Netanyahu Orders Israeli Military To Prepare For ‘Significant Expansion’ Of Gaza Ground Offensive

Associated Press | FOXNEWS

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the military Friday to prepare for a “significant expansion” of its ground operation against Gaza militants.

Netanyahu said the military’s primary goal would be to destroy underground tunnels used by Hamas to attack the Jewish State. The announcement came hours after Israeli ground troops and tanks struck more than 100 terror targets in Israel’s first major ground offensive in Gaza in just over five years.

The offensive follows an Egyptian effort earlier this week to halt hostilities. Israel accepted the terms, but Hamas refused, demanding that Israel and Egypt first give guarantees to ease the blockade on Gaza.

“Since there is no way to deal with the tunnels only from the air, our soldiers are doing it now from the ground,” Netanyahu said at the opening of an emergency cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem Post reported. “We decided to launch the action after we tried all the other ways, and with an understanding that without this operation the price we will have to pay later would be much higher.”

Tanks, infantry and engineering forces were operating inside the coastal strip. In a statement, the military said it targeted rocket launchers, tunnels and more than 100 other targets. Throughout the night, the thud of tank shells echoed across Gaza, often just a few seconds apart. Several explosions from Israeli missile strikes shook high-rise buildings in central Gaza City. Pillars of smoke could be seen from the Israeli side of the border.

At Gaza’s main Shifa Hospital, casualties quickly began arriving, including several members of the same family wounded by shrapnel from tank shells. Among those hurt were a toddler and a boy of elementary school age, their bodies pocked by small bloody wounds.

Read the complete article at Foxnews 

Iraq’s Descent Into Chaos

By Ambassador John R. Bolton

This article originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Iraq’s descent into chaos has sparked a fierce, high-decibel debate over who is responsible, a debate that unfortunately overshadows the one we truly need about how to protect American interests there today.

The historical debate is, not surprisingly, highly partisan. One side condemns George Bush’s 2003 decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein; others blame Barack Obama’s 2011 withdrawal of essentially all U.S. forces, leaving Iraq to itself.

I am squarely in the second camp. Obama’s decision to elevate ideology and domestic politics over the national interest (plus his limp-wristed treatment of Iran’s nuclear-weapons program) is largely responsible. Understanding why requires two things the anti-Bush argument sadly lacks — appreciating both the hard reality of the Middle East over the past 35 years and, as important, how historical causation actually works.

Between 1980 and 2000, Iran and Iraq, for different reasons, were each hostile to U.S. interests. Nonetheless, successive administrations failed to resolve either threat satisfactorily. Ronald Reagan’s tilt toward Iraq in the 1980’s Iran-Iraq war, for instance, manifestly did not dissuade Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Indeed, hindsight now makes clear we should have overthrown his regime in 1991 rather than returning to the status quo ante bellum.

President Clinton’s “dual containment” policy was even worse, containing neither Iran nor Iraq, while allowing both to support international terrorism and pursue weapons of mass destruction. Clinton also ignored the Taliban’s rise in Afghanistan and al-Qaida worldwide, tragically leading to Sept. 11, 2001. After overthrowing the Taliban in 2001-02, Bush next rightly decided to finish the first Persian Gulf War, since Saddam remained an obvious threat to international peace and security. America’s military did so with brilliance and speed.

The “blame Bush” argument rests on two assumptions, both wrong. First, it asserts that Saddam’s 2003 overthrow led inevitably and unalterably to the current state of affairs. But does the chain of causation flow solely and unavoidably from the 2003 decision to invade? No. History is rarely so direct. For example, disbanding Saddam’s army, thereby eliminating the paychecks on which many Sunni Arab families depended, helped fuel discontent during 2003-06 and, in 20/20 hindsight, has been harshly criticized. But was the decision to disband the Saddam-era army directly required by the decision to invade? Obviously not; it was entirely separate and distinct, as were the vast bulk of other post-Saddam decisions.

Moreover, Bush’s 2006-08 “surge” policy, which eliminated the al-Qaida threat in Iraq and re-established considerable domestic political stability, was not inevitably determined by any prior decision. Indeed, Bush originally was a minority within his own government and in Washington generally and most Democrats opposed it. Bush’s surge, however, created an Iraq so stable that the Obama administration would later try to steal the credit for its consequences.

Second, blaming Bush rests on the unverifiable but almost certainly incorrect assumption that had we not invaded in 2003, Iraq’s subsequent alternative history would have been smooth and peaceful. Such naiveté hardly comports with Saddam’s malicious history or the deep and bloody confessional hatreds now on display, not to mention later regional developments, such as the fratricide resulting from the Arab Spring. The blithe spirits content for Saddam to remain in power unchallenged also are shockingly careless with the potential regional threat he posed.

Ask Kuwait.

Subsequent incorrect decisions thus hardly invalidate the logic of the initial decision to invade. One can support the 2003 decision to overthrow Saddam without being required to defend every subsequent decision. Neither history nor real-life decision-making is like a continuously extruded one-piece steel beam. Manifestly, no one has to defend every decision, especially those with which we disagree, in a complex historical chain.

In fact, Bush’s overthrow of Saddam is far from either a necessary or a sufficient condition to explain Iraq’s current chaos. By contrast, Obama’s 2011 decision to withdraw U.S. forces almost certainly fits both those conditions by removing the military power that constituted our principal leverage over al-Maliki and Iran. Iraq’s inexperience with self-government, combined with Iran’s malign efforts to subvert the entire process, necessitated U.S. forces remaining there for several more years and in much larger numbers than Obama would accept.

Moreover, the absence of a status-of-forces agreement was not a real reason to withdraw but only a pretext camouflaging Obama’s ideology and mollifying his domestic political base.

Resolving the historical debate, however, still doesn’t tell us what we should be doing now. This is neither 2003 nor 2011 but an entirely different environment and Iraq’s collapse is accelerating. Our interests and those of our friends and allies haven’t changed but the options now open to us are, sadly, not what they once were. Obama now is in his sixth year of closing his eyes to the Middle East’s deteriorating reality and the global terrorist threat. If history tells us anything, it is that the United States will feel the pain.

ISIS Joins Forces With Saddam Loyalists In Bid To Take Baghdad

Benjamin Hall | Foxnews

For 10 years, members of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist party — including many of the dead dictator’s top generals — have hidden in the shadows of Iraq, persecuted by government in Baghdad and plotting, praying and preparing for the chance to reclaim their country.

Now they are back, paired in a bloodthirsty alliance with the brutal jihadis of the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria/Levant. These vicious Islamic radicals fighting alongside top officials from Hussein’s dictatorship, are working to seize control of the battle-scarred nation. For now, their objectives converge.

 “[We are] unified by the same goal, which is getting rid of this sectarian government, ending this corrupt army and negotiating to form a Sunni Region,” a senior Baathist leader told FoxNews.com.

After the invasion of Iraq, thousands of Baathist’s lost their jobs: teachers, doctors, professors, soldiers. Banished from holding any public-sector positions, many found themselves unable to support and feed their families, and their anger grew. This purge is considered one of the major blunders of the invasion, and although it was partly overturned in 2008, the damage had been done.

For a decade, tensions in the Sunni regions simmered under these conditions, as Maliki’s Shia government sought retribution for decades of Saddam’s brutal rule. Many who once were part of the regime found it hard to put food on the table, their anger building as their communities suffered. That the Maliki government continues to shell rebel held cities today, despite the fact many within are innocent civilians, further isolates Sunni communities and pushes them into the sphere of Sunni rebels.

Ultimately it was the failure of Maliki’s government to reach out to these elements that created the ISIS alliance in Iraq. It has drawn comparisons to Syria, where ISIS forces joined with the Free Syrian Army with the intention of toppling Bashar al-Assad’s regime; but in Syria the alliance imploded. The patriotic group fighting to liberate Syria, eventually faced off against the violent jihadists seeking to carve out an extreme fundamentalist state, and today they are at war.

Much has been written about ISIS’s blitzkrieg across northern Iraq, but it is unlikely the fighters would have been as successful without the Baathists. Three of Saddam’s former generals led the takeover of Mosul, and eight of the top 10 generals in the ISIS army are believed to be Baathists. Izzat Douri, a former military commander who Saddam considered to be like a brother, is widely rumored to be in Mosul, overseeing the conflict after hiding out in Qatar and Syria for a decade.

In addition to their military training, the Baathists have been able to tap strong tribal ties in the region to command countless followers. That’s helped to keep the conquered territory in ISIS hands while the army of terrorists and freed soldiers moves forward toward the prize: Baghdad and the holy Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf.

Read the complete article at Foxnews

Palestinian UN Statehood Bid — Not Serious Effort to Achieve Middle East Peace

JOHN BOLTON | FOXNEWS.COM

Palestinian U.N. Statehood Bid — More Broadway Theater Than a Serious Effort to Achieve Middle East Peace

By Amb. John Bolton

September 20, 2011

The Palestinian Authority (“P.A.”) is proceeding full steam ahead to create “facts on the ground” in the Middle East by working the Manhattan corridors of the United Nations. This is neither the first time, nor undoubtedly the last, that Palestinian leaders have succumbed to the delusion that Middle Eastern reality can be changed by irrelevant U.N. activity.

The tactical ploys and counter-ploys are now flying around the U.N. compound. In the midst of all of the conflicting news reports we will see and hear, keep in mind one thing: this is more Broadway theater than a serious effort to achieve Middle East peace.

The odds of “Palestine” becoming a U.N. member are essentially zero. Although President Obama may once have toyed with not vetoing a PA move for membership (thus, ironically, encouraging the chaos now unfolding at Turtle Bay), he has rejected this counterproductive idea. Washington will veto, period.

Possibly, the P.A. bid may not even obtain the majority of nine (out of fifteen) Security Council votes it needs under the U.N. Charter, thus meaning that, technically, Washington’s “no” vote would not actually be a “veto.”

Accordingly, I think it unlikely that the P.A. will go to the Council. Although in the U.N. Twilight Zone, defeat is often spun as a moral victory, any more such “victories” for the P.A. could mean its complete collapse.

Most likely, therefore, the P.A. will seek a U.N. General Assembly vote, perhaps recognizing the P.A.’s “statehood,” or perhaps changing its U.N. status from “observer organization” to “observer state.” Given the General Assembly’s political layout, any such resolution, no matter how worded, will pass overwhelmingly.

But what exactly will that mean? Many in Israel and America are panicked at the prospect of “Palestine” being declared a “state,” even if merely an “observer.” Israel officials will be hauled before the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) for prosecution, they say, “Palestine” will suddenly assume control over its air space and waters adjacent to Gaza, they say, impairing Israel’s self-defense. And on and on and on, they say.

This is all nonsense. The only practical result of the General Assemble declaring “Palestine” a state will be to move its chair on the side of the Assembly hall a few feet from its present location to be next to the Vatican, the only other “observer state.” This is nothing to get excited about.

But what of the hysterical concerns so many express, typically to insist that Israel should offer concessions to the P.A. to forestall any U.N. vote? In fact, General Assembly resolutions are not binding on anyone other than itself. It could declare Disneyland an observer state, and treat it accordingly, but no one else need do so.

If the ICC were to interpret a General Assembly resolution as permitting “Palestine” to become a party to the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, it would be making a political decision not a legal decision, and one clearly beyond its authority.

Such an irresponsible ICC action would transform the currently dim chances of America ever joining into an absolute certainty. U.S. opposition to the ICC is already strong, and targeting Israel would lock in our opposition as far into the future as predictive powers allow. Any other U.N. agency making the same decision would risk grave damage, including possibly losing U.S. funding. Bring it on.

The PA’s ill-advised U.N. stratagem will not improve the chances for Middle East peace, it will not truly enhance the PA’s status, and it will not improve living conditions for average Palestinians. This entire episode is fantasy, and should be so regarded, whatever happens on First Avenue.

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, is a Fox News contributor and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations” (Simon & Schuster, 2007).

To see this article as it originally appeared on foxnews.com, click here.

Obama’s Misunderstanding of Syria Crisis

JOHN BOLTON | NEW YORK POST

This op-ed originally appeared in August 24, 2011 edition of the New York Post

 
The end of the Khadafy regime in Libya has focused new attention on the rebels in Syria — as has last week’s belated call by President Obama for the ouster of Bashar al-Assad. But it will take a more radical Obama course correction to make a real difference. After six months of bloodshed, with thousands dead, and only mild White House responses earlier, this belated pronouncement is likely too little too late.

At the very least, the administration needs to recognize the false premises behind its mistakes..

First, Obama erred badly in consistently believing that Assad or his regime had any potential for true reform. Since Assad took office in 2000 upon his father’s death (in lieu of his elder brother, the regime’s continued its domestic repression, its support for international terrorism, its pursuit of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and its increasing dominance by Iran.

The inescapable conclusion from this massive record of malevolence is that Bashar was either fully complicit, or utterly ineffective in stopping it. Obama’s persistent, willful blindness to this reality has been central to our feckless Syria policy.

Second, Washington should have declared regime change to be its goal in Syria long ago, not just when protests finally erupted. President George W. Bush gave Damascus a chance after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein to renounce terrorism, give up weapons of mass destruction and make peace with Israel. It chose to do nothing.

From that moment, we should have pursued regime change, aiding legitimate opposition groups and thereby empowering responsible Syrian believers in a free and open society. Instead, we face an environment today where radical Islamists are potential successors to the Ba’athists.

Third, Obama has never understood Iran’s domineering role in Syria. Beyond the Ba’ath Party’s historical propensity for brutality and repression, long ago perfected by Bashar’s father, Iran’s increasingly hegemonic position has virtually ensured that he will not contravene Tehran’s will.

Given Iran’s use of Syria to fund and arm Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups, and its likely use of Syria to hide aspects of its nuclear-weapons program, Iran was never going to permit “reform.”

Indeed, the administration needs to face Iran’s influence across the region. Syria’s and Hezbollah’s murderous intervention has rendered Lebanon virtually prostrate yet again. Hamas’s indiscriminate terrorism against Israel has destroyed the prospects for Palestinian unity and a responsible path to statehood and representative government. Now, with Mubarak’s fall in Egypt, Hamas can conspire in public with its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, to radicalize Egyptians as well as Palestinians.

Obama either didn’t comprehend this relationship, or was simply unwilling to cross the Iranians because of his ethereal hopes to negotiate with Tehran to end its nuclear-weapons program. White House mistakes continue to allow Iran to prevail in Syria.

Fourth, calling for regime change isn’t just a question of timing but also of leadership. The administration waited far too long, thus minimizing the impact of its rhetoric, which is all that its policy really amounts to.

Moreover, prior sanctions, and those just announced by Obama and being discussed in Europe, haven’t squeezed Syria’s regime, nor are they likely to. Sanctions targeting particular institutions and individuals can almost never be effective because they are so susceptible to evasion. Only sweeping sanctions, swiftly and decisively applied and effectively enforced, have a chance of real effect. That is a far cry from what Obama and the European Union have actually done.

Fifth, Assad’s departure alone doesn’t mean broader change. For example, Alawite and Sunni generals may ditch him but maintain a military dictatorship, quite possibly leaving Iran in a dominant role. Or, absent a deal, Sunnis may use force to exact a heavy, bloody price from Alawites for the long Assad dictatorships. Moreover, Sunni Arab governments certainly want to diminish Iran’s influence in Syria, which means it may simply become another front in the Iranian-Saudi battle for dominance within Islam and in the Middle East, already reflected in Bahrain. That is hardly good news for Syria’s civilian population.

Obama has thus far grievously mishandled Syria, as he has an increasingly long list of other crisis spots. Americans will soon have to decide if they can do better, with a president who remembers that true leaders lead from the front.

Click here to see the article as it originally appeared in The New York Post.

America’s Intelligence Denial on Iran

This piece originally ran in the July 20, 2011 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

BY FRED FLEITZ |  NEWSMAX

Mounting evidence over the last few years has convinced most experts that Iran has an active program to develop and construct nuclear weapons. Amazingly, however, these experts do not include the leaders of the U.S. intelligence community. They are unwilling to conduct a proper assessment of the Iranian nuclear issue—and so they remain at variance with the Obama White House, U.S. allies, and even the United Nations.

The last month alone has brought several alarming developments concerning Tehran’s nuclear program. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said last month that his agency has new information pointing to the military ambitions of Iran’s nuclear program. As of today, Iran has over 4,000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium—enough, according to the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, for four nuclear weapons if enriched to weapons grade.

Iran has accelerated its production of low-enriched uranium in defiance of U.N. and IAEA resolutions. It has also announced plans to install advanced centrifuge machines in a facility built deep inside a mountain near the city of Qom. According to several U.S. diplomats and experts, the facility is too small to be part of a peaceful nuclear program and appears specially constructed to enrich uranium to weapons grade.To top this off, an item recently posted to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps website mused about the day after an Iranian nuclear test (saying, in a kind of taunt, that it would be a “normal day”). That message marked the first time any official Iranian comment suggested the country’s nuclear program is not entirely peaceful.

Despite all this, U.S. intelligence officials are standing by their assessment, first made in 2007, that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not restarted it since.

In February, the 17 agencies of the U.S. intelligence community issued a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate updating their 2007 assessment. That estimate had been politicized by several officials who feared how President George W. Bush might respond to a true account of the Iranian threat. It also was affected by the wave of risk aversion that has afflicted U.S. intelligence analysis since the 2003 Iraq War. Intelligence managers since then have discouraged provocative analytic conclusions, and any analysis that could be used to justify military action against rogue states like Iran.

I read the February 2011 Iran NIE while on the staff of the House Intelligence Committee. I believe it was poorly written and little improvement over the 2007 version. However, during a pre-publication classification review of this op-ed, the CIA and the Office of the Director of Intelligence censored my criticisms of this analysis, including my serious concern that it manipulated intelligence evidence. The House Intelligence Committee is aware of my concerns and I hope it will pursue them.

Censors also tried to prevent me from discussing my most serious objection to the 2011 Iran NIE: its skewed set of outside reviewers. The U.S. intelligence community regularly employs reviewers who tend to endorse anything they review: former senior intelligence officers, liberal professors and scholars from liberal think tanks. These reviewers tend to share the views of senior intelligence analysts, and they also want to maintain their intelligence contacts and high-level security clearances.

I believe that senior intelligence officials tried to block me from naming the NIE’s outside reviewers because the names so strongly suggest that intelligence agencies took no chances of an outside reviewer unraveling the document’s poorly structured arguments and cavalier manipulation of intelligence.

I have been permitted to say the following about the outside reviewers: Two of the four are former CIA analysts who work for the same liberal Washington, D.C., think tank. Neither served under cover, and their former CIA employment is well known. Another reviewer is a liberal university professor and strong critic of George W. Bush’s foreign policy. The fourth is a former senior intelligence official. Not surprisingly, the 2011 NIE included short laudatory excerpts from these reviewers that offered only very mild criticism.

It is unacceptable that Iran is on the brink of testing a nuclear weapon while our intelligence analysts continue to deny that an Iranian nuclear weapons program exists. One can’t underestimate the dangers posed to our country by a U.S. intelligence community that is unable to provide timely and objective analysis of such major threats to U.S. national security—or to make appropriate adjustments when it is proven wrong.

If U.S. intelligence agencies cannot or will not get this one right, what else are they missing?

Mr. Fleitz retired this year after a 25-year career at the CIA, DIA, State Department and House Intelligence Committee staff. He now writes for Newsmax.com. This op-ed was amended to obtain classification clearance from the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Click here to see the article as it originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal at www.wsj.com

Trading with the Enemy: Iran & Multinationals

MARK D. WALLACE | NEW YORK POST

July 26, 2011

It may not be politically expedient to admit, but Iran is engaged in a live, “hot” war with the United States and its NATO allies — even as we continue to do business with it.

US officials have recently detailed Iran’s latest hostile military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the training and arming of insurgent groups directly responsible for the death of many Americans on the battlefield.

As Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said while visiting Iraq, “We are very concerned about Iran and the weapons they are providing to extremists here in Iraq . . . In June, we lost a hell of a lot of Americans as a result of those attacks. And we cannot just simply stand back and allow this to continue to happen.”

Iran is deliberately killing US troops and has been for years. Last month was the deadliest for Americans in Iraq since 2009; the US military attributed most of the casualties to Shia extremists who’d received training and weaponry from Iran. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen said, “Iran is very directly supporting extremist Shia groups which are killing our troops.”

Iran’s war against America extends to Afghanistan, where both US and NATO troops each day face Iranian-armed foes. In March, British special forces intercepted a Taliban convoy carrying 48 Iranian-made 122mm rockets. Gen. David Petraeus notes that al Qaeda operatives use Iran as a transit point to travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the full knowledge of the Iranian government.

Plus, Iran has trained an estimated 3,000 Taliban fighters within its borders. One Taliban commander frankly said, “Our religions and our histories are different, but our target is the same — we both want to kill Americans.”

It’s past time for US policymakers to at least acknowledge Iran’s war with our nation and adopt appropriate policies and laws — especially when it comes to the international business community and its all-too-convenient blinders.

By continuing to do business in Iran, major corporations are lining the pockets of a regime that is killing US and NATO troops.

While some companies, such as Caterpillar and Terex, have voluntarily and commendably pulled out of Iran, such multinationals as Nokia, Nissan and Honeywell continue their business there. And even as they enrich a regime engaged in killing Americans, these corporations benefit from US federal and state contracts worth billions.

In the past, Western firms were stigmatized for doing business with America’s enemies, yet today large companies do business in Iran with impunity and even receive billion-dollar contracts from our Defense Department. This is obscene.

What should American policymakers do? As a first crucial step, our federal and state governments should pass tough laws to bar companies that do business in Iran from getting government contracts.

For the moment, gridlock seems to be preventing action in Washington. So United Against Nuclear Iran has been working with state legislatures to pass “contract debarment” laws. Such statutes prohibit firms that do business in Iran from maintaining their state contracts, forcing them to choose between Iran and America for business — with an obvious outcome.

California is now enforcing its own version, the 2010 Iran Contracting Act, and has already successfully pressured numerous multinationals to end their business in Iran; Florida implemented a similar law this month. The other 48 states should follow suit and take a stand against companies that are empowering a regime that kills US soldiers.

It’s time for all members of the international business community to recognize that their business in Iran is enriching a regime that’s at war with America and its NATO allies. US policymakers and business leaders must acknowledge that Iran is a wartime enemy and take strong measures against a regime that has American blood on its hands.

Mark D. Wallace is president of United Against Nuclear Iran. He served as US ambassador to the United Nations, as representative for UN management and reform.

Click here to read the article as it originally appeared in the New York Post.  

What could shake Syria’s regime

DAVID W. LESCH |  CNN.COM

Of the many occasions that I met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from 2004 to 2009, this one seemed different.

He was always very affable and unpretentious, certainly not the profile of the brutal Middle East dictator that he appears to be today with the violent crackdown against Syrian protesters. But in a February 2006 meeting, he was much more confident than usual in discussing the state of U.S.-Syrian relations; in fact, he was almost cocky.

He knew by then that he had survived the intense pressure the United States and its allies had applied on him following the U.N. investigation into the assassination the previous year of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, which initially had implicated the Syrian leadership.

His new-found confidence lasted. A few months later in a follow-up meeting, he triumphantly remarked that, “I don’t want the United States. I don’t need the United States.”

Syrian civilian: “Why is our president killing us?”

After successfully weathering that storm, Assad and his cohorts may well believe that they can once more emerge intact from a major challenge to their regime.

Read the complete article at CNN

Obama and the Jews

SAM BLUMENFELD |  New American

President Obama’s May 19th speech on the Middle East sounded like something a high-schooler would have given to win a prize in a politically correct oration contest. It showed a total lack of knowledge of the historic reality of the area for the last hundred years. It was full of empty clichés about “democracy.” What he could have and should have told the Arab countries is that, after 63 years, it was time to end their boycott and hostility toward Israel and establish normal diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. He certainly should have expected Iraq, liberated from despotism by America, to establish normal diplomatic relations with Israel. Instead, he pledged to throw huge sums of money at Tunisia and Egypt in order to help them achieve a democratic government and economic prosperity. He could have cited tiny Israel as a nation in the area that was able to achieve economic prosperity with very little natural resources.

But what shocked many Americans, and particularly friends of Israel, is when he suggested that Israel start the negotiations for peace with its enemies by first agreeing to retreat to its pre-1967 borders. That would mean dividing Jerusalem into two parts, Israeli and Palestinian. The President also expected Israel to help solve the Palestinian refugee problem by accepting millions of descendants of those Palestinians who fled the Holy Land in 1948, thus destroying Israel as a Jewish state. Obama also said that the Palestinian state must be contiguous, meaning that Israel would have to cut itself up to accommodate the Palestinian state comprised of both the West Bank and Gaza. Such an Israel would be totally indefensible. In short the President of the United States was asking Israel to commit suicide.

He did not ask the Arabs to give up their dreams of destroying Israel. He did not ask Lebanon to give up its state of war against their southern neighbor. He did not even tell the Egyptians that it was important for them to maintain their peace treaty with Israel if they expected further American help. Instead, he accepted the status quo as unchangeable, even though his entire political career has been devoted to “hope and change.“ Nor did he tell the Muslim countries to stop killing Christians. He just rattled on about religious tolerance and freedom as if just saying the words would bring about religious tolerance and freedom.

But it was the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who brought Obama back down to earth. He was scheduled to confer with Obama at the White House on the very next day after the speech, and the Israeli statesman took the opportunity not only to give Obama a lesson in geography and history but also inform the millions of Americans who would be watching the meeting.

There was much speculation on what that meeting would be like since many remembered how insultingly Netanyahu was treated by Obama in November 2009 when, according to reporter Caroline Glick, Netanyahu was “brought into the White House in an unmarked van in the middle of the night rather than greeted like a friend at the front door, was forbidden to have his picture taken with the President, and was forced to leave the White House alone, through a side exit, and ordered to keep the contents of the meeting with the President secret.” That was Obama at the height of his arrogance and belief that he could treat an ally like a pariah and that his Jewish voters would continue to support him in 2012.

When former UN ambassador John Bolton listened to the first speech Obama gave to the United Nations, he told Glenn Beck, “this is the most radical anti-Israel speech I can recall any president making … I have to say I was very shaken by this speech.”

But this time the meeting was cordial, and Obama listened intently to what Netanyahu had to say: that going back to the 1967 borders was impossible because of the many changes that had taken place on the ground since then. He also told the President that Israel would not negotiate with Hamas, which was now a part of the Palestinian government, since Hamas’s goal is the destruction of Israel, and lastly that there was no way that Israel could accept the millions of grandchildren of the Arab refugees who fled Palestine in 1948 when the Arab armies invaded the newly created state of Israel in their attempt to throw the Jews into the sea.

That meeting, and Netanyahu’s statement, left the impression that Obama was shown to be ignorant of the salient facts about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he made his comeback at the AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) meeting held on Sunday, May 22nd, even though Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, wrote an open letter to AIPAC, calling on it to cancel a scheduled address by Obama to the Jewish lobby group on Sunday.

As expected, Obama used the occasion to solidify his Jewish vote by virtually agreeing with everything Netanyahu said by simply using clever semantic juggling, yet still calling for a contiguous Palestinian state, unarmed, living in peace with Israel. He strongly reiterated America’s commitment to defend Israel. And judging from the applause he received, it is doubtful that much of the 78 percent of the Jewish vote he got in 2008 will desert him. Indeed, by speaking at AIPAC, Obama showed how good a politician he has become since 2009 when he treated Netanyahu like a pariah.

Obama bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia and other heads of state, but kicked the Prime Minister of Israel in the pants. And in his AIPAC speech he spoke of the Palestinians and Israelis as moral equivalents. Yet, according to Jerusalem Post reporter Caroline Glick:

Virulent, Nazi-style Jew hatred and dehumanization has become for the Palestinians, as for the Germans before them, the central unifying theme of society…. Palestinians teach, preach, write and paint in praise of genocide.

Despite all of this, and the lack of ability of most Americans to understand the subtlety of what comes out of the mouth of Barack Hussein Obama, one must not underestimate Obama’s ability to win a second term, although it will probably be the economy and not his Middle East policy that will determine the outcome.

Let’s hope that what happened on Sunday, in Spain will happen in the U.S. in November 2012. Judging from the humiliating defeat the Socialists in Spain suffered on May 22nd in local and regional elections, it is the economy that played the major role in the conservatives’ victories. How Obama overcomes his “it’s the economy, stupid” handicap will be seen in the coming campaign.

So why was Obama so heavily supported by the Jewish vote in 2008, when it was already known that throughout his life, Obama had been close friends with numerous virulent anti-Semites: Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Khalid al-Mansour, Rashid Khalidi, and others. They voted for him because he was a Democrat.

At Occidental College,Obama’s friends were hardly pro-Israel. He wrote in his autobiography, Dreams from My Father: “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students, the foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets…. we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism and patriarchy.”

Not a Zionist among them. In fact these are groups who see Zionism as a form of Western colonialism.

In Chicago, Obama chose to attend Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ, where he and Michelle were married and where his children were baptized. According to The New Republic of March 2007, Wright was “a former Muslim and black nationalist.” Wright awarded the anti-Semitic head of the Black Muslim sect, Louis Farrakhan, the church’s award. This is the church that Obama attended for 20 years, listening to Wright’s harangues against Israel and the United States. It is in that church that Wright was taped preaching in a loud voice, “God damn America.”

Knowing what we now know about Obama’s past associations with anti-Semites, it makes Obama’s magical ability to be a political chamelion ever so much more remarkable. At the AIPAC meeting he pulled all the heartstrings of that Jewish, largely Democrat, audience. He spoke of his visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem where he said a prayer and placed a note in one of the wall’s crevices. He actually said it with a straight face. That certainly convinced most of the people in that audience that Obama would have their votes. How many Republican politicians have done what Obama did and talked about it? In fact, Sarah Palin did exactly that and mentioned it only in passing with a smile in a short interview.

In short, whatever damage may have been inflicted on Obama’s image by Netanyahu on Friday was superbly repaired by Obama on Sunday. This man does more than lie. He is the lie.

Read the original article at New American