Friday, August 31, 2012

Taliban Beheading Children

The medieval monsters are stepping up their attacks, intensifying the barbarism. Read more.

On the 'Powerful Dream' that was Europe

Is the dream dying? Is the idea of Europe still as powerful and as attractive as it once was? Read more….

Europe's place in a rapidly changing, increasingly complex international political structure is one of the most important issues of our time.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Al Qaeda Ascendant in Aleppo

What the West has wrought in Syria: a civil war in which Al Qaeda is ascendant. Read more.

Egypt's Islamist President to Visit Iran

First Egyptian Presidential Visit to Iran in Decades

Egypt's Islamist (Sunni clerical fascist) president, who came to power with the support of the Obama administration, plans to visit Islamist (Shiite clerical fascist) Iran at the end of this month. Read more.

Click here for an article about the Islamizing of the Egyptian military, which, while downplaying the Obama-aided disaster, is still worth reading.

Few Americans understand Obama's perfidious policy of overtly siding with rightwing political Islam and overlapping elements of organized Islam. America's first Muslim-born President (Islam traces the religion through the father), and first President to have ever studied and practiced Islam (which he did as a child in Indonesia), has effectively narrowed the definition of the Islamist enemy to Al Qaeda and its closest affiliates, except for so-called reconcilable members of the medieval Taliban. Practically every other Islamist group or regime, including, even, Iran's monstrous mullahocracy, which Obama desperately sought to engage (code for collaborate or align with) after taking office, is regarded as a potential ally by the administration.

That's a fact, not an opinion.

Endnote: The administration's pro-Islamist policy--support for oxymoronic "moderate" radical Islam--aids and is aided by a parallel push by mainstream media outlets and entertainment companies (e.g. HBO) to recast 9/11 into a "tragedy" in which the perpetrators are simply "sociopaths," as the fictional TV news anchor of an HBO series recently said in one scene.

For a Federal Syrian Republic

An analyst agrees with Foreign Confidential™--over here.

This reporter has repeatedly argued the case for a politically neutral, federal Syrian republic consisting of autonomous cantons, or provinces, divided along ethnic lines. 

Neutrality is key--to winning Russian and Chinese support.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ahmadinejad Reaffirms Iran's Intentions

Iran's maniac-in-chief again makes clear the regime's intentions: to destroy Israel and drive the United States from the Middle East. Click here for the story.

In related news, Iran's Hitlerian proxy, Hezbollah, is escalating the threat rhetoric. Read more.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

VOA Reporter Witnesses Syrian Airstrike on Rebel Town

Bomb Lands Only Three Blocks from Interview Site

Syrian warplane bombarded the rebel-controlled northern border town of Azaz on Wednesday, leaving scores wounded and several dozen dead, according to a VOA reporter on the scene.

VOA correspondent Scott Bobb was interviewing a local rebel commander when a bomb dropped by a Syrian Air Force MiG fighter hit three blocks away.

"It blew the windows out of the office during the interview, everyone evacuated," Bobb said. "A few minutes later, it appeared that the same MiG made a second pass and dropped another bomb."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 20 people were killed. Reuters reported that one activist said at least 30 bodies had been found and that the death toll is mounting, making it one of the deadliest government attacks in the nearly 18-month-long uprising.

Bobb reports that residents scurried to free the injured and collect the dead amid collapsed buildings.

"We are told that there are dozens dead in the city and probably many more wounded to varying degrees," Bobb said. "The citizens are panicking. Many have just jumped into whatever vehicle they have - cars, tractors, motorcycles - and headed away from the town with the fear that this may be the beginning of an offensive, though so far, it appears to just be a one-shot deal."

"The first bomb we are told hit near the central market," he said from the border area. "The second hit near the hospital.  We witnessed wounded coming across, one man was clearly dead having received shrapnel through the chest, others were lightly wounded but were going to Turkey for treatment."

"I have seen dozens of people fleeing, often families, sometimes three or four on a motorcycle," Bobb said. "I saw one family of about six on a farm tractor crossing through a rural road, an olive tree field, and others have come through in ambulances, pickup trucks, civilian vehicles, cars."

​​Azaz has been in rebel control for weeks and was not a government target until Wednesday, Bobb said.

"This town had been held by the Free Syrian Army for some time," Bobb said. "It was fairly stable and many of the refugees had returned. Locals say it was the first bombing they have experienced...This may have been something to rattle the population, it may have been a warning."

Damascus Bombing

The aerial assault came after a massive bomb exploded Wednesday in a parking lot outside a hotel used by United Nations observers in the Syrian capital, causing injuries but not harming international monitors.

​​​Syrian state TV reported that the bomb, which ignited a nearby fuel truck, went off near the Dama Rose hotel and military buildings in Damascus. The blast wounded at least three people, but Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, said none of the U.N. monitors were affected.

Mekdad said the choice of location for the blast indicates the "heinous intentions" of those responsible - a veiled reference to insurgents fighting to oust the government of Bashar al-Assad.

"This is terrorism," Mekdad said. "It should be stopped. The international community must work hand in hand against terrorism. Once it hits here, near the United Nations observers, it can hit everywhere."

The rebel Syrian Free Army claimed responsibility, but said it was targeting the Syrian military and not U.N. observers.  An FSA spokesman said the group had learned specifically of a large meeting of officers.

But Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, says a coordinated attack would be a very complicated operation for rebels to pull off as the area is likely to be heavily guarded.

Absent of a major betrayal by officers inside the Syrian military, Abou Diab says it's almost impossible for outside groups to enter the secure military compound enclave.

And while Abou Diab questions the veracity of the FSA claim, he says that the blast is yet another sign that the Syrian regime is weakening.

The Syrian capital has seen a wave of bombings recently. This latest incident comes four weeks after an explosion at the National Security building in Damascus killed several of Assad's top security officials.

The capital has seen fierce clashes between government forces and rebels in recent weeks, after being the scene of relative calm throughout much of the nearly 18-month-long uprising against Assad.

The Syrian attacks have also overflowed into Lebanon.

Lebanese state television said at least 20 Syrians were kidnapped inside Lebanese territory Wednesday, and gunmen are terrorizing the streets of Beirut.

​​​​World Weighs Options

​​The U.N. Security Council is due to discuss the situation in Syria on Thursday, days before the observer mission's mandate expires on August 19. The mission has already significantly scaled down from its peak of more than 300 monitors.

U.N. investigators said Wednesday the Syrian government and their militia allies have committed war crimes that include the killing and torturing of civilians. The investigators said rebel forces have also committed war crimes, but that these crimes "did not reach the gravity, frequency and scale" of those committed by the government.

China's official People's Daily newspaper on Wednesday criticized Western nations for talking about the prospect of a no-fly zone of Syria, saying such comments undermine U.N. mediation efforts and harm the unity of the Security Council.

The paper also reiterated China's commitment to a diplomatic solution to the crisis.  China has joined Russia in vetoing U.N. Security Council resolutions threatening Syria with sanctions for using heavy weapons against civilians.

Foreign ministers of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation agreed during a summit in Mecca to recommend suspending Syria from the group. But the foreign minister of Iran - one of Syria's strongest allies - said his country will never accept the proposal.

No-Fly Zone Discussed

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said earlier this week he is confident the United States could enforce a no-fly zone, but that it is not a top priority.

"We have planned for a number of contingencies that could take place and one of those possible contingencies is developing a no-fly zone. But we've also pointed out difficulties in being able to implement that," Panetta said. "It's not on the front burner as far as I know."

He also says Iran is trying to develop and train a militia in Syria to fight rebels on behalf of Assad's government.

Last year, the U.S. and its NATO allies implemented a no-fly zone over Libya as rebels fought against and eventually ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi. But the circumstances are different in Syria, which has much more sophisticated air defenses than Libya.

President Assad's forces have increased air attacks in recent weeks, targeting rebel strongholds in key places such as the nation's largest city of Aleppo.

Syrian rebels have said they need a no-fly zone to protect against the attacks.

Government Struggling

​​Former Syrian prime minister Riad Hijab appeared publicly Tuesday for the first time since his defection, calling President Bashar al-Assad's government an "enemy of God" and saying it is collapsing.

In a news conference in the Jordanian capital Amman, Hijab said he defected last week from the government and joined the 17-month Syrian uprising of his own will. He said he was not dismissed from his post as Syrian authorities claimed and urged other Syrian leaders to break from the government.

​​The former prime minister is the highest-ranking political figure to defect from the Syrian government. He fled to Jordan with his family.

Hilal Khashan, an analyst at the American University of Beirut, says that Western supporters of the Syrian opposition, including the U.S., are trying to identify ex-members of Assad's regime who are able to form a core leadership for a new Syria.

"The U.S. is trying to identify defectors from Assad's regime as leaders of a post-Assad Syria," Khashan said. "It's clear [from] that, based on comments by Hijab today, when he said that there are good decent people in Assad's administration and that they should join the uprising."

Syrian activists say more than 20,000 people have been killed since the start of the revolt in March of last year.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Egypt's President Purging Army as Foreign Confidential Predicted

The Islamist purge of the Egyptian military has begun. Read more.

Foreign Confidential™ predicted this would happen back in early July when the Obama administration and its fawning punditocracy was assuring the public that all was OK in Islamist-conquered Cairo (following the administration's appalling abandonment and betrayal of the pro-American Mubarak government and overt backing of the so-called moderate Muslim Brotherhood). Commenting on the showdown between Egypt's MB/Islamist president and military junta over the reconvening of parliament, Confidential Reporter said on July 9:
If the Islamists win this round it will be the first big, post-election step on the long march toward remaking the Egyptian military in the Muslim Brotherhood's image. Following the Turkish model (which the Obama administration has hailed), the MB plans to purge generals, arrest and accuse officers of plotting coups, install political commissars and spies, etc. until the group's goal is achieved--an Islamized military.  
Egypt's intelligence services are slated for cleansing and remaking, as well; and, assuming it can hold onto power, the MB may also copy a page from Islamist Iran's Hitlerian playbook and create an elite, SS/IRGC-like force--and a parallel paramilitary organization--above the regular army. Egypt is on the way to becoming to another Iran, owing in large measure to the Obama administration's odious policy of engaging (appeasing and collaborating with) radical (rightwing political) Islam, apart, of course, from  Al Qaeda and its affiliates.  
Cairo is the new Tehran--and Obama is the new Carter.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Iran War Looms as Sanctions Fail to Stop Atomic Ayatollahs

As sanctions have failed to stop Iran's atomic advance, Israel's Prime Minister and Defense Minister are reported to favor attacking the monstrous mullahocracy this fall, before U.S. elections in November.

This much is certain: the Obama administration's Iran policy has been an utter disaster. The administration initially sought to engage (collaborate with) Iran--that is to say, to enter into a perfidious Grand Bargain with the Islamist power in order to pacify Pakistan and Afghanistan. The policy failed--miserably. Iran rebuffed Obama and pressed ahead with a foreign policy that is inherently imperialist. Iran's intentions--key word in international relations--are to overthrow the status quo, or power relations among nations, by destroying Israel and driving the United States from the Middle East. For starters. Ultimately, Iran intends to destroy the U.S. also.

The administration then fixated on sanctions to stop Iran. That, and countering Iran by backing Turkey's Islamist regime, which seeks to revive the Ottoman Empire, and the Muslim Brotherhood, which wants to take over the Middle East by installing Islamic republics across the region. Hence, the betrayal and abandonment of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and resulting Islamist capture of the Arab world's most populous nation and the pending, Islamist conquest of Syria, stirred up and supported by Washington.

Appeasement and engagement have made war with clerical fascist Iran inevitable--on Iran's terms--just as appeasement of Nazi Germany made war with it inevitable.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Rail Remains Viable Option for Domestic US Oil Industry

By Daniel J. Graeber

The Association of American Railroads reports the number of rail tankers carrying crude oil and petroleum products in the United States increased more than 35 percent during the first six months of the year when compared with 2011. After the U.S. Energy Department, in its report, noted the lack of pipeline infrastructure in North Dakota, British supermajor BP announced it was considering rail to bring oil from the Bakken formation there to its refinery in Washington state. In terms of the environmental footprint, meanwhile, rail deliveries account for less than 1 percent of the total emissions from the transportation sector. These findings come even though rail shipments are three times more expensive than pipeline deliveries

The AAR finds that 241,000 rail tanker cars hauled oil during the six-month period ending in June, a 38 percent increase over the same period in 2011. For June, rail deliveries increased 51 percent over their 2011 levels for the month. Each rail tanker carries around 700 barrels of oil, meaning June deliveries translated to nearly 1 million barrels per day. The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration attributes much of the increase in rail deliveries to the oil boom under way in North Dakota, which in March became the second-largest oil producing U.S. state. Oil producers in the region, however, rely on rail to get oil out of the region and BP this week said it was considering a rail project to bring Bakken crude to its 225,000-bpd refinery in Washington. The permitting process could begin as early as next month.

Rail deliveries, however, cost, on average, $15 per barrel compared with the $5 per barrel for deliveries through pipeline systems. On the other hand, the rail system is getting less energy intensive. While the transportation sector accounts for about 25 percent of the global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, rail represents a minor fraction of that total. Across the board, emissions for transportation are increasing in every sector except rail, which accounts for less than 1 percent of total CO2 emissions for the sector.

When completed, the entire Keystone oil pipeline network could carry about 1.1 million bpd compared with the same approximate total for the entire United States for rail. The 3,100-mile Enbridge Pipeline System, which stretches from the Athabasca oil sands facilities in Alberta to oil refineries in the Midwest, can carry, on average, 1.4 million bpd. Last week, however, more than 1,000 barrels oil spilled from a section of that pipeline in Wisconsin. While Enbridge said much of the release was contained, the incident occurred one day after the two-year anniversary of the costliest onshore crude oil spill in U.S. history from a section of the same pipeline network. Though in terms of volume, pipeline transportation has proved its merit, the move by BP in the Bakken formation suggests rail transit remains a viable option for the industry.

Daniel J. Graeber is a senior analyst at .

Monday, August 06, 2012

More on Obama's Murky Syria Policy

Good Jihadists, Bad Jihadists …

By Clare M. Lopez

The Syrian revolt—and the U.S. role in it—just seem to get more confusing by the day.

The Muslim Brotherhood is fighting to oust the minority Alawite regime of the Bashar al-Assad clan. HAMAS, the Muslim Brotherhood's terrorist offshoot that rules Gaza, joined the fight to topple Assad. And now it is reported that Al-Qaeda fighters are bolstering the ranks of the rebellion as well.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are all Sunni majority countries, and so it is understandable that they support the Muslim Brotherhood's battle to oust what many consider a bunch of heretics (the Alawites) from Damascus. Besides, Assad is allied with the Shi'ite mullahs' regime in Tehran that is perceived as a growing menace across the region. Al-Qa'eda and HAMAS are also Sunni outfits (even though both have acted in the past as Iranian terror allies). Sunni or Shi'a though, they all support jihad in the way of Allah to spread Islam, destroy Israel and enforce Islamic law (sharia). They just have different ideas about who should be in charge. When they fight each other like this, in civil strife within Islam, as Sunnis and Shi'ites have for centuries, it is called fitna. So far, so good. This much is clear.

Things begin to get murky, however, when trying to understand official U.S. policy towards these not-so-very-different players: Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and Syria.

The U.S. Department of State released its 2011 Country Reports on Terrorism on July 28, 2012, and as in years past, declared Iran the leading state sponsor of terrorism and Al-Qaeda a leading terror threat to U.S. national security. Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, head of the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, noted with some concern at a press conference that day that, although Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is no more, Al-Qaeda affiliates have "increased their overall operational ability," including in places like Syria.

Al Qaeda Fighters in Syria 

In fact, some of the Al-Qaeda fighters now joining the Syrian uprising are the same ones their former sponsor in Damascus supported against the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq a few years ago.

Benjamin was quick to add, though, that "We believe that the number of Al-Qaeda fighters [and] Al-Qaeda-related fighters who are in Syria is relatively small…" (Does this remind anyone of the "flickers of Al-Qaeda" in Libya in early 2011? Of course, in the end, it was precisely Al-Qaeda and its jihadist allies who toppled Muammar Qaddafi and took over the country.)

In any case, Benjamin told reporterson that "We've spoken with the Syrian opposition groups and warned them against allowing such fighters to infiltrate their organizations. They've assured us that they are being vigilant and want nothing to do with AQ or with violent extremists. And I should add that the Free Syrian Army has issued several statements urging foreign fighters to leave Syria." OK, so that ought to take care of Al-Qaeda in Syria. They're bad actors, but the "good" rebels have the situation under control.

Rebels Dominated by Muslim Brotherhood 

Except that the ranks of the anti-Assad rebels favored by the Obama administration, many of them organized under the Turkey-based Syrian National Council (SNC), are dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. And the Muslim Brotherhood is fighting for the same thing Al-Qaeda is: To spread Islam, destroy Israel and enforce sharia. For instance, the Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide, Muhammad Badi', actually declared war (jihad) against the U.S., Israel and Arab rulers in a late September 2010 sermon.

Upon his election, the new Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, wasted no time vowing to "liberate" Jerusalem, establish ties with Iran, and recite the Brotherhood motto:

"Allah is our Objective
Muhammad is our Prophet
The Quran is our Law
Jihad is our Way
And dying in the way of Allah is our highest aspiration"

He also promised to free Omar Abdel Rahman (the "Blind Sheikh"), who is serving a life sentence in U.S. federal prison for his role in Islamic terror plots against the World Trade Center and New York City landmarks.

But in spite of the obvious overlap between Al-Qaeda and Brotherhood objectives, the Obama administration is increasing aid to "the rebels," providing communications training and equipment plus "some intelligence support" "to help improve ... [rebel] combat effectiveness."

The New York Times reported in July 2012 that CIA operatives were in southern Turkey to help channel weapons across the border to Syrian opposition fighters, ostensibly to "help keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with Al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups." But how to tell them apart?

The Muslim Brotherhood, already closely identified with the Syrian National Council (SNC), openly announced at the beginning of this month the formation of a new militia called "The Armed Men of the Muslim Brotherhood," whose stated objective is to "raise awareness for Islam and for jihad."

Two European journalists were kidnapped by rebel forces in Syria and held for a week during July 2012, during which time their captors talked about jihad and sharia and threatened them with death unless they converted to Islam. The kidnappers reportedly were all non-Syrians, but included many who spoke British English. They only let the journalists go when Free Syrian Army (FSA) soldiers arrived in their camp and ordered their release. The nature of the relationship between the kidnapper jihadis and the FSA fighters remains unclear.

Syrian Christians Terrified 

Syrian Christians are terrified of what will happen to their small community when Assad, who protected them from Muslim oppression, goes down. Thousands already have fled their homes because they fear reprisals from their Muslim Brotherhood neighbors for having sought the Assad regime's protection over the last decades.

A graphic amateur video posted online on July 31, 2012, shows the brutal execution of a group of Assad supporters in Aleppo by rebels from the Free Syrian Army who chanted "Allahu Akbar" as they blasted the prisoners with automatic rifle fire.

Yet, it emerged in early August, 2012, that President Barack Obama had signed an Intelligence Finding authorizing U.S. support for Syrian rebels battling the Assad regime. In mid-July, 2012, the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) issued a waiver to the Syrian Support Group, permitting it to provide logistical and financial support to the Free Syrian Army -- the same FSA that has the relationship with the journalists' kidnappers, the same FSA that executed POWs to the rhythm of the jihadi war cry.

Here is a question journalists should ask at the next White House press conference: Why are Al-Qaeda rebels who fight for the purpose of jihad to spread Islam and defeat Bashar al-Assad "bad," while Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadis who fight to spread Islam and defeat Assad "good" and deserving of the full backing and support of the U.S. government?

If the reporter is allowed a follow-up question, here it is: Why don't Syrian Christians, Druze and Kurds who are not jihadis -- and do not want to see Islamic law enforced in Syria -- get that kind of support?

Who's Doing What to Whom in Syria

Understanding the Nightmare

Joseph A. Klein writes:

First, there is the religious and political battle being played out between Shiite Iran and the Sunni Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Iran is eager to maintain its sphere of influence in Syria through its alliance with Assad (who is affiliated with a Shite minority sect known as the Alawites ruling Syria). Saudi Arabia and Qatar aim to roll back Iran’s ambitions for hegemony in the region and are supporting the Sunni majority in Syria in their revolt against Assad and the Alawites. Hence, Iran is beefing up Assad’s regime with arms and the support of its Revolutionary Guard.  Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding and providing arms for the opposition. 
Second, al Qaeda is using the chaos in Syria to establish another Islamic jihadist beachhead.  As the New York Times recently reported, “Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are doing their best to hijack the Syrian revolution…The evidence is mounting that Syria has become a magnet for Sunni extremists, including those operating under the banner of Al Qaeda.” 
Third, Turkey, under the Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is serving as a transit point for the flow of arms to the opposition, including shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles known as MANPADs.  Erdoğan is evidently trying to revive Turkey’s Ottoman caliphate heritage by offering a seemingly “moderate” alternative to al Qaeda and other fundamentalist groups in leading the regional Sunni battle against the increasingly isolated Assad regime. 
Fourth, there is the revival of U.S.-Russian Cold War-like rivalries. President Obama’s policy of trying to push a re-set button in the relationship between the two countries has backfired.  As evidenced by its intransigence at the United Nations, Russia is protecting the Assad regime to thwart the West and its NATO ally Turkey in their efforts to extend their reach through regime change in a region where Russia believes it has vital strategic interests.

Read the whole article.

Iran Set to Chair 120-Nation Nonaligned Movement

Another 'Believe it Or Not' Moment in International Diplomacy 

Astonishing as it may seem, Iran is about to assume from Egypt the chairmanship of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The transition will take place in Tehran in three weeks.

Iran sees a golden opportunity for itself in "presiding" over this large bloc of nations.

For well over a decade, AJC has consistently called the world's attention to the true nature of the Iranian regime and its nuclear program. The organization's leaders and representatives have traveled the world repeatedly to engage in literally thousands of diplomatic meetings to address the global danger posed by Iran.

"We have used all the communications tools at our disposal, in multiple languages and countless countries, to do the same," says AJC Executive Director David Harris.

His blog on Iran and NAM represents part of that ongoing AJC effort.

Read more.

Friday, August 03, 2012

AJC to EU: Put Hezbollah on Terrorism List

For several years, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) has urged that Hezbollah be placed on the EU terrorism list, following the decision, with AJC's strong encouragement, to add Hamas. Both groups are on the U.S. terrorism list.

To date, despite widespread support, the effort has been stymied by one EU member state or another claiming that Hezbollah is also a political party and thus should be treated differently.

The recent terrorist attack in Bulgaria, an EU member state, following earlier Hezbollah attempts in a range of countries, should end any remaining illusion about the true nature of Hezbollah--and why the EU should take action now.

Those are precisely the points made by Daniel Schwammenthal, director of AJC's Brussels-based Transatlantic Institute, in his important Wall Street Journal op-ed that was published today. Click here to read the essay.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Syrian Civil War Fueling Al Qaeda Revival

As the 11th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Al Qaeda is reaping recruits and funds for terrorism in Syria and Iraq. Read more.

Comment: Iran had to be prevented from establishing missile and military bases in Syria, its secular but steadily Islamizing, Arab ally. But the Western-instigated Islamist uprising against the Syrian regime--under cover of another "Arab Spring" rebellion and so-called democracy promotion in "the Muslim world"--is insane. Apparently, Washington has learned nothing from decades of failed attempts to ride the Islamist tiger without being eaten by it that culminated in the monstrous mega-attacks on the U.S. homeland. And U.S. voters, dazed and confused and beaten down by an awful and arguably worsening economy, are conveniently distracted and totally unaware of what is being done abroad--the crazy risks that are being undertaken--under freedom's banner.

AJC Urges Strategic Link Between Greece and Israel

Peres Visit to Athens Highlights Relationship,

Importance of Eastern Mediterranean Region

The executive director of the New York-based American Jewish Committee (AJC) suggests in an interview with Kathimerini a strategic dimension to the cooperation between Greece and Israel, a few days ahead of an official visit to Athens by Israeli President Shimon Peres on August 6-8. David Harris describes the relations between the two countries as excellent, notes that the Eastern Mediterranean is an area of vital importance to the US, and talks about the attraction of a four-party cooperation between the US, Greece, Israel and Cyprus in gas exploration in the area.

As to the steps taken by the Jewish-American community to stand by Greece in these difficult times, Harris says it encourages more tourism and investments, while at the same time urging governments and multilateral institutions to do all they can to help create the conditions for a turnaround.

Read more.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Most Wanted Nazi War Criminal Arrested in Hungary

No Statute of Limitations for Mass Murder

On July 17, police in Hungary arrested Laszlo Csatary. He is the world’s most wanted Nazi war criminal, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Csatary was tracked down by Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, based on information received through Operation Last Chance. An initiative conceived by Aryeh Rubin and significantly funded by Targum Shlishi, Operation Last Chance offers financial rewards for information that leads to the prosecution and punishment of Nazi war criminals.

Csatary, who is 97 years old and living in Budapest, was charged with unlawful torture related to his role in the 1944 deportation to Auschwitz of 15,700 Jews from the city of Kassa and its environs (Kassa was formerly in Hungary; it is now Kosice, in Slovakia).

In 1948 Csatary was convicted in absentia for war crimes in Czechoslovakia and sentenced to death. He lived in Canada beginning in 1948, became a Canadian citizen in 1955, and worked as an art dealer there. His Canadian citizenship was revoked in 1997 for concealing his past history of war crimes. According to Zuroff, since 1997 Csatary has been living in Hungary.

Last year an anonymous informant notified the Wiesenthal Center of Csatary’s whereabouts in Budapest, seeking the reward offered by Operation Last Chance. Zuroff then alerted Hungarian prosecutors in September 2011. The July 2012 arrest came after Zuroff enlisted the assistance of the British tabloid The Sun, which published shirtless photos of Csatary answering the door—the story was widely picked up by international media, which put pressure on Hungary to act.

“It’s a great victory and a very important one,” says Zuroff. “The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers, and old age should not afford protection for Holocaust perpetrators.” Zuroff also wrote an open letter to the Hungarian president, Janos Ader, asking that Hungarian authorities “do everything possible to help bring this criminal to justice.” Zuroff notes that Csatary is currently in a good state of health and able to stand trial.

“Efraim Zuroff is to be commended for his persistence in tracking down Nazi war criminals,” says Aryeh Rubin, director of Targum Shlishi. “But decades after the Holocaust we continue to struggle with the legacy of inaction on the part of the Jewish community, which was preoccupied and squandered the opportunity to catch many of the major Nazi war criminals when they were in the prime of their lives. After failing to mount any vigorous opposition to the Holocaust, the failure to pursue the murderers of our people is yet another legacy of inaction. That is why the arrest of Csatary is a major event.”

About Operation Last Chance

Operation Last Chance was originally launched in 2002 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office together with Targum Shlishi. “Operation Last Chance was our attempt to respond proactively to the reality of the diminishing opportunity to bring Holocaust perpetrators to justice. Time was running out and we sought to maximize justice while it was still possible to do so,” says Zuroff. Operation Last Chance was launched in Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Austria, Croatia, and Hungary.

Operation Last Chance II launched in December 2011 in Berlin in the wake of the conviction of death camp guard John Demjanjuk, found guilty of thousands of counts of accessory to murder. Its launch was inspired by the legal precedent set by Demjanjuk's case, which has led to the reopening of hundreds of investigations--Demjanjuk was the first Nazi war criminal to be convicted in Germany without evidence being presented to the court of a specific crime with a specific witness. The objective of Operation Last Chance II is to revitalize the search for the remaining death camp operatives and mobile killing unit squad members in Germany and elsewhere.

Operation Last Chance/the Wiesenthal Center is asking for tips related to Nazi war criminals alive today and has established a mobile hotline (+49-1573-494-7307). For more information about Operation Last Chance, visit its website.

Syria Destroys Long Maintained Palestinian Refugee Camp

Al-Yarmuk Lies in Ruins; Refugees Flee to Neighboring Arab States 

Palestinians are fleeing the Syrian civil war following the destruction of a Damascus district that was built up and purposely maintained for decades as a refugee camp. The camp reportedly lies in ruins as a result of internal fighting between rival Palestinian Islamist groups and interventions by a secular, regime-backed Palestinian terrorist organization (which is also supported by Iran) and regime thugs.

In Lebanon, too, Palestinian camps are threatened; in fact, the whole, UN-supported structure that was used to exploit the refugee problem in order to keep alive the dream of "return" could collapse as a result of the complex conflict on Israel's northern border.

Another first-rate analysis by Pinhas Inbari. Click here to read it.