Tag Archives: Hamas

Hey, what about Bannon and the NSC?

It’s almost impossible to keep up with all the stories that pass through the light of intense publicity only to disappear into the darkness … as it relates to Donald John Trump’s administration.

Remember the story about Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart.com executive, alleged white nationalist, political adviser becoming a member of the principals committee on the National Security Council?

Bannon is still on the NSC. He’s still getting the regular briefings, sitting in a chair that should be filled by the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and the director of national intelligence. Trump demoted those two military and intelligence leaders in favor of partisan political animals such as Bannon.

He’s a political hack who serves on one of the most ostensibly non-political bodies in our massive federal government.

Why is this guy still there? Why is the new national security adviser, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster sitting or standing still for this travesty?

Bannon doesn’t belong on the principals committee. He now serves as chief political adviser for the president. He fulfills an entirely different role, vastly separate from anything that the National Security Council does. The NSC’s role is to provide the president with keen, sharp and non-political analysis of national security threats. The national security adviser essentially is the chief administrative official of the NSC. From all that I’ve read and heard about Lt. Gen. McMaster, he appears to be a scholar with a superb military mind.

Bannon status as political hack in chief ought to disqualify him from such his posting as a member of the principals committee.

Yet this story stays hidden in the background.

What kind of advice does Bannon give the president when, say, a Middle East nation moves on another one? What kind of advice does he offer when North Korea lobs a missile into Seoul, South Korea? Or when Hamas starts firing ordnance from Gaza into neighborhoods in southern Israel?

Bannon offers no national security credibility. There he is, though. He’s perched among the other “principals” offering advice to the president of the United States.

This guy frightens the crap out of me.

How does a ‘one-state solution’ work?

Let’s revisit for a moment Donald J. Trump’s statement that backs away from a decades-old U.S. policy in support of a two-state solution for lasting peace in the Middle East.

The president, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he could support a “one-state solution” if both sides agree to it.

Hmmm. How would that work?

One side would be the Israelis. The Palestinians are on the other side. A one-state solution, I am going to presume, suggests that Israel would be the sovereign state that would operate under a peace agreement. How do you suppose the Palestinians — who say they want an independent sovereign state — would react to that? My take is that they wouldn’t stand for it.

This is why previous presidents of both parties have supported a two-state solution that would allow Israel and the Palestinians to live side by side.

Yes, there remains a huge hurdle to clear: The Palestinians must accept Israel’s right to exist and they must cease the terrorist attacks — launched by groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah — against Israeli citizens.

If there can be an accord reached, it appears that the only option is for a two-state solution.

Why, then, did the president back away from what all of his predecessors have sought for the embattled Middle East?

Trump: Who needs a ‘two-state solution’?

Donald J. Trump has performed yet another amazing diplomatic deed.

While visiting today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump managed to pull back from the United States’ traditional support for a “two-state solution” in the search for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Trump now all but indicated he’d support a “one-state solution” that doesn’t allow a Palestinian state that could live peacefully with Israel.

Ugghhh!

I’ve long sought to give Netanyahu support in his fight against terrorists who keep bringing violence to Israel. I believe the Israelis deserve to protect themselves using any means necessary to defeat the forces of evil that seek to destroy their nation.

However, U.S. presidents of both political parties have been correct for decades in seeking a peace agreement that sets up an independent Palestinian state that would function alongside Israel.

I understand fully the difficulty facing Israel and the Palestinians in achieving a full-fledged peace. Terrorist groups operating in Gaza, which is run by the Palestinians, keep launching rockets and other ordnance against Israel. West Bank operatives keep bringing havoc as well.

However, to deny the Palestinians an opportunity to have their own state is an utterly insane strategy. It is counterproductive in the extreme. It would inflame the terrorists and it would result in continued violence, death, mayhem and heartache.

How do the two sides reach a “two-state accord”? I have no idea. Neither do the principals. However, they must continue the effort.

For the president of the United States — as the premier broker in seeking a lasting peace agreement — to forgo the search for such an agreement is irresponsible to a maximum degree.

As if it could get any crazier in the Middle East

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So … you might be asking: How complicated can it get in the Middle East?

Here’s a thought: Al-Qaeda could become something of an “ally” of ours if the terror organization decides to train its guns on another terror organization.

You remember those guys, right? They flew the airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and launched the current Global War on Terror. We hunted down Osama bin Laden and killed his sorry backside in Pakistan. We’ve been fighting al-Qaeda ever since.

Now we have the Islamic State to contend with. We’ve been taking those monstrous terrorists as well.

Now comes word that al-Qaeda might decide to go after the Islamic State in Syria.

Which of these terror cabals poses the greatest threat to the United States and our allies? Do we take sides?

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/al-qaeda-turns-to-syria-with-a-plan-to-challenge-isis/ar-BBt5p8n?li=BBnbcA1

Here’s a thought. Maybe we ought to just let al-Qaeda do what reports indicate it intends to do. The Shiite terror group might have determined that ISIL — the Sunni monsters — pose a grave threat to them.

The report attached to this blog post suggests al-Qaeda might seek to “compete” with ISIL for supremacy in the dark world of Middle East terrorists. What about, oh, Hezbollah and Hamas? Why not “compete” against them as well?

Of course we’re not going to take sides. Nor should we.

My own hope is that “compete” actually means to “fight,” which means one terror group is going to kill members of the other terror group.

If that’s what transpires, then let ’em fight.

 

Hezbollah leader killed … good! Let there be more

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Mustafa Badreddine was a bad actor.

He’s now dead. Who killed this terrorist? Hezbollah, the terror organization he helped lead, thinks the Israelis are responsible for the bomb blast that killed Badreddine in Syria.

Israel isn’t commenting. Officials there usually stay mum about these incidents.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/top-hezbollah-commander-kille-in-syria/ar-BBt07l2?li=BBnb7Kz

If the Israelis indeed are responsible for the death of Hezbollah’s top military leader, my initial reaction is this: Good deal … now let’s go after the rest of them!

I am one who strongly backs Israel’s effort to defend itself against the terror threat the nation’s existence every day.

I’ve had the honor and the pleasure to travel throughout the country. It was seven years ago this week, in fact, that I ventured to Israel for a month with four dear friends as part of a Rotary International Group Study Exchange.

One of the places we visited was in Nahariyah, on the country’s northern border with Lebanon. We could see the fortified border — complete with barbed wire and watch towers — along the ridgeline where we toured. Just on the other side of that border is a nation where Hezbollah runs wild.

Just as Hamas has launched rockets into Israel from Gaza, Hezbollah has done the same from Lebanon and Syria. They send their missiles into neighborhoods, targeting civilians. The Israelis are forced into a constant state of alert against these terrorist organizations.

Do the Israelis make any apologies for the measures they take to eradicate terrorist leaders? Absolutely not … nor should they.

As Reuters reports: “Israel deems Hezbollah its most potent enemy and worries that it is becoming entrenched on its Syrian front and acquiring more advanced weaponry.”

It wouldn’t surprise any observer of this ongoing conflict to learn that Israeli agents detonated the bomb that killed Badreddine.

Will the Israelis own up to it? Probably not.

That’s all right with me.

 

Bibi's no nut, but he needs to rethink some things

Benjamin Netanyahu has won another extension as Israeli prime minister.

His Likud Party won more seats in the Knesset than any other party, but it still lacks an outright majority. So Bibi’s going to have to compromise here and there if he hopes to govern his country.

Contrary to what you might have gathered from a couple of recent posts about Bibi’s campaign, I actually feel a bit of sympathy for the tough line he takes in governing Israel.

Netanyahu is an Israeli army veteran. He’s seen the enemy up close. His brother was killed in that daring 1976 hostage rescue mission in Uganda. So, Bibi’s heart has been broken by violence.

I still believe he made a mistake in coming to the United States to speak to Congress without first consulting with President Obama. The snub — by him and by House Speaker John Boehner, who invited him — has damaged U.S.-Israel relations. But let’s get one thing straight: The nations remain critical allies.

All that said, his victory now enables Netanyahu to work with Obama to repair the damage. I trust he’ll do so. He talked while in this country about the special relationship the countries have had for the past six decades.

He campaigned hard in the waning days of the campaign by declaring an end to Palestinian settlements. That, too, was a mistake. Perhaps he can rethink that ban, given that the Palestinians are seeking to build a home of their own.

It’s good to understand, though, how Netanyahu views security in his country. It’s the single most vital issue with which he must deal.

The Hamas terrorists who govern Gaza have been lobbing missiles into Israel periodically since, oh, for as long as missiles have existed. Israel must be allowed to defend itself and to use whatever force it has to put down the attacks. To that end, Netanyahu is unafraid and I happen to applaud his courage in fighting Hamas.

The bigger picture, though, requires Netanyahu to understand that his country comprises citizens of widely diverse views. Not every Israeli shares his world view. I told you recently about a couple in Haifa who oppose Likud’s hard line and rest assured, there are others just like them.

Israel enjoys a special place in our network of allies. It deserves that special place and some special treatment. Benjamin Netanyahu, educated in this country — and able to speak to Americans like an American — isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

 

Why the masks, terrorists?

The thought keeps occurring to me: Why do terrorists keep covering their faces when they make these videos intended for international distribution?

Have you ever wondered?

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/how-isis-threatens-europe/ar-BBhZurk

The picture on the link here shows an Islamic State goon waving a knife at the camera. All you see are this fellow’s eyes. Why don’t they show themselves to the public? Why don’t they reveal their identity?

Is it because:

* They believe what they’re doing is wrong?

* They don’t want international cops, spooks, commandos, anti-terror analysts to identify them?

* They’re cowards?

Maybe it’s all of the above. I’m going with the coward angle, kind of like the way the Ku Klux Klan goons cover their faces under hoods.

Terrorists don’t comprehend that they commit criminal acts when they behead innocent victims. They don’t seem to have any understanding of “right” and “wrong” the way you and I do. They’ve perverted every single principle, concept and tenet under which civilized human beings live.

They’re surely hiding from the good guys, which might imply they know what they’re doing is wrong. I believe it’s more akin to the last part. They don’t want to get caught because they’re afraid of the consequence they’ll face.

Fear. Cowardice. Get it?

Some of them have deserted from military organizations in their home country, usually somewhere in the Middle East, to join forces with ISIL, Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda … whatever. They’re hiding their faces from their former military commanders.

In the end, though, it all seems to smack of cowardly acts. Just as lynchings were the acts of cowards in the United States a century ago, these terrorists have zero sense of honor and courage.

 

'Islamic terrorism' off the table at summit

The White House is going to play host to a summit discussion on international terrorism.

You won’t hear the words “Islamic terrorism,” though, used in that context.

How come?

http://nypost.com/2015/02/17/islamic-extremism-off-limits-at-white-house-terrorism-summit/

Conservatives have been critical of President Obama for declining to refer to Islamist terrorism. He’s been parsing his language carefully to call them simply “terrorists,” even though we’re bombing Islamic State targets, seeking out al-Qaeda terrorist cells and killing its leaders, and enlisting the aid of other allies to find terrorists linked to other Islamic groups, such as Hezbollah, Boko Haram and Hamas.

Don’t mention the words “Islamic terrorist,” though at this summit.

It’s an interesting and at times troubling quibble over the use of language.

I get where the critics are coming from, but at the risk of doing something that annoys me at times — such as trying to read the minds of political leaders — I think I’m going to offer one simple hypothesis for the linguistic omission: Barack Obama doesn’t want the Islamic extremists to use any additional pretext for suggesting that the West is waging a religious war against Islam.

Obama’s immediate predecessor, George W. Bush, made the point time and again that the United States is not doing battle against Islam. Obama has carried that message forward as he has continued taking the fight to the terrorists.

Yet, the Islamic terrorists — I’ll call them such here — keep trying to recruit fighters by suggesting that our side is fighting a religious war. President Obama says “no!,” just as President Bush said “no!” before him.

To use such language at the White House summit, I’m guessing, would enflame the passions further among those who continue to believe the lie that we’re waging war against one of the world’s great religions.

 

Hideous demonstration erupts at UC-Davis

How to describe what took place on a California university campus.

Hideous? Ghastly? Unconscionable? Reprehensible?

All of the above … and then some?

Sure, let’s go for it.

A group of anti-Israel students this past Thursday disrupted a University of California-Davis rally by Jewish students by shouting “Allahu Akbar!,” an Arabic phrase that means “God is great.” The pro-Israel students sought to protest a student government decision to divest from Israel as part of a student movement designed to protest Israeli policies in the Middle East.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/02/03/pro-palestinian-students-heckle-cal-davis-opponents-with-cries-allahu-akbar/

It got worse.

Some unknown vandals spray-painted swastikas on a fraternity house. Swastikas! The very symbol of the Nazi regime that exterminated an estimated 6 million Jews prior to and during World War II.

Some anti-Israel student posted a note on a Facebook page about Hamas and Sharia law taking over the UC-Davis campus. Whatever. Actually, Sharia law hasn’t taken over anything — let alone a major public university campus. As for Hamas — the notorious terrorist organization that runs the government in Gaza — it has been identified for what it is: a cabal of killers.

But the point here is that this kind of monstrous behavior shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere.

The anger expressed on the campus is preposterous in the extreme.

Free speech is worth protecting — but it ought at least to be civil.

'Terrorist' requires a nuanced definition? No

The Taliban is a terrorist organization.

That’s my view and I’m sticking to it — no matter how finely the White House press flack tries to parse the definition of the term “terrorist.”

Press secretary Josh Earnest sought Thursday to say that the Taliban carries out “acts that are akin to terrorism,” but stopped short of calling the brutal killers and kidnappers “terrorists.” He said the Taliban falls into a “different category.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/taliban-terrorists-white-house/story?id=28588120

I guess Earnest, speaking on behalf of the president, is saying the Obama administration believes it’s OK to negotiate with the Taliban, whereas the White House refuses to negotiate with, say, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, Hezbollah or Hamas.

I’m beginning to sense that the famed nuanced foreign policy apparatus that the Obama White House is conducting might be getting a little too cute.

The Taliban are taking credit almost weekly for attacks against civilians in Afghanistan. They’ve brought considerable havoc as well to innocent victims in neighboring Pakistan. Good grief! The Taliban send in suicide bombers, they set off explosive on roadways traveled by villagers going to market, they kidnap and disfigure girls and young women who have the gall to stand up for their rights.

You’re more than welcome to correct me on any of this, but doesn’t any of that fit the classic description of a terrorist organization?

Yep. That’s the Taliban.