The Bookworm Beat — 8/26/14 mid-day edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingYears ago, during the Bush administration, James Taranto read a despairing AP article in which the Progressive author opined that “everything is seemingly spinning out of control.” Taranto loved that phrase and used it to preface any link to crazy things, or things that made Progressive’s crazy.

That phrase keeps wandering into my mind in this, the sixth year of the reign of the Emperor Obama. With our border having as many holes as a fish net, Obama threatening to grant amnesty to five or six million illegal immigrants, the artificially inflated stock market soaring (thank you QE2) as ordinary Americans face increasing financial hardships, race relations set back to the late 1950s and early 1960s, virulent anti-Semitism on the rise around the world, barbaric Islamism also on the rise around the world, Israel besieged, Egypt slowly running out of food (and won’t the world get really interesting when that happens?), and Russia poised on Ukraine’s border — well, I really do feel as if everything is indeed seemingly spinning out of control. I guess the silver lining is that there’s lots to blog about, so blog I will.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Patting myself on the back here, I’ve long predicted that Sunni Saudi Arabia, afraid of Shia Iran, would make common cause with Israel. That’s finally happening, as the most radical Islamists — both Sunni and Shia — pick up steam everywhere in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia may have funded radicalism, but it did so primarily to keep that radicalism outside of its own borders.  Now, it sees little Jewish Israel as the only bulwark against a radical takeover within those borders.

Hamas Rules of War:  Use Civilians

Hamas supporters are claiming it’s a fraud, but to the extent that the IDF claims to have found a handbook in Gaza telling Hamas fighters to hide explosives in civilian houses, advice that jives perfectly with what Hamas actually did, I’m inclined to believe the handbook is real.  Also, while there’s plenty of evidence that Hamas uses disinformation (often carried out with threats) to advance its cause, I don’t know of any credible charges that Israel or the IDF routinely lie.

You can tell a lot about an administration by its funeral attendance

I often tell my children that you’re known by the friends you keep.  When it comes to presidential administrations, you’re also known by the funerals and memorials you attend.  Ben Shapiro has therefore performed a useful function.  After reading reports about the three White House representatives at Michael Brown’s funeral, he decided to take a look back at the funerals the White House didn’t think were worth its time.  It’s illuminating reading.

Just a reminder, though, that it’s not always a good thing when the White House goes to a memorial service.  Indeed, sometimes it’s downright embarrassing:

No selfie respect

A beleaguered Israel offers a useful comparison in presidential styles

This summer’s war is not, of course, the first time Israel’s been under attack. For example, she was attacked in 1947, right after the UN voted her into existence.  In 1967, on the eve of what would have been a devastating attack by the militaries of surrounding Arab nations, Israel preemptively struck those militaries to protect her own civilians.

And then there was 1973 — the Yom Kippur War. Israel was on the receiving end of a surprise attack and, horrifyingly, lacked the military equipment to counter it in a long war. Scarily, in the American White House was a Republican president who hated Jews. That Jew-hating Republican president saved Israel.

At To Put It Bluntly, you will find an excellent analysis of the way in which Nixon and Obama have approached surprise attacks on Israel. One president showed leadership, the other wishy-washy follow-ship. The contrast is striking.

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VDH looks at the perfect political storm, not to mention the unending series of lies, that got Obama into the White House in 2008

Yet another sterling VDH article, this one analysis the culmination of eight years of Bush hatred, war fatigue, lies and obfuscation, hysteria, and the delusions of crowds, all of which led to an Obama presidency.

As part of this analysis, Hanson points out that the truth about Obama was readily available, but the drive-by media deliberately ignored it, and too many Americans refused to look for it. You didn’t have to look far to find the truth, though, as is revealed in this Spring 2008 post of mine, in which I linked to a variety of articles detailing problems with candidate Obama. It was all there for everyone to see, but the three monkeys were the order of the day:

Three wise monkeys

Obama’s lying administration

One of the themes I’ve pounded since Obama first appeared on the political scene is that he’s a liar. (Examples of that are here, here, and here.) Since we all know that corporate culture flows down from the top, is it any surprise to find that everyone in his administration is equally infected with dishonesty?

Peter Wehner offers only the latest example of the administration’s provable dishonesty.  The subject this time is the administration’s ridiculous contortions as it tries to “prove” that Obama never said that ISIS was a “JV squad.” (The link may be behind a pay wall, but a Commentary online subscription is one of the best bargains around.) The administration is so used to a media both credulous and complicit accepting all of its lies at face that it cannot seem to accept that lies are a bad idea when hard facts exist countering those lies.

The lies America tells blacks

A couple of days ago, I published a long, convoluted post explaining how dreadfully the American Left (with the rest of America tagging along behind) has lied to American blacks, convincing them that they are hapless, hopeless, and helpless victims of a white discrimination so broadly and deeply entrenched that it cannot be overcome.

Today, Andrew Klavan published a short, powerful piece making exactly the same point. His writing is so much better than mine that, if you haven’t yet read my post, ignore it and just head straight for Klavan’s.

Watcher’s Council forum predicting the future in Ferguson

Over at the Watcher’s Council, in this week’s forum council members and honored guests offered their best guesses about whether the grand jury will indict the officer accused of shooting Michael Brown. As always, it’s great reading, offering a variety of viewpoints.

Part of the South’s abandonment of the Democrat Party included its abandonment of racism

If I had to nominate a “must-read” article for today, it would be Mona Charen’s column refuting Charlie Rangel’s libelous claim that, when the South turned Republican, it took its racism along with it, an exodus that disinfected the Democrat party of any residual racism, while infecting the Republican party with America’s original sin (never mind that the Republican party, from its inception before the Civil War, opposed institutional racism). Here are just a few snippets to whet your appetite for this must-read analysis:

It’s true that a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, shepherded the 1964 Civil Rights Act to passage. But who voted for it? Eighty percent of Republicans in the House voted aye, as against 61 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans favored the law, but only 69 percent of Democrats. Among the Democrats voting nay were Albert Gore Sr., Robert Byrd, and J. William Fulbright.

[snip]

Okay, but didn’t all the old segregationist senators leave the Democratic party and become Republicans after 1964? No, just one did: Strom Thurmond. The rest remained in the Democratic party — including former Klansman Robert Byrd, who became president pro tempore of the Senate.

[snip]

The “solid south” Democratic voting pattern began to break down not in the 1960s in response to civil rights but in the 1950s in response to economic development and the Cold War. (Black voters in the north, who had been reliable Republicans, began to abandon the GOP in response to the New Deal, encouraged by activists like Robert Vann to “turn Lincoln’s picture to the wall. That debt has been paid in full.”)

[snip]

These Republican gains came not from the most rural and “deep south” regions, but rather from the newer cities and suburbs. [snip] It was disproportionately suburban, middle-class, educated, young, non-native southern, and concentrated in the growth points that were the least ‘Southern’ parts of the south.”

Read more here.

IRS deliberately destroyed evidence

Back in June, I offered a short commentary about spoliation (i.e., destroying relevant evidence after a lawsuit has been filed), which is a serious no-no in court: “Spoliation is a species of fraud that’s especially disfavored because its purpose is to destroy the integrity of a judicial or investigative process.” If you’re paying any attention to the IRS scandal, which saw a politicized IRS deliberately use its extraordinary powers to stifle pro-conservative and pro-Israel political speech, you’re going to be hearing the word “spoliation” a lot:

The IRS filing in federal Judge Emmet Sullivan’s court reveals shocking new information. The IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry AFTER it knew her computer had crashed and after a Congressional inquiry was well underway. As an IRS official declared under the penalty of perjury, the destroyed Blackberry would have contained the same emails (both sent and received) as Lois Lerner’s hard drive.

This most recent revelation follows closely on the heels of the IRS’s admission that all those lost IRS emails from Lois Lerner and six IRS cohorts weren’t actually lost at all, they were just hard to find. Keep in mind that this admission comes after the IRS, including its director, swore (literally swore, under oath), that the emails were irretrievably gone, since the hard drives had first spontaneously crashed and then, contrary to federal law, been destroyed.

The rule in litigation is that, if you possess documents responsive to a request but they are hard to locate, you have to explain that fact to the court. Moreover, you can also explain why they’re not worth the effort of recovering. What you can’t do is lie, and then lie some more.

I’ve worked in litigation for more than 25 years, and I’ve seen some pretty hard-fought and even dirty lawsuits, but I have never seen this level of dishonesty. Never.

What you also won’t see, ever, is mainstream media coverage about the IRS’s behavior before the lawsuit, when it used its vast, almost untouchable power to silence the administration’s political opponents, or during the lawsuit, when it committed truly heinous frauds against the court.

Time Magazines goes full “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”

My parents, as part of their commitment to being good, informed Americans, subscribed to Time Magazine throughout my childhood (so we’re talking at least the mid-1960s here). I know now that, even back then, Time was beginning to show the Leftist bias that today permeates almost all of the American media.  Still, back in the day, Time was a dignified publication. It may have been “news for the masses,” but it was still news, with actual facts, although these facts were certainly spun in a specific political direction.

Time Magazine in its modern incarnation, however, is worse than garbage. Garbage can still be honest, although the topics are trashy. National Enquirer tells the truth, although there’s nothing particularly elevating about knowing the identity of Hollywood’s fattest stars, who’s having a secret affair on the side, or what crazy demands a given celebrity makes before checking into a hotel.

What’s worse than garbage is repeating as true utterly scurrilous blood libels against Jews. Yet that’s precisely what Time Magazine, a once reputable media outlet, did.  It published as true the ancient blood libel that Israel was harvesting organs from Palestinians, a claim so false that even its original maker, a Swedish “news” outlet, admitted that it had no proof and, moreover, couldn’t care less that the accusation was a lie.

Even worse, Time backtracked on this libel, not because it realized that some low-level staffer had done something egregiously wrong, which would have required a full retraction and apology, but, instead, only when people started criticizing the libel. Seth Mandel explains just how disgraceful Times‘ conduct was:

Here’s the lede: “Time Magazine retracted a report on Sunday which claimed the Israeli army harvested dead Palestinians’ internal organs after a watchdog group accused the publication of propagating a ‘blood libel.’”

That’s putting it kindly. The watchdog group–HonestReporting–did not so much “accuse” Time of propagating a blood libel as point out that Time was obviously propagating a blood libel. Is there another term for Time’s medieval delusions?

[snip]

There isn’t nearly enough thoughtful analysis in the media or reporters willing to examine and question the assumptions and propaganda they’re fed by Hamas and its NGO allies, instead using reporters on the ground who worship Yasser Arafat. This is often the case when Israel is at war; in 2006, the Reuters practice of using photoshoppers masquerading as photographers led to the application of the term “fauxtography” to Reuters’ work in the Middle East.

But this lack of reporting appears to have spread to Time, and in a particularly offensive way. As hard as it is to believe, media coverage of Israel is actually deteriorating. The race to the bottom hasn’t stopped; it’s just gotten more crowded.

Read the rest here.

HuffPo takes the lead in the “humor” category of the media’s race to the bottom

Time is racing to the bottom in a disgusting fashion.  Other outlets are doing so in more humorous fashion, even if that humor is unwitting.  Take HuffPo, for example, which has published a series of photographs showing scientists suffering the anguish of knowing that only 97% of their colleagues are willing to support predictions about climate change that have consistently, and without exception, been proven false once they played out in real-time.

Each of the scientists is shown trying to look sad, although some just look peculiarly constipated, with a few being reduced to squinching their faces into blank idiocy.  The humor behind these efforts at existential anguish is exquisite.

Even funnier is HuffPo‘s hysterical, apocalyptic language which, when combined with the usual pedantic assurances that, if we just follow the “science,” all will be well, creates a delicious mix that has all the artistic weight of a poem by William McGonagall. McGonagall, as you may already know, is widely acknowledged to be the worst poet in the English language, in no small part because he combined awful prose with a penchant for tragedy and pedantry.  I’ll share with you, first, a bit of HuffPo free verse, followed by a little McGonagall for comparison.

Here’s the HuffPo song of its Progressive people:

“[T]here’s something uniquely frightening about this artist’s attempt to transform global warming data into visceral, human responses.”

“The photos are minimalist but intense, each wrinkle and crease pointing to a human unease we can all connect with.”

“Although their powerful words provide an interesting context for their expressions, we think the faces alone say more than enough.”

And then there’s McGonagall’s famous work about the Tay Bridge disaster, with this masterful closing stanza:

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

Really, other than McGonagall’s more antiquated syntax, it’s hard to tell the two apart.

Scratch a Progressive; find a fascist

With David Gregory out at Meet the Press and Chuck Todd in, Democrat/Progressive strategist and (ahem) thinker Ed Kilgore has some practical advice for the best way in which to make the show edgier and more interesting.  The following gem come in response to the plan by Deborah Turness, NBC’s president, to have a panel of journalists conversing, instead of a one-on-one format, in order to make the show edgy and more interesting:

If Turness is serious about this, we need to organize a grassroots campaign to ask that certain journalists be permanently banned from the panel of Meet the Press, or we’ll boycott the damn thing ab initio. I’d start with Peggy Noonan, Bill Kristol, David Gergen, David Brooks and George Will. Even at their best, they’ve all gotten more airtime than their shaky talents merit. But I’m sure you have dozens more who deserve the Meet Ban. Fire away in the comment thread.

Yes, because nothing says hip, edgy, and open-minded like excluding all opposing views and, instead, having party drones agree with each other. Using this rubric, Pravda was also hip, edgy, and open-minded.

Looking at Kilgore’s dream of a real news show, I was reminded of a post I wrote discussing the differences between conservative and Progressive media:

Members of the conservative media are also more generous with presenting the underlying source material on which they rely or with which they disagree, something that is especially apparent on the radio. For example, on NPR, Robert Siegel will do an eight minute report that begins with his opining magisterially on a subject, and then continues with his editing in carefully selected snippets of interviews with witnesses, actors and experts. Given the limited time format, it’s inevitable of course that the greater part of any given interview is left on the cutting room floor, with Siegel and his staff picking whatever money lines suit the story they wish to present.

On conservative talk radio, however, the hosts will frequently play half hour long clips, not just of people they support, but of people with whose opinion they differ. Likewise, when these hosts have guests on, the guests are not only people with whom the hosts agree, but people with whom they disagree. And in the latter case, you can comfortably settle in and listen to a free-wheeling, although never mean-spirited, discussion with both host and guest called upon to defend their positions vigorously.

A sad end to a sad story

In 2012, the drive-by media was incredibly excited when a video emerged showing Marines urinating on dead Taliban corpses. This proved — proved!! — that Americans were every bit as bad as the Islamists. After all, urinating on a dead body (which is a crude, demeaning act that I don’t support) is exactly the same as torturing and beheading people; cutting off the genitals of ones enemy, whether he’s dead or alive; or dragging bodies through the streets before cheering crowds.  (It’s clear, I hope, that I’m being sarcastic.) At the center of this media storm was Cpl. Robert Richards, a highly respected Marine:

Richards was a scout sniper with multiple deployments to Afghanistan, including one in 2010 during which he sustained severe injuries. Peers and superiors alike praised him for his combat prowess and leadership skills, evidenced by his being hand-selected to serve as the scout sniper platoon team leader for 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, during its 2011 tour.

Although only 28, Richards is dead. The coroner has not announced the cause of death, but Guy Womack, Richards’ attorney and friend, told reporters that the coroner would be examining the medicines Richards was taking, something that hints at an overdose, accidental or intentional.

To the extent Richards did something unworthy of an American fighter, it was nevertheless something that should have been taken care of within the context of the Marines, rather than something that saw him tried and convicted by the American media. Richards didn’t deserve such a pathetic ending to his career. May be rest in peace now.

American universities harm Leftist students too

A Prager University video makes the compelling argument that, insofar as American universities have overwhelmingly Leftist faculties, students who hew Left (or don’t hew in any direction at all) suffer more than conservative students do:

Pictures

I think henceforth I’ll call this “The Caped Crusader Picture Gallery,” because the Caped Crusader has done it again, providing me with powerful and often funny images:

Impossible to boycott Palestinians

Catholics and the bucket challenge

Proper border response

Woman converting to Islam

Liberal blindness re Islam

Nobody owes you anything

Obama golfs while Foleys grieve

This year’s Nakba commemoration coincides with slightly changing attitudes towards Israel in the Middle East

Israeli flagToday is Nakba Day, the day Muslims the world over violently commemorate the “disaster” that was Israel’s creation. (JoshuaPundit explains what nakba is really about and why it is such a loathsome commemoration.)

But here’s something interesting: Even as anti-Israel sentiment burns ever brighter on America’s college campuses, most recently at UCLA, there’s a different narrative shaping up in the Middle East. I have three (admittedly small) pieces of evidence to support my contention that some Arabs are very cautiously changing their attitude towards Israel. It gives me hope that, if Israel can survive the Obama administration, she may be entering a second golden age, this one without a uniformly genocidal Muslim world taking aim at her existence.

The first interesting thing is an opinion piece in the Arab News (a Saudi publication, I believe), telling Arabs it’s time (1) to learn the real truth about the 1948 war, (2) to get over the Nakba, and (3) to start accepting Israel’s existence within their midst. My first thought was that the author, Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, is an incredibly brave man. I still think that’s true, but I had a companion second thought that’s a bit more Machiavellian. Could it be that Saudi Arabia is laying the groundwork for some sort of formal recognition of Israel as a counterweight to a nuclear Iran?

The second interesting thing is that a Syrian rebel contends that the rebels should ally themselves with Israel, which is their only stable, true friend in the region. I commented on this piece before, noting that it’s nothing more than a reasonable extension of the old Arab doctrine that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” In other words, it reflects precisely what I think might be going on with Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, it represents a new age in Arab-Israeli relationships because, before this explicitly expressed desire for a partnership with Israel, Egypt, way back in 1977, was the only Arab nation ever to contemplate that there could be a benefit, even a short-term one, to working with Israel.

And the third interesting thing is a report from the Gatestone Institute saying that more and more Arabs in surrounding nations are envious of Israel’s criminal system, one that is willing even to prosecute politicians. Looking at Israel and then looking at their own countries, they realize that their countries suffer badly from the comparison.

As I said, these are all little bits of data, but I certainly hope that the shifting allegiances in the Middle East — all related to Iran, whether her nuclear ambitions or her proxy war in Syria — will work to Israel’s benefit.

Anyone want to start a betting pool as to the date on which Israel bombs Iran?

So Obama did it — he gave Iran permission to go ahead with its nuclear program and gave the mullahs $4.2 billion of our tax dollars with which to do it.  I foresee an Israeli strike as inevitable.  Any bets as to when it will happen?  Also, any side bets as to which Middle Eastern countries facilitate Israel’s attack?  I’ve certainly got my money on Saudi Arabia.

In a peculiar way — a very peculiar way — Obama’s bought a simulacrum of peace to the Middle East.

Barack Obama:  the man who made Jimmy Carter look good.

Yesterday’s posts about Saudi Arabia are today’s headlines

Headline today:

Israel said to be working with Saudi Arabia on Iran strike plan

And the post I wrote in June 2010, entitled “When the policeman goes away — or what happens when a big nation retreats.” After an opening riff about the huge upheavals in Europe when the Soviet Union’s collapse caused it to withdraw from those areas, I picked up the thread:

Obama’s first act upon moving in to the White House was to retreat.  He retreated everywhere he could.  In the former Eastern Bloc, when he abandoned allies; in the Middle East, when he abandoned allies; and in Latin America, when he abandoned allies.  As if the years 1989 through 1994 had never happened, he blithely assumed that, with the withdrawal of a bullying superpower (because that, quite obviously, is how Obama views the nation he leads), the lion and lamb would frolic together, bedecked in dewy flowers.

What’s happening, of course, is precisely what happened when the Soviet Union retreated:  long simmering discords, held in check only by a super power’s presence, are coming to the fore.  Putin is bullying and killing left and right, both within his borders and in countries that were formerly part of the Russian republic, while Chavez is bullying and killing left and right within his own borders, and is working hard to destabilize democratic regimes within Latin America and to ally himself with Islamists and Communists outside of Latin America.

And then there’s Iran.  It got the green light from Obama to savage its own citizens and to build a bomb that it manifestly intends to use for two reasons:  (a) to destroy Israel; and (b) to become the Super Power in the Middle East.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are aware of what Iran’s goals are in the absence of the U.S.’s strong hand.  And as I long ago predicted, they are joining forces, according to the old dictum that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  They may hate and fear each other, but they hate and fear Iran more.  It remains to be seen whether Israel really is setting up a functional military base in Saudi Arabia, capable of strikes against Iran, or if this is just an elaborate feint, intended to scare Iran into retreat.  Either way, it’s interesting to see how nations are struggling to fill the vacuum America behind left when Obama unilaterally retreated.

In the fourth paragraph, above, I use the phrase, “As I long ago predicted.”  Here’s my prediction from May 2009, which isn’t quite as clearly developed as the 2010 post, but is just as accurate.  After spelling out Obama’s manifest duplicity regarding Israel (claiming to be an ally when he’s actually an enemy), I described what would happen, including Iran’s single-minded press for nuclear weapons:

The other thing that Obama fails to understand is that, even if Israel is forced to show her hand and the pressure is on for disarmament, Iran will never disarm.  It will lie, lie, lie, and lie again to ensure that it continues to have a usable weapons stock pile.  While Israel’s goal is a simple one:  to stay alive, Iran has a much more sophisticated set of three-tiered goals.  Its first goal is Israel’s destruction; second, it seeks Middle East domination; and third, it desires world domination.  Israel and all of the other nations in the Middle East understand Iran’s first two goals.  Obama and team, despite their myriad degrees, don’t seem to understand any of Iran’s goals.

It will be interesting to see if Israel can withstand Obama’s pressure.  I’m reasonably optimistic that, with Netanyahu at the helm, Israel understands what Obama is doing and understands what will happen if he gets away with it, and will resist this threat.  I also think that, under the rubric of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” allegiances are going to start shifting in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, etc., may hate Israel, but they fear a nuclear Iran even more than they hate Israel.  My long-held suspicion since Obama’s election (which instantly meant Israel lost her only friend) is that Saudi Arabia, somehow or other, is going to give Israel cover for an attack against Iran.

I’ll say again what I always say when I dig out one of these old “prescient” columns:  It didn’t take a genius from 2007 onwards to figure out what was going to happen.  The results flowing from Obama’s policy decisions and his personality were completely predictable.  The only way to ignore the obvious was to have an Ivy League degree or to be drinking welfare Kool-Aid.

Madam Bookworm’s crystal ball predictions in 2009 about Saudi Arabia proved to be eerily accurate *UPDATED*

As I read the headlines lately, I have this peculiar sense of deja vu.  I already pointed out that, back in 2009, a conversation I had with a liberal doctor fairly accurately predicted how Obamacare would play out (although even I didn’t foresee the exchange collapse, perhaps because no one was talking about exchanges in mid-2009).

I had another deja vu moment today when I read Michael Totten’s article about the collapse in the American-Saudi relationship:

The American-Saudi alliance is in danger of collapsing.

The Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis is by far the largest threat to both Saudi and American interests in the Middle East now, yet the Obama administration is buddying up with Vladimir Putin on Syria and allowing itself to be suckered by the Iranian regime’s new president Hassan Rouhani.

Never mind the fact that Rouhani obviously isn’t a moderate and is powerless to negotiate sovereign issues in any case. The White House is so desperate to cut a deal with America’s enemies that the president will go along on even a farcical ride. As a result, the Saudi government is threatening to drastically “scale back” the relationship.

The Saudi-American relationship’s collapse means that the Saudis are trying to figure out how to handle the PR problems of their burgeoning supportive relationship with Israel:

Either way, if the Saudis want to get real, it’s time for them to suck it up and normalize relations with Israel for the same reason they forged an alliance with the United States. The Israelis and the Gulf Arabs have the exact same geopolitical interests right now. They have the exact same list of enemies. Who cares if Riyadh and Jerusalem can’t stand each other personally? Riyadh and Washington can’t stand each other personally either. That hasn’t stopped us from working together when our interests coincide.

Of course, an alliance with Israel would be a little more awkward (to say the least) while the Palestinians are still stateless, but so what? The Jordanian government worked it out and is in far better shape as a result.

[snip]

It’s logical, isn’t it? Israel poses no threat whatsoever to Gulf Arabs and never has. Israel poses no threat to any Arab country that doesn’t act with belligerence first. The Jordanians figured that out a long time ago. So did the Egyptian government even if Egypt’s population remains as clueless as ever. The Tunisians figured it out. The Moroccans get along with Israel just fine under the table.

The open secret right now is that the Gulf Arabs have also figured it out even as they’re loath to admit it in public. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is not-so secretly working with all the Arab states in the Gulf region right now based on shared (anti-Iranian) interests.

The above is Michael Totten writing yesterday, and I urge you to read the whole thing because it’s that good.

And here’s the Amazing Madam Bookworm writing on May 7, 2009:

Obama and team, of course, miss one fundamental thing about the nuclear weapons situation in the Middle East.  As surrounding nations understand, Israel will never use the weapons offensively.  She will only use them defensively. They are her sole deterrent.

The other nations also understand that, much as they loath Israel’s existence, which is a continuing canker in their hearts and minds, she does not offer any existential threat to them.  The reverse is not true.  We know that every nation in the region desires Israel’s destruction and there is every reason to believe that Iran, once it goes nuclear, will use the weapons offensively against Israel.  There is no parity, and forcing Israel to put her weapons on the table (so to speak), will not create any.

The other thing that Obama fails to understand is that, even if Israel is forced to show her hand and the pressure is on for disarmament, Iran will never disarm.  It will lie, lie, lie, and lie again to ensure that it continues to have a usable weapons stock pile.  While Israel’s goal is a simple one:  to stay alive, Iran has a much more sophisticated set of three-tiered goals.  Its first goal is Israel’s destruction; second, it seeks Middle East domination; and third, it desires world domination.  Israel and all of the other nations in the Middle East understand Iran’s first two goals.  Obama and team, despite their myriad degrees, don’t seem to understand any of Iran’s goals.

It will be interesting to see if Israel can withstand Obama’s pressure.  I’m reasonably optimistic that, with Netanyahu at the helm, Israel understands what Obama is doing and understands what will happen if he gets away with it, and will resist this threat.  I also think that, under the rubric of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” allegiances are going to start shifting in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, etc., may hate Israel, but they fear a nuclear Iran even more than they hate Israel.  My long-held suspicion since Obama’s election (which instantly meant Israel lost her only friend) is that Saudi Arabia, somehow or other, is going to give Israel cover for an attack against Iran.

Nor was that a random prediction.  I said the same thing on July 5, 2009:

I’ve predicted in this blog that, if America continues to coddle Iran, Saudi Arabia will give Israel access to its air space, although it may well lie about that fact later.  Iran’s bluster was fine with the Arab Muslim nations as long as they thought the U.S. would ultimately slap down any Iranian pretensions to regional hegemony.  With that clearly not the case any more, the game is changing and the players are taking new (and, if I do say so myself, predictable) positions on the board:

The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Saudi Arab is not the only one to reconsider the world order now that America is a suddenly a weak sister.  Perhaps the rest of the world will drift away from Marxism and coddling Muslim extremism as America becomes a mere spectator and — worse — a spectator that tends to cheer on the bad guys.

Like the teenager who can act wild, knowing that Daddy will ultimately be there to protect her, Europeans (and others) could afford to be weak and silly, knowing that America would come along and clean up their messes.  With Daddy in a coma, Europeans have to stand on their own, and I think their choices are going to be quite different than they were before.

Now that I’m done patting myself on the back, it’s incumbent upon me to add that it didn’t take a genius to figure these things out.  A person with the meanest intelligence, armed with a few facts, could have made exactly the same predictions.  What is also true, though, is that it takes the peculiar idiocy of the Democrat elite to have made such stunningly stupid miscalculations — miscalculations so rife with errors that even dodos such as me could figure out, not only that Democrat policies would fail, but precisely how they would fail.

UPDATEJonathan Spyer makes the same point:

Recent remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have fueled renewed speculation of behind-the-scenes links between Israel and the Gulf monarchies.

Netanyahu, speaking at the UN, said that “the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy.”

He added: “This affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes.”

There have been subsequent rumors of visits by senior Gulf officials to Israel, to discuss matters of common interest.

While it is difficult to acquire details of these contacts at the present time, it is a near certainty that they exist, on one level or another. Conversations with Israeli officials suggest that much is happening behind the scenes.

Israel and the key states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (most importantly, Saudi Arabia) share core views on the nature of key regional processes currently underway, and their desired outcome.  These commonalities have existed for some time, and it is likely that the contacts are themselves not all that new.

Read more here.

Hmmm. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Oh, wait! I did say it myself . . . more than four years ago.

Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East

Israel as the next Saudia Arabia?

 

According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, Israel’s unusually large and high-quality shale oil reserves may yield as much oil as all of Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703806304576242420737584278.html

 

These discoveries are in addition to of Israel’s recently diclosed gas reserves, also anticipated to be vaste.

 

There are few countries in the world as reality-based as Israel, because Israel has no other choice. It must be reality based in order to survive. This convinces me that Israel will waste  no time in developing these deposits, not only for self-sufficiency but also to gain leverage with the international community. Imagine the political consequences,, if you would, if Europe no longer had to depend upon the Middle East for its oil.

 

Oh, I wish I could say the same about our own country, rich beyond imagination in oil, gas and coal reserves. In our own country, a far-too-comfortable bourgeoisie entertains unicorn visions of Shangri La-like utopias, unspoiled by any energy development other than windmills and solar panels manufactured in China. The price of these idle visions is steep, as measured by lost jobs, investment capital, trade balances and tax revenues, not to mention military missions to fund our energy needs and keep world energy supplies safe. The self-satisfied American bourgeois elites sleep well, oblivious to the environmental, economic and social disasters inflicted upon our own country and others to satisfy our presumptions of environmental virtue. Not even a record recession (depression?) and all its accompanying miseries is enough to shake our self-satisfied masses from their ut-opium dreams.

 

The bottom-line is that most of the bad international news that we read about today, from Iraq to Libya, Iran, North Africa, Sudan, Nigeria and world jihadism in general, has to do with the quest for affordable energy. Take away oil as an issue by crashing its price on world markets through oversupply, and most of these issues cited above simply fade away, along with the revenues transfered to countries that use them to fund activities inimical to our prosperity and civilization. Crash the price of fuel, jihadism dies. Crash the price of fuel, the world’s poor and unemployed benefit. Israel gets it, we don’t.

 

North America enjoys the world’s largest deposits of oil, gas and coal. Europe has recently discovered immense gas deposits that should more-than meet its internal needs. It’s time for our civilization to wake up: we should be developing our own energy resources as a crack pace, if for nothing else than to avoid a world disaster. War and poverty also have environmental consequences.

 

It’s no fun being Cassandra….

Poor Cassandra was cursed by the Gods with the gift of making accurate prophecies that no one would believe.  The disasters she foresaw always came true, but she was helpless to stop people (and nations) from racing towards their doom.  The endings were always so terrible — and Cassandra was herself swept up in them — that she never even got the consolation of a good “I told you so.”

Ever since Obimbo appeared on the scene, we at Bookworm Room have been Cassandras.  We’ve vacillated between trying to decide whether Obama acts as he does through incompetence or malevolence, but we’ve always been clear in our own minds that his approach to the Presidency would be disastrous, both at home and abroad.  One of the things we (and by “we,” I mean my readers and I) predicted was that the Obamessiah, by creating a leadership vacuum in the space America used to fill, would release dangerous forces — just as the Soviet Union’s collapse unleashed long simmering, and quite deadly, regional rivalries in the Balkans.

The headlines now seem to bear out our worst predictions.  Just today, Danny Lemieux forwarded to me a Gateway Pundit post relaying the news that, because Saudi Arabia acted in Bahrain (yes, filling the American leadership vacuum), Iran is now rattling its sabers:

A senior Iranian legislator called on the foreign ministry to show firm reaction against deployment of Saudi military forces in Bahrain and take strong stances and measures in defense of the rights and independence of the Bahraini people.

“The foreign ministry should take a strong position against the dispatch of the Saudi forces to Bahrain” and defend the people’s move and rule over the country, Mostafa Kavakebian said in an open session of the parliament on Tuesday.

God forbid this comes to something, the regional line-up is going to be Israel and Saudi Arabia versus Iran.  What’s impossible for me to know — I simply don’t have the sechel (Yiddish:  smarts) about Middle Eastern allegiances and alliances — is where the other countries, aside from Syria and Lebanon, both already Iranian proxies, will fall when the whole thing blows.  They all hate Israel, but their degrees of loathing for Saudi Arabia and Iran are going to determine which colors they wear in this fight.

I could say “I told you so” but, Cassandra-like, I don’t have the heart to utter those words.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

The hand is quicker than the eye — or, are we mis-reading Arab misdirection?

Many, myself included, found it heartening that the Wikileaks cables showed that Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries, were talking tough to American diplomats when it came to Iran.  That proved, we said, that, no matter what the leaders said on the streets, behind the scenes they were sensibly aware of their common cause with Israel and America, at least when it came to Iran.

Unfortunately for my peace of mind, Daniel Pipes is now suggesting the opposite:  he says that history indicates that what Arab leaders say on the streets is precisely what they mean, while what they say to American diplomats tends to be what they think those diplomats want to hear.  It’s misdirection, but not running missing the direction we thought it was headed.

When the policeman goes away — or what happens when a big nation retreats

In 1989, when it became clear that the former Soviet Union could no longer stop the spread of Democracy in the Eastern Bloc countries, many of us naively assumed that a new dawn of peace and harmony was about to arrive.  We envisioned lions and lambs frolicking together, all bedecked in dewy flowers.  What actually happened, of course, was that Central Europe exploded.  It turned out that one of the benefits of Soviet dominance was that the Soviets squashed traditional tribal rivalries that used to send those nations into periodic convulsions.  Without the strong arm of the Soviets, ethnic and religious warfare broke out with nice historic ferocity.

Although we didn’t like the former Soviet Union, which was a brutal totalitarian dictatorship, its fall did remind us that a superpower is often times useful to keep the peace.   You and I learned that lesson.  The Ivory Tower Obamites clearly did not.

Obama’s first act upon moving in to the White House was to retreat.  He retreated everywhere he could.  In the former Eastern Bloc, when he abandoned allies; in the Middle East, when he abandoned allies; and in Latin America, when he abandoned allies.  As if the years 1989 through 1994 had never happened, he blithely assumed that, with the withdrawal of a bullying superpower (because that, quite obviously, is how Obama views the nation he leads), the lion and lamb would frolic together, bedecked in dewy flowers.

What’s happening, of course, is precisely what happened when the Soviet Union retreated:  long simmering discords, held in check only by a super power’s presence, are coming to the fore.  Putin is bullying and killing left and right, both within his borders and in countries that were formerly part of the Russian republic, while Chavez is bullying and killing left and right within his own borders, and is working hard to destabilize democratic regimes within Latin America and to ally himself with Islamists and Communists outside of Latin America.

And then there’s Iran.  It got the green light from Obama to savage its own citizens and to build a bomb that it manifestly intends to use for two reasons:  (a) to destroy Israel; and (b) to become the Super Power in the Middle East.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are aware of what Iran’s goals are in the absence of the U.S.’s strong hand.  And as I long ago predicted, they are joining forces, according to the old dictum that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  They may hate and fear each other, but they hate and fear Iran more.  It remains to be seen whether Israel really is setting up a functional military base in Saudi Arabia, capable of strikes against Iran, or if this is just an elaborate feint, intended to scare Iran into retreat.  Either way, it’s interesting to see how nations are struggling to fill the vacuum America behind left when Obama unilaterally retreated.

Bookworm’s crystal ball reading about Saudi cooperation with Israel proves accurate

On May 7, 2009, when Obama’s anti-Israel animus was first making itself very apparent, I wrote about Saudi cooperation with Israel:

It will be interesting to see if Israel can withstand Obama’s pressure.  I’m reasonably optimistic that, with Netanyahu at the helm, Israel understands what Obama is doing and understands what will happen if he gets away with it, and will resist this threat.  I also think that, under the rubric of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” allegiances are going to start shifting in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, etc., may hate Israel, but they fear a nuclear Iran even more than they hate Israel.  My long-held suspicion since Obama’s election (which instantly meant Israel lost her only friend) is that Saudi Arabia, somehow or other, is going to give Israel cover for an attack against Iran.

On July 5, 2009, I made again read the tea leaves (some of them pretty explicit) regarding Saudi cooperation with Israel:

I’ve predicted in this blog that, if America continues to coddle Iran, Saudi Arabia will give Israel access to its air space, although it may well lie about that fact later.  Iran’s bluster was fine with the Arab Muslim nations as long as they thought the U.S. would ultimately slap down any Iranian pretensions to regional hegemony.  With that clearly not the case any more, the game is changing and the players are taking new (and, if I do say so myself, predictable) positions on the board:

The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Today’s news, from the London Times:

Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.

In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.

To ensure the Israeli bombers pass unmolested, Riyadh has carried out tests to make certain its own jets are not scrambled and missile defence systems not activated. Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.

(Read the rest here.)

Barack Obama has made nice with the Iranians, he has watered down sanctions for the Iranians, and he has brow-breaten the Jews on the Iranians’ behalf.  Barack Obama cannot understand why, despite all the hugs and bows, on the one hand, and the standing behind the playground bully on the other hand, the Iranians persist in building nasty little nuclear bombs.  Obama probably also doesn’t understand that, by making this news public, the Saudis have probably struck the biggest blow yet to Iranian dreams of regional hegemony.

And (here I’m patting myself on the back), I saw this coming.  Obama didn’t.  I’m a suburban mom and part-time lawyer.  Obama is president of the United States.  Something is wrong with this picture.

This is what a truly unfree, misogynistic, totalitarian, theocratic press and nation look like

Didn’t Obama bow to the king?

A Saudi court on Saturday convicted a female journalist for her involvement in a TV show, in which a Saudi man publicly talked about sex, and sentenced her to 60 lashes.

Rozanna al-Yami is believed to be the first Saudi woman journalist to be given such a punishment. The charges against her included involvement in the preparation of the program and advertising the segment on the Internet.

Abdul-Rahman al-Hazza, the spokesman of the Ministry of Culture and Information, told The Associated Press he had no details of the sentencing and could not comment on it.

In the program, which aired in July on the Lebanese LBC satellite channel, Mazen Abdul-Jawad appears to describe an active sex life and shows sex toys that were blurred by the station. The same court sentenced Abdul-Jawad earlier this month to five years in jail and 1,000 lashes.