Weak leadership in US, Israel is making region more dangerous | Times of Israel

Plenty has been written in recent years about the foreign policy of US President Barack Obama’s administration, especially regarding the Middle East.

Still, he never fails to surprise us anew, time and again, with his hesitancy in dealing with regional problems.

Only two weeks ago, Obama acknowledged that America did not have a strategy for countering the Islamic State. Presumably, setting up such a strategy for dealing with the murderous organization would require considerable thought. Yet on Wednesday Obama presented his strategic plan, which any Middle Easterner who didn’t support IS could have come up with long ago: intensification of strikes against IS everywhere, including Syria (finally); more support for those fighting IS on the ground (the Iraqi Army, the Kurds, and the Syrian opposition groups that have been begging the US administration for help for years, which Washington refused); drying up IS financial sources; improving intelligence; and providing humanitarian aid to residents of the region harmed by the organization’s actions. [Read more]


Destroying Gaza’s Water System | CounterPunch

Palestinians in Gaza are starting to awake from the shell-shock of Israel’s 51-day Ramadan Massacre which left over 2,131 Palestinians killed (of which over 500 were children), over 10,000 injured (more than half of whom are estimated to be permanently handicapped), and scores of homes and businesses demolished. Reality is bleaker than ever before. Nothing of the underlying reasons why Gaza exploded into a bloodbath has changed. Israeli and Egyptian closures of Gaza’s borders remain in place. However, one product is making its way freely across the border into Israel. Actually, this product flows undetected by the almighty Israeli military and rolls right up on to the shores of Tel Aviv. The product is Palestinian shit, or more accurately, to maintain the media bias of the times, Palestinian terrorist shit.

We Palestinians have no love affair with the Israelis relaxing on the shores of Tel Aviv. Many of these Israelis have no problem being high-tech professionals in the morning, throwing on their military uniform and participating in turning Gaza into a living hell on earth in the afternoon, then going for a relaxing swim with the family on the shores of Tel Aviv in the evening. However, we would advise Israelis, and all tourists to Israel for that matter, to please stop swimming in our shit. This practice is not only unhealthy for you and your children, but it is killing us, literally and figuratively. [Read more]


“U.S. Militarism Brings Chaos”: As Obama Plans a War on ISIS, a Call for a Middle East-Led Response | Democracy Now

President Obama has launched an effort to rally Congress and the public behind a sustained offensive against the militant group, Islamic State. Obama is set to meet with Congress on Tuesday followed by a national address Wednesday. The United States says it will lead the offensive against the Islamic State with a so-called “core coalition” of 10 countries. The White House says the fight could last beyond the end of President Obama’s term in early 2017. Meanwhile on Sunday, Arab League foreign ministers met in Cairo and announced they would cooperate with efforts to combat militants who have overrun parts of Iraq and Syria. Their resolution did not explicitly support the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State, but suggested it would back the effort.

We are joined by Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut and editor-at-large of the Beirut-based newspaper, The Daily Star. “Combining American militarism with Arab dictatorships is probably the stupidest recipe that anybody could possibly come up with to try to fight jihadi movements like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State and others,” Khouri says. “It was that combination of Arab autocracy and American militarism that actually nurtured and let these movements expand.” [Read more]


Obama’s Best Hope Against ISIS Was Just Killed, So Let’s Make Friends with Iran | The Intercept

Tonight, Barack Obama will explain to the American people his plans to “degrade and destroy” the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The problem is, America’s incomprehensible and contradictory policy toward ISIS makes that goal impossible.

Thus far, U.S. hopes against ISIS have been pinned on the group’s most palatable enemies: The Iraqi Army, Kurdish Peshmerga, and more moderate Syrian rebels. While those groups have not been defeated, their position today is weaker than ever. As such, some cooperation with America’s ostensible enemies in the Iranian military will likely be necessary to any plan to defeat the Islamic State. [Read more]


Tehran’s Boots on the Ground | Foreign Policy

When U.S. President Barack Obama makes his speech Wednesday night about taking on the Islamic State, he’s sure to mention the nine countries that have signed on to aid the United States in the fight. He’ll leave out the one country that has already sent forces into Iraq and Syria to help beat back the terrorist group: Iran.

Terrified at the prospect of giving the Sunni-led militants a permanent foothold inside Iraq, the Shiite government in Tehran is openly providing weapons, intelligence, and military advisors to Baghdad and the array of Shiite militias fighting alongside the beleaguered Iraqi military. Iran denies having combat troops inside Iraq, but a U.S. official familiar with the matter said that Iran has at times had hundreds of ground forces fighting alongside the Iraqi soldiers and militiamen. [Read more]


Hamas Rocket Launches Don’t Explain Israel’s Gaza Destruction | truthout

Israel and its supporters abroad have parried accusations of indiscriminate destruction and mass killing of civilians in Gaza by arguing that they were consequences of strikes aimed at protecting Israeli civilians from rockets that were being launched from very near civilian structures.

That defence has already found its way into domestic US politics. A possible contender for the Democratic nomination for president, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, defended her vote for more military aid for Israel during the Israeli assault on Gaza by citing the rocket launch defence. [Read more]


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