Sunday, 28 February 2010

DoubleTapper: Tracked Vehicle Accidents

Tracked Vehicle Accidents

The IDF uses lots of different types of tracked vehicles. Tanks, APC's, Bulldozers, and more. Some people think tracked vehicles can go anywhere, over any terrain, however they want. They can't!
Deep mud, cliffs, other vehicles, can all ruin your ride.







So drive carefully and watch out for any tracked vehicles area.
تنسيق-الكليات-لعام سكس نيك كس


DoubleTapper: Tracked Vehicle Accidents

Israel Matzav: Israel offers aid to quake-stricken Chile

Israel offers aid to quake-stricken Chile

No surprises here.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to offer the Chilean government any aid it may require following the huge earthquake the country has suffered.

In a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office it was noted that Netanyahu was closely following the events at Chile and is being regularly briefed by the Foreign Ministry.

Here's one place where Israeli assistance might come in handy.

Out of curiosity, did anyone see how Haiti voted in the General Assembly on Friday? Just wondering.


Israel Matzav: Israel offers aid to quake-stricken Chile

Israel Matzav: New blessing for your Purim seuda (meal)

New blessing for your Purim seuda (meal)

I'll have more Purim things later tonight, because it's Purim here in Jerusalem, but here's a new blessing you all should recite at your Purim seuda (meal)(Hat Tip: Mrs. Carl).

Okay, I'll translate for the Hebrew-impaired.

Blessed art Thou O Lord our God, King of the universe, who made it possible for Mordechai and Esther to do all that they did without forging passports.

Heh.

Frelichen (Happy) Purim everyone!



Israel Matzav: New blessing for your Purim seuda (meal)

Israel Matzav: Nasrallah wore a wig to Damascus?

Nasrallah wore a wig to Damascus?




From Israeli minister Binyamin (Fuad) Ben Eliezer, who is talking too much.


On Sunday, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, told Army Radio that while he had no idea who killed al-Mabhouh, the slaying shows Hamas that "none of their people are untouchable, they can all be reached."

The comments from Ben-Eliezer, a former defense minister, were the most direct yet on the by an Israeli official.

He said the results were "immediately translated," claiming that Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently disguised himself in a wig on a trip to Syria.

"He understands that eyes are watching him and that is what is important," Ben-Eliezer said.

Ben-Eliezer's claim could not immediately be verified with Hizbullah, but Nasrallah has largely lived in hiding since the 2006 Second Lebanon War.


Hmmm. But please wait until after Nasrallah has been liquidated to tell stories like that.



Israel Matzav: Nasrallah wore a wig to Damascus?

Israel Matzav: A better death than he deserved

A better death than he deserved

The Dubai police have issued a toxicology report on Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, and if you were hoping for the slow, painful death he so richly deserved, you're going to be disappointed.

Dubai police said Sunday forensic tests show a Hamas operative who was killed in his hotel room by an alleged Mossad hit squad was drugged with a fast-acting muscle relaxant and then suffocated with a pillow.

The drug, called succinylcholine, is frequently used by doctors to administer a breathing tube or anesthesia. Dubai police said tests discovered the drug in the bloodstream of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas commander whose body was found in his room at a luxury Dubai hotel on Jan. 20.

...

On Sunday, Dubai deputy police chief Maj. Gen. Khamis Mattar al-Mazeina told the Gulf News daily that succinylcholine can "cause immediate and temporary paralysis." He added that the forensic report confirms al-Mabhouh died of suffocation "using a pillow."

Too quick and painless for him.


Israel Matzav: A better death than he deserved

RubinReports: U.S. Government Rewards Syria; Syria's Client Threatens to Kill Americans

U.S. Government Rewards Syria; Syria's Client Threatens to Kill Americans

Please subscribe. The story changes every day and you can't keep up through the mainstream media!

By Barry Rubin

Forgive me for writing so much about U.S.-Syria events but it is such a remarkable story that it deserves a lot of attention and it really does reveal a great deal about the problems of current U.S. foreign policy. And read on to the end because there’s been a shocking new development.

Imagine: the United States gives concessions to Syria, most recently the announced return of its ambassador to Damascus. The ambassador was removed after the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Syria has not cooperated fully in the investigation; it is suspect number one in the murder. Meanwhile, Syria continues to finance, train, arm, and transport terrorists going into Iraq to kill Americans (as well as Iraqis, of course). So nothing has changed but the United States is acting as if the matter has been resolved.

Of course the administration has reasons for behaving the way it does—though not always good ones. It wants to pretend there’s an easy way out over Iran by pulling Syria away from Tehran (despite Syria confirming and strengthening the alliance every day); hoping Syria won't escalate during Iraq pull-out (and ignoring it every time Damascus sponsors a major terror attack there); trying to prove that engagement works and avoiding conflicts.

Of course the problem is that this feeds Syrian arrogance and bad behavior. If you’ve never followed the speeches of Syrian leaders and the media there, you can’t imagine how they think: We are the center of the earth! America needs us and we don’t need them! Long live the resistance to destroy Israel and kick the United States out of the Middle East.

But, as I noted here and here, the latest American concession was met by a Syrian punch in the teeth: the summit of Iran, Syria, and Hizballah, the renewed threats and Syrian President Bashar al-Asad openly ridiculing the U.S. effort to moderate his policy.

Now, however, the Syrians and their friends have gone even further in spitting on the United States.

Only hours after Hizballah’s most powerful figure, Hasan Nasrallah, returned from Damascus, another Hizballah leader, Nawwaf Moussawi, has threatened the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon Michele Sison. This statement is in the context of a whole string of such hints that something bad will happen to her if American policy doesn’t change. “She does not [follow] diplomatic limits,” he said, adding “The US Embassy in Lebanon is a state within the state” which meddles in Lebanese politics and threatens the country’s security.”

Moussawi continued: “Whatever the Americans know about Lebanon, they pass it on to the Zionist enemy.” That isn’t just a complaint about the U.S.-Israel relationship but an accusation that U.S. diplomats are all enemy spies, which means if one of them were to be killed or kidnapped that would be justifiable since they are, according to Hizballah leaders, trying to destroy and defeat Lebanon. And Lebanese listeners know precisely what he is threatening.

By the way, Moussawi is a Hizballah member of parliament, a category which according to U.S. and British officials proves he’s a moderate since politicians can’t be terrorists they say.

RubinReports: U.S. Government Rewards Syria; Syria's Client Threatens to Kill Americans

Love of the Land: Jewish History Never Ends

Jewish History Never Ends


Daniel Greenfield
Sultan Knish
27 February '10

We all know the famous Santayana quote, "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it." But why is it that we are so forgetful that we cannot remember the past, and thus must keep repeating it, over and over again?

Human self-centeredness convinces us of our own specialness and uniqueness, and all too easily fosters the historically fallacious idea that we are living in a unique time and a special age. That we have left behind history with our progress and our achievements, and with our very existence. That we exist now apart from the great roll of human history. And as soon as we become convinced of this idea, the past comes sneaking up on us, dooming us to repeat it.

That is why it is so very dangerous to forget history, to sacrifice the past to our own egotism, to convince ourselves that it doesn't matter anymore. And that is why so many of the Jewish holidays are historical holidays. To observe the Jewish calendar, is to immerse oneself in Jewish history. Its holidays do not simply link the present to the past, they incorporate the past into the present, making them into one great whole.

In the winter, we rise up against an empire and fight for our freedom. In the early spring we are sentenced to death and fight for our lives in the streets of the Persian Empire. We build pyramids for a Pharaoh, feel the lash on our skin and are led out through the Red Sea by the hand of G-d. In the summer our temples fall and we are led into exile. In the fall, we wait out the desert heat of the Exodus in booths as we prepare for our new life. We cannot let go of history, because we are history. It is the history we have carried with us in our calendar, for our holidays and our history are one.

To observe Purim now and hear the Megillah read, is to bear witness to a planned Holocaust that is aborted at the last minute. Someone who comes to sit and hear the Wannsee Conference take place in Persia, 2500 years ago, understands that the Holocaust was not a new development, but a very old one. That is what too many Jews failed to understand in 1939. It is what too many Jews fail to understand in 2010. Because history has never ended. History never ends until it is done.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Jewish History Never Ends

Israel Matzav: 5 Lebanese arrested, charged with spying for Israel

5 Lebanese arrested, charged with spying for Israel

Hezbullah's al-Manar TV reported on Saturday that five Lebanese citizens have been arrested and charged with spying for Israel. That makes a total of six this week.

Lebanese security and military officials contacted by The Associated Press refused to confirm or deny the Lebanese terrorist group's report.


Al-Manar said that two former policemen were among those detained, though it did not say when the arrests took place.

But note that the charges relate to providing Israel with information about Hezbullah. Remember that when Israel gets attacked by Hezbullah again, God forbid, and starts blowing Lebanon's infrastructure back to the 8th century. Lebanon is Hezbullah and Hezbullah is Lebanon. Unfortunately for those Lebanese who still care about their country more than they do about hating Jews.

Israel Matzav: 5 Lebanese arrested, charged with spying for Israel

Israel Matzav: Delahunt not in the hunt?

Delahunt not in the hunt?

Congressman William Delahunt (D-Mass), who led the J Street delegation to Israel two weeks ago, and then complained lied about being snubbed by Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, may be retiring from Congress rather than face re-election.

Delahunt's retirement may well have nothing to do with Israel or J Street. He has bigger problems than that.

But it's nice to see a schmuck put out to pasture. Heh.


Israel Matzav: Delahunt not in the hunt?

Israel Matzav: Campbell's campaign donations

Campbell's campaign donations

The San Jose Mercury News reports on some more problematic campaign donations to Tom Campbell, who is running for the Republican Senate nomination in California (Hat Tip: Jennifer Rubin).

The campaign manager for former Hewlett Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina on Thursday criticized past donations to Campbell from four men. One was arrested for spying on Congress for Saddam Hussein. Another pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid a Palestinian terrorist group.

Campaign manager Marty Wilson said the donations reinforce a congressional voting record by Campbell that was decidedly anti-Israel. He noted that Campbell had voted to cut foreign aid to the country while he served in the House.

The donations cited by Fiorina's campaign were from Campbell's unsuccessful 2000 Senate bid.

The second donor is clearly Sami al-Arian. I have no idea who the first one is and they give no indication who the third and fourth donors are. I didn't find the story on Fiorina's website. Hmmm.


Israel Matzav: Campbell's campaign donations

Israel Matzav: R. Yosef Chaim's 'curse'

R. Yosef Chaim's 'curse'

It is widely known among Jerusalemites that Rabbi Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld, who was the Jerusalem Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community's Chief Rabbi 80-100 years ago, placed a 'curse' upon our city that we should never have beautiful weather on the holiday of Purim. The reason for his 'curse' was to reign in wild behavior that he felt was getting out of hand even then.

Most years the 'curse' is not blatantly fulfilled. We have some clouds, some wind, some cold and maybe even some rain, but not enough to put too much of a damper on the festivities in a day when cars are much more commonplace than they were in Jerusalem a century ago. This year, however, Rav Zonnenfeld's 'curse' is being fulfilled with a vengeance.

Purim's weather is set to be rainy and cool, with thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds. Hail is possible, and the wet weather will spread throughout the day from north to south. Flooding is possible. Rain should weaken in the evening hours. There is still a chance of rain Monday morning, and Tuesday should be pleasant and warmer.

I put the word 'curse' in scare quotes, because after five years of drought, this has been an exceptional year for rain, but there is still room for plenty more in the Sea of Galilee and in the underground aqueducts. Besides, I will be thrilled if it pours Sunday night (as it has all day) - keeping all the kids from lighting off dangerous and illegal fireworks in the streets (which are mostly purchased from 'Palestinians') and then clears a bit on Monday so that my three youngest kids can wear their rain-sensitive costumes to deliver Purim treats to our friends.

By the way, the 78th anniversary of Rav Zonnenfeld's death is the 19th day of the month of Adar, which is this coming Friday.


Israel Matzav: R. Yosef Chaim's 'curse'

Israel Matzav: Third 'intifada' coming?

Third 'intifada' coming?

Writing in al-Ayyam (link in Arabic), 'Palestinian' Hani el-Masri asks why a third 'intifada' has not happened yet (the following is from a Google translation).

The first reason that prevents this is that the outcome of the previous two uprisings were not encouraging, ended the first Intifada to the Oslo agreement, and the second intifada was very expensive and ended in destruction, death and adoption of Israel's disengagement plan, which began the disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip, and can be completed for a state of ghettos dissected with temporary borders, do not have the ingredients of the States in name only.

The second reason which prevents the outbreak of the uprising is the political and geographical divisions. Dichotomy break the back of the Palestinians and led to a situation of despair, frustration and concern to the Palestinian forces in a destructive internal conflict had sapped its energies, and enabled the occupation to proceed with his plans through the application of occupation more quickly and at lower costs.

The third reason is because the Authority announced on the lips of the president himself over and over again that it was against a third intifada; because the authority is betting on the option of negotiations as the sole solution to the conflict. When it stopped the peace process since more than a year, and negotiations came to a standstill recognition Authority leaders, the leadership encourages the peaceful popular resistance and began to plan for a boycott of settlement, but without regard to the new strategic plan, but as a tactic to pressure primary objective of persuading Israel to resume negotiations on the basis of a settlement freeze and the Agreement reference to clear and binding, and that there are individuals and segments within the authority and the community is in their interest to keep the status quo without an uprising, and thus opposes the authority to lead the popular resistance.

...

The fourth reason is due to improving the conditions of the Palestinians economically by taking the occupation number of steps such as removing some barriers and facilitate the movement and more permits to enter Israel and the promotion of economic projects.

El-Masri believes that these four factors cannot keep the 'Palestinians' in check forever. Well, maybe. Although that doesn't mean that the results of a third 'intifada' would be any better for the 'Palestinians' than the first two.

Perhaps, one day, we may look at Sunday morning's incidents on the Temple Mount as being the herald of a new 'intifada.'

A tense calm was reported on the Temple Mount Sunday morning, a couple of hours after Jerusalem police forces entered the compound following a disturbance at the site. Several dozen young Muslim men had holed themselves up in the Aksa Mosque on Saturday night and began hurling stones at visitors early Sunday morning.

The young men fled back into the mosque after security forces stormed into the compound, but some of them continued throwing rocks at police deployed in the plaza outside the building.

After failing to convince the Arab youths to leave the Aksa Mosque the previous night, the Wakf Islamic trust was negotiating with the men on Sunday morning.

So far, at least, it seems to be under control, although those 'several dozen young Muslim men' are still holed up inside the 'holy mosque.' Let's hope that the calm continues and that the 'intifada' doesn't start.


Israel Matzav: Third 'intifada' coming?

Israel Matzav: A reminder of how Arab regimes behave

A reminder of how Arab regimes behave

For those of you who believe that it was unjust for the United States and its allies to depose Saddam Hussein and his regime, please consider this (Hat Tip: The Corner).

Given the opportunity, God forbid, none of the Arab countries would treat Jews any better.


Israel Matzav: A reminder of how Arab regimes behave

Israel Matzav: Barak doesn't believe Iran would nuke Israel

Barak doesn't believe Iran would nuke Israel

In a Friday speech to the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he does not believe that Iran will drop a nuclear weapon on Israel.

Barak also said he doubts Iran would launch a nuclear attack against Israel, but warned that a nuclear-armed "I don't think the Iranians, even if they got the bomb, are going to drop it in the neighborhood," Barak said.

"They fully understand what might follow. They are radical but not total 'meshugah,'" said Barak, using the Yiddish word for crazy. "They have a quite sophisticated decision-making process and they understand realities."

Barak said Israel appreciates the U.S. push for "effective" sanctions against Iran, within a limited time frame, but said the international community must prepare for "the possibility that in spite of all effort, it will not lead to Iran accepting the international norms." Iran could destabilize the Middle East, disrupt oil supplies and strengthen Hezbollah and Hamas, which Iran sponsors financially and militarily.

I would not want to stake my survival on Ehud Barak's assessment that the apocalyptic Iranian regime is not 'meshugah' and understands what would happen if God forbid they dropped a nuclear bomb on Israel.

Moreover, we already know that 23% of Israelis will consider not bothering to hang around to see whether Iran will use their nuclear weapon if Iran God forbid gets one. For Israel, Iran with nuclear weapons is simply not an option. And Barak knows it.


Israel Matzav: Barak doesn't believe Iran would nuke Israel

Israel Matzav: New NIE on Iran unlikely to include a declassified version

New NIE on Iran unlikely to include a declassified version

In the next couple of weeks, the Obama administration is likely to release a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which will essentially gut the clearly mistaken conclusion of the 2007 estimate and bring the US into line with its allies and with the IAEA report that was released earlier this month. All of the other reports conclude that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. The 2007 NIE concluded that Iran had abandoned nuclear weapons development in 2003. Unfortunately, unlike the 2007 report, which had a declassified version that gave it wide publicity, the new report is likely to have only a classified version, leaving ordinary citizens in the dark.

David Albright, a nuclear-weapons expert and president of the Institute of Science and International Security, said that the administration might want to avoid a lengthy and complicated public debate about the new estimate's conclusions, seeking to prevent the fractious debate that followed the release of the older estimate.

He said the nature of the estimate, which seeks to find consensus between all of the various intelligence agencies, makes it tough to give out enough information to make it bulletproof. Regardless, he lamented that the administration might not provide some of the information in a public way.

"They owe it to us to provide clarification of their position publicly," he said. "Speaking just as a citizen, I want my government to be transparent about something that could potentially involve military strikes."

Any clarification would bring the U.S. position more in line with that of with key allies like France and Germany, who have been long arguing for a stronger public position on Iran's nuclear program, according to Albright. A clarification would also help square the U.S. conclusions with the recent IAEA report on Iran that went further than previous reports in expressing concerns about weaponization, he added.

"The 2007 NIE really hurt things politically for getting sanctions and building momentum and they had to relook at this," Albright said. "Who knows if was really a mistake? It may be what they honestly believed at the time."

Albright only hints at the real issue here: Who ordered the issue of the 2007 report, which was so clearly mistaken that many parties disputed it immediately upon its release? And why?

If, as many on the Right suspect, the report was issued in a bid to take a military option out of President Bush's hands during his last year in office, history will not look kindly on those who were responsible.


Israel Matzav: New NIE on Iran unlikely to include a declassified version

Israel Matzav: Iran paints a bullseye on its uranium supply

Iran paints a bullseye on its uranium supply

The New York Times' David Sanger has picked up on a line in the IAEA report that came as as surprise: Iran has moved its entire known supply of low-enriched uranium to an above-ground outdoor facility. It's practically painted a bullseye on it, begging to be attacked. Why did they do it? Here's Sanger.

The strangest of the speculations — but the one that is being talked about most — is that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is inviting an attack to unify the country after eight months of street demonstrations that have pitted millions of Iranians against their government. As one senior European diplomat noted Thursday, an Israeli military strike might be the “best thing” for Iran’s leadership, because it would bring Iranians together against a national enemy.

...

Others, including some officials in the White House, say they do not buy that theory. Iran has worked too hard to let its supply be destroyed, they argue. “I really doubt they are taunting the Israelis to hit them,” said Kenneth Pollack, a scholar at the Brookings Institution who recently ran a daylong simulation of what would happen after an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. “It would be humiliating for the Iranian regime,” he said. He speculated that Iran would have to retaliate, and “the ensuing confrontation would go in directions no one can really predict.”

Mr. Pollack numbers among those who suspect another explanation: brinkmanship. The Iranians have made clear that they do not like the terms their own negotiators came home with for swapping their nuclear fuel for specialized fuel for the medical reactor. By moving their fuel supply to the enrichment plant, they are essentially threatening to turn it all to near-bomb-grade fuel — and perhaps force the United States to reopen negotiations.

But the simplest explanation, that the Iranians had no choice, has its proponents. The fuel is stored in one big, specialized cask. When someone ordered that the fuel begin being fed into the giant centrifuges for further enrichment, engineers moved it to the only spot available — the exposed plant. Or, as one American intelligence official said, “You can’t dismiss the possibility that this is a screw-up.”

Laura Rozen and Yossi Melman seem equally as puzzled as Sanger.

I think it's brinksmanship. I believe Iran has more fuel underground and that it is seeking to get a better enrichment deal from the West or to provoke an attack. But I don't believe they'd expose their entire stockpile like that. I'd love to see that thing sabotaged in a way that could not be traced.

Now, I'm starting to wonder what happened to those two alleged Mabhouh assassins who went to Iran. We Jews have a rule that an angel only carries out one mission at a time. Does that rule apply to Mossad agents? Hmmm.

Read the whole thing.



Israel Matzav: Iran paints a bullseye on its uranium supply

Israel Matzav: He's starting to sound like Baghdad Bob

He's starting to sound like Baghdad Bob

Remember Baghdad Bob? Baghdad Bob was the guy who kept going on television during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 to say that Saddam Hussein's government was winning the war. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Dubai police chief Lt. General Dahi Khalfan Tamim is starting to remind me of Baghdad Bob. Tamim went on al-Arabiya on Friday to announce that his team had recovered DNA of one of the 'suspects' in the Dubai Hotel Room in which Hamas terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh met his 72 virgins. Tamim also claims to have several sets of fingerprints.

Authorities in Dubai have found DNA traces of one of the suspects in killing senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January, as well as finger prints of several members of the suspected hit squad, Dubai Police Chief Lt. General Dahi Khalfan Tamim told the Al-Arabiya television network on Friday.

Earlier Friday, Khalfan announced that Dubai intends to seek the establishment of an international team to investigate Mabhouh’s death. Such a team could bring to the arrest of 26 suspects identified so far, against whom police in Dubai have “clear cut evidence,” he explained.

In an interview with Al-Bayan, a newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates, Khalfan revealed that a special Dubai police team has already visited in several European states in the framework of the investigation into Mabhouh's killing.

There's only one problem with Tamim's claim: If the Mossad is behind this, where does he think he is going to find the agents' DNA to match up with his samples? Heh.

That calls for Part 3 of the Mission Impossible episode I've been running. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. Let's go to the videotape.


Israel Matzav: He's starting to sound like Baghdad Bob

Israel Matzav: Mitchell wants to quit?

Mitchell wants to quit?

Marty Peretz at New Republic jumped all over this story, but given the sources and the explanations, I would take it with a grain of salt.

Haaretz's Jack Khoury reported on Friday that US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell asked to resign and that the Obama administration turned him down. But consider the source and the reasons given:

An Arab political source said Friday that special U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell has requested to resign due to his frustration with the way the Obama administration has been handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a Nazareth-based daily.

Hadith a-Nass reported that Mitchell's request stemmed partly from to his own failure to advance the resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and also from his perception that certain elements within the State Department hold biased favor toward Israel.

As much as Mitchell is biased against Israel, I find it hard to believe that he ever bought into Obama's attempt to railroad Netanyahu into a de jure freeze of construction in 'east' Jerusalem. I highly doubt that anyone other than Obama was behind that move (possibly with the goading of Obama buddy Rashid Khalidi).

Peretz doesn't buy the notion that the State Department has turned pro-Israel either.

It once was thought that Hillary Clinton, with a relatively friendly attitude towards Israel and a firm understanding of the perils it faces, might put her stamp on the department. But, as it happens, she has turned...

Parroting every false issue that comes her way, she leaps to the front of the diplomatic line to reproach Bibi Netanyahu and his government which, pressed by its hard right, has tried (valiantly, I would say) to accommodate the Palestinians. It is the Obama administration which invented the demand that Israel cease all settlement building, including in Jerusalem. Are they mad? Anyway, Hillary went along, as did groggy old George.

And now the Obami have discovered a new cause célèbre. Bibi has put on “the national heritage list” two sites that are somehow controversial, and the controversy seems to assume that the territorial issues on the West Bank are already settled. Which they are not. Not by a long shot. The sites are “Rachel’s Tomb” and the “Cave of the Patriarchs.” The first is located less than a stone’s throw from the southern lines of Jerusalem. The second is situated in hotly disputed Hebron, an ancient city in which Jews lived freely until the massacre of 1929. I don’t much like most of the present Hebron Jews, as I’ve written before. But they are certain to have a presence there regardless.

In any case, can anyone imagine that a list of national heritage sites of the Jewish people in the Jewish state would not include both the Tomb and the Cave?

So the Obama administration has not tilted towards Israel at all, regardless of what Mitchell says.

Peretz thinks that Mitchell wants to resign because he's been such a failure. I don't believe Mitchell wants to resign, but I agree that he's been a failure. Then again, given the mistrust of Obama by the average Israeli since even before he was elected, and the mood against concessions in Israel in light of the Gaza fiasco, could any envoy have succeeded in Mitchell's position? I doubt it.


Israel Matzav: Mitchell wants to quit?

Israel Matzav: In Dubai anything goes, until the Mossad shows up

In Dubai anything goes, until the Mossad shows up

I've seen a lot of people asking why Dubai has gotten so excited over the liquidation of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, and over the use of foreign passports to do so, while ignoring the fact that al-Mabhouh himself was a terrorist and entered the country on a false passport. Perhaps this will explain why.

Dubai is also considered the most "Western" of the Gulf states - in other words, the most Americanized. But it is there that thousands of Iranian companies operate, exploiting the freedom to conduct business in order to construct commercial "annexes" for the Iranian regime and thus circumvent international sanctions. Iran also received Pakistani nuclear instruction via Dubai, after A.Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistani nuclear program, established a company to "disseminate information" in Dubai.

But Dubai has several masks. It helps Iran, but behind its back it provides the United States with an opportunity to gather intelligence about that country. The U.S. Consulate in Dubai also operates as a station for gathering information and enlisting agents. A few years ago the U.S. State Department wanted to close the consulate, but the CIA succeeded in convincing it to leave it open and even to boost the number of employees so that it could handle the hundreds and perhaps thousands of Iranians who come to request visas.

It's not only the U.S. intelligence services that love Dubai: The tremendous scope of commerce and the large number of companies and foreign agencies there are an excellent cover and an appropriate disguise for any city of spies.

Dubai has now replaced 20th-century Istanbul, Nicosia, Casablanca and Berlin as a hotbed of spying activity. Russians exchange information with Pakistanis, Afghans and Chechens trade tactics, members of Hezbollah convert illegal money and diamonds in bank transactions "for widows and orphans," and all while enjoying car races and performances by international artists.

Dubai is proud of the fact that it is one of the safest cities in the world. It was, at least until Israeli businessman Elhanan Tennenbaum was kidnapped there, or until a famous Lebanese singer, Suzanne Tamim, was murdered there by a senior security guard working for Egypt's most important businessman, Hisham Talaat Moustafa (who is now appealing the death sentence imposed for the murder). Or until Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was assassinated by a group that utilized not only disguises, but also the cover provided by Dubai to anyone who wants it: of living it up in a city of entertainment and big money, of tennis tournaments and freedom. This is a place that is still committed to the Arab boycott of Israel, but has no problem hosting an Israeli tennis player [this year- but not last year. And given that this year she almost won, maybe next year they won't let her back in. CiJ].

A few weeks ago I contacted a Dubai real estate agent to discuss the market there, in the wake of the crisis in the emirate. I asked the agent whether he has any problem selling apartments to Israeli citizens. "You know what our situation is. But we have no problem selling to you if you come with a foreign passport," he replied without hesitation. But on another occasion, when I asked whether a scientific convention in the city was open to Israelis, they told me: "We have no business with Israel. You cannot participate."



Israel Matzav: In Dubai anything goes, until the Mossad shows up

Israel Matzav: Why Israel is backing sanctions on Iran

Why Israel is backing sanctions on Iran

For those who haven't figured it out already, please allow me to state the obvious: Sanctions - even 'crippling' sanctions - against Iran are not going to put a stop to its nuclear weapons program. The time for 'crippling' sanctions was a year or two ago; it's far too late now. And yet, last week, we were treated to the spectacle of Prime Minister Netanyahu traveling to Moscow to seek support for 'crippling' sanctions, and being slapped in the face a few days later, when the Russians said nyet yet again. Why is Netanyahu behaving this way? Caroline Glick tries to explain.

RECENT REPORTS indicate that IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi - who strangely received a nice medal from Mullen two years ago - is the main opponent of an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear installations. If this is true, then Ashkenazi must either be forced to change his position or lose his job. The Iranian threat is too great to place in the hands of a commander the US reportedly views as its "friend" in Israel's decision-making circles.



Israel Matzav: Why Israel is backing sanctions on Iran

Israel Matzav: The Mossad's message

The Mossad's message

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers gets it.

They have waltzed into Dubai, allowed themselves to be videotaped every which way -- including while putting on costumes and wigs -- killed a man, and waltzed right back out. They did it in plain sight. And they did it using British passports.

What does this say to Hamas, and Arab nation onlookers? It says that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, however many video cameras you may have watching you, we will find you, and we will kill you. And you will know who we are, and yet you will never find us. And MOST importantly: we are going to do it in as brazen a manner as possible.

We are even going to swipe the passports of some innocent British citizens, daring the West to criticize us. But we don't care. We are going to kill you in such a manner that you will immediately be able to track us down - but we'll already be gone. The Israelis didn't use fake passports not because they didn't have the technical expertise or the brains, but because they wanted to pull off their assassination in the most brazen, flagrant manner possible, while still allowing themselves to get away with it.

And just because the British and American pundits didn't pick up on this, doesn't mean Hamas didn't get the point.

Sullivan thinks the message was meant for Iran too. Read the whole thing.


Israel Matzav: The Mossad's message

Israel Matzav: UN General Assembly gives 5 more months for Gaza probes

UN General Assembly gives 5 more months for Gaza probes

The UN General Assembly voted on Friday to give Israel and the 'Palestinians' five more months to conduct probes of their respective actions in Gaza in Operation Cast Lead. The vote was more lopsided than in November. The 'Palestinian' drafted resolution passed 98-7 with 31 abstentions. 56 countries did not vote. General Assembly resolutions are not binding.

[Palestinian UN ambassador Riyad] Mansour welcomed the decline in the number of countries opposing the resolution from 18 in November to just seven.

He noted that the European Union, which was deeply divided in November with some countries voting for the resolution, some against and some abstaining, was more supportive in Friday's vote. No EU country voted "no" and more EU members supported the resolution including Britain, France and Spain, he said.

Some EU members had objected to the draft text calling on Switzerland to reconvene a meeting of the parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention "within five months" to enforce the convention, which spells out the obligations of an occupying power. The reference to five months was replaced in the final version with the words "as soon as possible," the same language as the November resolution.

US deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff, who voted against the resolution, reiterated that the US considers the Goldstone report "deeply flawed" and "unbalanced" in its focus on Israel and "its failure to assign appropriate responsibility to Hamas for deliberately targeting civilians."

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: UN General Assembly gives 5 more months for Gaza probes

Israel Matzav: Campbell's Muslims

Campbell's Muslims

Tom Campbell, the front runner in the Republican race for the California Senate nomination, took a campaign contribution for his previous run for the Senate in 2000 from a group that backed the use of armed force by 'Palestinians' against Israel. Campbell also accepted a 'lifetime achievement' award from a Muslim group that called Israel and poverty the root causes of Islamic terrorism a month after 9/11.

One month after the September 11 attacks, Tom Campbell accepted a lifetime achievement award from a Muslim group at a conference in which speakers cited poverty and U.S. policy toward Israel as the "root causes" of terrorism.

And in 2000, Campbell, who as now, was running for U.S. Senate in California, raised $35,000 from Muslim groups “grateful for his efforts to cut aid to Israel,” according to a newspaper account at the time.

The American Muslim Alliance held its annual conference in San Jose California on October 14, 2001, and an article from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, recounted: “In light of Sept. 11… the convention’s focus shifted to urging that the U.S. government re-evaluate its foreign policy—specifically its positions on Israel and Iraq.”

...

The account says that Dr. Agha Saeed, leader of the AMA, presented Campbell with a lifetime achievement award. Saeed had already been a controversial figure at this time. In her 2000 Senate campaign, Hillary Clinton returned money raised by the group.

...

During the conference at which he presented Campbell with an award, Agha Saeed declared, “an Osama bin Laden arises where there is poverty and other social ills.”

Back during his 2000 campaign for Senate, according to a Forward article from the time (registration required), the group also helped raise money for Campbell.

Hmmm.

Still haven't heard answers to those questions from the Campbell campaign, but I did get an email suggesting that I send the same questions to his two opponents.

Israel Matzav: Campbell's Muslims

Love of the Land: Therapist-assisted suicide

Therapist-assisted suicide


Fresnozionism.org
26 February '10

I am beginning to think that the criteria used by the editors of the NY Times for evaluating op-eds about the Mideast are these:

Is it weird enough? Is it far enough removed from reality? Is it bad enough for Israel?

Today there’s one by a Tel Aviv University psychologist, Dr. Carlo Strenger, who advocates “diplomatic therapy” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

The trauma is mutual and multilayered. The Palestinians have never been able to mourn what they call the Nakba, the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes in 1948. Their ethos of national liberation was based on the idea that all refugees would be able to return to their homes in Jaffa, Ramle and Lod. Letting go of this dream, a condition for the two-state solution, requires a process of mourning that has been made almost impossible by the humiliation of the occupation and the force of Israeli retaliation, culminating in the Gaza war last year.

Trauma is not the Palestinians’ alone: Israeli Jews live under a fear of annihilation that overshadows any consideration of compromise. Many critics of Israel believe that such a statement is a cheap ploy to justify colonial ambitions, but right or wrong this is the reality of the country’s collective psyche. Israelis still look back at the attacks by Arab armies in 1948, 1967 and 1973 as moments when they could have been wiped out, and this fear is revived today by the possibility of Iran’s acquiring nuclear weapons.



(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Therapist-assisted suicide

Love of the Land: When rhetoric rules the roost

When rhetoric rules the roost


Caroline Glick
carolineglick.com
26 February '10

There is something pathetic about what passes as European foreign policy these days. Quite simply, more often than not, the concerted positions of the EU member nations have nothing to do with any of their national interests.

Take the EU's initial response to the killing of Hamas terror-master Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on January 19. A senior terrorist engaging in the illegal purchase of illicit arms from Iran for Hamas-controlled Gaza is killed in his hotel room. The same Dubai authorities who had no problem with hosting a wanted international terrorist worked themselves into a frenzy condemning his killing. And of course, despite the fact that any number of governments, (Egypt and Jordan come to mind), and rival terrorist organizations, (Fatah, anyone?) had ample reason to wish to see Mabhouh dead, Dubai's police chief Lt.-Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim blamed Israel.

Not only did he blame Israel, to substantiate his claims, Tamim released what he said was video footage of alleged Mossad operatives who entered Dubai with European and Australian passports.

Relying only on Tamim's allegations, EU leaders went into high dudgeon. Ignoring the nature of the operation, the basic lack of credibility of the source of information, and the interests of Europe in defeating jihadist terrorism in the Middle East and worldwide, the chanceries of Europe squawked indignantly and threatened to cut off intelligence cooperation with Israel.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: When rhetoric rules the roost

DoubleTapper: French President Outraged Over Dubai

French President Outraged Over Dubai

One Israeli Paper responded most appropriately.

"Of all of the reactions regarding the al-Mabhouh elimination, the most infuriating thing is concealed in the response of Nicolas Sarkozy, who defined the terrorist's elimination as murder."


"Perhaps this is where we need to remind Sarkozy of a little history: Throughout the war in Algeria, the French secret service SDECE (today DGSE) was actively employed. One of the organization's targets was the weapons suppliers of the FLN, which fought for Algerian independence. One day, in 1956, the French secret service succeeded in sinking ships carrying thousands of weapons.

Everyone knew that this was the work of France…

Nobody asked the organization for explanations regarding the death dozens of terrorists fighting for Algerian liberation in the operation. Nor did they ask France.

Okay, perhaps that is because, we must say in their defense, they did not use Israeli passports."

Hat tip Jameel



DoubleTapper: French President Outraged Over Dubai

Another Complicated Jew

Another Complicated Jew

Here's a story about an Orthodox Jew who used to be a neo-Nazi: actually two of them, if you can believe it. (It's in the newspaper, so it's got to be true, right?)

Beyond the individual oddity is a story about Poland, which my own anecdotal experience indicates is about right: the antisemitism is down, the support for Israel is palpable, and history takes strange twists and turns sometimes, doesn't it.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

A Complicated Jew on Complicated Jews

A Complicated Jew on Complicated Jews

Imagine a Catholic orphaned from murdered Jewish parents who thought they were Catholic, who narrowly survives and becomes a priest, spends a long career on the fault-line where Christians and Jews gingerly investigate the historical basis of their differences of opinions, then becomes a Jew and writes about it all in a calm, intelligent and balanced manner. Ah, and his subject matter is the single most important archeological finding of the 20th century, which itself shed some light, but not enough, on one of the strangest groups of Jews ever, if Jews they were; perhaps they were proto-Christians, or outcasts who served as an inspiration for someone, or perhaps they weren't at all. You might be likely to read his book, wouldn't you?

Geza Vermes, The Story of the Scrolls. The Miraculous Discovery and True Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Not on sale in America, it seems, but you can buy it on Amazon.uk. If you need more prodding, here's a review that should do the job.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Elder of Ziyon: Report of large explosion near Hamas leader's home

Elder of Ziyon: Report of large explosion near Hamas leader's home

Ahmadinejad Maneuvering Hizbullah and Israel into War? - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Ahmadinejad Maneuvering Hizbullah and Israel into War? - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

New Israel Fund Group Wants Arabs to Vote Abroad, Too - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

New Israel Fund Group Wants Arabs to Vote Abroad, Too - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Muslim Riots Reach Temple Mount - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Muslim Riots Reach Temple Mount - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Fatah Leaders Praise Mass Murderer - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Fatah Leaders Praise Mass Murderer - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Fatal Quake in Chile: Tsunami Waves in Japan - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Fatal Quake in Chile: Tsunami Waves in Japan - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Paramedics Save Two Babies - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Paramedics Save Two Babies - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Goldstein's Grave Sealed Off for Purim - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Goldstein's Grave Sealed Off for Purim - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Here's a classic Purim song for what's known here as Purim d'Prazim (Purim of the spread out).

Let's go to the videotape.


Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Coats: Military option is the only way to stop Iran

Coats: Military option is the only way to stop Iran

Indiana Republican Dan Coats, who is trying to win back his old Senate seat, says that the only way left to deal with Iran is to use the 'military option.'

Coats said most Americans agree that Iran must not be allowed to have such weapons, even though Iranian leaders continue to press forward with their nuclear program.

"And yet, no one has gone past that point and said 'If it's unacceptable, what are we going to do?,'" Coats said. "And now it seems we're being asked to accept the unacceptable."

"And the only option now is potential military action if we're going to stop this," he continued. "The unknown factor in all of this is the situation the Israelis are in, sitting there looking at the nation that's proclaiming it wants to eliminate that country from the face of the earth. And that's the kind of threat that I think America has not understood."

The problem is that the American people are gradually being pushed into accepting 'containment' rather than doing something to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon. Most Americans don't even realize it. And there is no effective 'containment' strategy for Iran.

But Coats is right on.

Israel Matzav: Coats: Military option is the only way to stop Iran

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Israel Matzav: Israel confiscating VIP ID's from 'Palestinians' who participate in anti-fence protests

Israel confiscating VIP ID's from 'Palestinians' who participate in anti-fence protests

The 'Palestinians' are complaining that Israel has been confiscating VIP passes from 'Palestinians' who participate in protests against the 'security fence.'

Senior Fatah official Tawfik Tirawi claims Israel has confiscated VIP IDs it distributed to half of the members of the organization's central committee.

He says Israel explained its conduct by saying that the members participate in anti-fence protests in the West Bank.

I'm going to count to three and then I want you all to cry together for the poor 'Palestinian VIP's who have to wait in line like everyone else. Is everybody ready? 1... 2... 3... AWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

Israel Matzav: Israel confiscating VIP ID's from 'Palestinians' who participate in anti-fence protests

Israel Matzav: 'Israeli apartheid week' is upon us

'Israeli apartheid week' is upon us

The annual 'Israel apartheid week' begins on Monday. It is a week in which Jew hated on American college campuses reaches its annual peak. This year, they decided that one week of Jew hatred isn't enough - so they're having it for two weeks. It starts Monday, March 1 (Purim here in the Holy City of Jerusalem) and ends on Sunday, March 14.

Israel Apartheid Week has become a unifier for many radical groups in North America. But perhaps the most pathetic groups that fall in line behind Israel Apartheid Week are the gay groups. Leonard Stern explains why.

Of all the sponsors of Israeli Apartheid Week, the participation of gay and lesbian groups is most disheartening. Harvard University’s Alan Dershowitz tells an anecdote about the time he gave a speech and spotted an anti-Israel sign in the crowd, held aloft by a gay rights group. Dershowitz reminded the protesters that Israel is the one country in the Middle East where they’d be able to hold a gay rights sign in public and not be lynched.

Israel’s official government website celebrates Eytan Fox, one of the country’s best known filmmakers. Fox’s recent movie The Bubble, about a love affair between two men, Arab and Jew, won an award from the U.S.-based Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, for its sensitive depiction of gay people.

Films like that aren’t being made in Syria or Gaza. Gay Muslims have to flee to democratic countries if they want to come out. Israel itself recently took in a gay Palestinian from the West Bank town of Jenin. The man settled in Tel Aviv, moving in with his partner, an Israeli. Thousands of couples — Arab, Jewish, mixed — show up for the gay pride parade in Tel Aviv.

Yet back in Canada, gay student groups denounce Israel as their enemy. They aren’t protesting against the many Muslim countries where homosexuality is criminalized — where, as Der Spiegel recently reported, men suspected of being gay are found with their genitals amputated and anuses sealed with glue.

(When Israel last year suffered an isolated act of homophobic violence — a gunman shot up a gay nightclub — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly expressed his personal horror.)

Talk about acting against your own self-interest....


Israel Matzav: 'Israeli apartheid week' is upon us

Israel Matzav: Not just t-shirts

Not just t-shirts

The Mossad's alleged role in the liquidation of Hamas terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh hasn't just helped t-shirt sales: It's also helped recruiting efforts.
The Mossad website has become extremely popular in recent weeks, particularly its job openings page, through which one can apply for a position with the agency. Global media reports on Mossad's alleged involvement in the assassination of the Hamas commander has led to a soaring number of civilian applicants who wish to join the secret service.

The agency, which did not post any new job openings for over six months, posted a statement on February 12 – almost a month after the Dubai operation – that read: "You have an opportunity to create a reality in which you play the lead role. If you possess, intelligence and sophistication, you can make a difference and fulfill a national and personal mission. If you can engage, charm and influence people – you may have the qualities we are looking for."

...

As for the job requirements listed, the ideal candidate must hold an academic degree, diverse life experience, good communication skills, flexible thinking and creativity, curiosity, and the ability to work individually and in a team as well as good command of second language. A preference, the ad noted, would be given to those with a background abroad and willingness to leave for an immediate mission abroad, right after the training period.
The Mossad's website is here. The English website is here. Tell them Carl in Jerusalem sent you.

Heh.
Israel Matzav: Not just t-shirts

Israel Matzav: The law of unintended consequences

The law of unintended consequences




Evelyn Gordon expands on a point I made here regarding the results of the European court ruling that denies the benefits of the Israel - EU free trade agreement from companies that manufacture in Judea and Samaria.


Europeans are obviously entitled to put principle above the consequences for Palestinian employment; countries make such decisions all the time. But the fact remains that once again, the biggest victims of efforts to advance the “peace process” will be ordinary Palestinians.

Thousands of Gazans, for instance, used to work for Israeli firms in the Erez industrial zone on the Israel-Gaza border. Today, Erez is a ghost town with no prospect of ever reopening: having withdrawn from Gaza, Israel could no longer protect these firms, and the Palestinians would not.

Moreover, tens of thousands of Palestinians used to work inside Israel; today, almost none do. The second intifada made a massive flow of Palestinians into Israel too risky, and Israelis felt no obligation to employ residents of a state-in-the-making that was waging nonstop physical and diplomatic warfare against them. The Palestinians, after all, cannot simultaneously demand independence from Israel and jobs inside Israel. The result is unemployment that now totals 18 percent in the West Bank and 39 percent in Gaza.

Israel is the region’s strongest economy; it will be years before the Palestinian Authority can match its employment capacity. So unless those who favor Palestinian statehood think that massive unemployment somehow contributes to this goal, they ought to be encouraging Israeli firms to hire Palestinians. Instead, Palestinian terror and international pressure have steadily combined to do the opposite.


Indeed.





Israel Matzav: The law of unintended consequences

RubinReports: Hilary Clinton's Congressional Testimony Shows What's Wrong with U.S. Foreign Policy

Hilary Clinton's Congressional Testimony Shows What's Wrong with U.S. Foreign Policy

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By Barry Rubin

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton explains to the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that the Obama Administration needed to spend 13 months trying to engage Iran's dictatorship because that's helped its effort to line up world support for new sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.

Let me get this straight. Russia and China still oppose sanctions. Some European countries and European Union leaders are holding up approval of sanctions. So I challenge Hilary Clinton: Name one country which opposed sanctions a year ago but now has become an energetic supporter because the United States spent a year giving Iran every chance to make a deal. Name one.

She next asserted that Iran's opposition supports Obama’s policy: "They actually think President Obama has struck exactly the right tone and approach, to give heart to the people who are putting their lives on the line, who know that we support their efforts, but also recognize that they've got a long hard road ahead.”

It is possible oppositionists privately flattered the administration by such statements but every public statement I’ve seen says the opposite. It is not exactly a secret that the administration refused to condemn the Iranian regime at the critical moment just after the stolen election, when the opposition's chances of building momentum were best.

And here, too, in Clinton's formulation, is the implication that popularity proves that a strategy is correct, a fundamental mantra of this administration. In fact, although it is only gradually starting to seep out in the media, is the reality that many U.S. allies and supporters abroad are horrified by what's happening (as shown by dozens of articles on this blog).

Then she added one of those little sentences that passes unnoticed but is quite important in its implications (that’s why you read this blog to see things like this that everyone else is missing): “What we're trying to do is to get international opinion that will force the Iranian regime to change its calculations."

International opinion? I can understand why President Barack Obama thinks the United States should not be the world’s policeman but he seems to believe that instead it should be the world’s community organizer.
Contemplate this. You're leader of Iran’s regime. You believe the divine being fully supports everything you do. You've effectively defeated the opposition. You're doing well with international Muslim opinion, which is all you care about. You're making rapid strides toward nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. You have allies like Syria, Hizballah, Hamas, and the Iraqi insurgents. Turkey is moving in your direction. You continue trading profitably with Europe, Russia, and China. Things are going pretty well.

And you're going to be scared by “international opinion?”

Of course, Clinton’s arguments about persuading people by going slow and chatting up Iran--in the appearance that this avoids conflict and problems--are intended for an American domestic audience, not Iran. It is legitimate and inevitable that governments focus a lot on looking good at home. But that should never inhibit at the same time having a good policy that actually deals with the international issues at stake.

And how about those Syrians? A lot of people are confused. The United States made a big concession by returning its ambassador and then Syrian dictator Bashar al-Asad slaps it in the face by inviting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plus Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah to Damascus and boasts he is Iran's best body, calls for Israel’s destruction, and urges the expulsion of U.S. influence from the region.

Simple. Because he can do it and know that the current U.S. government won’t do anything to him. Indeed, the more trouble he causes, it is reasonable for those in Damascus who govern things to think, the more concessions he will get from the United States.

And where could he have gotten such an idea? From everything the Obama Administration has done so far. Sure it talks tough but never does anything, making itself look ridiculous to the really tough bad guys.

Clinton told the congressional hearing: "I think because we were willing to engage, we have a much more receptive audience than we might have had otherwise,"

But, ladies and gentlemen, we have the proper answer to Clinton’s question as to what engagement has achieved: it has demoralized America’s friends and encouraged its enemies to believe that the United States is a cream puff, a pitiful helpless giant, a paper tiger. And are they wrong?

[Incidentally, the same thing seems to be happening--but receiving far less attention--regarding the administration's engagement effort with Cuba]

[Above is the serious political analysis part. Here begins the elective part of the article which you don’t have to read unless you want to.]

And so, if you will permit me some cultural analogies, while Clinton tells us that the Obama Administration is doing a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “I did It My Way,” this week Ahmadinejad, Asad, and Nasrallah got together as a trio to do Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots are Made for Walking.”

Their version goes something like this:

“You keep saying you'll do something to us.
to show your influence, but we just sneer at you.
You show us you’re more likely just to retreat
And you’ve failed the test we gave you that's quite true.

“These nukes are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do
one of these days these nukes are gonna walk all over you.

“You keep making threats but you’re a weakling,
All you want to do is just engage
You think you can make us do your bidding
But our answer is to escalate our rage

“These nukes are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do
one of these days these nukes are gonna walk all over you.

Are you ready nukes? Start walkin'!”

RubinReports: Hilary Clinton's Congressional Testimony Shows What's Wrong with U.S. Foreign Policy
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