Certainty of decline, probability of catastrophe 0

Read only a few pages of HR3200,The Affordable Health Care Choices Act 2009, and once you’ve got the gist of what they’re saying let your eye wander over a hundred or so more, and you’ll know beyond all doubt that you are now owned by the government. The link:

http://thomas.loc.gov/

To put it bluntly, this act has changed the USA into the USSA – the United Socialist States of America:

Here is part of Mark Steyn’s must-read article on the immediate and future costs of it:

On the day President Barack Obama signed Obamacare into law, Verizon sent an e-mail to all its employees, warning that the company’s costs “will increase in the short term.” And in the medium term? Well, U.S. corporations that are able to do so will get out of their prescription drugs plans and toss their retirees onto the Medicare pile. So far just three companies – Deere, Caterpillar and Valero Energy – have calculated that the loss of the deduction will add a combined $265 million to their costs. There are an additional 3,500 businesses presently claiming the break. The cost to taxpayers of that 28 percent benefit is about $665 per person. The cost to taxpayers of equivalent Medicare coverage is about $1,200 per person.

So we’re roughly doubling the cost of covering an estimated 5 million retirees.

Now admittedly the above scenario has not been, as they say, officially “scored” by the Congressional Budget Office, by comparison with whom Little Orphan Annie singing “The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow” sounds like Morrisey covering “Gloomy Sunday.” Incidentally, has the CBO ever run the numbers for projected savings if the entire CBO were laid off and replaced by a children’s magician with an assistant in spangled tights from whose cleavage he plucked entirely random numbers? Just a thought.

This single component of “health” “care” “reform” neatly encompasses all the broader trends about where we’re headed – not just in terms of increased costs (both to businesses and individual taxpayers) and worse care (for those retirees bounced from company plans into Medicare), but also in the remorseless governmentalization of American life and the disincentivization of the private sector. As we see, even the very modest attempts made by Congress to constrain the 2003 prescription drug plan prove unable to prevent its expansion and metastasization. The one thing that can be said for certain is that, whatever claims are made for Obamacare, it will lead to more people depending on government for their health arrangements. Those 5 million retirees are only the advance guard. And, if you’re one of those optimistic souls whose confidence in the CBO is unbounded, let’s meet up in three years’ time and see who was correct – the bureaucrats passing out the federal happy juice, or the real businesses already making real business decisions about Obamacare.

Can we afford this? No. Even on the official numbers, we’re projected to add to the existing $8 trillion in debt another $12 trillion over the next decade. What could we do? Tax those big bad corporations a bit more? Medtronic has just announced that the new Obamacare taxes on its products could force it to lay off 1,000 workers. What do those guys do? Well, they develop products such as the recently approved pacemaker that’s safe for MRI scans or the InterStim bladder control device. So that’s a thousand fewer people who’ll be working on new stuff. Well, so what? The public won’t miss what they never knew they had. So, again, the effect is one of disincentivization – in this case, of innovation.

If existing tax structures can’t cover the costs, what can we do? Start a new tax! The VATman cometh. VAT is Euro-speak for “value added tax.” … This is yet another imposition on businesses, taking time away from wealth creation and reallocating it to government paperwork. If the Democrats hold Congress this fall, I would figure on VAT sooner rather than later.

All of the above is pretty much a safe bet. What about the imponderables? Even Obama hasn’t yet asked the CBO to cost out, say, what happens to the price of oil when the Straits of Hormuz are under a de facto Iranian nuclear umbrella – as they will be soon, because the former global hyperpower, which now gets mad over a few hundred housing units in Jerusalem, is blasé and insouciant about the wilder shores of the mullahs’ dreams. Or suppose, as seems to be happening, the Sino-Iranian alliance were to result in a reorientation of global oil relationships, or the Russo-Iranian friendship bloomed to such a degree that, between Moscow’s control of Europe’s gas supply and Tehran’s new role as Middle Eastern superpower, the economy of the entire developed world becomes dependent on an alliance profoundly hostile to it.

Which is to say that right now the future lies somewhere between the certainty of decline and the probability of catastrophe. What can stop it? Not a lot. But now that your “pro-life” Democratic congressman has sold out, you might want to quit calling Washington and try your state capital. If the Commerce Clause can legitimize the “individual mandate,” then there is no republic, not in any meaningful sense. If you don’t like the sound of that, maybe it’s time for a constitutional convention.

A realm of deadly failure 0

‘The most destructive address in the history of American foreign policy’, is the verdict of Ralph Peters on President Obama’s Cairo speech. We agree.

This is the worst time imaginable to have a pro-Islam leftist occupying the Oval office.

Taking a realistic, and consequently pessimistic, survey of the Islamic lands from the Mediterranean to the border of India – and the sole exception to their failure, the small singular Jewish state beleaguered among them – Peters writes in the New York Post:

No region — not even sub-Saharan Africa — competes with the greater Middle East when it comes to wanton savagery, thwarted opportunities and the danger posed to innocent populations around the world. With fanatical terrorists of unprecedented brutality, Islamist extremists pursuing nuclear weapons, rogue regimes, disintegrating states and threats of genocide against Israel, the lands of heat and dust between the Nile and the Indus form a realm of deadly failure that will haunt the civilized world throughout our lifetimes.

A survey of the region’s key countries — and problems — doesn’t offer much good news for the Obama Administration’s naive foreign policy efforts:

LEBANON: This isn’t a country — it’s a temporary stand-off. Recently, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whose father, Rafik, was assassinated by Syria, had to make a humbling visit to Damascus. Syria’s decades-long penetration of the government in Beirut and various Lebanese factions (not least, its backing of the Hezbollah terror organization) has kept Beirut dependent on Damascus to break the political gridlock in parliament. Meanwhile, Hezbollah has been rearming mightily in the wake of its 2006 war with Israel. A new war would devastate much of Lebanon — if internal strife doesn’t do it first.

EGYPT: A US client long counted among the most stable states in the Middle East, Egypt faces a potential succession crisis as octogenarian president Hosni Mubarak, who’s ruled the country for almost three decades, grooms his singularly unimpressive son, Gamal, to take over upon his death. The government and armed forces are more factionalized than they seem to outsiders, Islamist movements have proven ineradicable, and violence against Egypt’s minority Christians is on the rise again…

TURKEY: Long in NATO, but denied membership in the European Union, Turkey has grappled with an identity crisis. Increasingly, its political bosses back an Islamic identity. The ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) soft-peddles its religious agenda when dealing with the West, but has been methodically dismantling the secular constitution left behind by Kemal Ataturk — who rescued Turkey from oblivion 90 years ago… Will the military move to preserve the legacy of Ataturk? Unlikely. But if the generals did move, the Obama administration would back the Islamists

SYRIA: The neighborhood’s in such awful shape that this police state’s beginning to look like a success story… On the other hand, the Assad family’s government backs terrorism, harbors remnants of Saddam Hussein’s regime, still hopes for Israel’s destruction — and wouldn’t mind having nukes, if it could figure out how to get them. When Damascus looks like a beacon, it’s getting awfully dark in the Middle East.

ISRAEL: Civilization’s last hope in the region, Israel remains the target of international leftists dreaming of another, more-thorough Holocaust. The “peace process” will continue to fail. Arabs need Israel to blame for their failures. And President Obama empowered the worst Arab elements with his Cairo speech, which convinced the dead-enders there’s no need to compromise with Israel — that the US would shift its support to the Arab cause. That Cairo speech may prove to have been the most-destructive address in the history of American foreign policy.

IRAQ: Can’t say we didn’t try. After years of serious progress toward a national compromise, Shia political agents close to Iran recently banned over 500 influential Sunni candidates from standing in Iraq’s upcoming elections. Reconciliation has come to a screeching halt. The Shia are smug, the Sunnis feel betrayed, and the Kurds are still denied title to the traditionally Kurdish city of Kirkuk. Every faction’s fighting for a greater share of oil revenues. And the Obama administration’s AWOL (this was Bush’s war — we wouldn’t want a positive outcome)… the old blood feuds and thirst for vengeance go deeper than we thought

SAUDI ARABIA: Its two main exports are oil and fanaticism. Saudi funding supports a global effort to drive Muslims into the fold of its severe Wahhabi cult — and to prevent Muslims (including those in the US) from integrating into local societies. The Saudis care nothing for the fate or suffering of fellow Muslims (check out the Palestinians). They care only for their repressive version of Islam. The birthplace of Bin Laden, Saudi Arabia’s differences with his terror organization are over strategy and tactics, not over their mutual goal of forcing extremist Islam on all of humanity.

IRAN: Racing to acquire nuclear weapons, delighting in the prospect of a cataclysmic war that would lead to the “return of the hidden imam,” beating the hell out of its own people in the streets, murdering members of the intelligentsia, and explicit in its vows to destroy Israel, the government of Iran continues to be protected by China and Russia. There will be no meaningful sanctions. Over the next few years, we’ll see a nuclear test in the southeastern desert region of Baluchistan. Will Israel strike first? Perhaps. Would the US? Not under this administration. The best hope is for a miracle that leads to a popular overthrow of the current maddened regime. But strategy can’t be based upon the expectation of miracles.

YEMEN: It’s Saudi Arabia without oil, running water or literacy. Perhaps the most-backward country in this stubbornly backward region, Yemen has harbored terrorists for years (we really didn’t want to know). Its government cannot control its territory, its tribes are so fanatical they alarm the Saudis (who have had to fight them), and Iran backs the Shiite minority in its revolt against the state. Throw in Yemen’s strategic position astride the world’s most-sensitive oil-shipping routes, and this pretense of a country looks far more important than Afghanistan.

DUBAI: The late Michael Jackson’s flirtation with this high-rise bazaar apparently couldn’t rescue an economy built on sand…

AFGHANISTAN: We’re there, and we don’t know why. We know why we went in 2001, but al Qaeda’s long gone. Initially, we were welcomed. Now, the more troops we send, the stronger the Taliban becomes. We’re tied to a corrupt, inept government despised by the people. Afghans won’t fight for that government, but they’ll give their lives for the Taliban. And we’re determined to turn the place into Disney World.  Should we just leave? No. Afghanistan provides a crucial base for striking the terrorists across the border in Pakistan… Afghanistan is worthless in itself. Instead of concentrating on killing our enemies, we’re buying worthless real estate with American blood.

PAKISTAN: 180 million anti-American Muslims, thanks to generations of politicians who took American aid while playing the anti-American card with their constituents. The government won’t crack down on the Taliban factions it’s preserving for a reconquest of Afghanistan after we exit… Promised another $7.5 billion in aid, Pakistan’s response has been not only to bite the hand that feeds it, but to gnaw it to a bloody pulp. And, in an act of strategic folly, we’ve left our troops in Afghanistan dependent upon a single supply line that runs for over a thousand miles through Pakistan. .. Isn’t it about time we got a grip? Around Pakistan’s throat? … Leaving the greatest power in history at the mercy of the impossibly corrupt regime in Pakistan guarantees that our troops lives are wasted next door in Afghanistan. Afghanistan isn’t our problem. Pakistan’s the problem.

In proportion 2

We took this map from Dry Bones, the Israeli cartoonist. The Islamic states colored yellow all passionately desire the elimination of Israel. Turkey is warming its diplomatic relations with Iran. Iran is not only actively building up its own military power, including a nuclear capability, but also arming proxy forces on Israel’s borders in Lebanon and Gaza. Two more neighboring Islamic states, ostensibly less aggressive towards Israel but in fact no less desirous of its destruction, are Jordan and Egypt. Beyond Jordan lies ruthlessly jihadist Saudi Arabia. Now imagine the whole of Europe as equally hostile Muslim territory, as it almost certainly will be in just a few decades from now. Bear in mind that the present decider-in-chief of US foreign policy is the son of a Muslim, emotionally pro-Islam, and reluctant to take any action to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear-armed power. What are the odds that the tiny sliver of a state called Israel will survive to the end of this century, do you think?

map of Iranian influence

Making Islam proud 0

Islam is waging war on the non-Muslim world. The West cannot defend itself only on the battlefields of Afghanistan and the Middle East (though we believe a bombing of Iran’s nuclear installations and strategic centers would shock the whole Islamic world into a long pause at the very least).

There also has to be a new type of warfare, fought within our own Western countries by vigilance, intelligence, legislation and enforcement, and by words. The enemy fighters in our midst have to be found, identified (‘profiled’), disarmed, and put where they can do no harm. In addition, and most importantly, their cause has to be recognized  and named for what it is: jihad for the domination of the world by Islam.

At present, the enemy in our midst feels almost invulnerable. Liberalism in power is its ally and protector. Government spokesmen (if not positively sympathetic to the enemy’s cause), military chiefs, religious leaders, journalists and academics and teachers and opinion formers of every kind, are  under the spell of political correctness, which distorts their thinking, censors their speech, and ties their hands.

Meanwhile, the enemy speaks out in triumph –

From the Jawa Report:

A U.S. based jihadi forum has issued a statement calling Nidal Hasan [ the Fort Hood army-base murderer] a hero and urged Muslims in the U.S. Army to follow his lead and attack their fellow soldiers:

‘We hope other “Muslims” in the US army repent from their apostasy and take [Nidal Hasan] as a role model, instilling fear in the enemies of Allah and taking them by surprise wherever they may be.’

The statement also condemns Muslims in the West for speaking out against the attack. …

The Ansar al-Mujahideen forum is hosted in Brussels, but the English side of the forum is run out of the US. It is internet based, which means that its editorial staff is decentralized, but we do know that North Carolina’s Samir Khan helps run it. His blog is now hosted by them, he uses it to distribute his internet magazine, and his clique of friends and al Qaeda fellow travelers congregate there. …

Samir doesn’t officially take credit for the statement, but it looks like his work. But given his other treasonous writings, why not take credit?

Inasmuch as this statement is about as far over the line of sedition as they come — they actually urge others to follow in Hasan’s footsteps — I think he’s afraid of legal repurcussions. We all know that no one at the Justice Department has the guts to try a traitor like Samir for sedition, but to the paranoid mind U.S. agents are constantly on the prowl to arrest Muslims for far less. …

‘[We congratulate] our heroic brother Nidal Malik Hasan, for indeed he has raised our heads and made us proud. He realized the truth about the “war on terror”, and waged his own war on terror. When he realized the sin of being in the army, and when he came to know he may be sent overseas to fight Muslims, he instead chose to fight those who truly deserved to be fought. He risked his life to show that the Muslim Ummah is one Ummah indeed, and that Muslims must target their enemies wherever they may be, even in their own lands. We hope other “Muslims” in the US army repent from their apostasy and take him as a role model, instilling fear in the enemies of Allah and taking them by surprise wherever they may be.’

US power: the change Obama seeks 0

Claudia Rosett writes in Canada Free Press:

From World War II to the winning of the Cold War, to the push during the Bush first term to stop the old axis of evil in its tracks, American influence and might has long served the world well. “Change” on this front is perilous, and it is happening.

What began as a shift to “soft power” during the Bush second term has been further evolving under Obama into a surrealpolitik of reset buttons, apologies for America and avowals of “respect” for governments such as Syria and Iran–whose rulers respect neither America nor the basic rights of their own citizens and neighbors.

Iran’s rulers brag up their nuclear program on Iranian television–as they did, again, just last week. In response, Washington huffs and puffs, and reverts to the much-tried-and-failed formula in which the solution to such menaces as terrorist-sponsoring Iran is supposed to be the speedy incarnation of terrorist-spawning Palestinian authorities into rulers of a sovereign state. North Korea conducts illicit missile tests, threatens a second nuclear test, and announces that after years of talks and American concessions Pyongyang will pursue whatever nuclear programs it wants…

On the nuclear front, the threat is not just the prospect of proliferation of bombs among rogue and despotic states–problematic enough though that would be for anyone inside the blast radius, should one of those bombs go off. The further problem is the message such proliferation sends: that arsenals of this kind may be acquired with malign intent and relative impunity; that the least scrupulous of nations are rewarded with out-sized power and influence.

Since the toppling of Taliban rule in Afghanistan in 2001, and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in 2003, America has shown growing reluctance to engage in anything smacking of real confrontation abroad. Saddam’s overthrow is by now an issue now so macerated by Washington infighting that the majority of American policymakers treat it as a terrible mistake to have rid the Middle East of a mass-murdering, war-mongering tyrant. And while America has been sticking it out in Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been no clear signal sent that when fresh threats arise, America will as a matter of course stand up definitively to anything more than four Somali pirates in a small boat.

In this opportunistic world, what, then, are the new rules of the game? Are they the rules of the morally perverted United Nations Human Rights Council? That’s where America, in its new eagerness to “engage” with all comers has just won a seat alongside such world-class human rights abusers as China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia. Are they the rules of the Indian Ocean? That’s where America now seems willing to try to rescue its own citizens if they are actually held hostage, but there is still no will to actually clean out the pirate dens. Are the new rules those of Iran’s hostage politics? That’s where victories consist of obtaining the release of prisoners who should never have been held in the first place…

America is coasting right now on the strength of genuine past victories and of the seemingly inexhaustible resources produced by a longtime mix of democracy and free markets. Lamentations and financial woes notwithstanding, most Americans still live cocooned in enough comforts so that it’s easy to forget just how rough the world can get. If America won’t lead the way, lay down the rules and proudly defend them, big change is indeed on its way. It won’t be the change we seek.

Posted under Commentary, Defense by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 15, 2009

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Against ‘the two state solution’ 0

About 80% of  mandated Palestine was handed over to the Arabs by the British, in violation of the promises made in the Balfour Declaration that Palestine would be a ‘national home’ for the Jews – the grounds on which Britain was granted the mandate. That lion’s share of the territory was then named the ‘Emirate of Transjordan’.  It was kept judenrein. Later it became the Kingdom of Jordan. That is the Arab Palestinian State, apart from which there has never, in all history, been an Arab State of Palestine. 

Only in the remaining 20% were Jews allowed to buy land and live.  

This remnant of mandated Palestine became the legally constituted State of Israel in 1948,  in which Arabs live freely. From the moment of its inception to now, it has been allowed no peace by the Arabs. 

The root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the refusal of the Arabs to accept Israel’s existence.

The one solution that the Western world has never tried is to pressure the Arabs into normalizing relations with Israel and integrating the Arabs who fled of their own accord during the 1948 and 1967 wars. They should do so now. 

The hundreds of thousand of Jewish refugees who were forced from Arab lands were integrated by Israel.

Israel is a liberal democratic state. The Western powers should help it to survive and flourish. 

No more Palestinian land should be handed over to the Arabs. 

All that remains apart from Jordan of the former mandate of Palestine should be a single Jewish state. Arabs who wish to live in it should do so loyally and peacefully; and those who do not wish to live in it should be assimilated by their fellow Arabs in one or another of the 22 existing Arab states.

No new Arab state should be created.  

If you agree, and if you want to do something about it, here is a video for you to watch at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFtts9TfJlA 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 11, 2008

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More on Malley, hater of Israel. 0

He has already begun to shape Obama’s Middle East policy. 

Who is he? What is his background? What is to be expected of his advice to the next president?  John Perazzo provides some answers in Front Page Magazine:   

Robert Malley was raised in France. His lineage is noteworthy. His father, Simon Malley (1923-2006), was a key figure in the Egyptian Communist Party. A passionate hater of Israel, the elder Malley was a close friend and confidante of the late PLO terrorist Yasser Arafat; an inveterate critic of “Western imperialism”; a supporter of various revolutionary “liberation movements,” particularly the Palestinian cause; a beneficiary of Soviet funding; and a supporter of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. According to American Thinker news editor Ed Lasky, Simon Malley “participated in the wave of anti-imperialist and nationalist ideology that was sweeping the Third World [and] … wrote thousands of words in support of struggle against Western nations.”

In a July 2001 op-ed which [Robert] Malley penned for the New York Times, he alleged that Israeli—not Palestinian—inflexibility had caused the previous year’s Camp David peace talks (brokered by Bill Clinton) to fall apart. This was one of several controversial articles Malley has written—some he co-authored with Hussein Agha, a former adviser to Arafat—blaming Israel and exonerating Arafat for the failure of the peace process.

Malley’s identification of Israel as the cause of the Camp David impasse has been widely embraced by Palestinian and Arab activists around the world, by Holocaust deniers like Norman Finkelstein, and by anti-Israel publications such as Counterpunch. It should be noted that Malley’s account of the Camp David negotiations is entirely inconsistent with the recollections of the key figures who participated in those talks—specifically, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, then-U.S. President Bill Clinton, and then-U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross (Clinton’s Middle East envoy).

Malley also has written numerous op-eds urging the U.S. to disengage from Israel to some degree, and recommending that America reach out to negotiate with its traditional Arab enemies such as Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah (a creature of Iran dedicated to the extermination of the Jews and death to America), and Muqtada al-Sadr (the Shiite terrorist leader in Iraq). 

In addition, Malley has advised nations around the world to establish relationships with, and to send financial aid to, the Hamas-led Palestinian government in Gaza. In Malley’s calculus, the electoral victory that swept Hamas into power in January 2006 was a manifestation of legitimate Palestinian “anger at years of humiliation and loss of self-respect because of Israeli settlement expansion, Arafat’s imprisonment, Israel’s incursions, [and] Western lecturing …”

Moreover, Malley contends that it is both unreasonable and unrealistic for Israel or Western nations to demand that Syria sever its ties with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or Iran. Rather, he suggests that if Israel were to return the Golan Heights (which it captured in the 1967 Six Day War, and again in the 1973 Yom Kippur War—two conflicts sparked by Arab aggression which sought so permanently wipe the Jewish state off the face of the earth) to Syrian control, Damascus would be inclined to pursue peace with Israel.

Malley has criticized the U.S. for allegedly remaining “on the sidelines” and being a “no-show” in the overall effort to bring peace to the nations of the Middle East. Exhorting the Bush administration to change its policy of refusing to engage diplomatically with terrorists and their sponsoring states, Malley wrote in July 2006: “Today the U.S. does not talk to Iran, Syria, Hamas, the elected Palestinian government or Hezbollah…. The result has been a policy with all the appeal of a moral principle and all the effectiveness of a tired harangue.”

This inclination to negotiate with any and all enemies of the U.S. and Israel—an impulse which Malley has outlined clearly and consistently—clearly has had a powerful influence on Barack Obama.

The Middle East: sick and refusing to be cured 0

 Barry Rubin writes in the Jerusalem Post:

Read the whole thing. Here’s an extract:

We now have the perfect metaphor for the Middle East’s political situation. In Egypt, a little boy with cystic fibrosis badly needs a certain medicine. Unfortunately for him, that drug is only produced in Israel, and Egypt’s health ministry won’t let it be imported.

Unless one understands how this story typifies the region, it’s impossible to understand the Middle East.

Let’s remember that Egypt has been at peace with Israel for over 30 years, and that, nevertheless, its government still does much to boycott, not to mention demonize, the Jewish state. By constantly pursuing a hate-Israel campaign, it stokes an atmosphere of hatred and extremism which also gives ammunition to the Muslim Brotherhood that seeks to turn Egypt into a war-oriented, totalitarian Islamist state.

So tightly controlled is the Egyptian media, so extraordinary the Israelphobia, that the English-language Cairo paper Al-Ahram was considered courageous even to mention the sick boy’s family’s effort to obtain the Israeli-invented medicine.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian wrote recently: "Admission into [a] state-run hospital is likely to cost one his life." This came shortly after a scandal involving a top ruling-party politician who was discovered selling tainted transfusion blood.

Arab countries cannot develop medicines and hi-tech advances precisely because they are too busy using up the resources for battles against various fantasy enemies of Allah.

SOME YEARS ago, a US official told me about funds that had been offered Egyptian officials to implement a program dealing with Red Sea pollution. But the project involved cooperation with Israel. The official was told that anything helping Israel was unacceptable, no matter how much good it might do Egypt. …

The rest of the world, finding such talk incomprehensible, either thinks it’s meaningless jabber, or ignores it altogether. Surely the problem must stem from addressable grievances, fixable misunderstandings and emotional exaggeration? Unfortunately, this is all nonsense.

What’s the effective voice in the region? Not the "peace process" concept used in talking with the West, but the "resistance" concept, used in talking among themselves. 

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, October 14, 2008

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British Law Lords grovel to the Saudis 0

The self-abasement of the British authorities before the Arabs is now complete and utterly contemptible. It’s hard to say whether they are more stupid in their shortsightedness as to the consequences of such caving-in,  or more wicked in possibly working deliberately to bring about the demise of their nation and all that it used to stand for.  

The Saudis, in their customary immoral fashion, used bribery to gain commercial advantage. It was a clear breach of British law. But the highest court in Britain has let them off.  

Read Melanie Phillips here on how the Law Lords have sacrificed the highest principles of British law to sheer expediency. 

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, August 5, 2008

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Obama’s Israel-Arab conflict solutions – a grim prospect 0

Now along comes Obama—whose foreign policy experience wouldn’t cover the head of a pin—saying an Obama administration will “start early” to get this conflict wrapped up.

It also emerged this week, though, that Arab states may not share Obama’s sense of urgency when it comes to helping Palestinians. Reuters reports that “Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has appealed to the World Bank to help him secure emergency financing to bridge a shortfall in donor funds and pay public workers.” The PA is in a “budget crisis despite billions of dollars in aid pledged last year to support a U.S.-backed peace drive.”

It’s not that the U.S. itself has been remiss in its payments; “the State Department said the [U.S.] had already surpassed its $555 million in pledged support for 2008 to the [PA] and urged other donors to help out.”

But “many Arab states have not met their financial commitments despite pressure from Washington.” Meanwhile “workers in Gaza say Hamas, which receives support from Iran and other Islamist allies, has been paying salaries on time despite the Western boycott….”

Why would that be? If boosting Fatah, beating Hamas, and solving the Palestinian problem is so crucial to the “moderate” Arab states, why would they be laggard in their PA payments even as Iran and company keep giving Hamas all it needs? Part of the answer, aside from stinginess, requires looking at the real Middle East and not the version of it painted by Western guilt.

Take Jordan, for instance. Last month it was reported that “Jordan has quietly let the Bush White House know it is concerned over the prospect of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank…. [Jordanian] officials said Jordan’s King Abdullah has warned the administration that [such a] state…would fuel the Islamic opposition and could lead to an attempt to overthrow the kingdom.”

Indeed, in the real Middle East—despite de rigueur public statements by Abdullah and his father-predecessor King Hussein about the desirability of a Palestinian state—Jordan has long feared such an outcome. Jordan has both a large Palestinian population and a simmering Islamist movement, and knows a Palestinian state across the river is just the thing that would light the spark of insurrection.

As for Syria, to assume that creating a Palestinian state would soften it is to ignore the fact that for decades Syria has hosted in Damascus precisely those Palestinian terrorist organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP-GC, and others that are most openly contemptuous of any “solution” other than Israel’s eradication. For believing the regime can be wooed away from this posture there’s a Middle Eastern word—chutzpah.

Then there are the Saudis, still believed by many to be the linchpin of a more Western-aligned, America-accepting Middle East. Yet their much-touted 2002 peace plan calls for a “return” of Palestinian refugees to Israel—code for its demographic demise.

Some of the reasons, then, for the lack of Arab eagerness to aid the PA are: fear of a Palestinian state; ideological rejection of a Palestinian state on only part of the land; and ideological rejection of Israel.

If such nuances tend to escape the Bush administration, they’re even less likely to register with Obama. It’s very possible, though, that by the time he would be president, there will be a different Israeli government that’s more security-conscious and less pliant than Olmert’s government was. If so, expect to see Obama square off against what he would perceive as the real obstacle to peace and harmony: Israel. It’s a grim prospect.’

Read the rest of the article in Front Page Magazine here.

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 1, 2008

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