non-governmental perspective, to be interesting.
Yesterday I had written that even among people you might intuitively think would be glad that Israel had hit, the need for a politically correct stance was so strong that there was criticism across the board. But the Times has found exceptions to this:
“Israel is still my enemy — but when my enemy does a neat job, I admit it,” wrote one commentator cited by the Times.
Another wrote: “I’m sorry, but I can’t make up my mind between the Syrian army and the Israeli. The latter never harmed me, but the Arab inside me hates it; whereas everything inside me hates the former.”
Dare we derive even a modicum of hope for the future from such messages?
Repeatedly I’m seeing analysis suggesting that what Israel has done puts pressure on Obama to also act in Syria. And it is this that I would like to focus on here.
Last Thursday, in “The Flip Side,” I wrote:
“Israeli interests here are not the same as US interests. This is a critical point…the Israeli red line is not Assad’s use of such weapons against his people but the transfer of…weapons to terrorist groups that might use them against us….”
I expressed confidence then that Israel would act in this regard as it was perceived necessary, and, indeed, that is precisely what happened.
But Obama? Precisely what would be his goal, were he to decide to act in a significant way now?
Would he send in major contingents of ground troops to secure all non-conventional weapons identified by intelligence and currently controlled by Assad troops — because his goal is to prevent the use of gas?
Would he seek to bomb Assad sufficiently so that he would be deterred from or rendered incapable of continuing to kill his own people — because that would be his essential goal?
That would mean, essentially, taking Assad down. And if he were to do that, what would he then need to do to assure that radicals didn’t seize control?
My point here, which is essentially the point I made last week, is that there may be little Obama can do now that would be constructive. Even, I wrote last week, providing armaments to non-jihadist rebels from the Free Syria Army might simply prolong the war without providing this Army the means to genuinely secure the country. They are fighting a force that is backed by Iran and Hezbollah and Russia.
What is more, the nature of the rebel forces has changed over time, as they have become infiltrated by Islamists. Thus, if assistance via weaponry and training did make it possible for rebel forces to take down Assad, the net result would not be positive. It is reasonable to expect that the radicals would gain control, probably even seizing weapons meant for secular rebels.
I am not trying to give Obama a pass here. I think he blew it big time and that he has a great deal to answer for. Had he acted decisively early in the civil war, providing significant support to secular rebels, the outcome might have been reasonably constructive. But he dithered, and dithered…and we see what the situation is now.
Thus I suggest that, at this point, the pundits who say Obama should finally DO something should first analyze precisely what they think he should be doing and what outcome they might expect from this action.
Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah has written a briefing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs entitled “Stalemate in the Syrian Civil War” (emphasis added):
“On the second anniversary of the Syrian civil war, those who hurriedly announced the demise of the Assad regime realize that the existing power structures are strong enough to endure a war of attrition with the rebels…
“The coalition of minorities around Assad has not disintegrated and the pillars of the regime remain in place. Assad has proved that he has the resolve to conduct effective campaigns against the rebels in a very hostile international environment, while continuing to rule and provide for the daily life of the population under his control…
“The United States and Europe face an impossible dilemma: on the one hand, they would like Assad to fall; on the other, they do not want an Islamist regime that is worse than the ones that succeeded Mubarak in Egypt and Ben-Ali in Tunisia…
“The same dilemma confronts Israel. On the one hand, Jerusalem would like to see an end to the Iranian-led ‘axis of evil.’ On the other, the prospect of a militant Islamic regime, linked to al-Qaeda and possessing the Syrian military arsenal, is a nightmare Jerusalem cannot live with…”
This truly is a “no-win” situation. There will be no “Spring” in Syria, with democracy and freedom bursting out all over. There will not even be relative stability for some long time to come.
What we need to keep in mind is that some possible resolutions are decidedly more horrendous than others. Before there is intervention, all parameters and all potential consequences must be seriously considered. As in medicine, the by-word must be, “First do no harm.”
I recommend “The Fourth Great War,” an incisive analysis on this subject, with a different slant, by Shoshana Bryen of the Jewish Policy Center (emphasis added):
She tells us that in this war we are confronting a battle of “Sunni expansionists vs. Shiite expansionists”:
“Neither is an appealing partner for the United States in the region, and neither has a natural claim on our politics or our interests. For reasons having to do with Iran itself, the U.S. will not choose to support Iranian-backed Shiites. However, Sunni expansionists are simply no better; Saudi and Qatari-supported Islamists run from the unacceptable Muslim Brotherhood to the even more unacceptable Wahabis, al Qaeda or Jabhat al Nusra – it is like a choice between cancer and a heart attack.
“…If American policy in Syria seems feckless, it is because it is feckless.
“…The administration’s policy on Syria has been a series of visceral reactions to graphic events and horrific casualties, offset by a gigantic distaste for confrontation. Without a definition of America’s strategic interests, such as a defeat for both Iran and the Sunni jihadists, the chance remains that America might be dragged into another front in the Fourth Great War. A war in which neither side is our friend.”
Hopefully, onward in my next posting to a host of other issues.
But here, please, take a look at this unusual article. It tells a great deal about who we are, and who the Arabs in Gaza are:
Hat Tip: BB
And thank Heaven that we do…
Israel officials — government and military — have repeatedly said that we will not permit a situation in Syria in which “game changing” weaponry — whether WMD or missiles — is passed to terrorist forces. And we have shown, again and again that we do mean what we say and are willing to act on it. In the last few days, we’ve apparently (shall we say, “allegedly”) demonstrated this not once, but twice.
Because — as would be expected! — there is no official report from Israeli sources, I cannot provide precise information on what was (allegedly) entailed. Along with everyone else, I am relying on secondary sources — US and other foreign media — which secure their information in a variety of ways; and an unnamed Israeli official speaking off the record, after the news broke in foreign media. Many of these sources are referenced in Israeli media. Not all agree on particulars.
However, while it cannot be confirmed, that we have hit in Syria seems fairly certain.
The first hit came very late Thursday night or early Friday morning. It was reportedly accomplished from Lebanese airspace, it is believed without entry into Syrian airspace.
According to Israel National News, pairs of Israeli planes entered Lebanese airspace three times, each time remaining for two to three hours.
According to Reuters, as reported by YNet, Israel’s air force possesses so-called “standoff” missiles that, once fired, are able to coast dozens of kilometers across ground to their targets.
For more information on Israel’s standoff missiles, see Haaretz here:
The most specific information — which was cited extensively elsewhere — came from yesterday’s NYTimes, which reported that what was hit were Iranian surface-to-surface missiles — Fateh 110 missiles, which carry a 600 kg. warhead, have considerable accuracy, and can reach most of Israel from southern Lebanon — that were being stored at the airport in Damascus and were likely due to be transferred to Hezbollah; the warehouse where they were held was believed to be under the control of Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds forces.
Citing foreign sources, who received information from Syrian rebel intelligence, YNet today also reported that a convoy that was in the process of transferring weapons to Hezbollah was hit on the road between Damascus and Beirut — in three separate strikes by Israeli F-16s, pictured below. Again, it is thought that these attacks were initiated from Lebanese airspace. And it may well be that the reference by Israel National News to sets of planes entering Lebanese airspace refers to these attacks, as well as the attack on the airport in Damascus. We might call these two prongs of one attack.
Credit: AFP/Jack Guez
There was some thought that what was hit in the convoy were anti-aircraft missiles, but the best estimate seems to be that in this attack, as well, it was surface-to-surface missiles that were taken out.
Now very early this morning, there were media reports of major explosions near Damascus, as a military research center in Jamraya was attacked by rockets, with possible hits on two nearby sites as well — an ammunition depot and Republican Guard battalions.
At Jamraya, also, it is believed that Iranian missiles were targeted, but it seems less clear at the moment whether Israeli jets may have entered Syrian airspace.
If the name Jamraya rings a bell it’s because Israel hit there in January of this year.
Referred to as a “scientific research center,” this is a site of major military significance, where research is done and weapons are stored; its location near the Lebanese border makes transfer of weaponry easier.
Last night a Cabinet meeting was called to discuss the situation, and for the first time there was official comment of sorts:
In a couple of different venues, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said, “The State of Israel is protecting its interests and will continue doing so. I am not confirming or denying the reports…We have said on various occasions in the past that we will do everything anywhere in order to protect those interests.”
Another Security Cabinet meeting was held this afternoon.
In the end, the precise process by which we accomplished the attacks, and the precise armaments that have been destroyed, are less important than the fact that we did act, and successfully.
The message being sent to Syria and Hezbollah, and by extension to Iran, is considerable. In fact, the most important message is to Iran, with regard to our meaning it when we speak about Red Lines.
At first, I read disclaimers by Syria and Iran saying they had no information on an Israeli attack. That’s one way to attempt to handle matters. No need to respond if nothing happened.
But in more recent hours there have been threats from both quarters: Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi says Israeli air strikes against targets outside of Damascus “opens the door to all possibilities.” And Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad told CNN that the attack on a Syrian facility near Damascus is a “declaration of war.” While Lebanese media quoted Seyed Hassan Firouzabadi, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, as saying: “Resistance forces will respond to the Israeli aggression… Iran will not allow to Israel destabilize the region.”
The IAF is carefully monitoring our northern skies, which have been closed to civilian air traffic, and we are on alert more broadly.
But as far as Syria is concerned, I do not believe there will be a direct attack. Assad may be ruthless and amoral, but he’s not irrational or stupid. His resources are sorely depleted, and if he wants his regime to survive, he will not take on a new battle with a stronger enemy.
Nor do I believe that Iran would attempt to hit Israel directly now. But in this instance, use of its proxy Hezbollah is a possibility (the threat by the Iranian chief of staff did come via Lebanon) — although I suspect there is only a small possibility with regard to a direct missile attack. Here, too, we are looking at an entity that is somewhat weakened and depleted. Hezbollah forces are in Syria fighting, and Shia/Sunni tensions have generated a downward spiral for Hezbollah.
More on Hezbollah soon.
President Obama, while saying that it is not his position to verify whether it was Israel that hit in Syria, was quick to say that Israel has a right to act to ensure that sophisticated weapons don’t reach Hezbollah.
My own guess is that this man who prefers not to act himself, and still hasn’t even decided whether to send arms to the Free Syrian Army, is delighted that Israel is acting.
True to form, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who should be shipped out permanently, has taken his standard line: He is “gravely concerned” about the news of possible Israeli strikes in Syria, and he urges respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. The head of the international agency that has turned a blind eye to the deaths of 70,000 Syrians has nothing to say with regard to what Israel does.
What both fascinates and bewilders me (it shouldn’t, I know) is that criticizing Israel is so politically correct in certain Muslim/Arab circles that it proceeds even when doing so is counterintuitive. Rebel forces have come out with criticism, when they should be delighted at anything that weakens Assad. But welcome an attack by Israel and appear to be — shock! — on the same side? Never.
The Arab League has issued a condemnation of Israel’s actions — and specifically, it should be noted, have Egypt and Turkey, both supporters of Syrian rebel forces, done so.
After a delay of some hours generated by the situation with Syria, PM Netanyahu has flown to China, where there will be discussions regarding Iranian issues and economic ones. A visit with major implications.
In his stead, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is acting prime minister.
Wow! I experienced it first hand. I wrote an article defending the biblical take on an issue. The mainstream media misquoted me – took my words out of context to portray me as someone I am not – a rabid hater. Recklessly, without reading my original article to learn what I actually said, several news sources re-printed a reporter’s distortion of my article.
Folks, I have no problem standing up for what I believe or even being hated for it. But, the media had thousands hating me for something I never said. Associates became nervous about being associated with me. Public figures began denouncing me. It was a very stressful situation. My stress did not come from the Left hating me. I was stressed over how the Left’s lies about me negatively affected the lives of others in my life.
Here is the scariest effect of the media’s gang character assassination. For about thirty seconds, I actually thought about framing my words to be more politically-correct. I thought perhaps it would be wise to frame my words in such a way that the media could not distort and use them against me. You know, the old you can catch more flies with honey thing. Well, the problem with that strategy is that the media seeks to destroy conservatives, especially black conservatives such as myself. Therefore, they will spin any and everything I say into a negative to scare me into shutting up.
Whenever conservatives simply speak the truth, they are branded extremist by the mainstream media and advised by consultants to “moderate their tone.” Meanwhile, liberals/Democrats make the most outrageous over the top statements without a peep of criticism from the mainstream media or their party. Democrat VP Biden said, “Republicans want y’all back (blacks) in chains.” Democrat Rep. Andre Carson said the Tea Party movement would “love” to see black Americans “hang from a tree.” http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/31/rep-carson-tea-party-wants-to-see-black-americans-hanging-on-tree/
Democrat Alan Grayson said, “Republicans want you to die quickly.” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0909/27726.html
Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters said, “The tea party can go straight to hell.” http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20095373-503544.html Think about that folks. Millions of Americans who oppose Obama ignoring the Constitution and cramming his socialist/progressive agenda down their throat have been told by a Democrat to go to hell.
Has anyone in the media accused Democrats of being mean-spirited? Has any Democrat denounced a fellow Democrat’s outrageous statements? No.
But Conservatives/Republicans wrestle with each other to be first at the microphone to denounce the slightest faux pas by someone on our side. They kick fellow Conservatives/Republicans to the curb saying, “How could so and so have said something so stupid? They’re done!”
I know what many of you are saying, “Lloyd grow up! Character assassination is a mainstay of politics, particularly Democrat politics.” I realize that, but this was the first time the full assault wrath of the MSM slapped me in the face. My “right” cheek is still bruised. I now understand why so many people back away from their words and succumb to pressures to embrace the media’s consensus on issues.
We see it all the time. A pundit makes a statement opposite of the MSM’s consensus. The MSM gang assaults the pundit. Then, the pundit dials-back their original comments.
The Left uses a three-step technique to silence opposition and shame you into embracing their agenda. I learned about this technique via an article by the late Fred Hutchison.
As an example, let’s use the issue of gun control.
Step One: Desensitization. The Left pounds away 24/7 on the news, movies and etc. that Second Amendment advocates and gun owners are irresponsible rednecks who do not care about children being murdered. This is to “desensitize” citizens to the idea of being stripped of their Constitutional right to bear arms.
Step Two: Jamming. Jamming means to “shame” gun owners into silence regarding their desire to own firearms and their opposition to being disarmed. Jamming is based on the idea that most humans feel shame when they believe they are not thinking, feeling or acting like the masses.
Step Three: Conversion. Conversion is when the public has become receptive to the idea of government ignoring the Second Amendment. The MSM portraying gun owners as cruel heartless idiots is a psychological attack in the form of propaganda designed to convert the emotions, minds and will of Americans to side with anti-gun activists. If done skillfully enough, anti-gun activists will be perceived as heroes.
Patriots, we cannot allow the Left to bully us into becoming silenced Conservative lambs. On every issue, the Left/MSM sets the narrative; giving the issue a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Anyone daring to disagree with their consensus will be destroyed. Their bullying is working. More and more Americans are afraid to speak their minds.
Special thanks to courageous advocates for truth, justice and the American Way such as Pamela Geller, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck to name a few. Trust me folks when I say it ain’t easy. These patriots, as I, are emboldened and driven by our love for the greatest nation on the planet.
Losing America is not an option. Therefore, we will not become silenced conservative lambs. Please join me in saying, neither will you!
Lloyd Marcus, Proud Unhyphenated American
Chairman, Conservative Campaign Committee
Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day. This week’s question: How do you feel about minors being able to buy the Morning After Pill without prescription or parental notification?
The Razor: I spoke to the wife who is a family physician about this. She believes the pill should be offered to all girls of reproductive age and not just the 15 year-olds with ID. Although she is pro-life and believes that life begins at conception, she believes the pill is a lesser of evils when it comes to abortion, although she is concerned that girls would use it as a form of birth control instead of using contraception. I agree with her on this issue, but am worried about the abuse of the pill since it would be easier to take after sex than taking the contraceptive pill every day, and may be cheaper too for some girls who do not engage in frequent sex. Since the pill is only effective within a day after sex, it could lead to more unwanted pregnancies if girls fail to obtain and take the pill in time. There are unintended consequences with any law and side effects for every medication, and I’m worried that we will soon find out both.
The Noisy Room: It’s a very bad idea. It’s an effort to supersede the authority of parents in the rearing of their children. It presumes to grant minors State awarded rights that exceed those of the people responsible for their upbringing. It’s also an effort to impose an artificial standard of morality well below what is viable for the survival of a society.
This is a communistic tactic that forwards the fundamental principle of turning children against their parents to enforce legitimacy of State ownership of children. It is collectivist manipulation meant to divide families and do away with a sense of right and wrong, which is normally fostered in the traditional natural family unit. Blurring the lines of right and wrong is a precursor to the elimination of morality and from that, of religion, which is traditionally the vehicle of morality.
Actions such as the unsupervised use of the Morning After Pill lead to government control and the disavowment of parental oversight. This is the goal of Marxists/Communists. They need children who are trained to hate and disobey their parents, but who will obey those they perceive as heroic; those who give them what they want whether earned or not; right or wrong. You saw this in Cambodia’s Pol Pot who instituted a massive youth gang called the Khmer Rouge. They murdered millions; one-third of their own nation. Pol Pot created a society of pure, youthful Communism, which was a ghastly murderous tyranny.
Programmed youth are separated from and indoctrinated with hate for their parents. Left unchecked, the youth gravitate towards Big Brother. They not only hate their parents, but the State goads them into turning them in and/or killing them. You see it time and time again throughout history. If children can absolve themselves of responsibility for random sexual encounters and don’t have to answer to their parents or suffer any repercussions, they are one step closer to the collective of the Marxist State. Prescribed permissiveness in and out of the classroom becomes all the children know and respect. They respect and cleave to the government and law enforcement; they shun and deride their families. Children consider themselves equal to adults in all ways and through State indoctrination come to support and implement a pervasive police State willingly. Selfishness becomes a desirable trait and loyalty to the State becomes the rule of the day. The Morning After Pill that caters to those as young as 15, coupled with secret, cheap abortions, brings our youth one step closer to the killing fields.
Bookworm Room: As the parent of minors, I think it’s appalling. The Left will always justify this kind of rule-making or legislation by pointing to those teenage girls who have dreadful home lives, and are at risk of being physically hurt if they confess to a pregnancy. Yes, those are real situations, but I’ve never seen any evidence that they are anything but a small minority. In the real world, parents whose daughters come home pregnant are not going to be happy, and they may yell at their daughter, but they don’t abuse her. They rally around her. In other words, they are family and they are there for her. (In this regard, I think the movie Juno was pretty accurate.)
The facts on the ground mean that the state’s motive in making birth control and abortifacients available to ever younger girls isn’t because it’s trying to protect a small minority of at-risk girls. Rather, it’s trying to break down the family unit. Sex is a great way to force that schism because, next to hunger, sex is the most powerful motivator. By promising children sex, and lots of it — without any messy consequences such as disease or pregnancy — the state ensures that children look to the state as the bountiful provider. The message is a simple one: We’ll make you happy; your parents will make you sad.
Of course, no one is looking at the very real consequences of the state’s handing out sex like an addictive drug. The state pours toxic hormone soups in adolescent bodies; treats those young bodies with powerful antibiotics; alienates young minds and emotions from those who are most likely to love them; and sends the message that human sex, rather than creating powerful, life-long emotional bonds, has no more meaning than (and about as much charm as) bovine, canine, or feline sex. No wonder the girls who graduate from the hook-up culture in college, don’t feel liberated but, instead, just feel used and emotionally frozen. They have been used — not just by the men who get the girls, but by an all-powerful state that has as its goal the end of individuals’ control over their own bodies.
Lastly, there’s also something profoundly wrong about a government that, even as it criminalizes adult men and women who have sex with children, does everything it can to encourage children to have sex. I don’t have a good word to describe that. Revolting? Hypocritical? Sleazy? Obscene? Immoral? I think all apply.
David Gerstman from Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion: The MSM will tell you when polling data supports their premises. You might have seen a news item recently that people who self-identify as pro-choice outnumber those who consider themselves pro-life.
That is true.
The latest Gallup poll surveying attitudes towards abortion indeed found that 48% of Americans consider themselves pro-choice but only 44% consider themselves pro-life.
But the same survey also shows that 52% of Americans believe that there should be some restrictions on abortion and only 28% support an unfettered right to abortion. (18% believe that abortion should never be legal.)
What’s going on? The MSM generally support an unconditional right to abortion. The MSM only consider such a position to be pro-choice. Reasonable restrictions are considered to be violations of a fundamental constitutional right. Most Americans though, disagree. They believe that abortion should not be outlawed in entirely, but that there can be common sense restrictions on abortion.
Consider something else. Since 1996, over 60% of Americans support abortions in the first trimester. For the second trimester that percentage drops to under 30% and under 20% for the third trimester. The abortion absolutists will raise a hue and cry over the latter two figures, if they bothered to report it. But they won’t because they know it’s a losing issue.
One of the more contentious issues is that of parental notification. A teenager who has a tumor would require parental notification before she would undergo surgery. In many states, though, her parents would not have to be told if she were to undergo an abortion.
This ruling allowing a teenager to obtain a morning after pill seems one more effort to undermine parental authority. It is also a way of enshrining as an unconditional right a procedure that most Americans think should be reasonably limited.
Sara from The Independent Sentinel: It’s crazy. We are talking about children who aren’t old enough to buy cigarettes, but they are old enough to buy the Morning After Pill.
That’s extreme and the President feels comfortable with it because the science is solid.
Is that all we are reduced to now – if the science is okay, that’s enough?
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it.