Just as the red carpet was being rolled out in Cairo in honor of the visiting Russian foreign and defense ministers, Egypt’s headliners were busy declaring that nothing had altered in their country’s geopolitical orientation. According to them, all is as it was – they still are officially allies of the US, still cooperate with its intelligence agencies and would still welcome American economic largesse.
But the very fact that the Egyptian leadership felt bound to articulate and accentuate a business-as-usual message indicates that its business agenda is anything but usual. The very fact that high-level and high-profile Russian visits are taking place for the first time in a very long time, replete with pomp and circumstance, attests quite loudly that things are hardly quite what they were. Continue reading
US Secretary of State John Kerry, obviously quite edgy and piqued, took several swipes in swift succession at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in recent days. Among others, he carped that Netanyahu has no right to criticize the negotiations with Iran, as he doesn’t know enough about the details of the proposals discussed.
“I am not sure that the Prime Minister, whom I have a lot of respect for, knows what the conditions were, because we had not yet agreed on them” Kerry asserted in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press last Sunday. “That is what we are discussing.”
Netanyahu’s rebuttal was prompt: “I am up to date on the details of the proposal for the Iranians, and what is proposed at the moment is a deal in which Iran does not regress in its nuclear capabilities, and as opposed to that – the sanctions are taken back. It is a bad and dangerous deal and it will not happen on my watch. You know what happened when the Jews were silent.”
But how much Netanyahu actually knows or doesn’t, is only one aspect of the matter – and not necessarily the central one. Continue reading
“If Damascus is attacked, Tel Aviv will burn,” a Syrian higher-up bristled this week. Israel, therefore, cannot watch the escalating cliffhanger with detached equanimity from the sidelines.
There can be no passivity when potent threats are hurled at Israel from a coterie of evil powers in the context of a struggle in which Israel is uninvolved. In a fairer existence, this very fact alone ought to have acutely unsettled the international community. But it’s almost futile to expect a modicum of fair-mindedness where Israel is concerned.
So far the anti-Israel bluster from Damascus, Tehran and Hizbullah strongholds in Lebanon appear to have disturbed none of the foreign statesmen or opinion-molders, whose alacrity to condemn Israel for any perceived transgression is nothing short of remarkable. Moreover, the veiled hints from Moscow about dire repercussions for the entire region in the event of an American attack, might also imply warnings about impending punishment for Israel. Continue reading
Just a few days ago, mobs of Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked a Franciscan school in suburban Cairo. They demonstratively pulled down the cross, smashed it to bits and replaced it with a black al-Qaida flag. That was just the beginning.
They looted the school, gutted it meticulously for hours and later burned down what remained of the classrooms. Then came the climax as three nuns were grabbed and paraded through the streets like humiliated prisoners of war. Continue reading
With a new Israeli-Palestinian round of negotiations off to another wobbly start, there are few, if any, optimistic prognoses from anyone involved. Simultaneously, there appears to be an overabundance of warnings about what might likely scuttle the process. This in itself is telling, especially when the nature of the profuse admonitions is examined.
Palestinian Authority higher-up Yasser Abed Rabbo charged that Israeli “settlement expansion is unprecedented” and “threatens to make talks fail even before they’ve started.”
While purportedly assuming the role of an honest-broker, the US unhesitatingly rushed to side with the PA position. Behaving more like an adjudicating overseer rather than a non-interventionist mediator, American Secretary of State John Kerry pronounced all so-called settlements as inherently illegitimate (this includes entire extensive veteran neighborhoods of Jerusalem). Continue reading
Each time Israel prepares to let loose convicted arch-terrorists with blood on their hands, families of the victims and Almagor, the association that represents them, appeal against the impending releases to the High Court of Justice. It’s a hackneyed ritual whose results are already well-known in advance. There is never any variation and therefore never really any likelihood of a different outcome.
None of the participants in this tragically rerun melodrama has any delusions about how it will end. Continue reading
Much as the zeal to compare entices, it would be wrong to liken the disturbances in Turkey to those of the misnamed Arab Spring.
Foremost, they don’t spring from the same source. Although the Islamist government headed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan is nowhere near as tyrannical as Iran’s ayatollahs, the protesters in Istanbul have more in common with those who took to the streets of Tehran in 2009, than they do with the masses who toppled Arab despots in recent years.
The latter instigated mayhem for a variety of reasons which were nothing like the yearnings for civil liberties that the West wrong-headedly ascribed to them. Arab insurgencies were fuelled both by Islamic reactionary fervor as well as by ethnic/tribal divisions. Arab civil-libertarians were scant and soon drowned out in the turmoil. Continue reading
On an ordinary workday last week, strident sirens pierced our routine and for a few jarring minutes reminded all of us, throughout the country, of the dangers that lurk ominously beneath our run-of-the-mill existence.
The civil defense exercise simulated massive rocket barrages on packed urban centers with an eye to practice responses to missile onslaughts from Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza – in every corner of Israel and at all hours of the day and night.
Air raid sirens sounded midday to test preparedness in workplaces and schools. Another siren in the evening gauged preparedness in the homes. In both cases, the public was asked to locate the closest secure room and/or bomb shelter. Continue reading
Hassan Nasrallah’s stirring and impassioned defense of Damascus despot Bashar Assad went far beyond the Hezbollah chief’s by-now expected bravado. This was something intrinsically different. Nasrallah is a proven master at toying with the emotions of both supporters and foes in Lebanon. This time, though, and perhaps for the first time, he displayed genuine emotion.
It may have been Nasrallah’s usual braggadocio when he vowed to stay in the Syrian conflict “to the end of the road” and to bring victory to his beleaguered ally Damascus despot Bashar Assad. But the significant portions of his harangue were those in which he listed the consequences to Lebanon if Assad should fall. Continue reading
The very fact that 110 members of Jordan’s parliament (out of a total of 150) signed a petition for the release of the murderer from Naharayim speaks volumes about what parades as morality and coexistence next door to us.
Jordan, it needs to be stressed, is formally at peace with Israel.
Hence the implicit message from Amman is disconcerting in the extreme. Purported representatives of public opinion showed us where their hearts are, regardless of whether the massacre-perpetrator stays behind bars or not. Continue reading