Monday, June 26, 2017

The inexorable erosion of Jewish identity in USA

From Caroline Glick, 23 June 2017:


Vilifying Israel on campus

Caroline, refers to two studies of the American Jewish community and its future trajectory.

...The first study was published by the Jewish Agency’s Jewish People Policy Institute. [JPPI] It analyzes the data from the 2013 Pew survey of American Jewish attitudes. The Pew survey demonstrated that the Jewish identity of American Jews is growing increasingly attenuated and superficial.

Famously, the study noted that while 19% of American Jews said that they view observance of Jewish law as an essential part of their Jewish identity, 42% said they viewed having a good sense of humor as an essential part of their Jewish identity.

The JPPI study analyzed the Pew data regarding rates of marriage and childbearing among American Jews aged 24-54. The study started with the data on intermarriage. Sixty percent of non-haredi American Jews are married to non-Jews. A mere 32% of married American Jews are raising their children as Jewish to some degree.

From there, the JPPI study considered marriage and childbirth rates in general. It works out that a mere 50% of American Jews between 24 and 54 are married. And a mere 40% of American Jews between those ages have children living with them. In other words, the majority of adult American Jews are childless.

The JPPI study tells us two important things.

First, in the coming years there will be far fewer American Jews. Second, among those who are Jewish, their Jewish identity will continue to weaken.

Clearly, it would be unwise for Israel to believe that it can depend on such a community to secure its interests in the US for the long haul.

The second study shows that not only can Israel not expect the American Jewish community to help it maintain its alliance with the US. The number of American Jews willing to spearhead anti-Israel campaigns is likely to grow in the coming years.

The second study was produced by Brand Israel, a group of public relations experts that for the past decade has been trying to change the way young Americans think about Israel. The idea was to discuss aspects of Israel that have nothing to do with the Palestinians, with an emphasis on Israel as a hi-tech power. The hope was that by branding Israel as the Start-Up Nation, leftists, who support the Palestinians, would still support Israel.

Fern Oppenheim, one of the leaders of Brand Israel, presented the conclusions of an analysis of the group’s work at the Herzliya Conference this week and discussed them with the media. It works out that the PR campaign backfired.

Far from inspiring increased support for Israel, Oppenheim argued that the hi-tech-centric branding campaign made leftist American Jews even more anti-Israel. She related that over the past decade, there has been an 18-point drop in support for Israel among US Jewish students.

To remedy the situation, which she referred to as “devastating,” Oppenheim recommended changing the conversation from hi-tech to “shared values.”

The problem with Oppenheim’s recommendation is that it ignores the problem.

Young American Jews aren’t turning against Israel because their values are different from Israeli values. By and large, they have the same values as Israeli society. And if they know anything about Israel, they know that their values aren’t in conflict with Israeli values.

Young American Jews are turning on Israel for two reasons. 

First, they don’t care that they are Jewish and as a consequence, see no reason to stick their necks out on Israel’s behalf.

And second... supporting Israel requires them to endanger or relinquish their ideological home on the Left. Since their leftist identities are far stronger than their Jewish identities, young American Jews are joining the BDS mob in increasing numbers.

...The only way to diminish the groundswell of American Jews who are becoming hostile toward Israel is to defeat the forces of political BDS on campuses. To do this, Israel should turn not to the Jewish community but to evangelical Christians, the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.

As for the American Jews, Israel needs to stop viewing the community as a resource and begin to view it as a community in crisis....

Sunday, June 25, 2017

REPORTS THAT TRUMP CONSIDERING PULLING OUT OF PEACE EFFORTS

From JPost, June 25 2017, BY YASSER OKBI:

Image result for Abbas and Kushner. (photo credit:REUTERS)
Abbas and Kushner. (photo credit:REUTERS)

US President Donald Trump is reportedly weighing whether to pull out of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations following a "tense" meeting with White House senior staff and officials in Ramallah, according to London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat on Saturday. 

The report claimed that Trump is to determine the future of reigniting Mideast peace efforts in the near future, including  the possibility of withdrawing completely from the process. 

Image result for Hadas Malka, killed by terrorist, remembered as loving, brave warrior
Hadas Malka, killed by terrorist, remembered as loving, brave warrior

Image result for Netanyahu, Kushner meet in Jerusalem
Netanyahu, Kushner meet in Jerusalem

...The al-Hayat report came just days after a meeting between the administration's senior adviser Jared Kushner and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, which was described as "tense" by an Abbas advisor present at the talks.

...Abbas angrily accused Kushner and Trump's lead international negotiator, Jason Greenblatt, of taking Israel's side and refused to commit to the request.

The report claims that the Trump administration was equally upset with Abbas after he failed to denounce the latest stabbing attack in Jerusalem, leaving 23-year-old St.-Sgt. Maj. Hadas Malka brutally stabbed to death in a terror attack last week. Ties were further strained after Abbas reportedly refused to meet  American ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

The Palestinian official also told the paper that the Americans demanded Palestinian officials curb inflammatory statements regarding Israel.

...Abbas claimed that Israel is using the issue of payments to terrorists and their families as a pretext to avoid entering peace-talks, saying that the payments are a part of the Palestinian government's "social responsibility."

Friday, June 23, 2017

The EastMed Pipeline Could Be a Giant Step Towards Enhancing Regional Security

From BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 505, June 22, 2017, by George N. Tzogopoulos:


Boundaries of the Levant Basin, US Energy Information Administration

The EastMed pipeline, a proposed means of transporting gas from the eastern Mediterranean to new markets, would be expensive and difficult – but it is feasible. Easier and less expensive solutions are also being considered, but the security element works in EastMed’s favor. EastMed would allow Cyprus, Greece, and Israel to collaborate while developing their roles as hubs of stability in a turbulent neighborhood. The EU and the US would likely see improvement in Western energy dependence. And Israel would have the opportunity to improve its relationship with the EU, not only by participating in a project of European interest but also by finding new clients for its own gas in the European market.

The gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean are altering regional dynamics. Transporting that gas to new export destinations, principally in Europe, will be complicated but feasible.

With this challenge in mind, Cyprus, Greece, and Israel have intensified their contacts of late. Trilateral summits are regularly taking place with the participation of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek and Israeli Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Benjamin Netanyahu. (In April 2017, Italy joined the club, signing a declaration in Tel Aviv to that effect.)

The first trilateral summit took place in Nicosia in January 2016 and the second in December 2016 in Jerusalem. A third was held only a few days ago in Thessaloniki. At that most recent summit, the leaders agreed to deepen their energy collaboration by exploring means of constructing an underwater “EastMed” pipeline.

The project envisages a 1,300 km offshore pipeline and a 600 km onshore one from Eastern Mediterranean sources to Cyprus, from Cyprus to Crete, from Crete to mainland Greece (the Peloponnese), and from the Peloponnese to Western Greece. Then, the plan is to connect Western Greece to Italy east of Otranto via a 207 km offshore pipeline across the Ionian Sea, the so-called Poseidon.

At first glance, the biggest obstacle to the construction of the EastMed pipeline – which, if constructed, would be the longest and deepest subsea pipeline on earth – is its technical viability. Practical challenges abound. On the approach to Crete, for example, there is a stretch of about 10 km where the depth is quite high, which could cause construction problems. However, the companies involved are optimistic that technology will advance sufficiently to enable the pipeline to be built.

The Natural Gas Supplier Corporation (DEPA) of Greece describes the project as “technically feasible,” according to studies it has conducted. To bolster its case, DEPA notes the success of the Medgaz pipeline, which runs between Algeria and Spain. Israel energy minister Yuval Steinitz, too, has attempted to ease fears about construction issues and suggests that EastMed can be completed by 2025.

Technical feasibility is not the only matter of concern, however. Another challenge is the cost, which has been projected to range anywhere from $4 billion to $7 billion. Low gas prices are also concern, as they could prevent private companies from supporting the project alongside the EU (which is prepared to offer co-financing).

Alternatives scenarios are on the table to address these concerns. LNG bases in either Cyprus or Israel could work in theory, but the prohibitively high cost of constructing them makes them a nonstarter. On a practical level, there are two real options available.

The first is to construct a 550 km submarine pipeline beginning from the Leviathan reservoir in Israeli waters, passing through Cypriot waters, and reaching southern Turkey. Israeli gas would then be shipped from southern Turkey to Europe via existing, and perhaps some newly constructed, pipeline networks. This project is estimated to cost half or possibly even less than half what EastMed would cost. But in view of the lack of resolution on the Cyprus Question, Israel is hesitant to proceed to an agreement with Turkey on this matter.

The second option is to use already existing LNG facilities in Egypt. Gas from the eastern Mediterranean could theoretically be supplied to the two Egyptian facilities in Damietta and Idku, turning Egypt back into a gas exporter. But the recent discovery of the Zohr field represents an unknown factor. It cannot be anticipated how this field will influence Egypt’s energy priorities and the balance between domestic consumption and exports. Also, neither the construction of new pipelines nor the reversal of the existing one connecting Israel to Egyptian LNG facilities would be an easy process.

If the Cyprus Question is resolved soon, the Turkish option will gain ground. But the restarted talks between Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are highly unlikely to lead to a breakthrough. In any case, Turkey will not be considered a reliable partner by Israel for as long as President Tayyip Erdoğan dominates the political sphere, despite the rapprochement achieved last summer. Israel also has reservations vis-à-vis Egypt: the growing Russian role in Egypt’s energy sector cannot be ignored.

Israel has always attached great significance to political and security parameters. If the EastMed project develops, it will certainly improve Israel’s relationship with the EU. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete has said construction of this pipeline would contribute to the reduction of Europe’s dependency on Russian energy, a potential result also viewed with favor by the US.

The traditional division among EU member states on their view of Moscow can work in EastMed’s favor. While Germany is looking favorably towards Nord Stream II, which will complement Nord Stream I in the transporting of Russian gas to Europe under the Baltic Sea, the EU might well emphasize energy security and push (with the support of the US) for the realization of EastMed.

Israel is the driving force for energy development in the eastern Mediterranean, and its choices on this matter will have serious implications in terms of both strategic calculations and long-term economic planning. By cooperating with trustworthy democratic countries, Jerusalem will be able to mitigate the risk of instability, secure clients on the Continent, strengthen its relationship with the EU, and improve its image in Europe.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

General John Allen’s Plan Is Dangerous

From BESA Center Perspectives No. 504, June 21, 2017, by Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen:


Gen. John Allen in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 9, 2012. DoD photo by D. Myles Cullen


The Trump White House is currently reexamining the Allen Plan, an Obama-era proposal that calls for a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders with no IDF presence whatsoever. This plan is dangerous. If it is implemented, Israel will have to rely on foreign forces for its security, a situation that has not worked in the past. More than that, it is antithetical to the Israeli ethos of self-defense and self-preservation in the Jewish homeland.

...The plan envisages a Palestinian state with full sovereignty inside the 1967 borders, its capital in east Jerusalem, with minor modifications for settlement blocs. The plan is based on complete acceptance of the Palestinian demand for full sovereignty. This means no IDF soldiers anywhere in their state, which would extend from the Jordan River to the 1967 line.

In lieu of Israel’s demands regarding defensible borders, which include an Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley to ensure the Palestinian state’s demilitarization, the plan proposes a varied and complex security solution. One element would be a US military force that would operate in the Jordan Valley. As the document’s Executive Summary states,
The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that well-thought-through security measures in the context of the two-state solution can provide Israelis and Palestinians with a degree of security equal or greater to that provided today by Israel’s deployment into the West Bank…
The basic problem is the notion that Israel will rely for its security on foreign forces. Not only is it difficult to ensure that such forces would fulfill their duty successfully, but it is uncertain whether or not they would stay in place – particularly after they have suffered casualties like those they have suffered in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade.

Recall that during the waiting period before the Six-Day War, the security guarantee given by President Eisenhower to Ben-Gurion after the 1956 Sinai Campaign evaporated. When he demanded that Israel withdraw unconditionally from the Sinai Peninsula, Eisenhower promised that if the Straits of Tiran were ever again closed to Israeli shipping, the US would intervene. Yet when Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban came to Washington in May 1967, President Johnson candidly explained to him that Eisenhower’s promise – however estimable – was no longer a practical proposition. With his army bogged down in Vietnam, Johnson apparently could not have gained the nation’s or Congress’s support for an intervention in the Straits of Tiran even if he had wanted to.

The main concern is that the existence of the Greater Tel Aviv area – indeed, the daily routine of the State of Israel – will come to be dependent on the goodwill of foreign forces. That is the heart of the matter. Do we want Israel to be no more than a haven for persecuted Jews where they can subsist under foreign protection? Or do we want Israel to be a place of freedom, a homeland, in which we alone are responsible for our own security and sovereignty?

The authors of the Allen document emphasize that Israel’s security would continue to be based on the IDF’s power. But it is hard to imagine under what circumstances Israel would attain the international legitimacy to pursue an offensive deep within the Palestinian state, should the need arise. Regarding the conditions that could justify an IDF operation in Palestinian territory, the document says:
The Palestinians will never agree to an Israeli right of re-entry, but there could be a side agreement between Israel and the United States on the conditions under which the United States would support unilateral Israeli action. Ultimately, Israel is a sovereign state that enjoys the right of self-defense. Thus, it can unilaterally violate the sovereignty of another state, but with the attendant risks that would have to be weighed by Israeli leadership.
Should the IDF evacuate the territories completely, as envisaged by this plan, the Palestinians would certainly employ their carefully honed tactical and strategic talent for nonaccountability and ambiguity. They would take care to ensure that the Palestinian state cannot be defined as a hostile entity against which a “just war” can be declared. Whether deliberately or not, they would be able to let “rogue,” non-state forces do their work for them, and avoid taking responsibility. What then?

There is also good reason to doubt whether conditions for demilitarization can be maintained.
In an era of global arms proliferation, and of forms of smuggling that elude surveillance (as in the flow of weapons to Hamas in Gaza and to Hezbollah in Lebanon), along with increasingly sophisticated local arms manufacture, there is no way to guarantee real demilitarization without a constant effort to keep the territory fully isolated and to operate within it.

We must also take into account the possibility that war could erupt in more than one arena at at a time. If war were to break out with the state of Palestine in the West Bank, it could happen simultaneously in Lebanon, Gaza, and so on. The IDF would be unable to concentrate its efforts in the West Bank arena – which, because of its geographic proximity to Israel’s population centers, could inflict a heavy blow. Under the new conditions of war, which are fundamentally different from those that prevailed in June 1967, reconquering the territory would be incomparably more difficult.

And what of the document’s validity under changing conditions? The security solution the document proposes must be weighed in terms of the time dimension, and in circumstantial contexts that are subject to change. If a solution is responsible and workable, what time span is envisaged? Who knows under what evolving circumstances the solution will be required to provide protection to a state of Israel that has been trimmed down to the coastal plain? Is there not also a need for responsible risk management regarding contingencies that are still beyond the horizon?

We must ask to what extent we ourselves, with the excessive emphasis we have placed on security concerns in recent decades as a key criterion by which to assess any prospective solution, have laid the groundwork for Gen. Allen’s plan. His security document is, after all, intended expressly to offer a technical solution to all the familiar security issues. It would leave the Israeli leadership without the faintest possibility of invoking a security pretext to ward off the “peace solution.”

In describing Kerry’s efforts, Thomas Friedman asserted (The New York Times, February 17, 2013) that in light of Gen. Allen’s solution for Israel’s security concerns, the Israeli government had reached a juncture where it would have to choose between peace and ideology.

Perhaps we have forgotten that protecting the national existence, in terms of how the IDF defines national security, does not pertain solely to ensuring the physical existence of the citizens of the country but also to safeguarding national interests. A national interest – such as the sovereignty of the people of Israel in their capital, Jerusalem – can go far beyond the technical contents of a plan for security arrangements, however worthy. Security is only a means, not an end in itself.

From a practical, professional standpoint, Gen. Allen’s plan leaves much to be desired. But on a deeper level, it completely ignores the possibility that the people of Israel, in renewing their life in their homeland, are motivated by something much greater than the need for a technical solution to security concerns.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Concessions encourages terrorism


Passover massacre in Netanya, image via IDF Blog

It is a widespread belief that Palestinian hopelessness feeds terrorism and the prospects for peace decrease it. 
This has always been false. 
In fact, the opposite is true: when Palestinians feel hopeless, Palestinian terrorism declines; when they are hopeful of gaining the upper hand, Palestinian terrorism increases. 
An Israeli iron fist is necessary to save both Israeli and Palestinian lives.

The common mantra that Palestinian hopelessness increases terrorism and that the prospects for peace decrease it has always been fake news. Palestinian terrorism invariably rises in tandem with their hopes of gaining the upper hand.

During the first intifada, Palestinians killed 91 Israelis over the course of slightly over five years. Palestinian terror shot up dramatically, however, as the Camp David peace process initiated at the end of 1991 morphed into direct negotiations with the PLO. The Oslo “peace” process was thus accompanied by a precipitous increase in Palestinian terrorism.

The more Israel made concessions to the Palestinians – 
  • the creation of the Palestinian Authority (PA), 
  • the granting to PLO leadership and major Palestinian terrorists entrance into the West Bank and Gaza and even Israel 
– the higher the terrorist toll climbed. 

In 1992, when the Palestinians realized Israel was going to withdraw from Gaza to make way for some kind of Palestinian autonomy, the number of Israelis killed jumped from 11 the previous year to 34. After the signing of the Declaration of Principles and the establishment of the PA in the summer of 1994, that figure nearly doubled (61). When the PA was expanded in 1995 to include the major Arab towns in the West Bank, they killed 65 people, mostly as a result of three suicide bombings. The towns had become terrorist sanctuaries into which the IDF could not enter for fear of international condemnation.

The left-of-center Israeli government and leading left-wing intellectuals called the victims of these terrorist acts korbanot hashalom, or sacrifices killed on the altar of peace. Needless to say, many relatives of the victims, as well as other Israelis, found this appellation offensive.

Palestinian hopelessness set in after Netanyahu’s electoral victory in 1996. According to the mantra, terrorism should then have increased. The opposite took place. Terrorism declined dramatically: it more than halved to 32 deaths in 1997, dropped to 13 in 1998, and dropped further to four in 1999, Netanyahu’s third and final year in office at the time.

Part of the decline could be attributed to the PA’s efforts to come down on Hamas terrorists. This was done in the knowledge that further concessions by a right-wing government were only conceivable if Jewish blood-letting subsided.

Since the second intifada, the same trend has prevailed. Israel’s conquest of the Arab towns in the West Bank in 2002 brought about a radical reduction of terrorism, from a high of 452 deaths in 2002 to 13 in 2007. And once again, a renewal of peace talks in 2008 coincided with an increase in terrorism, this time to 36 deaths. In the year following the failure of the talks, that figure abated to 15.

Netanyahu’s return to office in 2012 coincided with a low of ten victims of Palestinian terror. Then, as if on cue, Secretary of State Kerry’s strenuous efforts to restart the peace talks led to a resurgence of terror – 19 deaths in 2014, not including the 72 deaths in the third Israeli-Hamas round of conflicts.

Why does hopelessness lead to less Palestinian terrorism and hopefulness to more? This is not as counter-intuitive as it sounds. The tendency to rebel increases not when all appears lost, but when prospects for the rebellious appear to be improving but the improvement does not meet rising expectations.

The same phenomenon occurred during the Iranian revolution and the so-called Arab Spring. The Iranian revolution occurred not after a period of hopelessness, but after a sharp rise in the income level of urban Iranians over at least a decade. Many of those urbanites – the very people who made the revolution a reality – lived to regret their role in the Shah’s downfall.

Similarly, in the Arab Spring, revolutions took place in the two Arab states – Tunisia and Egypt – that had shown the greatest improvement in the Middle East over the three previous decades on the human development index. This index is a composite of three indicators: gross domestic product per capita, educational attainment, and life expectancy. This time span coincided with the rule of Egypt’s Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zein Abidin Bin Ali. Once again, violence was not the product of a lack of improvement. There was plenty of improvement – so much so that expectations rose even more sharply than the human welfare curve.

...The moral is that there must be a significant majority on both sides ready to make necessary concessions well before any “peace” process is attempted. Until that time, it is hardly concessions that are needed but an Israeli iron fist to save Israeli and Palestinian lives.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Would you entrust your nation’s security to this man?

From The Australian,12 June 2017, by CHRIS UHLMANN:


Bob Carr: Would you entrust your nation’s security to this man?

There are many sins of commission in Bob Carr’s crack at ­debunking his straw man version of the Four Corners-Fairfax investigation into Beijing’s influence in Australia.

More fascinating are its sins of omission.

The joint investigation examined Chinese Communist Party activities that ranged from directing student groups, through threatening pro-democracy advocates to effectively controlling most Chinese-language media in Australia.

We also reported that, in 2015, ASIO warned the Liberal, Labor and National parties that two of their big donors had Chinese Communist Party links. The parties chose to keep taking money from both.

The two are Chinese-born billionaire property developers Chau Chak Wing and Huang ­Xiangmo. As we reported, Chau is an Australian citizen. Huang has applied for citizenship but it has stalled while ASIO assesses it.

Between them they have given $6.7 million to the Coalition and Labor, which puts the pair in the front rank of the most generous individual political donors in the land. They are also huge academic benefactors and have been particularly generous to University of Technology Sydney [UTS].

Carr does not name either, which is curious because he knows both men well.

As NSW premier, he employed Chau’s daughter as an adviser. Perhaps he believed this detail ­immaterial, and that is arguable.

But given Carr writes as director of the Australia China Relations Institute at UTS, then Huang surely rated a mention.

In 2014, Huang donated $1.8m to help set up ACRI. Two years later he boasted to Primrose Riordan, now of this newspaper, that he had hand-picked Carr for the ­director’s job.
“When we established the ­institute, ACRI, someone recommended an even more influential figure from politics to me but I ­decided to invite Bob Carr ­because I consider him to be a very good academic,” Huang said.
Others are less enthusiastic about ACRI’s academic credentials. The institute is at the heart of a live discussion among Australia’s universities over whether academic inquiry is being distorted by an over-reliance on Chinese money. That topic is worthy of its own investigation.

So let’s leave the case of Chau to one side and just examine the one piece of evidence that Carr will admit: that our story only turned up “a single big donation from a Chinese national”.

The nub of ASIO’s concern about Huang is that his money might come with strings attached, so we tested that idea.

We reported that in the lead-up to last year’s federal election, Huang pulled a $400,000 pledge to Labor, after its defence spokesman said Australia should let the navy challenge the 12-nautical-mile zones around the islands ­Beijing is militarising in the South China Sea.

The next day senator Sam Dastyari joined Huang at a press conference called exclusively for Chinese-language media. There Dastyari said: “The South China Sea is China’s own affair.”

Pause to consider how those words and images would have been interpreted when broadcast in China: an Australian politician standing beside a billionaire ­patron repudiating his party’s foreign policy and embracing Beijing’s. Then imagine what the Communist Party would do to the official and the donor if the circumstances were reversed.

A week later, as Huang continued to withhold the promised $400,000, he was front and centre at another press conference, where Labor announced it had put his political ally, businessman and active ALP member Simon Zhou, on the last spot on the ALP’s Senate ticket.

Huang spoke to China’s state broadcaster at the event.
“As China’s power keeps rising, the status of overseas Chinese is also rising,” he said.
“Now overseas Chinese realise that they need to make their ­voices heard in politics. To safeguard Chinese interests and let Australian ­society pay more ­attention to the Chinese.”
We also reported that Dastyari was so concerned about Huang’s stalled citizenship that he directly petitioned the Immigration ­Department about it on at least two occasions. Either he or his ­office called two more times. Labor says these were routine constituent matters.

Then there is the proximity of some of the donations to political events, including the parachuting of Huang’s ally, Ernest Wong, into NSW parliament. Wong stepped into the upper house seat vacated by a once-influential figure in the ALP right, Eric Roozendaal. Huang later employed Roozendaal.

So without access to ASIO’s resources, a reasonable person might conclude that there was some merit in the agency’s concerns about Huang.

Carr also dismisses the evidence of the Chinese embassy’s direct hand in organising students for mass events such as the welcome of Premier Li Keqiang. Again, he ignores a key point.

Nick McKenzie asked student leader Lupin Lu if she would tell the embassy if any students were organising a human rights protest. “Yes,” she said. “I would definitely, just to keep all the students safe and to do it for China as well.”

Carr ignores the 10-day detention and questioning in China of fellow UTS academic Feng Chongyi. Feng said the state ­security officials wanted details about his contacts in Australia and believed his interrogation was designed to send a signal to other academics not to trespass in sensitive areas. 

Carr’s critique also omits mention of the threats made by authorities against the China-based parents of Australian resident and pro-democracy advocate ­Anthony Chang.

Nor does he respond to the testimony of Don Ma that state ­security officials in Beijing forced a migration agent to stop adver­tising with his Australia-based, Chinese-language newspapers because he ran stories that irked the Communist Party.

This is not an exhaustive list, so it is hard to reconcile Carr’s ­assertion that every nation ­behaves here in the way that China does.

Our security agencies appear not to be as sanguine. ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis told parliament that 
espionage and foreign interference are occurring here “on an unprecedented scale”.
“And this has the potential to cause serious harm to the nation’s sovereignty, the integrity of our political system, our national ­security capabilities, our economy and other interests...” ...
Which man would you entrust your nation’s security to? ...

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Qatar – the end of the road?

From Arutz Sheva, 9 June 2017, by Dr. Mordechai Kedar:

The Saudis and their Arab allies have had enough of Qatar and its media proxy al Jazeera's behavior. They intend to win this fight.

The Emirate of Qatar is a peninsula that juts out from Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf. The only overland route out of Qatar is by way of Saudi Arabia and if that route is blocked, the only way to reach Qatar or leave it is by air or sea. However, flights to and from Qatar pass over Saudi air space part of the time and ships from or to Qatar have to pass through Saudi territorial waters. This means that Saudi Arabia can in effect declare a total blockade on Qatar if it so desires. It has never done so before, but it began the process on June 5th.

In addition to a blockade, the Saudis, joined by the United Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, the Philippines and the Maldives, cut off diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar.  Egypt, Libya and the Emirates declared that they would ban Qatari plans and ships from their air space and territorial waters. In 2014, these countries took much milder steps in order to punish Qatar, cancelling them once Qatar agreed to accept the dictates of the Umma and signed the Riyadh agreement along with the rest of the Arab nations.

The reasons provided by the countries involved for the unprecedented severity of the current steps against Qatar included: 
  • "Qatar aids the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS and Jebhat al-Nusrah" 
  • "The Emir of  Qatar has declared that Iran is a good nation" 
  • "Qatar destabilizes our regime," 
  • " Qatar provides hiding places and shelter to Muslim Brotherhood leaders who fled there from Egypt," and 
  • "Qatar is giving aid to  the Houthi rebels (read Shiites) in Yemen."

Another and most subtle reason, whose source is a Kuwaiti commentator, appears on al Jazeera's site: "Qatar refused to meet Trump's financial demands." This odd remark relates to a rumor on Facebook and other social network sites claiming that before Trump agreed to come to the Riyadh Arab League Conference, he demanded the Gulf Emirates purchase US arms in the legendary sum of one and a half trillion dollars, to be divided among Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Emirates. The three agreed, but Qatar pulled out at the last minute, causing the Emirates to follow suit, and leaving the Saudis holding the bill demanded by Trump.   The falling through of this deal, the largest in history, may have been the reason for Trump's noticeably grim face in Riyadh.

Claiming that Qatar causes the destabilization of regimes is a veiled hint referring to al Jazeera which broadcasts from Qatar.


Al Jazeera - ramming propaganda down it's viewers throats, as usual....

Every since it began broadcasting in 1996 from the capital city of Qatar, Doha, al Jazeera has infuriated Arab rulers because it constantly carries out a media Jihad against them also aimed at others such as  Israel, the US, the West and Western culture. 

The channel also promotes and supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots such as Hamas, al Qaeda and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel headed by Sheikh Raad Salah. 

Al Jazeera's media strategy is determined by Qatar's Emir and is carried out down to the last detail by its very professional leading broadcaster and editorial policy setter, Jamal Rian, a Palestinian born in Tul Karem in 1953, who moved to Jordan where he was active in the Muslim Brotherhood until expelled by King Hussein.

Every so often other Arab regimes, chief among them Egypt under Mubarak, attempted to close down al Jazeera's offices in their countries after overly harsh criticism was aimed at the ruling government, only to reopen them when al Jazeera simply stepped up its attacks

The general feeling is that any government official – or anyone at all – who opposes a ruling regime (and there is no shortage of these people in any Arab country) leaks embarrassing information to  al Jazeera all the time, so that the channel is always poised to expose the information when the time is ripe and especially if the now-cornered victim has been unfriendly to it and to Islamists. The thought of this happening is enough to paralyze every Arab leader who would like to clamp down on al Jazeera in his country.

Every time a conflict erupts between Israel and Hamas, al Jazeera comes out in favor of the terrorist organization because of Qatar's support of it. Hamas leader Haled Mashaal, makes his home in Qatar and the Qatari Emir is the only Arab leader so far to visit Hamas-ruled Gaza. The Emir has give billions to Hamas, enabling the organization to develop its  terror infrastructure.

Qatar has budgeted half a billion dollars to "buy" organizations such as UNESCO (whose next head will, unsurprisingly, be from Qatar), as well as media, academic and government figures to advance the goal of removing Jerusalem from Israeli hands. Al Jazeera runs a well publicized and organized campaign in order to ensure this outcome. This is the face of media jihad.

Saudi Arabia has never allowed al Jazeera's reporters to work from within the country, but does allow them to cover special events once in a while, mainly the Hajj. The Saudis know exactly what the Emir had up his sleeve when he founded a media network that would rule over Arab monarchs by means of recording their slip-ups, taking advantage of the Arab obsession with avoiding public humiliation by broadcasting from a satellite that can reach every house in the Arab world with no way of blocking it.

The last reports are that the Saudis blocked access to the al Jazeera internet site from their territory.  It is harder to block al Jazeera's satellite channel reception legally and it can still be accessed throughout the monarchy. Arab media attribute the blockage to declarations supportive of Hamas and Hezbollah made by the Emir of Qatar after Trump's speech in Riyadh in which the US president included Hamas and Hezbollah in his list of terror organization, equating them with al Qaeda and ISIS....

Qatar is now under great pressure. The nations that broke off relations with Qatar have stopped recognizing the Qatari Rial as a viable currency and have confiscated all the Qatari Rials in their banks. As a result, Qatar cannot purchase goods with its own currency and must use its foreign currency reserves. The supermarket shelves in Qatar have been emptied by residents hoarding food for fear that the blockade will not allow food to be imported. Long lines of cars can be seen trying to leave for Saudi Arabia to escape being shut up in the besieged, wayward country.

Qatar is trying to get the US to help improve the situation. The largest American air force base in the Gulf is located in  Qatar and it is from there that the attacks on ISIS are generated. Qatar also hosts the US Navy Fifth Fleet as well as the Central Command and Control of US forces in that part of the world. Qatari media stress the US concern about the siege that the Saudis have put on Qatar.

As part of its efforts to enlist US aid, Qatar has begun a counterattack: Qatar media have publicized that the U.A.E. ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba , said on US election eve: "What star could make Donald Trump the president?" This is intended to cause a rift between the US and the Gulf Emirates, but will certainly not improve Qatar's own relations with the Emirates.

Meanwhile, the Saudis and the Emirates have ejected Qatar from the coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, and there are rumors that they will also remove Qatar from the Council for Cooperation in the Gulf. The Saudis could suspend Qatar's membership in the Arab League and other organizations if this dispute continues, raising the pressure on the Emir's al-Thani clan.

The next few days will decide Qatar's future. There  is a distinct possibility that the foreign ministers of Qatar and the Arab nations taking part in the boycott against it will meet in some neutral spot, perhaps Kuwait, Qatar will give in and new rules will be set by Arab leaders, that is by King Suleiman, to keep Qatar in line. They would include: 

  • toning down al Jazeera and perhaps even switching its managerial staff, 
  • ending the support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations, 
  • ending cooperation with Iran and above all, 
  • listening to what the Saudi "Big Brother" says about issues, especially those having to do with financial dealings with the US. 
Once the conditions for Qatari surrender are agreed upon, we can expect the ministers to meet the press, publicize a declaration on the end of the intra-family dispute, shake hands before the cameras and smile – until the next crisis.

There is, however, another scenario: Qatar does not give in, the Saudis and its allies invade, their armies eject the Emir and Mufti of Qatar, and also Jamal Rian, the guiding brain behind Al Jazeera's  policies. They would then appoint a new Emir from the ruling family, one who knows how to behave, one who listens to the Saudis.  No one except for Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas would oppose this solution, and the soft-spoken condemnations will not succeed in hiding the world's joy and sighs of relief if the Saudis actually carry out that plan.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Will the Saudi-Qatar clash push Hamas into a dangerous corner?

From The Times of Israel, 7 June 2017, by Avi Issacharoff:

As Gaza’s economy sinks, its ruling terror group is at odds with much of the Sunni Arab world — and running out of options 

The former Qatari Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, left, and Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh, right, arrive for a cornerstone-laying ceremony for Hamad, a new residential neighborhood in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, October 23, 2012. (AP/Mohammed Salem)
The former Qatari Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, left, and Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh, right, arrive for a cornerstone-laying ceremony for Hamad, a new residential neighborhood in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, October 23, 2012. (AP/Mohammed Salem)

...Riyadh’s loathing for Doha is well known and longstanding. Despite their geographic proximity, or perhaps because of it, the two countries’ enmity is enormous.

Qatar’s flirting with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s greatest nemesis, its closeness to the Muslim Brotherhood, and of course, its founding of the Al-Jazeera satellite news channel in 1996, all turned Qatar into one of the most hated of Arab states among its fellow Sunni Arab regimes, especially in Riyadh and Cairo. 

Al-Jazeera transformed in the 2000s into a key tool for advancing the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas at the expense of the Egyptian, Saudi and Palestinian governments.

Because of this protracted antagonism, any attempt to reduce the crisis between Qatar and six other Arab states to a mere scuffle over certain comments that may or may not have been said by Doha’s emir misses the significance of Riyadh’s move: It marks a bid to permanently change Qatar’s policies.

The Saudi regime’s conditions for reconciliation with Doha, presented on Tuesday by Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, are not trivial; they include ending Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

It’s hard to imagine Qatar making haste to meet such a demand. Qatar sees itself as the main patron of both movements and is widely seen in the region as their most enthusiastic backer. In recent days, Qatari authorities expelled eight Hamas activists, but these were members of Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The other side of Hamas, its politicians and top echelon of leaders, remains safely ensconced in Doha and continues to enjoy all the creature comforts the peninsula kingdom has to offer. The same goes for men of faith affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, such as the Egyptian-born cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Hamas’s top officials now find themselves unexpectedly caught in the eye of the storm. On Saturday, Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Ruhi Mushtaha, Tawfik Abu Naim and Marwan Issa left the Gaza Strip for meetings in Egypt, and they were supposed to continue from there to Qatar and Lebanon. One imagines these men are going through difficult days as they struggle to come to terms with the possibility that their most significant backer, as closely identified with its sponsorship of their movement as with its support for Barcelona Football Club, is liable to sever that lifeline because of the Saudi-Egyptian pressure.

This uncertainty leaves Hamas weaker and probably more susceptible to pressure. The next time Egyptian authorities negotiate with Hamas over the opening of the Rafah crossing or the easing of some other restriction as part of their blockade with Israel of the Gaza Strip, they are likely to find a more pliable partner in the talks than in the past.

Gaza is now in worse shape than ever before, and is likely to keep deteriorating economically in the near term due to economic steps being taken against the Hamas government by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, including ending the PA’s funding of Gaza’s electric bill and mandatory early retirements and pay cuts for PA employees in the Strip.

Yet for all that, if Hamas feels its back is to a wall, or that it is liable to lose its hold on Gaza because of either the Qatari-Saudi crisis or the PA’s economic actions, it may be tempted to reshuffle the deck by resorting to its favorite tactic – firing rockets into Israel

50 Years of Palestinian Rejection - And the world encourages it.

From Commentary magazine, 8 June 2017, by EVELYN GORDON:

palestinians
Yuri Kochetkov/Pool photo via AP, File

The 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, which fell this week, has sparked much hand-wringing about why Israel still controls the West Bank half a century later. By sheer coincidence, Haaretz reporter Amir Tibon produced a scoop this week answering that question. It detailed the precise offer the Obama administration made to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the final stages of the peace talks it brokered, and how Abbas, once again, walked away without even deigning to respond.

In early 2014, as the end of the nine months of talks agreed to the previous July were drawing to a close, the administration began drafting a “framework agreement” that would serve as the basis for further talks. Tibon obtained two versions of the administration’s proposal.

The first, dating from February 2014, contained a relatively balanced mix of concessions to Israeli and Palestinian demands. For instance, it stipulated a border based on the 1967 lines, as Abbas demanded, but said Palestinian refugees and their descendants would have no “right of return” to Israel, as Israel demanded. It rejected a permanent Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, thereby pleasing Abbas. It also pleased Israel by saying the talks must result in a Palestinian state alongside “Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people.” It also left a few issues open: On Jerusalem, for instance, it merely restated both sides’ aspirations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave verbal consent to the document. Then, on February 19, Secretary of State John Kerry presented it to Abbas, who went ballistic. His primary objection, U.S. officials told Tibon, was that the issue of Jerusalem was left open. Abbas wanted the U.S. to commit to giving him half the city.

So the Americans revised the document to accommodate more of Abbas’ demands. The new version, written in March, explicitly said East Jerusalem must become the Palestinian capital, thereby prejudging the outcome of one of the talks’ most sensitive issues. It also made several other concessions to the Palestinians, such as adding a statement asserting that the talks’ goal was “to end the occupation that began in 1967,” the implication being that the conflict isn’t one for which both sides share blame, but an evil unilaterally perpetrated by Israel against innocent Palestinians.

Similarly, whereas the February document said the border would be based on the 1967 lines with 1:1 land swaps that would “take into account subsequent developments” since 1967, this phrase was dropped in the March version. In other words, the February version said the border would be adjusted to accommodate the major settlement blocs, while the March version allowed Abbas to continue demanding that hundreds of thousands of Israelis be uprooted from their homes.

Thus, what started out as a relatively balanced document in February had morphed by March into one that clearly tilted toward the Palestinians. So how did Abbas respond to these concessions? He neither accepted the document nor rejected it; he “simply didn’t respond,” Tibon reported.

This, of course, is exactly what happened the last time Abbas received an offer complying with almost all his demands. 

In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered him 93 percent of the West Bank with 1:1 land swaps for the remainder, plus all of Gaza and most of East Jerusalem, with Muslim control over all the city’s holy sites, including the Western Wall (Olmert proposed governing the sites with a five-member committee comprising representatives of Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and America, thereby guaranteeing the Muslims an automatic majority). But Abbas never responded; he simply walked away. Only nine months later did he tell the Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl that he rejected the offer because “the gaps were wide.” Perhaps he would have said the same of Obama’s offer had Diehl interviewed him again.

This is also what happened when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. President Bill Clinton made a similar offer to Yasser Arafat in 2000-01. 

Arafat walked away without even making a counterproposal and then launched a lethal terrorist war against Israel, killing over 1,000 Israelis in the next four years.

And that’s without even mentioning all the previous examples, like the Arabs’ rejection of the UN partition plan in 1947, or their adoption of a policy of “no peace, no recognition and no negotiations” with Israel at the Khartoum summit three months after the Six-Day War.

In other words, there’s one very simple reason why Israel still controls the West Bank: The Palestinians have consistently refused repeated offers to give it to them.

But there’s an important supporting reason as well: Palestinians feel they can get away with serial rejectionism because the world always responds by blaming Israel, as the Obama Administration did.

Addressing the Senate in April 2014, for instance, Kerry famously declared that Israel’s announcement of new construction in Jerusalem had caused the talks to go “poof,” carefully neglecting to mention that by this point, the talks were dead anyway since Abbas had already rejected the administration’s best offer. The excuses administration officials gave Tibon were equally ridiculous. Abbas, they said, was “disappointed” that Netanyahu had delayed releasing some two dozen Palestinian prisoners—as if that were ample grounds for rejecting an offer of statehood. They also said Abbas wasn’t sure Obama could “deliver” Netanyahu. But Netanyahu said yes to the February proposal without being sure Obama could deliver Abbas – which it turns out he couldn’t; why was it unreasonable to expect Abbas to go out on a similar limb?

The problem isn’t just Palestinian rejectionism. It’s that the rest of the world actually encourages this rejectionism by ensuring that the diplomatic price is always paid by Israel, and never the Palestinians themselves. The Palestinians have quite reasonably concluded that they can play this game ad infinitum, until the world eventually pressures Israel to accept even those Palestinian demands that would entail committing national suicide, like the “right of return.”

If the Palestinians actually wanted peace, they’d do a deal regardless of how the rest of the world behaved. If the world behaved differently, the Palestinians might eventually conclude that a deal was in their interests. But as long as neither of these two conditions is met, there’s every reason to think that in another 50 years, we’ll be reading more hand-wringing articles about why Israel still controls the West Bank.

Common Sense Trumps Ideology


The US President is the first Western leader to stand up and announce that the whole sick business of terrorism has to stop. He means it.

...In his first four months of office, Donald Trump has made any number of false steps, but the actions for which he is most disliked have for the most part been effective and shrewd. His celebrated tweets about London Mayor Sadiq Khan are a case in point. Khan had told the press in response to a bombing in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood that “part and parcel of living in a great global city is [that] you’ve got to be prepared for these things,” to which Trump tweeted, “You’ve got to be kidding!”

European governments are resigned to a certain level of terrorism as the price of tranquil relations with large Muslim populations that harbor significant numbers of terrorist sympathizers and with Muslim regimes that support terrorist groups — Qatar, for example, which has backed both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Kahn was not condoning terrorism but expressing the prevailing view that reducing terrorism to an infrequent occurrence is the best that can be hoped for.

By singling out London’s Muslim mayor, Trump rubbed in the point he made to Muslim leaders meeting in Saudi Arabia last month: the United States will not tolerate terrorism, and it will not tolerate the toleration of terrorism. “Drive. Them. Out,” Trump said. “Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land, and drive them out of this Earth!”

In some respects, Trump’s view is narrowly American: with its relatively small Muslim population and enormous security budget, the United States can compel its own Muslim communities to do just that. That is much harder in England or the European continent, where very large and extensively radicalized Muslim populations overwhelm the resources of security services.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani attend a joint press conference following their meeting in Doha, Qatar in December 02, 2015. Source: Youtube screen grab of footage by Stringer / Anadolu Agency
President Recep Erdogan and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani hold a press conference in Doha, Qatar on December 02, 2015. Source: Youtube screen grab of footage by Stringer / Anadolu Agency

But there is a broader strategic issue involved in Trump’s tangle with London’s mayor, and it reflects on his support for the diplomatic isolation of Qatar by other Arab states. The botched American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan disenfranchised the Sunnis of Mesopotamia and the Levant, destroying the one stable Sunni regime in the region, namely that of Saddam Hussein.

It left the Sunnis to fend for themselves through non-state actors including al-Qaeda and ISIS. Both Washington and the Sunni regimes, including Turkey – and Saudi Arabia – responded to this disaster by dealing with non-state actors (that is, terrorists) where it suited them.

Under the Bush Administration, Gen. David Petraeus spent hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to buy the Sunnis’ temporary quietude – thereby preparing the ground for a Middle Eastern equivalent of the Thirty Years’ War. The CIA (under Petraeus and others) armed Syrian rebels, mainly al-Qaeda affiliates with a spare business card reading “Moderate Muslim.”

The Saudis helped pay for it, and members of the royal family wrote checks for Sunni terrorists from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to Uyghur rebels in Western China. The Qatari royal family dallied with the Brotherhood, Hamas, and Iran.

I do not know what Lt. Gen. (ret) Michael Flynn might have done wrong, or what ultimately may happen to him, but there is no doubt as to what he did that was right: he provoked Barack Obama into firing him by exposing America’s covert support for the Sunni irregulars who would coalesce around ISIS. He was the sole senior figure in the US intelligence establishment to break omertà and reveal that the Sunni terror problem was being amplified by serial stupidity on the part of the United States.

Trump was the first Western leader to stand up and announce that the whole sick business had to stop. All of the nation-builders, responsibility-to-protectors, human rights fanciers and democracy promoters looked with cold blood on the devastation wrought by their blunders.

They had left Syria, Libya, Sudan and Yemen shattered, Iraq in a permanent confessional war, and perhaps a million civilians dead — half a million in Syria since 2011, 300,000 in South Sudan since 2013, 150,000 in Iraq, and about 10,000 each in Yemen and Libya. Trump wants to stop the bloodshed, but humanitarian calculation is not his only motive.

Iraqi soldiers pose with the Islamic State flag. Photo: Reuters, Zohra Bensemra
Iraqi soldiers pose with the Islamic State flag. Photo: Reuters, Zohra Bensemra

The sectarian war in the Middle East has to stop because it has become a Petri dish breeding jihad from the Caucasus to Southeast Asia. Russia had any number of reasons to step into Syria, but the decisive factor is that thousands of Russian Muslims were fighting there and returning to Russia to wreak mischief.

China feared not only for the Muslim Uyghurs of its westernmost province but also for the stability of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Where the Sunni jihad drew on the support of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Russia and China quietly backed Iran as it recruited cannon fodder for the Syrian war from the Shi’ites of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Levantine and Mesopotamian wars have metastasized and now threaten to become a Eurasian war. That is the fault of sorcerers’ apprentices in the American foreign policy establishment – which should be kept in mind whenever the punditeska attacks Donald J. Trump.

It takes refined intellect and profound scholarship to rationalize the mayhem that the foreign policy establishment has inflicted on the world in the name of nation building, human rights, and similar humbug. An entire generation of diplomats, soldiers and professors has devoted itself to this sort of rationalization. 

The intellectual caste thinks Trump is the man who put the “dumb” into oderint dum metuant (let them hate so long as they fear). On the contrary: They are the malady for which Donald Trump is the cure.

There is no way to end the conflict without an agreement with Russia and China, who are backing Iran’s intervention in Syria as much as Washington backed the Sunni rebels fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime. That means both sides must leash their own dogs. Saudi Arabia is not an American ally except of convenience.

The two countries find each other’s culture, political systems and religion utterly repugnant, but are tied together by practical interests. The same applies to Iran and Russia, who are allies of convenience. Persians and Russians have hated each other since the Russians appeared on the scene.

President Trump sent a clear message to America’s Muslim clients in Saudi Arabia: No more double games with non-state actors will be tolerated. Making a horrible example of Qatar is an obvious first step. The little Gulf monarchy perched on a giant gas bubble rates its own Wikipedia entry on “Qatar and state-sponsored terrorism.”

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is another matter. According to senior Chinese officials, Saudi royal family members are funding every radical madrassa in Asia, including those in Xinjiang Province. When Chinese diplomats have complained to the Saudi government, it has denied knowledge of the funding, while turning a blind eye to the “charitable contributions” of some of it members. No doubt the Saudis will have to arrange some one-way trips to the Rub’ al Khali.

Nonetheless, a negotiation of this sort is the only alternative to the spread of bloodshed and chaos across the Eurasian continent. It will require the major powers to deal with some of their own friends quite harshly. And it will be messy, if it succeeds at all. From the outside, some of the most carefully crafted maneuvers will seem like improvisation, and some outright blunders will be repurposed as masterstrokes.

In return, Russia will have to tighten the leash on Iran. Between Russia and China, which dominates Iran’s foreign trade, there is sufficient leverage to put the Shi’ite power in its place. Persuading the Russians to do so, and to do so without cheating, is a challenge.

Moscow and Beijing distrust the United States and suspect that it promoted Sunni jihadists in order to make trouble for them (that idea has indeed occurred to some people in Washington and its environs). They are tempted to use American weakness not only to advance their own interests but to embarrass the United States.


Healthy common sense is a far better guide to strategy than the ideological obsessions of the discredited elite. Here I am with Millwall and Trump. I don’t care if nobody likes us. Trump is nonetheless iterating towards the right thing.