Tag Archives: John Kerry


BLOG 230 December 16, 2014

The hot debate in the USA at this moment is over allegations that the CIA tortured prisoners and lied to Congress and the President. The Democrats have released a report that the Republicans are protesting. All of which sounds a tad political. The CIA says that protecting citizens is worth the pain; The Senate Committee responds that torturing prisoners is not who we are. The battle will probably rage on into the new year.

One thing you can count on. ISIA, Al-Qaida, the Taliban, and Muslim terrorists find this laughable. Terrorists, who cut off people’s head with a butcher knife, view the uproar  going on in Washington as laughable. They think the USA is hypocritical and confused.

Their war goes on.

Case in point: The West’s negotiations with Iran. This week Secretary of State John Kerry said progress may come faster than expected. We’ll see.

As reported earlier, the November 24 extension gave both sides time to go home and consult on a possible agreement. As a carrot on a stick, the West agreed to release $700 million from frozen Iranian bank accounts. Iran desperately needs to get out of the penalty box. The drastic drop in oil prices tightened the noose on the Iranian economy that has been steadily deteriorating and in the last few months took a nose dive. Their national budget has been based on the price of $140 a barrel for oil. Currently, the per barrel price has dropped to $80 a barrel. There’s the squeeze! Covering such a loss means austerity reflected incutting subsidies for food and housing. After years of struggle, the Supreme Leader has to fear a backlash that could produce an uprising. They want out of jail.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani blamed Saudi Arabia for the sharp fall in oil prices, calling the drop a politically motivated conspiracy against their interests. Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran are pitted against each other in the civil war in Syria. Iran is really feeling the pinch at home.

On the other hand, the West knows Iran desperately wants a nuclear bomb and they are close to building one. The issue staring the West in the face is how long can they keep Iran from assembling a weapon. Iran is now close enough that they stand on the threshold. The West must make sure they don’t cross the line.

Countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia have the most to fear. However, Iran is also working hard to develop missile capacity that could reach far beyond the Middle East. If they are not stopped or their political ideals do not change, the world is facing another frightening specter with the West looking down the Iranian gun barrel.

No matter what the rhetoric is from either side, big differences remain. However, time is running out for the West as Iran continues to enrich uranium and work on The Bomb.

Let’s hope Secretary John Kerry is right. It’s a much bigger deal than the CIA lying.

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Filed under America, Iran, middle east, Muslims, War


The so-called Arab Spring continues to look like a Barren Winter. The extreme Muslim right-wing not only likes fighting, they apparently enjoy fighting each other. Unfortunately, banished swords that spread their religion across the Middle East and Africa have now been exchanged for bombs and AK-47 rifles. Not a pretty sight.

Not much as changed since the lid blew off the bottle except the conflicts between the jihadists continue to re-arrange the labels on the groups. Recently, al-Qaida central announced it was breaking ties with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Within Syria, the civil war has agonizingly dragged on because of these tensions. There have been several violent confrontations between ISIS fighters and the Al-Nustra front. While they are supposed to be battling Assad, they appear to be spending more time killing each other. As a result, Assad has gained the upper hand and is now in control of the warfare. America has backed away from intervention because arming the opponents of Assad could turn out to be worst than the dictator. The rebels who showed up to finish the rebellion are finishing off each other.

This is an old story in the Arab world. Some scholars have suggested that the nature of the Arabic language creates a propensity for aggression. Certainly, the last several decades have only added new chapters to the story of right-wing Muslim violence.

In Egypt, the government’s violent response to the Muslim Brotherhood continues. A few weeks ago, a judge sentenced the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader and 682 other people to death. The military-backed  government maintains its massive crackdown against all supporters of Mohammed Morsi, calling their actions “war against terrorism” which is a thinly veiled propaganda cover justifying their own violence. Hopefully, an appeal will save some of these lives. However, this is another example of using violence to justify violence.

These are sad times for the Brotherhood. The victory of Morsi has turned into a bitter defeat to the world-wide organization and its desire to restore the Caliphate. In many Arab countries, they now face bitter opposition. The movement doesn’t give up easily, but barring an unexpected reversal of political events, it is dead in Egypt.

However, a group calling itself Islamic Jihad has sprung up and is now challenging Hamas for control of Gaza. Though small, they are still doing what grabs public attention. They claim to be protecting the Palestinian people from incursions from Israel. Last month in an hour they fired more than a hundred rockets into Israel. Backed by funds from Iran, they are free of any governing group and can fly by night, creating noises making them sound bigger than they are. They are another expression of the preoccupation with violence.

While all the shooting continues, Secretary of State John Kerry continues to press the PLO and Israel to continue their negotiations. Washington will spread blame on both sides to foster continuing discussions. What the State Department never seems to recognize is that the PLO and the Arab League have one fundamental objective: to annihilate Israel. There’s that old propensity for violence again. It remains difficult to talk to the barrel of a rifle.

That cold winter wind just keeps on blowing.

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Filed under Egypt, middle east, Muslims


            When Israeli  Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon made critical remarks about Secretary of State John Kerry, the American State Department reacted angrily. Ya’alon’s remarks implied Kerry was “obsessed” and had “messianic feelings.” In turn, Ya’alon apologized  and said he meant no harm. Everyone shook hands and made up.

            However, the exchange highlights the tension that Israel is now under. Prime Minister Netanyahu has had no coherent settlement policy and that is creating problems. No one can deny that the Prime Minister remains in a precariously difficult spot even within his own administration. His coalition government includes both extremes of Israeli politics. Dovish Tzipi Livni stands to the right while to the left is hawkish Naftali Bennett. Within his own Likud party are equally divisive factions pulling on him from both directions. To keep his government running, he has to placate all of these diverse groups before he even confronts the Palestinians. No small task!

In the end, Netanyahu must make the decisions that will allow Israel to go forward and find a secure feature. For example, Palestinian terrorists were released  in order to bring Abbas and the P.A. to the negotiating table. Obviously, families that had lost children and parents through terrorist attacks were not happy. This effort was made in the face of the hard facts about the Palestinian’s real objectives in such negotiating.

Regardless of what John Kerry says, does, or promises, the current Palestinian leadership has zero interest in reaching a settlement. They have one fundamental goal: the dismantling of the Jewish state.

These factors are pushing Netanyahu into a corner where Israel is becoming dangerously isolated.  Because Israel continues to build illegal settlements, the government is facing the possibility of an international boycott. The Palestinian led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions called the B.D.S. movement is bringing pressure to bear outside the negotiating conference. If Israel can reduce the B.D.S. factor to only an image problem and propaganda tool, it can stem the tide. If not, Netanyahu faces a potentially highly serious situation.

Currently, new strain is on Israel as the Palestinians have gained a sympathetic audience for their claim that their human rights have been violated and they are victim of discrimination. The protective fence around the state of Israel to stop suicide bombers has raised the image of apartheid. All are super-sensitive issues in today’s world.

The squeeze is on Netanyahu to develop a broader policy that is comprehensible across the world. Sand is seeping through the hourglass and delay only creates more chaos. A resolution is needed!

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Filed under America, Israel, middle east


            An unexpected wind is blowing in Syria. Since the arrival of Hezbollah’s troops in larger numbers, the Syrian army has found new strength. For the first time in weeks, the official Syrian Army has made important gains. Recapturing ( or being able to claim so) the town of Qusayr was no small progress for the Syrian regime. With Russia continually shipping weapons of frightening capacity and Iran  adding to the stock pile, the Assad government now appears more entrenched and capable than it did two weeks ago.

            Possibly, the United States and the West have dilly-dallied so long that attrition has been positive for the failing Syrian army and has now hit the rebels hard. The problem remains that rebels lack the armaments and equipment to successfully battle what Russia and Iran have suppled. The West cannot seem to make up its mind about what to do.

This past week, rebel General Salim Idris said that his rebels will not attend John Kerry’s proposed Geneva conference until they receive new arms and ammunion. Slaim recognizes that to sit down with the West and Russia while the Syrian government sits on the other side of the table holding the cards is a meeting doomed to failure before it even begins. The Syrian rebels already do no trust the United States. They must feel a Geneva conference today would be like a good high school football team playing the Green Bay Packers.

The weakness of Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempts at reconciliation has now come to light. Frederic C. Hof, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former State Department official said, “The regime, Iran and Hezbollah, supported by Russia, aim to win: the U.S. airms for talks.” What is talk worth when either side is bearing down with all the force they can muster?  Nothing.

Kerry’s motivations are positive. He is trying to stop a war. The problem is that Assad must now see himself on the winning side and Kerry’s ideas become irrelevant.

Washington’s entanglement with scandals at the IRS, eavesdropping, and security leaks, as well as computer hacking from across the world have apparently changed the focus from the Middle East to Washington. Understandable, but not much of an answer to General Idris who refuses to talk until his men are properly armed.

Anyone half way following the struggle between Democrats and Republicans to get anything done in Washington will not be surprised that the Obama administration now looks like a truck stuck and mired in the mud. When Kerry speaks, you can hear the wheels spinning.

Would Russia like to beat the US in Syria? They’d like to defeat the USA anywhere.

Would Iran want to prevail over a country holding them down with embargos?

Would Syria desire to defeat Israel’s major ally?

The answers are beyond obvious. Defense Secretary Kerry is going to have to come up with more than talk to improve the struggle in Syria. And if America delays much longer, there won’t be anything to talk about.

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Filed under middle east, Syria, Violence