Islamic State-linked militants struck more than a dozen army and police targets in the restive Sinai Peninsula with simultaneous attacks involving a car bomb and mortar rounds on Thursday, killing at least 26 security officers.
An Army spokesman immediately blamed former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood of orchestrating the attack, which killed 25 Army soldiers and one policeman.
The wide-ranging attacks late Thursday required a previously unseen level of coordination. At least one car bomb was set off outside a military base, while mortars were simultaneously fired at the base, toppling some buildings and leaving soldiers buried under the debris, official said.
At least 60 people were wounded in the attack, according to medical officials, who also confirmed the death toll. Officials said the death toll was expected to rise. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
The Thursday attacks are expected to cause a great deal of embarrassment to the Egyptian government and military after nearly a yearlong offensive in Sinai aimed at uprooting Islamic militants under the banner of fighting terrorism, is largely failing.
Mikhail Gorbachev has accused the US of dragging Russia into a new Cold War. The former Soviet president fears the chill in relations could eventually spur an armed conflict.
“Plainly speaking, the US has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism,” Gorbachev said in an interview with Interfax.
The former USSR leader, whose name is associated with the end of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, is worried about the possible consequences.
“What’s next? Unfortunately, I cannot be sure that the Cold War will not bring about a ‘hot’ one. I’m afraid they might take the risk,” he said.
Gorbachev’s criticism of Washington comes as the West is pondering new sanctions against Russia, blaming it for the ongoing military conflict in eastern Ukraine, and alleging Moscow is sending troops to the restive areas. Russia has denied the allegations.
“All we hear from the US and the EU now is sanctions against Russia,” Gorbachev said. “Are they completely out of their minds? The US has been totally ‘lost in the jungle’ and is dragging us there as well.”
Gorbachev suggests the situation in the EU is “acute” with significant differences among politicians and different levels of prosperity among member nations.
“Part of the countries are alright, others – not so well, and many, including Germany, are excessively dependent on the US.”
In the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev served as General Secretary of the Communist Party's Central Committee from 1985 until 1991, and as the Soviet Union's only president from 1990. He led controversial perestroika reforms that are believed to have accelerated the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev’s rule was marked by considerable warming in relations with the West.Meanwhile, international relations experts in America are quite alarmed over the new Cold War possibility – although not as much as the general public. While over 48 percent of scholars answered "no" when asked whether the US and Russia are headed towards such a conflict, the scenario was deemed likely by 38 percent.
In Russia, one-third of the population believes their country and the US are on a collision course.
According to a poll conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center VCIOM in November 2014, the possibility of a new Cold War was considered likely by over 30 percent of Russians, being the highest number in the past seven years. Every fourth Russian (25 percent of respondents) believed such a conflict was already ongoing.
Claims by anonymous sources that the Obama administration is deeply offended by a “breach of protocol” in the planned appearance by Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint meeting of Congress are increasing.
The New York Times quotes an unnamed official as saying the anger goes beyond John Boehner and Netanyahu, to the Israeli Ambassador:
The Obama administration, after days of mounting tension, signaled on Wednesday how angry it is with Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted Republican leaders’ invitation to address Congress on Iran without consulting the White House.The outrage the episode has incited within President Obama’s inner circle became clear in unusually sharp criticism by a senior administration official who said that the Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer, who helped orchestrate the invitation, had repeatedly placed Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes above the relationship between Israel and the United States.
William Kristol argues that Obama views Netanyahu as an impediment to appeasement of Iran, much as Churchill was viewed with regard to the rise of fascism in Germany:
"It is Obama’s failures that explain his anger—his failures, and his hopes that a breakthrough with Iran could erase the memories of failure and appear to vindicate his foreign policy. Israel stands in the way, he thinks, of this breakthrough. Prime Minister Netanyahu stands in the way. And so Obama lashes out.
It’s of course unseemly. But it’s also dangerous. Neville Chamberlain and the British establishment were far angrier with Winston Churchill, and much harsher in their attempts to discredit him, in the late 1930s when the dreams of appeasement were failing, than earlier, when hope for the success of appeasement was alive. When you think your policies are going to be vindicated, you ignore or dismiss critics. It’s when you suspect and fear imminent failure that you lash out.
So we have an angry president, increasingly desperate for vindication of his failed foreign policy, accelerating both his appeasement of Iran and his attacks on Israel….”
I think that’s the point.
Obama doesn’t like Netanyahu and wants him out of office. That has been clear for years, and most recently when John Kerry and others reportedly urged the Palestinian Authority not to push it’s Security Council resolution prior to the Israeli elections so as not to help the Israeli right wing. Which means Netanyahu’s coalition.
The Obama administration attempted to interfere in the Israeli elections, and continues to do so through anonymous sources, including the person who called Netanyahu a “chicken****.”
While I do believe Obama is thin-skinned, I think there is much more here. He has found an opening to remove an obstacle to his plan to force an Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 armistice borders and to accommodate not just the Iranian nuclear program but also Iran’s role as a regional power. That is consistent with six years of Obama policy, and Netanyahu’s alleged breach of protocol changed nothing.
Obama sees an opportunity to separate Netanyahu not just from Democrats in Congress but also from Israeli voters, where the supposed damage to relations with the U.S. may help Netanyahu’s adversaries. It may be that Boehner and Bibi handed Obama just the excuse he needed.
This entire episode is about the Obama administration breaching protocol and interfering in Israeli elections, not the other way around.