Saturday, February 28, 2015

Egypt Goes To War With ISIS




Egypt Goes To War With ISIS - Masses Troops Against Islamist Libyan Stronghold At Darnah





Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi has deployed his troops for all-out war on ISIS strongholds in Libya, the first Arab ruler to challenge the Islamists in a fellow Arab countryHis intiative dramatizes the spillover of the Islamist State’s threat across the Middle East, and the fading impetus of the US-led coalition effort to reverse Islamic State gains in Iraq and Syria.

Our Washington sources report that the Obama administration’s planned spring campaign to free Iraqi Mosul from the Islamic State’s occupation is stuck in the sand. Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike accuse the president of having no clear war strategy and of holding back from the US-led coalition the fighting manpower necessary for a successful operation.Answering questions in the Senate WEdnesday, Feb. 25, the coalition commander, retired Gen. John Allen, said he had no hard-and-fast timeline for the war. The influential Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California responded angrily: Your answers show one thing about the timeline defined by the White House as an enduring ground operation: “There is none.”


The Egyptian president was stirred into action by the barbaric beheading on Feb. 15 of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who had found work in Libya.


El-Sisi first launched a series of air strikes against ISIS and allied Islamist militias in one of their Libyan strongholds in Darnah, following which he has now ordered Egyptian commando and marine forces to prepare for sea landings to seize the town and destroy the terrorist elements there, another landmark operation in the war on Islamist terror.


He is also considering aerial bombardments of the Gaza Strip to target Hamas’ military arm whose active collaboration with the jihadis has been confirmed by intelligence.

Some of the militias which have divided Darnah, a town of app. 50,000, among themselves, have declared their territories provinces of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s Islamic Caliphate.


According to our military sources, Egyptian forces will be assigned to attack the town from the north after a beach landing. They plan to link up with allied Libyan militias commanded by the former Qaddafi regime general Khalifa Hifter, who will come from Benghazi to strike the town from the south. Khalif and his armed men have been pursuing a relentless war on the inroads made by al Qaeda in Libya, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood, with quiet backing from Cairo.

The London-based Arabic Alquds Alarabi, which is known for its solid sources in the Middle East, reported this week that Gen. Hafter had recently paid at least two secret visits to Cairo to collect the weapons he needs for his part in the Darnah offensive and coordination.










Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) has penned an opinion article in the Los Angeles Times in which he defended Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to speak to Congress Tuesday, against the deal being forged with Iran.

“Imagine for a moment,” he wrote, “that your neighbor down the street was engaged in some basement science that could level your house and even kill you, if he so desired. Your best friend, who happens to live some distance away, out of harm's reach, can end the threat to your life and property but is now trying to legalize your neighbor's dangerous work. What would you do?”

“This is the situation facing Israel,” he stated. “It is clear that for more than a decade, Iran has been illicitly developing nuclear capabilities and thumbing its nose at efforts to monitor its progress in accordance with international guidelines.” .

Edelstein said that negotiations that “maintain sanctions on Iran and ensure it is free of centrifuges, heavy-water reactors, enrichment facilities and programs to develop intercontinental delivery systems” could have led to the dismantling of Iran's nuclear program. Instead, he said the agreement being formulated would “reward Iran for defying international norms and encourage other countries to do the same.”

“The speech on Tuesday is not just about Iran's nuclear race and it is not just about Israel,” he explained. “It is about whether we, as free people committed to democratic ideals, are still capable of standing together and resisting the temptation to compromise and appease our foes.”




The 'System'




Below we see an explanation of government which is not only accurate, but gives a necessary perspective, especially in the era we are in right now:







And while we're at it - the following video summarizes Mr George Soros and his ambitions:

Prominent Politician And Putin Critic Shot To Death In Moscow



This story is intriguing and some common sense must come into play as we dissect this development. After this introductory article by Zero Hedge, the next articles provide deeper analysis. The quote below, "New sanctions are almost certainly imminent, as is the escalation over Syria and the Ukraine conflict", may represent the most critical aspect of this development. 






Just nine hours after tweeting "Putin annexed Crimea and is now handing over Siberia to the Chinese," and three ours after calling for a "Russian Spring" march, prominent Vladimir Putin critic and former deputy prime minister (in March 1997 Nemtsov was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, with special responsibility for reform of the energy sector), Boris Nemtsov, was killed in the center of Moscow
 As The BBC notes, the Russian opposition politician and former deputy PM was shot to death on a Moscow street. Life News is reporting he was shot in the chest four times on a street very close to Red Square.


Late on the Friday night in downtown Moscow on Vasilevsky Spusk was killed prominent politician Boris Nemtsov.

According to preliminary data, the killer shot four times at the 55-year-old politician and fled the scene. The opposition leader died on the scene of the shooting.

The death of the politician was confirmed by his colleague from the "Republican Party of Russia - People's Freedom Party" Ilya Yashin.

"Nemtsov was shot. He's dead - Yashin wrote on his page on "Facebook".

Boris Nemtsov was one of the founders and leaders of the "Solidarity" party, co-chairman of a political party RPR-Parnassus, as well as a member of the Coordination Council of Russian opposition

The question now: who did it - a retaliation or a provocation, and if so - who is behind it and why? And of course - how will Putin respond? 
One thing is certain: the full weight of the western media will fall like a ton of bricks on Putin and on what has already been described as Russia's descent "into darkness." 


More sanctions are almost certainly imminent, as is the escalation over Syria and the Ukraine conflict.








Martyrdom on demand: if not of use alive, perhaps of use dead? US-backed opposition groups in Russia have so far failed utterly to produce results. Their transparent subservience to Washington coupled with their distasteful brand of politics has left a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth of most Russians. Each attempt to spread the “virus” of color revolution to Moscow, as US Senator John McCain called it, has failed – and each attempt has fallen progressively flatter.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has never been more popular. His ability to weather serial provocations aimed at Russia by NATO has made him a champion against the perceived growing injustice exacted against the developing world by an increasingly militaristic and exploitative West.

So when US-backed opposition groups in Russia decided to gather again this coming March 1, Sunday, many wondered just exactly what they expected to accomplish.



The opposition “hasn’t been this weak for many years,” Stefan Meister, an analyst at the German Council of Foreign Relations in Berlin, said by phone. “Even when we have a growing economic crisis in Russia, there’s still high support for Putin."


The prospect of triggering sustainable unrest aimed at the Kremlin was beyond impossible – that is – until the leader of the planned protest was shot dead, practically on the steps of the Kremlin itself in the heart of Moscow.

Boris Nemtsov, was reportedly shot four times in the back on Friday night in a drive-by shooting. His body laid conveniently for media photographers to capture the Kremlin looming in the background.


Nemtsov had led US-backed opposition protests for years. In 2012, he was caught literally walking into the US Embassy in Moscow to meet with then newly appointed US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul who had serve on the board of directors of Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).


The provocative murder in the center of Moscow, in close proximity to the Kremlin itself, would lead the more gullible members of the general public to imagine President Putin himself leaning back in his office chair with a rifle sticking out the window of the Kremlin, and gunning down his rival – in true super villain form.

Already, before any investigation has been conducted, Western news sources are attempting to imply the Kremlin was behind his murder – hoping the general public believes Russia’s leadership would be careless and thoughtless enough to commit such a provocative act just two days ahead of protests.


It appears likely that rather than the Kremlin clumsily killing an opponent on their doorstep on the eve of  a major protest, he was instead killed by either members of his own opposition movement, or by his US backers themselves. The combination of economic strain brought on by US sanctions, US-backed mobs planning to take to the streets, and now a martyr conventionality delivered just 2 days before the protest he was meant to lead was to take place, has the deck stacked with the most favorable cards to deliver the West the sort of sustainable chaos and unrest it has desired to create in Russia, and has admittedly created in neighboring Ukraine, according to America’s own former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul.

Regarding Nemtsov’s murder, any good investigator would be tasked with the question, “to whose benefit?” Surely it would benefit the Kremlin to rid themselves of an opponents, but not in this manner. In fact, the only party that stood to benefit from his high-profile execution in the streets of Moscow were his own compatriots and his foreign backers who faced the prospect of yet another failed protest. Sympathy, they hope, will spur Russians who are on the fence politically to take to the streets, joining others who may have previously avoided protests because of Russia’s economic strength before US sanctions sank in.

The opposition, if they were not behind the murder of one of their own leaders, would not dare hold the protest this week – as it would be a shameless exploitation of this tragedy – and they would instead, for both security and respect, mourn the loss of Nemtsov thoughtfully. However, since they and their foreign backers were undoubtedly behind the murder, they will protest, shamelessly leveraging Nemtsov’s death to its fullest – using mourners to bolster their ranks.






Everything will be done for the organizers and executors of this vile and cynical murder to receive the punishment they deserve," the statement on the Russian President’s official website said.
Boris Nemtsov, a veteran opposition figure in Russia, was gunned down in a drive-by attack in central Moscow overnight Friday.
The murder, which happened just away from the Kremlin, triggered worldwide condemnation and calls to bring the killers to justice.

Investigators are doing their best to solve the murder of the opposition politician, said Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee. Previously, he said that the investigators are looking into five possible motives behind Nemtsov’s assassination.
According to Markin, the politician’s murder could have been a provocation to destabilize the political situation in Russia. It could have also been linked to the threats Nemtsov received over his stance on Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris or the current war in Ukraine. The politician’s business activities and a possible assault related to his personal life are also being looked into.
The car, which was used in Nemtsov’s drive-by murder, has reportedly been found by the police, according to REN TV news channel.
The white Lada Priora, carrying license plates from the Republic of Ingushetia in Russia’s North Caucasus, was discovered parked not far from the crime scene.
Moscow city authorities meanwhile have given permission to Russian opposition leaders to hold a march to commemorate Nemtsov after they canceled a planned protest rally due to the murder. The Sunday rally will cross the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge where the politician was shot dead.

Nemtsov, 55, gained popularity as a governor to Nizhny Novgorod region, staying in the office from 1991 to 1997. He served as energy minister and deputy prime minister under former President Boris Yeltsin. After 1998 he participated in the creation of several liberal movements and parties, serving as a Member of Parliament. Since 2012, he had co-chaired the liberal party RPR-PARNAS (Republican Party of Russia – People's Freedom Party), being more involved in business than politics.






'Comrades For Net Neutrality' - Things To Come



This development is as predictable as the day is long - as things become darker and darker in the shadow of the looming Tribulation:






Today’s vote by a bitterly divided Federal Communications Commission that the Internet should be regulated as a public utility is the culmination of a decade-long battle by the Left. Using money from George Soros and liberal foundations that totaled at least $196 million, radical activists finally succeeded in ramming through “net neutrality,” or the idea that all data should be transmitted equally over the Internet. The final push involved unprecedented political pressure exerted by the Obama White House on FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, head of an ostensibly independent regulatory body.


“Net neutrality’s goal is to empower the federal government to ration and apportion Internet bandwidth as it sees fit, and to thereby control the Internet’s content,” says Phil Kerpen, an anti-net-neutrality activist from the group American Commitment.


The courts have previously ruled the FCC’s efforts to impose “net neutrality” out of bounds, so the battle isn’t over. But for now, the FCC has granted itself enormous power to micromanage the largely unrestrained Internet.


Will Marshall, head of the Progressive Policy Institute (which was once a favorite think tank of Clinton Democrats), issued a statement that net neutrality “endorses a backward-looking policy that would apply the brakes to the most dynamic sector of America’s economy.”

But such voices have been drowned out by left-wing activists who want to manage the Internet to achieve their political objectives. The most influential of these congregate around the deceptively named Free Press, a liberal lobby co-founded in 2002 by Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor.

His goals have always been clear. “At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,” he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.” Earlier in 2000, he toldthe Marxist magazine Monthly Review: “Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.” 

In essence, what McChesney and his followers want is an Unfree Press — a media world that promotes their values. “To cast things in neo-Marxist terms that they could appreciate, they want to take control of the information means of production,” says Adam Therier of the blog TechLiberation.

Despite his astonishingly radical goals, McChesney’s Free Press group was able to leverage foundation cash and academic “research” into an influential force behind net neutrality. Julius Genachowski, President Obama’s first FCC chairman, hired Free Press’s Jen Howard as his press secretary. The FCC’s chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd, has co-authored a Free Press report demanding regulation of political talk radio. 


The battle for control of the Internet isn’t over. Over two-thirds of the House and Senate are on record as opposing FCC regulation of the Internet, and a new president could change the policy overnight in 2017 even if the courts don’t block it.



But for now, the “media reform” movement led by McChesney and his allies can claim bragging rights for their Saul Alinsky–style outflanking maneuver on Internet regulation. They financed the research behind the idea, installed their political allies in power, got the government to consider them experts on the issues they cared deeply about, and finally ran roughshod over both Congress and an initially reluctant FCC chairman. Conservatives should study how the Left won on this issue even as they acknowledge and fight the illegitimacy of many of the results.







In a vote along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved what amounts to a government takeover of the Internet. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his fellow Democrats, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, approved placing the Internet under Title II regulations. They will reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, and regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like utility companies, or “common carriers,” rather than “information services” that remain outside the agency’s regulatory power. Republican commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly dissented, with Pai explaining that net neutrality is “a solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

The arrogance of Wheeler and his allies has been evident for some time. The 332-page proposal they approved was never made available to the public or Congress prior to the vote, even as Wheeler ignored pleas by Pai and O’Rielly to do so. “We respectfully request that FCC leadership immediately release the 332-page Internet regulation plan publicly and allow the American people a reasonable period of not less than 30 days to carefully study it,” they said in a statement released Monday.

Wheeler also ignored a similar request Wednesday to testify before the House Oversight Committee, eliciting condemnation from Committee Chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “So long as the chairman continues to insist on secrecy, we will continue calling for more transparency and accountability at the commission,” Chaffetz and Upton said in a statement. “Chairman Wheeler and the FCC are not above Congress.”


The implications of this decision are more far-reaching than most Americans might imagine. 

On Wednesday Thune warned that the FCC’s move could make it harder to prevent authoritarian regimes like Russia and China from exercising increasing control over the Internet, using the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as their vehicle. 

It also allows the FCC to impose fines on companies found to be employing “unreasonable” business practices—as defined by the FCC itself. And while the agency promises it won’t impose price controls, Title II allows it to do so. In short, net neutrality is nothing less than the Obama administration’s determination to impose “social justice” on private companies because it would be “unfair” for them to treat some customers (read less profitable) less favorably other customers (read more profitable).

Democrats and their leftist media allies might say, the Internet has been a triumph of innovation and expansion for decades without the kind of limitations the FCC is now imposing. And that, in and of itself, is the genuine reality that grates against progressive instincts: there must be no such brilliance and innovation that remains beyond the yoke of government, lest the “greater good,” as it is defined by those very same statists, be so transparently threatened.

Is there anything more typically progressive than a system of governance that imposes “demands” on the risk-taking, hard work and innovations of others?

That mindset is illuminated in a column written by net neutrality advocate Malkia Cyril, founder and executive director of the Oakland-based Center for Media Justice. It is entitled, “Only net neutrality can protect the internet from becoming like TV: white, middle-class and exclusive.” And like the reliable progressive she is, Cyril can’t resist framing the net neutrality issue in those oh-so familiar terms. “If we lose that vote, the most democratic communications platform the world has ever seen could become more like cable TV, a fairly scary place that reproduces the economic gaps and racial hierarchies of the offline world,” she laments. She goes on to insist that “equal representation in a digital economy and 21st century democracy demands net neutrality protections.”

In her remarks, Commissioner Clyburn said the “framers” of America’s Constitution “would be pleased” with the FCC’s plan. Really? A plan kept completely secret until after it was voted on? One that imposes government controls where there were none before? Commissioner O’Rielly was far more accurate. “I see no need for net neutrality rules,” he said, adding that the FCC’s decision amounted to a “monumental and unlawful power grab.”




Also see:












Why Netanyahu's Speech Matters





This topic is important not only prophetically but in terms of the future of the Middle East and all of its ramifications. Today's news has multiple editorials on the topic, but these first two may be the most germane:






It exposes the Iran deal as indefensible — and Obama’s politics as bankrupt.



The emerging nuclear deal with Iran is indefensible. The White House knows it. That is why President Obama does not want to subject an agreement to congressional approval, why critics of the deal are dismissed as warmongers, and why the president, his secretary of state, and his national-security adviser have spent several weeks demonizing the prime minister of Israel for having the temerity to accept an invitation by the U.S. Congress to deliver a speech on a subject of existential import for his small country. These tactics distract public attention. They turn a subject of enormous significance to American foreign policy into a petty personal drama. They prevent us from discussing what America is about to give away.

And America is about to give away a lot. This week the AP reported on what an agreement with Iran might look like: sanctions relief in exchange for promises to slow down Iranian centrifuges for ten years. At which point the Iranians could manufacture a bomb — assuming they hadn’t produced one in secret. Iran would get international legitimacy, assurance that military intervention was not an option, and no limitations on its ICBM programs, its support for international terrorism, its enrichment of plutonium, its widespread human-rights violations, and its campaign to subvert or co-opt Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria. Then it can announce itself as the first Shia nuclear power.

And America? Liberals would flatter themselves for avoiding a war. Obama wouldn’t have to worry about the Iranians testing a nuke for the duration of his presidency. And a deal would be a step toward the rapprochement with Iran that he has sought throughout his years in office.


The EU representative to the talks, for example, says a nuclear agreement “could open the way for a normal diplomatic relation” between Iran and the West, and could present “the opportunity for shaping a different regional framework in the Middle East.” A regional framework, let it be said, that would leave American interests at risk, Israel one bomb away from a second Holocaust, nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East, and Islamic theocrats in charge of a large part of a strategic and volatile region.

I feel safer already.


Close to a decade of negotiations meant to end the Iranian nuclear program is about to culminate in the legitimization of that program and an enriched — in both senses of the word — empowered, and no less hostile Iran. 

Our government and the media that so often resemble its propaganda organ will attempt to characterize this colossal failure of nerve as a personal victory for a lame-duck president and a milestone in international relations.


It is important that they lose this battle, that the Iran deal is revealed to the world for the capitulation that it is, that the dangers of subletting the Middle East to the Koranic scholars of Qom and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps are given expression, not only for substantive reasons of policy and security but also because the way in which the advocates of d├ętente have behaved has been reprehensible.


What the opponents of a bad deal with Iran have witnessed over the last few months is the transference of Obama’s domestic political strategies to the international stage. A senior administration official is on record likening an Iranian nuclear agreement to Obamacare, and the comparison makes sense not only in the relative importance of the two policies to this president, not only because both policies are terrible and carry within them unforeseen consequences that will not be manifest for years, but also because of the way opponents of both policies are treated by the White House. If they are not ignored or dismissed, their motives are impugned. They are attacked personally, bullied, made examples of.


As for Netanyahu, he is called “chickens***” by anonymous sources, the national security adviser says his decision to address Congress is “destructive” of the U.S.–Israel alliance, Kerry tells Congress it shouldn’t listen to Bibi because he voiced wan supportfor regime change in Iraq (a war that Kerry voted to authorize), the congressional liaison rallies the Congressional Black Caucus to boycott the speech, and the administration leaks to the AP its strategy “to undercut” his speech and “blunt his message that a potential nuclear deal with Iran is bad for Israel and the world.” The strategy includes media appearances and the threat of a “pointed snub” of AIPAC, which has done everything it can over the last several years to ignore or acquiesce to President Obama’s anti-Israel foreign policy.


This sort of contempt for one’s opponents has become so commonplace in American politics since the 2010 “bipartisan health-care summit,” where the president snidely told John McCain “the election’s over,” that I suppose it was only a matter of time before it influenced the administration’s relationships with foreign powers.


But it says something about this president that the only country in the world that he treats seriously as an opponent is the state of Israel — that he holds the Israeli government to a standard he applies to no other government, that he is openly hostile to the elected prime minister of Israel and not so secretly hopes for the prime minister to be replaced in the upcoming election, and that he threatens reprisal against a domestic interest group with predominantly Jewish leadership and membership for a disagreement he has with a foreign prime minister — as though Jews were interchangeable when they are not, as in the case of the “deli” where they were “randomly” gunned down, invisible.


Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday matters precisely because it is a rebuke to the Obama mode of politics, to which America has become numb. Netanyahu’s refusal to back down in the face of political and media pressure, his insistence in making his case directly and emphatically, is as much a statement as any of the technical and strategic and moral claims he will make in his speech. And by going to war against Bibi, the White House has inadvertently raised the stature of his address from a diplomatic courtesy to a global event.

Netanyahu’s commitment to warning America about a nuclear Iran has given him the opportunity to explain just how devoid of merit the prospective deal is. His speech is proof that Congress is a co-equal branch of government where substantive argument can triumph over vicious personal attacks and executive overreach and utopian aspirations. Of course Barack Obama can’t stand it.










The Obama administration values a future relationship with Iran more than it values the historic relationship it has with Israel.

Unless there’s a reversal in the reported deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran, all the superficial talk about this extraordinary friendship between Israel and the United States isn’t going to mean much. And the histrionics surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech in front of a joint session of Congress only confirm that there are plenty of people who are happy about it.

First, Americans were supposed to be outraged because Netanyahu engaged in a breach of protocol. Then we were supposed to be outraged because the speech would be given too close to the upcoming Israeli elections. (Senator Tim Kaine [D., Va.] is still using this excuse for his own boycott.) But if the Israeli elections — and President Barack Obama has done about everything possible to weaken Netanyahu’s position — are so problematic, then the controversy should be centered on the behavior of the prime minister, not the substance of his argument. But that’s not the case, is it?

Administration mouthpieces warn us that the once-special relationship between the nations will collapse under the weight of a single speech — and some of those warnings have come with a hint of anticipation. The real victims of Netanyahu? American Jews. Critics suggest that challenging the president while he is in the middle of foreign policy deal-making is both a bit unpatriotic and dangerously partisan.

But the problem isn’t protocol, Israeli elections, patriotism, or partisanship. It’s the fact that Netanyahu is going to make a powerful argument against enabling Iran to become a nuclear power. Many Americans will hear it — or hear of it. Many Americans will agree.
Devotion to Obama is not the same as loyalty to your country. The opposition party, in fact, has a responsibility to disrupt the president’s agenda if it truly believes that it’s the wrong path for the nation. This is why we have political parties. And this is why I’m pretty sure many anti-war liberals believe that the Hillary Clintons and John Kerrys of the world failed the country leading up to the Iraq War.

We do know some other things. Whereas Obama looks to be comfortable with the expansion of Iranian power with proxies in Syria and Lebanon, our allies in Israel may not feel the same way. 
Obama may be comfortable with the idea that Tehran can develop powerful centrifuges that put it in a position to build a bomb within a year, but that reality is probably unsettling for the Sunnis and Jews in the area. In fact, former CIA deputy director Michael Morell says that a potential Iran nuclear agreement would limit Iran to the number of centrifuges needed for a weapon but not enough for the imaginary nuclear-power program it wants.

So though there is plenty of criticism aimed at Netanyahu’s aggressive methods in Israel, there will also be widespread agreement among nearly all political denominations in the Jewish state regarding the substance of his speech and the warnings about a nuclear Iran. Surely, hearing out the case of an ally that is persistently threatened by Holocaust-denying Iranian officials doesn’t need to come with this much angst from Democrats. But if it does, it’s worth asking why.


Also see:









Friday, February 27, 2015

U.S. vs Israel, U.S. vs Russia, How ISIS Threatens Europe






When a Russian bomber flew over international waters some 25 miles off the southwest tip of England last week, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon called Russia "a real and present danger." The UK government scrambled jet fighters to meet the Russian aircraft as a show of force. 
Said Secretary Fallon of the incident, "NATO has to be ready for any kind of aggression from Russia, whatever form it takes." He added that, "NATO is getting ready," warning particularly that Russia may soon move to invade the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. 
Reading the feverish Twitter feed of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Gen. Phil Breedlove, one would get the impression that NATO is already at war with Russia. Fighter jets sit menacingly atop aircraft carriers as the General beams about NATO member countries' commitment to contribute to the fight.
The message is clear: Russia is about to attack! NATO has, for no understandable reason, found itself in Russia's crosshairs. NATO cannot figure out how it is that Russia could possibly feel threatened by its actions, which, unlike Russia's are not in the slightest provocative.

Russian military plane over international waters 25 miles from the UK coast is "real and present danger" to NATO. Yet...


Yet yesterday US combat vehicles conducted a military parade and show of military force in Estonia just 300 yards -- yards! -- from the Russian border. That is just over 60 miles from downtown St. Petersburg.


Here is dramatic video of NATO's military display just three football fields from Russia:

This is not a provocation, we are to believe. This is not a "real and present danger" to Russia. NATO is exempt from the rules it imposes on its enemies. 
In the Guardian's review of a new book by Politics professor George Sakwa, the current fallout from a near quarter century of post-Cold War NATO policies is perfectly captured:


The hawks in the Clinton administration ignored all this, Bush abandoned the anti-ballistic missile treaty and put rockets close to Russia’s borders, and now a decade later, after Russia’s angry reaction to provocations in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine today, we have what Sakwa rightly calls a “fateful geographical paradox: that Nato exists to manage the risks created by its existence”.
That line bears repeating: "Nato exists to manage the risks created by its existence."





In Philadelphia in 2008, Candidate Obama threatened his political opponents in stating, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” He continued, “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl.”


Six years into President Obama’s eight-year tenure we are now seeing him with full guns blazing. Unfortunately, they are not directed at Russia, Iran, North Korea, or ISIS. The Bully-in-Chief apparently believes that the world likes “a good brawl” and has chosen Israel and its Jewish citizens as the target of his irrational and venomous rage. 

Despite clear indications well before Obama’s 2008 victory that he would not be a friend of Israel (articulately addressed by many conservative journalists, including AT’s prolific Ed Lasky), watching Obama unchained over the past several months has nonetheless been shocking and disturbing. Obama has aggressively and senselessly sicced his attack dogs on Israel’s Prime Minister. 

And the efforts to which he is going to block a speech that is intended to prevent the world’s largest purveyor of terrorism from attaining nuclear capability is astounding.

Obama believes, or at least would like the world to believe, that Netanyahu has begun a fight with him. What knives does Obama perceive as having been thrust at him by Netanyahu?  The issuance of building permits and the refusal to acquiesce to administration pressure to sign a dangerous deal with the Palestinians top the list. But apparently Bibi pulled out the butcher knife when he accepted an invitation to speak before Congress next week.

Netanyahu has been personally ridiculed, lambasted and yelled at by Obama and other administration officials, given a time out and abandoned to sit for hours in the basement of the White House while Obama dined on food prepared by his private chef, called names that only classless gutter inhabitants would utter, ignored, abused on the world stage, and generally treated like vermin. 

Furthermore, the detailed list of anti-Israel steps taken by Obama and his administration maintained at Discover the Networks is currently 36 pages long -- and counting. For instance, Obama has leaked and directly disclosed Israeli classified information and military secrets (including Israel’s involvement in developing the Stuxnet virus, outing Israel’s nuclear weapons program, and disclosing a secret agreement that would allow Israel to use Saudi airspace for an Iranian strike). 

 He has blamed Israel for general strife in the region insinuating that if Israel would just make peace with the Palestinians, the civil wars and violence would end.  And he has blamed Israel rather than the terrorists when his attempt to ram a two-state solution down Israel’s throat failed. He has not unconditionally supported Israel at the U.N. as the constant threat of a veto of any anti-Israel resolutions hangs over Israel’s head. And he delayed sending rearmaments and weapons shipments that Israel needed during Operation Cast Lead this summer.

But all of that looks like small handgun-style combat in comparison to the automatic weapons that have been drawn over the past couple of months. Obama wants a deal with Iran and will do almost anything to achieve that goal. Netanyahu wants to ensure Israel’s survival and that of the Jewish people.

 Based on the way the P5+1 negotiations are proceeding, it appears that Iran’s nuclear program will not be required to be dismantled. Like all of Obama’s empty promises, his vow to do everything in his power to prevent Iran from going nuclear was simply a lie uttered for political gain.

Obama will not be stopped in his quest to ensure Iran’s hegemonic takeover of the Middle East -- and certainly not by the likes of an adversary like Netanyahu.  So with all the fire power he can muster, Obama is on the attack as if preventing Netanyahu’s speech before Congress is a life or death matter.


He has ordered to combat the big guns like National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who told Charlie Rose that Netanyahu’s speech is “destructive” to the U.S./Israel relationship (ignoring the prior six Obama years of tearing down and destroying what American presidents had recognized as a strategically and morally essential alliance). 
 
Kerry made the unmerited claim that Netanyahu cannot be trusted because he supported the Iraq war “and look how that turned out.” No mention that Netanyahu was not the prime minister at the time, that Kerry also supported the war, and most importantly, that the only reason Iraq is a failure is because Kerry’s boss chose to surrender the victory.

In preparation for post-speech spin claiming that Netanyahu has no idea what he is talking about, the administration has stopped sharing information with Israel regarding the P5+1 negotiations. Of course, Congress and Americans are being left in the dark as well. Obama is following Nancy Pelosi’s playbook when she claimed, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy.” Obama wants to sign a treaty allowing Iran to go nuclear before Americans or Netanyahu can stop him.

We have never seen an administration more coordinated in their attacks, from Susan Rice to John Kerry to the president, repeatedly, at Netanyahu, calling him, 'destructive".

Elliot Abrams concludes that there are three motivations for Obama’s current temper tantrum:

to damage and defeat Netanyahu (whom Obama has always disliked simply because he is on the right while Obama is on the left) in his election campaign, to prevent Israel from affecting the Iran policy debate in the United States, and worst of all to diminish Israel’s popularity in the United States and especially among Democrats.

Historically speaking, Netanyahu’s speech may very well be the most important since World War II. At this point, only Congress can stop Obama from caving to the Mullahs and forever changing the world. For instead of preventing a nuclear Iran, Obama is going nuclear on Israel. And if he continues to elevate the type of weaponry he uses in his war against Israel, pulling out nuclear missiles in his final years in office, Israel will need all of the friends in Congress that Netanyahu can muster.






There are a lot of stories about the Dem members of Congress boycotting Netanyahu’s speech. But most of the names on the list are longtime opponents of the Jewish State.

The boycott lists consists of two groups. Congressional Black Caucus members who are offended on Obama’s behalf and can smell racism anywhere.

The other consists of opponents of Israel.

It’s instructive to compare the list of boycotters to the 54 members of Congress who signed a letter calling for an end to Israel’s blockade of Hamas in Gaza.

Their boycott isn’t some new response to something Netanyahu did. They’re longtime opponents of Israel.

And it is instructive to note how many of the congressmen and congresswomen on the list are funded by CAIR money. Keith Ellison, John Conyers, Loretta Sanchez, Betty McCollum, Lois Capps, Bill Pascrell, Elijah Cummings, Bob Filner, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, John Dingell, James Moran, Nick Rahall, Andre Carson, Mary Jo Kilroy, Carolyn Kilpatrick and Jim McDermott are among the top receivers of CAIR money in congress.





The news from the nuclear talks with Iran was already troubling. Iran was being granted the “right to enrich.” It would be allowed to retain and spin thousands of centrifuges. It could continue construction of the Arak plutonium reactor. Yet so thoroughly was Iran stonewalling International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that just last Thursday the IAEA reportedits concern “about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed . . .development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

Bad enough. Then it got worse: News leaked Mondayof the elements of a “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.

Sanctions lifted. Restrictions gone. Nuclear development legitimized. Iran would reenter the international community, as Obama suggested in an interview in December, as “a very successful regional power.” A few years — probably around 10 — of good behavior and Iran would be home free.
The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy.

Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It’s not even part of these negotiations.

Why is Iran building them? You don’t build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Nor does Iran need an ICBM to hit Riyadh or Tel Aviv. Intercontinental missiles are for reaching, well, other continents. North America, for example.
The deal now on offer to the ayatollah would confer legitimacy on the nuclearization of the most rogue of rogue regimes: radically anti-American, deeply jihadist, purveyor of terrorism from Argentina to Bulgaria, puppeteer of a Syrian regime that specializes in dropping barrel bombs on civilians. In fact, the Iranian regime just this week, at the apex of these nuclear talks, staged a spectacular attack on a replica U.S. carrier near the Strait of Hormuz.




The threat posed to Europe by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) came closer to home on Feb. 15 when the group released a video showing ISIS militants killing 21 Egyptian Christians on the Libyan shores of the Mediterranean — the same coastline from which each week hundreds of people set sail for Europe. One of the militants points across the sea at the heart of Europe and says: “We will conquer Rome, by the will of Allah.”

“They have been making threats about targeting the West for some time,” says Rob Wainwright, the director of the pan-European Union law enforcement agency EUROPOL. “Here, they’re making [the threat] closer to Europe in geographical terms and in an area of North Africa that’s also the embarkation point for flows of migrants. So common sense would dictate that there is a potential threat there, and we’re very alive to that possibility.”
The spread of ISIS across the Middle East has already had a significant impact on Europe. Unrest has forced record numbers of people to flee the fighting in Syria and Iraq and embark on dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean. In 2014, 200,000 people attempted the sea journey to seek sanctuary in Europe compared to 60,000 the previous year, according to statistics from the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.

The U.K.-based counter-extremism think tank Quilliam recently translated an ISIS propaganda paper outlining potential strategies the group could adopt in Libya. One possible approach involves taking advantage of Libya’s vast coastline and its proximity to Europe and travelling on the same routes as migrant boats to slip into Europe undetected.

“If this was even partially exploited and developed strategically, pandemonium could be wrought in the southern Europe,” Quilliam’s translation of the ISIS document reads. “It is even possible that there could be a closure of shipping lines because of the targeting of Crusader ships and tankers.” The researcher who translated the paper, Charlie Winter, notes the claims should be treated as propaganda, with no evidence that ISIS is actually employing this strategy.

Another concern is that fighters could join the refugee exodus fleeing across the Syria-Turkey border and make their way overland through Greece and the Balkans and into Western Europe.




In a vote along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved what amounts to a government takeover of the Internet. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his fellow Democrats, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, approved placing the Internet under Title II regulations. They will reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, and regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like utility companies, or “common carriers,” rather than “information services” that remain outside the agency’s regulatory power. Republican commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly dissented, with Pai explaining that net neutrality is “a solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

The arrogance of Wheeler and his allies has been evident for some time. The 332-page proposal they approved was never made available to the public or Congress prior to the vote, even as Wheeler ignored pleas by Pai and O’Rielly to do so. “We respectfully request that FCC leadership immediately release the 332-page Internet regulation plan publicly and allow the American people a reasonable period of not less than 30 days to carefully study it,” they said in a statement released Monday.

Wheeler also ignored a similar request Wednesday to testify before the House Oversight Committee, eliciting condemnation from Committee Chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “So long as the chairman continues to insist on secrecy, we will continue calling for more transparency and accountability at the commission,” Chaffetz and Upton said in a statement. “Chairman Wheeler and the FCC are not above Congress.”

In her remarks, Commissioner Clyburn said the “framers” of America’s Constitution “would be pleased” with the FCC’s plan. Really? A plan kept completely secret until after it was voted on? One that imposes government controls where there were none before? Commissioner O’Rielly was far more accurate. “I see no need for net neutrality rules,” he said, adding that the FCC’s decision amounted to a “monumental and unlawful power grab.”




Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a non-elected federal government agency, voted three-to-two to reclassify broadband Internet as a common carrier service under Title II of the Communications Act. This means that – without the vote of Congress, the peoples’ branch of government – a federal agency now claims the power to regulate the Internet. I am surprised that even among civil liberties groups, some claim the federal government increasing regulation of the Internet somehow increases our freedom and liberty.
The truth is very different. The adoption of these FCC rules on the Internet represents the largest regulatory power grab in recent history. The FCC’s newly adopted rule takes the most dynamic means of communication and imposes the regulatory structure designed for public utilities. Federal regulation could also open the door to de facto censorship of ideas perceived as threatening to the political class – ideas like the troops should be brought home, the PATRIOT Act should be repealed, military spending and corporate welfare should be cut, and the Federal Reserve should be audited and ended.
The one bright spot in this otherwise disastrous move is that federal regulations making it more difficult to use the Internet will cause more Americans to join our movement for liberty, peace, and prosperity. The federal government should keep its hands off of the Internet!




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