Recently in Middle East Category

From Russia Today:

Multiple explosions reported at Syrian military base near Hama
Syrian state television has reported a series of explosions at a military base near Hama in the west of the country.

Local sources are reporting hearing four explosions at the site. No casualties or injuries have been reported.

Syrian journalist Mousa Alomar tweeted a video showing a large plume of smoke in the aftermath of the explosions.

A short time later another explosion was heard inside the airport, according to Syrian state media.

My only questions are who and how - infiltration? Drone?  USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia?
Regardless, this could not be happening to a nicer group of people.

Daniel Greenfield explains a bit about what is actually happening there - Hamas is a terrorist organization funded by Iran which has been funded by President Obama.

Attacking Israel for $100, Defending it for $13
Hamas supporters in Gaza held the world’s first peaceful protest with hand grenades, pipe bombs, cleavers and guns. And Israeli soldiers peacefully defended their country leaving multiple Hamas attackers at peace. The Great Hamas March of Return came with instructions to, "bring a knife, dagger, or handgun, if you have one, and to leave them under your clothes and not use them or show them, except if you identify one of the soldiers or settlers."

"We will tear down the border," Hamas Prime Minister Yahya Sinwar had peacefully vowed. "And we will tear out their hearts from their bodies."

Why do these people put themselves into harms way? Follow the benjamins:

Hamas had offered $100 to every rioter. During previous violent assaults back in April, the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group had been offering $200 to anyone shot by Israelis, $500 for severe injuries and $3,000 to the dead.

$100 a day may not seem like a lot, but the Israeli teen soldiers they’re trying to kill, earn $13 a day.

The Hamas supporting thugs are depicted as helpless, starving victims who can barely lift the firebombs they’re throwing at Israelis, but they make ten times as much as the Israeli soldiers they are there to kill.

Hamas can write all those checks to its aspiring killers because the cash is coming from Iran.

And Barry?

With as many as 50,000 Hamas supporters in Gaza participating in the day’s attacks at $100 a head, over 1,000 allegedly injured at least $200 each, and another 52 allegedly killed at $3,000 each (there is no reason to treat Hamas casualty figures coming out of Gaza as anything other than propaganda), the whole thing cost Hamas and Iran $5.3 million. The unmarked cargo plane filled with foreign currency that Obama dispatched to Iran carried $400 million. That was part of a known $1.7 billion cash payment.

But the total Obama terror payments to Tehran may go as high as $33.6 billion.

Like they say, if you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.

Problems with the media

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Look at any demonstration anywhere in the world and most of the signs are in English. Why? Because they are playing to the American media which gobbles up anything that makes America or her allies look bad. Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz had this to say:

Hamas is a terrorist group - their charter is virulently anti-semetic. This quote from Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League pretty much sums it up:

"The Hamas credo is not just anti-Israel, but profoundly anti-Semitic with racism at its core. The Hamas Charter reads like a modern-day 'Mein Kampf.'" According to the charter, Jewish people "have only negative traits and are presented as planning to take over the world." The charter claims that the Jews deserve God’s/Allah’s enmity and wrath because they received the Scriptures but violated its sacred texts, disbelieved the signs of Allah, and slew their own prophets. It quotes a saying of Muhammad from a hadith: "The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslim, O servant of God, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.' Only the Gharkad tree would not do that, because it is one of the trees of the Jews."

Nice people - they want a state? Let's give them one - PLASMA

Just wonderful - Israel

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Looks like Iran is striking out because of the withdrawl of Obama and Kerry's disasterous Arms Deal - three headlines:

Looks like the Iranians are seeking a war.

Interesting if true - Syria

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From Heshmat Alavi's twitter account:

Report indicate in the past 48 hours 3 Syrian passenger planes have landed in Tehran's Mehrabad Airport & not returned. There is word that Assad's family & a number of senior regime officials were on board.

Further reports show 22 Syrian Sukhoi warplanes have flown over Iraq & landed in Shahid Vahdat airbase in Dezful, SW #Iran, the M15 airbase in Kermanshah, W Iran, & the Fakuri airbase in Tabriz, NW Iran. IRGC bases are on high alert.

Heshmat is a Human Rights & Political Activist. Writer/Commentator on Iran & the Middle East

I like the new Saudi Crown Prince

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Seems to have his head on his shoulders - from The Atlantic:

Saudi Crown Prince: Iran's Supreme Leader 'Makes Hitler Look Good'
This much, at least, can be said for Mohammed bin Salman, the putatively reformist crown prince of Saudi Arabia: He has made all the right enemies. Among those who would celebrate his end are the leaders of ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas, as well as Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and the entire clerical and military leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As a bonus, there are members of his own family, the sprawling, sclerotic, self-dealing House of Saud, who would like to see him gone—or at the very least, warehoused at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, where the 32-year-old prince recently imprisoned many of his enemies and cousins during an anti-corruption sweep of the kingdom.

And a bit more:

Prince Mohammed (who is known widely by his initials, MbS) seemed eager to download his heterodoxical, contentious views on a number of subjects—on women’s rights (he appears doubtful about the laws that force Saudi women to travel with male relatives); on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who is, in the prince’s mind, worse than Hitler; and on Israel. He told me he recognizes the right of the Jewish people to have a nation-state of their own next to a Palestinian state; no Arab leader has ever acknowledged such a right.

Much more at the article - a nice interview. Seems to be a good leader with the best of interests for everyone in that area.

Not hearing about this on the mainstream media - from the UK Independent:

Saudi Arabia opens airspace to Israel for first time ever for Air India flight bound for Tel Aviv
Saudi Arabia opened its airspace for the first time to a commercial flight to Israel with the inauguration of an Air India route between New Delhi and Tel Aviv.

Flight 139 landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport after a seven-and-a-half hour journey, marking a diplomatic shift for Riyadh that Israel says was fuelled by shared concern over Iranian influence in the region.

“This is a really historic day that follows two years of very, very intensive work,” Israeli tourism minister Yariv Levin said, adding that using Saudi airspace cut travel time to India by around two hours and would reduce ticket prices.

Israel's own El Al airline is still blocked from flying over Saudi Arabia but allowing Air India to use this route is a start. Baby steps toward normalization.

Great choice of date - sending a signal

From The Washington Free Beacon:

Report: U.S. Plans to Move Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on May 14
The Trump administration plans to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on May 14, according to Israeli officials.

Israeli officials told Axios that an "interim embassy" will be assembled at the consular annex in West Jerusalem, a building that currently handles visas and passports. U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman will move to the interim embassy with a small staff until a permanent location for the embassy can be determined.

May 14?

Moving the embassy on May 14, the 70th anniversary of the day Israel declared its independence, is much sooner than expected.

Emphasis mine - great sense of timing. Israel is a true democracy in an area ruled by tinpot dictators and oligarchs.

Two from Palestine

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Two stories - first from Canada Free Press:

John Kerry Versus Nikki Haley on How to Deal With Abbas
Former Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly sought to undermine the Trump administration’s current policy in dealing with the nihilist Palestinian leadership. According to an article appearing in Maariv, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post, Kerry met a senior Palestinian leader, Hussein Agha, in London recently and told him to convey a clandestine message to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The message was that Abbas should “play for time” and “not yield to President [Donald] Trump’s demands.” Kerry reportedly predicted that President Trump would not be in office for long - perhaps not more than a year. Possibly for that reason, Kerry allegedly advised that the Palestinians should aim their criticisms at President Trump personally, rather than more broadly at the United States. According to the report, Kerry also offered to help the Palestinians devise an alternative peace plan and advance it with Europeans, Arab states and the international community at large. Finally, Kerry reportedly told Agha that he was seriously considering running for president in 2020, as if he had not done enough damage to U.S. national security already in negotiating, for example, the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran.

Clueless - completely and utterly clueless. And this - from the Middle East Monitor:

Despite US aid cuts, Palestine president gets $50mn jet
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) has just bought a private jet for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli media reported on Thursday.

“The PA has purchased a luxurious $50-million private jet to be used by Abbas,” Israel’s Channel 12 reported.

And this:

Notably, the reported purchase comes amid major reductions of US financial assistance to the PA and an ongoing economic crisis in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Nothing says leadership like stealing money from your constituents. Doesn't he know that he can lease a jet? A true sign of corrupt governence is when the "leaders" are more interested in concentrating wealth than in actually leading.

President Trump is doing some really wonderful things - from The Times of Israel:

Macron says he won’t recognize Palestine in response to Trump’s Jerusalem move
DAVOS, Switzerland — French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that he would not recognize Palestine as an independent state as a reaction to US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

It is called leadership. You do not appease a terrorist state. You make them give up terrorism. Then, you begin the negotiations.

Iran - getting serious

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From Al Arabiya:

Iran cuts off internet access in several cities as mass protests continue
Several reports indicate that telecoms providers in Iran have begun blocking internet access across several cities in the country as mass protests erupted for the third day in a row.

Among the telecoms company was Hamrahe Aval, the primary Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran (MTCI or MCI) as social media continues to play a pivotal role in documenting mass protests and subsequent brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in the country.

The MTCI is considered a firm jointly held by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other firms controlled by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The last paragraph is telling - this means that MTCI's profits go directly into Khamenei's bank account and those of his friends. Scratch a "revolutionary" dictatorship and you will find a few very corrupt and very wealthy people at the top.

Hope for Iran

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The rallies are getting bigger and bigger - from Associated Press:

New economic protests in Tehran challenge Iran’s government
A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran’s weak economy swept into Tehran on Saturday, with college students and others chanting against the government just hours after hard-liners held their own rally in support of the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment.

The demonstrations appear to be the largest to strike the Islamic Republic since the protests that followed the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election.

Thousands already have taken to the streets of cities across Iran, beginning at first on Thursday in Mashhad, the country’s second-largest city and a holy site for Shiite pilgrims.

And you can tell that this is a home-grown protest. Yes, the signs they carry are commercially printed but, they are in their native language and not English. This is a protest from the citizens to the government through the media.

20171230-iran.jpg

Compare and contrast to this image from a typical palestinian protest:

20171230-palestine.jpg

Note the sign in English talking about "justice" - aimed right at the heart of the US Media.

Interesting times - Iran

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From the Beeb:

Iran cities hit by anti-government protests
Anti-government demonstrations that began in Iran on Thursday have now spread to several major cities.

Large numbers reportedly turned out in Rasht, in the north, and Kermanshah, in the west, with smaller protests in Isfahan, Hamadan and elsewhere.

The protests began against rising prices but have spiralled into a general outcry against clerical rule and government policies.

More faster please... Very good news.

Now this is interesting

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A lot of what President Trump does flies under the media's radar screens. This is perfect - from DEBKA File:

Trump administration to snap ties with Palestinians, no peace plan, no more monetary aid
The White House has decided to quietly withdraw from all its ties with the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas.

DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report that the Trump administration has resolved to scrap all ties with the Palestinian leadership in retaliation for its campaign against US President Donald Trump and his Jerusalem policy. Several warnings to Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) of what was in store if he did not desist from castigating the US president fell on deaf ears.

Last week, two Arab crown princes, Saudi Muhammed bin Salman and UAE Sheikh Muhammed bin Zayed, summoned Abbas to their capitals and urged him strongly to back away from his attacks on President Trump. He got the same advice from the ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, who conferred with Washington on the subject – all to no avail. The Trump administration has therefore set out an eight-point program of sanctions, which is first revealed here:

    • The Israeli-Palestinian peace plan under preparation in Washington will not be submitted to Ramallah – only to Israel and the relevant Arab governments.
    • US-Palestinian interaction is to be suspended – not just at the senior levels but in day-to-day interchanges. The administration has notified Palestinian and other Arab parties to stop addressing queries on political and economic matters to the US consulate in Jerusalem, because they will not receive answers.
    • The status of the PLO office in Washington will be reevaluated with a view to shutting it down.
    • Palestinian officials will no longer be invited to Washington by the US government, including the State Department and Department of Treasury.
    • Above all, they will not be welcome at the White House or the National Security Council where US Middle East policy is designed. Senior US officials congratulated the senior Palestinian negotiator Saab Erekat, who also holds the PA’s American portfolio, on his recovery from illness, at the same time warning him that he would no longer be received at the White House.
    • The Trump administration will not make any public announcement of the cutoff of financial aid to the Palestinians. Since the funds are mostly earmarked for specific economic projects, each allocation will simply be held back on the pretext of the need for a “reappraisal.”
    • The US will halt its contributions to the UN Work and Relief Agency (UNWRA), an estimated one billion dollars per annum.
    • The US administration moreover intervened with the governments of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar with a request that they freeze or slow their economic aid to the Palestinian Authority.

According DEBKAfile’s sources, Palestinian officials in Ramallah were devastated by news of the sudden cutoff of the main sources of the PA’s revenue. Even the Qatar ruler, whom Abbas visited last week as a last resort to save the PA from economic meltdown, refused to release any more funding.

Good - the palestinians are a construct of the KGB from the mid-1960's. Palestinian "leader" Yasser Arafat spent almost ten years in Russia being indoctrinated.

Christmas around the world - Iraq

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Some wonderful Christmas news from Breitbart:

Iraqis Erect a 30-Foot Christmas Tree in Baghdad to Celebrate the Defeat of ISIS
Residents of Baghdad have erected a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree to celebrate Christmas and to mark the end of the terror army Islamic State (ISIS), beaten back by Iraqi Security Forces.

The giant tree made international news, according to a Fox News tweet which read, “Iraqi Christians have raised a 30-ft.tall Christmas tree in Baghdad to celebrate both the holiday and the expulsion of ISIS extremists by Iraq Security Forces”

Presidential spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders also remarked on the incredible display in a December 24 tweet reading, “Thank God for the President’s leadership in fight to defeat ISIS”

This year’s display mirrors last year’s tree erected by Muslim businessman Yassi Saad who then said he hoped that the display would help bring together Christian and Muslim Iraqis in a new spirit of cooperation as his country continued to heal after being freed from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny.

Nice to see the common sense is breaking out all over this world!

About that United Nations vote

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An interesting perspective from Eli Lake writing at Bloomberg:

The U.S. Just Had a Very Good Week at the UN
After the UN General Assembly voted this week to condemn U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the conventional wisdom is that the Trump administration has only isolated itself at the United Nations.  

A bit more:

But that headline is hiding the real news. While most of the world was focused on the symbolic gang up at the UN General Assembly, the Trump administration had some quiet diplomatic success.

Let's start with the meaningful 15-0 vote on Friday to impose new sanctions on North Korea. The U.S. persuaded China, North Korea's primary patron, and Russia, another key trading partner to the Hermit Kingdom, to go along with the resolution -- no small feat. The new sanctions cap oil exports to North Korea at current levels and demand countries expel North Korean foreign workers. The sanctions could be tougher, but diplomacy is a give and take.

On Thursday, the same day of the General Assembly vote, the UN Security Council quietly passed resolution 2396, 15-0, urging all member states to better screen for foreign fighters returning from Syria, imposing new checks on fake passports and requiring member states to notify other countries when such fighters are detained or prosecuted.

Finally, Haley won a personal diplomatic victory on Iran. This week German government spokesman Steffen Seibert acknowledged a recent UN report on the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal that compiled evidence of Iranian missile transfers to Houthi rebels in Yemen. "The findings contained in the secretary-general's report reinforce our fears that Iran is violating the restrictions on the transfer of arms and ballistic missiles imposed on it," Seibert said. "The report contains several clear indications that there is Iranian involvement in the firing of missiles on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia on July 22 and November 4, i.e. missiles launched by the Houthis in Yemen."

It was the Houthis that fired the missle into Saudi Arabia that almost hit the Royal Palace. Why did Obama do his deal with Iran? What did they have on him?

Two headlines:

Ballistic missile intercepted over Saudi Arabia capital Riyadh just seconds before it slammed into royal palace

Saudi 'intercepts Yemen rebel missile over Riyadh'

I bet some of the Yemeni military are changing their underpants at this moment. Sure, probably a "rebel" attack but the Saudi's have every right to retaliate for this.

President Trump recognizes Israel

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Wonderful move on his part - from the London Daily Mail:

'Jerusalem IS Israel's capital': I will move our embassy there AND make peace with the Palestinians says Trump as he defies the world's warning he will set the Middle East on fire with dramatic change of policy
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that America formally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital city, changing decades of U.S. policy in a brief afternoon speech and casting the move as a bid to preserve, not derail, aspirations for regional peace.

Appearing in the White House's Diplomatic Reception Room against an elaborate backdrop of Christmas decorations, He also said the United States embassy in Israel would, over time, be moved there from Tel Aviv.

Israel is the only country where the United States has an embassy in a city that the host nation does not consider its capital.

'I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,' Trump said. 'While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today I am delivering.'

Excellent news! Of course, there will be grumbling from the Peanut Gallery but tough. It is time for people to start dealing with facts and not narratives.

Some encouraging news from Saudi Arabia

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Looks like they are cleaning house and joining the 21st century - from Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Saudi vows new Islamic alliance 'will wipe terrorists from the earth'
Saudi Arabia's crown prince vowed to "pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth" as officials from 40 Muslim countries gathered Sunday in the first meeting of an Islamic counter-terrorism alliance.

"In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries... with no coordination" among national authorities, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi defence minister, said in his keynote address to the gathering in Riyadh.

"This ends today, with this alliance."

The summit is the first meeting of defence ministers and other senior officials from the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, which officially counts 41 countries and identifies as a "pan-Islamic unified front" against violent extremism.

And this bit of background from Thomas L. Friedman writing at The New York Times (quoting the 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman also refered to as M.B.S.): 

“My father saw that there is no way we can stay in the G-20 and grow with this level of corruption. In early 2015, one of his first orders to his team was to collect all the information about corruption — at the top. This team worked for two years until they collected the most accurate information, and then they came up with about 200 names.”

When all the data was ready, the public prosecutor, Saud al-Mojib, took action, M.B.S. said, explaining that each suspected billionaire or prince was arrested and given two choices: “We show them all the files that we have and as soon as they see those about 95 percent agree to a settlement,” which means signing over cash or shares of their business to the Saudi state treasury.

“About 1 percent,” he added, “are able to prove they are clean and their case is dropped right there. About 4 percent say they are not corrupt and with their lawyers want to go to court. Under Saudi law, the public prosecutor is independent. We cannot interfere with his job — the king can dismiss him, but he is driving the process … We have experts making sure no businesses are bankrupted in the process” — to avoid causing unemployment.

“How much money are they recovering?” I asked.

The public prosecutor says it could eventually “be around $100 billion in settlements,” said M.B.S.

There is hope yet. May M.B.S. enjoy a long and fruitful reign over his people. A great responsibility but it seems like he is up to the task.

Looks like things are shifting over there - from Israel's Daily Sabah:

Israel welcomes Saudi mufti's pro-Israel remarks, invites him to visit the country
An Israeli minister on Monday welcomed remarks by a mufti of Saudi Arabia that Palestinian resistance group Hamas is a terror organization.

"We congratulate Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, as well as the head of Ulema (Islamic scholars) for his fatwa forbidding the fight against the Jews and forbidding to kill them," Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara wrote on his official Twitter account.

The minister also welcomed the mufti's remarks in which he considered Hamas a terror organization, adding "I invite the mufti to visit Israel; he will be welcomed with a high level of respect."

A Fatwa is a religious dictate - for the religious head of Saudi Arabia to issue a Fatwa against fighting Jewish people and forbidding the killing of them is a major sea-change in policy. Saudi Arabia has long been a sponsor of state terrorism and they funded the Palestinian "people" (Hashamite Jordanians).

But we have photos of it! From the Beeb:

Russia posts video game screenshot as 'proof' of US helping IS
Russia's Ministry of Defense has posted what it called "irrefutable proof" of the US aiding so-called Islamic State - but one of the images was actually taken from a video game.

The ministry claimed the image showed an IS convoy leaving a Syrian town last week aided by US forces.

Instead, it came from the smartphone game AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.

Oopsie...

A fun time in Saudi Arabia

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More on the arrests of the Saudi princes from Yahoo/Reuters:

Purge of Saudi princes, businessmen widens, travel curbs imposed
A campaign of mass arrests of Saudi Arabian royals, ministers and businessmen expanded on Monday after a top entrepreneur was reportedly detained in the biggest anti-corruption purge of the kingdom's affluent elite in its modern history.

The reported arrest of Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar followed the detention of dozens of top Saudis including billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in a crackdown that the attorney general described as "phase one".

The purge is the latest in a series of dramatic steps by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to assert Saudi influence internationally and amass more power for himself at home.

Oil prices are pretty low so they are feeling the pinch. Everything is cyclic - they were the richest nation for a long time. Now? Not so much. Should have planned better.

Now this is interesting news

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From Israel National News:

Did a Saudi prince secretly visit Israel?
A member of the Saudi royal family visited Israel during a secret trip last week, despite his country’s refusal to recognize the Jewish state.

According to a report by the Israel Broadcasting Corporation, a senior member of the Saudi royal family held high-level talks with Israeli officials during a clandestine trip to the Jewish state.

“A prince from the Royal Court visited the country in secret over the past few days and discussed the idea of pushing regional peace forward with a number of senior Israeli officials,” the IBC reported, citing the Russian Sputnikmedia outlet.

Both Israeli and Saudi foreign ministries refused to comment on the report.

Stranger things have happened - encouraging news.

Good riddance to scum - from ABC News:

Chicago activist loses US citizenship, will be deported
An activist known for helping Arab women in the Chicago area lost her U.S. citizenship Thursday and will be deported for failing to disclose convictions for bombings in Jerusalem decades ago.

Rasmea Odeh was interrupted three times by a judge as she used her court appearance in Detroit to criticize Israel and the United States and deny that she's a terrorist.

"This is not a political forum for you to fan the flames of Israeli-Palestinian disputes. ... It's about the application you filled out," said U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain, who threatened to find her in contempt and send her to jail.

Good - these people have nothing but hate in their hearts. Her bombings in Jerusalem murdered two people. The "palestinians" are a construct of the KGB back when Russia did not have any known oil reserves and they wanted to destabilize Israel. She is being deported to Jordan which is the true native land for the so-called palestinians.

The nations of the Middle East have always been isolated from each other - never combining forces to form a political front. Part of this is that a hundred years ago, the individual tribes were at each others throats competing for scant resources. The discovery of oil has shifted them away from being from nomads but not changed their cultural makeup. President Trump is going to be doing something very interesting. From The Washington Post:

Trump to unveil plans for an ‘Arab NATO’ in Saudi Arabia
When President Trump arrives in Riyadh this week, he will lay out his vision for a new regional security architecture White House officials call an “Arab NATO,” to guide the fight against terrorism and push back against Iran. As a cornerstone of the plan, Trump will also announce one of the largest arms-sales deals in history.

Behind the scenes, the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have been conducting extensive negotiations, led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The discussions began shortly after the presidential election, when Mohammed, known in Washington as “MBS,” sent a delegation to meet with Kushner and other Trump officials at Trump Tower.

After years of disillusionment with the Obama administration, the Saudi leadership was eager to do business. “They were willing to make a bet on Trump and on America,” a senior White House official said.

Very clever idea - make each Arab nation have some skin in the game. NATO members pay about 2% of their relative GDP to fund it. The Arab nations could fund their own NATO with the coins they find under their sofa cushions. We seem to actually have some intelligent foreign policy being done - what a breath of fresh air.

President Trump will be visiting the seats of the three Abrahamic religions: the Vatican, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, which is home to Mecca. From the United Arab Emirates' The National:

Trump’s Saudi visit sends ‘clear and powerful message’
The US president Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia will enhance cooperation between the United States and Muslim countries in the fight against extremism, the kingdom’s foreign minister said.

Describing the visit as historic, Adel Al Jubeir said Mr Trump’s time in Saudi Arabia would include a bilateral summit, a meeting with Arab Gulf leaders and another with leaders of Arab and Muslim countries.

"It’s a clear and powerful message that the US harbours no ill will" toward the Arab and Muslim world, he said.

"It also lays to rest the notion that America is anti-Muslim. It’s a very clear message to the world that the US and the Arab Muslim countries can form a partnership," Mr Al Jubeir said.

"It will lead to, we believe, enhanced cooperation between the US and Arab and Islamic countries in combating terrorism and extremism, and it will change the conversation with regards to America’s relationship with the Arab and Islamic world."

A bit more:

The United States is leading an international coalition against ISIL of which Saudi Arabia is a member, and both countries have voiced concern about Iranian attempts to expand its influence in the Middle East.

Mr Al Jubeir praised the Trump administration’s tougher stance against Iran.

"I don’t think this administration is about rhetoric. I think the administration has taken firm steps in terms of making it clearer to Iran that its behaviour has to change."

Riyadh and Washington had a testier relationship under former Democratic president Barack Obama’s administration, which Saudi Arabia felt placed less importance on the Saudi-US relationship than on securing a nuclear deal with Iran.

Wonderful - I love that the article's author used the word rhetoric to describe Obama's dealings - that is exactly what it was. Dialectic in the original definition is what Trump uses - numbers, knowledge, facts. Obama and the progressives were all about doing things that sounded good regardless of their true consequences.

And the hits just keep on coming - Iran

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From The Wall Street Journal:

Trump White House Puts Iran ‘On Notice’ After Missile Launch
The White House sharply condemned a recent Iranian ballistic missile test launch and warned of consequences including the possibility of new U.S. sanctions, in a more confrontational approach to Tehran that lays the groundwork for a potential early clash between the two countries.

Calling Iran a “destabilizing influence” in the Middle East, National Security Adviser Mike Flynn declared Wednesday: “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”

It will be interesting to see Iran's reaction.

From The Washington Free Beacon:

Congress to Freeze State Department Funds Until U.S. Embassy Moves to Jerusalem
A delegation of Republican senators is moving forward with an effort to freeze some funding to the State Department until the U.S. embassy in Israel is formally moved to Jerusalem, according to new legislation.

The legislation comes as the Obama administration continues to face criticism over its behind-the-scenes effort to forward a United Nations resolution condemning Israel.

A bit more:

The effort is being spearheaded by Sens. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), and Dean Heller (R., Nev.), all of whom support efforts by the incoming Trump administration to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem after years of debate.

“Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,” Cruz said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s vendetta against the Jewish state has been so vicious that to even utter this simple truth—let alone the reality that Jerusalem is the appropriate venue for the American embassy in Israel—is shocking in some circles.”

“But it is finally time to cut through the double-speak and broken promises and do what Congress said we should do in 1995: formally move our embassy to the capital of our great ally Israel,” Cruz said.

The legislation orders the White House to identify Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which the Obama administration has refused to do. The bill will freeze a significant portion of the State Department’s funding until it completes the relocation.

The depths of the Obama administration's egregiousness:

In the past, the Obama White House has been caught scrubbing captions on official photographs that labeled Jerusalem as part of Israel. The administration also was entangled in a Supreme Court case when it refused to permit an American family to list its child’s birthplace as “Jerusalem, Israel.”

Good - it is time to recognize our friends and allies and to soundly trounce those who would stand in their way. Gutting the State Department's funding is an excellent tactic. Put their balls in a vice and their hearts and minds will soon follow.

A bit of push-back to that UN vote

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Great - from The Times of Israel:

Congressional Republicans push to condemn anti-settlement UN vote
Republicans in both chambers of Congress are moving quickly to condemn the United Nations for passing a Security Council resolution last week that said Israeli settlements had “no legal validity” and constitute “a flagrant violation under international law.”

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran (R) and Florida Rep. Dennis Ross (R) both indicated that they are planning to introduce separate measures of disapproval over UNSC Resolution 2334 once Capitol Hill lawmakers reconvene next week.

More than 100 Members of Congress have issued statements opposing the resolution, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The resolution, which passed by a vote of 14-0 following a US abstention, calls for a complete end to all construction in areas Israel gained after the 1967 Six Day War, territory that includes the Old City, with the Temple Mount and Western Wall.

Furthermore, the text calls on all states “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” Israel fears such language will lead to an uptick in boycott and sanctions efforts, and Israeli officials have warned it will provide “a tailwind for terror.”

Good - people need to email their congresscritters and get them on board with this. Doing nothing sends a horrible message. To do this, go here: whoismyrepresentative.com - you will see the list and when you click on the link, you will see a link to their contact website. Good resource.

The United Nations vote

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An interesting possibility from The Washington Free Beacon:

Biden Denies Lobbying Foreign Leaders to Back Anti-Israel U.N. Resolution
Vice President Joe Biden is denying accusations that he personally lobbied foreign leaders to vote in favor of a hotly contested anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations last week that has brought U.S.-Israel relations to an all time low, according to sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the matter.

Insiders familiar with the matter said Biden spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to ask that his country vote in favor of the resolution, which was passed by the U.N. Security Council last week when the United States, in a reversal of longstanding policy, did not exercise its veto power to kill the measure.

A bit more:

Sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon described Biden as personally lobbying in favor of the resolution, which comports with claims by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”

Just counting the days until we get an adult in the room instead of the petulant little boy.

Good for them - Israel

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Good news from Israel - they are not listening to the United Nations - after all, it is less than 30 days until President Trump takes office. From the New York Times:

Defying U.N., Israel Prepares to Build More Settlements
Undeterred by a resounding defeat at the United NationsIsrael’s government said Monday that it would move ahead with thousands of new homes in East Jerusalem and warned nations against further action, declaring that Israel does not “turn the other cheek.”

Just a few days after the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Israeli settlements, Jerusalem’s municipal government signaled that it would not back down: The city intends to approve 600 housing units in the predominantly Palestinian eastern section of town on Wednesday in what a top official called a first installment on 5,600 new homes.

The defiant posture reflected a bristling anger among Israel’s pro-settlement political leaders, who not only blamed the United States for failing to block the Council resolution, but also claimed to have secret intelligence showing that President Obama’s team had orchestrated it. American officials strongly denied the claim, but the sides seem poised for more weeks of conflict until Mr. Obama hands over the presidency to Donald J. Trump.

Good to hear - it is not like there ever was a "palestinian" people anyway, they are actually Hashamite Jordanian and their history was fabricated by the KGB when they installed Yasser Arafat into power in 1969. Read your history.

Those fires in Israel

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From The New York Times:

As Wildfires Rage, Israel Suggests Arson and Asks for Foreign Help
Parts of the port city of Haifa in northern Israel were ablaze on Thursday as wildfires raged through the country for a third day, devouring forests, damaging homes and prompting the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

Asked how long Haifa was likely to be battling the blazes, Mayor Yona Yahav told reporters, “This is a question that has to be referred to God.”

Israeli officials said the fires had been fanned by unusually strong winds and made worse by a dry atmosphere, but they also said they suspected that many of them had been caused by arson and negligence. Dozens of people have been slightly affected by smoke inhalation, but no serious injuries or fatalities have been reported.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s public security minister, told Army Radio that the professional assessment was that almost half the fires were the result of arson.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attributed the fires to “natural and unnatural” causes and said that “any fire caused by arson or incitement to arson is terrorism in every sense of the word, and we will treat it as such.”

Arson is terrorism and the Israelis need to punch back twice as hard when confronting it. The so-called Palestinians (actually Hashamite Jordanians) do not consider Israel to be a valid state and have no desire for peace. A group of people brainwashed by a false prophet and corrupt leadership. I truly pity them for one day they will wake up and see the black cloud they have been living under.

I am liking President Trump more and more

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From Israel's English news service Haaretz:

Trump Tells Netanyahu: If Elected, U.S. Would Recognize Undivided Jerusalem as Israel's Capital
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for an hour and 20 minutes on Sunday at Trump Tower in Manhattan. He will meet with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton later Sunday, at 6:30 P.M. EST (1:30 A.M Israel time).

According to a Trump campaign press release, Trump told Netanyahu that if elected, "a Trump administration would finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel."

The Trump campaign statement said during the meeting, "Trump agreed that the military assistance provided to Israel and missile defense cooperation with Israel are an excellent investment for America," amid the backdrop of speculation that Trump would support cutting U.S. military aid to Israel.

Trump told Netanyahu that if elected, "there will be extraordinary strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries." Trump added that Israel is a "vital partner of the United States in the global war against radical Islamic terrorism." The two also discussed the nuclear deal with Iran and the fight against ISIS.

The two also "discussed at length Israel's successful experience with a security fence that helped secure its borders." The Republican candidate declared several times throughout the campaign that he will build a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border and force Mexico to pay for it.

Great news. Israel is one of our best friends and strongest allies in the war against Islamist terror.

The stream of refugees

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Coming into the US is unchecked. We have zero idea who these people are, what their medical history is, etc... We have seen cases of drug-resistent Tuberculosis and now this - from the UK Independent:

Cutaneous leishmaniasis: Disfiguring tropical disease sweeps across Middle East
A disfiguring tropical disease is sweeping across the Middle East as a combination of heavy conflict and a breakdown of health care facilities in Isis-occupied areas leaves swathes of people vulnerable to the illness.

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is caused by a parasite in the blood stream transmitted through sand fly bites. The disease can result in horrible open sores as well as disfiguring skin lesions, nodules or papules.

The incubation time is interesting:

“When people are bitten by sand flies - which are tiny and smaller than a mosquito - it can take anything between two to six months to have the infection.

“Someone might have picked it up in Syria but then they may have fled into Lebanon or Turkey, or even into Europe as they seek refuge.

“Prior to the outbreak of war there was good control of diseases, parasites and sand flies but when the conflict started no one cared, conditions worsened and the health system broke down, which has created an ideal environment for disease outbreaks.”

So they get to Europe or the USA and then fall sick. I feel sad for these people but nothing is being done about the parent cause - the outbreak of fighting by corrupt groups of people jockying for positions of power.

WWIII - Saudi Arabia

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Now this wiill be interesting to see - will Congress cave to the Saudis - from the New York Times:

Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill
Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.

Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.

Several outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom’s economy. But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.

A bit more:

The administration, which argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas, has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.

“It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and who is part of a group of victims’ family members pushing for the legislation.

Time to send a letter to my congresscritters promoting the bill - the truth needs to be brought to light. The Wahhabist sect in Saudi Arabia is funding the building of mosques in the USA - mosques that are promoting terrorism. This is a known fact and is constantly being ignored in the media.

Great news from Israel

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Want to visit there sometime. From The Times of Israel:

Major oil reserve said found on Golan
A company drilling for oil on the Golan Heights claims to have found “significant amounts” in the plateau.

“We’re talking about a layer 350 meters thick,” Yuval Bartov, chief geologist of Afek Oil and Gas, a subsidiary of the American company Genie Energy, told Channel 2.

The layer is ten times larger than the average oil find worldwide, Bartov said, “and that’s why we’re talking about significant amounts. What’s important is to know that there’s oil in the rock, and this we know.”

Three drilling sites on the Golan have uncovered what is potentially billions of barrels of oil, enough to fulfill the Israeli market’s 270,000-barrel-per-day consumption for a very long time, the report claimed.

This comes at an interesting time as troubles in neighboring Syria are brewing and Russia is trying to bring the price of oil back up.

Not a good idea

Oil revenues are down for the Saudis - what are they doing? From the UK Financial Times:

Saudi Arabia burns through foreign reserves
Saudi Arabia is burning through its foreign reserves at a record rate, as the kingdom seek to maintain spending plans despite lower oil prices.

The central bank’s foreign reserves have dropped by $36bn, or 5 per cent, over the past two months, as newly crowned King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud dips into Riyadh’s rainy-day fund and increases domestic borrowing to fund public-sector salaries and large development projects.

The latest data show Saudi’s foreign reserves dropped by $16bn to $708bn in March, driven by public-sector bonuses paid by King Salman after he assumed power in January. This follows a fall of $20bn in February. Saudi has spent $47bn of foreign reserves since October.

5% in two months and it is being spent on bonuses? Now would be the time to retrench and cut spending, not increase it. They don't know when the OPEC monopoly will resume, if...

Inequality in Israel

Those poor Palestinians Hashemite Jordanians - from The Times of Israel:

Palestinians better off working in settlements, says PA daily
The Palestinian Authority’s official daily newspaper praised conditions for Palestinians working for Israelis in West Bank settlements, while decrying the low salaries and lack of benefits for those workers employed by Palestinians.

The September 21 Al-Hayat Al-Jadida article, translated by Palestinian Media Watch, said that “whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers – for reasons having to do with salaries and other rights.”

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida interviewed a group of Palestinian workers for the piece, and found that those with Israeli bosses earned much more than those working for Palestinians.

Workers employed by Palestinians all said they do not have medical insurance, which is not mandated by Palestinian law, and do not receive stipends for transportation. Israeli employers usually pay for workers’ transportation in both directions, the newspaper found.

Israeli employers can also be relied upon to pay salaries.  “The only cases in which a Palestinian worker does not receive the salary his Israeli [employer] determined for him are those cases in which the middleman is Palestinian,” said Muhammad Hassan, an agricultural worker. “This is because he employs the workers at his own expense, and he is the one who pays their salaries, which puts the worker at risk of being exploited or having his wages withheld.”

“I work 10 hours a day and receive a monthly salary of not more than 1,900 shekels, and we have no additional rights like yearly vacations, travel expenses and so on,” said Fuad Qahawish, a waiter in a Palestinian restaurant. “My colleagues who do the same work for Israelis receive 4,000 shekels a month for the same number of hours.’


And we all remember that the "Palestinian" people are a myth invented in the 1950's by the Russian KGB and brought to life by their Egyptian stooge, Yasser Arafat. The Russians were worried about the oil deposits and wanted to destabilize the area.

Now this will be interesting to follow

From The American Interest:

Pay Attention to this Gas Deal
Israel is fast becoming a serious regional energy player. If it wasn’t clear before, it became clear earlier this month with the announcement of a $15 billion gas deal with Jordan. According to the Times of Israel, the deal is the largest energy collaboration with Jordan to date, and it makes Israel Jordan’s chief supplier.

Over the past five years, Israel’s energy fortunes have transformed dramatically, a development that has the potential to shift the region’s geopolitical and geo-economic landscape. Israel’s Prime Minister Golda Meir once only half-joked that Moses led the Children of Israel to the one spot in the Middle East that had no oil. This turns out not to have been true: over the last decade, Israel has found major oil and gas reserves just off its coast.

The entire global landscape for energy is changing, and the Middle East is a key part of this change. Traditional producers in the Gulf are becoming consumers as their populations demand a lifestyle that is more energy intensive, and traditional consumers like Israel are emerging as new producers through scientific and technological innovation. Discovered offshore in deep water near Haifa in 2009, Israel’s Tamar field holds an estimated 8-9 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas. Israel began commercial production in 2013. The Leviathan deep-water gas field could hold as much 19 Tcf and is expected to begin producing in early 2017. Oil & Gas Journal estimated that, as of January 2014, Israel’s proven oil reserves are 11.5 million barrels, a fivefold increase from what was thought just a few years ago. The country’s potential reserves are likely substantially higher. In the last couple of years, Israel’s natural gas production more than doubled, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Although these numbers don’t put Israel into the top quartile of the world’s energy producing states, Prime Minister Netanyahu has estimated that $60 billion will accrue to Israeli coffers as a result and the new finds will dramatically improve Israel’s energy security for the next forty years, at least.

Israel is already the intellectual powerhouse of the middle-east. Now, it could become the financial powerhouse as well. The arabian fields are pretty much played out.

What we are seeing with ISIS (and why are these acronyms usually letters for words in the English language) is actually a civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites.

The borders of the Mid-East Nations were artificially set initially with the 1915 McMahon–Hussein Correspondence and refined with the 1916 Sykes–Picot Agreement. Israel regained their ancestral lands with the 1917 Balfour Declaration. In 1941, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem met with Adolf Hitler. From the Jewish Virtual Library:

In 1941, he fled to Germany and met with Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Joachim Von Ribbentrop and other Nazi leaders. He wanted to persuade them to extend the Nazis’ anti-Jewish program to the Arab world.

Needless to say, this has been stewing since Biblical times.

Iraq is being broken up into its various tribal components, it will emerge as no longer a unified Nation but an area with shifting tribal boundaries.

That being said, the Kurds are not engaged in these ongoing hostilities and have been the scape-goat of both Sunni and Shiia (when there is not a convenient Jew to kick around).

From Oil Voice:

Kurdistan: the newest oil producer?
The world might be on the cusp of seeing a new oil producer: Kurdistan.

According to a Bloomberg report, in the last 48 hours Deutsche Bank AG said that Kurdistan oil is “poised to gain acceptance” following the apparently successful sale of an initial cargo of oil for $93M. According to Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz, four tankers in total have loaded cargoes of Kurdish crude in Ceyhan.

An analyst’s report from Deutsche Bank AG said “We expect trading houses to become increasingly comfortable handling Kurdistan Region of Iraq crude and steady-state exports to emerge.”

Very cool - neither the Kurds nor the Turks are sponsors of terrorism and have vibrant culture and a growing economy. They are living in modern times but retain those parts of their culture that they revere. Women have a voice in their culture and religion is a practice of joy and faith, not a strict dogma.

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