Recently in Middle East Category

Such wonderful people

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Looks like Iran is being an asshole again.  No strength in the White House, why should they moderate their behavior. Just like a six-year old child. From The Jerusalem Post:

Mediterranean oil spill is ‘eco-terrorism’ by Iran, Israel says
Iran intentionally polluted the Mediterranean Sea and Israel’s shores in an act of ecological terrorism, causing the greatest environmental disaster in Israel’s history, Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said on Wednesday.

“This pollution has people who are responsible for it and have to pay the price. Our nature is damaged, our animals are harmed, thanks to merciless environmental criminals,” Gamliel said.

And of course, Iran is stepping up to the plate and helping to clean this up in 3... 2...  - - crickets - -

And we are back to the endless wars

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Didn't President Trump get us out of the Middle East? Didn't he restore peace over there including four treaties between Israel and Arab Nations?  What the hell are we doing bombing them?
From Haaretz:

U.S. Strikes Iranian-backed Militias in Syria; Sources Say at Least 17 Killed
The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike in Syria against a structure belonging to what it said were Iran-backed Iraqi militias, at the orders of President Joe Biden, which a militia official said killed one of its members and wounded several others.

A statement from Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed the strike in Eastern Syria "destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups," naming Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS).

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 17 people were killed in the strike, all Iraqi nationals. Local sources and one medical source also told Reuters at least 17 died.

Why do Democrats love wars so much.  Obama had that famous quote: "Turns out I’m really good at killing people"

Less pond scum on the face of this planet. Adding to the two events posted here (here too).
From the London Daily Mail:

30 Taliban militants are killed in explosion during bomb-making class at Afghan mosque
At least 30 Taliban fighters have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in Afghanistan during a bomb-making class.

The 209th Shaheen Corps - part of the Afghan National Army - said in a statement that 30 fighters including six foreign nationals who were expert mine makers, had been killed in an explosion on Saturday morning.

The blast happened at a mosque in the village of Qultaq in the Dowlatabad district of Balkh province.

The statement said the bodies of the six foreign nationals could not be identified because of damage caused by the blast.

Over 400 comments and you can guess the general level of sorrow and prayer.

I have zero problem with Islam.  Terrorists are a different story.  Christianity had a very dark side but we went through a reformation.  It is way past time for Muslims to do the same thing and grow up. Become world citizens.

Posted about it here: Two workplace accidents 
From One America News Network:

Afghan, Iranian Authorities Probe Fuel Tank, Say Terror Attack ‘Possible’
Iranian and Afghan authorities are investigating a major explosion at their shared border. On Sunday, Iranian rescue teams arrived at the Afghan border checkpoint, just hours after a fuel tanker reportedly exploded and set hundreds of other vehicles on fire.

The blast took place while the tanker was going through customs proceedings at the checkpoint. Officials said it’s still not clear what caused the explosion and they are not ruling out the possibility of it being terror-related.

As of Sunday evening, at least 500 other fuel tankers have burnt as a result of the initial blast.

“People have suffered millions of dollars in damages,” stated Afghani truck driver Mohammad Daud. “The losses are endured by people and traders, not the government…all the burnt tankers belonged to people and nobody cares about it.”

I hope that the terrorists enjoy their eternity in hell. Those 72 white grapes of exceptional purity must be really sweet.  Imagine the expression on their faces when they find that they killed themselves over a simple translation error.

Two workplace accidents

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Could not be happening to nicer people.  The first - from Northern Iraq's BasNews:

21 IS Militants Killed When Suicide Bomber Toots Farewell Horn
At least 21 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed after a suicide bomber blew his car-bomb’s horn in farewell to other jihadists in a remote area of Samarra, Salahaddin province.

Commander of Samarra Operations Command, Jabbar Daraji, said the suicide bomber and his vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) were prepared for an attack on a police checkpoint.

“The suicide bomber blew a horn to say goodbye to the other IS militants, and this detonated the bombs,” the commander explained.

IS has recently carried out several devastating attacks on both civilians and security forces of Iraq. The largest of which was a twin suicide bombing in central Baghdad last month which killed 32 people and injured more than 100.

And the second seems to be just an accident but a horrific one - from Zero Hedge:

"Powerful Enough To Be Spotted From Space": Fuel Tanker Convoy Explodes At Afghan-Iran Border
A fuel tanker truck explosion on the Iran-Afghanistan border on Saturday caused a chain reaction of blasts so large it could be observed from space.

According to the Associated Press, "Two explosions at the border crossing were powerful enough to be spotted from space by NASA satellites. One blast erupted around 1:10 p.m. Afghan time (0840 GMT), the next around a half hour later at 1:42 p.m. local (0912 GMT)."

Iranian state TV is reporting that over 500 trucks transporting natural gas and fuel caught fire as the explosions intensified.

The blaze continued through the day at the Islam Qala border crossing, which is among the busiest border and commercial transit routes connecting Iran and Afghanistan.

While multiple injured have been rushed to the hospital, emergency workers have struggled to assess casualties given the blaze's intensity made the whole area difficult to access.

I can not imagine the stupidity of bunching up 500 fuel trucks together like that. Prayers going out to the drivers, the customs officials, the other travelers trying to get clear.  Talk about a catastrophe.

My money is on Israel

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No brainer - from Breaking Defense:

Israelis Say They’ll Attack Iran If US Eases Sanctions
Israel has said openly that it will attack Iran if the U.S eases sanctions against the Shiite regime and agrees to go back to the nuclear agreement the Jewish state claims is “the biggest hoax in recent history.”

“Israel needs to know — and fast — whether Washington plans to stop Iran’s race to the bomb or take some action to do this,” a source told BD.

Israeli intelligence is closely watching the Iranian nuclear facilities. “The people who need to know are updated by the hour” the source said.

Iran is one of the few remaining state sponsors of terror.  They need to be bottled up until they see the light. It is too much to hope for that John Forbes Kerry is kept far away from the reigns of power in this administration.  The guy is an idiot and a buffoon. A dolt. A moron and that is insulting a lot of wonderful morons out there.

If Israel sees the need to attack Iran, we are looking at the world's first sixty-second war. Start to finish.

Or just poor maintenance of their infrastructure.  I would actually bet on the latter.  From Al Jazeera:

‘Countrywide blackout’ plunges Pakistan into darkness
A breakdown in Pakistan’s national power grid plunged the country into darkness on Saturday night, according to officials, leaving tens of millions of people without electricity in all main cities including the capital, Islamabad.

The electricity distribution system in the nation of more than 210 million people is a complex and delicate web, and a problem in one section of the grid can lead to cascading breakdowns countrywide.

“A countrywide blackout has been caused by a sudden plunge in the frequency in the power transmission system,” Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan said on Twitter.

Just single point of failure (bad engineering) and dominoes.  Unlike five years ago:

In 2015, an apparent rebel attack on a key power line plunged around 80 percent of Pakistan into darkness.

No news either way.

Peace in the Middle East - Morocco

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Brokered by the United States.  From Dan Bongino:

Morocco to Normalize Relations With Israel in U.S. Brokered Deal
Another day, another U.S.-brokered peace deal.

Following United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, Morocco has become the fourth country since August to normalize relations with Israel in a U.S. brokered deal. Including the Serbia-Kosovo economic normalization, that makes five historic deals just this year.

From President Trump's twitter account:

Do you seriously think that Joe Biden would have done this?

Iran in the crosshairs

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Interesting development after the targeted assasination of their top nuke scientist - from The Daily Wire:

U.S. Sends Air Craft Carrier To Persian Gulf As Iran Vows Retaliation For Killing Of Scientist
The U.S. ordered the U.S.S. Nimitz and its strike group to return to the Persian Gulf to serve in a defensive capacity as U.S. forces in the region continue to drawdown during the final weeks of the Trump administration. The action coincides with rising tensions in the region between U.S. allies and Iran after a top Iranian nuclear scientist was taken out in a highly coordinated hit this week.

“There were no specific threats that triggered the return of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group,” Commander Rebecca Rebarich, spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, said in a statement. “This action ensures we have sufficient capability available to respond to any threat and to deter any adversary from acting against our troops during the force reduction.”

“The official said the move was decided before news came of the assassination of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist. But the movement of the US forces is an increased deterrence message to Iran regardless the official noted,” CNN reported. “The movement puts increased American military firepower and thousands of personnel into the region through the end of the Trump Administration. It may be up to President-elect Joe Biden to decide when to withdraw them.”

President-elect Biden? Of course it would be CNN saying that.  They do not know their Constitution.
And then, there is this bit of news from Breitbart:

Taliban: War with America ‘Will Resume’ if Biden Undoes Trump Peace Deal
A spokesman for the Taliban told Afghanistan’s Khaama Press in an interview published Thursday that the terrorist group’s “war against the United States will resume … until they leave Afghanistan” if Joe Biden walks back President Donald Trump’s attempts to withdraw U.S. forces from the country.

Trump initiated talks including both the Taliban and the legitimate government of Afghanistan this year to come to an agreement that would result in the end of the American military presence in the country. Afghanistan is America’s longest war, launched in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Trump administration has sought assurances from the Taliban that it would not harbor terrorists seeking to harm American interests – such as the architects of the 9/11 attacks, al-Qaeda – in exchange for America not continuing to attack the jihadist group.

Biden (rather, his handlers) would roll us back to John Forbes Kerry's disasterous Iran Deal and it would be business as usual for the arms brokers. How many more billions are we going to send over there. The Taliban are - in effect - acting as peacemakers by being the strongman in an area of the world that respects strongmen. They are not stupid and will serve to moderate the more extreme.

Peace in the Middle East

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From Associated Press:

Reports: Israeli PM flew to Saudi Arabia, met crown prince
Israeli media reported Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia for a clandestine meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which would mark the first known encounter between senior Israeli and Saudi officials.

The reported meeting was the latest move by the Trump Administration to promote normalized ties between Israel and the broader Arab world and reflected the shared concern of all three nations about Iran.

The Israeli news site Walla, followed quickly by other Hebrew-language media, cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying that Netanyahu and Yossi Cohen, head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, flew to the Saudi city of Neom on Sunday, where they met with the crown prince. The prince was there for talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

John Kerry said that there would never be peace in the middle east. President Trump said: "Hold my beer"

A buffoon - John Forbes Kerry

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To think that this jackass thought he could be our President. Couldn't even be Secretary of State. Clueless:

This is from just four years ago. As President Trump said: "Hold my beer and watch this."  I love too that the palestinians are fading into irrelevance.  Good for them. They played their hand wrong every time and are paying for it now.

Peace is breaking out

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President Trump is the first president in a long time to not start any new wars. Quite the opposite. From FOX News:

Trump announces peace deal between Sudan and Israel, says more nations will normalize relations
President Trump on Friday announced a peace deal that would normalize ties with between Israel and Sudan, claiming there "would be many more peace deals to come in the Middle East."

Trump invited reporters into the Oval Office while he was on the phone with the leaders of Israel and Sudan to discuss the latest U.S.-brokered deal in the run-up to Election Day.

"Three months ago, no one thought this was possible. Even Bibi didn't know if this was possible, right Bibi?" Trump asked his ally, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump said Sudan had demonstrated a commitment to battling terrorism. "This is one of the great days in the history of Sudan," Trump said, adding that Israel and Sudan have been in a state of war for decades.

Nobel Peace Prize anyone?

Now this would be delightful - from Al-Masdar Al-'Arabi:

Muammar Gaddafi’s cousin to sue Hillary Clinton for ‘destroying Libya’
The political official of the Libyan National Struggle Front, Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, began on Monday, the first steps to sue former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on charges of spreading destruction and supporting terrorism in Libya.

The cousin of the late Libyan president, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, said in an exclusive interview with Sputnik that he had assigned his legal team to sue the former U.S. Secretary of State.

Gaddaf al-Dam added that he provided the legal team with other documents not released by the U.S. State Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton on charges of spreading destruction and supporting terrorism in Libya.

A bit more - the history:

Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi was forced to abandon Tripoli and take refuge near the city of Sirte, where he was later captured by anti-government forces and subsequently killed by his captors in 2011.

Gaddafi had given up all of his weapons of mass destruction and was complying with the United States and NATOs wishes.  Hillary wanted to start a war and she did.  She got what she wanted, not what was good for everyone. Tip of the hat to Don Surber for the link.  Don had this to say: I hope the Libyans clean her clock and bankrupt her. I agree totally.

Curious - from The Jerusalem Post:

Saudi ex-intel chief slams Palestinian's criticism of UAE-Israel deal
Saudi Arabia's former intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, slammed the Palestinian leadership for criticizing the decision of some Gulf states to normalize ties with Israel.

In an interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television aired on Monday, the prince labeled the Palestinian authorities' criticism a "transgression" and "reprehensible discourse."

"The Palestinian cause is a just cause but its advocates are failures, and the Israeli cause is unjust but its advocates have proven to be successful. That sums up the events of the last 70 or 75 years," he said in the first of a three-part airing of the interview.

"There is something that successive Palestinian leadership historically share in common: they always bet on the losing side, and that comes at a price."

Much more at the site. Heh - got to love the coment: "they always bet on the losing side" They could have had their own Nation and they could have had peace with Israel at any time. Israel was more than willing to accomodate them.  Instead, they thought that they were relevant and they thought that they could get everything they asked for. They used terrorism as a negotiating tactic.

Now, watch their power and their relavence melt away into the sand.  A bunch of has-beens.  The origin of their claim is interesting.  Yasser Arafat was an Egyptian who studied in Moscow for nine years.  The palestinian conflict was a KGB dirty trick.

From the last headline:

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets into Israel on Tuesday, wounding two people in an attack that was apparently timed to coincide with the signing of normalization agreements between Israel and two Arab countries at the White House.

The Palestinians are opposed to the agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, viewing them as a betrayal of their cause by the Arab countries, which agreed to recognize Israel without securing territorial concessions.

Heh - the "palestinians" just got marginalized back to the stone age. They were used to being a key player in the strife between Israel and the Arab world. That strife just evaporated and with it, their entire raison d'être.

They are getting squeezed out of the spotlight and do not like it. They have been playing the perpetually aggrieved and anti-Israel card since their founding in 1960's by the Russian KGB with Yasser Arafat as titular head. Arafat spent nine years in Moscow being trained at Patrice Lumumba University

From Jewish News Syndicate:

Palestinian Authority recalls Bahrain envoy following deal with Israel
The Palestinian Authority recalled its envoy to Manama after Bahrain and Israel announced a U.S.-brokered peace deal on Friday, undoing a decades-long policy not to establish ties with the Jewish state until a Palestinian state is created.

Bahrain followed the United Arab Emirates, which agreed last month to normalize ties with Israel.

“The UAE and Bahrain are contributing to Trump’s presidential campaign at the expense of the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine. The normalization race is not the answer to the achievement of Palestinian freedom and independence,” tweeted Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat. “It’s an affirmation to the Palestinian leadership and people, in Palestine and around the world, of their approval of normalizing Israel’s annexation of occupied Jerusalem and the reality of apartheid it has created in Palestine.”

They could have had lasting peace 20 years ago if they gave up their support of terrorism. Their people would be so much better off - culturally, economically, all ways.

Fifteen Minutes? From Andy

Bahrain is the second nation to agree to full diplomatic relations with Israel. From President Trump's twitter account:

Meanwhile, the media? Nothing but crickets...

Rapidly losing relevance - "palestine"

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They should have moved away from terrorism and pressed for peace years ago. Now, they are just a marginalized bitter failed plot of the KGB. From Israel National News:

Arab League rejects PA demand to condemn Israel-UAE deal
The Arab League on Wednesday failed to pass a resolution proposed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) which would have condemned the normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Times of Israel reports.

“After a three-hour debate, some Arab countries refused to include [a] statement condemning [the UAE] for abandoning Arab decisions. Additionally, they struck out a clause which discussed the trilateral agreement” between the UAE, the US, and Israel, the PA representative to the Arab League, Muhannad al-Aklouk, was quoted as having told the Ma’an news agency.

Senior Arab League official Hussam Zaki said, “Discussion around this point was serious and comprehensive. But it did not lead to agreement over the resolution proposed by the Palestinians.”

Zaki said the PA representatives had insisted they would either accept a condemnation of the agreement or no statement on the issue at all.

“A number of amendments were proposed, and then counter-amendments…and we were at a point in which Palestinian demands had not been realized, and the Palestinians preferred it not to pass rather than have it pass in a manner which they believed to be inadequate,” Zaki said.

Heh - they have always been having these non-negotiable demands and have never gotten anything for them. Israel has bent over backwards giving them the Gaza strip and all sorts of concessions. They have not given anything back.

Now, it is Door. Ass. Bang.  /  So sad. Too bad.  /  Turn out the lights when you leave.

Nice to see the rest of the Arab world recognizing Israel as a good friend and business partner.

The who?

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A flea with pretensions of grandeur. An artificial "nation" of displaced Jordanians. From Breitbart:

Palestinians Threaten to Cut Ties After 3 Countries Announce Jerusalem Embassies
The Palestinian Authority warned on Sunday that it would cut ties with any country that opened its embassy in Jerusalem, after Serbia, Kosovo, and Malawi announced their intentions to open diplomatic missions in the Israeli capital.

“Palestine will sever its relations with any country that will move or open its embassy to Jerusalem,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said in a tweet.

Their window of reconciliation is closing rapidly. Their time to make peace with Israel is now. They need to think of their citizens - life for them would be so much better allied to the economic dynamo that is Israel. Give up the terror and embrace love.

A new commercial flight route

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This is huge. From OAN News:

White House Officials Make Historic Flight To UAE With Israeli Prime Minister
Trump administration and Israeli officials landed in the first ever direct commercial passenger flight to the United Arab Emirates from Israel. The two delegations took off from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport early Monday in an Israeli commercial plane landing in Abu Dhabi.

This came just a couple weeks after the Trump administration’s historic UAE peace deal, which established open relations between Israel and the UAE.

“We hope that that this will start an even more historic journey for the Middle East and beyond,” stated White House senior advisor Jared Kushner. “I prayed yesterday at the (Western) Wall that Muslims and Arabs from throughout the world will be watching this flight, recognizing that we are all children of God, and that the future does not have to be pre-determined by the past.”

Kushner and security advisor Robert O’Brien made remarks upon landing in which they noted that they aim to lay the groundwork for the peace deal on this trip. This is part of Kushner’s greater tour of the Middle East with hopes to tie more countries into the peace deal.

A major victory by President Trump completely ignored by the mainstream media. We are seeing the formation of Peace in the Middle East happening before our very eyes. Anyone could have shown the leadership to do this. Only President Trump actually did it.

Press conference today

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Great little clip from today's presser with President Trump - Alicia Powe from Gateway Pundit asks a good question:

Got to love his comment about Biden not even knowing the names of the countries over there. Biden is trying to claim credit as part of his and Obambam's (spelling? - memory is fading) legacy.

The Beirut explosion

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Good article at Asia Times:

More questions than answers in ashes of Beirut
Lebanese President Michael Aoun has rejected any international probe into the Beirut explosion that has so far claimed 154 lives, injured hundreds of others and destroyed the dwellings of between 200,000 and 300,000 people. 

Despite growing protests in Lebanon, the authorities are blocking any serious investigation and don’t appear to be trying to do any on their own. Meanwhile, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah categorically denied that Hezbollah was storing any arms in Beirut’s port and has warned against any attempt to blame his group for the disaster. 

The Beirut Port Manager and Customs Chief have both been arrested, though it isn’t clear they are at fault. At least 16 others have been arrested so far. What we do know is that there were multiple warnings before the devastating blast.

In 2018, the Israeli military (IDF) publicly identified at least three locations stretching the short distance from Beirut’s docks to the outskirts of nearby Beirut airport where Hezbollah was reputedly building precision-guided missiles. The IDF published overhead photos of the locations and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to the United Nations on December 17, 2018, raised alarm about the Hezbollah missile program.

Much more at the site - lots of links. Similar build-up in England and Germany a few years ago but they acted. Germany went so far as to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

Bringer of Peace

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What with all the strife and craziness at home and what with how the media does not give President Trump a break, events like this pass unnoticed:

And, of course, the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to President Trump in  3... 2... 1...
- - - crickets - - -

From Dilbert's creator Scott Adams:

Najaf is a city of over 1,000,000 in central Iraq - the center of Shi'a political power in Iraq.

6:30 minute video of the blast and some commentary:

And do not forget that in 2017 and 2018, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went before the United Nations.
From the August 28th, 2017 Chiang Rai Times:

Netanyahu tells UN Chief Iran Building Missile Production Sites in Syria and Lebanon
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres Monday that Iran is building sites to produce precision-guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon, with the aim of using them against Israel.

At the start of a meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu accused Iran of turning Syria into a “base of military entrenchment as part of its declared goal to eradicate Israel.”

“It is also building sites to produce precision-guided missiles towards that end, in both Syria and in Lebanon. This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the UN should not accept,” Netanyahu said as the two spoke during a joint press conference.

And from the September 27, 2018 Jewish News Syndicate:

At UN, Netanyahu reveals hidden Iranian nuclear site, secret Lebanon missiles
In his address at the U.N. General Assembly’s 73rd session on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visual in hand, revealed a hidden Iranian nuclear facility and secret missiles in Lebanon’s capital.

And the location:

“Hezbollah is using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields,” said Netanyahu, holding up a photo of a missile site beneath a soccer stadium. “Israel also knows what you are doing.”

The soccer field is very close to where the blast took place. And then, there is this warning from a few days ago:
From July 27th, 2020 - The Times of Israel:

Netanyahu: Hezbollah is playing with fire; any attack to be met with great force
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued warnings against Hezbollah and its backers in Iran after the terror group’s failed attempt to infiltrate Israel and attack IDF soldiers on the northern border earlier Monday.

The Israeli military said no IDF soldiers were injured during the border incident, which saw Israeli forces open fire at a number of fighters from the terror group that entered Israeli territory, according to the army. Hezbollah denied the clash took place, calling it “absolutely false.”

So, my guess is either a surgical strike for which the Mossad are well known or a simple workplace accident. My bet is on the latter as Israel respects innocent lives. They are death to terrorists but do not harm innocent civilians.

My bet is that Hezbollah was ramping up to something big and somebody accidentally dropped a wrench on the wrong piece of bangy stuff. Could not happen to a nicer group of people. As always, the best and the brightest.

Can't catch a break - Iran

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Iran has had three explosions of unknown origin in some of their sooper sekreet nuke factories. Nobody knows what happened...  Now this - from United With Israel

7 Iranian Ships Catch Fire, Burn
Seven ships have caught fire in the latest of a string of explosions in recent weeks in Iran.

At least seven ships have caught fire in the Port of Bushehr in southern Iran Wednesday afternoon, local news sites reported.

The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is located 17 kilometers southeast of the city of Bushehr, along the Persian Gulf.

The circumstances of the incident were not reported.

The incident is the latest in a string of explosions in Iran in recent weeks, including at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.

Well dagnabbit - looks like 2020 is turning out just as bad for them as it is for us. Sure sucks to be them - wonder when they will come to their senses and stop being a state sponsor of terrorism.

Got a couple more - Syria

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Great news from military.com

Drone Strike Kills 2 al-Qaida Commanders in NW Syria
A drone strike in northwestern Syria on Sunday killed two senior commanders with an al-Qaida-linked group, opposition activists said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strike was believed to have been carried out by the U.S.-led coalition, which has been targeting extremists in Syria for years.

The drone strike hit a vehicle carrying the two commanders -- a Jordanian and a Yemeni -- in the northwestern province of Idlib, the last remaining rebel stronghold in war-torn Syria. Idlib is dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants, and is also home to 3 million civilians.

The Observatory said the men killed were with the al-Qaida-linked Horas al-Din group, Arabic for “Guardians of Religion.” Horas al-Din are hardcore al-Qaida elements who broke away from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the strongest insurgent group in the Idlib enclave.

And also:

In neighboring Lebanon, the Lebanese army said the military carried out an operation in the eastern town of Brital on Sunday liberating 23 people, including women and children, who were kidnapped two weeks ago.

Great news indeed. We do not need a large standing presence over there. We have the high ground - both morally and technologically. Bomb these mokes back into the 9th century where they come from.

Yesterday, President Trump got tired of the constant harrasment by the Iranian Navy ships targeting our Navy ships operating in international waters. Today, The Iranians responded. From Reuters:

Guards chief: U.S. warships will be destroyed if they threaten Iran in Gulf
Iran will destroy U.S. warships if its security is threatened in the Gulf, the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards told state TV on Thursday, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Tehran over “harassment” of U.S. vessels.

“I have ordered our naval forces to destroy any American terrorist force in the Persian Gulf that threatens security of Iran’s military or non-military ships,” Major General Hossein Salami said. “Security of the Persian Gulf is part of Iran’s strategic priorities.”

Pure bluster. I would love to see them try. They may get the first lick in but if they do, many of their assets will be chilling on the bottom of the Gulf for eternity.

Once they established the narrative that America is The Great Satan, it became unable for them to back down. Now, anything that America offers has to be bad and detrimental to the Iranian people, government and culture. The mullahs have painted themselves into a corner. From the New York Times:

Iran Leader Refuses US Help, Citing Virus Conspiracy Theory
Iran's supreme leader refused U.S. assistance Sunday to fight the new coronavirus, citing an unfounded conspiracy theory claiming the virus could be man-made by America.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments come as Iran faces crushing U.S. sanctions blocking the country from selling its crude oil and accessing international financial markets.

But while Iranian civilian officials in recent days have increasingly criticized those sanctions, 80-year-old Khamenei instead chose to traffic in the same conspiracy theory increasingly used by Chinese officials about the new virus to deflect blame for the pandemic.

“I do not know how real this accusation is but when it exists, who in their right mind would trust you to bring them medication?" Khamenei said. "Possibly your medicine is a way to spread the virus more.”

"In their right mind" indeed - the people like Khamenei are just plain stupid. They fail to realize that their polarizing politics has no exit strategy. There is no graceful way for them to exit and move to a narrative based on truth. One day, their people are going to learn the truth and they will be pissed off. Mountains will fall. Life in the ninth century was brutal and short and these mullahs seek to perpetuate it - keep their constituency uneducated and afraid so they can remain in power. Pitiful.

An interesting development - the Taliban

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A lot of times, someone starts out as a common street thug, gains some public notice and notoriety and they then become financially secure. When this happens, they become civilized and integrate into society. Look at most of your popular rappers - 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg or Jay Z to name just a few. They started out on the streets but are now multi-millionaires and as for integrating into society, they put out Christmas albums and Children's albums. Quite the shift from their roots.

Same thing seems to be happening in the Middle East with the Taliban. From the United States Department of State:

Next Steps Toward a U.S. Agreement with the Taliban
The United States and the Taliban have been engaged in extensive talks to facilitate a political settlement to end the war in Afghanistan, reduce United States and Allied Forces presence, and ensure that no terrorist group ever uses Afghan soil to threaten the United States or our allies.

In recent weeks, in consultation with the Government of National Unity, U.S. negotiators in Doha have come to an understanding with the Taliban on a significant and nationwide reduction in violence across Afghanistan. Upon a successful implementation of this understanding, signing of the U.S.-Taliban agreement is expected to move forward. We are preparing for the signing to take place on February 29. Intra-Afghan negotiations will start soon thereafter, and will build on this fundamental step to deliver a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire and the future political roadmap for Afghanistan. The only way to achieve a sustainable peace in Afghanistan is for Afghans to come together and agree on the way forward.

Challenges remain, but the progress made in Doha provides hope and represents a real opportunity. The United States calls on all Afghans to seize this moment.

The United States thanks the State of Qatar and all other allies and partners for their support of peace in Afghanistan.

This is a major seismic shift. The Taliban have arisen as the top dog in Afghanistan and we have gone to them and said essentially, rule Afghanistan peacefully and we will have your back. Allow for terrorism and we will wipe you off the face of this planet. Looks like the Taliban has matured and is amenable to this wisdom. Great news.

I was a bit too young to travel over there during the golden years of the 1960's - it was a hippie paradise back then. Maybe they will be open to tourism in a few years - gorgeous country from what I have seen.

Peace in the Middle East?

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Looks like there is a good chance of it - a good analysis from Don Surber:

Trump makes Palestine an offer too good to refuse
The experts in Washington told you killing General قاسم سلیمانی ignited World War 3. I told you it would bring peace. I trusted President Donald John Trump. They hate him. I got it right. They didn't.

Hate makes you stupid.

Killing قاسم سلیمانی jeopardized Iran's terrorism program which he headed. Today, President Trump followed through with a Middle East proposal that creates a Palestinian state, opens Temple Mount to all three Abrahamic religions, and invests $50 billion to create a million jobs for Palestinians.

A bit more and of course, the palestinian "leadership" do not want their sweet sweet money machine to be interrupted:

The Washington Examiner, "The plan was three years in the making and spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

"Palestinians have presumptively rejected the proposal, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas calling Trump a dog.

The plan is supported by both the majority and minority leaders (Netanyahu and Gantz) of Israel. Looks good. Now that Iran is no longer interested in sponsering terrorism, maybe the palestinians will wake up to reality. This is a sweeheart deal and if they do not go for it, it will be a cold day in hell before they are offered another deal like this.

Peace in the Middle East - baby steps

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Amazing bit of news from The Algemeiner:

Muslim World League Chief al-Issa Joins Holocaust Survivors in Historic Tribute at Auschwitz
The head of the one of the world’s largest Muslim organizations paid an unprecedented visit to the site of the Auschwitz extermination camp on Thursday, where he participated in remembrance prayers for the Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

Dr. Muhammad al-Issa — the secretary-general of the Mecca-based Muslim World League (MWL) — joined with survivors of the Holocaust in paying his respects at the camp as the world prepares for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on Jan. 27.

20200124-alissaauschwitz.jpgMohammad al-Issa (center, with black robe), secretary-general
of the Muslim World League, visits Auschwitz, Jan. 23, 2020.
Photo: Reuters / Kacper Pempel.

“To be here, among the children of Holocaust survivors and members of the Jewish and Islamic communities, is both a sacred duty and a profound honor,” al-Issa said. “The unconscionable crimes to which we bear witness today are truly crimes against humanity. That is to say, a violation of us all, an affront to all of God’s children.”

Al-Issa has established the MWL as a leading Muslim partner for dialogue with Judaism and other faiths since he was appointed to take over the Saudi-backed organization in 2016.

In May 2018, al -Issa paid a public visit to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, where he strongly condemned Holocaust denial.

And in an extensive interview with The Algemeiner earlier that same year, he firmly rejected those who present the Islamic faith as a license to engage in sectarian persecution.

Doing so “negates the tradition of the Creator Almighty, who created His universe in such a way that it contains diversity and variety,” al-Issa said.

Dr. al-Issa is most definitley one of the good guys. Nice to see the pendulum swinging back to normalcy again.

The Algemeiner is based out of New York City and is one of the largest English language Jewish newspapers in the world.

About time - Saudi military

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From the Washington Examiner:

US to expel over a dozen Saudi trainees after review of Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting
The United States is poised to expel more than a dozen Saudi servicemen training at U.S. military installations following a review of last month's shooting at the naval air station in Pensacola, Florida.

According to CNN, the trainees are not accused of aiding the shooter, a 21-year-old Saudi Air Force second lieutenant who killed three American sailors and wounded several others, but are said to have connections to extremist movements. Sources told the outlet that some are also accused of possessing child pornography.

Last month, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi flight student, opened fire at the naval air station before he was killed by responding law enforcement officers.

Since then, about a dozen Saudi trainees at the base have been confined to their quarters while the FBI investigated the shooting as a possible terror attack and the Pentagon reviewed all Saudi military trainees in the country. The Navy also grounded around 300 Saudi military aviation students at three different bases as part of a "safety stand-down."

The Department of Justice is expected to declare that the shooting was an act of terrorism, a U.S. official told CNN. No co-conspirators have been charged.

Door. Ass. Bang. They are here at our convenience and if there is any reason to suspect that they are not loyal, send them back home.

About that Ukrainian air crash in Iran

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Posted about it yesterday. Shit just got real interesting - from The Last Refuge:

Iran Refuses to Hand Over Black Box From Fatal Boeing Crash Near Tehran – Nose of SAM Missile Discovered Near Crash Site…
In the aftermath of Ukraine Airlines Flight 752 exploding and crashing just north of Tehran airport, the Iranian government is refusing to turn-over the black box flight data recorders recovered from the crash site. Combined with the timing and location, their refusal is leading to increased speculation the flight may have accidentally been targeted by Iranian air-defense systems. The tragedy is being compounded by Iranian politics.

The Boeing 737-800 is a very dependable aircraft with three decades of service. This specific Ukraine aircraft was built in 2016 & just had a service inspection on January 6th. Immediately after the crash, Iranian officials stated the cause was “technical difficulties”, and after video surfaced showing the plane was on fire heading to the ground, Iran later stated the cause was one of the engines on fire. However, there was no distress call or report of issue, from very experienced Ukraine pilots to Tehran air-traffic control.

Lots of tweets and pictures of the found nose cone with photos of an un-deployed SAM.
Looks like the airplane was shot down.

As the losers rattle their small sabers

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It is all over for them - the clean fresh wind of Liberty is in the air. The head of the dinosaur does not know that the rest of its body is dead quite yet. From Reuters:

Multiple rockets fall in Green Zone, Baghdad, air base: Iraqi military
Several rockets fell on Saturday inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, its Jadriya neighborhood, and the Balad air base housing U.S. troops, the Iraqi military said, adding that there were no deaths.

“Several rockets targeting Celebration Square and the Jadriya area in Baghdad, and the Balad air base in Salahuddin province, with no loss of life. Further details to come,” the military said in a statement.

Is that the best they can do now? Sounds pretty impotent to me. Looks like terrorism and the state sponsorship thereof is falling out of favor for a while. 2020 is turning out to be a very good year on a lot of fronts.

I am so glad that this moron did not get into the White House - would have been a disaster. From RealClear Politics:

Trump: John Kerry Is Sabotaging Talks With Iran, Should Be Prosecuted For Violating Logan Act
During an impromptu press conference Thursday afternoon, President Trump addressed negotiations with Iran, saying "I'd like to see them call me." Trump also accused former Secretary of State John Kerry of telling the Iranians not to negotiate. Kerry led negotiations with Iran during the Obama administration that culminated in the nuclear deal that the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from.

"John Kerry tells them not to call," Trump said. "But John Kerry violated the Logan Act. He's talking to Iran and has been, has many meetings and many phone calls. And he's telling them what to do."

And a bit more:

But John Kerry violated the Logan Act. He's talking to Iran and has been, has many meetings and many phone calls. And he's telling them what to do. That is a total violation of the Logan Act, because what they should be doing is--their economy is a mess ever since I took away the Iran deal. They have inflation that's the highest number I've ever heard. They are having riots every weekend and during the week even.

And what they should be doing is calling me up, sitting down. We can make a deal, fair deal. We just don't want them to have nuclear weapons, not too much to ask. And we would help put them back into great shape. They're in bad shape right now. I look forward to the day where we can actually help Iran. We're not looking to hurt Iran. I want them to be strong and great and have a great economy.

But they're listening to John Kerry, who violated a very important element of what he's supposed to be doing. He violated the Logan Act, plain and simple. He shouldn't be doing that. But they should call, and if they do, we're open to talking to them. We have no secrets. And they can be very, very strong financially. They have great potential, very much like North Korea.

That is it in a nutshell - Iran could be an economic powerhouse if it got rid of its theocratic tyrants and installed a democratic republic that rewarded hard work and fiscal responsibility. The citizens of Iran want this - there are demonstrations going on all the time. The ruling elites do not want anyone taking away their rice bowls so they are resisting.

Now that President Trump has shown that he can "Reach out and touch someone", the Iranian regieme might be a little more open to negotiation. And yes, the Logan Act has been on the books since 1799 - it is very much "a thing".

The people of Iran

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Sounds like they are sick and tired of living under theocratic tyrrany - from The Gateway Pundit:

Iranians Celebrate! Thank President Trump for Killing Soleimani Using Hashtag #TnxPOTUS4Soleimani
Iranians online are cheering the assassination of Iran Quds Force leader Major General Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad early Friday local time, with many thanking President Trump with a hashtag that reads: #TnxPOTUS4Soleimani. Many observers regarded Soleimani as the second most powerful person in Iran behind the Supreme Leader.

Lots of tweets at the site - I guess that Mr. Soleimani was not well liked by the citizenry of Iran.

One of the 280+ comments:

Obama: "You better not cross my red line or else."
Trump: "Hold my Diet Coke and watch this."

Heh - spot on.

Another example of Obama's "legacy" - from Breitbart:

Iranian Militia Leader Leading Iraq U.S. Embassy Raid Listed as Obama White House Guest
Iranian militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, one of several identified as leading an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, reportedly visited the White House in 2011 during the presidency of Barack Obama.

On Tuesday, a mob in Baghdad attacked the U.S. embassy in retaliation against last weekend’s U.S. airstrikes against the Iran-backed Shiite militia Kataib Hezbollah (KH), responsible for killing an American civilian contractor. KH is one of a number of pro-Iran militias that make up the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF/PMU), which legally became a wing of the Iraqi military after fighting the Sunni Islamic State terrorist group.

President Donald Trump has since accused Iran of having “orchestrated” the embassy attack and stated that the government would be “held fully responsible.”

Much more at the site - typical leftist tactic of using a mob of useful idiots to manufacture outrage and advance their narrative. Their problem is that President Trump and his advisers are on to these simple tricks. Like I said yesterday - I bet there is some fascinating munitions being readied right now. Ka Boom.

If the Iraqi government wants to be a player on the world stage, they need to learn how to sit at the adults table.

Today in three headlines

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A bunch of splody-dopes stormed the American Embassy in Iran - clickable links:

We have some very interesting precision guided munitions and I bet that a bunch of them are being readied right now. I am reminded of the quote attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto:

I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

3... 2... 1... Ka Boom

Another public shooting - Navy base

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From Associated Press:

US digs into Saudi shooting suspect motive in Navy shooting
U.S. law enforcement officials were digging into the background of the suspected Florida Naval station shooter Friday, to determine the Saudi Air Force officer’s motive and whether it was connected to terrorism.

As questions swirled about the shooting, which left four people dead and multiple people wounded, officials identified the suspect as 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, an aviation officer in the Saudi Air Force. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Alshamrani was attending the aviation school at the base, one of hundreds of international military members who are receiving training there. The shooter opened fire in a classroom building on Friday morning.

The U.S. has long had a robust training program for Saudis, providing assistance in the U.S. and in the Kingdom. And the Trump administration has sent several Patriot missile batters and hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia this year in the wake of attacks on the kingdom that officials blame on Iran.

On Friday, President Donald Trump said he got a call from Saudi King Salman, who expressed “his sincere condolences” and sent sympathies to the families of those involved.

It will be interesting to see if King Salman starts prosecuting terrorists. The Saudis have been very lax so far but since oil prices are so low, they have more incentive to play nice.

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