Chris Muir – Day by Day Cartoon
The Middle East, with the singular exception of a stable, prosperous, democratic Israel, is in a state of turmoil and transition – with enormous violence and instability the norm. We are seeing Sunni-Shia tensions, increasing radicalism, and the break down of borders. And the situation is only growing more severe and more convoluted. One of the most serious aspects of the current scenario is that it is devoid of good guys. It’s simply a question of who is less problematic, less dangerous for Israeli and Western interests, and sometimes that’s a hard if not impossible call.
We’ve seen this in Syria for some time: Assad is a vile dictator, with no concern whatsoever for the lives of his own people and a solid alliance with Iran. While many of the rebels arrayed against him are jihadists who are seeking a cross-border caliphate that is a lethal proposition.
Today we see it as well in Iraq with the brutal onslaught of ISIS there. A ruthless Sunni, jihadist, al-Qaeda off-shoot (now a rival of al-Qaeda) that began in Iraq, ISIS established itself in Syria after the civil war began, becoming a significant rebel force there. Now it is moving against the regime of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shia-dominated government – traveling across swaths of Iraq with lightening speed, taking territory and towns in the north and west of Iraq, and approaching ever closer to Baghdad.
Yesterday, the post of Turaibil, at the Iraqi border with Jordan was taken by ISIS, presenting a threat to the stability of Jordan.
ISIS is commonly referred to as an acronym meaning Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. But the Arabic – al-Sham – could just as well refer to “the Levant” (the eastern Mediterranean), which means that Lebanon and Israel are also in its sites, as is Jordan. Sometimes it is referred to as ISIL.
With all of this however, there is yet another a serious problem to be confronted: Iran, which is Shia, is attempting to influence events in Iraq to its benefit. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised Maliki Iran’s full support just days ago.
As well, Iran provides assistance to Shiite militia in Iraq. All of this strongly suggests the possibility of Iran achieving control in or undue influence over Iraq.
This rings loud bells in Jerusalem. One of the main reasons there has been Israeli opposition to Assad, in his struggle against jihadist rebels, is because he is an Iranian puppet. Were Iran to move into Iraq in a significant way, it would create an Iranian arc of influence that stretched from Iran itself through Iraq and through Syria to our border. And it would simplify the shipment of armaments from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Thus it is greatly worrisome to the Israeli government that the US seems to be reaching out to Iran, to achieve some sort of joint understanding to limit ISIS. Not only would this give Iran undue influence in Iraq, it might cause the US to even further weaken its position in nuclear negotiations. That is, Iran’s price for controlling ISIS – which the US is very eager to see controlled – might be greater nuclear latitude. A real nightmare.
Prime Minister Netanyahu gave an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday advising the US that, “When your enemies are fighting one another, don’t strengthen either one of them.” Weaken them both, he said. He addressed his serious concerns about the possibility of allowing Iran nuclear weapons: “Iran could come out with nuclear weapons capability — it would make everything else pale in comparison.” (Emphasis added)
At our northern border with Syria (on the Syrian Golan) there is a considerable rebel presence. Yesterday, an anti-tank missile was shot from Syria into Israel, hitting a civilian vehicle. Two people were wounded and a teenage boy, Muhammad Karaka, an Israeli Druze from the village of Arrabe, was killed. His father, Fahmi is a contractor who works in the area for the Ministry of Defense.
The missile seemed to have come from a rebel area, or an area that is contested militarily. But Israel has determined that the government of Assad is responsible, and late last night launched attacks on nine Syrian military sites, with at least 10 Syrian soldiers killed.
There is no substantial change in the search for the kidnapped boys. The operation continues apace.
One of the things I have found interesting about the intensive search being done for the boys in Judea and Samaria (largely in the Hevron area) is the uncovering and exploring of hidden places: caves, dried wells and cisterns, tunnels and other excavated places. The goal, of course, is to find the students, who may be hidden in such a place.
But the secondary result of this exploration is to locate hidden terrorist supplies and weapons laboratories, as well as to expose secret places where fugitive terrorists might hide (or, in some cases, were hiding). I heard a news report a few days ago about a hidden excavation under a house that was uncovered and turned out to be large enough (and was apparently sufficiently well stocked) to provide hiding for many weeks. There are tunnels dug under washing machines and stoves. The mind boggles a bit at the complex labyrinth of hidden places that has been set up and drawn upon as part of the terrorist infrastructure.
See: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=18335 for descriptions and a video about two-thirds of the way down.
Then there are the “forked tongue” proceedings of Mahmoud Abbas. He’s playing both ends against the middle, as is his usual practice. He feels constrained by world opinion to condemn the kidnappings (all such condemnations clearly insincere). He must attend to this world opinion because funding for the PA is contingent upon positive attitudes towards the PA in the international community. But at the same time, he feels constrained by the Palestinian Arab street and his relationship with Hamas to condemn Israeli efforts to find the boys: we are causing unrest, provoking another intifada, doing collective punishment, etc. etc.
The recent statement by Amin Maqboul, member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, reflects this situation. The Palestinian street, he says, “overwhelmingly” supports the kidnappings, if the goal is to secure the release of prisoners. While Abbas “sometimes makes statements that are unacceptable to our people. But the purpose [of these statements] is to spare the Palestinian people the dangers of Israeli aggression and reactions of the international community.”
Khaled Abu Toameh has written about unrest in the PA streets directed at Abbas and the PA:
“What happened in the center of Ramallah on the morning of June 22 could signal the beginning of an uprising, or intifada, against the Palestinian Authority [PA].
“The incident began when hundreds of angry Palestinian youths attacked the headquarters of the Palestinian policy in the city in protest against ongoing security coordination between the PA security forces and Israel…
“The attackers were particularly furious with the Palestinian policemen who stayed inside their offices as Israel Defense Force soldiers entered Ramallah in the context of a manhunt to find three kidnapped Israeli youths.”
I note here that the resident of the White House has not deemed it necessary, to this day, to issue a clear and public condemnation of Hamas for the kidnapping. Situations such as the one we are currently facing serve the role of exposing duplicity and true intentions. What makes Obama’s silence all the more vile and reprehensible is that one of the boys – Naftali Frenkel – has US citizenship. The US government should be at the forefront of efforts to find him.
Mike Huckabee – former governor of Arkansas and talk show host – arrived in Israel yesterday. And he provided a sterling example of how to be a mensch – a person who stands up and does the right thing. For he immediately went to the Frenkel home to offer words of support and comfort.
“’Americans need to hear this story,’ he said. ‘This is an American citizen, this is one of us. And even if he wasn’t – this should not happen to any young man or to any parent…’
“When asked by Arutz Sheva about the United States’ call, last week, for ‘restraint on both sides,’ Huckabee said – ‘What’s to restrain? What are the Israelis supposed to do? This to me is nonsense. The only restraint at this point is the restraint by whoever has these boys to do nothing to hurt them. G-d help those people if they touch a hair on these boy’s heads… I think the Israelis have every right to say – and America should join this message – you touch that boy who’s an American citizen and you will have hell to pay for it. That should be the only message we are sending right now.’” (Emphasis added)
See a video of Huckabee saying this:
I close with this painful news, which has just been released, as a Shin Bet gag order has been lifted: In May, the Hamas terrorist Ziad Awad was arrested for the terrorist murder of Baruch Mizrachi on the eve of Pesach, outside of Hevron. What a horrible scene that was – Mizrachi, his wife and kids were on their way to a seder.
Ziad has been charged with the murder; his son, charged as an accessory, has also been arrested. It was the son who presented security personnel with the Kalashnikov rifle that was the murder weapon. Ziad had told his son that, “whoever kills a Jew goes to heaven.” (Emphasis added)
The most horrendous part of this is that Ziad Awad was one of the terrorists released in the trade for Gilad Shalit.
I have no words for this, my friends.
Please, read this whole story:
Hat Tip: BB
Anonymous, or if you wish to use a name, Maria
How to find out what really happened to missing IRS emails
In March of 2009, Obama named Vivek Kundra CIO of the US.
As head of Information Technology, he proposed a new 25 point plan to modernize the federal government’s technology and data centers
The OMB and GAO were actively involved in assessing and monitoring the progress of these plans across all agencies and have copious documents relating to IRS databases, retention and best practices.
A key player responsible for IRS Data center management and consolidation was Anthony McMahon.
In March of 2010, Anthony McMahon of the IRS gave a presentation about IRS data center operations that are usually not publicized to AFCOM.
Since 2008, there have been many initiatives and audits at the IRS regarding technology.
The best people to ask about the missing emails are those who were involved in establishing “best practices” for the IRS and other like agencies. As early assessments were made and recommendations were implemented in a short time-frame after 2008. It is likely that there were audits/deficiencies reported and action taken from these assessments. Corrective action reports should be available and who was responsible for taking these actions.
It would be advisable to speak to those that were involved as IT project managers, data base consolidation team members, and those who participated in risk management, data loss mitigation and internal audits around the time frame the emails went missing. They could tell you first hand what was probable and possible. Even lower level “team members” and “contractors” should know the truth. if there was “cloud computing” going on, who was providing it? We need to find all these reports and download all of the available articles and documents before they go missing.
The MSM talking heads have IT experts outside of gov’t on their shows to talk about the missing emails, but no one from the IRS who worked on IT projects in 2008-2011 has been interviewed. Even Congressmen are asking the NSA for answers.
What a waste of resources!!
The only ones who would know the truth are those that were there at the time. Ask the right people, find the right documents, then we’ll all know the truth. They are already out there in cyberspace at the OMB and GAO, we just have to look.
For more, see “The IRS Missing Email Scandal – Brazen Obstruction of Justice,” June 22
By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
The sheer evil brilliance of Obama’s minions never ceases to amaze me. They are tenacious in their efforts to find ways to circumvent the Constitution and our laws – they simply never give up. There is no better example of this currently than Operation Choke Point. They were caught in 2013 targeting legal industries they did not approve of by bullying banks and other financial institutions into cutting off funds to those whose activities were not ‘acceptable.’ Specifically, the gun industry:
Last year the Department of Justice partnered with the FDIC and the Federal Trade Commission to put a whole host of industries (and their customers) on a “high-risk” list and urged banks to pay close attention to those industries as part of Operation Choke Point.
Storefront gun dealers, online dealers and ammunition dealers are on the “high risk” list, along with porn and other salacious products (as if they’re even comparable, the Second Amendment is constitutional right, yet it’s on the DOJ hit list). DOJ argues the program is needed to stop fraud, but that’s a lie. The program is used to target politically inconvenient industries without the permission of Congress.
And from Examiner.com:
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), at the behest of Barack Obama, has declared that gun stores are “high risk” businesses. “High risk” businesses have been, up until now, a small category of supposedly disreputable businesses, which have included pornographers, sellers of drug paraphernalia, and payday lenders.
The second step in the process is Eric Holder’s Justice Department’s “Operation Choke Point.” And its function is specifically to choke off any credit or credit card processing for businesses (now including gun owners) who fall in the “high risk” category.
There has been a great deal of push back on this targeting and persecution of legitimate businesses by the Obama Administration. Conservative financiers have stepped forward to fill the breach. Undaunted and undeterred, if Obama and Co. can’t get to Conservatives through the law or the Constitution, they then turn to cutting off funding. If that doesn’t work, they turn to government agencies and regulation. If that doesn’t work, there is always Obama’s pen and paper. And so it goes until they accomplish their destructive goals.
Rand Paul has filed Amendment 3292 to H.R. 4660, which would put a hold on Eric Holder’s “Operation Choke Point.” It was added to the Science Justice Commerce Appropriations bill. However, I would wager even if it slows them down, it won’t stop the Progressive/Marxists who are determined to rewrite the Second Amendment and get the guns. They are like demonic ants who swarm and single-mindedly pursue their desired outcome for the collective.
Right on cue, instead of backing up on their fascist Operation Choke Point agenda, the Left is doubling down with help of the opaque Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under the auspices of Dodd-Frank last week, the CFPB passed a rule that was not publicized and was noticed even less. But, boy… it’s a whopper.
The rule gives the agency unprecedented power to shut down any business, no matter what the reason, at any time it wishes, through a cease-and-desist order. That’s right… no due process, no notice, no recourse… This rule literally puts any business under the thumb and at the whim of the CFPB. Once shut down, the business can’t go back into operation until they get the blessing of the government or a court ruling in their favor. By the time that happens, they’ll go under – a business could and would spend years in the judicial system. Stall and delay until death do us part.
In a notice published in today’s Federal Register, the CFPB has announced that it has adopted its interim final rule on temporary cease-and-desist orders (C&Ds) without change. The final rule takes effect on July 18, 2014.
The CFPB is authorized to issue temporary C&Ds under Section 1053(c) of Dodd-Frank. That provision authorizes a temporary C&D as an adjunct to a cease-and-desist proceeding brought under Section 1053 against a covered person or service provider. A temporary C&D is effective immediately upon service and remains in effect unless modified or terminated administratively by the CFPB or set aside on judicial review.
This follows Operation Choke Point and is an addendum to those actions. From the United States Consumer Coalition comes a stark warning to businesses and what this could mean for them:
“This unprecedented rule created by the CFPB grants the agency unilateral authority to literally shut down any business overnight. It is a doubling down of Operation Choke Point (OCP), the Administration’s program to target lawful industries by intimidating banks from doing business with them. This rule allows the CFPB to immediately issue a cease-and-desist order, which terminates all business practices — and a hearing doesn’t have to be granted for 10 days, effectively shutting down businesses for at least 10 days. This is a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ tactic of the Administration that goes against every historical notion of justice under the law in America.”
“The Administration got caught with their illegal intimidation tactics in Operation Choke Point, and now they are taking radical steps to ensure the goals of shutting down these lawful businesses are met. This is just the next step in using unaccountable agencies, with their ever-expanding agency powers, to meet the political goals of the Administration. This is a much more efficient way of shutting down lawful industries than just relying on intimidation. It is also no coincidence that this rule was released the day that CFPB Director Richard Cordray finished testifying at oversight hearings on the Hill.”
“This is a direct attack on every free-market business in America, and every single business should be alarmed. No business should have to operate while questioning daily whether or not they will be the victim of a cease-and-desist order. This will cause uncertainty on Wall Street and uncertainty in the job market, leading to a loss of jobs and devastating the families that rely on them, while irreversibly damaging the economy and threatening consumer choice.”
This is the brazen use of political-style Chicago gangster tactics and a blatant violation of Constitutional rights. The rule can be opposed and overturned through legislation and oversight, but who really believes it will be any time soon?
The document explaining this new rule, can be found here…
This is another power grab using regulation. There is not a business out there that can afford to fight this for long and the government knows it. Get on Obama’s naughty list, get a cease-and-desist order, which is actually a business death certificate. It’s a death panel for small businesses and entrepreneurs if you are of the wrong political stripe. What do you want to bet that among the first casualties of this monstrosity will be gun organizations? Closely followed by Tea Party aligned businesses.
How much more will Americans take before saying enough? This has gone way beyond political differences and annoyance now. Hundreds of millions out there are now thoroughly pissed off – stopping them from feeding their families will make it explosive. Doubling down on Operation Choke Point may just strangle the Republic.