In Chile a revolt against economic success presages disaster 1

This information was given to us as a comment on our post Saved from Communism – and flourishing (September 15, 2013) by our reader – and citizen of Chile –  Carlos. It confirms the two reports we quoted, which praise Chile for its spectacular economic achievements since 1973. But it is also a reality-check and corrective to their optimism, because it also tells the distressing story of how the Left is trying to sabotage the system that worked so well and return the country to failed collectivist policies:

The information you cite on this post is correct. The country I grew up in was entirely different from the one my parents knew. Latin American nations have always been poor in ways someone that hails from the Anglo-Saxon world can’t fathom, and it’s been like that since the Spaniards came hundreds of years ago.

My parents, the son and daughter of poor country workers (the kind that toiled the land without technology or electricity), are now medical professionals, wealthy, and have traveled to all continents. It’s the kind of story you hear in those once poor third world countries that lead free market reforms, or about first generation immigrants that arrive to the US as paupers and then, after some decades, amass the kind of wealth only a small percentage possess in their countries of origin.

Besides [and because of] having the highest per capita income of the region, the people of Chile surpass others in South America on eating and drinking alcohol, so much that, just like the US, obesity and diabetes are a major health concern of all ages.

With all this, you would think that the Chilean people would be happy and elated about their progress …

Yes, progress – because obesity and diabetes are bad effects of eating too much, not too little …

…  but that could not be farther from the truth. The political consensus, accepted by pretty much everyone, is that the Chilean economic system is immoral and awful; a system built on “inequality and greed”.

Like in the US and Europe, the political Right has abandoned the Universities and intellectual spheres, leaving them to the Left to reign supreme. Socialism of all stripes is discussed on all political talk shows, while the greatest and most successful economic reforms in Chile’s history (the greatest reduction of poverty in recent years, for one) are scorned as “neoliberalism” and not egalitarian, and capitalists are despised with the same animus as your lefties [in the US] inveigh against the “one percenters”.

While the European welfare states are teetering, the people here hate the privately managed social security, accusing them of being thieves. The general belief here is that if something, whether minerals, forests, social security funds, etc., is owned by the State it is the property of everyone, which is good (no matter how much it costs or how much the national debt rises), but if it is private then someone somewhere is stealing from them (with commodities this is believed even if the prices are low).

This thinking is also applied to education.

Throughout 2011, huge protests broke out clamoring for free university education and the end of the voucher system for funding school education for poor families. The protesters were led by a member of the Communist Party, who was acclaimed and embraced by the fawning media. The protests ended up with more than a thousand policemen injured (beaten, burned by molotov bombs, etc.) and damages to schools on strike (by their own students, if not older members of left wing fanatic groups) that, according to the Minister of Education, amount to the cost of building 11 all-new schools.

Street violence is now a staple of the national life, with policemen attacked with a shower of rocks, molotov bombs, and acid (yes, ACID). Even the horses that policemen use have been the subject of horrible knife cuts. The last protest to commemorate the 40 years of the coup ended up with a policeman with his face (nose, teeth, cheek) destroyed by a rock blow, as several others had their hands burned with acid. (See videos of the riots here  – where a fallen mounted policeman is stoned – and here and here.)

All of this without counting the crude and disgusting language the police are subject to by the crazed mass that revels in violence.

The two greatest universities of the country are hostile grounds for Presidents of all stripes. Years ago, Ricardo Lagos, a Socialist President, was verbally abused in the Law faculty of the University of Chile and paint was hurled at him for the crime of not been socialist enough. And just three or two years ago, the current President, Sebastián Piñera and other political colleagues where attacked in the Catholic University of Chile by a group of students that behaved like a group of crazed baboons hooting and jeering.

The “secular religion” of the Left, besides the sanctification of the “Dear Leader”, is the adoration of the martyrs of the Revolution.

At the tax payer expense, a Museum of the Memory was built to commemorate all the 3000+ victims of the Pinochet dictatorship, all under a language of Human Rights violations. Of course, there is no mention of Allende’s association with the Soviet Union, one of the greatest Human Rights violators ever, only surpassed by others that applied the system of Scientific Socialism, which Allende and the Left adhered to and admired. There is no mention, also, of the more than 400 police and military men that were murdered by the paramilitary groups; no mention of the human disaster that Allende government was (with a ridiculous high inflation, shortages of the basic victuals, rationing lines, out of control political violence, aggressive taking over of land and industries, the State controlling most of the economy); no mentioning of the language the Left used during Allende’s reign: the threat of violent Revolution, and, most disgusting of all, the claims that, after killing the men of the Bourgeoisie, they would take their women ‘to the bed’, a nice and blithe euphemism for rape.

Our Communist Party has expressed, openly, their grief for the passing of the lunatic dictator Kim Jong-il, and gave vocal support to the Assad regime on the glorious duty of massacring their own people (a very Communist endeavor, you know). These horrendous, ignominious, disgraceful acts in support of murder and evil that boggle the mind are met with total (yes, that is the word) indifference by the general populace, while Pinochet’s dictatorship is routinely condemned.

Michelle Bachelet, a member of the Socialist Party who governed Chile between 2006 – 2010, will return again as a candidate for the next election. While in her first mandate she tended to be Center-Left, supported by a somewhat moderate coalition, and applying as much fiscal sanity as a Socialist can have, this time she comes at the head of a new political group that includes the Communist Party and is bent on changing the “Neoliberal” system, increase taxes and all the litany of reforms that scares investors and ruins long term economic projects. She enjoys the support of nearly 40 – 45% of voters, mostly because of her motherly appearance and the fact that she is a woman.

The problem with Chile is that, as Ayn Rand would say, its very core, its spiritual, cultural and historic center, is complete and powerfully rotted with Altruism. It is embedded in the national soul. Its roots lie, I believe, with the Catholic creed, and is something that most Chileans embrace. This allows for any right, any value to be sacrificed on the altar of the Collective, Public, Tribal good.

This is the reason I am writing this to you, because I think that in some years, Chile will utterly fail in its quest for economic development, and it will be a disaster.

Economic liberalism, individualism, is the antithesis of Altruism.

The Left has learned NOTHING from the experience of Allende’s government: the living members of his administration have publicly refused to ask for forgiveness for ruining the economy and the coexistence of a nation that some three years before was peaceful and stable. The younger members of the Left believe that the CIA and the Right ruined the economy just to get rid of Allende. The lessons of History only apply to their enemies.

It is a very bleak picture that I have painted of the current situation of Chile, but it is one that any of us living here would profess, any of us that believe in freedom, private property and the secular Rule of Law focused on defending individual rights.

Hillary Clinton’s disastrous tenure 1

This is our compressed version, posted on our Facebook page, of a part of Victor Davis Hanson’s column at PJ Media today. We repeat it here promptly and enthusiastically because it sums up (at least in part) the case against a Hillary Clinton presidency  – the very thought of which makes us shudder.

Kerry is played hourly by the Russians and Syrians. He seeks to lecture and pontificate, not persuade and inspire. He ends up doing neither well. The secretary freelances into embarrassment. At times Kerry warns of imminent bombing; at times he champions sober negotiation; at times both and again neither. He talks ponderously and long. Even the Russians cannot stand the pomposity. Kerry inherited and made worse this mess, but did not create it. It was Hillary Clinton, not Kerry or even Obama, who first issued empty red lines that she either had no intention of enforcing or should have known that Obama had no desire to honor. It was Clinton who grandly announced to the world that Kerry and other senators were right in declaring Assad a “reformer” and a “moderate.” It was Hillary who oversaw, along with Samantha Power and Susan Rice, the debacle in Libya. It was Hillary who explained why Gaddafi — the clever monster in rehabilitation doing all that he could do to massage Western oil-hungry and petro-dollar-grabbing elites — had to go, but why the suddenly now satanic Assad should be left alone to reform. It was Hillary who was the architect of “lead from behind,” which proved nothing. Hillary thundered callously “what difference does it make?” over the four dead in Benghazi. Her State Department both stonewalled the Benghazi inquiry and, before the attack, refused to consider requests for more security. It was Hillary who chortled in crude fashion “we came, we saw, Gaddafi died,” and in cruder fashion lied to the families of the dead that a right-wing video, not Islamist militias attacking a poorly defended consulate engaged in secretive arms smuggling, had led to the deaths of their sons. And, yes, it was Hillary who jumped ship to avoid the consequences of her own disastrous tenure, while she hit the lecture circuit to cash in and prep for her 2016 presidential run. Kerry is incompetently cleaning up the wreckage of Hillary Clinton’s disastrous tenure.

The column needs to be read in full.

Posted under Commentary, Defense, Diplomacy, Islam, jihad, Libya, middle east, Muslims, Russia, Syria, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, September 16, 2013

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Assad’s sarin gas: the British connection 0

Sarin is made by combining the fluorine in sodium fluoride with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and phosphorous. It is considered one of the world’s most dangerous chemical warfare agents. It disrupts the nervous system, over-stimulating muscles and vital organs. It is more than 500 times as toxic as cyanide. It can be inhaled as a gas or absorbed through the skin. In high doses, sarin suffocates its victims by paralyzing the muscles around their lungs, and one drop can kill in minutes.

The sodium fluoride was supplied to Syria by British firms, according to The Mail on Sunday:

British companies sold chemicals to Syria that could have been used to produce the deadly nerve agent that killed 1,400 people …

Between July 2004 and May 2010 the Government issued five export licences to two companies, allowing them to sell Syria sodium fluoride, which is used to make sarin.

The Government last night admitted for the first time that the chemical was delivered to Syria – a clear breach of international protocol on the trade of dangerous substances that has been condemned as ‘grossly irresponsible’.

The sales were made at a time when President Bashar Assad was strongly suspected to be stockpiling the chemical weapons that have caused an international crisis.

The UK firms delivered sodium fluoride to a Syrian cosmetics company for what they claim were legitimate purposes. But intelligence experts believe President Assad’s regime uses such companies to divert chemicals into its weapons programme.

Thomas Docherty MP, a member of the Commons Arms Export Controls Committee, said: ‘These are very disturbing revelations uncovered by The Mail on Sunday regarding the provision of sodium fluoride to Syria. At no time should we have allowed President Assad’s regime to get its hands on this substance. Previously we thought that while export licences had been granted, no chemicals were actually delivered. Now we know that in the build-up to the Syrian civil war, UK companies – with the backing of our Government – were supplying this potentially lethal substance. While the last export licence was issued in May 2010, these licences are obtained prior to manufacture and the industry standard is for four to five months to pass before the chemicals are delivered. So we are looking at late 2010 for the British supplies of sodium fluoride reaching Syria. The Government has some very serious questions to answer.” …

Last night the BIS [Department for Business, Innovation and Skills] refused to answer questions regarding how much sodium fluoride was bought and sold – or which companies were involved.

Intelligence expert Richard Kemp … said last night: “President Assad would undoubtedly have diverted legitimately exported supplies of sodium fluoride in order to make chemical weapons. He would have absolutely no qualms about doing this, and his practice was well known to British diplomats and our intelligence agencies. In this light, it is grossly irresponsible of BIS to have approved these licences from 2004 to 2010.”

Scientists at the UK’s military research laboratory at Porton Down proved that sarin was used in the chemical attack on August 21 after testing items of clothing recovered from the scene.

The US says the attack, near Damascus, killed 1,429 people, including 426 children.

We don’t trust the figures, given out by Secretary of State John Kerry, but we do believe people in Syria were gassed with sarin.

And yesterday, EU officials meeting in Lithuania announced that they are convinced that the chemical attack was the work of President Assad’s forces rather than any opposition fighters.

We wouldn’t trust them either.

Last night a senior scientist condemned the sale, as Syria is one of just five countries to have refused to sign protocols against the use of chemical weapons. The other nations not to have signed up to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) accords are North Korea, South Sudan, Egypt and Angola.

Britain has done this before. According to the report it sold fluoride to Saddam Hussein, through intermediaries, and Saddam Hussein made the lethal gas out of it with which he massacred his people.

Last night a BIS spokesman said: ‘The five licences were granted to two UK exporters. We cannot publish their names for reasons of commercial confidentiality. The end users were two Syrian commercial companies. The quantities of sodium fluoride involved were commensurate with the stated end use in the production of cosmetics and there was no reason to link them with Syria’s chemical weapons programme. This remains the case.”

But remember – BIS is a British Government agency.

It is also worth noting, we think, that sarin gas is easy to manufacture.

Which means that if Assad hands over his stock of it into something vaguely described as “international safekeeping”, it will make the world not a jot safer.

Assad can make it again. British firms can find a way of getting sodium fluoride to him again (and we suspect they probably will).

Any nation intent on making it can make it.

And what is there to deter them? Barack Obama’s incoherent speeches?

A brief colorful history of the modern state of Syria (and its neighbors) 2

Until the end of World War I, the states of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan did not exist. The territory they now cover had been part of the Empire of the Ottoman Turks for some 400 years. The names Syria and Mesopotamia designated Middle Eastern regions of the Ottoman Empire, roughly where Syria and Iraq are now.

In World War I the Turks were allies of Germany. The Arabs were loyal to their Ottoman overlords, and were also on Germany’s side.

But the British incited sedition among some of them, bribing a man in high religious office to head a rebellion. The inducement they offered him was power and glory: rule of an Arab independency of undefined dimensions.

The man was Hussein Ibn Ali, of the clan of the Hashemites and the tribe of the Quraish, Sharif of the Holy City of Mecca, putatively a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.

The British gave him arms, supplies, subsidies and advisers. When he asked also for a firm definition of his dream-kingdom, the British High Commissioner in Cairo, Sir Henry McMahon, sent him a “clarification” in a letter dated 24 October 1915, in which he made it clear that he could not make it clear. The British, he explained, could not promise territory to Hussein which the French might claim, and they did not know what the French might claim.

In 1916 the British and French agreed, in a secret document known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement, on how they would divide up the territory between them once they had conquered it from the Turks. It was against the spirit of the times, when high principles were asserted against the old ideas of empire; principles which President Wilson of the United States set out in 14 points and became enshrined on the Covenant of the League of Nations. The new ideal was that never again would great powers impose their will on smaller nations.

In 1918, the British made another promise to the Arabs. It is known as The Declaration to the Seven. The “Seven” were from the Syrian region. They went to Cairo to ask the British what their intentions were in the Middle East. They were given a pledge that Britain would recognize “the complete and sovereign independence of any Arab area emancipated from Turkish control by the Arabs themselves”. It was an uncharacteristically precise promise.

It prompted the self-dramatizing Englishman, Colonel T.E.Lawrence, who had a highly romantic view of the Arabs (a view that has polluted the atmosphere of the  British Foreign Office ever since), to exert himself to lead Hussein’s forces to a decisive victory. He marched them to Damascus, but the Australian Light Horse Brigade got there first, and took the city from the Turks. Lawrence persuaded the British to pretend that his Arabs had conquered the city. So the British ordered the Australians to drift out and let the Arabs march in. This set a really bad precedent by which the Arabs expected always to have a fictional version of reality replace any facts on the ground which inconvenienced them. It also gave the Arabs as a whole a false understanding of their own military power and achievements. (If they had beaten the mighty Turks at Damascus, how could they not be victorious against the new little Jewish state of Israel in 1948?)

When the British, French, and Americans won the Second World War, the British set about fulfilling – more or less –  their promise to Hussein.

Hussein himself already ruled the Hejaz. His son Ali was his heir to that kingdom. (They were, however, to lose it in 1924,when Abdul Aziz al Saud conquered it. Saud was to join the Hejaz and the Nejd together and found a new state, Saudi Arabia, named after himself, in 1932.) But new kingdoms were created by the British for Hussein’s other sons, Abdullah and Faisal. They were to be called Syria and Iraq.

They made Faisal King of of the new state of Syria, and proposed to put Abdullah on the throne of a new state of Iraq. 

Faisal ruled Syria only from March to April, 1920. The French knocked him off his throne and threw him out of the country, whose destiny they claimed was rightfully in their hands. (The French were granted mandates over Syria and Lebanon.)

The British had to find another throne for Faisal, so they made him King of Iraq instead of his brother, and then considered what they could for Abdullah.

What remained in their power to give away – or so they made out – was an area of the Ottoman Empire to which the ancient Romans had given the name Palestine when it was still part of their empire. In July 1922, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate (also agreed on at the San Remo peace conference in 1920) over the Palestine region. The British pleaded that they needed it in order to carry out a promise they had made, in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, to let the region become a National Home for the Jews. According to the terms of the Mandate they were  to “settle Jews closely on the land”. But when they were confronted by the problem of Abdullah being kingdom-less, they found that there was no need to let Jews settle closely on all the land. So they presented three-quarters of it, stretching eastward from the River Jordan to a chosen line in the desert, to Abdullah and called it the Emirate of Transjordan.

All the newly created Arab states fell short of Arab dreams. One was to flourish fairly well as a monarchy: the Emirate of Transjordan renamed itself the Kingdom of Jordan in 1949, when the Arab armies had failed to crush the new state of Israel, but the Transjordanian forces – known as the Arab Legion, under the able command of a British officer, John Bagot Glubb, better known as Glubb Pasha – had advanced across the River Jordan and taken control of what has ever since been called the “West Bank”. (Israel conquered it in its defensive war of 1968.)

The French held a mandate over Syria until July 1941. In September 1936,  a treaty of independence was  negotiated, but the French Legislature would not ratify it. Only when the British and Free French beat the forces of Vichy France in Syria and Lebanon in the Second World War, did Syria become an independent republic. But coups and attempted coups followed hot on each other, and the state was extremely unstable.

The Kingdom of Iraq also had a history of instability with numerous uprisings, massacres and assassinations. In 1958 the monarchy came to an end. The king, Faisal II, was eleven years old. His uncle, Abd al-Ilah, was  regent. He was an ambitious man. He had plans to dominate an Arab unity embracing Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait. In February 1958 he achieved a union between Iraq and Jordan, the two remaining Hashemite kingdoms. This was intolerable to the president of Egypt, Jamal Abd al-Nasser, who had just created a union of Egypt and Syria in the same  month. The union of Egypt and Syria under Nasser’s domination was intolerable to Abd al-Ilah.

Nasser had nationalized the Suez canal. Britain and France, who were joint shareholders in the Canal, lost their ownership of it. Nasser closed it to Israeli shipping. Israel saw this as a cause for war. Britain and France arranged with Israel that Israeli forces would strike into the Sinai on 29 October 1956, and they would invade Egypt on the pretext of restoring peace between the belligerents. President Eisenhower – unwisely – put a stop to the invasion when it had only just begun. America’s intervention allowed Nasser to pretend that he had won a victory, and felt encouraged to pursue his pan-Arab dream.

On February 1 1958, the union of Egypt and Syria as the United Arab Republic (UAR) came into being, with Cairo as its capital and Nasser as its president. Yemen was added a month later to form a confederation called the United Arab States.

Nasser’s agents and sympathizers went to work throughout the Middle East to spread his national socialist ideology. In Baghdad officers sympathetic to “Nasserism”  plotted the destruction of the Iraqi monarchy. In 1958, under pro-Nasserite leadership, a contingent of Iraqi troops despatched by the Regent  to quell a pro-Nasser uprising and civil war in Lebanon (actually put down by US forces) turned instead on their own ruling house. At dawn on 14 July 1958, the boy-king Faisal was murdered, along with his grandmother, his aunt, and others in the palace, including a helpless harmless orphan boy who lived with them.

Abd al-Ilah was dragged through the streets of Baghdad tied with ropes to the back of a truck, then – whether still alive or not when the tuck stopped – his body was dismembered with axes and his limbs and head tossed about by the hysterical mob. His trunk was hung from a balcony and chunks of its flesh were sliced off and thrown to the crowd below. The Prime Minister, Nuri al-Said, disguised himself as a woman and tried to escape, but he was caught and killed, and his body flung down on a busy street to be driven over, squashed and broken by the cars full of exulting motorists. His successor too was murdered after five years in power, and his body was fed to dogs.

In 1961, Syria revolted against Egypt’s domination and reasserted its independence. So the UAE was dissolved, and Yemen released. Hafez Assad became president of Syria in 1971. Under his dictatorship, and after him the dictatorship of his son Bashar Assad, rebellion has been put down with ruthless massacres.

Or not put down, as is the case now that civil war rages; or war waged by numerous militias and terrorist groups against the forces of the state. There is no reason to expect a peaceful or stable Syria to emerge out of the chaos, whether Great Powers intervene or not. The Syrians have no precedent for peace and stability in their young unhappy country. 

 

Jillian Becker  September 9, 2013

To turn, turn ’twill be our delight 2

“Gentlemen, these are my principles. And if you don’t like them, I’ve got others.”

The origin of those immortal words is disputed, but it’s the motto inscribed on the heart of every political turncoat.

We take the following extracts from that valuable resource, Discover the Networks.

They are about John Kerry, who married the widow of Republican Senator H. John Heinz III. (She spends his colossal fortune lavishly on far Left causes – one of them being John Kerry.)

On August 30 [2013],  Obama dispatched Secretary of State Kerry to make a passionate speech in support of a swift U.S. response to Syria’s “moral obscenity”. In that speech, Kerry called Assad “a thug and a murderer” and held him accountable for the 1,429 people who allegedly had died from the recent chemical attack. “My friends,” Kerry added, “it matters here if nothing is done. It matters if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens.”

A passionate speech indeed on the moral necessity of this foreign intervention.

Just hours after Kerry’s speech, however, Obama …  decided to reverse course. The following day, the President announced that he would seek congressional approval before taking any military action. Kerry, for his part, praised this decision.

Praised it, praised it. He had been made to look the fool he is, but he was unaware of that it seems. He has a long history of turning with the political winds of the Left.

Forty years ago he made passionate speeches on the immorality of foreign interventions.

In a 1971 interview with William F. Buckley, Kerry delivered this broadside against American arrogance and “moralism”:

I don’t think that the United States, and I think this is the biggest problem about Vietnam, can necessarily apply moral, moralisms to its commitments around the world.And I think this is one of the great fallacies of our foreign policy at the present moment. Interventionism as well as globalism both stem from the same kind of moralism. And in a certain sense I think that moralism can be very defeating for the United States in its undertakings. It gets us into a sort of messianic enterprise, whereby we have this impression that somehow we can go out  and touch these other countries and change them. …

Okay, that was years and years ago. A man can change his mind as he grows older. It’s only natural that he should. Mature thoughts are better than those of callow youth.

So let’s set aside for the moment what he said about America’s “immoral” engagement in the Vietnam war.

Let’s come on to recent history, current events, Syria in particular. It is important to remember that Syria under the Ba’athist dictators, Bashar and his father Hafez Assad, has always been a harsh dictatorship. This is from another source.*

In November 1976, [Yasser] Arafat supplied  arms to the Muslim Brotherhood in the Syrian city of Hama. They rose in rebellion in February 1982. … President Assad … put down the Hama rebellion with the utmost ruthlessness. [His brother] Rif’at Assad’s storm troopers massacred the people of the town in vast numbers.  … A report issued by Amnesty International, in September 1983, reckoned that the number of of citizens killed may have been as high as 25,000: investigators received unverified information that cyanide gas had been piped into the buildings through rubber hoses to kill all inhabaitants indiscriminately. Other reports tell of people being lined up in the streets and shot … Part of the city, the fourth biggest in Syria, was razed by tanks and artillery.

Now to return to Discover the Networks:

Since the early 2000s, Kerry has been the federal government’s highest-ranking apologist for Syrian President Bashar Assad. Indeed it was Kerry who made numerous efforts to undermine the Bush administration’s attempt to isolate the Syrian dictator after its courtship of him ended in failure in 2003; after Bush repeatedly accused Syria of supporting terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere; and after the United States withdrew its ambassador to Syria following the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former premier Rafiq Hariri in a car bombing most likely orchestrated by the Assad regime.

In February 2009, just days after Barack Obama’s inauguration, Kerry was sent to Syria as part of a policy review by an Obama administration looking to establish new relationships with countries the Bush administration had considered hostile. (This was the first of five trips Kerry would make to Syria between 2009 and 2011.)

During the February 2009 trip, Kerry listened to Bashar Assad advise him that Washington must “move away from a policy based on dictating decisions,” and that future relations between the U.S. and Syria should be based on a “proper understanding” by Washington of Middle East issues and interests. In return, Kerry used the occasion to bash the former administration. “Unlike the Bush administration that believed you could simply tell people what to do and walk away and wait for them to do it, we believe you have to engage in a discussion,” he said. “I believe very deeply [haha- ed.] that this is an important moment of change, a moment of potential transformation, not just in the relationship between the United States and Syria but in the relationship of the region.” Emphasizing his belief that Assad would aid the so-called peace process in the Middle East, Kerry stated that “Syria could be, in fact, very helpful in helping to bring about a unity government” between Fatah and Hamas.

A year later, Kerry, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sat down once again with Assad. “Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region,” said the senator in April 2010. “Both the United States and Syria have a very deep interest … in having a very frank exchange on any differences [and] agreements that we have about the possibilities of peace in this region.” Kerry added that the Obama administration’s effort to appoint the first U.S. ambassador to Damascus in five years was “evidence that engagement with Syria is a priority at the highest levels of our government.” …

In November 2010, disclosures of diplomatic cables by the WikiLeaks website revealed that Kerry had been busy undermining Israel as well: He had told leaders in Qatar that the Golan Heights should be returned to Syria, and that the capital of a Palestinian state should be established in East Jerusalem, as part of the “peace process.”

Some honest broker he in the endless pointless “peace process”!

By March 2011, as the anti-government protests in the Middle East begin to include Syria, France and the U.S. nixed another trip by Kerry to Damascus, concerned that it would signal “Western weakness”.  That decision may have been precipitated by an appearance Kerry had made before a think tank audience twelve days earlier, where he:

• contended that the United States had a crucial role to play in facilitating the “democratic transitions” in the Middle East, including Egypt;

• asserted that “the people of Egypt liberated themselves in eighteen days without a single IED or suicide bomb”;

praised President Assad for having been “very generous with me in terms of the discussions we have had”; and

• predicted that “Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West and economic opportunity that comes with it and the participation that comes with it.”

Oh, what a man of peace he was. For a while. And so convinced that Bashar Assad was too. That is, until the “moral obscenity” Assad committed – according to Obama and Kerry – in August 2013. What a shock it must have been to poor John! However could he have been so mistaken in his judgment? Not once, not twice, but always.

 

* From The PLO: The Rise and Fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization by Jillian Becker, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1984, p.224

UN Force in Lebanon teaches baking and knitting 0

instead of doing its job, defined by the UN as keeping southern Lebanon free of Hizbollah, and preventing that huge terrorist organization from re-arming.

The hobby lessons are paid for in large part by US tax payers.

This is from PJ Media, by Claudia Rosett – the most reliable authority on all things UN:

The news is full of reports that Israeli air strikes have targeted Iranian-supplied missiles in Syria, which Israeli officials believe were intended for Hezbollah — Iran’s satellite terrorist organization in Lebanon. Midway through a New York Times story on this development comes a reminder that:

“Hezbollah is now believed to have more missiles and fighters than it had before its 2006 battle with Israel, when Hezbollah missiles forced a third of Israel’s population into shelters and hit as far south as Haifa.”

“More missiles” may be putting it modestly. In 2011, Israeli authorities said that Hezbollah had rearmed to the extent of amassing more than three times the weapons it had prior to the 2006 war. Supplementing their allegations with detailed maps, Israeli officials charged that Hezbollah had created a network across southern Lebanon of almost 1,000 rocket and missile facilities, including 550 bunkers and 100 weapons storage units.

All of which raises the question of what’s going on with the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, known as UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebanon). UNIFIL was beefed up, at significant cost, after the 2006 war, with the professed aim of ensuring that Hezbollah would not rearm. As spelled out in 2006 in UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was supposed to secure peace, UNIFIL’s mandate included helping Lebanon’s armed forces ensure that southern Lebanon, bordering on Israel, would be — to quote from the UNIFIL web site — “an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL deployed in the area.”  …

Obviously … that mandate for ensuring an area free of Hezbollah munitions has not worked out. …

UNIFIL remains in southern Lebanon, on an annual budget now totaling almost $550 million (more than 27% of that funded by U.S. taxpayers), with more than 11,000 peacekeeping troops. …

“So,” Claudia Rosett asks rhetorically, “what is UNIFIL doing?” And she tells us:

Well, they are embodying diversity, with troops from 38 countries. They have put out a 2013 calendar featuring “Women of UNIFIL.” And according to UNIFIL’s web site, they have been providing quite an array of services to the local community:

UNIFIL contingents provide free medical, dental, veterinary and such other assistance to the local population.” Beyond that. they have been providing training programs for the locals, “in such fields as computers, languages, bread making, knitting, yoga, taekwondo and so on.”

So, while UNIFIL has proved unable to stop Hezbollah from amplifying its previous military facilities into a warren of hundreds of bunkers stuffed with thousand of rockets and missiles, UNIFIL has been toiling away to provide everything from computer instruction to free medical care to yoga, knitting, and taekwondo lessons to the local population that hosts these Hezbollah weapons facilities. Should we really call this peacekeeping? Sounds more like free services for Hezbollah.

The UN must be destroyed.

*

What is Israel doing about the massive arming of Hezbollah?

The following paragraph is a digest of quotations from this article, and was first posted on our TAC Facebook page:

[Yesterday, May 5, 2013] Israel conducted a second round of strikes in three days on advanced weapons including Iranian F-110 weapons bound for Hizballah in transit at Damascus international airport. Syrian TV reported only an attack on the Jamraya military research center just north of Damascus. This was the same facility which Israeli planes attacked in January. Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said that the strike on Syria overnight represented a “declaration of war” by Israel. Russian and Iranian media earlier predicted full-scale Middle East hostilities involving Israel erupting in the coming hours, in the wake of Israel’s renewed strikes against Iranian missiles bound for Hizballah and other targets around Damascus. Russian sources reported rumors that President Bashar Assad was on the point of declaring war on Israel. Russia Today claimed that an Israeli rocket strike caused heavy Syrian casualties – according to rumors, at least 300 members of the Syrian Army’s 501st Unit dead and hundreds filling four Damascus hospitals. If this is confirmed, then the unit which operates the chemical weapon facility at the Barzeh district north of Damascus at the foot of Mt. Qassioun was hit. Israel’s security cabinet holds emergency session.

While Obama dithers, Israel bombs Syria 1

Obama swore that there would be “enormous consequences” if Bashar Assad, presently at war with al-Qaeda in his own country, used chemical weapons.

Bashar Assad has now used chemical weapons. So Obama has snapped into dithering over whether to do anything about it and if so what.

Meanwhile Israel, being in the region actually threatened by Assad’s lethal chemistry, took to the air and bombed Syrian chemical weapons stores.

This is from The Tower:

Syrian opposition forces reported that IAF [Israeli Air Force] strikes had taken place on Syrian territory. The opposition reports also indicated that the Israeli attack targeted Syria’s chemical weapons program.

Since it is impossible to bomb a program, it is to be understood that Israel targeted chemical weapons. Targeted and destroyed (some of) them.

Israeli officials have been increasingly explicit in warning that Jerusalem would act to prevent the Syrian regime from crossing the double red line that Israeli officials had set at the onset of the Syrian conflict: no transfer of advanced Syrian weapons to terrorist allies of the embattled Bashar al-Assad and no seizure of those weapons by Al Qaeda-linked opponents fighting to overthrow the regime.

President Barack Obama has endorsed the Israeli position [in a manner of speaking]:

“That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria. It concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us,” Obama said, also acknowledging the possibility that militant groups might acquire some of those weapons. “We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.”

The president noted that he has not ordered any armed U.S. intervention yet, but said: “We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region, that that’s a red line for us, and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front, or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.”

A great threatener, President Obama.

The odds of transfer or seizure have dramatically increased in recent weeks.

Israeli officials publicly worried earlier this week that Assad’s forces had already transferred small amounts of chemical weapons to the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah. For its part Hezbollah is thought to have poured literally thousands of fighters into Syria, and has become deeply embedded in the Syrian army’s battles against opposition forces. The regime has kept much of the Syrian army out of the fighting due to fears of defection. There are no such worries with Hezbollah’s fighters, and Hezbollah forces had already been deployed to guard Syrian WMD arsenals months ago. Iran and Hezbollah have also reportedly built an enormous force to seize control of Syria if necessary.

The risk of chemical weapons seizure has also spiked. Areas evacuated by Syrian forces, especially those around the border area with Israel, have been filled in by fighters from the Al Nusra Front. The beginning of April saw the largest redeployment of Syrian army forces in 40 years, and rebels are now within striking distance of Syria’s largest WMD caches. The Al Nusra Front is, according to the the State Department, merely an alias for Al Qaeda, and Al Nusra fighters have pledged allegiance to the global terrorist group. Islamist rebels in Syria have pledged to attack Israel and top Israeli military officials believe those attacks would include the use of chemical weapons. …

As the White House mulls whether Syria has crossed President Obama’s red line and used chemical weapons, the U.S. military and intelligence community are quietly acknowledging that the United States does not know where many of those weapons are located… At the heart of the concern is that the Syrian military has transferred more and more of its stock of sarin and mustard gas from storage sites to trucks where they are being moved around the country. … Also worrisome … is intelligence from late last year that says the Syrian Scientific Research Center — an entity responsible for Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpile — has begun to train irregular militias loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [namely Hezbollah] in how to use the chemical munitions.

Now Obama can claim that he took action through Israel. So Israel is his right hand. (He is left-handed). He can also, if he thinks it expedient, claim that his left hand doesn’t know what his right hand is doing.

Posted under Israel, News, Syria, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 4, 2013

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Tyranny victorious 2

Is Qaddafi victorious against the combined forces of France, Britain, and the US (aka NATO)?

According to this report he is. We can’t vouch for its reliability, but from the look of things we think it may be right.

Neither the US nor Russia sees anyone in the Libyan rebel political or military leadership capable of taking over the reins of power in Tripoli. It is therefore assumed that a member of the Qaddafi clan will be chosen as Libya’s interim ruler.

Obama and Medvedev also quietly agreed, those sources say, that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, despite their excessive involvement in the Libyan war, were wasting their time because they had no chance of making Qaddafi leave.

According to the information the Russian president offered Obama, NATO attacks had not disabled a single one of Qaddafi’s five brigades. Obama confirmed this from his own sources.

Qaddafi might not, however, be able to hang on to power:

The same report claims  that Medvedev and Obama “traded” Assad for Qaddafi – ie. they agreed that Bashar Assad, the tyrant of Syria, would stay in power as the Russian leadership wishes him to, and Qaddafi would go as the Obama administration desires.

Word [is] going round that President Barak Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev Friday, May 27, came to a reciprocal understanding on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Deauville about the fate of the Syrian and Libyan rulers.

Obama is reported to have promised Medvedev to let Assad finish off the uprising against him without too much pressure from the US and the West. In return, the Russian president undertook to help the US draw the Libyan war to a close by means of an effort to bring about Muammar Qaddafi’s exit from power – in a word, the two big powers traded Qaddafi for Assad.

What sort of man is it that Obama is protecting, if the report is true?

This story graphically confirms what the world should already know about Bashar Assad:

Hamza al Khateeb, a 13 years old boy … was detained among hundreds of Syrian during the massacre of Siada.

After weeks of absence Hamza was returned to his family as a dead body … with scars testifying to the torture … bruises, burns to the feet, elbows, face and knees and his genitals removed. …  wounds consistent with those seen of victims of electric shock devices and cable whippings. The child’s eyes [were] swollen and black, and both arms showed identical bullet wounds.

After receiving his body, Khatib’s family was visited by Syrian secret police, who arrested the boy’s father. The boy’s mother said officers ordered her husband to say the boy was killed by armed Salafists, or ultra-conservative Muslims, whom Assad has claimed as being behind the unrest.

She said the secret police had warned her not to speak to the press, threatening, “You know what would happen if we heard you had spoken to the media.”

What is more, Assad is a tool of Iran, and Obama knows it:

Washington Post has quoted unnamed US officials as saying that Iran has been sending trainers and consultants to Syria to help the Syrian regime in its brutal crackdown against the protesters .

The paper also reported that this is in addition to special equipment the Iranians sent to the Syrian authorities to help them in identifying and tracking down the protesters that use Facebook and Twitter.

This means that the Syrian and Iranian regimes, far from being targeted as enemies of the US, are enjoying a form of protection by the Obama administration.

Global warring 1

This past weekend there has been, and there continues to be, a blood-bath in Syria, as its Alawite dictator, Bashar Assad, slaughters the people his family has been oppressing for decades.

There is little about it in the news media in America.

This is what’s happening there:

Bashar Assad has launched all-out war on his people. Tanks firing artillery, APCs [Armored Personnel Carriers], infantry units, commandoes and snipers were deployed for the first time at daybreak Monday, April 25 in cities across Syria for the most brutal assault on any Arab anti-government protest in the four-month uprising.

In the first few hours, hundreds are estimated to have been massacred (over and above the 350 shot dead in the last three days) and thousands injured. Denied medical attention, they are left in the streets to die.

Cities with populations of 2-3 million have been stormed by Syrian troops backed by tanks firing automatic 120-mm guns at random, commandoes dropped by helicopter and snipers.

The military offensive to break the back of the uprising is led by [dictator Bashar Assad’s] younger brother Maher Assad at the head of the Republican Guard and the 4th Division which is made up mostly of the Assad’s Alawite clan. Its first target Sunday night was the southern town of Deraa where the protest movement began and the Mediterranean coastal town of Jableh.

Monday, Syria shut its land borders to Jordan to conceal the scale of the carnage inflicted on the border town of Deraa from outside eyes. Foreign correspondents have been banned from the country since the uprising began.

Monday, indiscriminate fire was also reported in Duma, a dissident suburb of the capital Damascus. By Monday afternoon, thousands of soldiers had spread out across the North, South and Center of the country, apparently preparing to storm the large cities and protest centers of Hama, Homs, Latakiya and the Kurdish north. …

April 23 saw the constantly mounting uprising against the Assad regime finally reaching the Syrian capital Damascus where  300,000 – 15 percent of the city’s dwellers – took the streets shouting: “Bashar Assad you are a traitor!” That day too the Syrian ruler unleashed his security forces for the harshest crackdown yet in order to break the back of the five-week civil uprising. The result: 350 dead, tripling the number of Friday’s bloodbath and thousands of injured.

Early Sunday, secret service thugs hauled thousands of protesters out of their homes. They broke down doors in the Harasta and Ghouta districts of Damascus, dragged their victims out and dumped them on covered trucks which drove off to unknown destinations. ….

The growing number of injured are condemned to being treated privately or not at all. The authorities have commandeered ambulances to prevent them reaching hospital and hospital wards are raided by security agents who either kill the wounded or arrest them.

PajamasMedia has videos of the protests and the killing. SEE THEM HERE.

Roger L. Simon comments:

In more proof, if any were needed, that liberals are the reactionaries of our time, it was only weeks ago that Hillary Clinton was calling Bashar al-Assad a “reformer” and Vogue magazine was proclaiming his wife a “rose in the desert.”

As we know, and the horrific videos from Syria on PJM show conclusively …  the ophthalmologist is as much a reformer as Josef Mengele and Asma as much a rose as Eva Braun.

Since his father Hafez brutally imposed his will over Syria in the Hama massacre, the Assads have been a family of secular fascist torturers and murderers in league with religious fascist torturers and murderers in Lebanon (Hezbollah), Gaza (Hamas), and Iran (the mullahs) … They assassinate democratically elected foreign leaders (Hariri), encourage and facilitate global terrorism, and shoot as many of their own people as necessary to maintain power while exploiting the best of their country’s resources for personal gain. In other words, pure evil.

Nothing new there — yet, for some reason, our liberal leadership and their media allies were never able to acknowledge fully something so obvious. Always — as Obama did with Ahmadinejad while the Iranian democracy demonstrators were being shot in their streets and tortured in prison cells — they sought to reason with despotism. Or, more likely, pretended to do so because it was all game for the aggrandizement of the self, for image. The policy itself never made sense.

When the Middle East street started to rebel, our government had no plan. They didn’t know what to do about Egypt and then went into Libya willy-nilly when things started to look bad. So now we are left with the odd situation where Gaddafi — clearly also a murderous sociopathic dictator — is despot number one, with NATO intervening and the U.S. providing Predators, while Assad, demonstrably a much more active and dangerous enemy of the U.S. and its allies, is merely verbally chastised by our president and secretary of State.

Because of the moral confusion at the heart of our administration, the USA and by extension the West have their priorities screwed up. The downfall of Assad would mean big trouble for the mullahs, Hezbollah, and Hamas — good things for the region and the world. The downfall of Gaddafi would mean what exactly? Nobody knows. An al-Qaeda regime? The Muslim Brotherhood? Some oil contracts for the French? …

But during all this, there is no question that the foreign policy of the United States is simply ad hoc. It doesn’t exist. The secretary of State was in cloud-cuckoo-land when she called Assad a reformer, the same totalitarian-loving cloud she inhabited when she bussed Suha Arafat.

The president himself has no real values, only vague notions received from lamebrain post-modernist professors …

We don’t think that America should intervene in Syria. We also don’t think that America should have diplomatic relations with tyrannies like Assad’s, and we’d like to see the ambassador whom Obama foolishly sent there withdrawn. We don’t think America should interfere in an Arab country whether to give it money, or “protect” its civilians, or unseat its tyrants. We’d rather America was drilling for its own oil than buying it from Arab countries. We’re not dismayed by rebellion, civil war, or revolution in the Arab or wider Islamic world – whichever side wins in any Islamic state, the victory will go to Islam. But we observe the inconsistencies and sheer incoherence of Obama’s foreign policy with trepidation. How long will it take for America to recover its leadership role in the world after Obama is gone? American hegemony, which Obama has deliberately sabotaged, is essential. The world needs a power that stands for liberty and has the military might to support it. By forcing America to abdicate its responsibility as the world’s only superpower, Obama – far from causing rising seas to subside, as he claimed he could and would – has stirred up tumult in the oceans of human discontent. The result is a manmade disaster as the heat of war and blood spreads over the earth.

A state condemned 3

“Condemn” is a very strong word in diplomat-speak. It’s the word most American presidents would apply only to the activities and policies of hostile and extremely delinquent states.

Obama is applying it to Israel.

What has Israel done that is very wrong? Let’s see.

Not long ago it reluctantly agreed under American pressure to suspend building new houses for Jewish occupants on the West Bank, but expressly excluded Jerusalem from the agreement, and the exclusion was accepted by Obama’s State Department.

So when it announced recently that planning permission has been given for some additional apartments in an area to the north of Israel’s capital city, Israel did not expect an objection to be suddenly raised. The development, begun a dozen years ago, does not and will not encroach on any Arab neighborhood. Nobody has objected to it before. The ground had not previously been in use for housing or anything else. Some 18,000 Jews live there now with families growing up. There are normal needs for expansion of accomodation.

But because the piece of wasteland was taken in a war waged against Israel in 1948, and held until 1967 by the British-created state of Jordan, Obama wants it to be rid of its Jewish residents and kept in reserve to be “returned” to Arab possession when there is a state of Palestine.

So the routine announcement that long-planned building in that part of Jerusalem will go ahead has been taken by Obama to be such an insult “to America” that Israel must be condemned for it. The result is a crisis of relations between the two countries.

We contend that the announcement was a handy excuse; that the crisis was engineered; that any pretext would have done.

But what is it Obama needs a pretext for?

Caroline Glick’s answer is this:

Why has President Barak Obama decided to foment a crisis in US relations with Israel? …

Obama’s new demands follow the months of American pressure that eventually coerced Netanyahu into announcing both his support for a Palestinian state and a 10-month ban on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. No previous Israeli government had ever been asked to make the latter concession.

Netanyahu was led to believe that in return for these concessions Obama would begin behaving like the credible mediator his predecessors were. But instead of acting like his predecessors, Obama has behaved like the Palestinians. Rather than reward Netanyahu for taking a risk for peace, Obama has, in the model of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, pocketed Netanyahu’s concessions and escalated his demands. This is not the behavior of a mediator. This is the behavior of an adversary. …

Obama’s assault on Israel is likely related to the failure of his Iran policy. Over the past week, senior administration officials including Gen. David Petraeus have made viciously defamatory attacks on Israel, insinuating that the construction of homes for Jews in Jerusalem is a primary cause for bad behavior on the part of Iran and its proxies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria and Gaza. By this line of thinking, if Israel simply returned to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, Iran’s centrifuges would stop spinning, and Syria, al-Qaida, the Taliban, Hizbullah, Hamas and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards would all beat their swords into plowshares. …

Even more important than its usefulness as a tool to divert the public’s attention away from the failure of his Iran policy, Obama’s assault against Israel may well be aimed at maintaining that failed policy. Specifically, he may be attacking Israel in a bid to coerce Netanyahu into agreeing to give Obama veto power over any Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear installations. That is, the anti-Israel campaign may be a means to force Israel to stand by as Obama allows Iran to build a nuclear arsenal. …

Obama … seeks to realign US foreign policy away from Israel. Obama’s constant attempts to cultivate relations with Iran’s unelected president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ahmadinejad’s Arab lackey Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, and Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan make clear that he views developing US relations with these anti-American regimes as a primary foreign policy goal. …

[And] he  is using his manufactured crisis to justify adopting an overtly anti-Israel position vis-à-vis the Palestinians. …

Likewise, the crisis Obama has manufactured with Israel could pave the way for him to recognize a Palestinian state if the Palestinians follow through on their threat to unilaterally declare statehood next year regardless of the status of negotiations with Israel. Such a US move could in turn lead to the deployment of US forces in Judea and Samaria to “protect” the unilaterally declared Palestinian state from Israel.

General Petraeus has even suggested putting the “Palestinian territories” under his central command.

We don’t believe the Palestinians’ threat. If they declare a state they’ll need to declare its boundaries, and if the boundaries do not embrace the entire state of Israel plus Gaza plus Judaea and Samaria, they’ll  be acknowledging the right of Israel to exist. Borders have two sides. “This side  the State of Palestine; that side the State of Israel”. The pretence of their now being willing to settle for a “two-state solution”  – when they’ve been rejecting such a thing for more than six decades – would instantly be exposed as the lie it is.

But Obama wants there to be a Palestinian state. And if it cannot, because it will not, be a second state in the region, will he then insist that it should be the only state?

We see no reason why there should be a 22nd Arab state.

We see no reason why the 21 existing Arab states shouldn’t assimilate the refugees of the Palestine region just as Israel assimilated the Jews who were expelled by the Arab states in 1948.

We see no reason why Jews shouldn’t live in Arab/Muslim countries just as Arabs/Muslims live in Israel, with full voting and property-owning rights, paying the same taxes, protected by the same laws equally.

We would be happy to see only one state in the region – the State of Israel, not Palestine.

But Obama, and the huge bloc of Islamic countries, and Europe, and Russia, have a vision of a 22-state Arab judenrein Middle East.

If America withdraws diplomatic support, as it is likely to do now; if Iran, bent on destroying Israel, is soon to be nuclear armed with Obama’s consent; and if, in addition, American forces are to be sent to the West Bank to aid Palestinian forces against their Israeli enemy as has been proposed, how good is Israel’s chance of surviving?

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