As usual, the fine print of any European "deal" is revealed not only after the agreement, but after the US market close. So for all those waiting for the real punchline, here it is - it also is the reason why Greece got until Monday to reveal the list of "reforms" it would undertake:
"We’re in trouble next week if creditors don’t accept Greece’s reforms", Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says. "If our list of reforms is not backed by the institutions, this agreement is dead and buried."
That's bad. But... "But it’s not going to be knocked down by the institutions."
For his sake, let's hopes he is correct in predicting what the Troika, pardon, Institutions will do. Because this is precisely what Schauble meant when he said that the "Greeks Certainly Will Have A Difficult Time To Explain The Deal To Their Voters": under the conditionality of the Troika's approval, the Tsipras government now has to walk back essentially all the promises it made to the Greek people - promises which by some accounts amount to over €20 billion in additional spending - or the Troika, pardon Institutions, will yank the entire deal and the Grexit can then commence.
And that's the bottom line.
It's also the reason Schauble was gloating: because he gave the Greek government just enough rope with which to hang itself.
Then again, if and when the Tsirpas government is booted out next once the Greek euphoria turns to disgust and disillusionment, does Germany really want to negotiate with Golden Dawn instead?
[This is a typically long commentary, but it is just so hard to find places to delete in her commentaries, as almost all of her material is highly relevant and important]
Officially, the election on March 17 is among Israelis. Depending on how we vote, either Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will remain in office and form the next government led by his Likud party, or Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni will form a government.
But unofficially, a far greater electoral drama is unfolding. The choice is not between Netanyahu and Herzog/Livni. It is between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama.
As the White House sees it, if Herzog/Livni form the next government, then Jerusalem will dance to Obama’s tune. If Netanyahu is reelected, then the entire edifice of Obama’s Middle East policy may topple and fall.
Secretary of State John Kerry made clear the administration’s desire to topple Netanyahu last spring during his remarks before the Trilateral Commission. It was during that memorable speech that Kerry libeled Israel, claiming that we would automatically and naturally become an apartheid state if we didn’t give Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to the PLO, Jew free, as quickly as possible.
Shortly after Kerry gave his Israel apartheid speech, his Middle East mediator Martin Indyk attacked Israel and the character of the Israeli people in an astounding interview to Yediot Aharonot.
Indyk also threatened that the Palestinians will get their state whether Israel agrees to their terms or not. In his words, “They will get their state in the end – whether through violence or by turning to international organizations.”
This week, Indyk was back in Israel to speak at the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies. There he provided us with a picture of what we can expect from the Obama administration in its remaining two years in office if Netanyahu forms the next government.
On the Palestinian front, Indyk warned that Israel shouldn’t be worried about the Palestinians getting an anti-Israel resolution passed in the UN Security Council. Rather, it can expect that the US will join with the other permanent members of the UN Security Council to pass a resolution “against Israel’s will” that will “lay out the principle of a two-state solution.”
As Indyk intimated, Israel can avoid this fate if it elects a Herzog/Livni government. Such a government, he indicated, will preemptively give in to all of the Palestinians demands and so avoid a confrontation with the US and its colleagues at the Security Council.
As for Iran, Indyk shrugged at Israel’s concerns over the agreement that Obama is now seeking to conclude with the Iranian regime regarding its nuclear weapons program. That agreement will leave Iran as a threshold nuclear state. Indyk suggested that the US could assuage Israel’s concerns by signing a bilateral treaty with Israel that would commit the US to do something if Iran passes some nuclear threshold.
There are only three problems with such a deal.
First, as former ambassador to the US Itamar Rabinovich noted, such a treaty would likely render Israel unable to take independent action against Iranian nuclear sites.
Second, the US has a perfect track record of missing every major nuclear advance by every country.
US intelligence agencies were taken by surprise when India, Pakistan and North Korea joined the nuclear club... In other words, it would be insane for Israel to trust that the US would act in a timely manner to prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold.
Third of course is the demonstrated lack of US will – particularly under the Obama administration – to take any action that could prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. So Israel has no reason whatsoever to believe that the US would honor its commitment.
But then, since the Obama administration believes that Herzog and Livni will be compliant with its policies, the White House may expect the two will agree to forgo Israel’s right to self-defense and place Israel’s national security in relation to Iran in Obama’s hands.
And this brings us to the real contest unfolding in the lead-up to March 17.
When Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner announced last month that he had invited Netanyahu to address the joint houses of Congress on the threat emanating from Iran’s nuclear program and from radical Islam, he unintentionally transformed the Israeli elections from a local affair to a contest between Obama and Netanyahu.
More than anything, they expose a deep-seated fear that Netanyahu will be successful in exposing the grave danger that Obama’s policies toward Iran and toward the Islamic world in general pose to the global security.
Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu sparked a long-belated public debate in the US regarding Obama’s strategy of appeasing the Iranian regime.
These analyses have noted for the first time that in pursuing Iran, Obama is alienating and weakening America’s allies, enabling Iran to expand its nuclear program, and empowering Iran regionally as the US does nothing to prevent Iran’s takeover of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
Second, it is possible that in his remarks about Iran and radical Islam, Netanyahu will manage to discredit Obama’s approach to both issues. This is possible because Obama’s approach is difficult to understand.
Most of the coverage of Netanyahu’s scheduled speech before Congress has centered on his opposition to the deal Obama seeks to conclude with Iran. But it may be that the second half of his speech – which will be devoted to the threat posed by radical Islam – will be no less devastating to Obama. Obama’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the fact that the greatest looming threats to global security today, including US national security, stem from radical Islam indicates that he is unable to contend with any evidence that jihadist Islam constitutes a unique threat unlike the threat posed by Western chauvinism and racism.
It is hard to understand either Israel’s election or Obama’s hysterical response to Netanyahu’s scheduled speech without recognizing that Obama clearly feels threatened by the message he will deliver. Surrounded by sycophantic aides and advisers, and until recently insulated from criticism by a supportive media, while free to ignore Congress due to his veto power, Obama has never had to seriously explain his policies regarding Iran and Islamic terrorists more generally. He has never endured a direct challenge to those policies.
Today Obama believes that he is in a to-the-death struggle with Netanyahu. If Netanyahu’s speech is a success, Obama’s foreign policy will be indefensible. If Obama is able to delegitimize Netanyahu ahead of his arrival, and bring about his electoral defeat, then with a compliant Israeli government, he will face no obstacles to his plan to appease Iran and blame Islamic terrorism on the West for the remainder of his tenure in office.
Beshir Kamel, a Christian musician, lost two brothers to the Islamic State murderers last week. Following their beheading in Egypt, Kamel thanked the Islamic murderers for including the men's declaration of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in the graphic video they made.
Appearing on the Arabic Christian TV network SAT-7, Kamel told Fayez Maher that he was proud of his brothers Bishoy Estafanos Kamel, 25, and Samuel Estafanos Kamel, 23, because they were "a badge of honour to Christianity."
The video of their beheading has been videoed all around the globe as a witness for Christ, in which many of the men's final words were "Lord Jesus Christ."
Kamel's thankfulness that his brother's witness being included is nothing shy of understanding how the hand of God works in these situations. After all, I'm sure the Islamists deemed that their testimony and their martyrdom would cause fear to rise in the hearts of Christians not only in the area they are in, but also around the world. However, they fail to realize something that Tertullian wrote in the second century, hundreds of years before Islam was even known.
"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." (Apologeticus, Chapter 50)
"Since the Roman era, Christians have been martyred and have learned to handle everything that comes our way," he said. "This only makes us stronger in our faith because the Bible told us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us."
The show host asked Kamel if he would be able to forgive those who had murdered his brothers. He recounted his mother's own words which she told him that she would say to any of the men who murdered her son.
"My mother, an uneducated woman in her sixties, said she would ask (him) to enter her house and ask God to open his eyes because he was the reason her son entered the kingdom of heaven," he said.
"Dear God, please open their eyes to be saved and to quit their ignorance and the wrong teachings they were taught," Kamel prayed.
This sounds very similar to the prayers of the great Protestant Reformation Bible translator William Tyndale who prayed before being executed by strangulation and being burned at the stake, "Lord! Open the King of England's eyes."
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