Archive | July 28th, 2015

Egypt: Hijab wearing Muslim women are being turned away from beach resorts


Many Egyptian women say they are facing a difficult summer season as Hijab-free zones have soared in popularity, as more restaurants and high-end resorts enforce a de-facto ban on wearing Hijab. 


Social media users in Egypt flocked to Facebook and Twitter over the past week to condemn the apparent decision by some venues to deny veiled women entry. Many deemed the ban as discriminatory against practising Muslim women in Egypt – a country in which 90 percent of its 80-million population are Muslim.

The ban is not completely new, it was reportedly common at resorts and restaurants frequented by foreigners, in cities such as Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada.


Recent reports suggest that several swimming pools and restaurants at five-star resorts lining the Egyptian north coast are also restricting the entry of veiled women to their services.

Reem, a 28-year-old woman who wears the Hijab, said she was turned away at the doors of two different beaches at upscale north coast resorts for being veiled, she  Said  “I was with my husband when I was told I cannot come in because I’m veiled.


“The outing was quickly cut short when the security at the door told me guests complain about the appearance of veiled women,” she added. Reem said such door-selection policies are never written.

Sally Nashaat, a 26-year-old mother of two girls, said she was also not allowed to enter a beach club house at a five-star north coast resort for being veiled.


Among a group of friends, she was told: “Everyone can enter, except her.“It feels degrading, we are in our own country and we are not happy. “I was about to cry,” Nashaat said, “no one has the right to deprive me of entering. This never happened to me anywhere else, even in the United States.”

Nashaat said in some beaches that permitted access to veiled women, she was allowed to sit on the beach wearing the “Islamic” swim suit but not into the swimming pool. “I don’t want to be stopped for being veiled. I don’t want any of us to feel ashamed. We are not doing anything wrong,” she added.



Dina Sherbini, who owns a chalet at an upscale resort in Ain Sukhna, about 200 kilometres east of Cairo, said she was threatened by staff members if she swam wearing an Islamic swim suit. They threatened “they would throw excess chlorine in the water” and that they would “shut off fountains and Jacuzzi in the pool,” Sherbini said.

When she bought the chalet three years ago, Sherbini said, nothing in her contract mentioned that swimming while covered was unacceptable in the resort. “It was allowed before but now they changed their mind. What can we do now? Neither myself or my daughters are now allowed to swim.”

Sherbini also recalled a recent incident where the same administration refused to sell a friend of hers a unit at the resort for being veiled.


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Children at risk of radicalization monitored, taken into state care


This troubling trend was uncovered by the Times on Monday, after it obtained figures from an undisclosed high profile source.

Over thirty children in the past twelve months were found to have been subject to court orders because they were categorized extremist or thought to be at risk of radicalization.

Some have been put under temporary care orders, with UK courts increasingly intervening when family members seek to indoctrinate youngsters with radical ideologies.

Civil courts are also taking action when impressionable youngsters express a desire to join forces with Islamic State. The vast majority of these youngsters are lured into this extremist mindset after being exposed to a barrage of online propaganda.

The percentage of young people referred to government counter-extremism program “Channel” has soared by almost 50 percent in the last year, according to the Times.

The program’s organizers say it aims to offer support to those who are at risk of being lured into “violent extremism.”

Channel draws on collaborative links between councils, police, statutory bodies and local communities.

Its stated aim is threefold: to identify people at risk of being drawn into violent extremism, to consider the extent of that risk and to develop suitable support for such individuals.

In cases where youngsters are deemed at risk of radicalization, British judges are issuing court orders to stop them traveling to Syria. This measure means the High Court alone holds responsibility for these children and their movements.

Temporary care orders, which pave the way for fostering, have also been filed against youngsters feared to be in jeopardy of extremist brainwashing by family members.

Between April 2012 and June 2014, over 2,300 people were placed on the government’s Channel program. Some 834 were under 18 years of age, while 84 were younger than 12.

More than 360 Londoners have been referred to Channel since April 2012, and more than 300 referred to the scheme come from the northeast.

The Times investigation was published shortly after it emerged advocacy group CAGE is seeking legal advice on whether Prime Minister David Cameron is guilty of defamation after calling the organization a non-violent ‘extremist’ group.

Cameron made the remarks during the unveiling of his new anti-extremism policy, when he noted CAGE’s ties with the National Union of Students (NUS).
CAGE denies any links with terrorism and insist claims otherwise are “simply false.”

As the government continues to ramp up its counter-terror response with a fusion of policy, legal changes and surveillance, a growing chorus of critics warn of high levels of Islamophobia in the UK.

Racial equality think tank Runnymede says Islamophobia is a form of racism. It summarizes the effects of this discrimination as a mixture of socio-economic exclusion, prejudice, and violence. The think tank argues Islamophobia remains a serious challenge for any government dedicated to maintaining a just, equal and democratic society.

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Wake Up America: Florida shatters records with 346 inmate deaths in 2014 ‘VIDEO’



Nearly 350 inmates in Florida prisons died in 2014, shattering the record for most number of prisoner deaths in a single year. Many of the cases involve suspicious circumstances and involve allegations of harsh abuse by guards, which has prompted the firings of dozens of security officers and a large-scale Department of Justice investigation into the state’s correction system. RT’s Nicholas Sanchez O’Donovan is in Miami with more details.


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Number of administrative detainees doubles in Nazi Camp’s

auschwitz, auschwitz-birkenau, death camp, gas chambers, nazi, the holocaust, concentration camps
Zio-Nazi Camp
Palestine Information Center

The number of Palestinian administrative detainees held in Nazi Camp’s without charge or trial has doubled within a year,Haaretz (Hebrew) newspaper reported Monday.

Since the kidnapping and killing of three NAZI soldiers in al-Khalil last summer, NAZI authorities notably intensified the use of administrative detention policy against Palestinians “due to the Military Advocate General’s decision to lower the requirements in such cases for holding people involved in terrorism.”

NAZI administrative detention order, based on a secret file which neither the detainee nor his lawyer are allowed to see, can be renewed more than once.

More than 1,000 administrative detainees were documented in 2003. The number had fallen significantly to 134 in August 2013, only to rise again to reach 473 in 2014 after the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli soldiers.

There are currently 391 administrative detainees in NAZI Camp’s … twice as many as were being held before the kidnapping process.

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Do We Need to Bring Back Internment Camps?



By Ron Paul 

Last week, Retired General Wesley Clark, who was NATO commander during the US bombing of Serbia, proposed that “disloyal Americans” be sent to internment camps for the “duration of the conflict.” Discussing the recent military base shootings in Chattanooga, TN, in which five US service members were killed, Clark recalled the internment of American citizens during World War II who were merely suspected of having Nazi sympathies. He said: “back then we didn’t say ‘that was freedom of speech,’ we put him in a camp.”

He called for the government to identify people most likely to be radicalized so we can “cut this off at the beginning.” That sounds like “pre-crime”!

Gen. Clark ran for president in 2004 and it’s probably a good thing he didn’t win considering what seems to be his disregard for the Constitution. Unfortunately in the current presidential race Donald Trump even one-upped Clark, stating recently that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor and should be treated like one, implying that the government should kill him.

These statements and others like them most likely reflect the frustration felt in Washington over a 15 year war on terror where there has been no victory and where we actually seem worse off than when we started. The real problem is they will argue and bicker over changing tactics but their interventionist strategy remains the same.

Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, who was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, told al-Jazeera this week that US drones create more terrorists than they kill. He said: “The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.”

Still Washington pursues the same strategy while expecting different results.

It is probably almost inevitable that the warhawks will turn their anger inward, toward Americans who are sick of the endless and costly wars. The US loss of the Vietnam war is still blamed by many on the protesters at home rather than on the foolishness of the war based on a lie in the first place.

Let’s hope these threats from Clark and Trump are not a trial balloon leading to a clampdown on our liberties. There are a few reasons we should be concerned. Last week the US House passed a bill that would allow the Secretary of State to unilaterally cancel an American citizen’s passport if he determines that person has “aided” or “abetted” a terrorist organization. And as of this writing, the Senate is debating a highway funding bill that would allow the Secretary of State to cancel the passport of any American who owes too much money to the IRS.

Canceling a passport means removing the right to travel, which is a kind of virtual internment camp. The person would find his movements restricted, either being prevented from leaving or entering the United States. Neither of these measures involves any due process or possibility of appeal, and the government’s evidence supporting the action can be kept secret.

We should demand an end to these foolish wars that even the experts admit are making matters worse. Of course we need a strong defense, but we should not provoke the hatred of others through drones, bombs, or pushing regime change overseas. And we must protect our civil liberties here at home from government elites who increasingly view us as the enemy.

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10 Hard Facts About the Holocaust


Top 10 Hard Facts About the Holocaust hidden from the public. Put aside decades of propaganda and dogma, examine the facts!

Music: Escape from the temple (

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Hansen’s backfire

Image result for climate photos
By Judith Curry 

Jim Hansen’s new paper, and his PR strategy, are raising a whole host of issues that are arguably a backfire for his objectives.

Last week, several media articles appeared about an alarming new paper by Jim Hansen, that was just being submitted to a journal and was not yet publicly available:

My first reaction was this: Why, of all the major news outlets,  is only the Washington Post carrying this? No AP, etc.? Why haven’t I received a copy of this paper (usually a reporter or one of the skeptical news outlets would send me a copy). I figured the press release and paper were sent to only a few favored journalists?

The ‘favored journalists’ hypothesis quickly evaporated as articles like this then started to appear:

The paper is now available online, for all to evaluate:

Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms: Evidence from Paleoclimate Data, Climate Modeling, and Modern Observations that 2°C Global Warming is Highly Dangerous.

J. Hansen, M. Sato, P. Hearty, R. Ruedy, M. Kelley, V. Masson-Delmotte, G. Russell, G. Tselioudis, J. Cao, E. Rignot, I. Velicogna, E. Kandiano, K. von Schuckmann, P. Kharecha, A. N. Legrande, M. Bauer, and K.-W. Lo

Abstract. There is evidence of ice melt, sea level rise to +5–9 m, and extreme storms in the prior interglacial period that was less than 1 C warmer than today. Human-made climate forcing is stronger and more rapid than paleo forcings, but much can be learned by  combining insights from paleoclimate, climate modeling, and on-going observations. We argue that ice sheets in contact with the ocean are vulnerable to non-linear disintegration in response to ocean warming, and we posit that ice sheet mass loss can be approximated by a doubling time up to sea level rise of at least several meters. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield sea level rise of several meters in 50, 100 or 10 200 years. Paleoclimate data reveal that subsurface ocean warming causes ice shelf melt and ice sheet discharge. Our climate model exposes amplifying feedbacks in the Southern Ocean that slow Antarctic bottom water formation and increase ocean temperature near ice shelf grounding lines, while cooling the surface ocean and increasing sea ice cover and water column stability. Ocean surface cooling, in the North Atlantic as well as the Southern Ocean, increases tropospheric horizontal temperature gradients, eddy kinetic energy and baroclinicity, which drive more powerful storms.We focus attention on the Southern Ocean’s role in aecting atmospheric CO2 amount, which in turn is a tight control knob on global climate. The millennial (500–2000 year) time scale of deep ocean ventilation aects the time scale for natural CO2 change, thus the time 20 scale for paleo global climate, ice sheet and sea level changes. This millennial carbon cycle time scale should not be misinterpreted as the ice sheet time scale for response to a rapid human-made climate forcing. Recent ice sheet melt rates have a doubling time near the lower end of the 10–40 year range.We conclude that 2 C global warming above the preindustrial level, which would spur more ice shelf melt, is highly dangerous. Earth’s energy imbalance, which must be eliminated to stabilize climate, provides a crucial metric.

The paper is in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, the discussion forum of the European Geosciences Union journalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics [link]

Andy Revkin has two superb posts on the paper, which I will be referencing in m discussion below:

Reviews of the science

While the paper has not yet undergone formal peer review by the journal, journalists have elicited numerous reviews/comments from scientists. From the Washington Post,

Michael Mann “Their climate model scenario wherein Greenland and Antarctic meltwater caused by warming poles, leads to a near total shutdown of ocean heat transport to higher latitudes, cooling most of the globe (particularly the extratropics), seems rather far-fetched to me.” “Whether or not all of the specifics of the study prove to be correct, the authors have initiated an absolutely critical discussion.”

Kevin Trenberth, called the paper“provocative and intriguing but rife with speculation and ‘what if’ scenarios.” Trenberth objected in particular to the climate modeling scenarios used to study freshwater injection as ice sheets melt. “These experiments introduce a lot of very cold fresh water in various places, and then they see what happens.” “The question is how relevant these are to the real world and what is happening as global warming progresses? They do not seem at all realistic to me.” “There are way too many assumptions and extrapolations for anything here to be taken seriously other than to promote further studies.”

Richard Alley,“Many parts of the new paper are likely to stimulate much technical discussion and further research in our community, as we try to weave together the deep-time and recent history to provide useful projections for the future.” “This new paper is not ‘the answer,’” “Particularly, replacing the simple assumptions about doubling times of ice loss with physically based insights is a major focus of our field, but is not yet done and not likely to be ready really quickly.” Alley acknowledged that the IPCC’s sea level rise estimate “is well on the optimistic low-rise side of the possible outcomes,” and added that “the estimates in the new paper of freshening, and discussion of stabilization of the southern ocean and influences on precipitation, are interesting and important.”

From Revkin’s second post:

Tad Pfeffer: If you look at this from the point of view of somebody who’s trying to use this information for anything other than scientific satisfaction, whether or not these very, very rapid rates of sea level rise happen in the next few decades or the next few centuries makes all the difference in the world. The question of when does this start is not really addressed in this paper that I can find, and has been addressed only peripherally in most of the papers about ice sheet instability that I have seen. Ian Joughin made some statements recently [context] that I thought were pretty solid about it being a few centuries before this kind of very rapid sea level rise can take place and that makes sense to me because there are some very important things that you have to do in order to turn on the rapid response of the Antarctic ice sheet – you have to get rid of a couple of big ice shelves for starters. And it’s going to take a few centuries to do that. From a strictly geophysical, glaciological, point of view, a few centuries may not make much difference. But from the point of view of a planner, a policymaker, again these are the people who care about what exactly we’re saying. It makes all the difference in the world. And that’s the part I find missing in this paper. They have to say something about when this is going to occur. They may not be able to say with any great precision, but they have to say something. Because if this is something that’s going to happen in the next few decades, yeah, it’s something we’ve really got to wake up and pay attention about. If it’s something that’s going to happen in the next few centuries then there are a lot of other issues that we have to sort out first.

Without going into any details here, Revkin’s second post provides scientists’ comments that shows the whole section on Eemian superstorms appears to be without basis.

JC comments on the science

This is an intriguing and wide-sweeping paper that has put together a multi-disciplinary team to examine the possibility of near term catastrophic sea level rise.

For context, Hansen et al. present a much more extreme scenario than the  last report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the most recent assessment in 2014  “Expert assessment of sea-level rise by AD 2100 and AD 2300.”

Should we only pay attention to UN and NAS sanctioned assessments by expert teams? Absolutely not (note I will have a follow on post in a day or two that delves into this issue). As stated in my previous post What is the plausible ‘worst scenario’ for climate change?, we should be putting extreme scenarios out there and assess whether they are plausible, possible, or essentially impossible.

The biggest issue raised by Hansen is the potential (plausible? possible?) for a catastrophic >5 m sea level rise in the 21st century. Hansen et al. have proposed a  a new mechanism for faster sea level rise – can we falsify this?  The collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS)  is arguably the most alarming potential impact of global warming. WAIS has collapsed before during previous interglacials, and will undoubtedly collapse again (with or without AGW), with a ~5 m sea level rise. The issue is whether the WAIS can collapse on timescales of decades to a century. Based on what we know (summarized by Tad Pfeffer above), this is a process that would take centuries.

I am not an expert on sea level rise or ice sheets, but here are a few things that frame my own understanding, including some recent research:

  • Sea level has been rising for millennia. I am not convinced that there is a significant acceleration of sea level rise that can be attributed to human caused global warming (see this previous post).
  • Recent research from Scripps finds that the Greenland ice sheet did not melt as much as expected during the Eemian but that may mean Antarctic ice sheets melted more than expected.
  • A new paper summarized by Cato that found that the size of the Greenland ice sheet—especially the best observed portions covering the west and southwestern parts of Greenland—during the mid-Holocene was smaller than it is today—but not by a whole lot.
  • Study finds surprisingly high geothermal heating beneath west antarctic ice sheet [link]

So it looks like we should be more worried about WAIS than about Greenland, and it seems that natural processes (natural climate change and geothermal processes) have caused large sea level changes in the past during interglacial periods (albeit not rapid ones) and will continue to cause sea level to changes in the future. Human contribution so far to sea level rise does not seem particularly significant, given the early 20th century rate of sea level rise is about the same as the current rate. Our ways of inferring future rates of sea level rise from ice sheet melting is crude – we can speculate but not with much confidence. The danger posed by sea level rise is a function of the rate of change far more than the actual sea level itself.

Does Hansen et al. make any contribution to all this? Well their proposed mechanism with feedbacks is of interest and should be explored further. But their conclusions regarding an alarming rate of sea level rise are at best possible (and not plausible).

Policy relevance

The policy relevance of the Hansen et al. paper is the articulation of a possible worst case scenario of sea level rise. In robust decision making, the plausible worst case scenario informs decision making but does not necessarily dominate the decision making process.

What role does a ‘possible’ worst case scenario play, apart from clarifying what is plausible? Well, to alarm people and to help build political will to ‘act’ on emissions reductions, particularly for forthcoming Paris COP.

Regarding the policy relevance of the paper, Science Insider writes:

Whether this paper will become a key point of reference in the ongoing climate talks isn’t clear. In advance of the Paris meetings, negotiators from nearly every country in the world have provisionally agreed to the 2°C target. That there is even such an agreement in the offing seems like a victory, but whether it will be reached is still up in the air. Recognizing this, 24 academic and professional institutions in the United Kingdom yesterday issued a sternly worded joint communiqué that called on the international community to take immediate action on reducing emissions. The statement suggested that to have a chance of reaching that 2°C goal, Earth must become a zero-carbon world by the second half of the century. . . But how influential this paper will be is unclear, given its flaws.

Hansen has previously suggested that scientists are often too hesitant to say just how dire the situation is. A 2007 paper he co-authored, titled “Scientific Reticence and Sea Level Rise,” suggested that scientists felt constrained from sounding a full-fledged alarm on how high the waters will get, in part because of the cautious nature of scientific inquiry and the scientific method. But, he says in that paper’s abstract, “there is a danger in excessive caution.” The new paper, he told reporters yesterday, is “significantly more persuasive than anything previously published about just how dangerous 2°C warming would be.”

Hansen’s political agenda is evident as per Revkin’s post:

The new paper, which Hansen told me he’s been working on for eight years, was being rushed into public view with the hope of influencing negotiations at the December round of talks in Parisaimed at crafting a new global climate change agreement. You can hear from Hansen on the reasoning in the recording of his phone conference call with some reporters on Monday.

Also from Revkin regarding a passage apparently in the press release:

The paper got attention in advance because of this passage:

We conclude that continued high emissions will make multi-meter sea level rise practically unavoidable and likely to occur this century. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization. This image of our planet with accelerating meltwater includes growing climate chaos and storminess, as meltwater causes cooling around Antarctica and in the North Atlantic while the tropics and subtropics continue to warm. Rising seas and more powerful storms together are especially threatening, providing strong incentive to phase down CO2 emissions rapidly.

The backfire
The cited criticisms of the paper all make valid points. The criticisms of Mann and Trenberth are somewhat surprising to me, since I have seen them support papers that are at least as dubious as Hansen et al. Apart from the paper’s flaws, I suspect some of the backlash from these scientists  is associated with the fact that this paper has not yet been peer reviewed, and is an integrative, interdisciplinary assessment that challenges the IPCC and other established assessment reports. Revkin cites Tad Pfeffer: “One of the things that troubles me most is that the rapid-fire publication of unsettled results in highly visible venues creates the impression that the scientific community has no idea what’s going on.” There is clearly a concern that such independent assessments, especially by well known and/or reputable scientists, can undermine the authority and messaging of ‘establishment’ assessment and scientists.

Revkin provides some interesting insights into their publicity push and the media response:

But by late Tuesday, as other coverage built, so did questions about the way the study was released, and the quality of its analysis. Another sign  of trouble was that, despite the publicity push, the Associated Press, The New York Times, the BBC and The Guardian (despite its yearlong push for climate action blending advocacy and reporting) were among those who steered clear of the study. Listen to the taped call to get a visceral sense of the concerns of Seth Borenstein, the longtime climate reporter at the A.P.

That portentous section above — which in many ways is the only part of the paper that is news given how it centers on the “likely” inundation of most coastal cities in this century without aggressive emissions cuts — is not in the version the journal has posted. It’s in a shorter version, lacking references, that a publicist at Glover Park told me was going into more of a lay publication.

The final draft posted for discussion has more nuanced language, in line with what those arguing for more near-term climate and coastal risk have already articulated.

Maybe we’ll all be a little slower on the draw next time when work is promoted before it is publicized or peer reviewed. There are other merits to slowing down a bit in examining an issue that will be with us for generations — long past Paris. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

I think part of the backfire is associated with having Glover Park handle the media push. Glover Park provides strategic communications campaigns for corporations, non-profit organizations and industry associations. The Group is also involved in lobbying, but it definitely seems to be non-partisan (i.e. open to pretty much all paying customers – I wonder how much Hansen paid for their services and where the funds came from).

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen publicity for a research paper being handled by such a group (Glover doesn’t seem to have prior experience with this, since they rather bungled it for Hansen). Press releases are usually issued by universities, journals or funding agencies. Advocacy groups and think tanks also issue press releases for their own reports. But what about retired or independent scientists? And for scientists whose universities won’t issue a press release? E.g., Georgia Tech declined to issue a press release on Lewis and Curry; the paper was publicized on my blog and by the GWPF. In Hansen’s case, presumably NASA or Columbia could have issued the press release. But probably not including Hansen’s most alarming statements.

In any event, it is refreshing to see the maturity shown by some journalists in handling this issue. They seem to be well trained re the ‘sanctity’ of peer reviewed papers. I am also wondering whether Hansen’s explicit policy advocacy, coupled with a scientific research paper (esp one that had not undergone peer review), contributed to distrust of the research? You would hardly expect Jim Hansen to write a paper saying AGW is less alarming than we thought.

A combination of weak/speculative science, issuing the press release prior to peer review or at least public availability of the paper, a direct challenge to establishment assessment reports, policy advocacy, and use of a professional publicity/marketing/lobbying group to handle the publicity seems to have contributed to the backfire. I doubt that this paper will have any serious influence on the Paris deliberations.

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The marketing of perpetual war



By BlackCatte 

… The war is not meant to be won – it is meant to be continuous.…” – George Orwell, 1984

David Kilcullen has a message for us over at the Guardian, and this is it:

We’re living in an era of persistent conflict…”

Which is sadly, true. You might think the next thing to be discussed on that topic would be – why? Why are we now living in an era of endless war? What forces are behind this development? Who, if anyone, is profiting from the same? But, no, David doesn’t think any of this is worthy of our attention. He simply wants us to understand that “perpetual conflict” is absolutely and inescapably the new reality.

… you can read it in the latest concept documents of half a dozen western militaries. But it doesn’t seem to have hit home, for the public or some policymakers, that the notion that this can all end, that we can get back to some pre-9/ 11 “normal,” is a fantasy.

Do we get that? Is it hitting home? Peace is now a “fantasy”. It’s official. And in case you are still harbouring some smidgen of doubt, Dave is going to say it again in different words:

This – this instability, this regional conflict surrounded by networked global violence, this convergence of war and crime, of domestic and international threats, this rise of a new aggressive totalitarian state from the rubble of the last war – is the new normal, and it’s not going to change for a very, very long time. There are no quick solutions: we need to settle in for the long haul.


That being the case, we have to figure out methods of dealing with persistent conflict.


I see no alternative to a larger, more intense, conventional war against Isis than the one currently being contemplated…

Do you see that children? That’s called “paradigm-creation.” The topic for discussion is evidently intended to be “how do we deal with persistent conflict?” The question of why the persistent conflict is happening, or who is funding these “aggressive new totalitarian states” is NOT part of the agenda, and is being excised from our collective conscious. All we need to know is:

Isis is an escalating threat that’s growing and worsening.

We do not need to worry our little heads about what this entity called “ISIS” actually is, how plausible the clownish stories of its super-villain powers are. Nor are we supposed to waste a single moment asking who is picking up its not inconsiderable tab. What matters is that Syria and Iraq are “problems” (never mind why or how) and that “greater western involvement would mitigate all these problems” (because that is what western involvement does – ask Libya). Most importantly, the US needs to get over its scruples and do more:

…US passivity and reluctance to target Assad (though his regime kills more people than Isis) makes many Syrians wary of joining the “moderate” rebels.

“US passivity and reluctance”? Really, Dave? What about the article in the Washington Times claiming the US state department lied about Syrian chemical attacks in order to fabricate a reason for attacking Assad? And what about this article at Global Research which alleges the US is actually targeting the Syrian government- not ISIS – with its current air strikes.

I’m left wondering – is Assad really any worse than the dreadful and medieval Saudis? He certainly seems to be pretty popular in Syria, where they apparently have a different take on things (but Dave doesn’t bother to tell us that). If we in the west have no problem with murderous tyrants, why do we have a problem with Assad? Is it because he isn’t our murderous tyrant?

Is the US really out there in Syria trying (but inexplicably failing) to defeat ISIS? Or is it happy to aid and abet ISIS in doing the dirty work it tried and failed to do itself? If Dave gets his way and we launch a “more intense conventional war” in Syria, will our soldiers’ lives and our taxes really be spent on defeating ISIS or is that just a shallow ruse to enable the US to finally go in and get Assad?

Is “perpetual conflict” really something we should all just accept as inevitable and leave it to people like Dave to sort out? Or is it something we should be resisting and interrogating at every level and at every opportunity?

Nah. Never mind. None of this matters. Let’s just keep it simple. The message is:

1. Persistent conflict is the new normal

2. There is no need to ask why.

Everyone got that?

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HAND’S OFF SYRIA المؤتمر الاعلامي الدولي لمواجهة الارهاب التكفيري


Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

مشاركون في المؤتمر الإعلامي الدولي لمواجهة الإرهاب التكفيري: نقطة بداية نحو إعلام قادر على مواجهة الإرهاب

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دمشق -سانا

أكد عدد من الشخصيات الاعلامية والسياسية المشاركة في المؤتمر الإعلامي الدولي لمواجهة الإرهاب التكفيري الذي انطلقت أعماله اليوم في دار الأسد للثقافة والفنون بدمشق أن المؤتمر نقطة البداية نحو إعلام واع ومسؤول قادر على مواجهة الإرهاب وتصويب مفهوم وأساليب الصراع مع الفكر التكفيري كما أنه دليل بدء تعافي سورية من أزمتها.

زينن: المؤتمر دليل بدء تعافي سورية

وفي تصريح لوكالة سانا اعتبر كبير الباحثين في معهد العلاقات الروسية الدولية يوري زينن أن المؤتمر دليل بدء تعافي سورية من الأزمة التي عانت منها على مدى خمس سنوات كما أن وجود هذا الحشد الكبير من الإعلاميين من مختلف الدول مؤشر مهم أن دولا كثيرة باتت تؤمن بسياسات الدولة السورية.

وحول الآليات التي يمكن ان يخرج بها المؤتمر لصناعة إعلام قادر على مواجهة الإرهاب والتكفير رأى زينن أن وجود إعلاميين وباحثين ومهتمين بالشأن الإعلامي من مختلف الدول فرصة لتلاقي الآراء والنقاش الواسع بما يغني عملية البحث عن الطرق والوسائل الكفيلة بصناعة إعلام يواجه الإرهاب والتكفير.

السيد أحمد: الإعلام لعب دورا أساسيا بإشعال فتيل الأزمة في سورية وكل من قدم إلى المؤتمر جاء ليعلن انتصار سورية على الإرهاب

بدوره اعتبر الدكتور محمد السيد أحمد عضو المكتب السياسي في الحزب الناصري المصري أن كل من قدم اليوم إلى المؤتمر جاء ليعلن انتصار سورية على الإرهاب وأنه لا بد من وحدة عربية لمكافحته وخاصة أن الجيشين السوري والمصري هما من يخوضان المعركة الشرسة ضده ولا بد من تعاون عربي شامل يواجهه.

ولفت السيد أحمد إلى أن الإعلام لعب دورا أساسيا في إشعال فتيل الأزمة في سورية مضيفا.. نحن اليوم في الجيل الرابع من الحروب وهي ليست مباشرة إنما إعلامية وكثير من الدول سقطت إعلاميا قبل أن يحدث ذلك على أرض الواقع مثل ليبيا وبالتالي لا بد من تحدي الإعلام المعادي والإرهاب منعا من تكرار مثل هذه الكوارث.

كوزنيتسوف: التحالف الغربي ضد تنظيم داعش الإرهابي مزيف

من جانبه رأى الكسندر كوزنيتسوف بروفيسور في جامعة موسكو ومدير معهد حول الصراعات السياسية أن الهدف الأساسي للمؤتمر هو لفت انتباه العالم الى ما يحدث في سورية وإيصال حقيقة الوضع فيها ولا سيما بوجود معلومات كثيرة غير صحيحة تتناقلها وسائل الاعلام أما الحقيقة فهي حرب تشنها مجموعات إرهابية ضد الحكومة الشرعية في سورية دمرت خلالها بنى تحتية ومدنا وبلدات وشردت وقتلت آلاف الأبرياء.

وقال كوزنسيدسوف على الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها التوقف عن دعم التنظيمات الإرهابية و”أظن أن ذلك سيكون أفضل مساعدة لسورية لأنه في حال توقفهم فإن الطرف المعاكس يمكن ان يلجأ إلى المصالحة بوقت أسرع أما في حال مواصلة دعمها لهؤلاء الإرهابيين فان الازمة في سورية يمكن ان تستمر لعشر سنوات اخرى وهو ما سيشكل كارثة”.

واعتبر البرفيسور الروسي أن التحالف الغربي ضد تنظيم داعش الإرهابي مزيف لأن الولايات المتحدة ليست مهتمة بهزيمته لأن داعش بالنسبة لواشنطن أداة لتنفيذ سياساتها في الشرق الاوسط وتعطيها فرصة التدخل في شؤون سورية والعراق ودول المنطقة وقال اعتقد ان الغرب ليس مهتما بانهاء الحرب وهدفه تدمير جميع الدول العربية وابقاء دول المنطقة في حروب أهلية للحصول على منافع خاصة بهم.

خلف: المؤتمر جرس تنبيه لكل الإعلاميين أنهم أمام مسؤولية مكافحة الإرهاب

بدوره الإعلامي في قناة الميادين كمال خلف أكد أن المؤتمر له أهمية كبرى كونه يعقد في دمشق بعد فترة طويلة من الغياب، ما يشكل دليل تعاف نظرا لوجود أكثر من 100 شخصية مشاركة مشيرا إلى أن المؤتمر هو أيضا جرس تنبيه لكل الإعلاميين الذين أتوا إلى هنا من دول مختلفة أنهم أمام مسؤولية مكافحة الإرهاب.

وقال خلف: مشكلتنا أننا أمام إعلام يصف دعاة الإرهاب بالثوار ويزيف الوعي العربي بينما هؤلاء في الحقيقة مجرمون ومرضى نفسيون وهذا ما يستدعي من المشاركين اليوم وضع الآليات المفيدة لمحاربة هذا الإعلام المروج للفكر التكفيري وأن يكون مؤتمرهم نقطة البداية نحو إعلام واع ومسؤول.

عبيد: ما ينقص إعلام المقاومة بعض التنسيق والعمل المشترك

محمد عبيد المدير العام السابق في وزارة الإعلام اللبنانية اعتبر أن أهمية المؤتمر تأتي من كونها المرة الأولى التي يطرح فيها مفهوم الإرهاب التكفيري ليتم تحديده وتوضيح طرق مواجهته فدائما كان هناك خلط بيننا وبين الغرب وحتى مع بعض الدول التي ترعى الإرهاب في العالم العربي.. بالتالي المؤتمر يصوب مفهوم الصراع مع الفكر التكفيري.

وقال محمد الحمد نائب رئيس اتحاد الإذاعات والتلفزيونات العراقية المدير العام لقناة آفاق إن “ما ينقص إعلام المقاومة في هذه الفترة لمجابهة المدارس التكفيرية وتعرية أدواتها بعض التنسيق والعمل المشترك بين المؤسسات الإعلامية والفكرية والثقافية من أجل قلب المعادلة على الأعداء ونشر الحقيقة بعيدا عن الأضاليل”.

وذكر الحمد أن مشاركته في المؤتمر تأتي في إطار توحيد صوت الكلمة ضد الإرهاب والتطرف والتكفير والوقوف إلى جانب الشعب السوري مبينا أن الأعداء اعتمدوا في بداية ما يسمى “الثورات” على الإعلام من أجل خداع الشعوب وحجب الحقائق “بأموال سعودية وقطرية”.

كريميان: تشكيل جبهة إعلامية ضخمة على مستوى العالم تخصص فقط لفضح غايات الفكر الإرهابي

من جهته شدد الأمين العام لاتحاد الإذاعات والتلفزيونات الإسلامية في إيران علي كريميان على ضرورة وجود خطة علمية ومنطقية لمواجهة التمدد الفكري الإرهابي المتطرف في المنطقة لافتا إلى دور الإعلام المعادي الكبير في انتشار هذا الفكر.

ودعا كريميان إلى تشكيل جبهة إعلامية ضخمة على مستوى العالم تخصص فقط لفضح غايات هذا الفكر وممارساته ومخاطره منوها بأهمية تنظيم وزارة الإعلام السورية للمؤتمر في هذا التوقيت لكونه استطاع حشد إعلاميين من دول مختلفة آملا في أن يخرج المؤتمرون بخطة عمل موفقة تعطى لوسائل الإعلام ليكون لديها جهوزية لمحاربة الفكر الإرهابي التكفيري.

وبشأن اتفاق إيران مع السداسية الدولية حول ملفها النووي أكد الأمين العام لاتحاد الاذاعات والتلفزيونات الإسلامية “أن الاتفاق لن يكون له أي تأثير على سياسة إيران الخارجية وستبقى طهران تدعم المقاومة وتدافع عن المظلومين في سورية ولبنان والعراق واليمن والبحرين وأنها مع القيادة السورية وجيشها وشعبها”.

ميرزائي: الاستراتيجية الإعلامية الكبرى في العالم الغربي تخريب المسلمين بالمسلمين

نجف علي ميرزائي باحث في الدراسات الإيرانية العربية رأى أن “ما نشهده اليوم من جرائم في المنطقة هو عملية تخريب للثقافات والرؤية الاسلامية التي كانت من أجل الرحمة والإعمار وتحولت إلى النقمة والتدمير” وهو ما يعطي دورا مهما للمؤتمر الذي يتيح فرصة للتنسيق بين القوى الإعلامية المقاومة.

وأشار إلى أن الاستراتيجية الإعلامية الكبرى في العالم الغربي هي تخريب المسلمين بالمسلمين عبر تيارات الفتنة معربا عن أمله في أن ينتهي المؤتمر بقرار إنشاء “اتحاد عالمي للإعلام المقاوم”.

ميسان: في حال توقفت دول الغرب والخليج عن إرسال المال والأسلحة للجهاديين فإن ما يحدث في سورية سينتهي

الصحفي الفرنسي تيري ميسان بين الدور السلبي الذي مارسه الإعلام الغربي حيال سورية بحيث كان هو من خلق الإرهاب كسلاح ضد سورية مضيفا إنه “وحتى الأسبوع الماضي كانت كل دول الغرب تدعم الإرهاب في الشرق الاوسط بينما تدعم دول الخليج وتركيا بدورها داعش والتنظيمات الإرهابية الأخرى لكن يبدو أنه ومنذ أسبوع أي بعد توقيع الاتفاق النووي مع إيران بدأت الولايات المتحدة رسميا بتغيير سياساتها وباتت جميع القوى الكبرى ترى أن شيئا ما يتغير وعليها التكيف مع الوضع الجديد”.

وردا على سؤال فيما إذا كان هذا التحول سيقدم فائدة في القضاء على تنظيم داعش الإرهابي قال ميسان “أعتقد أنه في حال توقفت دول الغرب والخليج عن إرسال المال والأسلحة إلى الجهاديين فإن ما يحدث في سورية سينتهي بسرعة كبيرة ورغم أن هذه الدول غير مقتنعة بفعل ذلك لكنها أدركت الآن أنها في حال واصلت هذا النهج فستدفع الثمن”.

وتابع الصحفي الفرنسي “إن الغرب يعي أن كل شيء انتهى وأن عليهم التعامل مع الجمهورية العربية السورية.. هم يعلمون ذلك ولكن عليهم الآن التكيف مع هذه الحقيقة بالتدريج ويحتاجون لبعض الوقت فليس بإمكانهم القفز إلى موقف معاكس فجأة”.

طاشكين: وجود تمزقات في المجتمع التركي بسبب موقف حكومة أردوغان لما يجري في سورية

ومن تركيا رأى الإعلامي فهيم طاشتكين أن الأتراك في البداية لم يكونوا على علم بحقيقة ما يجري في سورية بسبب التشويش الإعلامي لكن اليوم وبعد أربع سنوات تغيرت النظرة وهذا ما يؤكد أهمية دور الإعلام في نقل الحقائق وتحمل مسؤوليته تجاه الحقيقة.

ولفت طاشتكين إلى “وجود تمزقات في المجتمع التركي بسبب موقف حكومة أردوغان حيال ما يجري في سورية” وأن مشاركته اليوم تأتي لتؤكد وجود أتراك كثيرين غير راضين عن موقف حكومتهم مضيفا “سورية اليوم تثبت أنها تحظى بدعم شعبي واسع على مستوى المنطقة والعالم ونشارك اليوم ليس فقط لنتحدث عن مواجهة الإرهاب التكفيري بل لنوجد الآليات الحقيقية لذلك”.

اردم اول: سورية ضحية للإرهاب الذي تدعمه دول إقليمية

الأمر الذي أكده مصطفى كمال اردم أول من صحيفة صول خبر التركية ومؤلف كتاب “المعادلة السورية” وقال “تركيا جزء من المنظومة التي يعتبر تنظيم داعش الإرهابي أحد مرتكزاتها وها هو اليوم يعض يد من دعموه عسكريا ولوجيستيا وقد آن الأوان لتتحد دول الجوار لمواجهة الإرهاب وعلى عديمي العقول في الحكومة التركية أن يستجيبوا لهذه الدعوة”.

ورأى اردم اول أن سورية ضحية للإرهاب الذي تدعمه دول إقليمية ويستهدف عدة دول مشيرا إلى أن المؤتمر الإعلامي الدولي لمواجهة الإرهاب يأتي في إطار الأبحاث المتعلقة بالإرهاب ويعبر عن القوة والإرادة التي تمتلكها سورية لمواجهة الإرهاب على جميع الجبهات.

فياض: المؤتمر جاء ليصيغ رسالة إعلامية جادة تتلاءم مع بطولات الجيش العربي السوري

بالمقابل رأى محمد فياض كاتب مصري وعضو اتحاد الكتاب العرب أن “انعقاد المؤتمر جاء متأخرا ومن المفترض أن يكون هذا المؤتمر هو السادس أو السابع منذ بدء الأزمة لكنه اليوم يأتي تزامنا مع معطيات ومتغيرات دولية وإقليمية وهو يجب أن يعيد تصدير المشهد السوري إلى العالم على حقيقته فليس في سورية ثورة لكن هناك الجيش العربي السوري الذي يدافع عن وحدة الأرض وعن الوطن العربي كله والمشاركون في المؤتمر عليهم إيصال هذه الرسالة”.

وأضاف فياض “هذا المؤتمر جاء ليصيغ رسالة إعلامية جادة تتلاءم مع بطولات الجيش العربي السوري” في الوقت الذي يعيش فيه الإعلام العربي حالة انعزال كامل عما يحدث على الأرض السورية.

ناصيف: المواجهة السورية القوية للإرهاب حمت العديد من الدول العربية من مخاطره

الإعلامي المصري عمرو ناصيف أكد أن المواجهة السورية القوية للإرهاب حمت العديد من الدول العربية من مخاطره معتبرا أن “المواجهة الفكرية للإرهاب مطلوبة في الوطن العربي خلال الفترة القادمة لكن ما نحتاجه الآن مواجهة عسكرية لكون القتل والإجرام الذي نراه لا يمكن القضاء عليه إلا في الميدان”.

وأشار ناصيف إلى وجود خلط لدى بعض المؤسسات الإعلامية في مصر حول موضوع الإرهاب “لأنها مرتبطة مصلحيا بالسعودية وتنفذ أجندة خاصة بها وهؤلاء غير محسوبين على الشعب المصري” داعيا إلى التعاون بين مصر وسورية وجميع البلدان العربية من أجل منظومة إعلامية تواجه الفكر التفكيري.

علوش: الخروج بخطة مشروع إعلامي يواجه أعداء سورية

الدكتور ابراهيم علوش كاتب سياسي وأستاذ جامعي من الأردن أكد بدوره على أن “العنصر الإعلامي شكل مكونا رئيسيا في زعزعة الاستقرار وخلق الأزمة في سورية ومن هذا المنطلق كان لابد من حشد هذه التظاهرة الإعلامية لمواجهة الإرهاب الإعلامي” داعيا المؤتمرين إلى “الخروج بخطة مشروع إعلامي يواجه أعداء سورية”.

الحاج: سورية هي الأرض الخصبة والأحق بالكلام عن مكافحة الإرهاب

من جهتها شددت الإعلامية والناشطة اللبنانية سمر الحاج على رفضها القاطع للدعوات المطالبة “بتجميل” الإرهاب وخاصة في بلد عربي مقاوم ومستهدف بشكل مباشر داعية إلى استمرار العمل والجهود للوصول إلى قبلة التيار العربي المقاوم ووجهته فلسطين.

وقالت الحاج “إن أي عمل إرهابي هو خدمة للكيان الصهيوني” مشيرة إلى أن سورية هي الأرض الخصبة والأحق بالكلام عن مكافحة الإرهاب لكونها دولة ممانعة والآن هي دولة مواجهة مباشرة.

جوني: أهمية المؤتمر  تأتي من مكان انعقاده في سورية

وقال الدكتور حسن جوني أستاذ القانون والعلاقات الدولية في لبنان “تأتي أهمية المؤتمر الإعلامي الدولي لمكافحة الإرهاب من مكان انعقاده في سورية التي عانت الكثير جراء الإرهاب.. ومن عدد الدول والمختصين المشاركين به” معربا عن أمله في أن يخرج بتوصيات ولجان تنفيذية مختصة تعمل على تنفيذ مقرراته وتوصياته من أجل مجابهة الدول الداعمة للإرهاب بأموال عربية وتقنيات غربية.

ضاهر: المؤتمر قد يشكل اليوم علامة فارقة

الإعلامي اللبناني عباس ضاهر مدير الأخبار بقناة الـ ان بي ان قال “المؤتمر قد يشكل اليوم علامة فارقة في هذه المرحلة وسيستثمر بناء على الواقع الميداني والسياسي الجديد وخصوصا أن هناك متغيرات سياسية إقليمية ودولية مبنية على مكافحة الإرهاب”.

الحراش: في دمشق لا صوت يعلو على صوت البندقية الشرعية للجيش العربي السوري

وقال الشيخ اللبناني عبد السلام الحراش من اللجنة التحضيرية في التيار العربي المقاوم إنه “في دمشق لا صوت يعلو على صوت البندقية الشرعية للجيش العربي السوري الذي يخوض غمار الحرب الكونية ضد الإرهاب” مشيرا إلى أن الواجب يحتم على الجميع المشاركة في هذا المؤتمر والوقوف إلى جانب سورية قيادة وشعبا.

واعتبر الحراش أن “الإعلام السوري المقاوم رغم إمكانياته المتواضعة قياسا إلى إمكانيات فضائيات التحريض بقي صامدا وهادفا لأنه صاحب حق وقضية عادلة” مؤبكدا أن الإرهاب “لا دين ولا طائفة له”.

سعادة: المؤتمر يشكل منصة حقيقية لإيصال الصوت السوري على المستوى الدولي

من جهتها رأت ماريا سعادة عضو مجلس الشعب أن المؤتمر يشكل منصة حقيقية لإيصال الصوت السوري على المستوى الدولي فالإعلام هو المنصة الحرة للمجتمعات ولصوت الحق.

وأضافت “هناك تغيرات تحدث على المستوى الإقليمي هي في مصلحة سورية والمنطقة” معتبرة أن توقيع الاتفاق النووي الإيراني ما هو إلا بداية لإعادة هذا التوازن وبالتالي “هناك شعوب يجب أن يسمع صوتها من الداخل وهذا المؤتمر هو مفصل أساسي لإيصال صوتنا للشعوب عبر منابر الإعلام والفكر”.

خوري: الإعلام هو السلاح الأساسي في البيوت

وفي وقت وصفت فيه الأديبة كوليت خوري الإعلام “بالسلاح الأساسي في البيوت” رأت أنه كان على العرب أن يعوا دوره الاول في الحروب ولا سيما أن الغرب جيش إعلام العالم ضدهم معربة عن تقديرها واحترامها للأعلام السوري الذي استطاع أن يقف بمفرده في وجه الهجمة الإعلامية العالمية المزورة مؤكدة أن صمود سورية في وجه هذه المؤامرة الكبرى كشف وأجبر الناس على الاعتراف بأن سورية كانت على حق منذ بداية الأزمة وأنها ستنتصر.

الملحم: أهمية التوجه إلى علماء المسلمين لكي يتحملوا مسؤولياتهم في التصدي للفكر الإرهابي التكفيري

وأكد الأمين العام لحزب الشعب السوري الشيخ نواف عبد العزيز طراد الملحم أهمية انعقاد المؤتمر من ناحية التصدي للفكر التكفيري الذي عاث فسادا في سورية منذ أكثر من أربع سنوات فآن الأوان لوسائل الإعلام والحكماء في هذه الأمة سواء العربية أو الإسلامية أن يتصدوا لهذا الفكر التكفيري.

وأشار الملحم إلى أهمية التوجه إلى علماء المسلمين لكي يتحملوا مسؤولياتهم في التصدي للفكر الإرهابي التكفيري الذي أساء لصورة الإسلام ونال من حقيقة الدين الإسلامي السمح معربا عن أمله في أن يكون هذا المؤتمر بداية خير للتصدي الإعلامي لهذا الفكر التكفيري.

ويشارك في المؤتمر الذي يستمر يومين نحو 130 شخصية إعلامية محلية وعربية وأجنبية من روسيا وإيران وكوبا وإسبانيا والصين وتركيا وأفغانستان وباكستان ومصر ولبنان والعراق والجزائر والمغرب والبحرين والأردن والسودان والسعودية وتونس وقبرص وبريطانيا وألمانيا والكويت.

ويناقش المشاركون في المؤتمر دور الإعلام الوطني والصديق والمعادي في سياق الخطاب السياسي والفكري والعمل الإخباري والميداني وسبل تحالف إقليمي ودولي لمواجهة الإرهاب ودور الإعلام في الحروب الراهنة وتشكل العالم الجديد وأهمية الإعلام في العمل الميداني والعسكري وتحقيق رؤية مستقبلية لدور الإعلام خلال المرحلة القادمة.


Posted in Arabic, SyriaComments Off on HAND’S OFF SYRIA المؤتمر الاعلامي الدولي لمواجهة الارهاب التكفيري

Alliance Blackmail: I$rahell’s Opposition to the Iran Nuclear Agreement


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by Dr:  Richard Falk

The Vienna Agreement [formally labeled by diplospeak as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)] reached by the P5 + 1 on July 14, 2015 has been aptly hailed as a political breakthrough, not only because it calms regional worries about Iran’s nuclear program, but more so because it has the potential to remove an ugly dimension of conflict from the regional turmoil in the Middle East. Such a diplomatic success, after so many years of frustration, chaos, and strife, should be an occasion for hope and celebration, and in many venues it is, although not in Israel or Saudi Arabia or among the neo-con kingpins in Washington think tanks and their numerous Republican allies in the U.S. Congress.

Which side will prevail in this dysfunctional encounter is presently obscure, which itself is an indication of the dismal conditions of political life in America. Many unanswered and unanswerable questions bedevil the process: Will this agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program be approved, and then implemented, or will it be blocked or unacceptably revised before coming into operation, or later on? Will Iran become associated more openly with Western attempts to defeat ISIS and in the desperate need to bring peace and humane governance to Syria where the people of the country have endured such severe suffering since 2011? Will these developments allow Iran to be treated as a normal state within regional and global political settings, and if this reduced atmosphere of external tension occurs will it also have moderating impacts on the internal governing process in Iran? Or will Israel and its allies succeed in keeping Iran in ‘a terrorist cage’ reserved for pariah states, and continue to insist upon a military option to wage war against Iran? Will Israel receive ‘compensation’ in the form of enhanced military assistance from the United States to demonstrate Washington’s unwavering commitment to the alliance? Will Israel’s secretly acquired nuclear weapons capability be called into question in an effort to achieve denuclearization, which is more consistent with peace and morality than calling into question Iran’s threat ofnuclear proliferation? Further afield, will this gap between the American/European and Israeli/Gulf approach lead over time to new geopolitical alignments that broaden beyond policy toward Iran’s nuclear program?

At the core these many concerns, is the nature and health of the United States/Israel relationship, and more broadly the appalling balance of forces that controls political life from the governmental hub in Washington. The alliance bonding between the two countries have been called ‘unconditional’ and even ‘eternal’ by Obama, words echoed by every American public figure with any credible mainstream political ambitions, currently including even the supposed radical presidential aspirant, Bernie Sanders. And yet that is not nearly good enough for AIPAC and the Adelson-led legions pro-Israeli fanatics, which periodically lambaste this strongly pro-Israeli president for alleged betrayals of Israel’s most vital security interests, and generally take derisive issue with the slightest sign of accommodationist diplomacy in the region.

The most illuminating discussion of these issues from Tel Aviv’s perspective is undoubtedly the recently published memoir of Israel’s American born ambassador to the United States, Michael B. Oren, who served in this key role during the period 2009-2013. Oren was elected to the Knesset earlier this year representing, Kulanu, a small centrist Israeli party focused on economic and social reform. Oren’s bestselling book, Ally: Managing the America/Israel Divide(Random House, 2015) succeeds in combining an intelligent insider’s account of the strained relations between the Netanyahu government and the Obama presidency with frequent vain and self-aggrandizing autobiographical reflections in the spirit of ‘Look Ma, I am dancing with the Queen,’ reinforced by analysis that justifies every aspect of Israel’s extreme right-wing and militarist approaches to security policy and diplomacy. To understand better the Israeli worldview that mixes genuine fears of its enemies with arrogant behavior toward its friends there is no more instructive book.

An American–born Jew, Oren conceived of himself both as a product of and an emissary to the Jewish diaspora in the United States, diplomat discharging his conventional government-to-government diplomatic role. Above all, Oren during his tenure in office (2009-2013) apparently did his best to keep political tensions between these two countries and their personally uncongenial leaders below the surface while unreservedly supporting the public claim that this special alliance relationship serves the interests and values of both countries. Oren ends his book with a dramatic assertion of this overlap: “Two countries, one dream.” Perhaps even more disturbing than the rationalization of all that is Zionist and Israeli throughout the book is the seeming sincerity of Oren’s sustained advocacy. A bit of cynicism here and there might have made Oren less of a self-anointed Manchurian candidate.

Given this posture of dedicated advocate, it is hardly surprising that Oren is a harsh opponent of those liberal groups that question AIPAC’s constructive influence on American policy debates or that he views initiatives critical of Israel, such as the Goldstone Report or the BDS campaign, as dangerous, disreputable, and damaging threats to Israel’s security and wellbeing. Even J-Street, harmless as it has turned out to be, was viewed as an anathema to Oren who turned down its invitations and regarded it as somehow exhibiting a leftist posture toward Israel. Only later when it became domesticated by denouncing the Goldstone Report and generally supportive of Israel’s use of force against Gaza did Oren feel it had joined what he calls ‘the mainstream’ of Beltway politics, which in his slanted vision is where he situates AIPAC and the U.S. Congress. Quite incredibly, even Martin Indyk, early in his career an AIPAC researcher and more recently the American ambassador to Israel, was viewed as a poor appointment as Special Envoy to the Kerry peace talks of 2013-2014 because he did not have a cordial enough relationship with Netanyahu. From my perspective, it was also a poor appointment, but for opposite reasons–an in-your-face display of pro-Israeli partisanship that undermined any credibility the United States claimed as a responsible intermediary at the resumed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Central to Oren’s presentation of Israeli behavior is the one-way street that he treats as embedded in the word ‘ally,’ which for Oren expresses the peculiar and generally unacknowledged character of this ‘special relationship.’ It is well illustrated by Oren’s support for Israel’s effort led with undisguised bluntness by Netanyahu to undermine Obama capacity to negotiate a nuclear arrangement with Iran despite JCPOA being strongly endorsed as in the national interest of the United States, but also of France, United Kingdom, China, Russia, and Germany. The agreement also seems beneficial for the Middle East as a whole and indeed for the world. Such an encompassing consensus endorsing the elaborate arrangement negotiated was exhibited in a resolution of support adopted by the UN Security Council [SC Resolution 2231, 20 July 2015] by an unusual unanimous vote. Oren still complains bitterly that Israel’s rejectionist views toward an agreement with Iran were in the end circumvented, at least so far. At one point Oren even suggests that Israel was better off when the inflammatory Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was Iran’s president rather than the more measured Hassan Rouhani. In his view, Iran remains just as aggressively disposed toward Israel despite the more moderate language of the present leadership, but that the West has been falsely reassured to the point of being willing to ease gradually the sanctions previously imposed in this latest diplomatic initiative, thereby raising the level of threat faced by Israel and accounting for Netanyahu’s frantic opposition to the agreement.

In the end, despite siding with Israel at every turn with respect to tension with the U.S. Government, Oren recognizes that Obama has been on balance been a faithful ally. Although indicting the Obama presidency the United States for being a disloyal ‘ally’ when the Iran chips were on the diplomatic table. It is not presently clear whether Netanyahu’s insistence that the nuclear deal (JCPOA) is ‘a historic mistake’ will overcome rationality and self-interest in the American setting either in the immediate future of approving the (non-treaty) agreement, or over a longer period should the United States have the misfortune of electing a Republican president in 2016 who are presently stumbling over one another in their competition to denounce more decisively.

More generally, Oren outrageously proposes that this alliance between Israel and the United States, to live up to its potential, should have three dimensions that would make it unlike all others: ‘no daylight’ on common concerns, that is, no policy differences; ‘no suprises,’ that is, advance notification to the other government of any international policy initiatives bearing on the Middle East; and never a public display of disagreements when policy differences between the two governments emerge as happened with Iran. The justifications given by Oren emphasize the usual litany of two states sharing commitments to political democracy, anti-terrorism, and having common regional strategic and security goals.

What seems superficially astounding is that the world’s number one state seems frightened to step on the smallest Israeli toe, while Israel is ready to do whatever it needs to do to get its way on policy issues in the event of a dispute with its supposedly more powerful partner. After negotiating a far tougher deal (on enriched uranium and intrusive inspections) with Iran than the realities warrant, at least partly out of deference to Israeli concerns, Washington still feels it appropriate and apparently necessary to indicate a readiness to provide ‘compensation,’ that is, enlarged contributions beyond the current $3.1 billion, offers of weapons systems designed to bolster further Israel QME (Qualitative Military Edge) in the Middle East. The White House additionally sends its recently appointed Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, to Israel with hat in hand, evidently to reassure the Israeli leadership that nothing about the agreement is inconsistent with continuing support of Israel’s right to defend itself as it sees fit, which appears to be a writ of permission in violation of the UN Charter and international law by granting Israel assurance in advance of U.S. support should it at some future point launch an attack on Iran. It should be noted that no state in the world enjoys such inappropriate benefits from an alliance with the United States. The whole dubious logic of QME implies a continuing willingness to put Israeli security permanently on an unlawful pedestal in the region that places other states in a subordinate position that makes them susceptible to Israeli military threats and hegemonic demands. It is tantamount to providing Israel with assured capabilities to win any war, whatever the pretext, that should emerge in the future, and also means that Israel is the only state in the Middle East not deterred by concerns about retaliation by an adversary. For years Israel has been threatening Iran with a military attack in flagrant violation of Article 2(4) that unconditionally prohibits “any threat or use of force” except in situations of self-defense as strictly limited by Article 51.

Oren, of course, sees things much differently. He repeats without pausing to entertain the slightest doubt, that Israeli is the only democracy in the Middle East and joined at the hip to American foreign policy as a result of these shared interests and values. He insists that the UN is biased against Israel, and is thankful for American blanket opposition to all hostile initiatives, whether justified or not, that arise within the Organization. For Oren UN bias is clearly evident in the greater attention given to Israel’s alleged wrongs than those of much bloodier international situations and worse violators. He also faults Obama, as compared to George W. Bush, for being a weak ally, too ready to please the Palestinians and indeed the entire Islamic world, and supposedly causing an unspecified ‘tectonic shift’ in the alliance with Israel during his presidency. In this regard, the Iran Agreement is the last straw for Oren, and the most damaging example of a departure from the alleged alliance code of no daylight and no surprises (epitomized by recourse to secret diplomacy between Washington and Tehran that left Tel Aviv out of the loop for several months leading up to the agreement). Of course, Oren is unapologetic about Israel’s obstructionist behavior. He treats Netanyahu’s conception of Israel’s security as essentially correct, if at times unnecessarily confrontational. He believes that in this instance Israel’s worries are sufficiently vital and well-founded as to deserve putting aside diplomatic niceties. This was the case when the Israeli leader was invited by the Republican leadership in Congress to speak on Iran at a special joint session convened for this purpose in early 2015 without even informing the White House in advance of the invitation, a violation of political protocol.

Deconstructing the Oren view of alliance politics makes it clear that its operational code would be better observed if the Congress and not the President represented the United States in matters of foreign policy. Netanyahu and a majority of the U.S. Congress do seem to see eye to eye, including of course on whether the Iran Nuclear Agreement, as negotiated, should be approved. Across the board of foreign policy in the Middle East, Netanyahu and Congress are bellicose, inclined toward military solutions despite the dismal record of failure, and inclined to decide about friends and enemies on the basis of geopolitical alignment and religious orientation without the slightest concern about whether or not supportive of democracy, human rights, and decency.

Should a Republican with these views be elected president in 2016, then Oren’s dream of the alliance as based on ‘no daylight, no surprises, and no public discord’ would likely come true, illustrating the proposition that one person’s dream is another person’s nightmare. More carefully considered, it would seem probable that if Hilary Clinton gets the keys to the White House her approach to Israel will be closer to that of Congress than that of Obama even recalling that Obama backed away quickly from his early demand that Israel freeze settlement expansion and has significantly increased military assistance for Israel without exhibiting much concern about peace and justice in the region, or with regard to the Palestinian ordeal. U.S. response to the Sisi coup in Egypt is indicative of a strategic convergence of approach by the Obama White House and Netanyahu’s Likud led government.

Two realities are present as surfacing in response to the Iran Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA):

-the presidency is on one side (along with Clinton) and Congress/Israel is on the other side;

–yet more broadly conceived, the alliance remains as unconditional and bipartisan as ever, defiant toward the UN and the constraints of international law whenever expedient.

A final point. JCPOA imposes more restrictions on Iranian enrichment capabilities and stockpiles, and on inspection and monitoring of compliance, than has been imposed on any country in the course of the entire nuclear era. Its regional justifications, aside from Israeli security, emphasize the avoidance of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East involving Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. And left out of consideration altogether was the nuclear weapons arsenal of Israel acquired with Western complicity and by covert means, as well as through operations outside the Nonproliferation Treaty regime, which is used to tie Iran’s hands and feet. Such are the maneuvers of geopolitics, that underpin the alliance so strongly celebrated by Michael Oren.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Alliance Blackmail: I$rahell’s Opposition to the Iran Nuclear Agreement

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