The United Nations and the European Union have asked Turkey and Cyprus to show restraint in a dispute over gas exploration rights in the Mediterranean.
What a peculiar thing -- Cyprus has uttered no threats, military or otherwise. It has done nothing save make plans to have further exploration conduted in its own waters. End of story. It is Turkey and only Turkey, whose ruler Erdogan is behaving in a semi-demented fashion, akin to Mussolini with his "Mare-Nostrum" view of the Mediterranean. Turkey has been the "spoiled child" of NATO, and especially of the American government, for much too long. The Turkey that we thought was our ally is no longer; another Turkey, where Islam is taken to heart by those in charge, now exists. It should be booted out of NATO, cut off from military supplies, and treated as a pariah. Let it seek its fortune in alliances with basket-case states such as Egypt. Yes, let the Turkish Mamelukes return, this time to spend their billions supporting those Arabs -- the ones who need money -- might be willing to entertain their dreams.
A spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Monday called on both sides to reach a settlement as soon as possible.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz warned earlier Monday that his country would start oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean escorted by the Turkish navy next week if Cyprus presses ahead with its drilling plans. The Greek Cypriot government announced last month it is planning to begin exploration of oil and gas reserves off the island's coast. U.S.-based Noble Energy will also work on the project.
Turkey's government does not recognize Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974 between a Turkish-controlled north and a Greek Cypriot south.
In a related issue, Turkey has threatened to freeze relations with the European Union if it gives Cyprus the sixth-month rotating EU presidency next year. [No sane person in the EU would regard that as a "threat" but will take it as a promise, and hold Turkey to it].
The internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government is due to take on the six-month rotating EU presidency next July.
Greek Cypriots represent the island internationally, while Turkey is the only country in the world that recognizes the Turkish Cypriot north of the island.
Cyprus was split in a 1974 Turkish invasion triggered by a Greek-inspired coup. Turkish Cypriots live in its north and Greek Cypriots in the south. Ongoing reconciliation talks begun in 2008 between the Turkish north and the Greek south have so far failed to produce a settlement.
Six men have been arrested overnight in Birmingham as part of a "large pre-planned" counter-terrorism operation. Police believed a plot was under way and have moved to foil it, Sky's home affairs correspondent Mark White said.
Nothing has been revealed about any of the suspected targets, but the arrests are unconnected to the Liberal Democrats' party conference currently taking place in the city.
All the men were detained on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK. The suspects are aged between 25 and 32 and were detained in or near their homes by unarmed officers between 11.30pm and 1am overnight.A 22-year-old woman has also been arrested on suspicion of failing to disclose information about the suspected plot.
Police are searching the suspects' homes and seven other properties in the city, including one business premises. . . The arrests were in the Moseley, Sparkbrook, Sparkhill, Ward End and Balsall Heath areas of Birmingham. The arrested woman was from Saltley in the city.
It is understood the investigation, which has involved security service MI5, relates to suspected Islamist extremism.
There's More Than Pro-Israel Votes At Stake At The UN For Obama -- There's The Fate Of The West.
The title used in a post put up at NER today about a vote on "Palestinian" statehood. This "statehood" is intended mainly for what the Arabs renamed "the West Bank," and where supposedly there is now a "Palestinian" Authority, but in truth there is hardly a "Palestinian" Authority. Politically, the writ of the current thieving warlord, for decades the henchman of an even greater thief, Yassir Arafat -- that is, Mahmoud "No-One-Here-But-Us-Accountants" Abbas -- does not run much beyond the Miqata in Ramallah. And he, and his Fatah henchman, have no authority in Gaza, where the Fast Jihadists of Hamas rule with their iron fist. And if those Fast Jihadists of Hamas cannot yet take over in the "West Bank" it is because Israeli security forces won't let them, and only for that reason. And that "Palestinian" Authority that claims it wants to be a state is hopelessly dependent, as well, on Western economic aid, aid from long-suffering Infidel taxpayers, with no signs of that "statelet" ever being able to get off it. As a state, this "Palestine" or anti-Israel, this state that would exist only to pressure and ultimately undo Israel, is simply -- let's use that word that Obama now likes to use -- "unsustainable."
That title of the NER piece below is both offensive, and wrong. It is offensive, because it implies that the only people who would be enraged by a refusal by the Obama Administration to veto that "Palestinian" state resolution are Jews. Is the author quite so sure that the only people whose votes will be affected are Jews? My, what a parochial and narrow and self-defeating and above all, false view of the American electorate. And it plays right into the hands, too, of Arabs and their fellow travellers, including such people as Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski and Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul, who would like us all to believe that when the American government tries to halt the proceedings of the anti-Israel kangaroo court at the current U.N. (for several decades a place where, while there is no longer a Soviet bloc or a Western bloc, an Arab-Muslim bloc essentially calls the shots, sets the agenda, focusses collective attention on "Palestine" and as a consequence, because attention and time are always limited, prevents it from paying sufficient attention to other, much more important matters), it is doing so not out of geo-political understanding, but for the parochial purpose of domestic political advantage.
And the title is also wrong. At the very least, its wording should be reversed. Instead of demeaning the American vote as merely an expression of political calculation (which it is not, not even for this administration that does not begin to grasp the nature of what the Jihad about Israel means for all Infidels everywhere), it should be:
"There's More Than Pro-Israel Votes At Stake At The UN For Obama -- There's The Fate Of The West."
That's what the governments of Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the rest of Western Europe, and their representatives, should begin to understand but they can't as long as Islam, its texts and tenets, and its history, that is the history of Muslim conquest of many different non-Muslim lands and subsequent subjugation of their peoples, remain off-limits. Once those subjects have been studied, the Jihad against Israel -- which is merely a local expression of the same sentiments and goals directed at India, or at the non-Muslims in places where Muslims already dominate, if they believe the non-Muslims need to be kept in submission (Christians in Pakistan, Christians and Hindus in Malaysia and Indonesia, Christians and animists in the former Sudan) and in places where Muslims have only appeared in numbers in the last few decades but already have caused enormous disruption and expense to the state, and raised the level of physical insecurity, and made large parts of many cities both unpleasant and dangerous for all non-Muslims -- and this when they constitute, on average, 5% of the population, while they are having children, and raising them, at state expense, at levels three or four or five times that of the non-Muslims among whom they have come to live, and whose laws they do not regard as applying to them, for those laws are both man-made and, still worse, made by Infidels, and they despise Western women and believe them fair game, and the views that they were inculcated with, in the Qur'an and Sunnah, that all Infidels must be conquered and forced to submit to Muslim masters is not a belief that is magically jettisoned when they arrive on Western shores, nor is it a belief that they jettison, or their children do, when they live among those despised Infidels. A few brave souls among those Muslims may, precisely to the extent of their intellectual and moral advancement, leave Islam, and even start to tell the truth about it, warning us, the Infidels, but they are insufficient in numbers, and we can't count on mass defections from Islam, especially since they are under constant physical threat.
No, the vote at the U.N. is merely part of a longstanding propaganda campaign, designed to isolate Israel. It is, then, part of the Jihad against Israel, using that weapon of the "Palestinian people" that was forged after the Six-Day War made clear to Arab strategists that they could not go in for the kill, using military means, just yet. Muslims are patient; they know how to prepare the ground to undo their enemy, their prey. That is what the vote at the U.N. is all about.
It is shameful that the American government has its policies made by people who wilfully refuse to understand what is happening around the world to non-Muslims, and to connect the dots. It is shameful that the governments of Western Europe, whose long-suffering citizens are now feeling the anguish and confusion and fury, of waking up at long last to find this horrible situation of millions of Musilms in their midst, and no way to adequately make themselves heard, or heard sufficiently to have governments respond by ending all further Muslim immigration, and working to make their countries less Muslim-friendly, in the first place by ceasing to support, through government benefits, these vast and growing populations of people who do not, who cannot, wish those non-Muslims whose taxes support them well, who cannot accept, in schools, the true version of history, that is one that does not whitewash Islam, or that treats of such subjects as the Nazi mass-murder of Jews, and disrupt classes, and even force changes in what can be taught, lest the teachers be harmed. They affect procedures in hospitals, for Muslim men accompany their wives and act as official interpreters, and do not tolerate, in most cases, male doctors treating their women. And so on, all through the stages of life, including colleges and universities where Muslim students prevent truthful discussion of Islam, and intimidate those who would support Israel, or the United States, or any other Infidel land, including Great Britain (despite its soft appeasements), including France (ditto), that appears to those Muslims as an obstacle to their natural desire to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam.
Last week, Turkey’s AKP government leader, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan did a victory lap around the hinterlands of the Arab Spring while rattling his military scimitar at Cyprus and Israel. Further, Erdogan withdrew his Ambassador to Israel in the wake of the UN Palmer Urebi Inquiry on the alleged excessive force used by Israeli Naval commandos that resulted in Turkish casualties during the May 2010 Free Gaza Movement Flotilla. He traveled to Tunisia, Libya and Egypt with an entourage of more than 200 Turkish businessmen part of his strategy aimed at asserting Turkish hegemony in the Sunni heartland. That effort by Erdogan didn’t result in an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt who saw it as a threat of “secularism.” He said it was all a “misunderstanding” in translation. While in Cairo Erdogan met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, suggesting that it was “time to raise the Palestinian Flag “at the UN this coming week. Erdogan suggested that Egypt’s future hinged on the outcome of the November elections that now look likely to be deferred to next year, at the earliest. All this, in a very shaky post-Mubarak Egypt, fraught with a disintegrating economy, not able to feed its own people. This latest food disaster in Egypt has already triggering riots threatening to morph into a possible Food Intifada like that experienced in 1977. So much for Erdogan surfing the winds of Islamic democracy sweeping the Arab Muslim heartland.
Turkey’s military recently made changes in the IFF radar system turning Israel’s IAF into a ‘foe.’ Greece recently invoked a secret mutual defense agreement with Israel over threats to Greek islands off the Turkish coast. Then there was the dispatch by Erdogan of Turkish naval vessels to the Eastern Mediterranean, a demonstration of force against Israel. A move taken by Turkey to allegedly defend itself and “ensure freedom of navigation.” The Erdogan regime actions against Cyprus, Greece and Israel have raised prospects of a possible Greco-Cypriot-Israeli alliance seeking to thwart emboldened Turkish militarism.
In a New York Times op ed, Israel: Adrift at Sea Alone, Tom Friedman suggested that the Netanyahu government in Jerusalem blew an opportunity to repair the broken Turkish Israeli relations. The compromise was for Israel to ‘apologize’ for the deaths on a Turkish Gaza flotilla vessel in exchange for the Erdogan government dropping legal proceedings. Given regional bullying attempts by Erdogan’s Islamist regime in Ankara, the Netanyahu government will not counter with any gestures of appeasement to Turkey. That leaves diplomatic relations frozen between the two countries at the second secretary levels in the wake of Turkey’s withdrawal of its Ambassador to Israel.
David Warren in an Ottawa Citizen column suggested that Erdogan’s militaristic posturing is dangerous and could lead to a possible outbreak of a “world war.”
David Goldman in a Pajamas media column, “Erdogan has Good Reason to be Crazy”, believes Turkish military threats if carried out would cause the plummeting of the value of the already imperiled Turkish lira. Goldman further noted:
If the Obama administration and the New York Times are pulling their hair out over the disintegration of Arab society, consider how Tayyip Erdogan must feel. His economic boom is about to come to a crashing end, and his country is doomed demographically to split up when Kurds outnumber Turks not long from now, as I argued here recently. And his ambitions for Turkish hegemony in the Muslim world have run directly into an existential crisis that is long past solution. That would make anyone crazy. Don’t think of the Turkish leader as an outpatient who lost his meds. In the spirit of political correctness, we might call him “existentially challenged.”
During the first weeks of the so-called Arab Spring, countless commentators hailed the "Turkish model" as a template for democratic reform in the Arab world. Political models are like automobile models, I offered at the time: you can't have them unless you can afford them. Turkey was not a paragon but a rickety platform. . . It turns out that even Erdogan can't afford the Turkish model. He has been living on borrowed time, literally.
[. . .]
"Turkey’s current account deficit is a frightening 8 per cent of GDP and is expected to hit 10 per cent before the end of the year," the Financial Times wrote August 4. "And the deficit is badly funded, with only about 15 per cent covered by foreign direct investment and the rest by portfolio flows."
Short-term debt held by banks and hedge funds finance most of Turkey's enormous deficit. The market is worried about Italy, whose debt has an average maturity of seven years. Turkey's foreign debt has short maturities and has doubled in the last year and a half.
[. . .]
Erdogan's bubble recalls Argentina in 2000 or Mexico in 1994, where a brief boom financed by short-term foreign capital flows led to currency devaluation and a deep economic slump. In the advent of the June 12 national elections, which returned Erdogan as prime minister, the Turkish government bought votes through cheap credit.
Compare Erdogan’s logically challenged Turkish economic model with that of the country he threatens, Israel. An Ynet.com report by Guy Bechor, “Turkey’s economic lie” draws an instructive comparison.
Some refer to him as “the Middle East’s new sultan in a neo-Ottoman empire” – yet the truth about Erdogan’s kingdom is utterly different. We are not facing an economic power, but rather, a state whose credit bubble will be bursting any moment now and bringing down its economy.
The budget deficit of the collapsing Greece compared to its GDP stands at some 10%, and the world is alarmed. At the same time, Turkey’s deficit is at 9.5%, yet some members of the financial media describe the Turkish economy as a success story (for comparison’s sake, Israel’s deficit stands at some 3% and is expected to decline to 2% this year.)
If you believe the coming collapse of the Turkish economic credit bubble, then perhaps the short term solution is to short the Exchange Traded Futures of its currency, the lira. Should that economic collapse occur, could the result be a return of control of the Ankara parliament to the secularist opposition? One would only hope that would be the case, however desperate Erdogan’s AKP would be to retain control. If it does occur, the first signals might be an emergency meeting with the IMF. So much for Obama’s promotion of the Turkish model. Turkey’s economic problems under Erdogan look like a reprise of the Ottoman Caliphate collapse as ‘the sick man of Europe’ in the 19th Century.
Muslim Supremacism Leads, Even Within Muslim Countries, To An Inability To Compromise
If you are raised on Islam, forced to memorize the texts of Islam, live in societies suffused with Islam, inculcated with the tenets of Islam, and take as your model a military leader whose main interest was in extending his own power and dominion over men, and, in turn, making sure that his foillowers, the Muslims, would extend their own power and dominion over non-Muslims, then it would be surprising if you did not, in the end, live in a world where the only possibliites are Victor and Vanquished.
And as we can see around the Arab world, the "democracy'" supposedly being demanded is not what we in the advanced West now mean by democracy, that is, the rule of law, and solicitousness for the rights of minorities. Those who want "freedom" and "democracy" have little idea of what they mean, but mainly what they mean is this: we want the current crowd of theiving warlords out, and others put in who are more to our liking, who will reflect our views and keep out of power those who we regard as our rivals or enemies --whether of sect, or tribe, or ethnic identity, or some other division perhaps based on loyalty to, or hatred of, a particular charismatic leader, it hardly matters. Ehile the epiphonemena -- the leader, the clique, the tribe, the regime -- may change, the tyrannical substratum of Islam that explains the attitudes and behavior of Muslims, remains. And the violence, or the potential for violence, will remain, held in check only by the willingness of a regime to employ its Mukhabarat and its police and its army.
Here's a guide to Muslim supremacism, that is supremacism vis-a-vis Infidels. The comment above is meant to ensure that this supremacism -- Muslims over all non-Muslims -- is understood to affect the attitudes and behavior, as well, of one group of Muslims toward another group. That hostility, and that readiness to resort to violence, is something that, if understood, can be usefully exploited. Wanda Gag as that tactician, polytropic and wily Odyesseus.
Dozens killed as international pressure mounts on Yemen [and probably far more]
From Hakim Almasmari,
September 19, 2011
A Yemeni protester is injured following clashes with government troops outside Sanaa University on September 18, 2011.
Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Officials from the United Nations and the Gulf Cooperation Council were in Sanaa, Yemen, on Monday, hoping to help organize a peaceful transfer of power as witnesses reported violence in the streets.
Thirty-one people were killed Monday in clashes in Yemen -- 28 in Sanaa and three in Taiz, according to medical officials.
On Sunday, at least 26 protesters were killed and more than 550 were wounded -- hundreds of them by gunshots -- when security forces fired live bullets and tear gas at a massive demonstration in the city, a medic said. The death toll was expected to rise because some were in critical condition, witnesses said.
The U.S. Embassy in Yemen issued a statement saying the United States "regrets the deaths and injuries of many people" in the protests Sunday. "In this tense situation, we call upon all parties to exercise restraint. In particular, we call on the parties to refrain from actions that provoke further violence."
The U.S. government remains hopeful for a peaceful transition, the statement said.
Deadly clashes in Yemen
"Yemen is on a knife edge," Philip Luther, Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement issued Monday.
"Those who have been protesting peacefully for change are increasingly frustrated by the political deadlock. Meanwhile, eruptions of violence point to a growing risk of civil war. The Yemeni authorities must stop the use of excessive force before the violence spirals out of control."
The Yemeni government has repeatedly denied accusations of excessive use of force, and said the government is committed to establishing a peaceful transfer of power. Yemeni officials have said forces cracked down on those committing acts of violence during protests.
State-run news agency said Monday that "militias, armed gangs of the Muslim brotherhood, and the Al Ahamar gang and al Qaeda snipers" had attacked parts of the capital, even hospitals.
"The attack on security personnel and civilians continued Monday, resulting in casualties," state-run Saba News Agency reported.
Amnesty said that since February, 200 people have been killed and more than 1,000 have been injured in protests in Yemen "as security forces have repeatedly used excessive force, including by firing live ammunition at peacefully gathered protesters."
U.N. envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar and Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Abdul Latif al-Zayyani arrived in Yemen on Monday, Saba reported. They will be discussing a GCC proposal for transferring power, the agency said.
The proposal, led by the six Arab nations that make up the council, was put forward in May. It would allow Yemen's embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh to transfer his executive powers to Vice President Abd Rabo Mansou Hadi within 30 days. According to the proposal, Saleh would then formally resign.
Saleh initially indicated he would go along with it, but then refused to sign.
The ongoing violence is stepping up pressure for a transition.
On Monday, troops were seen shooting randomly at protesters as demonstrations continued throughout the capital on almost every street, witnesses said.
All roads leading to Change Square, where thousands have been conducting a seven-month sit-in to call for the resignation of Saleh, remained closed Monday.
Saleh, who is recuperating in Saudi Arabia from a June attack on his palace, has vowed to return to Yemen to finish his term.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency said King Abdallah bin Abdelaziz Al Saud met Monday with Saleh, who expressed gratitude for the medical care. The king wished "all our brothers in Yemen will overcome the current crisis," SPA reported.
A video on YouTube Monday purports to show the body of a 10-month-old child killed by gunmen in Sanaa. According to a medical team in Change Square, the baby was inside his father's vehicle when a stray bullet hit him in the middle of the forehead.
The uprising in Yemen is part of the so-called "Arab Spring," in which protesters seeking political reforms have taken to the streets in many countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Prospects of an underwater natural gas bonanza in the eastern Mediterranean have sparked a fresh row between Turkey and the divided island of Cyprus that is also embroiling Greece and Israel.
The Turkish prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, warned last week that he was ready to send warships to the area, both to escort Turkish aid convoys to the Gaza Strip and to monitor Cypriot and Israeli energy projects.
How far Turkey is prepared to escalate tensions will become clearer in coming days.
A Texas-based company, Noble Energy, is due to launch exploratory drilling south of Cyprus soon on behalf of the Greek Cypriots, who represent the island internationally and in the European Union.
Asked about those plans, Egemen Bagis, Turkey's EU minister, warned this month: "It is for this [reason] that countries have warships. It is for this that we have equipment and train our navies."
In the past, Turkey has proved ready to back its positions in maritime disputes with military muscle.
Ankara came to the brink of war with Greece, a Nato ally, in 1987, over a similar drilling rights dispute in the Aegean Sea.
But it is doubtful that Turkey will do more than rattle its sabres in this stand-off, analysts say.
"It seems very unlikely that Turkey would directly defy a US company," said Hugh Pope, the Ankara-based Turkey-Cyprus project director at the International Crisis Group.
Turkey demands that the Greek Cypriots postpone offshore drilling until there is a solution to the decades-old Cyprus problem.
Otherwise, Ankara argues, the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state, which is recognised only by Turkey, will lose out on a share of the island's gas riches.
The Cypriot president, Demetris Christofias, insists the smaller and less affluent Turkish Cypriot community can share the potential hydrocarbon bounty once there is a deal to reunify the island. He has accused Turkey of being a regional "troublemaker".
The energy row coincides with a major drive by the United Nations to reunite Cyprus by the middle of next year when the island assumes the rotating EU presidency.
The former British colony was split by a Turkish invasion in 1974 that was triggered by a brief coup in Nicosia engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece.
The Cypriot government said this week it would keep Turkey's faltering EU accession talks on hold for as long as Ankara challenges its right to exploit energy resources.
Turkey, disillusioned with the EU after receiving the cold shoulder for years, declared yesterday that it would freeze relations with the European club if a still-divided Cyprus is given the EU presidency in July.
If so, "the real crisis will be between Turkey and the EU", warned Turkey's deputy prime minister, Besir Atalay.
The Aphrodite field - more prosaically known as Block 12 - where Noble is about to drill could hold some 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, Cypriot officials say.
It is more than enough to meet Cyprus's domestic needs, leaving a healthy surplus for the lucrative export market.
Block 12 is a mere 50 kilometres from Israel's Leviathian gasfield, where Noble has confirmed gas reserves of 16 trillion cubic feet.
Cyprus sees itself playing a key role in a new regional energy equation involving Israel, Greece, and, in the event of a Cyprus settlement, Turkey.
Ankara in recent days has indicated one way it might respond if the Greek Cypriots proceed with drilling.
It warned it would sign a pact with the Turkish Cypriot state for hydrocarbon exploration in waters between Turkey and northern Cyprus.
"This threat was mostly a symbolic way for Turkey to hit back at the Greek Cypriots without directly challenging the US," said Hubert Faustmann, a political analyst at the University of Nicosia.
"Drilling in waters where there may be no oil or gas could be a very expensive way to make a point." Confidential US diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks revealed that Turkey tried unsuccessfully in 2007 to dissuade Noble from co-operating with the Greek Cypriots.
The US company was warned that it "could never expect to do business with Turkey" if it proceeded.
The EU this week called on Turkey to refrain "from any kind of threats" against Cyprus, while the US embassy in Nicosia has given Noble the nod to proceed.
Greece has vowed to defend the Greek Cypriots.
James Ker-Lindsay, an expert on the eastern Mediterranean at the London School of Economics, said: "Washington, Britain and the EU have been quite clear on this.
"Cyprus is perfectly within its legitimate, sovereign rights to engage in this [energy exploration] activity."
The Cypriot and Israeli gasfields are part of a geological area called the Levant Basin, which lies off the coasts of Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel, Gaza and Egypt.
The US Geological Survey estimates the basin could hold 122 trillion cubic feet of extractable gas.
That makes it one of the world's richest deposits - in one of the world's most fractious areas.
The prospect of such staggering mineral wealth is stoking old conflicts and shaping new alliances.
Israel and Lebanon are feuding over a maritime border and have exchanged hawkish warnings over protecting their resources.
Apparently championing Lebanon's case, Mr Erdogan said last week that his country will not allow Israel exclusive use of resources in the Mediterranean.
Israel, meanwhile, is looking for new regional allies following the decline in its once solid relations with Ankara - relations soured after Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists on a Gaza aid ship last year.
Tel Aviv [he means, of course, Jerusalem] has reached out to the Greek Cypriots and Greece, which have historically good relations with the Arab world.
The Israeli energy company Delek, which is working closely with Noble, has proposed a partnership with Cyprus to build a facility on the island for processing and exporting to Europe natural gas found in Israeli and Cypriot waters.
Washington, meanwhile, is struggling to patch up relations between Israel and Turkey.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Bahrain is seeking armored vehicles, Tow missiles and associated equipment through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the package includes 44 M1152A1B2 Armored High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles, 200 BGM-71E-4B-RF Radio Frequency, Tube-Launched Optically Tracked Wire-Guided Missiles, seven Fly-to-Buy RF TOW-2A Missiles, 40 BGM-71F-3-RF TOW-2B Aero Missiles, seven Fly-to-Buy RF TOW-2B Aero Missiles, 50 BGM-71H-1RF Bunker Buster Missiles, seven Fly-to-Buy RF Bunker Buster Missiles (TOW-2A), 48 TOW-2 Launchers, AN/UAS-12A Night Sight Sets, spare and repair parts. [and a partridge in a pear tree]
Support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment would be included in the deal, as well as U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services and other related elements of logistical and program support.
The estimated cost is $53 million.
"The proposed sale will improve Bahrain's capability to meet current and future armored threats," the agency said. "Bahrain will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense."
The prime contractors would be AM General in South Bend, Ind., and Raytheon Missile Systems Corp. in Tucson.
Implementation of this proposed sale wouldn't require the assignment of additional U.S. government or contractor representatives to Bahrain.
Once Historic Protector Of Christians In Syria-Lebanon, France Now Shows Disinterest
France slams UN silence on Syria unrest
19 September 2011
NEW YORK — French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe accused the Syrian regime Monday of “crimes against humanity” and slammed the UN Security Council for failing to take a strong stand on the unrest.
“Crimes against humanity are committed in Syria. The silence of the Security Council is unacceptable,” Juppe told the Council on Foreign Relations, at a talk held on the sidelines of a week of UN summits.
Syria has been rocked by protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that began on March 15 and triggered a brutal crackdown in which the United Nations says 2,600 people have been killed.
A delegation of Russian lawmakers is in Syria in a bid to broker an end to the violence.
Assad told them on Sunday he welcomes the “balanced and constructive Russian position toward the security and stability of Syria,” the state-run SANA news agency reported.
But Assad, who has blamed “armed terrorist gangs” for the violence rocking his country, also warned against “any foreign intervention that threatens to divide states in the region.”
National Council on Jewish Affairs Protests and Activities in NYC Sept. 19-23
A tip of the hat to Daniel F in Manhattan.
Our friends at the National Council on Jewish affairs (NCJA), spearheaded by the indefatigable Beth Gilinsky in Manhattan, have organized a numbers of activities and protests at the UN in Manhattan this week: September 19th to 23rd. The protests are directed at drawing attention to the Durban III Conference demonizing the State of Israel, the existential threat of Ahmadinejad’s nuclear program directed at wiping Israel off the map of the world and the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) for a Palestinian state in violation of international law. Duran, South Africa was the site in 2001 of the first UN Conference against Racism that created a legacy of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate. That hateful legacy continued with Durban II and now Durban III. For more background consult this article. Both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu will be speaking at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, September 21st. The Durban III conference will be held at the UN on Thursday. Friday, the Palestinian UDI resolution is expected to be brought up for a vote at the General Assembly.
Among the groups involved in the NCJA activities and protests are:
· Committee on Middle East Reporting Accuracy;
· Eye on the UN;
· Stand with Us; and,
Many of our friends will be among the speakers at these events.
You can watch the Durban III protests via live streaming courtesy of Durban Watch – www.DurbanWatch.com. Among the speakers expected to speak at the Durban Watch protest event are:
· Gov. Mike Huckabee;
· John Bolton;
· Jon Voight;
· Alan Dershowitz;
· Amb. Dore Gold; and,
· Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
Pajamas Media TV (PJTV) will broadcast live streaming of the Durban III conference at the UN on Thursday, September 22nd –see here.
National Council on Jewish Affairs Protests and Activities in NYC Sept. 19-23
This Week in NYC – Stand With Israel
The National Conference on Jewish Affairs (NCJA) has organized a week of activities and protests against the call for Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Independence at the United Nations and the United Nations’ Demonization of Israel.
The National Conference on Jewish Affairs (NCJA) would like to bring to your attention the following protests and activities taking place in September.
Monday, Sept 19 – 7:30 PM
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) briefing with Dr. Jacques P. Gauthier, International law scholar and human rights attorney
Topic: ONE JERUSALEM
The Legitimacy of Competing Claims to Jerusalem Under International Law
Kraft Center at Columbia University, 606 West 115th Street, NYC
Advance ticket purchase $10.00 per person/pre-registration required at www.camera.org/events#JGNYC
Tuesday, Sept 20 – 10:00 AM
40th ST. & First Avenue
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE PROTEST AGAINST UDI
(PA Unilateral Declaration of Independence)
and UN ANTI-ISRAEL DEMONIZATION
This will be a protest of civil disobedience because the plan is to block the road.
The police will have to ask protesters to leave. Some will remain and possibly get arrested.
Wednesday, Sept 21 – 12:00 PM
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 47th St. between 1st & 2nd Aves
PROTESTNG DURBAN III AND THE UDI
Thursday, Sept 22 – 12:00 PM
Eye on the U.N. -- Anti-Durban Conference
DAG HAMMARSKJ OLD PLAZA, 47th St. between 1st & 2nd Aves
SHAME ON UN - DURBAN 3 RING CIRCUS
Circus Rally and Clown Parade – Free wigs and noses while they last
Hammarskjold Plaza @ 833 1st Avenue & E.47th Street
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 12:00 PM
MK Danny Danon – Member of the Israeli Knesset, a key promoter in Israel’s recently passed anti-BDS and other anti-democratic legislation
MK Gilad Erdan – Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection (pending security details)
Mr. Simon Deng – Sudanese human rights activist living in US, who was a victim of child slavery
Dr. Robert Stearns – Founder and Director of Eagles’ Wings, a global movement of churches, ministries and religious leaders, and the protest organizers
Rev. Matt Sorger – He has over 19 years in the ministry and is outspoken in his stand with Israel
President Obama will be speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 21.
This will most certainly account for heavy traffic during this time.
Please come with flags or your own hand made signs.
Tell President Obama that you want him to veto the Palestinian call for statehood.
Thousands of Americans will be arriving via buses, trains, and planes, but most will not be Jewish Americans. It seems that the Jewish Organizations have failed to act even in the face of Israeli leaders calling upon everyone to rally in front of the UN in support of Israel (www.durban3nyc.com/).
There seems to be a political split within the Jewish community and within the Democratic Party over President Obama’s policies towards Israel.
The JCCWatch.org founder, Richard Allen, accuses "The Jewish Community Relations Council in New York (JCRC) and the Conference of Presidents are misguiding the Jewish People by bringing up every excuse as to why they have not organized an effort to confront the UN. The basic fact is they are fearful that any rally will naturally highlight the deep failure of President Obama's policies on Israel and they want to minimize the ill effects on the Democratic Party. These are the same people who withdrew an invitation to Sarah Palin, after it was extended and accepted, on behalf of organized Jewry, at the first Ahmadinejad UN Rally 3 years ago."
Richard Allen points out: "the CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York, John Ruskay, gave One Million Dollars of Jewish Communal money to the radical George Soros Group "Funders for Jewish Justice". The JCRC, a beneficiary agency of the UJA-Federation sponsors an Annual Breakfast which is practically a Democratic Party fundraiser and political event."
The JCCWatch has one message to Jewish Leadership: Organize and support the Protest at the UN on Sept. 21.
Robert Mackey, In Charge Of "The Lede," Responds Hysterically By Calling Criticism Of Him "Hysterical"
September 19, 2011
More from an Angry Mackey
Even while announcing that there’s “no room for dialogue” with anyone “hysterical” enough to disagree with him, Robert Mackey seems intent on continuing his dialogue with Snapshots. And that dialogue has proved quite revealing.
To summarize the discussion thus far:
* Mackey doesn’t like that we’ve highlighted his penchant for posting predominantly anti-Israel material on his blog, The Lede, on the New York Times website. He insisted that he can’t be considered biased since, he admitted, his output was “almost all based” on the writings of anti-Israel bloggers and activists who are just trying to save the country from itself. For good measure, he added that our criticisms are “hysterical,” and represent an attempt to silence him.
* In response, we noted that seeking out harsh criticism and passing it off as if that’s where the conversation begins and ends is the very issue: “It pushes aside other facets of the debate. Mainstream Israeli voices are virtually silenced. Mackey leaves little room for commentary that's more understanding of Israel challenges. He leaves little room for criticism of the Palestinian Authority.” We also drew attention to specific examples of his unfair treatment of Israel, and addressed his (rather un-self-aware) confusion about the distinction between criticizing someone and attempting to "silence" them.
Mackey’s latest rejoinder, which is republished below and can be seen in its original context here, seems especially angry. It’s not just that he uses the word “hysterical” twice this time instead of just once. More striking is that he leveled charges that are so easily belied by a quick glance at his website.
There's obviously no room for reason in a dialogue with someone who feels the need to devote a fresh hysterical post to preface my comment on his previous hysteria, but thanks for neatly illustrating my main point by claiming, falsely, that I compared the raid on the Gaza flotilla to the one on the Exodus - a comparison that was, in fact, made by an Israeli blogger and journalist.
Did he not compare the raid to the Exodus (and thus, by extension, compare the I.H.H. thugs to Holocaust survivors)? Let's start with his title:
"Echoes of Raid on ‘Exodus’ Ship in 1947." That's certainly an analogy by Mackey.
And what about the first sentence of the post?
To some Israeli observers, it was impossible to miss the parallels between Monday’s killing of pro-Palestinian activists by Israel’s military in international waters, as commandos intercepted a flotilla of ships trying to break the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza, and a seminal event in the Jewish struggle for an independent homeland.
Mackey does not merely relay someone else's comparison here. He says in his own voice that there are parallels, which are so obvious that it was impossible for other "observers" to miss. (That's not to say the blogger's integrity be intact had he stopped at approvingly citing someone else's disgraceful analogy.)
And here's more analogizing in the blogger's own voice:
On Monday, activists wounded by the Israeli military during the raid on the ships were brought to Haifa for medical treatment. Sixty-three years ago, the world saw photographs and newsreel footage of dazed Jewish refugees, some wounded by the British military, disembarking the Exodus 1947, under armed guard, in Haifa.
Not obvious enough? Mackey continues, "Another parallel between the events of 1947 and those on Monday is ...." The rest of the sentence doesn't matter. He is clearly comparing the Mavi Marmara to the Exodus, and its activists to Holocaust survivors. (Not a single voice was quoted taking issue with that offensive comparison.)
It's as good a time as any to have another look at the first block quote of this, in which the blogger denied making the comparison.
His complete comment is after the break.
There's obviously no room for reason in a dialogue with someone who feels the need to devote a fresh hysterical post to preface my comment on his previous hysteria, but thanks for neatly illustrating my main point by claiming, falsely, that I compared the raid on the Gaza flotilla to the one on the Exodus - a comparison that was, in fact, made by an Israeli blogger and journalist. It was the voices of bloggers in various countries that my Times blog was devoted to covering - and the fact that you can only see that as some sort of attack on Israel exactly echoes the response of ultra-nationalist extremists in several other countries - including Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Serbia and Northern Ireland - who also leaped to the same, erroneous conclusion when forced to read the criticism of dissidents from their own nations.
You other objections - that describing an anti-Palestinian group as 'anti-Palestinian' is a slur; that I reported that a video "showed police preventing a Palestinian mother from boarding a police van hen I simply wrote or suggested no such thing - are similarly based on either intentional distortion on your part or a shocking lack of reading comprehension, so there's clearly no need to bother disturbing further you with the facts.