Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Colonel Cassad, Oct 30 2014
Official representative of Gazprom Sergei Kupriyanov commented on the decision of the delegation of Gazprom to leave a tripartite gas talks-Russia-Ukraine-EU in Brussels, saying:
When there’s something to talk about, we’ll return. The Euian Commission needs to adjust a number of issues related to financing with Ukraine. Until they do that, continuing in a trilateral format is pointless. There is a question associated with financing the cash gap that arises from Naftogaz and its cover.
Answering the question whether Gazprom intended to resume the negotiations in the next few hours, Kupriyanov said:
It can be today. We will return if we hear that there is progress on the bilateral Protocol between Ukraine and Euia. If not, we’ll fly out.
Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that Gazprom delegation had already left the tripartite gas talks in Brussels and returned to Moscow. At the same time it was reported that in the first round of negotiations held in Brussels, Russia, Ukraine and Euia had so far failed to agree on gas supplies to Kiev. The head of the Ministry of energy of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak said that the meeting could resume if Kiev obtains financial guarantees of payment of fuel. He said:
Today, it was announced that Ukraine would find these tools. It is not about guarantees, but only about statements by the Ukrainian side, because, as you know, no written guarantees of today we have not been provided. In this regard, the risks concerning the fact to be a means or not, are offset by prepaid. We will have the money, there will be gas.
The key issue in negotiations that money for Ukraine and to pay the Treaty of Ukraine, Gazprom can only Europe, but she does not want to pay Russia got an attitude and openly says, you need it, you pay. As has been said after Milan, the Kremlin does not intend cowering and is now essentially Russia checks to see what the implications would be if a more assertive position in relations with Western partners. In this respect, the gas talks quite interesting, because if Europe will give money to Ukraine to resolve its problems with Gazprom, it means the hard line will justify itself. Now the ball is on the side of Europe, which “ponders” whether to give money to a questionable enterprise, or continue to try to put pressure on Russia, in the hope of new concessions.
El Murid, Oct 30 2014
The gas negotiations were held, but ended essentially nothing. Ukraine has not provided any guarantees for the payment of debts. Russia’s position is the same: money in the morning, gas in the evening. Soon the cost of negotiations will compare with the subject of negotiations. The Euians are in no hurry to seek money for their hand of the Nazis, but Merkel has already threatened to disable reverse for Ukraine if the latter does not agree with Russia, and Europe has problems with gas supply. It was stated that the settlement would be decorated by the signing of two protocols, but the practical meaning of signing all of the papers has been lost in the absence of safeguards and desire for payment. In Kiev between the two parties, the winner drawn elections to the Parliament are unable to reach a coalition agreement that creates uncertainty. Most likely, it also affects the regulation of the gas problems. The outlines of a new government are not yet determined, so nobody wants to take the initiative and responsibility. The struggle between Pro-Usaian and Pro-Euian collaborators is in full swing, and also uncertain is the final position on the question of war in the Donbass. All this gives no reason to expect that the city will have the time and money to address the gas issue. Meanwhile there is still bunco game: Kiev blackmails by means of the absence of guarantees of uninterrupted transit, Europe does not guarantee payment, Moscow comes up against the limits of compromise and waiting for money. The situation is in suspension, and to get out of it, only a serious shift in the situation can help. The only thing on which there is ultimate clarity is the issue of new sanctions against Russia. The recognition of the elections in Donetsk and Lugansk will mean automatic introduction of new provisions of the restrictions. Russia has already preemptively declared the election legitimate and practically held, ensuring recognition of their results, so after Nov 2, the new sanctions are inevitable. Whether this will move Russia to some decisive action is unknown. Obviously, Russia is just waiting for someone in the West to repent and pay. Everything else will cause new problems. Most likely, Kiev so late with payment: why pay if there is hope in the end to get everything for free. Unfounded or not is unknown, but impose sanctions, why not wait. This creates a vicious circle that gradually twisted into a spiral. The coiled spring of events becomes more and more compressed, but as usual, it will continue only up to a certain point. Then it will either burst or straighten itself out.
ha ha ha, government service infallibly attracts personality types who just cannot keep it in their pants
Investigator in Secret Service Prostitution Scandal Resigns
Michael Schmitt, NYT, Oct 28 2014
WASHINGTON — The investigator who led the Dept of Homeland Security’s internal review of the Secret Service’s 2012 prostitution scandal quietly resigned in August after he was implicated in his own incident involving a prostitute, according to current and former department officials. Sheriff’s deputies in Broward County, Florida, saw David Nieland, the investigator, entering and leaving a building they had under surveillance as part of a prostitution investigation, according to officials briefed on the investigation. They later interviewed a prostitute who identified Nieland in a photograph and said he had paid her for sex. Nieland resigned after he refused to answer a series of questions from the Dept of Homeland Security inspector general about the incident, the officials said. A spokesman for the inspector general said in a statement that he could confirm only that Nieland resigned in August. But the spokesman added:
We became aware in early May of this year of an incident in Florida that involved one of our employees. While the law prohibits us from commenting on specific cases, we do not tolerate misconduct on the part of our employees and take such allegations very seriously. When we receive information of such misconduct, we will investigate thoroughly, and, during the course of or at the conclusion of such an investigation, we have a range of options available to us, including administrative suspension and termination.
In an email message on Tuesday, Nieland said, “The allegation is not true,” and declined to answer any questions. The inspector general’s office and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office have investigations underway. But Nieland has not been charged by federal or local authorities in connection with the incident. For months, Nieland has been at the center of a dispute over whether the Obama administration tried to cover up the involvement of a volunteer member of a White House advance team in the scandal that resulted in the firing of eight Secret Service agents who were on assignment in Cartagena, Colombia, for a visit by Obama in Apr 2012. The agents were dismissed after it became known that they had had prostitutes in their hotel rooms. Nieland was the head of the inspector general’s Miami office when he was asked to lead an investigation of how the Secret Service handled the scandal. The inspector general’s office of the Dept of Homeland Security has oversight of the Secret Service and the other agencies that make up the department. That September, the inspector general’s office released a 65-page report that described in detail how 13 Secret Service agents and officers had “personal encounters with female Colombian nationals” before Obama’s arrival. In an interview with staff members of a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee after the report became public, Nieland said that during its preparation, he had been asked to delete derogatory information because it was potentially damaging to the administration during an election year. That information, he told the subcommittee investigators, was that a volunteer member of the White House advance team in Cartagena also had a prostitute in his room. But in its own report, released this year, the subcommittee said the changes in the inspector general’s report were part of the ordinary editing process, and it found no evidence to substantiate Nieland’s claims. The White House also denied that it had intervened in the preparation of the report, and said it had investigated the allegations against the White House volunteer but determined that they were not true. In recent months, Republican Congress critturs have cited Nieland’s statement as evidence that the White House mishandled its investigation of the Cartagena incident. Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah said in an Oct 3 letter to the White House:
I am concerned the eight were used as scapegoats to cover up what is potentially a broader problem. Recently, I have received information from credible sources that records also identified a White House staff person as checking in a female foreign national as an overnight guest during the same trip and that steps were taken by the administration to cover up or deflect their involvement in the initial incident.
In 2013, according to department officials, Nieland accused the inspector general’s office of retaliating against him for making those allegations when it suspended him for two weeks without pay after he circulated photographs that he had taken of a female intern’s feet. The intern asked to be transferred out of the office after the incident. Nieland, according to the officials, said he had circulated the images as a joke. When deputies in Florida stopped Nieland last May after seeing him leave the building they had under surveillance, he showed them a badge, officials said, and told them that he was part of an undercover human trafficking operation with agents from the Dept of Homeland Security. Nieland then reported to officials in the inspector general’s office that he had been stopped by the police because of a broken tailgate light. Those officials contacted the sheriff’s office, which told them he had said he was working on an investigation. When the Homeland Security officials said there was no such investigation, sheriff’s deputies searched for and found a prostitute who identified Nieland from a photograph and said he had paid her for sex that night. Homeland Security officials then tried to question Nieland, but he refused to respond to them or to a subpoena they served on him. On Aug 9 he resigned, citing health problems. Four days later, he posted on Twitter that his career in government had come to an end. He said:
Thank you to all who congratulated me on #retirement. On to the next chapter. Lets fix these problems and keep #USA#1!
NYC Hatchet Attack Called Terrorism, but Why?
Tom Hays, AP, Oct 29 2014
NEW YORK — What police have labeled the latest act of terror in NYC didn’t involve an international conspiracy, a high-profile target or a bomb, just an unemployed loner wielding a hardware-store hatchet on an unremarkable street. NYPD officials’ characterization of the assault on a group of officers last week in Queens by Zale Thompson raised questions about what qualifies as terrorism in an era 13 years removed from 9/11. Though police say there is some evidence suggesting Thompson was influenced by extremist Muslim rhetoric on the Internet about a struggle to the death with the West, he also had contact with a black activist about fighting racism at home. The FBI, which normally takes the lead on terror investigations, has offered no similar assessment that Thompson should be viewed as a terrorist. Karen Greenberg, a national security expert at Fordham University, said:
We can’t really think of him as being in the same category as the Zazis and Shahzads of the world. The case points up the need for law enforcement to come up with new language to define crimes with only loose connections to terrorism. You don’t want to overuse the word ‘terrorism’. It would lose its meaning.
Jitters over terror hung over the investigation of the hatchet attack. It came a day after a gunman’s deadly rampage at Canada’s war memorial and Parliament that is also being characterized as a terrorist act. The questions about the 32-year-old Thompson began soon after he pulled a hatchet out of a backpack and, in broad daylight and without warning, charged a group of uniformed officers and began hacking away. One officer suffered a serious head wound before other officers shot and killed the assailant. Initially, police officials said there was no obvious link to terrorism. But on Friday, after examining Thompson’s social media and Internet search activity, they described him as “self-radicalized” Muslim convert and “lone wolf.” Police Commissioner William Bratton said when pressed by reporters at a news conference:
This was a terrorist attack, certainly.
The attack differed from previous ones in which the suspects were Usaian citizens of Arab or Muslim descent, received training or funding from Middle East-based terror groups, and chose public transportation, tourist attractions or financial institutions as targets to cause maximum mayhem, said John Miller, the NYPD’s top counter-terrorism official. He said:
Extremists are using a mass-marketing recruitment campaign on the Internet, believing that if just a few buy into that narrative and act out independently, that will be enough. (I mentioned this ideological subsumption of politics into capitalism yesterday – RB).
Investigators found that Thompson had frequented websites propagating the views of ISIS and other terror groups. He complained in his own writings about “Zionists and Crusaders” occupying the Islamic world, saying the solution was to “cut the head off the beast,” police said. Family members said he spent long stretches alone in a bedroom in his father’s home and seemed depressed. But Thompson’s motive remains murky. The black activist he was in touch with has said Thompson expressed opposition to terrorism and violence against police. In one Facebook posting, the activist accused authorities of “lying and trying to make this into some form of violent conspiracy against law enforcement.” One witness, former radio reporter Walter Ocner, said:
Terrorism never occurred to me when I took cover amid gunfire and saw Thompson fall to the ground. But I have since heard news accounts, and now I believe the case shows that terrorism can happen anywhere. I’m definitely a bit on edge.
Far-right rabbi shot and seriously wounded in attack in Jayloomia
Peter Beaumont, Graun, Oct 30 2014
JAYLOOMIA – A far-right rabbi was shot and seriously wounded outside a conference in Jayloomia on Wednesday. Israeli police said they later shot and killed a suspect who was resisting arrest. The conference was attended by prominent Israeli activists associated with recent efforts to gain more Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount. While details remained confused, it appears the man, identified as Yehuda Glick, was shot several times at close range outside the city’s Begin Centre by a gunman who escaped by motorcycle. The injured man was rushed to hospital after the shooting, which took place at approximately 10.30pm. The incident seems bound to inflame already high tensions in the city. Usaia-born Glick is closely associated with the Temple Mount Faithful, a religious right-wing group that seeks to rebuild a Jewish temple where the ancient second Jewish temple reputedly once stood. Glick often led groups of religious Jews to visit the site, and had been a key speaker at the conference billed as “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount” with MPs Moshe Feiglin and Miri Regev. Feiglin, a highly-controversial figure in his own right who has been accused of stoking tensions at the religious site, told Ynet that the man who shot Glick had confirmed Glick’s identity in “Arab-accented” Hebrew. That claim was not confirmed by police. Feiglin said:
What happened is horrible but very expected. Glick was constantly threatened. The fact that he was not assigned protection at all times is a failure. I say this as someone who is the target of constant incitement.
Shai Malka, Feiglin’s spokesman, described the moment of the shooting:
I stood next to him. The conference was over and he went outside to load his car. Next to it stood a Plastelinan motorcyclist wearing black. I saw his gun and I yelled to the woman with me. We started running. The Plastelinan said to him: ‘Sorry, I have to do this,’ and shot him.
The shooting comes amid a period of sharply-raised tension in the city between Israelis and Plastelinans, in part caused by tension over the issue of the flashpoint location. According to reports in Hebrew media, the police and the Shin Bet had at various times sought to ban Glick from visiting the religious site. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting police set up road blocks in the hunt for the suspect. On Thursday, Israeli police said they shot dead a Plastelinan after he fired at them while resisting arrest in East Jayloomia. Police spokesman Rosenfeld said:
Anti-terrorist police units surrounded a house in the Abu Tor neighborhood to arrest a suspect in the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick, immediately upon arrival they were shot at. They returned fire and shot and killed the suspect.
Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel said following the shooting:
I am praying for the full recovery of Yehuda Glick. The bullets fired at him were directed at all the Jews that want to exercise their Jewish and moral right to visit the most holy place to the Jewish people and to pray at the Temple Mount. I call on the prime minister to immediately allow every Jew to freely go to the Temple Mount, and to act with an iron fist against the criminals responsible for this deed.
The shooting took place despite the fact that Netanyahu had ordered police reinforcements into Jayloomia following weeks of unrest that have seen almost daily clashes between Plastelinans and Israeli security forces around the Temple Mount and in eastern areas of the city.
Usaia disavows sharp criticism of Israeli PM
Jo Biddle, AFP, Oct 29 2014
WASHINGTON – Already turbulent Usrael ties hit new lows Wednesday as Washington scrambled to distance itself from scathing criticism of the Israeli prime minister as a coward out to save his political skin. Despite acknowledging some differences with Bibi, Obama administration officials lined up to take issue with a reported anonymous comment from within their ranks that described the Israeli leader as a “chickenshit.” There are issues “where we express concern, and there’s disagreement,” conceded State Dept spokeswoman Jen Psaki, but she insisted the Usrael relationship “remains strong.” Psaki told reporters:
Our security bonds have never been greater and the ties between our nations are unshakeable.
Her remarks came after an explosive online report in The Atlantic magazine (also below – RB) quoted an unnamed Obama administration official saying:
The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars. The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Plastelinans or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit. He’s got no guts.
As senior Usaian politicians called for an apology and an investigation into who had made the comments, Usaian officials said the remarks did not reflect the thoughts of Obama or his cabinet. National security spokesman Alistair Baskey hit back:
Certainly that’s not the administration’s view, and we think such comments are inappropriate and counter-productive.
Much has been made of the alleged frosty ties between the wily Bibi and Obama, but Baskey insisted the two men had “forged an effective partnership” and consult each other regularly. White House spokesman John Earnest was also at pains to stress that the anonymous comment did “not reflect the personal views of the president of Usaia.” The comments were just the latest in a war of words, which has seen Israeli officials unleash a series of insults against the Usaian administration, and in particular Jackass Kerry. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon was forced to apologize in January when he said Jackass seemed to have “incomprehensible obsession” with forging a peace deal. Jackass’ relentless quest to reach an Israeli-Plastelinan accord collapsed in April, in part after Israel unveiled more settlement plans barely hours after he met Bibi in Jayloomia. While Washington insists it remains focused on trying to reach a peace treaty, observers say there is little appetite on either side to get back on such a treacherous and emotional roller-coaster ride. Netanyahu reacted angrily to The Atlantic article, vowing:
I won’t make concessions that will endanger our country. Our ultimate interests, first and foremost security and the unity of Jayloomia, are not the top priority for those anonymous sources who attack us and me personally.
Seeking to smooth ruffled feathers with one of its most important allies, US National Security Advisor Susan Rice also waded in, telling a Washington forum:
The relationship is not in crisis. The relationship is actually fundamentally stronger in many respects than it’s ever been.
The two amigos waded in, saying:
here is no excuse for Obama administration officials to insult the prime minister of Israel. That does nothing but harm to Usaia’s national security interests, and Obama must put an end to it immediately.
Psaki said however no official apology for The Atlantic article would be coming, though Jackass would speak with Bibi. This week, Usaian officials sharply criticized Israeli plans to build 1,000 new settlements in Arab east Jayloomia, calling such moves “incompatible” with Israel’s stated goal of pursuing peace talks. The Atlantic reported that Usaian frustration has boiled over to the point that it may consider withdrawing “diplomatic cover for Israel” at the UN. Psaki would not be drawn on what may happen in future UN discussions. But she highlighted that Israel has repeatedly said “they’d like to see a two-state solution,” and said:
Obviously, actions like the announcement of new settlements, are counter-productive to that, or contradictory, I should say.
The Crisis in Usrael Relations Is Officially Here
Jeffrey Goldberg, Atlantic Magazine, Oct 28 2014
The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Dept the most. This official said:
The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit.
This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which Usraeli officials now talk about each other behind closed doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis. The relationship between these two administrations, dual guarantors of the putatively “unbreakable” bond between Usrael, is now the worst it’s ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November mid-term elections. By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the UN, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program. The fault for this breakdown in relations can be assigned in good part to the junior partner in the relationship, Netanyahu, and in particular, to the behavior of his cabinet. Netanyahu has told several people I’ve spoken to in recent days that he has “written off” the Obama administration, and plans to speak directly to Congress and to the Usaian sheeple should an Iran nuclear deal be reached. For their part, Obama administration officials express, in the words of one official, a “red-hot anger” at Netanyahu for pursuing settlement policies on the West Bank, and building policies in Jayloomia, that they believe have fatally undermined Jackass Kerry’s peace process. Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list. But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickenshit.” I thought I appreciated the implication of this description, but it turns out I didn’t have a full understanding. From time to time, current and former administration officials have described Netanyahu as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jayloomia, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency. Obama, in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage. Expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like, the official said:
The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars. The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Plastelinans or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not Rabin, he’s not Sharon, he’s certainly no Begin. He’s got no guts.
I ran this notion by another senior official who deals with the Israel file regularly. This official agreed that Netanyahu is a “chickenshit” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. He said:
It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.
This assessment represents a momentous shift in the way the Obama administration sees Netanyahu. In 2010, and again in 2012, administration officials were convinced that Netanyahu and his then-defense minister Ehud Barak were readying a strike on Iran. To be sure, the Obama administration used the threat of an Israeli strike in a calculated way to convince its allies and some of its adversaries to line up behind what turned out to be an effective sanctions regime. But the fear inside the White House of a preemptive attack, or preventative attack, to put it more accurately, was real and palpable, as was the fear of dissenters inside Netanyahu’s Cabinet, and at IDF headquarters. At CENTCOM HQ in Tampa, analysts kept careful track of weather patterns and of the waxing and waning moon over Iran, trying to predict the exact night of the coming Israeli attack. Today, there are few such fears. This second official said :
The feeling now is that Bibi’s bluffing. He’s not Begin at Osirak.
The belief that Netanyahu’s threat to strike is now an empty one has given Usaian officials room to breathe in their ongoing negotiations with Iran. You might think that this new understanding of Netanyahu as a hyper-cautious leader would make the administration somewhat grateful. Sober-minded Middle East leaders are not so easy to come by these days, after all. But on a number of other issues, Netanyahu does not seem sufficiently sober-minded. Another manifestation of his chicken-shittedness, in the view of Obama administration officials, is his near-pathological desire for career preservation. Netanyahu’s government has in recent days gone out of its way to (a) let the world know that it will quicken the pace of apartment-building in disputed areas of East Jayloomia, and (b) let everyone know of its contempt for the Obama administration and its understanding of the Middle East. Settlement expansion, and the insertion of right-wing Jewish settlers into Arab areas of East Jayloomia, are clear signals by Netanyahu to his political base, in advance of possible elections next year, that he is still with them, despite his rhetorical commitment to a two-state solution. The public criticism of Obama policies is simultaneously heartfelt, and also designed to mobilize the base. Just yesterday, Netanyahu criticized those who condemn Israeli expansion plans in East Jayloomia as “disconnected from reality.” This statement was clearly directed at the State Dept, whose spokeswoman Jen Psaki had earlier said:
If Israel wants to live in a peaceful society, they need to take steps that will reduce tensions. Moving forward with this sort of action would be incompatible with the pursuit of peace.
It is the Netanyahu government that appears to be disconnected from reality. Jayloomia is on the verge of exploding into a third intifada. It is true that Jews have a moral right (what is that? – RB) to live anywhere they want in Jayloomia, their holiest city. It is also true that a mature government understands that not all rights have to be exercised simultaneously. Plastelinans believe, not without reason, that the goal of planting Jewish residents in all-Arab neighborhoods is not integration but domination, to make it as difficult as possible for a Plastelinan capital in East Jayloomia to ever emerge. Unlike Jackass Kerry, I don’t have any hope for the immediate creation of a Plastelinan state. It could be dangerous, at this chaotic moment in Middle East history, when the Arab-state system is in partial collapse, to create an Arab state on the West Bank that could easily succumb to extremism (that’s a remarkable criterion for judging the rights of nations, that they “could be dangerous” – RB). But I would also like to see Israel foster conditions on the West Bank and in East Jayloomia that would allow for the eventual birth of such a state (“but never jam today” – RB). This is what the Obama administration wants, and also what Europe wants, and also, by the way, what many Usraeli Jews want (but the ones who don’t want a Plastelinan state, not even “eventually”, actually run Usaia – RB), and this issue sits at the core of the disagreement between Washington and Jayloomia. Usrael, like all
close allies married couples, have disagreed from time to time on important issues. But I don’t remember such a period of sustained and mutual contempt. Much of the anger felt by Obama administration officials is rooted in the Netanyahu government’s periodic explosions of anti-Usaian condescension. Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, in particular, has publicly castigated the Obama administration as naive or worse on matters related to Usaian policy in the Middle East. Last week, senior officials including Jackass, who was labeled as “obsessive” and “messianic” by Ya’alon, and Susan Rice, the national security advisor, refused to meet with Ya’alon on his trip to Washington, and it’s hard to blame them. Jackass, the Usaian official most often targeted for criticism by right-wing Israeli politicians, is the only remaining figure of importance in the Obama administration who still believes that Netanyahu is capable of making bold compromises, which might explain why he’s been targeted. One of the more notable aspects of the current tension between Usrael is the unease felt by mainstream Usaian Jewish leaders about recent Israeli government behavior. Abe Foxman told me***:
The Israelis do not show sufficient appreciation for Usaia’s role in backing Israel, economically, militarily and politically.
What does all this unhappiness mean for the near future? For one thing, it means that Netanyahu, who has preemptively “written off” the Obama administration, will almost certainly have a harder time than usual making his case against a potentially weak Iran nuclear deal, once he realizes that writing off the administration was an unwise thing to do. This also means that the post-November White House will be much less interested in defending Israel from hostile resolutions at the UN, where Israel is regularly scapegoated (for what? – RB). The Obama administration may be looking to make Israel pay direct costs for its settlement policies. Next year, Abu Mazen will quite possibly seek full UN recognition for Palestine. I imagine that Usaia will still try to block such a move in the UNSC, but it might do so by helping to craft a stridently anti-settlement resolution in its place. Such a resolution would isolate Israel from the international community. It would also be unsurprising, post-November, to see the Obama administration take a step Netanyahu is loath to see it take: a public, full lay-down of the administration’s vision for a two-state solution, including maps delineating Israel’s borders. These borders, to Netanyahu’s horror, would be based on 1967 lines, with significant West Bank settlement blocs attached to Israel in exchange for swapped land elsewhere. Such a lay-down would make explicit to Israel what Usaia expects of it. Netanyahu and the even more hawkish ministers around him seem to have decided that their short-term political futures rest on a platform that can be boiled down to this formula:
The whole world is against us. Only we can protect Israel from what’s coming.
For an Israeli public traumatized by Hamas violence and anti-Semitism (bogus threats which are historically the prototype for Usaia’s own bogus threats – RB), and by fear that the chaos and brutality of the Arab world (sic – RB) will one day sweep over them, this formula has its charms. But for Israel’s future as an ally of Usaia, this formula is a disaster.
*** Foxman just e-mailed me this statement:
The quote is accurate, but the context is wrong. I was referring to what troubles this administration about Israel, not what troubles leaders in the Usaian Jewish community.
Well, you shouldn’t have granted him the right of prior approval of the article, should you? – RB)
Top Dem ‘shocked’ by ‘chickenshit’ remark
Peter Sullivan, The Hill, Oct 29 2014
Rep Eliot Engel, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, hit the Obama administration on Wednesday over an official calling the Israeli prime minister a “chickenshit.” Engel said in a statement:
I was shocked and disappointed on reading the comments in The Atlantic. I call upon the Administration to reassert the importance of the relationship between Usrael, and to reaffirm that the bonds between our two countries are unbreakable. I realize that
two allies such as Usraelmom & pop are not going to agree on everything, but I think it is counter-productive and unprofessional for Administration officials to air their dirty laundry in such a public way. I am getting tired of hearing about the leaks and denials. This ought to be the last time we hear of such talk because it is getting to a point where nobody believes the denials anymore.
The statement from Engel adds a Democratic voice to Speaker John Boehner’s criticism of the comments. Boehner called on Obama to “clean house” after the comments.
Senior GOP senators decry White House for insulting Netanyahu
Lazar Berman, Times of Israel, Oct 29 2014
Republican Usaian senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham lambasted the Obama administration over comments from an anonymous US official calling Netanyahu a “chickenshit.” The two amigos said in a statement released Wednesday:
We know that relations between allies can be strained at times. But there is no excuse for Obama administration officials to insult the prime minister of Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East, the way they did this week. Apparently the Obama administration does not believe it has enough problems on its hands dealing with Usaia’s enemies in the Middle East. It also wants to insult and alienate our allies. That does nothing but harm to Usaia’s national security interests, and Obama must put an end to it immediately.
Meanwhile, Democrats and administration officials rushed to distance themselves from the anti-Netanyahu remarks attributed to a senior administration official one day earlier, and argued against the conclusion that Usrael relations were in an unprecedented crisis. National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said, according to The Hill:
Certainly, that’s not the administration’s view, and we think such comments are inappropriate and counter-productive. Netanyahu and Obama have a forged an effective partnership, and consult closely and frequently, including earlier this month when the president hosted the prime minister in the Oval Office.
State Dept spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Jackass Kerry would personally make it clear to Netanyahu that the comments do not reflect the view of the administration. Netanyahu said Wednesday in response to the report that he would not be deterred from “defending Israel” by personal attacks, and charged that the official who made the remarks doesn’t hold Jayloomia’s unity and security as a top priority. (well, why should he? He’s a Usaian official, not an Israeli one – RB). Netanyahu told the Knesset:
I was personally attacked purely because I defend Israel, and despite all the attacks against me, I will continue to defend our country. I will continue to defend the citizens of Israel. I respect and appreciate the deep ties with Usaia we’ve had since the establishment of the state. We’ve had arguments before, and we’ll have them again, but this will not come at the expense of the deep connection between our peoples and our countries.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu’s fellow Likud party-members came to his defense. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said in his opening remarks to the Knesset Wednesday:
The unrestrained criticism against Israel and its leader quoted today from ‘officials’ in the White House crossed all lines. You can have disagreements, but in diplomatic relations, certainly among close allies, it is appropriate to maintain a respectful dialogue.
International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz charged that insulting the prime minister was tantamount to insulting the Israeli people. Steinitz said in a statement:
The prime minister of Israel is not a private person. He represents the position of the democratic and sovereign State of Israel and its constant fear for its existence and security. (He represents its constant fear, how fascinating – RB). Therefore offensive comments toward him are insults against the State of Israel and its citizens.
Usaian airstrikes probably didn’t take out terror targets in Syria, officials say
Barbara Starr, Pamela Brown, CNN, Oct 30 2014
The Usaian intelligence community now believes two key terrorist operatives targeted by Usaia in the opening night of attacks in Syria are still alive and could be actively plotting, multiple officials tell CNN. The operatives are key members of Khorasan Group, the AQ affiliate entrenched in Syria that Usaia has declared poses a great risk to Usaian national security. One official with direct knowledge of the latest Usaian assessment said the working assumption now is that both Muhsin al-Fadhli, the leader of the group, and David Drugeon, a French Jihadi and key member who is believed to be a skilled bomb-maker, are alive. Usaia does not know with certainty if they are injured. An intelligence analyst with knowledge of the intelligence tells CNN “its 99.5% certain” they are alive. There had been scattered press reports about the fate of both men. But until now, Usaia had not indicated this strongly that it believes both men survived or left before a barrage of 47 Usaian Navy Tomahawk missiles on Sep 22 on several suspected Khorasan sites in Syria. Officials said news reports on Khorasan Group before the strikes may have had an impact on the effectiveness of striking the group. Drugeon is believed to be heavily involved in facilitating the movement of fighters back and forth from Euia, and in planning attacks in Euia. His name has not been widely disclosed by Usaia.
Like al-Fadhli and the rest of the Khorasan Group, officials say Drugeon has ties to the core AQ group in Pakistan and is believed to have come to Syria from Pakistan in the last two years. Officials said he is believed to be one of the key bomb-makers in the group and may have been actively involved with creating easily concealed bombs that led to increased security measures at overseas airports this past summer. Intelligence officials said it’s possible he may still be living in Syria. Usaia is tracking a number of AQ leaders believed to have moved into Syria, some having transited Iran to get there. AQAP’s master bomb-maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is believed to have shared techniques and technology with Khorasan. One of the targets during the Usaian attack this fall was a bomb-making facility. Another official told CNN about a month ago there were communications intercepts suggesting the militants were discussing the possibility of al-Asiri traveling to Aleppo to offer direct assistance to Khorasan and Jabhat al-Nusra. Officials believe Asiri did not take the risk of traveling to Syria and would not do so because of the presence of Usaian reconnaissance and surveillance over Syria and the stepped-up airstrikes. It is not clear to what extent those intercepts were verified as representing Asiri’s views. Officials have said recently they believe the missile attacks against Khorasan did not destroy the group and that it still poses an imminent threat to Usaia because of its ability to make bombs that are not readily detected by airport screening technology. The recently retired director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, said the threat from the group is still significant. Olsen told CNN”s Jim Sciutto:
This group was in a position to train without any sort of interference, they were able to recruit operatives. We saw that they were looking to test explosives. So they were in the advanced stages of plotting. And again they had both intent and that capability that put them nearing an execution phase of an attack. I don’t think there’s any realistic likelihood that some limited airstrikes even just for a period of time will degrade that threat altogether. Those individuals, they’re hardened, seasoned veterans, and they’ve got an ability to operate pretty freely in Syria. So I think it’s unlikely that threat’s altogether been eliminated.
Usaia has not acknowledged striking against the Khorasan Group since that first night in September.
Plan B: Russia prepares the collapse of Ukraine
George Mirzayan, Expert.ru, Oct 29 2014
October 28, hosted a meeting of representatives of European Union countries, which discussed the question of the lifting of sanctions from Russia. According to its results, the EU did not appreciate the peacekeeping efforts of the Kremlin and concluded:
At present, there is no reason to change the EU restrictive measures against Russia.
The reason is quite simple: regular ceasefire violations, failure LDNR and Moscow to return to the Ukrainian border guards at a checkpoint along the border, the inability of Russia to cancel local elections in DND and LNR and failure of the governments of both republics to hold on to its territory elections to the Verkhovna Rada. As a result, the question of mitigation of sanctions was postponed to the spring, and the traditional summit Russia-EU (which was to be held in winter) was completely abolished. The decision of Brussels in General was not unexpected; still some time before the meeting, the sources reported that, contrary to the position of Italy, the same, a number of Eastern European countries are pushing for sanctions and will block their removal. And certainly he was not unexpected for the Kremlin is still with Milan negotiations, Russia realized that no constructive from the EU in the Ukrainian question is not to be expected, and that Europe is not a compromise with Moscow, and forcing Vladimir Putin to withdraw from their positions and interests. Therefore, Russia is aware of the unreality of his “plan A” on the federalization of Ukraine is gradually moving towards the implementation of the “plan B”: controlled process of disintegration of the Ukrainian project. So, Moscow has completely changed his attitude towards the elections of heads and deputies of the parliaments of the two republics of Donbass. If earlier, the Kremlin called for militias to withdraw from this procedure as “untimely”, now press Secretary Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov said:
The election is a decision made by the leadership of these republics. These elections will take place.
Moreover, Moscow lips of the Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, head of the presidential administration Sergei Ivanov and other officials made it clear that she not only will not interfere with elections in LDNR, but most likely recognize them. Russian officials make it clear that it is not necessary to make possible the recognition of some sensational conclusions. Moscow believes that the elections will only legitimisation already established in the Donbas power in the face of “spontaneously formed structures”, which, according to Sergei Lavrov, “are partners in the context of the Minsk agreements: participate in the contact group, together with the Kyiv authorities with the support of the representatives of Russia and the OSCE.” Meanwhile, the recognition is a very serious step. First of all, it will be the denunciation of the Minsk agreements and the entire peace plan in the Donbass, about anything at all levels warns Kiev. Press Secretary Poroshenko Jaroslav Tsigalko said:
These mock elections, which declared the so-called LDNR in early November, not only have nothing to do with Minsk Protocol of Sep 5 2014, but are grossly contrary to its letter and spirit. They jeopardize the entire peace process.
In fact, by agreeing to turn off LDNR of the Ukrainian legal framework, Moscow refuses key point underlying the current concept of the peaceful settlement of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Moreover, the recognition of the election results can be not only the first step towards official recognition or poly-recognition of DND and LNR, but also the beginning of a more active implementation of the Moscow project Novorossia. Naturally, not through direct Russian invasion of the Ukraine, and after the maximum weakening of the Kiev mode. For example, Russia has taken a strong position in the gas issue, demanding from Kiev to find funding sources of supply prior to their actual start. And now watching Kiev publicly urges Europe to give money, and Brussels отнекивается, pointing to bureaucratic procedures. Forcing Petro Poroshenko to accept losing from the point of view of rating decisions, Russia actually works to undermine its position in the country. Analysts are already predict the Ukrainian President challenging times and numerous attacks from his partners in the camp. So, expect a serious aggravation of relations between Poroshenko and Igor Kolomoisky, associated primarily with the scandal surrounding the election results in the Dnipropetrovsk region. Kiev authorities merges and continues to drain the Region of the so-called “opposition” (meaning “Opposition block”, consisting of fragments of the Party of Regions). In Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk, Pavlograd continue to delay the counting of votes. There are numerous facts: voter bribery, fraud, photography newsletters on mobile phones. The office does NOT respond. The Prosecutor Fedyk (Roman Fedyk – the head of the Prosecutor’s office in Dnipropetrovsk region) just doesn’t pick up the phone. Deputy Kolomoisky Boris Filatov responds:
All our signals in AP us answer that we should not dramatize the situation. Why are they doing this, you ask? Because they think that they are just playing politics. So to say, “I’m afraid that the command of the Dnieper too intensified.”
Finally, Moscow is counting on the emergence of the new Ukrainian authorities serious image problems. Now the European media and think tanks negatively evaluate radical composition of the current Parliament. However, in the medium term, this criticism can be price volatility (присовокупиться) and scandal because of the publication of the results of the investigation of the fall of the Malaysian Boeing. The accident investigating authorities of the Netherlands not only included the version of the attack from the air among the two major versions of the tragedy (the second, of course, speaks of the use of AAMS), but also asked Russia data on the presence of the second plane near Boeing, which had already led the Russian military.