Commenter Profile

Netanyahu, King Salman and the Devil’s Valentine

February 15, 2016 4:45 pm
Taxi, "flight of fancy" was the wrong choice of words -- "imaginative exercise" would be more apt -- your scenario is based on real-world facts. A question, however: would Pakistan be a more likely source of nuclear weapons technology for Saudi Arabia than Israel? Or North Korea? See: Wikipedia: Nuclear program of Saudi Arabia BEGIN QUOTES It is widely believed that Saudi Arabia has been a major financier of Pakistan's own integrated atomic bomb project since 1974, a programme founded by former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. ... Since 1998, the Western's diplomats and intelligence agencies have long believed that an agreement exists in which Pakistan would sell Saudi Arabia nuclear warheads and its own nuclear technology should security in the Persian Gulf deteriorate. ... In March 2006, the German magazine Cicero reported that Saudi Arabia had, since 2003, received assistance from Pakistan to acquire nuclear missiles and warheads. END QUOTES I do think that Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will cooperate closely to oppose Syria, Iran and Russia -- but it also seems likely that Israel is wary about getting on the wrong side of Russia. It's complicated. If Russia concludes that Israel is working against its interests in Syria and the Mideast in general, it may retaliate in a wide variety of ways.  
February 14, 2016 11:22 pm
Wow -- busy news weekend -- and many of the breaking news items are directly relevant to Taxi's flight of fancy -- you can feel something big brewing in the gathering storm around Syria: ================================== Recent news of note #43 (February 14, 2016/6pm) ================================== 1. [Algemeiner] Turkish military strikes Syrian regime targets near Aleppo 2. [Breaking Israel News] Will Diasporic Jews return to the Land of Israel or remain in their countries of exile? 3. [Common Dreams] Trump booed for reminding GOP of Bush's 9/11 failure and Iraq War lies 4. [Drudge Report] TRUMP: 'World Trade Center came down during reign of George Bush'... 5. [Elder of Ziyon/Michael Lumish] How the Jews are winning the long Arab war 6. [Forward] Flood of Jews departing for Israel becomes big news in Brazil 7. [Globes] Treasury: high-tech no longer Israel's main growth engine 8. [Haaretz/Gideon Levy] Welcome to the one-state club, Thomas Friedman 9. [Haaretz]  Ya'alon: Israelis secretly meeting with officials from Gulf states 10. [Haaretz] American Orthodox Jews will miss Scalia, their great defender 11. [Haaretz] New Mossad chief Yossi Cohen secretly visited Washington 12. [Huffington Post] Donald Trump accuses George W. Bush of lying to invade Iraq 13. [IMEMC] Israel continues to breach ceasefire by targeting Gaza fishermen 14. [Independent] Saudi Foreign Minister says Assad will be 'removed from Syria by force' if peace talks fail 15. [Jerusalem Post] Syria rebel leader meets with Israeli deputy minister in the Knesset 16. [Jewish Press] IDF source: Russian involvement enables Hezbollah to down Israeli planes 17. [Mashable] It's on: Donald Trump says George W. Bush is to blame for 9/11 18. [Mashable] People booed facts at the Republican presidential debate 19. [National Review] The Progressive itch to regulate speech 20. [New York Times/Maureen Dowd] When Hillary Clinton killed feminism 21. [Press TV] France urges Turkey to stop bombing Syria Kurdish regions 22. [Press TV] Saudi awaits US order for troops deployment in Syria: Jubeir 23. [Press TV] Syrians see Assad instrumental in fighting terrorism 24. [Press TV] US criticized for creating ISIL 25. [Press TV] US, Turkey have ‘a conflict of interest’ 26. [Raw Story] Laura Ingraham: ‘Millions and millions’ of Republicans think the Iraq war was a ‘disaster’ 27. [Raw Story] WATCH: Donald Trump hammers George W. Bush for 9/11 during shoutfest with Jeb 28. [Reddit/conspiracy] “September 11, 2001 aside, every total collapse of a steel-framed high-rise building in history has been caused by controlled demolition.” 29. [Reddit/worldnews] Saudis say Assad must go, deploy jets to Turkey: joint Turkish-Saudi assault on Syria now imminent 30. [RT] 5 reasons to believe Turkey wants no peace in Syria 31. [RT] George Soros insiders donate to Kasich, Bush campaigns 32. [RT] Putin holds phone call with Obama, urges better defense cooperation in fight against ISIS 33. [RT] Turkish forces shell Kurdish camp in Syria, reportedly hit Assad’s forces 34. [RT] US urges Turkey to stop shelling Kurdish and Syrian forces 35. [] Trump and Drudge for the win, again: Matt Drudge’s army is bigger than the RNC’s 36. [Slashdot] 'Rogue scientists' could exploit gene editing technology, experts warn 37. [Sunday Times (London)] Block on boycotts of Israeli goods 38. [Times of Israel] Defense chief raps West over missteps in Iran, Syria 39. [Times of Israel] Iran warns against Saudi intervention in Syria 40. [Times of Israel] Merkel isolated as EU partners slam door on refugees 41. [Times of Israel] Russia and Saudi Arabia on course to collision in Syria 42. [Times of Israel] US puts two Clinton emails on Israel out of bounds 43. [Twitter/Ben White] Tory gov't wants to protect Israel from accountability & #BDS pressure 44. [Twitter/Glenn Greenwald] The alliance between Israel & Gulf State tyrannies, long hidden, is now out in the open 45. [Twitter/Max Blumenthal] Barack Obama pledges the largest package of military assistance to apartheid Israel in US history 46. [Twitter/Samantha Power] Awed by the history & spirituality of Jerusalem’s Old City. 47. [Vox] The Republican establishment packed the debate audience with Donald Trump haters 48. [Weekly Standard] Trump: Bush lied, people died 49. [Zero Hedge] Central banks are "malicious tools of wholesale cultural destruction" 50. [Zero Hedge] Road to World War III: Turkish army enters Syria after second day of shelling as Saudi warplanes arrive ================================== Use Google to retrieve any of the above items -- or simply skim the headlines to spot signals in the noise -- emerging strategic patterns, themes, topics and trends among all the moving parts. (I don't necessarily agree or disagree with any of the above sources or articles.)

Plato’s Winter Pow Wow

February 4, 2016 6:52 pm
Taxi, Really strong points there -- I hear you. I especially like that concept/term "4+1 Alliance." Right on the money. Two counterpoints -- +Pro-Israel activists have pulled out all the stops to erase all distinctions between Sunni and Shia Muslims -- and to maximize fear of and hostility towards Islam in general in the West (the US and Europe) -- you know -- the whole Clash of Civilizations script. So far they've been quite successful with that propaganda line among many Americans and Europeans who know next to nothing about Mideast politics and Islam. +Hezbollah's relationship with Russia and Iran will come with a price -- Hezbollah will not be able to act independently on matters that directly affect Russian and Iranian interests. Russia and Iran have no interest in pushing Israel over the edge into Samson Option mode -- they will control Hezbollah's behavior to a considerable degree.
February 12, 2016 10:32 pm
First impressions: editorial policies have been turned inside out and upside down -- the site will now be used to dispense pro-Israel hasbara -- for instance: "The brutal BDS tactics that harmed hundreds of Palestinians"  
February 4, 2016 7:48 pm
Taxi, I think you've just concisely summarized the likely endgame here. If I were Israel, I would accept the inevitable sooner than later -- there is no point in dragging this miserable situation out any longer.  
February 8, 2016 12:04 am
Update on FailedMessiah: "Is There an Orthodox Plot to Silence FailedMessiah?" BEGIN QUOTE There’s an Orthodox media mystery developing around the anonymous new owners of the muckraking blog FailedMessiah, and growing signs the site’s harsh criticism of the Orthodox community may be permanently silenced. Shmarya Rosenberg, who ran FailedMessiah singlehandedly for more than a decade, announced February 2 that he was moving on. Days later, questions about the blog’s new owners are multiplying, and one Orthodox website has suggested that an Orthodox businessman bought FailedMessiah to “pull the plug” on Rosenberg’s hard-hitting reporting on the community. FailedMessiah Blogger Quits Muckracking Anti-Hasidic Site Josh Nathan-KazisFebruary 3, 2016 In a post on February 3, the new owners said they were “a group of people dedicated to protecting the reputation of the Orthodox Jewish community,” but did not identify themselves by name. That post was signed “Diversified Holdings.” There are more than a hundred companies registered under that name in the United States. It’s not clear that any of them is the new owner of FailedMessiah. Reached via telephone at his home in Minnesota, Rosenberg would not say who the site’s new owners were, nor how much he sold the site for. He said that he did not expect the new ownership group to shut down FailedMessiah. “It’s certainly going to change the site in some ways, they’re very open about that,” Rosenberg said. “But no, they’re not going to kill it.” In their February 3 post, FailedMessiah’s new anonymous owners said they planned to “present articles and conversations that speak to what Hashem truly wants from us” and “continue to pursue and expose people that create a desecration of G-d’s name.” END QUOTE  
February 4, 2016 4:18 pm
Taxi, You are placing a big bet on Hezbollah -- ok. I am more skeptical and cautious. The worldwide pro-Israel lobby (and the Israeli military establishment) is giving much thought to this issue as we speak -- and it tends to be creative and innovative -- capable of coming up with surprise moves. My sense of things is that it may be easy to marginalize Hezbollah on the world stage -- the US, Europe, Russia, China and other nations are already in an uproar about the threat of Muslim extremists. Hezbollah may be facing their combined political, economic and military might -- not to mention Israel's large arsenal of state-of-the-art weapons. I strongly doubt that Hezbollah will dare to initiate a war against Israel -- if it were confident that such a war would conclude in its favor, it would have done so already. I think it's useful to have differing opinions on these topics -- and to explore why we think what we think. I am thinking about your arguments and analysis. You never know when I might change my mind. Added note: it just occurred to me that Iran, Lebanon and Russia might share a common interest in keeping a tight rein on Hezbollah.  
February 6, 2016 4:49 pm
Taxi, It's an urgent matter for the Jewish establishment -- and the Jewish religious establishment in particular -- to take a critical look at how some core ideological elements in Judaism are contributing to reckless intransigence among many Zionists. Until that process is worked through, this situation will continue to deteriorate. I don't see much progress occurring on this front -- even many progressive Jewish anti-Zionists dig in their heels and become defensive when this issue comes up -- they feel an emotional need to compartmentalize Judaism and Zionism in their minds. At the same time, it is an urgent matter for mainstream and traditional Christian denominations to clearly identify their ideological and doctrinal differences with Christian Zionism. Christian Zionists have succeeded in hijacking much or most of the Christian evangelical movement that now dominates the Republican Party. Ideas matter -- ideas rule the world. Ideologies and core beliefs form and propel policies.  
February 5, 2016 8:34 pm
Danaa, This sounds about right: "Putin and Israel – a complex and multi-layered relationship" BEGIN QUOTE It is clear that Putin and Netanyahu struck a deal when the latter traveled to Moscow: the Israelis don’t interfere in Russian operations in support of the Syrians as long as the Russians don’t interfere in the combat operations between Israel and Hezbollah.  This made it possible for both sides to pursue their main interest even if it was at the cost of their secondary objectives. ... As for Putin, he simply has other priorities than to protect Hezbollah or fight Israel: Surviving inside Russia and not being overthrown by the still very powerful Zionist Power Configuration (to use James Petras’ expression) in Russia being a top one. Another priority would be not to give his (internal and external) enemies the political argument that “Russia is attacking Israel”.  Not having a shooting match with Israel and not to have the small and isolated Russian contingent have to fight on two fronts would be crucial too.  Ditto not to be accused of having the Russians contingent turned into the de-facto “Hezbollah Air Force” like the US is the “Daesh Air Force”.  These are all obvious priorities for Putin. END QUOTE  
February 6, 2016 3:53 pm
Taxi, I think Israel is feeling panic because it sees nearly the entire world turning against it -- but the irony is that many pro-Israel activists and militants -- especially religious Zionists -- have actively sought out a state of maximum tension and conflict between "the chosen nation" and "the nations." There are psychological and ideological issues rooted in ancient Judaism that still need to be sorted out in this peculiar situation -- but not even progressive anti-Zionists are up to the task.  
February 4, 2016 7:23 pm
Another great comment, Taxi -- points taken. Perhaps what we are looking at here is a Mexican Standoff -- in which Israel will be forced by shifting strategic alliances to stand down from its plans to push forward the Greater Israel agenda. It may decide that accepting the two-state solution in earnest is the only available course of action.  
February 6, 2016 3:35 pm
Taxi, See this: "Israel and Iran Could Share a Border if Syria Beats ISIS, Israeli Minister Warns" BEGIN QUOTE Senior Israeli minister Yuval Steinitz warned Saturday that a victory for the Syrian regime in in the country's civil war could mean Iran would straddle the border with Israel. The minister, who is part of Israel's security cabinet, said the threat dwarfs that posed by Hamas in Gaza. "I'm afraid that the price of a victory [by the Syrian regime] against ISIS would be Iranian military presence on our northern border. This would be a real danger to us, and the Turks and Cypriots are also concerned, because no one wants to see Iran wading in the Mediterranean," the national infrastructure, water and energy minister said at a cultural event in the city of Be'er Sheva. The cabinet minister's remarks were delivered against the backdrop of a massive offensive against the rebel-held city of Aleppo in northern Syria. The regime assault, backed by Russia and Iran, appears to be one of the most determined offensives in five years of civil war.   END QUOTE Does this mean that Israel is siding with ISIS against Syria, Russia and Iran? The very same extremist group that has vowed to terrorize the US and Europe?  
February 4, 2016 4:27 pm
Taxi, You are right that Russia opposes Greater Israelism and supports the two-state solution -- and that Israel is going to be confronted with considerable pressure from that quarter. And Russian/Iranian ties are probably going to be much more substantive than Russian/Israeli ties.  
February 6, 2016 3:16 pm
Taxi, The main point that strikes me is that Russia and Iran would be unlikely to permit Hezbollah to pull them into an all-out war with Israel and the West -- nor are they likely to make more effort to help the Palestinians than the Arab world itself -- which has succeeded in advancing Palestinian interests not a whit. Israel probably feels nervous and uncertain about Russia's aggressive new role in Syria and the region -- but I doubt that it feels too threatened. It may be worried more about Iran's increasing economic power. Israel's grip on the occupied territories is still firm -- and you can imagine what might happen if someone like Marco Rubio wins the presidency -- or even Hillary Clinton -- who is a belligerent and bellicose neocon warmonger.  
February 4, 2016 3:33 pm
Taxi, Regarding Israeli/Russian relations, see this: "Israeli president: Israel ready to fight terrorism together with Russia"