World View: U.S. May Release Jonathan Pollard to Keep Mideast Peace Talks Going

World View: U.S. May Release Jonathan Pollard to Keep Mideast Peace Talks Going

This morning’s key headlines from

  • U.S. may release Jonathan Pollard to keep Mideast peace talks going
  • Kazakhstan becomes anxious over Russia’s annexation of Crimea
  • How analysts used the Doppler Effect to locate Malaysia flight MH370

U.S. may release Jonathan Pollard to keep Mideast peace talks going

Jonathan Pollard has been in jail since 1987, when he pled guilty topassing classified information to Israel. Israel has repeatedly triedto get him released, but one American administration after another hasrefused to let him go.

Now Pollard is becoming an issue in the Mideast “peace talks.” TheObama administration got these “peace talks” going last year byThese prisoners had been convicted of terrorist acts prior to the 1994Oslo accords. The release of these prisoners has been extremelycontroversial in Israel, with very vocal opposition from the familymembers of the people whom these terrorists had killed. Nonetheless,Israel doesn’t want to be seen to oppose President Obama, and thoughthe “peace talks” have been a worthless farce, the Palestinians hadcontinued to participate so that the prisoner releases will goforward. But the last batch of 26 prisoners are scheduled for releaseon Friday (March 28), and the “peace talks” will officially end ofApril 29.

The “peace talks” farce is now enveloping the Jonathan Pollardsituation. Israel is releasing 104 killers from jail, but Pollardcan’t be released.

So now there are reports (or rumors) that the Obama administration isdesperate to keep the “peace talks” going (presumably for purelydomestic political reasons), and so they are offering to releaseJonathan Pollard if the Israels will, in turn, offer some furtherconcessions to the Palestinians to keep the “peace talks” going.Releasing Pollard seems like a reasonable thing, but these “peacetalks” have literally a zero probabilty of achieving anything, andholding them together by a combination of multiple bribes andextortion is so absurd as to be beyond belief.

This administration has had one major policy debacle after another,whether it’s the Russian “reset,” the Afghan “peace process,” theSyrian “red line,” or the Iranian nuclear talks. It seems every daythat they do one more stupid thing. I think I can honestly say that,in my lifetime, I have not seen an administration, Democratic orRepublican, so completely inept and clueless about what’s going on inthe world. Israel Today and Jewish Journal

Kazakhstan becomes anxious over Russia’s annexation of Crimea

In many ways, the central Asian country of Kazakhstan is similar toUkraine. Both were part of the Soviet Union before it collapsed. Andboth have sizeable populations of ethnic Russians. Kazakhstan andRussia have the longest continuous common land border in the world. Aquarter of Kazakhstan’s population is ethnic Russian, largelyconcentrated in the northern provinces, along the border with Russia.

Kazakhstan has never recognized the independence of Georgia’sprovinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Russian troops haveoccupied since Russia invaded Georgia in 2008. Just last month,several Russian politicians called on Russia to annex part ofKazakhstan.

So Kazak politicians have been extremely anxious about Russia’sannexation of Crimea. On March 3, prior to the annexation,Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry had warned that “further escalation oftension may lead to unpredictable consequences” and called on allparties “to renounce options that imply the use of power.”

But once the Crimea referendum was held, Kazakhstan’s governmentflip-flopped, and issued a statement that many interpreted assupporting the annexation:

“The referendum held in Crimea is seen in Kazakhstanas a free expression of the will of the Autonomous Republic’spopulation, while the decision of the Russian Federation under theexisting circumstances is regarded withunderstanding.”

The interim Ukraine government responded with this on March 19:

“Ukraine expressed its deep concern in connection toKazakhstan’s response to the referendum in the Autonomous Republicof Crimea. The response contradicts the statement Kazakhstan madeearlier about the need to maintain territorial integrity ofUkraine.”

Kazakhstan officials are being very careful not to criticize Russian,Ukrainian, or Western governments for their action, hoping to maintaingood relations with everyone. Relations between Kazakhstan andUkraine had been improving in recent years. Russia is Kazakhstan’spremier economic and security partner, while Ukraine offers Kazakhstanan important connection with European markets and institutions. TheUkraine crisis has already harmed Kazakhstan economically, and thedesire is to prevent any further damage. Tengri News (Kazakhstan) and Jamestown

How analysts used the Doppler Effect to locate Malaysia flight MH370

Monday’s dramatic announcement from Kuala Lumpur that MalaysianAirlines flight 370 had with certainty “ended in the southern IndianOcean” west of Perth meant the families of the passengers on theflight could no longer hope that their family members were still alivesomewhere. It’s interesting that after a couple of weeks of knowingalmost nothing, suddenly officials can be certain where the plane wentdown.

If you’ve ever stood and watched a train or a noisy truck drive by youat high speed, then you may have noticed that the noise coming fromthe vehicle changed pitch as the vehicle went past. As the vehiclewas approaching you, the sound waves coming from the vehicle werebeing squeezed together, creating a higher pitch. As the vehicle wasmoving away from you, the sound waves were being stretched out,creating a lower pitch sound. If you had equipment that couldprecisely measure these two pitches, then you would be able to usethat data to compute the speed of the vehicle. If you studied physicsin high school, then you may recall that this phenomenon is called

What a company called Inmarsat did was use the same principle tocompute the speed and direction of MH370. The plane’s engines wouldsend out a “ping” every hour of so that would be received by anInmarsat satellite. There was no information in the transmission,just “I am here” ping. By measuring tiny differences in thefrequencies of successive pings, and using the Doppler effect, theengineers were able to determine with certainty that the plane hadcrashed into the southern Indian ocean. The Star (Kuala Lumpur) and Ars Technica

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