UPDATES 9:30 am Israel time, Friday August 30 2013:
*The French and British have now officially bowed out of any military action against Syria leaving the U.S. to go it alone should President Obama so desire. However, Obama is waiting to hear from the U.N. investigators who are due back in the U.S. on Saturday.
As “facts” stand at the moment: (1) we know that chemical weapons were used; (2) electronic intercepts indicate that Assad’s brother ordered their use; (3) there is no smoking gun that indicates that Bashir Assad knew they were being used.
Sure, and if you believe that older brother Bashir didn’t know, there is some excellent beachfront property in Mitzpe Ramon that your humble servant would like to sell you.
*The complete inefficiency of the Israeli Civil Defense system was on full display again yesterday as thousands of Israelis continue to clamor for our ABC kits of gas masks and atropine. Large groups of the population such as the orthodox religious communities seem to have little or no access to the kits, and, unbelievably, there is only 1 distribution center in the northern part of the country.
Here in Ashdod, we have given up trying to get a kit “in person”. Supposedly, our 4 “free” kits will be delivered to our home on Sunday–at a delivery cost of 40 shekels ($12). Non-citizens of Israel must purchase their kits.
*Israel has apparently reached a monetary agreement with Uganda to accept all of the illegal Eritrean and Sudanese infiltrators who came into Israel over the last few years. Even though the fence along the Egyptian border has been tremendously successful in stopping the flow, there are still more than 55,000 such infiltrators in the country (40,000 Eritreans and 15,000 Sudanese).
Voluntary deportations will begin after the holidays here in Israel next month–those refusing deportation will then be taken to court and deported involuntarily.
*The fallout continues from the dance episode that took place earlier this week when members of the Givati Brigade, who were on a security patrol through Hebron, heard music coming from one of Hebron’s hot discos (yes, believe it or not, the poor oppressed Palestinians actually go to numerous dance clubs in Judea and Samaria!).
Apparently a wedding was being celebrated and the soldiers, in full gear with automatic weapons, joined in the festivities and were embraced by the young people there–to the point that they were hoisted on the shoulders of the dancing celebrants to the beat of Gangnam style music (click here for the youtube video).
The IDF command has suspended all of the soldiers involved, and they will undoubtedly be court-martialed. The irony is that the IDF, on an institutional scale, dances with Palestinians at every turn from allowing them unfettered access to Israel to laundering Hamas money from Gaza.
What do China, Russia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Cuba all have in common?
According to an ultra-secret 2013 budget document leaked to the Washington Post by the renegade National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, these six countries are “priority targets” of U.S. counter-intelligence operations.
The document that was released was actually portions of the budget request for the U.S. $52.5 billion dollar “black budget”–the “under the table” money that the U.S. uses to fund its most secret intelligence gathering.
Here is a sentence from the actual request:
“To further safeguard our classified networks, we continue to strengthen insider threat detection capabilities across the Community. In addition, we are investing in target surveillance and offensive CI [counterintelligence] against key targets, such as China, Russia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Cuba.”
What can your humble servant say?
For “black-op” U.S. intelligence agencies, under the direct oversight of President Obama, to consider Israel as a “priority target” in the same category as China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and Cuba is nothing short of shocking and raises disturbing questions that need to be answered:
*Why should Israel be engaged in “peace negotiations” with the PLO/PA under the auspices of the United States? If nothing else, the leaked document shows that the U.S. has no moral standing to be a player in the talks being clearly aligned against Israel.
*Why should Israel be engaged in any sort of joint exercises with the U.S.? Apparently, every such exercise is another opportunity for the U.S. to spy on Israel.
*Why should we believe any pronouncement coming out of the Obama White House concerning Israel? The obvious underpinning of Obama Middle East strategy is to operate as if Israel is the enemy.
*What possible moral justification does the U.S. have for keeping Jonathan Pollard in prison? Should all of the those in the U.S. “counter-intelligence” community who are spying against Israel–from the lowliest operatives to the highest “managers”–be charged by Israel with “spying”? Should we seek their extradition to Israel?
In sum, your humble servant is not suggesting that Israel should somehow break off relations with the U.S.–far from it. Over the years, the United States has been one of this countries’ staunchest allies. But this relationship has become increasingly clouded by an American president intent on pushing his failed agenda for a “new Middle East”–an agenda that relegates Israel to the ranks of China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and Cuba.
What your humble servant is suggesting is that the time has come for some Israeli politicians to take off their rose-colored glasses and see the U.S. for what it is: a diminished world power that will manipulate Israel for American purposes and to Israel’s extreme detriment.