Were There Actually Two Sides Negotiating In Geneva?

Today’s Washington Free Beacon posted an article about Iran‘s announcement that it has developed ballistic missile technology.

The article reports:

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the lieutenant commander of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), made the critical weapons announcement just days after Iran and the West signed a deal aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear activities.

Salami claimed that “Iran is among the only three world countries enjoying an indigenous ballistic missile technology,” according to the state-run Fars News Agency.

“Many countries may have access to cruise missiles technology, but when it comes to ballistic missiles, I am confident that only the U.S. and the [former] Soviet Union could master this technology, and now we can announce that we own this technology as well,” Salami told Fars.

Obviously this may or may not be true, but how much are will willing to bet on the truthfulness of his claim.

The article quotes Michael Rubin on the situation:

“Perhaps, [Secretary of State] John Kerry believes that Iran only wants ballistic missiles for peaceful purposes,” said Rubin, author of Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes.

“The fact of the matter is that Kerry and crew left both ballistic missiles and the nuclear warhead trigger experimentation at Parchin [military site] off-the-table” during talks in Geneva, Rubin said. “It’s the diplomatic equivalent of installing a burglar alarm system in your house but leaving the keys in the door.”

Most of us would like to see peace come to the Middle East. Somehow I don’t think the path we are currently traveling as a country is leading in that direction.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Changing Alliances In The Middle East

Please excuse the short history lesson, but it is needed to put current events in perspective. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the first President of Turkey. When the modern state of Turkey was established after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Ataturk wanted to abolish the caliphate and create a secular country. (In response to the idea of Turkey becoming a secular country, Hassan al Banna founded the Ikhwan al-Muslimin, the Society of Muslim Brothers or the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt in 1928.) The efforts of Ataturk were successful until the election of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2003. Erdogan is very quietly moving the country toward an Islamic state. Logically, as Turkey moves toward becoming an Islamic state, relations between Israel and Turkey are becoming strained.

On Thursday, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Turkey has been charged with leaking the identities of Israeli agents to Iran.

The article reports:

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) allegedly revealed the identities of as many as 10 Iranians who were meeting covertly with Israeli spies in Turkey, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported Wednesday. Israeli and Turkish intelligence have had a close collaboration for decades.

U.S. officials declined to protest the leak directly to Turkey after it was discovered, according to the Post. President Obama also pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come to a detente with Erdogan in March after several years of strained relations stemming from the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid.

“That Obama didn’t condemn the leak really is as great a scandal as Turkey betraying the secrets in the first place, especially given how the United States benefits so directly from Israel’s intelligence gathering,” said Michael Rubin, a Middle East scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Michael Rubin also stated that President Obama should suspend sharing intelligence information with Turkey.

A U.K. Telegraph article posted on Thursday added more information:

There was no immediate comment from Israel’s government, but one former intelligence chief suggested that the leak might have led to the men’s executions. Israeli media pointed out that the report fitted with Iran’s declaration in April last year that it had uncovered a network of 15 Mossad agents.

Turkey, a Nato member, has long been Israel’s key security ally in the region, but that changed gradually after Mr Erdogan, a “soft Islamist”, was elected prime minister and became more expressly vocal in support of the Palestinian cause.

At some point, we are going to have to examine Turkey’s membership in NATO.

The article in the U.K Telegraph points out:

However, the response inside Israel was bitter. Danny Yatom, a former head of Mossad, described the alleged incident as a “great betrayal”.

“It’s against all the rules which have existed for many years, the unwritten rules concerning cooperation between intelligence organisations that reveal sensitive information to one another and trust one another not to use that information to harm whoever gave it to them,” he told Israeli radio.

The alliances in the Middle East are changing; the Obama Administration needs to acknowledge that fact and act accordingly.


Enhanced by Zemanta

One of the Problems with Syria

Michael Rubin was on the Bill Bennett show this morning. During his comments he restated something he had written in an AEI article on August 28.

The article states:

Remember: While the Aug. 21 attack on East Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, was the most severe chemical weapons strike, the UN has accused both sides of utilizing chemical agents.

I haven’t heard that reported in a lot of places.

Meanwhile, the New York Times posted an article today detailing some of the brutality of the Syrian Rebels. There are the rebels that an American intervention would help. A recent video smuggled out of Syria shows rebel forces brutally executing prisoners.

The New York Times article details some of the problems with supporting the rebels:

Much of the concern among American officials has focused on two groups that acknowledge ties to Al Qaeda. These groups — the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — have attracted foreign jihadis, used terrorist tactics and vowed to create a society in Syria ruled by their severe interpretation of Islamic law.

They have established a firm presence in parts of Aleppo and Idlib Provinces and in the northern provincial capital of Raqqa and in Deir al-Zour, to the east on the Iraqi border.

While the jihadis claim to be superior fighters, and have collaborated with secular Syrian rebels, some analysts and diplomats also note that they can appear less focused on toppling President Bashar al-Assad. Instead, they said, they focus more on establishing a zone of influence spanning Iraq’s Anbar Province and the desert eastern areas of Syria, and eventually establishing an Islamic territory under their administration.

I really think we need to consider what we would be supporting if we were to get involved in Syria’s civil war. I am still not convinced that there are any good guys in this fight. My heart breaks for the civilian casualties, but I am not sure helping the rebels will improve things for the people of Syria. It might be much more constructive simply to help the refugees as they find their way to other countries.

Enhanced by Zemanta

As The Smoke Clears

As we all recover from the shock of having the body of an America Ambassador dragged through the streets of Libya, we need to step back and take a look at what happened on September 11, 2012. First we need to realize that it happened on September 11, 2012. Second we need to note that the American Embassy in Libya was not protected in the same way that American Embassies overseas are usually protected.

Hot Air reported yesterday:

The consulate where the American ambassador to Libya was killed on Tuesday is an “interim facility” not protected by the contingent of Marines that safeguards embassies, POLITICO has learned…

A senior administration official Wednesday called the Benghazi consulate “an interim facility,” which the State Department began using “before the fall of Qadhafi.” It was staffed Tuesday by Libyan and State Department security officers. The consulate came under fire from heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at about 10 p.m. local time on Tuesday. By the time the attack ended several hours later, four Americans were dead and three others had been injured.

The Benghazi consulate had “lock-and-key” security, not the same level of defenses as a formal embassy, an intelligence source told POLITICO. That means it had no bulletproof glass, reinforced doors or other features common to embassies. The intelligence source contrasted it with the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt – “a permanent facility, which is a lot easier to defend.” The Cairo embassy also was attacked Tuesday.

It gets worse. Michael Rubin posted an article at the Daily Caller explaining how demonstrations in Islamic countries work:

The idea that the riots were spontaneous shows detachment from the reality of the Middle East. Dozens of heavily armed and murderous Islamists sacking embassies are not flash mobs of teenagers converging on a mall food court. When I lived in pre-war Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Yemen, my students and colleagues often spoke of how they had been informed by government representatives where to board buses to attend “spontaneous” rallies to be held the following day.

He concludes:

The war on terrorism and, more specifically, the fight against Islamist radicalism, is an ideological battle. The United States, moderate Muslims, and those valuing freedom and liberty must triumph not only on the battlefield, but also in the classroom and on the airwaves. Alas, apologies and self-flagellation represent not a path to peace, but little more than preemptive surrender.

That is a lesson we need to learn very quickly.


Enhanced by Zemanta