President Trump descends upon Evil HQ 3

We have posted many articles about the United Nations Organization and its corruption. (Put “United Nations UN” into our search slot to find them.) And we have routinely ended them with these words: The U.N. must be destroyed.

Is there a possibility that President Trump will fulfill our wish and banish the U.N. from Turtle Bay? It could find refuge in some dying European country or Third World hellhole, there to pant for a while on life-support, exuding its stink of corruption, until it finally expires, dissolving in its own putrescence.

From Investor’s Business Daily:

President Trump will present a set of wide-ranging reforms for the United Nations this week that will actually force the dysfunctional organization to begin living up to its lofty ideals. This may be the corrupt, badly disorganized U.N.’s final chance at survival.

Trump had harsh things to say about the U.N. during last year’s election. Sadly for the U.N., none of them was fake news or an exaggeration. The U.N. is corrupt. The U.N. is ineffective. The U.N. is wasting billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Trump — and his able ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley — have proposed a 10-point reform plan that could be the last chance for the U.N. to ditch its legacy of failure and actually become a responsible global organization. Right now, the U.S. is footing the bill for the U.N.’s ongoing extravaganza of waste and corruption. American taxpayers fork out 22% of the U.N.’s operating budget, and an estimated 28% of its peacekeeping tab. There are 193 members of the U.N., virtually all of the world’s nations. The U.S. spends more than 176 of them combined on the regular budget, and more than 185 on the peacekeeping budget.

The U.N.’s reliance on the U.S. must end. The U.N. likes to say its budget is just $9 billion or so. In fact, it’s vastly larger than that. As it admits in its own budget documents, in 2016 it spent nearly $49 billion, which represented a rise of $10 billion during the Obama years. The U.S. is putting up about $10 billion of the total. And what do you get for your money? Let’s just say that incompetence can be very expensive.

There are over 22,000 U.N. workers, most of whom get tax-free money, lavish benefits and such perks as immunity from parking tickets in New York. U.N. employee crimes are almost never prosecuted. The perpetrators are usually just sent home.

The average U.N. employee makes about a third more than others doing the same job. These are cushy positions, with virtually no accountability.

This theme shows up in how the U.N. does its own job. As has been noted elsewhere, the U.N.’s poor performance as an organization is well-documented. An academic study that looked at the best and worst practices by aid organizations ranked the U.N. near the bottom. OK, but how about the peacekeeping function, for which the U.N. often comes in for praise? To be polite, it’s not exactly keeping the peace. For instance, studies and audits have discovered rampant mismanagement, fraud and corruption in U.N. peacekeeping procurement. And in a study conducted by the U.N. itself, eight of nine peacekeeping operations charged with protecting civilians didn’t even respond to 406 of 570, or 80%, of incidents “where civilians were attacked”.

As Heritage Foundation Fellow Brett Schaefer, who has documented these and other U.N. excesses in damning detail, noted back in 2015: “U.N. personnel have been accused of sexual exploitation and abuse in Bosnia, Burundi, Cambodia, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Kosovo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Sudan. [See this appalling report from South Sudan dated April 2016 – ed] Recent news stories from the Central African Republic and Haiti indicate the problem is still far too common and the U.N. is more interested in concealing the issue than in confronting it.”

Given all this, it’s pretty clear this is not an aid organization. It more resembles a criminal enterprise.

It didn’t start this way. It began its institutional life with the highest of ideals and the loftiest of ambitions in the aftermath of World War II. But an organization is only as good as its members and its leadership. Given that many members of the U.N. are corrupt dictatorships, and that the body’s own top leadership has included both former Nazi war criminals and far-left apologists for terrorists, it should be no surprise that the U.N. is as bad as it is. In recent years, the U.N. has shown a bizarre fixation with condemning Israel, the only true democracy in the Mideast, as an impediment to peace. 

This shouldn’t, and can’t, go on. That’s where Donald Trump comes in. Along with greeting world leaders and delivering a much-anticipated speech to the U.N. on Tuesday, he’s meeting behind the scenes with leaders on his 10-point reform plan. Among other things, the plan seeks to end the needless duplication of various U.N. functions by others, while pushing more action away from the U.N. itself and into the field. It will also give U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres authority to reform and streamline the U.N.’s bureaucracy.

Meanwhile, the Trump White House also has let it be known that it would like the fiscal burden to be spread more evenly among members. The U.S. can’t be the world’s Sugar Daddy forever. Maybe it’s a positive sign that more than 100 of the U.N.’s 193 members have signed on to Trump’s reforms. Maybe they too see this as a last chance. Maybe. And if nothing happens? In the past, Trump has suggested that, absent action by the U.N. to reform, he might cut U.S. contributions sharply. Carrot and stick. Whether this will work or not isn’t clear. Anne Bayefsky, a longtime critic of the U.N., is skeptical. At Fox News she wrote: “It’s an old U.N. game trotted out whenever Americans get fed up with throwing money down the U.N. drain or paying for a global platform used to trash the USA’s best interests and spew anti-Semitism. It goes by the name of ‘U.N. reform’.  And President Trump appears to have taken the bait — hook, line and sinker.”

Perhaps so. But Trump says he wants to “make the U.N. great”. He’s giving the U.N. the chance to reform.

If it refuses — or goes back to its anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Western ways — don’t be surprised to see Trump defunding the U.N. and asking it politely to leave.

What a splendid surprise it would be! And although the U.N. does not deserve politeness, smiles and waves would be fine just so long as the filthy thing keeps moving away over the far horizon.

The U.N. must be destroyed.

Posted under Africa, Haiti, Sudan, United Nations by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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The Clintons’ blood money 2

How deep did the corruption of the Clintons go when they were in power? And at what human cost did they enrich themselves?

Here’s just one example to judge by: the Clintons’ collusion with a mining company operating in Africa that caused untold human misery, displacement, starvation, and massacre.  

Richard Pollock writes at the Daily Caller:

A little known Swedish-Canadian oil and mining conglomerate human rights groups have repeatedly charged produces “blood minerals” is among the Clinton Foundation’s biggest donors, thanks to a $100 million pledge in 2007, a Daily Caller News Foundation [DCNF] investigation has found.

“Blood minerals” are related to “blood diamonds”,  which are allegedly mined in war zones or sold as commodities to help finance political insurgencies or despotic warlords. When the Vancouver, Canada-based Lundin Group gave its $100 million commitment to the “Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative”, the company had long been cutting deals with warlords, Marxist rebels, military strongmen and dictatorships in the war-torn African countries of Congo, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Lundin promoted its reputation as a fierce, hard-driving company. Adolf Lundin, who founded the company, audaciously traveled to the French home of Congo dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1996 to secure mining rights for his company. A few years later, Lundin admitted he had offered a “donation” to Mobutu’s “elections campaign”, but later said he never gave the funds. …

The Lundin Group reportedly cut a deal in 1997 with Congolese Marxist warlord Laurent Kabila, with a $50 million down payment toward $250 million they would give to the rebels in exchange for mining rights, according to according to U.N. Inspector Jason K. Stearns. Lundin eventually won majority rights to one of the country’s richest mineral veins.

A Swedish prosecutor, mirroring the views of human rights groups, once characterized the company as filled with “opportunistic, dictator-hugging businessmen”, a description the company has vigorously denied.

In accepting the $100 million, President Bill Clinton hailed Lundin’s contribution, saying “today’s generous support by the Lundin Group is to be applauded because it demonstrates the potential of this global initiative to capture the imagination and support of the mining sector”. It wasn’t the first time Clinton consorted with mining moguls. In the waning hours of his presidency in 2001, Clinton pardoned Glencore International mining and oil magnate Marc Rich after his wife, Denise, made generous donations to the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign and his Clinton Library. Clinton’s pardon erased a 65-count indictment against Rich for trading with Iran against the oil embargo. Rich did the Iranian oil sales while Americans were held captive in the country by the Mullahs.

In the same year the Clinton Foundation accepted Lundin’s money, Swedwatch, a Swedish non-governmental organization that tracks Swedish business dealings in the developing world, released a condemnatory report about the company’s operations in Congo, titled “Risky Business”.

The report detailed widespread suffering in the Congo as whole villages were removed to make way for Lundin’s mining operations.

Six years earlier, the relief organization Christian Aid released a report denouncing the scorched-earth tactics of the Sudanese military to clear villages for Lundin’s petroleum exploration. Its report was titled, “Lundin Oil in Sudan: Scorched Earth”.

Thanks to those reporters and others, Lundin is known in Congress as well. Rep. Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican who co-chairs the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, told the DCNF that “areas with high conflict over minerals are breeding grounds for human rights abuses on a massive scale, and when entities like the Clintons’ Foundation accept donations from these corrupt actors, they are sanctioning the exploitation“. …

Human rights groups have released numerous reports of the devastation wrought by oil and mining companies in Africa, with many focusing specifically on Lundin.

Swedwatch wrote extensively of the horrors caused by Lundin mining in Congo. “Three villages were relocated to make room for the new mining activities. In October 2007, many resettled families that had been promised new houses were still sheltering under plastic sheeting, waiting for their new houses to be built,” the report stated.

Christian Aid said field workers in the Sudan “found thousands of Nuer civilians displaced from villages along this road, hundreds of miles away” due to Lundin oil operations, adding, “Then government troops arrived by truck and helicopter, burning the villages and killing anyone who was unable to flee – in most cases, the old and the very young.”

In April, 2001, Swedish Dagens Nyheter journalist Anna Koblanck toured Lundin’s Block 5A oil parcels in the Sudan with company executives.

Koblanck described seeing death and destruction along the way, writing, “The displaced Bentiu are starving to death.” She reported that “many villages along the road are empty”.

Human Rights Watch in 2003 noted Lundin never mentioned the scorched earth tactics in public statements about its presence in the Sudan: “The oil companies, led by Lundin, made no public statement condemning this destruction and displacement in Block 5A, despite the press attention it garnered and the regular alarms from U.N. agencies about the dire state of the needy in this very area.

None of this fighting nor mass displacement caused the oil consortium, led by Lundin, to express concern about the well-being of the people living in its concession area,” said Human Rights Watch. “Lundin never mentioned the armed conflict in its public releases.”

Accusations of Lundin human rights violations in Ethiopia were so frequent in 2011, two Swedish journalists went there to investigate …  They were arrested by Ethiopian authorities government on “terrorism” charges and in 2012 sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The two “were investigating allegations of human rights violations linked to the activities of the Swedish oil company Lundin Oil”, stated PEN, the international journalist organization. The international outcry finally secured their release after more than a year of imprisonment.

And did the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, try to do anything about this vast atrocity?

No. She profited from it:

Although then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Congo in 2009, she unexpectedly delayed implementation of a landmark “certification” program designed to assure human rights were respected by mining companies like Lundin in Africa. …

Her failure to act was criticized at the time by John Prendergast, president of Enough.org, a nongovernmental organization which championed the “blood minerals” legislation. … Robin Wright, another Enough.org advocate, wrote in Time Magazine that two years after Clinton traveled to the Congo, local villagers told her, “nearly everyone I met asked me to take a message back to ‘Mama Clinton’ to urge her to make good on her promise to implement the certification process“.

Such apparent quid pro quos were common at the Clinton Foundation, charges Charles Ortel, who has extensively studied the foundation.

Since January 2001, the Clinton family has used their public charity as a vehicle to create enormously valuable concessions in numerous desperately poor and corrupt countries, for individuals who claim that they have made extravagantly large ‘pledges’.

The final execution of the certification process was announced by the Department of State the same month Clinton left office in February, 2013.

The uses of Power 9

Is it America’s moral duty to rescue victims of religious, ideological, racial, national, or tribal oppression, persecution, or genocide?

James Lewis writes at American Thinker:

Genocides happen when the civilized world shuts its eyes and does nothing while some gang of barbarians slaughters human beings by the thousands.  Civilized silence promises safety to the killers and demoralizes their victims.

Samantha Power, Obama’s U.N. ambassador, has made a career criticizing U.S. government passivity in the face of genocide.  She has written Pulitzer Prize-winning books like A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.

Now [she is] U.N. ambassador – a major power position in the Obama administration, the most powerful political job she is ever likely to have to do what she wants.

What has Dr. Power done about genocide? What has she actually done to stop, or even to complain in public about, groups and regimes that thirst after genocide, like Iran, ISIS, the Taliban, the Wahhabi priesthood of Saudi Arabia, the mass killing rulers of the Sudan? What about Boko Haram killing, enslaving, and selling children in Nigeria? What about the Kenya massacres? What has she done?

Samuel Totten studies genocide as a disease of dysfunctional politics and has now written a report on Samantha Power’s actions against genocide.

They are zero, just like her boss’s achievements.

But let’s be more modest. It may be hard to get things done in the real world. So let’s just ask: what has Samantha Power even said in her highly public position as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations?

Has Power even spoken out, in private or public, against the horrors we can all see today?

Like Obama himself, Dr. Power refuses even to call the real thing by its proper name. Somehow, after a career of assaulting previous administrations for their moral failures to even name genocide, she is now struck deaf and dumb.

Samantha Power is symbolic of all the simple moral failures of the Obama years. She has sold her soul for a mess of pottage.  Like her boss, Dr. Power talks a good game.

The Rwanda genocide happened because Kofi Annan, who was a U.N. “observer”, knew all about it but never made a public fuss.

Well, that’s not why it happened. It may have been why it wasn’t stopped, or prevented from happening.

The Armenian genocide of 1.5 million Christians happened because ethnic and religious genocide is what the Turks did during the four centuries of the Ottoman Caliphate, and nobody in the more civilized world wanted to even publicize it.  The same is true of the Holocaust and Stalin’s Ukrainian starvation campaign. …

Again, the disregard of powerful nations by their governments and/or their newspapers was not a cause of those atrocities but – at most – a license to let them proceed.

But perhaps James Lewis means that if the civilized powers made it constantly known, by interfering even in small incidents of persecution when they occurred anywhere in the world – and so demonstrating that they would not allow such things ever to happen – the big events, the starving of millions, the attempts at genocide would not happen because interference would be expected and feared.

He argues that the “civilized world” should at least speak up against the evil that states and rebel armies do.

The civilized world is not obligated to sacrifice precious lives, even for a profoundly moral cause.  We are not infinitely powerful.  But we have an elementary right and duty to tell the truth, and to act on it when we can.  Obama’s abandonment of millions and millions of people is a cruel defeat for elementary morality. Those who don’t get that are sociopaths, and those who twist it are liars.  Abandoning Afghanistan is not, as the delusional left will say, some sort of victory. The rise of barbarian sadistic regimes, those who routinely oppress all women and girls because they can, is not – repeat: not – a wonderful moral victory.

But Obama and his media lackeys will try to paint it that way.

Today we don’t even allow ourselves to think that the Cold War was a noble and civilizing effort by the United States and its allies against the kind of barbarism that we see today being practiced by ISIS – and we know about ISIS only because social media make it impossible for the left to censor it.  The left cares only about power, and the resulting millions of dead and wounded are simply the price to pay for Progress. …

Now Obama is willingly – maybe joyously – retreating from lands where we made a difference. We gave and sacrificed precious lives and treasure in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and elsewhere. It was the right thing to do after 9/11/01 for our national security, and it was the moral thing to do. Today Obama is  turning Afghanistan over to the barbaric Taliban, just as we seem to be turning Iraq over to ISIS and an Iranian proxy regime in Baghdad.

Obama is knowingly running away from the worst war ideology in the world: war-making Islam.

But why? Could it be because he thinks it is the best ideology in the world? There have been many signs that he loves Islam. And not, we suspect, because he is deluded into thinking it other than it is, but because it is as it is.

 Since he is constitutionally unable to tell the truth, he has to lie about it. Suddenly the Wahhabi torture theology of ISIS – identical to that of the Taliban – no longer makes for a “terrorist” gang. No, they are an “indigenous insurgency,” following the most shameful lie of the left today, the corrupt idea that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom-fighter. We should have realized that when Obama allowed the young people’s Green Revolution in Tehran to be killed and tortured into silence at the very beginning of this administration.

We have lost our moral bearings, and the left likes it that way.

Obama is a typical leftist horror story, just as merciless as Lenin, Chávez, and Pol Pot.  Since we’ve exhausted the English vocabulary for describing him and his gang, I suggest we borrow his own lies to describe him.

He is Obama the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Servant of the most ruthless war theology in history.

He is not my president, and in a moral sense, he is not an American president at all.

But say we did have a president who would tell the truth and speak out against Islam, its ruthlessly destructive ideology, its unjust law, its cruelty to women, its extreme bigotry in allowing no apostasy – would the Taliban or ISIS be deterred?

And if not, would most Americans say they must be stopped by force – American military force?

Samantha Power has a highly selective bleeding heart. She and Hillary Clinton worked passionately to get American bombs falling on Libya; ostensibly to protect the people from massacre by the tyrant Qaddafi when they knew he was not actually threatening them – only to stand back when he was killed as a result of their interference, and let real massacres rip; including the one at Benghazi of the US ambassador and three other Americans.

Perhaps Dr. Power’s silence since then could be read as a sign that she learnt a lesson about “the responsibility to protect” which she had invoked in the case of Libya. That would give her the benefit of any doubt about her character and intelligence. But whether her silence on the daily atrocities being carried out, in the name of Allah, in Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, the Congo, and now the Cameroons – is the result of painfully acquired wisdom or merely conformity to Obama’s “policy” of complaisance, we cannot know.

Tens of millions of slaves 3

Slavery is not a thing of the past. Some 36 million people are counted this year as slaves. And there are certainly countless more.

Many domestic servants in Arab countries – Saudi Arabia for instance – are not counted as slaves because in theory they are paid wages, but their conditions of work are conditions of enslavement and many go unpaid in practice.

Almost the entire population of North Korea could be described as enslaved in their own country. And according to the Guardian: “Thousands of migrant labourers from North Korea are toiling for years on construction sites in Qatar for virtually no pay – including on the vast new metropolis that is the centrepiece of the World Cup – in what may amount to “state-sponsored slavery”.

And the number of slaves is growing continually, as men of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) – among other devout Muslims – sell women and girls in open slave markets.

Yahoo! News reports:

The Walk Free Foundation, an Australian-based human rights group, estimated in its inaugural slavery index last year that 29.8 million people were born into servitude, trafficked for sex work, trapped in debt bondage or exploited for forced labour.

Releasing its second annual index, Walk Free increased its estimate of the number of slaves to 35.8 million, saying this was due to better data collection and slavery being uncovered in areas where it had not been found previously.

For the second year, the index of 167 countries found India had by far the greatest number of slaves. Up to 14.3 million people in its population of 1.25 billion were victims of slavery, ranging from prostitution to bonded labour.

Mauritania was again the country where slavery was most prevalent by head of population while Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, rose up the rank from 96th place to be listed as the fourth worst country by percentage of the population.

“From children denied an education by being forced to work or marry early, to men unable to leave their work because of crushing debts they owe to recruitment agents, to women and girls exploited as unpaid, abused domestic workers, modern slavery has many faces,” the report said.

“It still exists today, in every country – modern slavery affects us all.”

The index defines slavery as the control or possession of people in such a way as to deprive them of their freedom with the intention of exploiting them for profit or sex, usually through violence, coercion or deception.

The definition includes indentured servitude, forced marriage and the abduction of children to serve in wars.

Hereditary slavery is deeply entrenched in the West African country of Mauritania, where four percent of the population of 3.9 million is estimated to be enslaved, the report said.

After Mauritania, slavery was most prevalent in Uzbekistan, where citizens are forced to pick cotton every year to meet state-imposed cotton quotas, and Haiti, where the practice of sending poor children to stay with richer acquaintances or relatives routinely leads to abuse and forced labour, it said. …

The next highest prevalence rates were found in India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria and Central African Republic.

The index showed that 10 countries alone account for 71 percent of the world’s slaves.

After India, China has the most with 3.2 million, then Pakistan (2.1 million), Uzbekistan (1.2 million), Russia (1.05 million), Nigeria (834,200), Democratic Republic of Congo (762,900), Indonesia (714,100), Bangladesh (680,900) and Thailand (475,300).

And last year’s report by the Walk Free Foundation recorded this shocking information:

The United States, per capita, has a very low rate of slavery: just 0.02 percent, or one in every 5,000 people. But that adds up to a lot: an estimated 60,000 slaves, right here in America. 

And this year?

Here’s the 2014 Walk Free Foundation’s map:

The total number of people enslaved by region

UN watch 4

July 23, 2014. The United Nations holds an emergency session on the battle in Gaza as the Israeli Defense Force destroys the invasion-tunnels and rocket bases of the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas.

Delegates from countries that specialize in mass murder, such as Sudan, Syria, Cuba, and Iran, accuse Israel of “war crimes”. Most of the rest of the world’s delegates are on the terrorists’ side too.

A lone voice defends Israel, and accuses its accusers. It is the voice of Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

The United Nations must be destroyed.

For the glory of Allah: slavery, massacre, torture, organ theft 1

These pictures and the text are from The Muslim Issue.

We have written the captions, basing them on the author’s and adding some information.  Further comment would be superfluous.

The author of the text is an anonymous Ethiopian. He writes:

There are more than 100,000 known black Sudanese slaves under the Arabized Islamic Sudanese government, and the government encourages this by arming the Arab militias to ride on black villages. To the extent that these villages defend themselves, the government sends airplanes to bomb them. Thousands have died at the hands of the army of Sudan, and this is not good enough to cause demonstrations for the black community. Shame shame!!!!

The black Darfur people of Sudan had traditionally been Animist until the late 1800s, but since then have been under heavy pressure from the Islamic sword to convert, and they have complied. This is not enough for the barbarians, and to this day the Arab tribes have been riding them like cattle for slaves, and the Islamic government of Sudan has committed crimes against humanity. There are more than 2 million people displaced and half a million dead as a result of these barbaric acts. Up to this minute, many are dying at the hands of the government and its Arab militias, yet where are the demonstrations to protest against these barbaric acts? Shame shame!!!

Human trafficking in Sinai Egypt/Sudan:

Since 2009 up to this minute, the barbaric Arabs have kidnapped thousands of Eritreans and Ethiopians from the borders between Eritrea and Sudan and Ethiopia and Sudan. These barbaric Arabs from Sudan and Egypt, and their latest customers, the smugglers of weapons for Hamas in the Sinai, have tortured Eritreans and Ethiopians for ransom in the Sinai Peninsula, subjecting them to rape, burning, and mutilation. …

Thousands have died, and thousand are still in captive. Where are Human Rights Watch, the UN, the black empowering institutions, the black Muslims, and the moderate Arab Muslims protesting these barbaric acts? There is no such protest. It is in their holy book: a non-Muslim deserves nothing …

These are pictures of a massacre: the aftermath of an air bombardment of civilians by the Sudanese Islamic government in May 2014

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And these are pictures of human trafficking victims taken after they were dropped over the Sinai  border into Israel. One has been ripped open for the removal of organs, and then roughly stitched up again.

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For women, against feminists 2

Chloé Valdary, a student leader at the University of New Orleans, speaks for justice, for Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the oppressed women she champions, against the savagery of Islam, and against the narrow-mindedness, dogmatism, and heartlessness of political correctness in general and certain academic feminists at Brandeis University in particular.

Islam IS a savage ideology.

Feminism IS nugatory.

Political correctness IS bigotry.

Most non-Western peoples ARE culturally backward.

And most curious 1

We return to the subject of our yesterday’s post Curious and curiouser. Even our source, DebkaFile, now expresses puzzlement about the story. While it is certain that Israel did intercept and capture a ship carrying Iranian arms, there are things about the event and its aftermath that just don’t add up.

Our sources discount the overblown claims that this unquestioned IDF success in capturing dozens of Syrian-made 302mm rockets carried by the ship saved four million Israelis from attack.

For two years, the IDF refrained from cutting short the incessant stream of mobile Grad rockets and other weapons systems flooding into the Gaza Strip from Libya via Egypt. Those weapons had already imparted to Hamas, Jihad Islami and the al Qaeda affiliates in Sinai the ability to strike Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Rishon Lezion, an ability exhibited during Israel’s 2012 Gaza operation.

Two puzzling questions are raised by the Iranian missile ship episode suggesting that there was more to it than meets the eye.

The capture of a small merchant with a crew of 17 unarmed seamen scarcely warranted a naval commando force of the size employed, especially as it sailed without an Iranian naval escort; nor was there any sign of Iranian naval units based in Port Sudan coming to its rescue.

The original report indicated the size of the force, and the importance attached to the capture:

The operation was carried out under an air umbrella by hundreds of naval commandos without casualties.It was directly commanded by the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz from high command headquarters and the Navy Chief Maj. Gen Ram Rottberg from a floating command post at sea.

Then there is the second puzzling question, the answer to which would probably explain the first:

It is also strange that, in their comments on the operation, neither Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon nor any Israeli general offered a word of thanks to Washington for its cooperation, after the White House spokesman Jay Carney described how the US military and intelligence had worked with Israel to track the missile ship and were even under orders to arrange its interception, should the Israeli Navy for some reason opt out.

Is this a sign that US cooperation was inconsequential – or even conjured up post factum?

We think it was made up after the event. What we cannot work out is why.

Posted under Commentary, Iran, Islam, Israel, jihad, middle east, Muslims, Sudan, Terrorism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Friday, March 7, 2014

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Curious and curiouser 1

What sense can be made of this story?

Syria flies rockets to Iran: Iran loads them on a ship and sends it sailing down the Gulf, south-west on the Arabian Sea, and north up the Red Sea.

Israel intercepts the ship, commandos board it, find the rockets, re-route the vessel to the Israeli port of Eilat.

Where was it bound for? For whom were the rockets intended? Gaza? How the hell would they get there?

Look at the map showing the path of the arms to the point of interception, search and capture:

Next we are told that the Israelis didn’t accomplish the whole feat alone – gathering the intelligence, setting up the capture. No, suddenly Jay Carney claims that it was a US-Israeli joint venture.

In an unusually frank disclosure, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday night, March 5, that US intelligence services and military had worked with Israel to track the Iranian Panama-flagged ship KLOS C, which was apprehended by Israeli naval commandos on the Red Sea earlier that day carrying missiles for Gaza via Sudan. The ship was boarded by the Israeli elite Shayetet 13 (Flotilla 13) and found to be carrying dozens of 302mm rockets with a range of 150 km made in Syria. It is now on its way to Eilat.

Just how would they get from Port Sudan to Gaza? Through Sinai? Then through tunnels? Isn’t the Egyptian army patrolling Sinai? Hasn’t Egypt closed the arms-smuggling tunnels? Why would Egypt allow arms to reach Hamas, the rulers of Gaza and a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood when the MB is the present Egyptian government’s enemy?

And even more curious, why would Obama suddenly co-operate with Israel against Iran when his whole policy towards those two countries for at least the last four years has been to co-operate with Iran against Israel?

Has he had a sudden change of heart and mind? If so, what will his party, his base, his hurrah-chorus the mainstream media, say to this 180 degree turnabout?

It’s really very hard to believe.

The White House spokesman said that Washington worked with Israeli through intelligence and military channels, and at the national security adviser level, as soon as it knew the shipment was on the move. He said that President Barack Obama also directed the US military to work out contingencies in case it became necessary to intercept the vessel (therebysanctioning military action).

Obama? Military action?

“Our Israeli counterparts ultimately chose to take the lead in interdicting the shipment of illicit arms,” Jay Carney said. …

This was the first time in four years that the US and Israel have collaborated in an operation against Iran – ever since the Stuxnet virus attack in 2010 on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Until now, the Obama administration steadfastly refused to act against Iran for fear of jeopardizing the international diplomatic track for curbing its nuclear program.

The unusual frankness with which the Obama administration announced its coordination with Israel is both dramatic in itself and a road sign pointing the way to a radical change in its Iran policy.

The US and Israel appear to be lining up – in their military policies as well – against the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah bloc.

This radical turnabout was most probably the high point of the conversation between the US president and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House Monday, March 3, after which Netanyahu raised comment by showering Obama with praise during his speech to the AIPAC conference in Washington the next day. …

Whereas  Obama had shown impatience, irritation, and antipathy towards Netanyahu in an interview just one day before the meeting.

US and Israeli intelligence sources report that both countries are braced for a swift and stinging response from Tehran … As Carney put it: “We will continue to stand up to Iran’s support for destabilizing activities in the region in coordination with our partners and allies.These illicit acts are unacceptable to the international community and in gross violation of Iran’s Security Council obligations.”

Israel’s elite Shayetet 13 (Flotilla 13) early Wednesday, March 5, boarded [the] Iranian Panama-registered cargo vessel KLOS C. Concealed in its hold under sacks of cement were dozens of 302mm rockets with a range of 150 kms, manufactured in Syria and destined by Iran for the Gaza Strip after being offloaded in Sudan.

The Israeli commandos seized the vessel in open sea on the maritime border of Sudan and Eritrea, 1500 km south of Israel, and have set it on course for Eilat.

Sudan has [become] in the last two years …  a major Iranian weapons manufacturing and logistic depot, which supplies Syria, Hizballah and Hamas. Port Sudan is the hub for the smuggling of Iranian arms to various Middle East locations.

The IDF [Israeli Defense Force] said the Iranian missile cargo was destined for the Palestinian Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip. If this is so, it would mean that Iran had gone back to arming Hamas with missiles and rockets after a two-year pause during which the Palestinian extremists were cold-shouldered by Tehran for their animosity to Syria’s Bashar Assad. …

[But] it is hard to believe the Assad would consent to relay Syrian-made missiles to this antagonist.

Some Middle East military sources believe the shipment was not destined for Palestinian terrorists for use against Israel, but rather for Muslim Brotherhood activists fighting the Egyptian army from their forward base in the Gaza Strip.

They don’t rule out the possibility of Al Qaeda affiliates fighting in Sinai as being the address. Western intelligence has recorded instances of Iran entering into ad hoc operational collaboration with al Qaeda elements when it suits Tehran’s book. …

The rockets were flown from Syria to Iran, then loaded on [the] ship where they were concealed under sacks of cement inside containers. From the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, the ship headed into the Red Sea bound for Sudan where it was intercepted by Israeli commandos.

The Iranian arms ship’s progress was tracked all the way.

By Israel, apparently. By the US, easily if that’s what Obama wanted. But why suddenly does he want to “jeopardize the international diplomatic track for curbing Iran’s nuclear program“?

Will Jay Carney, standing there among the flying pigs, do something he has never done before – tell the truth and explain everything?

That’s not very likely, but then much is not very likely in these bizarre events.

Ending the pax Americana 2

We are in principle against intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. But we are not for isolationism or pacifism – we regard either philosophy as a formula for national suicide. If other countries become belligerent, build up their armed strength, send their warships towards our shores, establish bases in countries on our borders, and declare their aggressive intentions towards us, the politics of those countries become our business. That is happening now. We are under threat – because Obama is deliberately weakening America. And his reaction to the result is to weaken America even more.

The conditions for major war develop much more easily when the U.S. is too weak. They are developing as we speak. 

To a meaningful extent, the significant increase we’ve seen in unrest around the globe since 2010 has been made possible, and inevitable, by the retraction of American power. Even where we still have power in place, it has become increasingly obvious that we aren’t going to use it. 

We quote from a website interestingly named Liberty Unyielding. The article on the extreme folly of the Obama administration’s moves to weaken America is by Commander Jennifer Dyer, now retired from the US navy. (Her own blog is at Theoptimisticconservative.wordpress.com):

The collapse of order in the Arab nations in 2011 was the first significant stage of the process. The perception that the United States would do nothing about a Hezbollah coup in Lebanon was tested in January of that year. The perception proved to be true, and when protests erupted in Tunisia and Egypt, for causes both natural and manufactured, a set of radical Islamist actors – the “establishment” Muslim Brotherhood, Sunni jihadists, Iran – saw an opportunity. The establishment Muslim Brotherhood has largely won out in Tunisia, but the battle still rages among these radical actors for Egypt, Syria, and now Iraq. Lebanon is being incrementally sucked into the maelstrom as well.

In multiple venues, Russia has watched the U.S. and the West effectively back Islamists in Russia’s “near abroad”: in Turkey (with support for the now struggling Erdogan government); in the Balkans, especially Bosnia and Kosovo; and in Syria. …

There was a time when the implicit determination of the U.S. to enforce the “Pax Americana” order – the post-World War II alignments of the region – held Russia in check. The Russians still derived some security benefit from that order, after all … It appears to me, however, that 2014 will be the year in which it becomes clear that, according to Russians’ perception, they no longer benefit from the old order. If we’re not going to enforce it, Russia will do what she thinks she has to.

In fact, Moscow’s pushback against the plan for Ukraine to affiliate with the EU constitutes just such a blow for perceived Russian interests. It is of supreme importance for Westerners to not misread the recent developments. The EU and the U.S. did back down when Russia pushed hard last fall. The only ones who didn’t back down were the Ukrainian opposition. I predict Vladimir Putin will try to handle the opposition factions cleverly, as much as he can, and avoid a pitched battle with them if possible. He respects what they are willing to do. But he has no reason to respect Brussels or Washington.

And that means he has more latitude, not less, for going after the regional props to the old order, one by one. As always, Russia’s inevitable competition with China is a major driver, along with Russia’s concern about Islamism on her southern border. The whole Great Crossroads – Southwest Asia, Southeast Europe, Northeast Africa, the waterways that snake through the region – is, if not up for grabs, at least in ferment. Look wherever you like: there are almost no nations where there is not a very present menace from radicalism, or where governments and even borders are not gravely imperiled by internal dissent.

Israel is the chief standout for politically sustainable stability and continuity. Romania and Turkey seem likely to at least retain their constitutional order in the foreseeable future, but Turkey’s geopolitical orientation, in particular, is less certain. Greece and Kosovo – even Bosnia – have serious internal problems. Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia all remain in crisis at various levels. Jordan and Saudi Arabia are relatively stable, and the Arab Persian Gulf states relatively so as well. But their neighborhood is going downhill fast. Iran is riding a wave of radical confidence, and the Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan.

In this tumultuous region, it’s actually a little funny that Pakistan looks stable and staid compared to Iran, Afghanistan, and neighbors west. We can hope that Islamabad’s perceived need to maintain a symmetrical stance against India will keep Pakistan’s loose federation of intransigents federated, and the nukes under central control. But as we move across South Asia, we near another boiling pot. Thailand – long an American ally and pillar of stability in the region – has been rocked in recent months by national unrest of a kind not seen in Southeast Asia for decades. Islamist radicalism is a growing threat in Indonesia, and an unpacified one in the Philippines, after more than a decade of U.S.-Philippines collaboration in fighting it.

And, of course, China is making real, transformative moves against regional security with her proclamations about air space and maritime rights off her southeast coast.

This disruptive process, like the battles for many of the Arab nations, is already underway. We’re not waiting for something to happen; it’s started.

China assumes, quite correctly, that there will be no effective pushback from the United States. But two other nations with power and means will regard it as intolerable for China to dictate conditions in Southeast Asia: Japan and Russia. The dance of realignment among these nations has implications for everyone in Central Asia and the Far East. The day may be on the horizon sooner than we think when maintaining a divided Korea no longer makes sense to at least one of the major players. The day is already here when Chinese activities in Central Asia are alarming the whole neighborhood, just as Chinese actions are in the South China Sea. …

Russia and Iran are advancing on the US through Central America:

It’s no accident that as radical leftism creeps across Central America (falsely laying claim to a noble “Bolivarian” political mantle), the maritime dispute between Nicaragua and American ally Colombia heats up – and Russia shows up to back Nicaragua and Venezuela – and so does Iran – and unrest turns into shooting and government brutality and violence in Venezuela – and Hezbollah shows up there to openly support the radical, repressive Maduro government.

Now Iran has a naval supply ship headed for Central America, very possibly with a cargo of arms that are not only prohibited by UN sanction, but capable of reaching the United States if launched from a Central American nation or Cuba.

We’re not still waiting for the shocks to start to the old order. They’ve already started. I haven’t surveyed even the half of what there is to talk about …

She looks at the latest defense cuts with dismay and considers what the consequences will be:

This is the world in which the United States plans to reduce our army to its lowest level since before World War II, and eliminate or put in storage much of its capabilities for heavy operations abroad (e.g., getting rid of the A-10 Warthogs, moving Blackhawk helicopters into the National Guard). It’s in this world that DOD proposes to cease operating half of our Navy cruisers, while delaying delivery of the carrier-based F-35 strike-fighter to the Navy and Marine Corps. These cutbacks come on top of cuts already made to training and maintenance expenditures in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force that will affect unit readiness for years to come. …

Then comes what should be a shocking observation:

By cutting back on defense so drastically, America is deciding, in essence, to “fight fair”: to give whatever opponents emerge more of a chance to kill our soldiers, damage our interests, and drag out conflicts.

That would be hard to believe of any American leadership – until now. It is ludicrous. Worse, it is lunatic. But Obama has never concealed or disguised his wish to weaken America’s military capacity.

The decision “to further limit our capabilities to use power in politically relevant ways” will result in “even more global unrest: more conflict, more shooting, more blood, more extortion and political thuggery menacing civil life in the world’s poorer and more vulnerable nations”, and that cannot be good for America. The point is that –

These unpleasant trends will spill over into civil life in the wealthier nations soon enough

As it has, she points out, in Ukraine, Thailand, and Venezuela, “whether directly or through second-order consequences”.

Peace and freedom have to be tended constantly; they are not the natural state of geopolitical indiscipline, but its antithesis. …

We’re extraordinarily unprepared for the world that is shaping up around us. …

[And] a world that doesn’t want quiescent trade conditions, tolerance of dissent, the open flow of ideas, and mutual agreements, peacefully arrived at, will not have them.

That’s the world we are sentencing ourselves, for now, to live in. Perhaps we will learn from the consequences how to think again: about what it takes to guard freedom, and indeed, about what freedom actually is. 

It is Obama who needs to think again, but there is no reason to hope that he will. It could hardly be more obvious that he does not care for freedom.

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