In the spring of 2012, when I wrote The Last Israelis, I thought that the pessimistic premise of my cautionary tale on Iranian nukes was grounded in realism. I had imagined a U.S. president who passively and impotently reacted to Iran's nuclear ambitions, leaving it to tiny Israel to deal with the threat. But something far worse is happening: the Obama administration is actively making it harder for Israel to neutralize Iran's nukes, and more likely that Iran will develop a nuclear arsenal.
A few months after my apocalyptic thriller was published, The New York Times reported that "intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials [dating] almost to the beginning of President Obama's term" resulted in an agreement to conduct one-on-one negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. In those secret talks, did Obama long ago concede to Iran a nuclear capability? If so, then the current Geneva negotiations merely provide the international imprimatur for what Iran and the US have already privately agreed. That might explain why France (of all countries) had to reject a Geneva deal that would have left Iran with a nuclear breakout capability.
An investigation by The Daily Beast also reveals that the "Obama administration began softening sanctions on Iran after the election of Iran's new president last June, months before the current round of nuclear talks in Geneva..." The report notes that Treasury Department notices show "that the U.S. government has all but stopped the financial blacklisting of entities and people that help Iran evade international sanctions since the election of its president, Hassan Rouhani, in June." more >>
Eleven former DHL Global Mail employees have filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Commission (USEEC) claiming that they were fired for praying on the job.
Twenty-four complaints in total are expected to be filed through the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) from Muslim Somali immigrants who allege that the company did not properly respect their religious rights.
"We are requesting all available remedies allowed under Title VII (of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964) and the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, including but not limited to: damages, reinstatement where appropriate and policy changes to ensure that all worker's civil rights are respected," Booker Washington, CAIR staff attorney, told The Cincinnati Enquirer. more >>
On the wall in my office hangs a map of the Entebbe airport in Uganda. The rudimentary map has just a few notations, written in Hebrew. It's not a travel map or an outline of the vendors at the airport; it is a diagram of the facility used in what is recognized as one of the first modern anti-terrorism operations conducted by the Israelis at the Entebbe airport in 1976.
The successful raid resulted in the rescue of 102 hostages that were held for over a week when their plane was hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a part of the larger Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Three of the Israeli hostages and one commando were killed in the operation. The one commando was a unit commander Yonatan Netanyahu, brother of the current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The map was a gift from one of the force commanders of the Entebbe raid, given to me back in the late 1980's when I had the opportunity to work with a number of Israeli anti-terrorist experts. My interaction with the Israelis taught me a lot about how people live and deal with neighbors who not only refuse to recognize their right to exist as a nation, but in many cases want to eliminate them and their people. more >>
The Republic of Cyprus has entered the maelstrom of the world's most volatile region thanks to new-found gas and oil reserves combined with an erratic Turkish foreign policy and a civil war in Syria. Even as leaders of this Mediterranean island show skill dealing with these novel threats and opportunities, they need support from a strong U.S. Navy, something not now available.
Cypriot underwater gas and oil discoveries follow directly on ones found earlier in Israeli seas, located adjacent to them and uncovered by the same American (Noble) and Israeli (Delek, Avner) companies. The current estimate of 5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) as well as some oil has a value estimated at US$800 billion, a huge sum amount for a small country whose current GDP is a mere $24 billion.
The great majority of this energy will likely be exported to Turkey or Europe. A pipeline to Turkey would be cheapest and easiest but so long as Turkish troops continue to occupy 36 percent of Cyprus, this will not happen. A recent court decision permitting the Israeli government to decide what quantities of energy to export now offers other possibilities: Cyprus could swap gas with Israel that then goes to Turkey or the two allies could jointly build a liquefied natural gas terminal in Cyprus. more >>
What's worse than the silence of Western Christians concerning the Muslim persecution of their coreligionists in the Islamic world? Answer: Cynically exploiting that persecution for a political agenda-in the case of a recent Daily Beast article, to excoriate the state of Israel and its supporters.
Titled "Why Won't the West Defend Middle Eastern Christians?" and written by Diarmaid MacCulloch, a Fellow of St. Cross College, the article touches on the persecution of Christians, but primarily as a springboard to attack American Christian support for Israel. Consider the following excerpt:
… one of the silences which I find most frustrating is precisely the lack of noise from Western Christians about the fate of ancient Christianities in the Middle East. At the heart of the problems in the Middle East is seven decades of unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine... more >>
The Vatican news agency Fides reports today that two new mass graves containing a total of 30 bodies were found in Sadad, an ancient Christian town of some 15,000 people between Damascus and Homs, bringing to 45 the number of residents killed there by Islamist militias since October 21.
Surviving relatives and friends uncovered the graves after government forces recently recaptured the town from rebels. Those killed were reported by the local Syriac Orthodox metropolitan, who presided over 30 of their funerals this week, to be Christian civilians, including women and children. A list of their names was provided to the Catholic press. The Islamist rebel militias of Al Nusra Front and Daash were identified by eyewitnesses as responsible for this war crime.
The battle also resulted in the destruction and looting of the town, including its homes, hospitals, schools, government buildings and electrical, telephone, and water capabilities. St. Theodore's Syriac Orthodox Church and a number of the 4,000-year-old Assyrian town's 14 other churches and a monastery have been desecrated. more >>