Celebrate the Decision, Brace for Impact

While President Trump and his Administration gained a political achievement with the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, their decision will be testing many sensitivities.

A historic day that aims to bring Israel closer to a final status with the Palestinians, keep the Saudis and the wider Arab world on a track to normalization with Israel, and bring together a coalition to deter an aggressive Iranian regime.

In the Old City of Jerusalem, there is celebration and there is awareness. President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is seen as an act of recognizing reality. The fear in Eastern Jerusalem is what comes next.

Until the Israeli security council decided to remove the metal detectors at the Temple Mount, Palestinian Muslims immediately protested and rioted in Eastern Jerusalem and many West Bank towns. Notably the Lion’s Gate in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter was a hotbed of riots and other drama. Not to mention the incitement stirred by the Palestinian Authority and international media organizations such as Al Jazeera, whose reporters were seemingly involved in organizing Lion’s Gate protests.

Starting earlier this week, Israeli Police in Jerusalem’s Old City have been guarding in heavier numbers. This recognition by Israel’s Authorities has brought calmness for the first day off of the United States’ historic move to recognize Jerusalem.

Since the era of King David, Jerusalem has been the center of the Jewish People. In 70 CE, we lost her and have been yearning to return for almost 2000 years. Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel longer than London has been the capital of Great Britain and longer than Washington DC has been the capital of the United States. Israel does not need the approval of world powers for the Israeli people to know that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. To the East sits a tense audience, watching their past military defeats and international successes change course. Internally, Saudi Arabia under the Crown Prince is moving forward, understanding Israel’s importance in the region. Especially towards the aggressions of the Iranian regime. As the Arab states take this decision on the chin, admirably they are also looking for a stronger future.

The Ayatollahs in Iran also see this decision as destructive. They speak publicly to taunt Israel’s emotions for a war with a strengthened Hezbollah, though they also see the future Sunni-Israeli alliance. Their next few moves will determine their long-term possibilities. Trump’s decision could bring the consequence of an intifada, but not long-scale war between Israel and Iranian proxies. Consequentially, an “intifada” brings upon the death of targeted Israeli soldiers, residents living their daily lives, and even visiting tourists. We do not forget about the deaths of terror inspired young adults from local Palestinian neighborhoods.

Enjoy this historic moment for Israel and brace for impact, Jerusalem has awoken again.

Trump Marks the End of Revisionism

“If you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it….”

President Trump has announced Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Is this news? Hardly. Jerusalem has been the official capital of the Israel since its rebirth in 1948. Never mind it has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people throughout all of history.

Yet with Trump’s announcement most of the world has gone upside down, especially the Arab world. Why is there such an uproar about this announcement? Some think it may be complicated while others see it differently.

For me his announcement is more of a yawn. Why? The simple fact is Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. This is not an opinion, or up for debate. Is London the capital of Brittan? Is Paris the capital of France? Clearly the answer is yes to both. So why would anyone have a problem with Jerusalem being called the capital of Israel?

It’s when you ask this question the issue becomes less of a yawn and more complicated.

One must unpack who is saying it and why?

Leading the charge of the nay sayers is the Arab world. Virtually every nation, including Jordan and Egypt which have formal peace agreements with Israel have voiced objection to Trump’s announcement.  Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and others have criticized Trump. The UN is scheduling an emergency meeting of the Security Council .To no one’s surprise the Muslim terrorist groups have also decried it.

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the PA has declared “endless war” will commence, and the US is no longer seen as an “honest broker” of the so-called “peace process.”

For those who see Trump’s move as damaging or ‘killing’ the peace process, I say what “peace” process are you talking about? The two key players in the “peace” process are the Prime Minister of Israel and the leader of the Palestinians.  They are the ones who would participate in such a process.

It seems to me if there was an actual “peace” process there would be ongoing negotiations regarding the key issues that divide the parties involved. Yet Mahmoud Abbas has stated and restated he will never recognize the Jewish state of Israel. He’s also said the Jewish people have no connection to Jerusalem. Plus, he’s denied there has ever been a Jewish Temple on Temple Mount. How is Israel supposed to “negotiate” its very right to exist?

As if these statements aren’t enough proof that Abbas is devoid of reality, he actually wrote his college thesis on denying the Holocaust.  Sadly, much of the Arab Muslim world, and indeed many outside the Arab world are in alignment with Abbas’s views.

With such statements it’s clear Mr. Abbas is living in his own world of revisionism. The Bible, historical records  and countless archaeological digs prove his comments to be utterly false and without merit.

Further, as if there isn’t enough reason to confirm that Abbas has no interest in a genuine “peace” process, he is paying large salaries to Muslim terrorists that have been jailed for murdering innocent Israelis. He considers these payments to be a “holy duty.” Much of the money he pays terrorists with comes from  US taxpayers in the form of aid from the US government.

Americans are so outraged that their tax dollars are being used to pay Muslim murderers, Congress is in the process of passing legislation which will strip the PA of US aid.

So the question again begs, where is the “peace” process?

Seems there is more than one definition of this. According to the Palestinians and the Israel bashers, the “peace” process consists of Israel agreeing to give away every inch of land beyond the ’67 cease fire lines. This would include the eastern portion of Jerusalem where the Holy Old City is located. Approximately 400,000 Jews living in Judea/Samaria would have to be relocated.

I recall in 2005 when roughly 8,000 Jews were forcibly removed from the Gaza Strip after a 38 year presence, civil war almost broke out in Israel. Keep in mind this was a unilateral decision made by Israel that land for peace would work. Given what’s happened in the Gaza Strip since then, it’s obvious the land for peace concept does not work.

So why would any clear thinking person believe giving more land away would bring peace? Especially, when Abbas refuses to accept the existence of the Jewish state of Israel no matter what the borders are?

In reality, there is no “peace” process. So Mr. Trump has done nothing to damage it by stating a simple fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Unless you happen to be one of those who believe if you tell a lie often enough people will believe it.  Seems Abbas has been hedging his bets on this.

Of course the moon might be made of cheese……

Dan Calic is a writer, history student and speaker. See additional articles on his Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/heartlandofthehomeland).


Trump, Jerusalem, and the Coming War

Say what you will about President Donald Trump, he knows how to make an impact.  The voices and cries against the president’s potential decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem or at the very least announce that the US recognizes a united Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital have reached fevered pitch. These antagonists, whether they are Democratic leaders like Keith Ellison or the President of Turkey understand that such a decision would burst the “peace” bubble and render the ultimate trojan horse, the Palestinians, weaponless from here on out.

Furthermore, these leaders who have sojourned with the Jihadists while accepting US funds will have to make a decision about their future.  Denying the truth and using Israel as a distraction for their own abysmal policies can seemingly no longer be tolerated by Trump, Israel, and the growing list of trading partners the Netanyahu government has succeeded in creating around the globe.

There is a war coming and Trump understands the value of trusted partners.  Afterall, as a businessman his success has been built on loyalty and trust.  For Trump, creating a situation where Israel is strengthened and not weakened as its enemies begin to surround it, is crucial.  The USA cannot economically or even militarily fight a two-front war against North Korea and Iran, but by ensuring a strong Israel and brokering a partnership between it and Saudi Arabia is a necessary step for pushing back America’s enemies.

What those people who are complaining about when thy complain about the unilateralism of Trump’s impending decision don’t get is the same thing they have never gotten about him from the beginning.  Donald Trump is no politician.  He is approaching his job as if he is running a business.  For him the Palestinians are an investment who has done more damage and created more loss than profit.

With Saudi Arabia and seemingly Egypt and other Gulf States on board, the thorniest issue is about to be taken off the table. It’s true Jordan will scream as the King’s claim to the holy city falls apart and the Palestinians will riot, but with war on a global scale drawing near, there is no time to play nice with falsehoods, especially when your real allies are at risk.

No one knows what the president is going to say, but the fact that he has now let the embassy waiver pass without signing it is an indication that he is no longer willing to play a game built around false narratives and terror entities. No matter what Trump’s final statement and decision on Jerusalem is, he has already changed the narrative and for that we should all be thankful.

Portents of quagmires in Syria

Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan are right that, as of now, they are the victors in Syria. But let us not empower them by believing them invincible.

Is the war in Syria won? The images broadcast this week from Sochi, the Russian vacation town on the Black Sea coast, were pictures of victory – for the bad guys.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stood beside his Syrian client, President Bashar Assad, who licked Putin’s boots, as well he should have.

Assad owes his regime and his life to Putin.

The next day, Putin was joined by his allies – the presidents of Iran and Turkey.

Hassan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the pilgrimage to Sochi to stand at Putin’s side and declare victory in the war and dedicate themselves to the cause of “peace and reconciliation” in post-war Syria.

To achieve their lofty goals of peace and reconciliation, Putin and his partners declared that, in the near future, Sochi will be the sight of a peace conference where all the relevant factions in Syria will be represented. The parley they described is set to take place parallel to – and one assumes at the expense of – the sixth round of Syrian reconciliation talks scheduled to take place under UN auspices next week in Geneva.

Several Israeli commentators viewed Putin’s Sochi talks precisely as he wished them to.

Ehud Yaari, Reshet/Keshet’s veteran Arab affairs commentator declared: The US is finished in the Middle East! The capital of the Middle East is now located in Sochi, he proclaimed in back-to-back newscasts.

In certain respects, Yaari is right. Things are looking good these days for the axis of evil.

Wednesday was a particularly good day for Iran. Not only did Rouhani do his victory dance with Putin and Erdogan, but as they were showering themselves in triumph in Sochi, Iran’s Lebanese puppet, Saad Hariri, was returning to Beirut after his misadventures in Saudi Arabia.

As expected, Hariri canceled the resignation he announced dramatically a week-and-a-half earlier in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after accusing Iran and its Hezbollah army of controlling Lebanon.

On the surface, Hariri’s return is a boon for Iran. If he had remained in Saudi Arabia, Iran would have lost its fig leaf.

Hariri’s duty as prime minister is to snow the West into believing that his government and the Lebanese Armed Forces are a counterweight to Iran and Hezbollah, even though they are controlled by Iran and Hezbollah.

Until his trip to Riyadh, Hariri had been doing a good job.

Hariri’s lobbying efforts won Lebanon billions of dollars in US military and civilian aid. Congress would never have agreed to appropriate the assistance if Hariri hadn’t been so persuasive.

But it is far from clear that Hariri will be much of a fig leaf after he let the Iranian/Hezbollah cat out of the bag in Riyadh.

A rising chorus of US lawmakers are demanding an immediate end to US assistance to the LAF. And Hariri’s return to Beirut didn’t dim those voices.

In August, Hariri visited President Donald Trump at the White House. Trump praised Lebanon as “an ally” in the war on terrorism. He increased US aid to the LAF and deployed US special forces to Lebanon where they fought at the side of the LAF under effective Hezbollah command.

It’s hard to imagine Trump welcoming Hariri back to the White House anytime soon.

As for Erdogan, he arrived in Sochi a spent force.

Erdogan is perhaps the biggest loser of the war in Syria. He was the principal sponsor of the anti-Assad opposition that morphed into Islamic State. Erdogan’s cooperation owes mainly to his lack of better options. The US stopped supporting his campaign in Syria two years ago.

Since the failed military coup against him in July 2016, Erdogan has become ever more hostile to the US. This hostility informed his recently concluded deal with Putin to purchase Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft system. The S-400 threatens every fighter craft in the US arsenal. US officials have responded to his move by seriously considering the possibility of canceling the sale of 100 F-35s to Turkey.

Turkish expulsion from NATO – once a taboo subject – is now regularly discussed in Washington policy circles.

The main reason Erdogan has sided with Putin in Syria is because the US has sided with Syria’s Kurds. Erdogan views the Syrian Kurds as a threat to the stability of his regime. He expects Putin to support his determination to destroy Kurdish autonomy in Syria.

If Putin fails to meet his expectations, Erdogan may abandon his new friends. Or he may stick with them and just become ever more dependent on Putin.

Whatever the case, he won’t be empowered by his membership in Pax Putin.

And this brings us to Putin and Russia.

Certainly it is true that the Sochi summitry has cemented Putin’s position as savior of Mother Russia.

A mere generation ago, Russia was a washed up, fifth-rate power. At the end of the Cold War, the world belonged to America. Today, world leaders beat a path to Putin’s door.

But not everything is roses and sunshine.

Russia’s alliance with Iran and Turkey is predicated on Russia remaining in Syria – come what may.

And what is coming is not likely to be pretty.

While Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani were congratulating themselves in Sochi, another conference was happening in Riyadh. There, leaders of the anti-Assad militia were meeting to discuss their next moves ahead of the UN-sponsored talks next week in Geneva.

True, the forces represented in Saudi Arabia aren’t as powerful as the Iranians, Hezbollah and Russia. But they have guns. And they are disgruntled. And if any number of governments want to give them more guns, they will have more guns and bullets. And they will shoot them at the people keeping Assad in power.

Commentators declaring the dawn of a Russian-controlled Middle East where the US is dead to rites ignore another basic fact. There are a lot of US forces in Syria.

In late October, US Major General James Jarrard, commander of the US’s anti-ISIS task force in Iraq and Syria, “accidentally” told reporters that there are 4,000 US troops in Syria. When reporters pounced on his statement, Jarrard quickly backtracked and said he made a mistake.

There are only 500 US forces in Syria.

Whoopsie daisy.

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that the administration does not intend to withdraw US forces from Syria now that the mission against ISIS is largely complete.

US forces in Syria are concentrated in Syrian Kurdistan. If the US protects the Kurdish autonomous areas along the border with Iraq, Erdogan will again lose a big bet in Syria. His alliance with Putin will have brought him nothing but a deterioration of his ties with the US and instability at home as Turkish Kurds expand their ties to the autonomous Syrian brethren.

Angry, unreconciled, well-armed rebel forces and autonomous Kurds are far from the biggest threat to Putin’s victory in Syria. The biggest threat to his triumph is Syria itself.

Thanks in large part to Putin and his allies, Syria, today, is one vast ruin.

According to UN assessments, reconstruction costs for the country will run anywhere from $200 billion-$350b.

Does Putin intend to finance Syrian reconstruction? How about Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or Erdogan or China? Of course not.

And, if Syria remains a ruin, Syria will not be pacified; and, if Syria isn’t pacified, it will continue to bleed.

The media made a big deal about Putin’s phone call to Trump after his meeting with Assad. Some commentators viewed the call as proof Putin is calling the shots in the Middle East. Others saw the opposite – that Putin doesn’t dare move too far ahead of the Americans.

But those views are likely both wrong.

Putin’s record indicates that he cares about two things: reasserting Russia’s great power status and money. For his victory in Syria to avoid becoming a Pyrrhic one, he needs lots of American money to finance Syrian reconstruction.

This brings us to the US, and what Washington wants to do in Syria and the wider Middle East.

So far, the Americans have made every possible mistake in Syria and Iraq.

Then president Barack Obama allowed Assad to commit a genocide of Syria’s Sunnis and foment the refugee crisis in Europe. He allowed Iran and Hezbollah to take over Syria and Iraq. He allowed Erdogan to organize an anti-Assad rebel force dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, which over time morphed into ISIS. He allowed the Russians to use the war as a means to reassert their position in the Middle East 33 years after the Soviets were humiliated and expelled from the Levant.

For his part, Trump has maintained Obama’s Syria policies in relation to Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Assad. He expanded US military assistance to the LAF. He permitted Iranian militias controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to cooperate with US-trained Iraqi forces in seizing Kirkuk from Kurdish forces. In so doing, Trump betrayed the Kurds, the US’s only reliable allies in Iraq.

If the Americans wish to maintain their record of failure, they have many options for doing so. They can abandon the Syrian Kurds. They can help Putin by underwriting Syrian reconstruction.

They can continue to arm the Hezbollah-controlled LAF. But the Americans do have an option to succeed, as well.

If Trump keeps US forces in Syrian Kurdistan, and if he refuses to help pay for Syrian reconstruction so long as Assad remains in power and Iranian and Hezbollah forces remain on the ground and if the US ends its civilian and military assistance to Lebanon, the US and its allies will be strengthened, and Russia and its allies will be weakened.

If the Americans do not interfere as Syrian “freedom fighters” defend against Iranian or Russian “aggression,” it won’t matter what terms the Iranians give Putin for gas, or oil or nuclear deals. He will seek a way out of Syria.

On May 1, 2003, then president George W. Bush landed a S-3 Viking fighter craft on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln dressed in a flight suit. Before an audience of cheering troops and against the backdrop of a banner that read “Mission Accomplished,” Bush declared: “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”

A month later, the real Iraq war started.

In the years that followed, probably not a day went by when Bush didn’t regret his victory dance on the USS Lincoln.

Putin, Rouhani and (to a much smaller degree) Erdogan are right that, as of now, they are the victors in Syria. But let us not empower them by believing them invincible. Their victory against ISIS – achieved with massive US assistance – is certainly an achievement. But it isn’t the end of the story. If the Americans do not save them, the situation on the ground augers quagmire, not triumph, for their axis and for their separate regimes.

Originally Posted on the Jerusalem Post.

Abbas Says No to Trump and Thats Good for Peace

The current row between the Trump administration and the PA over the White House’s rumored closure of the controversial PLO office in DC has reached new levels as PA President Abbas now has refused phone calls with President Trump’s team. Does this mean the peace process is dead?

In one word: No.

When looking at the moves the administration is backing in Saudi Arabia by endorsing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it is obvious that the current situation involving the PA is being orchestrated by both by the US team and Israel in order to simply force the Palestinian leadership out.

Trump realized early on in his administration that as long as the PA is being led by dictators, murderers, and thieves there would be no chance to move forward towards a genuine peace. It is impossible to know the contours of the unfolding peace plan, but one thing is obvious at this point, whatever it is, it won’t be similar to the ones brought before.

Trump being a business man, seems to believe that the surest route to peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs as well as the broader Sunni world is to make the Arabs clean house first.  By doing so real grassroots relations can take place. The old guard within the Sunni Arab world has been milking all sides of the conflict for a number of years and by doing so has pushed off any lasting peace and any outside of the box ideas.  Sweeping them to the side is key.

By forcing the Arab world to clean house, Trump has essentially begun the process of allowing alternate ideas to be able to take shape.

How long will this take? Real peace might take longer than this generation, but forcing Abbas to say no is a great first step!

Arab States Are Taking Trump Very Seriously

As an Arab and a Muslim, I could authoritatively confirm Arab states are now taking the US very seriously. This was not the case at all under Obama’s administration. Nonetheless, some in the media think otherwise, an example of that was a recent article by an Israeli-American journalist, who claims America was now “the laughing stock” of Arab and Muslim states, suggesting President Trump was just following Obama’s policies.

Let’s examine facts on the ground, as they speak louder than journalists watching from afar.  

What could be the most pressing issue for Trump’s foreign policy, is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I reported months ago the administration had warned Hamas, PLO and their political partner, Jordan’s king, not to launch a third Intifada.  All three had been planning one.  It took a quick “warning” visit by the CIA’s director to the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, instantly, both stopped their calls for a third Intifada.

Further, a so-called reconciliation deal between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas was recently negotiated under Egyptian patronage, and American pressure. Some, claimed the Hamas terror group was receiving US endorsement and legitimization.  Little do they know that Hamas really handed Gaza to Egypt. 

That means America’s strong ally, President Sisi, is now Gaza’s caretaker. With him in position, Hamas can no longer conduct terror raids on Israel. In other words, the so-called reconciliation was a mere façade for this change for a de facto Egyptian takeover.

So, why did Hamas give in to Sisi? Our inside sources confirm the US Administration has authorized him to handle Hamas and even issued a threat: If Hamas begins another war with Israel; the US won’t stop Israel from going after Hamas to the end.

This is important; in 2014, Israel came close to annihilating Hamas but Obama stopped it. Trump won’t do that, to the contrary, he would bless Israel’s efforts. Hamas knows this, and many vocal journalists don’t.

If Hamas decides to rebel against Sisi, Israel would finish it off this time and the US won’t save Hamas.

Another allegation against President Trump is that he “had failed to protect the Kurds against the pro-Iran Iraqi government”. This could not be further from the truth.

The administration has been very supportive of the Kurds, and enabled their troops to establish themselves in huge areas in both Syria and Iraq which the US itself had liberated from ISIS. The US is wisely looking at gradual, de facto, Kurdish self-determination, through intelligence, military, and political commitments.

The US is against a premature Kurdish declaration of independence because it would be too risky to the Kurds themselves at the time, nonetheless, the US remains fully supportive of all the de facto mechanisms Kurdistan is executing. The sticking point appears to be in the “declaration” and not the right to self-determination, because a premature declaration destabilizes US plans that benefits the Kurds.  As the Iraqi state keeps failing – and this is not the US fault by any chance- it is only natural that a fully-functioning Kurdistan could become independent. Kurdistan is not there yet, but once it is, the US will be the most supportive.

Further, our intelligence sources confirm the US has already warned the Iraqi government against an attack on the Kurdish areas beyond Kirkuk.  And even pressured Iraq to use an unprecedented term: “the disputed areas with the Kurds”, now only Kirkuk is a “disputed area”, before that, Iraq’s government considered all of Kurdistan as a mere Iraqi governorate.  

A US Congressman, Duncan Hunter, is making a fuss about Iraqi troops using US tanks while waving Hezbollah flags. What he fails to understand is this: Iraq’s dependence on American arms puts the Iraqi military under the mercy of the US. The US could just stop spare parts supply to Iraq at any moment and those tanks would become junk.  This is why the US has just recently delivered more F16s to Iraq. Should Iraq bomb the Kurds with them, the US could stop spare parts supplies. An Iraqi source has confirmed to me: “Our spare parts supply is enough for our F16s operations for no more than two weeks, the Americans are very cheap with spare parts, they give us drop by drop”.  

In fact, the pro-Iran Iraqi government was so helpless that it had to “criminalize the waving of Israeli flags”. Meanwhile, the Kurds are still waving both the Israeli and Kurdish flags on their soil, more evidence Iraq has no power over Kurdistan. Nor has Iran.

On the other hand, Congressman Hunter began pushing for sales of lethal drones to Jordan’s king just weeks after a Jordanian airman executed three US Green Berets, and Jordan’s regime was officially and publicly defending the killer and blaming the American victims. Why is Hunter so two-faced? 

Meanwhile, many seem to swiftly overlook Trump’s biggest accomplishment: ISIS is almost gone! The very ISIS that had thrived under Obama’s nose

Without publicity and drama, and in his first month in the White House, President Trump deployed US special forces in cooperation with Egyptian and Kurdish troops to attack ISIS in Syria. ISIS has lost 90 percent of its area and thousands of fighters.

Also, Trump has deployed America’s military might to secure a ceasefire in Syria. Bloodshed has dropped to very low rates. No more epic massacres from either side. And while Russia is claiming victory, the US boots on the grounds are calling the shots, and the US has full control of Syria’s airspace.

Additionally, safe zones have been created and Syrian refugees are returning home, while the flow of those into Europe has dropped.

Why is this so avidly overlooked by the liberal and leftist media?

Trump’s war on ISIS did not stop with the military. The President took a trip to Saudi Arabia to meet Arab leaders and pressed Sunni states to cut all kinds of support to Islamist terror. Most of them welcomed the call, while others chose to keep supporting Islamists and are now paying for that.  For example, Qatar, is now under economic and political siege by most Arab countries, while Jordan’s king is isolated and shunned by most Arab states.

This could have never happened if Trump was not in office.

Even more, Trump has offered full support and cooperation to Saudi Arabia’s modernizing crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, who has allowed women to drive, as well as locked up all terror-inciters and radical preachers. Bin Salman is now advocating a 2030 vision for Saudi, where moderation and peace become the norm, with a window open for a just and lasting peace with Israel. As a result, most Arab states are now seeking regional peace with Israel. This is what the president’s peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt, has been silently and tirelessly working on, without the show off and noise.

Arab states are taking America very seriously now, they know there is a new, tough, decisive and strong sheriff in town. This is good for America, Israel and us, the Arab people too.

In the MidEast, America is great again!


And how to resist it.

The latest news from Israel’s left-wing media outlets is that Ratan Tata, an Indian billionaire, testified to the Israeli police about Prime Minister Netanyahu. The story turned out to be fake news. And that’s true of most of their anti-Netanyahu hit pieces along with the police investigations that accompany them.

But that doesn’t matter.

Americans are just now being introduced to the permanent investigation and its scandal rolodex. Israelis have been living with this Deep State assault against their democracy for much longer. Over eight long years, leftists in the judicial system and the media have manufactured a non-stop campaign of scandals and investigations against Netanyahu. The investigations and the scandals fall apart, but it doesn’t matter because there are usually several being rotated in and out from the scandal rolodex.

The scandals and investigations fall into two categories that should be familiar to Trump supporters.

Category one scandals link some random billionaire to Netanyahu through a chain of connections. The random billionaire in this case is Indian. Then there’s an Australian billionaire in Mexico, German shipbuilders and whatever part of the globe the media-judicial alliance throws a dart at next.

The fake news media in this country is following the same game plan. The latest media hit pieces target Wilbur Ross, Trump’s Secretary of Commerce, in much the same way. Indeed the Russia scandal developed out of media hit pieces that used Trump’s international network of businesses to build up very similar conspiracy theories about foreign interests and influences.

These types of scandals constantly imply corruption without ever actually proving it. But by generating a whole lot of them, they create the sense that Netanyahu or Trump must have done something wrong.

Though no one can say what, because no one can keep track of all the fake scandals.

Category two scandals are character attacks. “He’s a bad person.” Typical examples are Trump’s condolence call controversy and accusations that Netanyahu’s wife is mean to employees.

These types of scandals are straightforward gossip. But lefties have tried to transform them into legal cases. Just about anyone who has ever worked for the Netanyahu family can walk out of the door and have a standing offer to file a lawsuit and do a tour of the media alleging horrible treatment. And the left is trying to advance similar lawsuits against President Trump.

There are lessons to be learned for Trump and Trump supporters from Netanyahu’s experiences.

First, permanent investigations don’t resolve. Trying to wait them out doesn’t work. They never go away until the left wins. An investigation that doesn’t pan out gets swapped out for another one. There are three investigations targeting Netanyahu. If none of them get results, there will be three others.

Everyone knows that.

Second, the purpose of a permanent investigation isn’t to get results. The left would love it if their investigations finally brought down Trump or Netanyahu, but they know that’s a long shot.

The permanent investigation’s real goals are to inflict electoral and policy damage: tying down a targeted politician in scandals so that the public loses confidence in him and preventing him from focusing on his policies. What the left wants is to win elections and stop conservative policies.

The scandals and investigations are political sabotage. And should be treated that way. They’re not about Trump or Netanyahu. They’re about protecting illegal immigration and Islamic terrorists.

Third, the investigations isolate their target by harassing staffers, friends, donors and political allies.

The investigations are a political operation. And so their targets are political. The purpose of the attack is to take out loyal staffers and force allies to keep their distance out of fear that they’ll be next.

Taking out Flynn left Trump with few options except McMaster. And that allowed the swamp to reclaim the National Security Council and protect the eavesdropping operation against Trump. The likely Flynn charges have little to do with the reason he was forced to resign or any accusations against Trump.

But that doesn’t matter. The real goal was to remove Flynn. The details don’t matter.

Thinning out a target’s inner circle makes it harder for him to find competent and loyal replacements. And that makes it all too easy for the swamp to plant its own people in his inner circle. And even if the staffers and allies stay loyal, the investigations make it harder for them to get anything done.

And that too is the point.

This may seem like a grim picture of what the next term or two will look like. But it’s not all grim.

Netanyahu made it through eight years by not letting the scandals drag him down. Even when the attacks against him and his family were as vicious, nasty and personal as the left could get.

He even turned the constant scandals and investigations into a hilarious campaign ad.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has accepted them as a fact of life in a political system where the left’s anti-Israel extremism has made it toxic to voters even while it still controls much of the establishment.

The permanent scandal has been met with permanent scandal fatigue by the public. Israelis have been living through years of hysterical headlines about Netanyahu’s ice cream eating (CNN did its own version of a Trump ice cream scandal with “Trump gets 2 scoops of ice cream, everyone else gets 1”), his wife’s bottle deposits, their children’s misbehavior, their nannies and his bed.

Hardly anyone outside the media bubble cares. Netanyahu’s reputation has been damaged with the media’s low information voters, but he’s still Israel’s longest serving consecutive prime minister.

The Israeli lefty media reacted to its narrative failures the same way that its American counterparts did.

After Trump’s win, the media launched a crusade against “fake news” enlisting Google and Facebook to censor results based on the opinions of the media’s “fact check” operations. Their Israeli counterparts were even more brazen. After a previous Netanyahu victory, they rolled out the “Law for the Advancement and Protection of Written Journalism in Israel”.

The law “advanced and protected” written journalism by banning the distribution of successful free newspapers. The real purpose of the law was to ban the pro-Netanyahu paper, Israel Hayom.

But the media’s censorship crusade didn’t accomplish anything.

The media has an exaggerated sense of its own power and of the gullibility of the public. The two fallacies are interrelated. When people don’t listen to it, the media assumes that since they’re too stupid to have their own ideas, they must be getting all their ideas from some other source. Stamp out this other source, online or offline, and the people will go back to believing what they’re told.

It doesn’t work so well when the media has a worldview and interests that are at odds with the people.

Netanyahu is still around because he represents the public better than the establishment does. The same is true of Trump. And the establishment can’t look in the mirror long enough to understand that.

In free countries, the left operates on two tracks: the democratic and the undemocratic. When it loses democratically, it redoubles its undemocratic efforts to retain power. Scandals and investigations are the tools of an undemocratic establishment. But they can’t overthrow the will of the people.

When conservative leaders stay strong, the scandals and investigations blow away like the wind.

Originally Published in FrontPageMag.

From Meuller to Mandelbilt

In the Mueller probe and the incessant probes against Netanyahu we see the new face of the Left.

There are stunning parallels between US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged collusion between US President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia and the ongoing criminal probes against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara.

Monday, after a weekend filled with speculation due to an illegal media leak regarding sealed grand jury indictments, Mueller and his team indicted two former Trump campaign officials, Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, for offenses related to their business and lobbying actions allegedly carried out between 2006 and 2014.

Mueller also announced that George Papadopoulos, a junior campaign aide, pled guilty to lying to investigators about a meeting he tried to arrange between then candidate Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As commentators across the political spectrum have noted, none of the charges against Manafort and Gates have anything to do with Trump’s presidential campaign.

As for Papadopoulos, his story exculpates rather than implicates Trump’s campaign in collusion with Russia.

Not only did Papadopoulos’s boss on the campaign reject his offer to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin, the actions described in his indictment demonstrate that the Trump campaign had no significant ties to the Russian regime.

And yet, despite the apparent absence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, no one expects Mueller to close down shop. To the contrary.

The Manafort and Gates indictments and the Papadopoulos plea tell us that Mueller has abandoned the stated purpose of his investigation. Having found no evidence of collusion – criminal or otherwise – between the Trump campaign and Russia, he has decided to investigate the business dealings of Trump and his associates going back decades.

Mueller’s move demonstrates that he does not view it as his job to incriminate or exonerate Trump regarding alleged collusion with Russia. Indeed, he doesn’t view it as his responsibility to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 elections at all.

If he thought that was his job, then Mueller would not be expanding his writ to include alleged crimes carried out by Trump’s associates that any US attorney could be investigating. He would be expanding his probe to include the growing mountain of evidence of collusion on the part of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and their attorneys, as well as Mueller’s friend and successor as FBI director, James Comey, with foreign agents, including Russian government officials, during and in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mueller’s apparent refusal to follow the evidence where it leads him regarding Russian involvement in the 2016 elections and his decision instead to investigate any and all suspicions against Trump and his associates whenever the events in question may have taken place tells us that he views himself as a hunter, not an investigator. His prey is Trump.

Mueller will continue to hunt Trump until one of three things happen.

Mueller may eventually find something – anything – to charge Trump with. Such a finding will precipitate an impeachment hearing in Congress that could lead to Trump’s removal from office.

His hunt may find nothing against Trump, but just as it netted Manafort, Gates and Papadopoulos this week, it may bring down other people related to Trump. At a minimum, his continued probe will keep those close to Trump under continuous investigation. In this case, Mueller’s probe will dominate Trump’s presidency and make it impossible for Trump to govern in accordance with the agenda he was elected to advance.

The third possible outcome is that Trump fires Mueller and ends his probe or that Congress defunds his probe or limits its duration. Such moves would require the unanimous support of congressional and Senate Republicans, which currently is not on offer.

The threat that Mueller’s investigation represents to US democracy couldn’t be clearer.

By making it clear through their actions to date that they will not stop their investigation until they get Trump, Mueller and his associates apparently view their investigation as a means to either overturn the election results or render them irrelevant. If Trump is either pushed out of office or denied the ability to govern in accordance with the agenda he ran on, then Mueller will have achieved that goal.

This then brings us to Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and the political Right won a massive electoral victory in 2015. For the first time in many years, the Right won indisputably. There are no coalition partners who place appeasing the PLO at the top of their governing agenda or even in the middle of their agenda.

Netanyahu and his political camp’s victory came as a shock to Israel’s elites. Led by the media, which was itself an adjunct of the anti-Netanyahu campaign, and assisted by the Obama administration, which siphoned US government funds into anti-Netanyahu political groups, Israel’s elites were flummoxed by the election results.

Shortly after the election, the anti-Netanyahu media, with the support of police investigators, went on a hunt to find something – anything – to force Netanyahu from office. In the end, all they could come up with were two otherwise absurd allegations.

First, that Netanyahu received too many gifts from his wealthy friends. Specifically, he allegedly received too many cigars from his friend Arnon Milchen. Second, Netanyahu taped himself discussing with his nemesis, Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon Mozes, the possibility of winning less adversarial coverage from Yediot Ahronot in exchange for lobbying Israel Hayom, which is owned by Netanyahu’s friend Sheldon Adelson, to cut back its circulation and so diminish its competitive edge over Yediot. This discussion, which came to nothing, was discovered by police investigators during their investigation of Netanyahu’s former chief of staff for alleged crimes unrelated to Netanyahu.

If the allegations were directed against any other politician, there is no doubt that they would not have led to police investigations. The late president Shimon Peres’s legendary use of the public trough to pay for his lavish parties and lifestyle were never the subject of investigation. Former prime minister Ehud Barak never faced investigation over his allegedly sketchy business dealings or his deeply suspect campaign financing operations. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert was never investigated for the massive collection of expensive pens that he was showered with by “friends” during his tenure in government.

And none the 43 lawmakers who voted in favor of a bill backed by Mozes to shut down Israel Hayom were ever investigated for their votes.

But with Netanyahu, with the prodding and active support of the media the police are pursuing multi-million shekel investigations around the world to find and interrogate Netanyahu’s friends and ask them about their gifts to him. Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich has hired Lior Horev, one of Israel’s top anti-Netanyahu political consultants, to serve as the police’s public relations representative.

As for the probes against Sara Netanyahu, every day the public is treated to yet more salacious, unsubstantiated tales of her alleged abuse of workers at the Prime Minister’s Residence.

While Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit did not initiate the probes against Netanyahu, he has done nothing to stop them. This despite their demonstrably prejudicial nature. Mandelblit is a product of the system that has turned the police, media and state prosecution into a political party united in their common goal of hunting the political Right. As a result, he can be expected to go along with whatever they do. If the police recommend indicting Netanyahu, Mandelblit can be counted on to dutifully indict him, even though the acts he is suspected of committing are not crimes.

Given the current dynamic, the only way for Netanyahu not be forced from office for actions that aren’t even criminal is for his political associates to rein in the out of control police and state prosecution by limiting their authority. So far, the media have cowed them into inaction.

In the Mueller probe and the incessant probes against Netanyahu we see the new face of the Left. Unable to win elections, they exploit their control over the bureaucracy and media to overturn election results.

There can be no greater threat to the health of a liberal democracy than that.

Two things must happen for this situation to be corrected.

First, we must recognize what is happening and what it means for our systems of governance. Second, lawmakers in Congress and the Knesset alike need to stand up to the media and the legal fraternities and bravely restore the power to govern to those in whom the public has vested it.

Originally Published on the Jerusalem Post.

Mueller Indicts Manafort, Is a Soft Coup Underway?

Paul Manafort the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump and Manafort’s longtime business partner Rick Gates have been charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money and making false statements.

To most experts, these indictments issued by Special Counselor Robert Mueller III are only the beginning.  Retired Gen. Flynn who served as the head of the NSC for a brief time in the beginning of Trump’s term is under active investigation as are other members of Trump’s campaign.

The real question is whether Mueller will go as far as investigating and indicting Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. who both met with Russian linked associates during the campaign. With Mueller on the roll, the investigation will be pushed ahead and risks entrapping Trump with the Nixonian decision to either let Mueller go the distance or fire him, which could bring about articles of impeachment by both Democrats and Republicans looking to take him down.

All of this of course appears to be a massive move by the Deep State to either pressure Trump to run the country according to their designs or face removal.  With Mueller making a political issue that much more divisive by only focusing on Trump when it has been proven that Hillary Clinton cavorted with the Russians during campaign, the special council risks tearing an already divided country apart.

Chaos, Russian Style

The investigation into Russian influence during the campaign appears to be Russian influenced itself.  Putin never had a winning horse in the race, but wanted to create the feeling he was involved in order to inflict doubt about the winner across the American public.  With Mueller’s probe continuing and both right and left at each other’s throats, Putin has begun to gain the upper hand against the USA by pushing its internal divisions to the extreme.  This has allowed Russia to take advantage of an administration that has been “under the proverbial gun” since the beginning.

For Putin, it doesn’t matter if Trump is removed or not, the mere fact that there is an investigation is enough to weaken America and allow Russia to assert control and influence over Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Who Will Stop Iran?

Since President Donald Trump’s famous Iran policy speech, Iran has been on the move, in a sense testing how serious the USA was in stopping their forward march.  They have used the Iraqi military, the USA has financed and trained to occupy Kirkuk and as of this morning crossed over into territory enshrined as Iraqi Kurdistan by even the most ardent Iraqi constitutionalists.

With all of the Kurdish infighting aside, the Kurds are still both America’s and Israel’s most reliable partner in the Middle East and they are the last force capable of blocking an Iranian advance.  The Iraqi military and the Iranian backed PMU have been unlawfully using American weapons against the Kurds. Of course, this has caught the ire of the US Congress who has become vocal in its urging of the White House to come to the aid of the Kurds before it is too late.

The failure to stop Iran now will not only hand the region over to the Iranian Mullahs, it will spell the end of American dominance at a global level. Afterall, if Israel and the Kurds, as well as the Saudis sense that the USA can no longer be counted on to ensure stability in the region, there are others that may be able to.

This is why Israel, Saudi Arabia, and parts of the Kurdish leadership are now in deep discussions with Putin and his military leadership. While this may be a ploy to force the USA to act, it appears to be a recognition of the new reality on the ground.  The only question to the three countries listed above, what will they have to pay to the Russian Bear to ensure it tightens the leash on Iran?