Republican Rand Paul calls for gradual cut in aid to Israel

January 7, 2013

If you thought Rand was different then Ron then you need medication. There is no equivalence between countries the U.S. buys allegiance to and countries that fight Islam for us. There is a difference between your friends and your business dealings.

“CHANGE” – U.S. senator calls for gradual cut in aid to Israel.(DS)(Many Faces) By Aron Heller. JERUSALEM (AP) – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on Monday called for a gradual reduction of American foreign aid, delivering the message in an unlikely venue – since Israel is among the top recipients of American assistance. Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, told reporters that the U.S. can’t afford to keep borrowing money and then handing it out to others, even to allies like Israel. “It will harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process,” he told the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, an Israeli think tank. “I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits … you destroy your currency by spending money you don’t have.” Paul, a longtime opponent of foreign aid, acknowledged he was expressing a “minority opinion” and doubted Congress would end foreign aid in his lifetime. “It’s unlikely anything changes, but I think it is worth discussing,” he said during his first trip to Israel. Israel gets about $3 billion a year in military aid from the U.S. Paul insisted Washington should first cut aid to countries with strained ties to America, such as Pakistan and Egypt, and only later wean Israel off aid. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously stated he was interested in doing that. Paul said the aid, used in large part by Israel and Egypt to buy U.S. weapons, was creating an arms race in the Middle East that could ultimately harm Israel, not help it. “I’m concerned that some of the weaponry that we are currently giving to Egypt may one day be used against Israel,” he said. Most American military assistance to Israel must be spent on U.S.-made equipment, providing a boost to the military industry there. Paul suggested Israel would actually benefit from less aid, saying it would enhance its sovereignty by not having to approach the U.S. “on bended knee” when making its own decisions. “I don’t think you need to call me on the phone to ask permission for what you want to do to stop missiles from raining down on you from Gaza,” he said.Read the full story here.

Did anyone not see this coming?


Yasser Abbas Suing Foreign Policy Magazine

June 13, 2012
Print Edition
(“I became wealthy before my father was elected president and I will continue to do business after his term in office expires.”)
Yasser Abbas is suing Foreign Policy magazine for the article The Brothers Abbas (h/t IMRA):
(Daled) The June 5 Foreign Policy report examined Yasser and his brother Tariq’s leadership of a number of Palestinian companies in light of recent corruption allegations by Muhammad Rashid, former adviser to late President Yasser Arafat.

Rashid, who was convicted by a PA court of embezzlement last week, has threatened to reveal financial corruption within the current Palestinian leadership.

Yasser Abbas said the Foreign Policy report was “dependent on lies, because it did not make its own investigations, but instead depended on other sources, of which the main source seems entirely unreliable.”

Apparently, one of the pastimes of the Abbas family is to sue news organizations that report on them. They’ve sued Al-Jazeera, Reuters, and Israel’s Channel 1. (Thanks to In Context for the research.) I guess when you can’t jail the journalists, you sue them.
Among other things Yasser Abbas objects to having his company described as a monopoly.
I found this interview with Yasser Abbas and here’s part of it:

A: Falcon, Falcon Tobacco Company – we are the importers of British-American tobacco. We have negotiated this, and it is one company, and it is not the monopoly of the importation of cigarettes in the world. I hope you understand this. British-American is one company. Philip Morris is another company. Gauloise is another company. And all the other importation from Israel is another company. So. it’s a big, broad market. BAT – British-American Tobacco – happens to be one of the largest in the world. We are their importers since nine years. Hamas went into my stores and robbed all my stores, and our loss was greater than any other.

It’s an interesting argument. Because there are multinational companies selling cigarettes, he doesn’t have a monopoly. Of course, the charge is that he’s the exclusive seller in the Palestinian territories.
I’m sure it’s related, though not sure how, but Yasser Abbas’s biography disappeared!

So called Israel Firster: Anatomy of an Antisemitic Smear

February 7, 2012

( Beginning in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, approximately 2800 Americans fought in Spain on behalf of the Republican cause, in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and elsewhere. Most were members of the Communist Party or other leftist organizations. They served without the support of the U.S. government, were treated with suspicion after the war, and in some cases were even prosecuted by the Roosevelt Administration for recruiting volunteers into the Brigade. These volunteers into a foreign army are universally regarded with respect and even reverence by American liberals and the broader left. (image via

Mr. Burns Explains U.S. Middle East Policy

March 23, 2011

UPDATED… Hillary decided not to resign…, but what is the chance of Obama winning another election?
Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns

For a comprehensive statement of current U.S. Middle East policy you can’t do better than the testimony of Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns at the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on March 17, 2011.

It’s horrifying. Here’s my summary of the key point:

The United States will press for political reform and urge governments to talk to the opposition in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia. The United States will NOT press for political reform or urge governments to talk to the opposition in the Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon, Sudan, and Syria.

What do the governments in the first paragraph have in common? They have been friendly to the United States.
What do the governments in the second paragraph have in common? They are currently unfriendly to the United States.
In other words, the policy is to pressure your friends (they become weaker); engage your enemies (they become stronger). It is the exact opposite of what U.S. policy should be at this time.
There is a carefully thought out rationale for this policy. It is this:
If relatively moderate countries open their political process (even if it gives Islamists a chance to take power), they will become stronger and less likely to have radical revolutions. Their success will then show that the radical regimes have failed and everyone will see democracy works better. So the radicals will all decide to become moderate or be overthrown by their own people.
The above paragraph is not a joke or satire. This idea is very clearly expressed in the testimony and in other administration statements. This is a historical theme in U.S. foreign policy.
For example, this was precisely the idea regarding the Palestinians. The United States and others would pour money into the West Bank, making the Palestinian Authority a success. Meanwhile, Gaza would sink into stagnation and the people there would want to have a good life, like those on the West Bank.
Of course, the Obama Administration then pressed Israel to drop the sanctions and pumped money (indirectly) into the Gaza Strip.
What else is wrong with this policy? A lot, but briefly:
– It ignores the fact that radical dictators will kill people to stay in power.
– Reform can do more to weaken regimes than the subversion of radical oppositionists.
– Ideology is a powerful factor sometimes transcending material well-being.
– The radicals think they’re winning so why should they change? The moderates think they’re losing and are more likely to change sides or appease the radicals.
– Radical nationalists or Islamists can use the opening in politics to win power and then transform the state into an aggressive, anti-American country. To some extent, this is what happened in Iran.
A more realistic U.S. government would have put some tough language into Burns’ testimony to cover itself by saying, for example, that it would back the democratic opposition in Iran. But the Obama administration is so ideologically blinded and has been given such a free pass by the mass media that it doesn’t realize how obviously far-out it behaves.
In giving this testimony — and this is only my opinion — Burns must have been the most horrified person in the Senate hearing room. After all, not only is he the highest-ranking career person in the State Department, he’s also a veteran of three decades of policymaking on the Middle East.
Much of what he said — expressing U.S. (i.e., White House) policy runs directly counter to everything he’s believed, advocated, and implemented in his career. Let’s go through it in detail, keeping in mind that Burns is just President Barack Obama’s messenger here.
His testimony expresses wild enthusiasm for recent Arab political upheavals. There’s no hint about throwing out a 32-year-old alliance with Egypt’s regime. Nor is there any whisper of an Islamist threat (no mention of Islamism or of the Muslim Brotherhood), or of an Iranian strategic threat (except for a phrase at the very end), much less from the radicalism of the Syrian regime, Hamas, and Hizballah. There’s no mention of Turkey’s change of sides or of any strategic problems whatsoever.
In a competent administration, if only to cover itself, the testimony would have included real warnings; reservations; strategic considerations; concerns over protecting U.S. interests, stress on the need to maintain U.S. leadership and credibility; and the importance of helping allies protect themselves.
Instead we get this community organizer-style rhetoric:

“The revolutions…are about the brave, proud, and determined people of Arab societies, intent upon better governance and more economic opportunities, intent upon erasing the disconnect between the rulers and the ruled that for so long has been so stifling for so many. And they’re about the universal values that the President spoke about two years ago in Cairo–the right of peaceful assembly, freedom of speech, and the right to determine one’s own destiny….”
“It is a moment of great possibility for American policy and help; a moment when the peaceful, homegrown, non-ideological movement surging out of Tahrir Square offers a powerful repudiation of al-Qaida’s false narrative that violence and extremism are the only ways to effect change.”

Here we see another administration theme: America’s only enemy is a tiny group called al-Qaida. America’s enemy is not revolutionary Islamism, which already controls entire countries and animates movements that mobilize millions of people.
Strange, but neither al-Qaida nor any other radical Islamist force (Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, the Taliban, the Iraqi insurgents, or the Muslim Brotherhoods, as well as al-Qaida) seem the least bit worried about these upheavals. Perhaps the Obama Administration’s naive ideologues understand these things better than those who actually are Muslims, Arabs, speak the languages, and live in the Middle East.
Here is about all the lip service Burns’ testimony gives to the risks of Obama policy:

“But it is also a moment of considerable risk, because there is nothing automatic or foreordained about the success of such transitions. Helping to get them right is as important a challenge for American foreign policy as any we have faced since the end of the Cold War.”

“Helping to get them right!” Aside from being ungrammatical, do you think the Obama Administration is going to be able to help make Egypt into a moderate, stable, wealthy, happy, democratic state?
But there’s more. The administration’s policy then goes on to discredit the “war on terrorism” and battle with Islamism:

“The long-held conceit of many Arab leaders was that there were really only two political choices — the autocrats you know or the Islamic extremists you fear. That provided a convenient rationale for blocking real political outlets or broadened participation, and it ultimately produced the spontaneous combustion of Tahrir Square.”

But doesn’t that remain to be seen? That “spontaneous” combustion including a lot of anti-American far leftists and Muslim Brotherhood cadre. Those Arab leaders haven’t yet been proven wrong.
Imagine for the moment that you are a Saudi or Jordanian leader reading this. What would you say to the Obama Administration?:
You think the “Islamic extremists” are a mirage? You think Iran and its power is a conceit? Have you seen how many people were killed in Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan in such internal conflicts? They want to kill us as well. You Americans are idiots! Why should we pay attention to you?
Burns continues with phrases like “remarkable sense of public empowerment” and “a communications revolution that stripped governments of their old monopoly on the flow of information, made people more aware of what others had in other societies that they didn’t, and helped them mobilize without central leadership or conventional political organizations.”
Let’s be frank here: the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt succeeded for one reason ultimately — that the armies supported them. They failed in Iran, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and elsewhere because the security forces supported the regime. Let’s not get carried away with “public empowerment” and Facebook as the twenty-first century equivalent of Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book!
Burns continues with a lecture on political theory:

“Political systems and leaderships that fail to respond to the legitimate aspirations of their people become more brittle, not more stable. Popular pressures to realize universal values will take different shapes in different societies, but no society is immune from them. Political systems are a little like bicycles — unless they’re peddled forward, they tend to fall over.”

You see, weakening a friendly regime is always good! Change is always good! The people always want to realize “universal values” and merely do so in different ways (terrorism perhaps?).
Nobody could possibly be a radical nationalist, an Islamist, a militant anti-American or antisemite. They all want what Americans want. And unless you give the masses what they want, you fall from power, so you better give them what they want. It’s just a matter of negotiating the surrender terms.
There’s no way that Burns could really believe this stuff after three decades’ work on the Middle East.
He even calls this maxim an “inconvenient truth,” a reference to former Vice-President Al Gore’s global warming film. Yet despite Burns’ expression of guilt that past U.S. policy failed to recognize this building explosion of reformism and rebellion, the actual history of that policy shows something different. I participated in discussions with U.S. policymakers starting in the 1980s about the new generation, demographic shift, failure of Arab regimes, and other such factors. They weren’t so ignorant at all but understood the dangers involved, too.
Most obviously, there were attempts by President George W. Bush’s administration to push reform. But the current administration can’t say anything nice about its predecessor. And what about President Jimmy Carter’s push on democracy and human rights, including pressure on Iran’s shah to do precisely what the administration wants Arab leaders to do now? Oops. Better not mention that precedent or president.
But there’s more kumbaya babble instead of national interests’ diplomacy here. Burns says:

“It is in our long-term interest to support the emergence of more transparent and more responsive governments, who will ultimately make stronger and more stable partners….”

While he admits that “the short-term is likely to be pretty complicated and unsettling” Burns is basically saying that nothing can go wrong.
He refers to “a danger of authoritarian retrenchment….” In other words, the region can go “back” to a Mubarak-style regime. But how about change leading to a brand new type of totalitarianism like what happened in Iran?
Remember, no administration official can say the word “Islamism.” So instead Burns refers to how “predatory extremists” might take advantage of the situation, as if these are burglars rather than movements with an attractive ideology and mass base far stronger than the Facebook crowd.
Burns names “economic stagnation” and failure to improve people’s lives as factors which might help these unnamed extremists take over. Burns then makes solving these problems sound easy. “We can help produce private sector jobs desperately needed to keep pace with demography and expectations.” Really? They can’t even do that in America!
It’s all very well to say that an “independent media to hold people accountable” is absolutely necessary. But the media is likely to be highly partisan and often controlled by radicals.
Here’s my favorite sentence:

“Popularly elected governments sometimes taking sharper issue with American policies than their autocratic predecessors did, and elections sometimes producing uncomfortable results.”

You mean like Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hizballah in Lebanon? Might the “uncomfortable results” include throwing out U.S. bases, sponsoring terrorism, starting wars, promoting hysterical anti-Americanism, little things like that?
Yet what is most shocking of all in the new American policy is the failure even to mention support for democratic movements against the governments of Iran and Syria. Democratic reform is presented as managing the collapse of America’s Arab friends rather than an American asset to use against those who are both its enemies and the enemies of freedom.
How can the U.S. government make promoting democracy its main priority without even mentioning the idea of vigorously promoting democracy in Iran or Syria or supporting the oppositions in those countries? Why does the Obama Administration engage its enemies (Syria, Hizballah, and even the Taliban) and enrage its friends?
This is a policy that supports “serious political reform” and dialogue with the opposition only in countries friendly to the United States! Have they thought about what this means: Jordan’s government being pushed into a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Authority pressed to set up a coalition with Hamas?
Only at the very end of Burns’ testimony, briefly and as an afterthought, comes the stuff that used to be U.S. Middle East policy before the triumph of Facebook democracy:

“Regional security: strengthening ties to the GCC states; in fighting terrorism; in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and setting off a catastrophic regional arms race; in not losing sight of Iraq’s own crucial democratic transition and reintegration into the Arab world.”

Oh yes, almost forgot about that obsolete stuff. Is Burns’ statement the best America — the best even Obama — can do as the Middle East burns?
Perhaps Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to resign after reading Burns’ draft testimony. I sure would have done so if I were her.

About the author,

Barry Rubin is Director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His books include Islamic Fundamentalists in Egyptian Politics and The Muslim Brotherhood (Palgrave-Macmillan); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East, a study of Arab reform movements (Wiley). GLORIA Center site: His blog, Rubin Reports,

Every analyst loves the day when policymakers and national leaders start echoing precisely what he’s been writing for weeks, months, and years. In this case, unfortunately, it’s about bad things happening.

Read this article in the new mainstream, establishment Internet newspaper, The Daily,  interviewing people around Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Insiders love to give  anonymous quotes about what’s really going on within government, especially when they see the water rising up to the top of the portholes (the ship is sinking, echoing the Titanic imagery of this article’s title); they are horrified by what’s happening; and they see a catastrophe they don’t want to be associated with (read: blamed for).

Guess what? They’re saying that President Barack Obama and most of his team are dangerously incompetent and ideologically deluded–“amateur night” is one memorable phrase used. This is what I’ve been warning about since the summer of 2008 and pointing out in detail since January 20, 2009, on a daily basis.

I’m not writing this article for the purpose of saying I told you so, Well, okay, yes, I’m doing that also since it’s one of the few pleasures of my craft. But what’s most important is that there’s no excuse now for anyone failing to understand that this is true.

Most of what I have written is based on material available with some understanding of the issues, good judgment, and serious research. Yet the most basic points have been missed by those far higher paid (that doesn’t say much), with big budgets (ditto), large staffs (ditto), and the prestige that opens doors (ditto).

The main reason I’m writing this article is to declare, solemnly and seriously, that as of now, March 2011, nobody can say that they didn’t know the U.S. government is set on a disastrous course internationally, throwing away American credibility, subverting U.S. allies, and helping America’s foes (and the enemies of democracy and freedom).

This is not a matter of liberal and conservative or of Democrat and Republican. It is a national emergency. One can only hope that those within the government bureaucracy, Congress, the media, opinionmakers, and the general public (also known as: voters) wake up right now this minute and take appropriate action.

The alarm bell is going off in your ears.

Saudi prince rules out engagement with Israel until Arab land is returned

November 5, 2010

In an unusual detour into U.S. politics, Turki also warned against a return of the “neoconservative philosophy.” He said that under the policies of President Obama, many Americans may have believed “that the neocon movement has died, the victim of its own failed, delusional ambitions.” But, he said, “this recent election will give more fodder for these warmongers to pursue their favorite exercise, war-making.”
As an example of what he labeled neoconservative thinking, Turki dissected in detail a recent article on Foreign Policy magazine’s Web site by Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Satloff warned Obama about actions that he thought might be counterproductive to reaching a peace deal, including failing to make clear that a military option remains on the table in confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

so now you know who reads Foreign Policy magazine

Obama easing restrictions on child soldiers?

October 27, 2010
looking the other way
might come in handy
with armies that
support terrorism
like Gaza

On Monday, the Obama administration waived sections of a law meant to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers in Africa, paving the way for new military cooperation with four countries with poor human rights records — despite their use of underage troops.

“I hereby determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application to Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the [Child Service Prevention Act],” President
wrote in a memorandum to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In 2008, President George W. Bush signed the law, which
U.S. military education and training, foreign military financing,
and other defense-related assistance to countries that actively recruit troops
under the age of 18. Countries are designated as violators if the State
Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report identifies them as recruiting child

The original bill was
actually sponsored
by then Senator, now Vice President Joseph Biden. The only countries where the restrictions under this law are still in place are now Burma and Somalia.

The only reason provided in the memorandum was that Obama determined it was in the “national interest” to waive the law for those four countries.

Noah David Simon

Petraeus tries to invade Israel with U.S. forces.

March 14, 2010

Decision to not bomb rail lines to Auschwitz are the perfect example: Jews will never b more important then American soldiers.  What did you think Obama’s choices were about?  Obviously Obama and Bush’s military man are planning an occupation. betrays us.

On January 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief JCS Chairman Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM’s mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) “too old, too slow…and too late.”
The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus’s instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. “Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling,” a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. “America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding.” But Petraeus wasn’t finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command – or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus’s reason was straightforward: with U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region’s most troublesome conflict.
The Mullen briefing and Petraeus’s request hit the White House like a bombshell. While Petraeus’s request that CENTCOM be expanded to include the Palestinians was denied (“it was dead on arrival,” a Pentagon officer confirms), the Obama Administration decided it would redouble its efforts – pressing Israel once again on the settlements issue, sending Mitchell on a visit to a number of Arab capitals and dispatching Mullen for a carefully arranged meeting with Chief of the Israeli General Staff, Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi. While the American press speculated that Mullen’s trip focused on Iran, the JCS Chairman actually carried a blunt, and tough, message on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: that Israel had to see its conflict with the Palestinians “in a larger, regional, context” – as having a direct impact on America’s status in the region. Certainly, it was thought, Israel would get the message.

Read the whole thing.