Friday, October 24, 2014

Geert Wilders on “The West’s Battle for Freedom.”

In the last three days a 3-month-old baby girl was murdered in Jerusalem, a Canadian soldier was murdered in Ottawa and a police officer attacked with a hatchet in New York City. To every thinking person it is obvious that we have a problem, but governments continue to obfuscate. Not Geert Wilders 

Barack Obama, bewildered bystander

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks to the media about the government’s Ebola response in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

 Opinion writer October 23 at 7:50 PM

The president is upset. Very upset. Frustrated and angry. Seething about the government’s handling of Ebola, said the front-page headline in the
New York Times last Saturday.
There’s only one problem with this pose, so obligingly transcribed for him by the Times. It’s his government. He’s president. Has been for six years. Yet Barack Obama reflexively insists on playing the shocked outsider when something goes wrong within his own administration.
The IRS? “It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it,” he thundered in May 2013 when the story broke of the agency targeting conservative groups. “I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS.”
Except that within nine months, Obama had grown far more tolerant, retroactively declaring this to be a phony scandal without “a smidgen of corruption.”
Obamacare rollout? “Nobody is more frustrated by that than I am,” said an aggrieved Obama about the botching of the central element of his signature legislative achievement. “Nobody is madder than me.”
Veterans Affairs scandal? Presidential chief of staff Denis McDonough explained: “Secretary [Eric] Shinseki said yesterday ... that hes mad as hell and the president is madder than hell. A nice touch taking anger to the next level.
The president himself declared: “I will not stand for it.” But since the administration itself said the problem was long-standing, indeed predating Obama, this means he had stood for it for 5½ years.
The one scandal where you could credit the president with genuine anger and obliviousness involves the recent breaches of White House Secret Service protection. The Washington Post described the first lady and president as “angry and upset,” and no doubt they were. But the first Secret Service scandal — the hookers of Cartagena — evinced this from the president: “If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry.” An innovation in ostentatious distancing: future conditional indignation.
These shows of calculated outrage — and thus distance — are becoming not just unconvincing but unamusing. In our system, the president is both head of state and head of government. Obama seems to enjoy the monarchial parts, but when it comes to the actual business of running government, he shows little interest and even less aptitude.
His principal job, after all, is to administer the government and to get the right people to do it. (That’s why we typically send governors rather than senators to the White House.) That’s called management. Obama had never managed anything before running for the biggest management job on earth. It shows.
What makes the problem even more acute is that Obama represents not just the party of government but a grandiose conception of government as the prime mover of social and economic life. The very theme of his presidency is that government can and should be trusted to do great things. And therefore society should be prepared to hand over large chunks of its operations — from health care (one-sixth of the economy) to carbon regulation down to free contraception — to the central administrative state.
But this presupposes a Leviathan not just benign but competent. When it then turns out that vast, faceless bureaucracies tend to be incapable, inadequate, hopelessly inefficient and often corrupt, Obama resorts to expressions of angry surprise.
He must. He’s not simply protecting his own political fortunes. He’s trying to protect faith in the entitlement state by portraying its repeated failures as shocking anomalies.
Unfortunately, the pretense has the opposite effect. It produces not reassurance but anxiety. Obama’s determined detachment conveys the feeling that nobody’s home. No one leading. Not even from behind.
A poll conducted two weeks ago showed that 64 percent of likely voters (in competitive races) think that “things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control.” This is one degree of anxiety beyond thinking the country is on the wrong track. That’s been negative for years, and it’s a reflection of failed policies that in principle can be changed. Regaining control, on the other hand, is a far dicier proposition.
With events in the saddle and a sense of disorder growing — the summer border crisis, Ferguson, the rise of the Islamic State, Ebola — the nation expects from the White House not miracles but competence. At a minimum, mere presence. An observer presidency with its bewildered-bystander pose only adds to the unease.
Read more from Charles Krauthammer’s archivefollow him on Twitteror subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

The bewildered bystander president who does not even lead from behind, yet no one sees this in relation to the greatest threat - Iran  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Moshe Ya'alon on Charlie Rose - 54 min interview

I watched the full interview on Bloomberg TV. In short, it was an exchange between Moshe Ya'alon who understands the Middle East and what jihad is all about,  and Charlie Rose who does not.  The gap in understanding is enormous and fundamental  and  it reflects the gap in understanding between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government as well.

The crux  of the whole interview is this exchange   ~  23 min into the video

Charlie Rose:         a good deal for you is that  they have no...

Moshe Ya'alon:        no indigenous capability to enrich uranium

Charlie Rose:           and  by that meaning no capacity in Iran to enrich uranium

Moshe Ya'alon:       yeah

Charlie Rose:          that's the only thing that

Moshe Ya'alon      that is  the main issue now, of course the delivery systems should be  discussed       

Charlie Rose:         but it is not discussed as you said

Moshe Ya'alon:      yeah, the terror activities generated by Iran is nor discussed, but the main point we should be focused on is full cessation of the fuel cycle  

Charlie Rose:        but  they are not going to do it

Moshe Ya'alon:     so let' wait and see what will happen.  At the end we understand that Israel should be ready  to defend itself by itself

Israel's Moshe Ya'alon on Iran's Nukes (Oct. 20, 2014) | Charlie Rose

Israel's Moshe Ya'alon on a "Two State" Solution (Oct. 20, 2014) | Charlie Rose

Israel's Moshe Ya'alon on "Taking Out" the ISIS Leader (Oct. 20, 2014) | Charlie Rose

Monday, October 20, 2014

‘Step by step’ toward a nuclear Iran

Iran is being allowed to acquire the ability to produce atom bombs, and the West is obsessing over Ebola.

  By RUTHIE BLUM   10/19/2014 21:31 
While Americans began to panic last week about the spread of Ebola in the United States, and Israelis mourned the tragic loss of young hikers in an avalanche in Nepal, something with far more lethal consequences was taking place in Europe that barely elicited a yawn.

Representatives of Iran and the P5+1 countries (Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany) met in Vienna to hold yet another round of talks on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Key players in these negotiations were Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Though this was the eighth such gathering since the beginning of the year aimed at “ironing out” differences between the sides, it was highly significant.

In November, an interim arrangement was reached, according to which a final deal on curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions would be achieved during the six-month period between January and July.

Iran had no intention of curtailing its nuclear capabilities, but was keen on the easing of sanctions, and it was rewarded for continuing to engage in bogus negotiations, with none of the summits producing results. They did, however, enable the mullah-led regime in Tehran to keep the centrifuges spinning.

When the only progress made by the summer deadline was in uranium enrichment, the parties agreed to an extension of talks until November 24. What this really meant was that Iran was given an additional four months in which to proceed on its course toward regional hegemony and world domination. It also provided Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with the further justification he needed to persuade Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that his stance as a “moderate” was paying off.

With a mere few weeks to go until the new deadline, neither side says it has an interest in prolonging negotiations past November. Rouhani gave a televised address ahead of this week’s talks to tell the Iranian people that reaching a deal by the end of next month would be possible.

Kerry was less committal. “Step by step,” he told reporters on Wednesday, before entering into six hours of talks, described by another State Department official as “about whether Iran is willing to take verifiable actions to show that their program is for peaceful purposes.”

To remove the main obstacle to a final deal, Kerry proposed that Iran could keep its nuclear infrastructure if it would agree to reduce the quantity and quality of uranium enrichment required to create atomic weapons in the near future.

Iran, which denies its nuclear facilities are military in nature, is not happy with that offer.

One party to the talks that may help to break this impasse is Russia, which currently supplies fuel for Iran’s nuclear reactor. Tehran has been discussing the possibility of shipping some of its low-enriched uranium to Moscow for “civilian” use in the future.


It’s interesting that as talks kicked off in Austria on Wednesday, two Russian warships left the northern Iranian port of Anzali, following a three-day Iranian-Russian naval exercise in the Caspian Sea.

Rather than viewing these disturbing developments with trepidation, however, the world is preoccupied with the efforts of the US-led campaign – dubbed “Coherent Resolve” – to defeat Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

In fact, because IS is a Sunni organization, the West now sees the Shi’ite-dominated Iranian regime as a potential ally.

Worse than that, Iran is now being viewed as an up-and-coming destination for business.

Indeed, early last week, The New York Times began to promote a $6,995 tour to Iran, led by writer and former Paris correspondent Elaine Sciolino.

“Journey 2,500 years back in time to discover the ancient secrets of Persia on this 13-day itinerary incorporating some of the most well preserved archaeological sites in the world,” reads the ad, which fails to mention that such a trip could end in imprisonment, torture and death for participants who arouse the ire of the Revolutionary Guards.

On Thursday, as Kerry was pleading with Zarif to illustrate Iranian good faith, hundreds of international investors gathered in London to attend the “1st Europe- Iran Forum.” It was a “meet and greet” the likes of which has not taken place since the 1979 Iranian Revolution that ushered in the Islamists. You know, those who are still in power and declare: “Death to America, Europe and Israel.”

Still, former UK foreign secretary Jack Straw was one of the speakers at the event, whose purpose was for Iranian and European businesspeople to forge connections for investments in the Islamic Republic, as soon as a final diplomatic deal is reached on its nuclear weapons program.

Yes, “step by step,” Iran is being allowed to acquire the ability to produce atom bombs, and the West is obsessing over Ebola.

The writer is the author of To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’

Don’t Make a Bad Deal With Iran

The Opinion Pages  | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

 OCT. 19, 2014
JERUSALEM — Israel is deeply concerned about the trajectory of the ongoing negotiations concerning Iran’s nuclear program. The talks are moving in the wrong direction, especially on the core issue of uranium enrichment.
Although Iran has modified its tone recently, there have hardly been any changes of substance since the soft-spoken president, Hassan Rouhani, took over the reins from his aggressive predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Neither administration has budged from the insistence that Iran should retain most of the 9,400 operational centrifuges it deploys to enrich uranium, as well as its nearly completed nuclear reactor in Arak, which could produce plutonium in the future.
Iran has softened its inflammatory anti-Western rhetoric and shown some flexibility on less important issues but we must not be duped by these gestures. President Obama must stand by his declaration that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal.
Israel also worries that the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State will come at the expense of the critical struggle against Iran's nuclear program.
Fighting the Islamic State is vital and Israel unequivocally supports the global effort to prevent the formation of a new Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. But even more important is the imperative to preclude the already existing Islamic Republic of Iran — with its infamous track record of sponsoring terrorist groups, abusing human rights, calling for Israel’s destruction, and lying unabashedly for almost 20 years about its nuclear program — from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.
Many experts argue that because a deal with Iran would necessarily include some restrictions on the Iranian nuclear project, an imperfect agreement is better than no agreement. They are wrong.
That’s because Iran has already made considerable progress in its attempt to advance toward nuclear weapons. An agreement that allows Iran to continue circling in a holding pattern will resemble what happened with North Korea after the 2007 agreement left large parts of Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities intact, which enabled the North Koreans to produce several nuclear weapons in the following years. Under such conditions, nothing will stop Iran’s mullahs from landing, sooner or later, at their ultimate destination.
Second, a flawed deal would hand Iran practical advantages in return for almost nothing. In return for an insignificant and temporary reduction of its enrichment capacities, Iran stands to reap $100 billion per year when the sanctions are lifted; gain formal legitimacy for its uranium enrichment activities; and, despite its history of nuclear fraud and concealment, preserve the capability to produce nuclear weapons at a time it deems appropriate. Three factors will determine the breakout time needed for Iran to produce nuclear weapons: the quantity and quality of its remaining operational centrifuges; the amount of 3.5 percent enriched uranium that it is permitted to stockpile; and the final destiny of its remaining centrifuges and their infrastructure. The international community must have full and complete clarity on these fundamental issues.
Finally, a bad deal would pave the road to nuclear proliferation and herald the dawn of a nuclear arms race in the unstable Middle East. Other countries in the region will rush to build equivalent enrichment programs, which the international community will no longer be able to resist in good conscience, and which will drastically increase the risk of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of radical Islamists.
This actually leaves the negotiators with only two real options at the moment: a bad deal, or no deal at all. Barring a surprising change in Iran’s negotiating stance, there is zero chance of reaching a satisfactory good deal before the Nov. 24 deadline.
Choosing the “no deal” option will very likely produce extra pressure — including some new sanctions — on Iran and, subsequently, might pave the way for a better deal in the near future.
Standing our moral ground will transmit a clear message to the leaders in Tehran that the only way to escape mounting pressure will be through ultimately making the necessary significant compromises.
Not reaching a nuclear deal at this stage must not be considered a failure. It can even be regarded a qualified success, since it would represent the integrity of an international community adhering to its principles rather than sacrificing the future of global security because it is distracted by the worthy fight against Islamic State terrorists.
The 2003 war in Iraq came at the expense of blocking a greater threat: Iran’s nuclear project, which was then only in its embryonic stage. The international community must not repeat this mistake in 2014. The Islamic Republic of Iran remains the world foremost threat. We must guarantee that it never obtains nuclear weapons.

Yuval Steinitz is Israel's minister of intelligence.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Parsing and interpreting John Kerry’s statement

The State Department on Friday rejected  Economic Minister Naftali Bennett's accusations that Secretary of State John Kerry made a linkage between the emergence of Islamic State and the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

In her remarks to the press, the State Department's deputy spokesperson, Marie Harf, said that Kerry's remarks were taken out of context "for political reasons."

Here is what Kerry said:

And so we have to stop and think about that in the context of this challenge that we face today. I think that it is more critical than ever that we be fighting for peace, and I think it is more necessary than ever. As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition, the truth is we – there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding they had to respond to. And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.
The State Department apparently thinks we do not understand English. Naftali Bennett had every reason to interpret Kerry’s words the way he did.