The Conversation

Foreign Affairs: What's going on around the world.

Cruz: Israel Needs More Than Sympathy After Jerusalem Synagogue Attack

Nov 18, 2014 12:33 PM PT

This morning, during prayers, a horrifying terrorist attack was perpetrated at a synagogue in Jerusalem.  Using guns, knives and axes, two Palestinian terrorists killed four and wounded over a half-dozen others, before they were shot by Israeli police.  Three of the slain victims were American citizens; one of them reportedly had his arm taken clean off by an axe blow.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a powerful statement on the attack, in which he made the point that Israel needs more than just sympathy at a time like this; they need to know the U.S. government is on their side against savagery, rather than taking an impartial, disinterested brokerage position:

“Evil was unleashed in Jerusalem today, as two Palestinian terrorists armed with handguns, knives and hatchets attacked a morning prayer service. They worked at close range, shooting into the crowd and hacking at heads and arms of worshippers with their axes while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar.’ Witnesses reported that the blood of the victims ‘flowed like water.’ Some dozen people, including two policemen, were wounded in the onslaught before the terrorists were neutralized, and four men lay dead.  Prayer shawls and tefilin have become shrouds for the devout, whose only crime was the peaceful practice of their Jewish faith.

“Israel mourns for Rabbi Moshe Twersky.  For Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg. For Rabbi Kalman Levine. For Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky.  But Israel does not mourn alone, for all four were not only Israeli—Rabbi Avraham Goldberg was a dual Israeli-UK citizen while Rabbis Moshe Twersky, Kalman Levine and Aryeh Kupinsky were all dual Israeli-US citizens.

“These men were not victims of a senseless tragedy, they were deliberately targeted in carefully-planned attack. The Palestinian terrorists, incubated in a culture of violence and hate, were intent on killing Jews and they singled out men of deep religious faith who would not be armed to ensure maximum casualties. Their despicable actions have been hailed as ‘heroic’ by Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Fatah that are actively inciting these attacks.

“All our friends in Israel have our sympathies in the aftermath of this atrocity, but they need more than that. They need an unequivocal statement of solidarity, a recognition that America is not a disinterested bystander in this battle.  Our citizens are dying too, targeted by these same vicious murderers, and our good friend and ally should have not only our prayers but also our unequivocal support as the Israeli people continue the fight against the terrorists who have declared war on both our nations.”

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Another American Sympathetic to ISIS Arrested

Nov 18, 2014 6:44 AM PT

 Another idiot American sympathetic to ISIS, or Islamic extremism, has been accused of pushing ISIS' agenda and  conspiring to offer "to help an undercover agent get a friend into Syria to join the extremist group."

Heather Elizabeth Coffman made her initial appearance in federal court on Monday, and charged with "making a materially false statement about an offense involving terrorism."

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ISIS claims to have beheaded another American hostage

Nov 16, 2014 5:15 AM PT

The new ISIS snuff film is a little different than their previous offerings, in that they don't show the marquee murder taking place, but according to the UK Daily Mail, a severed head purportedly belonging to captured aid worker and former U.S. Army Ranger Peter Kassig is prominently displayed.  The video does show the knife beheadings of dozens of captured Syrian troops, who are marched into the desert by Islamic State jihadis and decapitated slowly and painfully in the 16-minute video.

The British seem convinced Kassig has been killed as ISIS boasts in the video, while the White House is still trying to validate the claim:

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was 'horrified by the cold blooded murder' of US hostage Peter Kassig, and claimed that Islamic State militants 'have again shown their depravity'. 

The White House says U.S. intelligence agencies are trying to determine the authenticity whether the video is real.

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan says that if the video is authentic, the White House would be 'appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American.'

She says the White House expresses its deepest condolences to Mr Kassig's family and friends.

Mr Kassig's family, in the U.S. state of Indiana, said they were awaiting confirmation of the reports about their 'treasured son' and had nothing more to say at this time.

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Dem Think Tank: If You Don't Support Obama's Iran Deal, Maybe You're Rooting Against America

Nov 12, 2014 3:08 PM PT

In response to Obama gets rolled everywhere from Beijing to Tehran:

Did you know that if you don't support Obama's nuke deal with Iran you just may be shamefully rooting for the other team?  Apparently, "a crack team" of propagandists at a progressive think tank have been pushing that line of attack against critics of the Iran deal, since early last summer.

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Obama gets rolled everywhere from Beijing to Tehran

Nov 12, 2014 11:49 AM PT

Barack Obama is the most dangerous lame duck ever to haunt the marshes of post-election defeat.  He's angry at the American people, testy with Democrats who blame him for their electoral losses, and more determined that ever to finish "transforming America" with the time he has left.  Malevolent and experienced foreign leaders have no trouble taking the measure of this arrogant, desperate, incompetent man and rolling him like dough.

Obama's new, secretly-negotiated "climate change deal" with China is so ridiculously horrible that it's difficult to interpret as anything less than an attack on the American economy, an effort by the President to punish the voters who massacred his party in the midterms.  Blowing the kneecaps off our weak "recovery" today, in exchange for a vague promise that China will think about reaching its carbon-emissions "peak" in 25 years or so, is particularly absurd in light of China's track record of failing to keep any such promise that conflicts with its industrial ambitions.  This is the country that started thinking about cutting back on smog only after it became difficult to see the rest of Beijing from the Politburo windows on a bad day.  It would be a ridiculous arrangement even if "climate change" and "greenhouse gases" were real problems.  Obama's deal is worse than Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy's football again; it's like Charlie Brown giving Lucy his life savings in exchange for another chance to kick the football ten years from now.  

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Manuel Speech on Socioeconomic Rights Insults Helen Suzman's Memory

Nov 12, 2014 4:43 AM PT

I don't often comment on affairs in my native South Africa, which I follow somewhat sporadically these days, but a recent speech by former finance minister Trevor Manuel caught my attention and deserves to be singled out. 

Manuel rose from his early career as a street activist in the anti-apartheid struggle to become one of the world's most respected finance ministers, keeping deficits low and resisting populist calls for redistribution.

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A Quiet 25th Anniversary for the Berlin Wall in L.A.

Nov 9, 2014 2:27 PM PT

LOS ANGELES, California -- On Sunday, Nov. 9, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall passed without notice in West Los Angeles.

Whether that is because we have forgotten the significance of that event, or because communism is such a dead idea that even an irredentist Russia doesn't bother with it, is unclear.

'Disgraceful': Retired General Claims Military Pushed For 1,500 Troops Back In September

Nov 7, 2014 9:46 PM PT

On Fox News Friday evening, retired Army Major General and Fox News Military Analyst Bob Scales told Greta Van Susteren that the US military “knew three months ago” that it needed to send additional troops to Iraq, but “it wasn’t until three days after the election” that the Obama administration agreed to do so. 

Scales said, “it [sending more troops] was first discussed back in September when the assessment groups in Iraq came back to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey and said, ‘look, General, there [are] probably nine brigades, Iraqi brigades that are capable of taking the offensive…nine brigades that if we think we reinforce them like we did in 2007 with the Iraqis during the surge. We think we can put enough combat power enough will and enough initiative and enough leadership behind the Iraqis to allow them to take the offensive.’”

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Remember When OUR President Ignored THEIR Letters?

Nov 7, 2014 4:26 PM PT

In 2006, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush, which was promptly ignored. The context was mounting international pressure on the Iranian regime, especially the UN Security Council, which was nearly unanimous in demanding that Iran stop all nuclear enrichment entirely. To the east and west, the Iranian regime saw tyrannies toppled by U.S.-led forces, and feared it might be next.

Now, however, it is U.S. President Barack H. Obama who writes the letters that are not only ignored, but even mocked by the so-called "Supreme Leader." In the midst of tense international nuclear negotiations, on the eve of the elections that would repudiate his leadership on foreign policy (among other matters), Obama chose to circumvent the supposedly "moderate" Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, and appeal directly to the dictator.

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