Archive for March 2017
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Defeating the Caliphate
|Michael R. Gordon||March 31st 2017|
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A United States military spokesman said Thursday that Islamic State fighters had been herding local Iraqi residents into buildings in western Mosul, calculating that rising civilian casualties would restrain the United States from using airstrikes to help retake that half of the city.
“What you see now is not the use of civilians as human shields,” said Col. Joseph E. Scrocca, a spokesman for the American-led task force that is battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. “ISIS is smuggling civilians into buildings so we won’t see them and trying to bait the coalition to attack.”
Europe on Edge
|Stephen Bryen||March 31st 2017|
The United States was dragged into two world wars -the first because the Germans stupidly torpedoed American ships and tried to form a hostile alliance with Mexico; the second because Japan gambled on preemptively destroying the U.S. Pacific fleet mainly based at Pearl Harbor. Obliged by their treaty agreement with Japan, Germany declared war on the United States. America's entrance into the fight, in both cases, helped assure victory and convinced American policy-makers on the need to maintain a general defensive alliance in Europe-hence the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949. That Treaty served everyone's interest in Europe: it provided a solid defensive framework sufficient to allow Europe to recover and prosper; it put a halt to any further Soviet expansion; and despite repeated attempts to develop something akin to a first strike capability, Soviet efforts failed, and the Soviet Union collapsed.
There were other lessons. Read more ..
Isarel on Edge
|Mort Klein||March 31st 2017|
Truth is not a political position. Yet, some who disagree with the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) wrongly label it and similar groups “right wing,” “ultra right,” or even “extreme.” Hurling such labels avoids fair, reasoned, fact-based debate on the issues, and instead attempts to delegitimize us.
It wasn’t “far right” or “right wing” for ZOA to predict the Oslo accords would lead to more terrorism and not peace – when on the very same date the accords were signed in Washington, Yasser Arafat broadcast his “stages” message in Arabic: “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.” Read more ..
Turkey on Edge
|Burak Bekdil||March 30th 2017|
The Gatestone Institute
In 2005, the Turkish prime minister at the time, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with his Spanish counterpart, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, became the co-chairs of a United Nations-sponsored global effort that went by the fancy name "Alliance of Civilizations." Twelve years later, Zapatero is a retired politician, the Western world faces different flavors of Islamist-to-jihadist threats and Erdogan is at war with Western civilization.
Erdogan, who was labelled as the most virulent anti-Israeli leader in the world, once likened Israel's operations in Gaza to Hitler's: ("Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism.") Recently, Erdogan said that today's German practices -- presumably Germany's blocking Turkish politicians speaking at German rallies to support Erdogan's upcoming referendum in Turkey -- are "not different from the Nazi practices of the past." Read more ..
The Edge of Healthcare
|Armstrong Williams||March 30th 2017|
Since being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, Trump has worked hard to deliver on the many campaign promises he made to the American people. And despite Democrats and even some Republicans challenging him at every corner he has pushed forward to implement the people’s agenda.
As an evolving business owner, we know first-hand of the negative impacts of affordablecare and the soaring costs. For many medium and small size business owners, they have had to either let people go or stop hiring people due to the mandated healthcare passed by Democrats. And it’s even worse for the individual, forcing some people to cancel their health insurance altogether because of the rising cost of premiums. Read more ..
The Edge of Terrorism
|Rachel Ehrenfeld||March 29th 2017|
Plowing into crowds in speeding cars to kill large numbers of people and stabbing more when the car is forced to stop, is becoming the rage among jihadists operating in Europe. Most counter-terrorism experts in major media outlets claim these are signs of a new trend of terrorism by individuals "inspired" to commit such heinous crimes by ISIS but decline to mention radical Political Islam as the origin.
The Palestinian loving Europeans are now shocked by jihadist attacks the like Israelis had to cope with for many decades.
Israeli civilians have been terrorized for years by speeding car and knife attacks by Palestinians who are inspired by the same jihadist ideology as the London, Brussels, Paris, Munich and Nice attackers. Read more ..
The Battle Against IS
|George Friedman||March 27th 2017|
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During his campaign for office, U.S. President Donald Trump promised a plan to defeat the Islamic State. Now, his administration is taking steps to deliver on that promise. On Wednesday, the global coalition to counter the Islamic State held its first meeting since the Trump administration took power — and its first congress with representatives from all 68 members since mid-2016. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opened the session, held at State Department headquarters in Washington, by declaring the fight against the Islamic State as the United States' chief priority in the Middle East. But notably absent from the meeting's agenda was a clear answer to arguably the most important question hanging over the campaign to oust the jihadist group from Iraq and Syria: What happens after the military operations in Mosul and Raqqa are over?
The Trump Era
|Martin Barillas||March 27th 2017|
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Republican Rep. Ted Poe of Texas has left the House Freedom Caucus after the group of Tea Party-oriented Republicans opposed the American Health Care Act, which had received support from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) as a replacement for Obamacare. A vote on what has come to be termed “Ryancare” was scheduled for a vote on Friday, but was pulled because of opposition it faced from the Freedom Caucus and other Republicans.
"I have resigned from the House Freedom Caucus," Poe said in a statement. "In order to deliver on the conservative agenda we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward. Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective Member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas. It is time to lead."
The Freedom Caucus does not publish the names of its members. However, among those who had acknowledged their membership are Reps. Joe Barton, Louie Gohmert, and Randy Weber.
The Edge of Technology
|Peter Clarke||March 27th 2017|
Microprocessors have had numerous layers of software protection wrapped around them to improve security as well as hardware support provided for the encryption of keys for encoding and keeping secret data and communications. However, this is effort primarily addressed the threat of hacking over wired or wireless communications channels. Little or no thought has been given to the data that comes from local sensors, which has just been assumed to be valid.
The rapid growth of the market for embedded systems and the Internet of Things and the broad deployment of sensors means a traditional lack of security around sensors has become a security problem, the university research team asserts. Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Aryeh Spero||March 27th 2017|
President Trump has issued a modified version of his previous immigration policy Executive Order that was stalled six weeks ago by a lower-level federal judge in the state of Washington. Mr. Trump has been under relentless attack from those on the Left against his efforts to limit immigration from terrorist-producing areas and his call for comprehensive vetting and background checks.
Beyond doubt, it is the first and most important duty of a President to protect the lives of a country’s citizens, especially where a possibility exists of terrorists being embedded within a particular immigration flow. As the President previously stated, to not strictly enforce our immigration laws is “not compassion but recklessness”. Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Martin Barillas||March 25th 2017|
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A federal judge in Virginia ruled Friday against blocking President Trump’s executive order that called for temporarily stopping the entry of immigrants from six majority-Muslim nations and refugee admittance overall.
Judge Anthony Trenga of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia found on Friday that President Trump indeed has the authority to impose a travel ban on certain Muslim-majority countries, while he also agreed that the president’s executive order does not discriminate against Muslims. Linda Sarsour -- a Muslim activist who was an organizer of the January 21 Women’s March on Washington -- had initiated an injunction against the executive order with legal counsel from an attorney of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The Trump Era
|Peter Hoekstra||March 24th 2017|
I couldn’t have seen those transcripts when I led the House intel committee.
It was remarkable when Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, revealed Wednesday that Trump campaign officials were caught up in the inadvertent collection of intelligence. Read between the lines with a clear understanding of the intelligence community, and it’s positively astonishing.
Starting with the premise of Mr. Nunes’s announcement, there’s evidence to show that communications involving people connected with the Trump transition were collected by America’s intelligence apparatus. We don’t know the particulars, but it could include conversations between Trump transition staff and foreign officials whose conversations were subject to intelligence monitoring. Read more ..
Authors on Tour
On Monday, March 27th, Louis D. Brandeis Center President, Kenneth L. Marcus will give a talk on his book The Definition of Anti-Semitism for the Northern Virginia Jewish Community Center. The talk will feature a discussion with Marcus of the matter in which anti-Semitism has evolved from the ancient world to the present day, from religious anti-Judaism to secular anti-Semitism.
Kenneth L. Marcus The talk is part of the j.talks series, an ongoing series of conversations with authors and artists. The talk, as described by the j.talks website, will involve:
"Founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law Kenneth Marcus offers an indispensable book about the manner in which anti-Semitism has evolved from the ancient world to the present, from religious anti-Judaism to secular anti-Semitism. The book describes many instances of anti-Semitism that have occurred in recent years and examines why they constitute anti-Jewish hatred as the meaning of the term has evolved with the times." Read more ..
The Race for EVs
|Marc Rauch||March 24th 2017|
The Auto Channel
The reason The Auto Channel decided to spotlight electric-powered vehicles today is because of a press release I received yesterday, Thursday, March 23rd, from NRDC (National Resources Defense Council). The press release is alerting The Auto Channel and other members of the media that California Air Resources Board (CARB) will discuss today the status of the states' clean car standards following the results of their formal review.
The bottom line of CARB's formal review was that the state intends to stick with their existing standards for model years 2022-2025, to begin considering post-2025 standards, and to remain fixed on electric-powered vehicles as their solution to achieving the standards. The impact of these standards, according to the release, "will be felt far beyond California because 12 other states also have adopted California's standards, collectively protecting 113 million U.S. residents from dangerous pollution." (The emphasis on the words dangerous pollution is mine.) Read more ..
Iran on Edge
|Abigail R. Esman||March 24th 2017|
On a warm day last April, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe dressed her toddler Gabrielle, kissed her parents goodbye, and set off to catch her flight back home to London.
She never made it.
Instead, Islamic Revolutionary Guards apprehended the then-37-year-old at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport and transported her to Iran's infamous Evin prison, where prisoners are routinely tortured and women subjected regularly to sexual abuse and rape.
In September, the dual British-Iranian citizen, who had been visiting her parents in Tehran before being apprehended, was sentenced to five years imprisonment on vague "national security charges." Read more ..
Europe on Edge
|George Friedman||March 24th 2017|
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The emergence of strong nationalism and Euroskepticism across Europe has challenged Europe's traditional political parties and threatened the continuity of Continental integration. But in the past few weeks, the political establishment has found itself under fire from a different direction. In Germany and France, which hold general elections this year, candidates who express dissatisfaction with the political status quo yet defend closer European ties have gained popularity. If those candidates are successful, immediate fears about the eurozone's future could fade, even though the underlying causes of the populist wave sweeping Europe would remain.
The Edge of Terrorism
|Martin Barillas||March 23rd 2017|
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has come in for more scrutiny in the wake of a terrorist incident in the British capital that left three innocent persons dead at the hands of a terrorist. When Khan visited New York in September 2016, he was shocked to hear a terrorist bomb detonate on West 23rd Street in the Chelsea neighborhood. An Afghan national was later arrested in connection with the incident. In response to the bombing in New York, Khan said that living with terrorism is "part and parcel of living in a big city." In an interview with the Evening Standard, Khan said, "is a reality I’m afraid that London, New York, other major cities around the world have got to be prepared for these sorts of things. Read more ..
|Shoshana Bryen||March 23rd 2017|
The good news is various forces are attacking ISIS (the Islamic State) and its control of territory is weakening. But as it does, historical adversaries are converging on the battlefield and American troops are standing between them in ever-increasing numbers. What began as limited airstrikes has become an American ground presence. Changes begun in the previous administration continue in the current one.
This is not Vietnam. But as the numbers increase, it is worth noting that GIs are in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan without the United States being at war with any of these countries or necessarily supporting any of their governments. But neither President Obama nor President Trump has talked to the American people about three essential things here: America’s allies, America’s adversaries, and American military and political goals. Read more ..
Japan on Edge
|George Friedman||March 23rd 2017|
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For the first time in three years, Russia and Japan have revived an avenue of negotiation that had stalled in the face of enduring tension between the two nations. Foreign and defense ministers from both countries met in Tokyo on Monday to hold 2+2 talks on security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. As expected, Japan took the opportunity to question Russia's recent attempts to bolster its defenses on the southern Kuril Islands, to which Tokyo has long laid claim. Russia fired back with its own objections to Japan's desire to build up its ballistic missile defenses as North Korea pushes ahead with its nuclear program.
For the Russians, not to mention Pyongyang's Chinese backers, the deployment of U.S. antiballistic missile (ABM) technology around the world is becoming a bigger and bigger concern.
Media on Edge
|Ivan Oransky||March 23rd 2017|
Spring break season is here, and, like a lot of beachgoers, science too is suffering some stings — albeit not of the jellyfish kind.
In the latest ploy, reported Wednesday, a group of researchers at the University of Wroclaw, in Poland, tried to seat a fictional scholar onto the editorial boards of 360 academic publications.
The goal: to test whether, with just a CV — full of fake scientific degrees — and a profile on Academia.edu as well as a fake university, some would accept a scholar named “Anna O. Szust” (which translates to “Anna, a Fraud” in English) as a member of their editorial boards.
And many did. The sting, reported in Nature, netted 48 journals — nearly all of which were so-called “predatory” journals. Such journals accept manuscripts without reviewing them, print them without editing them, and otherwise make a mockery of the scientific literature by pumping out low-quality work. Read more ..
|Daniel Pipes||March 23rd 2017|
Oman, where I have spent the past week, is an Arab country unlike any other. Count the ways. Islam has three main branches: Sunni (about 90 percent of all Muslims), Shiite (about 9 percent) and Ibadi (about 0.2 percent). Oman has the only Ibadi-majority population in the world. Being a tiny minority in the larger Muslim context, rulers of Oman have historically kept away from Middle Eastern issues. Part of the country was isolated mountainous desert terrain, part was focused on the seas, especially on India and on East Africa. For two centuries, the Omani empire competed with the Europeans for control of the Indian Ocean; indeed, Oman ruled the African island of Zanzibar until 1964, making it the only non-European state to control African territory. Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Dan Posnansky||March 22nd 2017|
The Race for Natural Gas
|Nati Yefet||March 21st 2017|
Israel has asked the US and the UN to pressure Lebanon to change the oil and gas exploration tenders being planned by the latter in five maritime blocks. Three of these blocks are within Israel's marine border and overlap the 800 sq.km. of marine territory disputed by the two countries. At the same time, the Ministry of Justice is promoting a marine areas bill that has been proposed for years, which among other things determines Israel's marine territory, including the disputed area.
After many years of preparations and postponements, the Lebanese government published six weeks ago a call to oil and gas exploration companies to submit their candidacy for the preliminary stage of the new tender. The filing deadline for the preliminary stage is the end of March. If it goes ahead, it will be the first such tender for Lebanon. Read more ..
|Laura Cotta Ramosino||March 21st 2017|
Alone in Berlin. Directed by Vincent Perez. Screenplay by Vincent Perez, Achim von Borries, Bettine von Borries. Starring Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson, Daniel Brühl, Mikael Persbrandt. 97 minutes.
Berlin, 1940. Anna and Otto Quangel receive the news of their soldier son’s death in France. Up to then, they had tried to survive life under the Nazis by minding their own business and not meddling in politics but their loss stirs them to a quiet rebellion.
Based on a 1947 novel by Hans Fallada, Every Man Dies Alone, and inspired by a true story, this film draws its strength from the performances of Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson, who portray the two protagonists of an instinctive and silent resistance, apparently useless and on the losing side, but in the end incredibly significant, against the Nazi regime.
The Quangels choose an odd form of protest: they write postcards criticising the regime and the war and they leave them, risking their lives, in public places in the hope that someone will find them, read them, and begin to think.
This resistance does not involve weapons or secret organizations, or even foresight (Otto starts on its own and Anna follows him later). But, perhaps without even knowing it, it resembles the gesture of the sower from the parable, casting his "revolutionary” seed on many different patches of soil, leaving its fate to providence and individual freedom. Read more ..
The Edge of Terrorism
|Sarah N. Stern||March 21st 2017|
On Thursday, February 18th, while shopping for groceries in a neighborhood store, 21-year-old Tuvia Yanai Weissman was murdered by Palestinian terrorists, leaving behind his beautiful, young wife, Yael, and his 4 month old daughter, Netta. That makes Tuvia the 65th American, not including two unborn babies, who has been murdered by Palestinian terrorists since the signing of the Oslo Accord on September 13, 1993.
How much pain can a single heart hold? In each one of these 65 cases, the pain is immeasurable and extends throughout families, friends and communities. For the survivors and their family members, it leaves an irreparable void in one of the chambers of their hearts that simply can never be filled. As Arnold Roth, whose beautiful 15-year-old daughter, Malki was killed by a suicide bomber when she went to eat pizza at the Sbarro restaurant, had told me, “Graduations, weddings, births…even looking at the slippers next to Malki’s bed that she will never again wear….The way you look at things will never be the same.” Read more ..
The Edge of Science
|Rick Flaherty||March 20th 2017|
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Publishing their results in the ACS Sensors journal under the title "Ultrafast Paper Thermometers Based on a Green Sensing Ink", they detail a very simple implementation where they leverage the benefits of paper as a flexible substrate and the ionic liquid, 1-ethyl-3-methyl imidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide ([EMIm][Tf2N]) for its non-volatile and hydrophobic nature.
Transferred to regular A4 paper by pen writing or inkjet printing, the ionic liquid holds onto the paper through the capillary effect, showing no leakage during bending and folding. The electrical conductivity of the ink trace is measured between two sputtered gold electrodes (5mm wide and 1.5cm long in the experiment) connected to an external power supply.
The Economy on Edge
|George Friedman||March 20th 2017|
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It has been a busy couple of days for the world's central banks. Since the U.S. Federal Reserve made its decision to hike interest rates, rate announcements have followed from the People's Bank of China, the Bank of Japan, the Swiss National Bank and the Bank of England. This confluence of activity from most of the key guardians of the global economy provides a good opportunity to take stock of where things stand.
The Federal Reserve had telegraphed its intent to raise its benchmark rate well before Wednesday's announcement, so it came as no surprise. In the past few weeks, various Fed governors had conducted a coordinated speaking campaign to prepare the markets, and Friday's report showing strong U.S. jobs numbers removed its last impediment to action. With recent U.S. economic data generally robust, the Fed wants to give itself room to boost rates two or possibly even three more times during the year.
The Edge of Terrorism
The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) praised the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to publicly charge Palestinian terrorist Ahlam Tamimi. Ahlam Tamimi planned and implemented a bombing that killed and injured American citizens in a Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem in 2001. The group issued the following statement.
"On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, the DOJ’s criminal complaint was unsealed, charging Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, also known as “Khalti” and “Halati,” a Jordanian national in her mid-30s, with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the U.S., resulting in death. Also unsealed was a warrant for Al-Tamimi’s arrest and an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint and arrest warrant. The DOJ charge is related to Tamimi’s planning and implementing of a suicide bombing at a Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem on Aug. 9, 2001, that killed 15 people. Read more ..
|Mike Tomko||March 17th 2017|
Behind the Headlines
Each day government is stripping Americans of their rights to private property.
Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.
Nearly 60 years ago, William and Dorothy Murr bought an acre of land along Wisconsin’s St. Croix River. They built a cabin on it. It became a family gathering point each summer.
A few years later they purchased the adjacent lot as an investment to either sell or develop. The Murrs have passed away. But their children continue the tradition of summer gatherings.
In 2004, the Murrs’ children attempted to sell their second lot to fund repairs to the cabin. But local authorities blocked the sale claiming the two contiguous lots were now one single-property. Sell the whole thing or nothing at all. According to an appraiser, the Murr’s property value has plummeted. Read more ..
Europe and Turkey
|Burak Bekdil||March 17th 2017|
Turkey, officially, is a candidate for full membership in the European Union. It is also negotiating with Brussels a deal that would allow millions of Turks to travel to Europe without visa. But Turkey is not like any other European country that joined or will join the EU: The Turks' choice of a leader, in office since 2002, too visibly makes this country the odd one out.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is now campaigning to broaden his constitutional powers, which would make him head of state, head of government and head of the ruling party -- all at the same time -- is inherently autocratic and anti-Western. He seems to view himself as a great Muslim leader fighting armies of infidel crusaders. This image with which he portrays himself finds powerful echoes among millions of conservative Turks and [Sunni] Islamists across the Middle East. That, among other excesses in the Turkish style, makes Turkey totally incompatible with Europe in political culture. Read more ..
Jewry on Edge
|Isi Leibler||March 16th 2017|
The crass political exploitation of their Jewish identity by American leaders of purportedly “nonpartisan” mainstream Jewish organizations is unprecedented. Today, in what must be described as self-destruction, a substantial number of irresponsible leaders of the most successful and powerful Jewish diaspora community seem to have gone berserk and are fueling anti-Semitism.
Nobody suggests that Jews should not be entitled, like all American citizens, to engage in political activity of their choice. As individuals, they may support or bitterly criticize their newly elected president, but as leaders of mainstream religious and communal organizations, they are obliged, as in the past, to assiduously avoid being perceived as promoting partisan political positions.
What has taken place in leading mainstream American Jewish organizations during and since the elections can only be described as a self-induced collective breakdown. What might have been regarded as a temporary aberration has in fact intensified in recent weeks.
Let us set aside the fact that many of these liberal Jewish organizations have also distanced themselves from or even abandoned Israel. They have done so even though the Trump administration has the potential of restoring the U.S.-Israel alliance that then-President Barack Obama undermined in a vain effort to appease Muslims. It is also clear that, for many assimilated liberal Jews, Israel is no longer a priority, especially now that President Donald Trump has signaled his intentions to renew the alliance.
The facts are that liberal Jewish leaders have declared a hysterical war against the Trump administration. Led initially by the Anti-Defamation League but rapidly joined by the Reform and Conservative wings of the Jewish community, many Jewish community leaders have exploited their positions to endorse a vicious campaign in which Trump is portrayed as a satanic anti-Semite promoting fascism and racism, representing the antithesis of Jewish values. This, despite the reality that his presidency highlights an unprecedented acceptance of Jews at the highest levels of government. Read more ..
The Race for EVs
|Abigail Klein Leichman||March 16th 2017|
As more and more electric vehicles hit urban streets across the world, better battery-recharging solutions are desperately needed to improve range, keep costs low and boost user confidence.
Oren Ezer (CEO) and Hanan Rumbak (CTO) cofounded ElectRoad in 2013 to develop their unique twist on the concept of underground electric coils that recharge vehicles as they travel on the road.
In a few months, ElectRoad’s dynamic wireless electrification system is beginning a pilot project in Tel Aviv involving a short public bus route.
“The idea of electrifying vehicles from the road is trendy right now and you can see several companies trying to do a similar concept to us, but our technology is totally different, from the coils under the asphalt to the transfer of energy to the bus,” Ezer tells ISRAEL21c. Read more ..
|Jonathan Spyer||March 16th 2017|
The Jerusalem Post
On the surface, the wars in Syria and Iraq are continuing at full intensity. The fight between Iraqi government forces and Islamic State in western Mosul is proving a slow, hard slog.
This week, government forces captured the police directorate and the courts complex in the city, moving toward the denser warren of the Old City. The jihadists are fighting for every inch of ground.
Further west, the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) succeeded in cutting the last road from the Islamic State capital of Raqqa to its stronghold in Deir al-Zor.
In the fight between the Assad regime and the Sunni Arab rebellion against it, a rebel attempt at a counterattack in the city of Deraa has led to renewed bloodshed. The regime is continuing its attacks on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta east of Damascus, despite a new Russian-brokered cease-fire. Read more ..
The Iranian Threat
Equipped with Russian-made tanks (via the Syrian army), Iranian rockets and operating as an elite unit trained by the Islamic Republic, a brigade formed by the Iraqi Shiite militia declared that its target is to liberate the Golan. This brigade is the reason behind the message Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed in Russia, according to which Israel will not tolerate permanent Iranian presence in Syria.
"The declaration regarding the formation of the liberation of the Golan brigade is not only a media campaign, but the real goal of the movement," said the secretary general of the militia, Akram al-Kabi. So who is this militia? Intelligence researcher Ronen Solomon, owner of the Intel Times blog, traced this significant branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Read more ..
The Edeg of Terrorism
|Teresa Welsh||March 15th 2017|
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The Department of Justice is for the first time charging a member of Hamas for crimes resulting in the death of American citizens.
On Tuesday, the department made public charges filed against Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi for her role in the 2001 bombing of a Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem. Fifteen civilians, including seven children and a pregnant woman, were killed in the attack. Two were U.S. nationals, and four Americans were among the approximately 122 injured.
“Al-Tamimi is an unrepentant terrorist who admitted to her role in a deadly terrorist bombing that injured and killed numerous innocent victims,” Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary McCord said Tuesday. “The charges unsealed today serve as a reminder that when terrorists target Americans anywhere in the world, we will never forget – and we will continue to seek to ensure that they are held accountable.”
Jewry on Edge
|Asaf Romirowsky||March 15th 2017|
Unwittingly, Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, PA, a well-regarded Quaker establishment, has once again come under fire for its ties to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement supported by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
The school operates in accordance with the Quaker philosophy of "simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship. Underlying all facets of School life is the belief that 'there is that of God in everyone.' Meeting for Worship is central, providing time for connections among members of the community and between individuals and their spiritual sources. Peaceful resolution of conflicts, seeking truth and collaboration are key aspects of a Friends' Central education."
The Quakers have cultivated their image as peaceful and supremely benign. Few suspect, much less know, that one of their central missions is promoting the BDS movement that opposes Israel's existence. Read more ..
The Edge of Physics
|Elizabeth Gibney||March 14th 2017|
Christopher Monroe spends his life poking at atoms with light. He arranges them into rings and chains and then massages them with lasers to explore their properties and make basic quantum computers. Last year, he decided to try something seemingly impossible: to create a time crystal.
The name sounds like a prop from Doctor Who, but it has roots in actual physics. Time crystals are hypothetical structures that pulse without requiring any energy—like a ticking clock that never needs winding. The pattern repeats in time in much the same way that the atoms of a crystal repeat in space. The idea was so challenging that when Nobel prizewinning physicist Frank Wilczek proposed the provocative concept in 2012, other researchers quickly proved there was no way to create time crystals.
But there was a loophole—and researchers in a separate branch of physics found a way to exploit the gap. Monroe, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park, and his team used chains of atoms they had constructed for other purposes to make a version of a time crystal. “I would say it sort of fell in our laps,” says Monroe. Read more ..
Israel on Edge
|Jeff Morgan||March 14th 2017|
On Sunday, March 26, I will have the honor of leading a seminar discussion and wine tasting at the annual AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C. The seminar is called “The Politics of Wine in Israel.” I will be joined by Israeli winemakers Yaacov Berg (Psagot Winery) and Nir Pelter (Pelter/Matar Winery). Also with us will be wine importer Jay Buchsbaum, from Royal Wines, the largest importer of Israeli wine in the U.S.
In a recent blog, I wrote about Israel’s wine renaissance. It truly is a rekindling of a distant time when Israeli wine was considered to be among the best in the world, circa 2,500 years ago! Our own California winery, Covenant, has invested in Israel since 2013, when we began making wine there as well.
The current crop of modern-day Israeli wineries is a testament to Jewish winemaking heritage and tradition. In the last 20 years, we have seen a rise in wine quality as well as the number of Israeli wineries, which number well over 300 today. Yet Israel’s wine culture remains besieged by a foreign amalgam of meddlers. Read more ..
|Daniel Pipes||March 14th 2017|
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When Michael Doran of the Hudson Institute told me he's writing a book on President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Middle East policy, I nodded politely, wondering why someone engaged in current policy issues would devote himself to a topic of mainly antiquarian interest. Well, having now read Ike's Gamble, I know the answer: his topic is both fascinating in itself and has continuing relevance for U.S. foreign policy.
Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power about the same time in Egypt as Eisenhower and, as the leader of pan-Arab nationalism, dominated the Middle East during the president's entire eight-years in office. In light of their intense competition with the Soviet Union, American leaders had a choice of two basic approaches to Nasser: build him up to win him over or treat him as an opponent to reduce his influence.
Focused primarily on finding allies against Moscow, Eisenhower and his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, decided to woo Nasser; that's the gamble of the title. Doran follows this implausible effort in painful but nearly novelistic detail, revealing the full extent of its faulty premises, tactical blunders, and strategic errors. In brief, American support turned Nasser into the dictator of Egypt, wildly popular pan-Arab nationalist hero, invaluable Soviet ally, and global anti-American chieftain. Finally, in 1958, after the particularly bruising Suez War experience, the realist core in Eisenhower and Dulles wised up.
Palestinians on Edge
|Itamar Marcus and Yocheved T. Kolchin||March 14th 2017|
Palestinian women's rights groups are demanding the revocation of an article of Palestinian Authority law that they say allows criminals to get away with murder. According to Article 99 of Penal Law No. 16 of 1960, the family of a murder victim is permitted to "waive its personal right" to justice and forgive the crime. In such cases, the length and severity of punishment is significantly reduced.
However, given that the vast majority of violence against Palestinian women is domestic, the family of the murder victim is often the family of the murderer as well. Thus, the Palestinian Director of the Women's Courts Project in the TAM organization Victoria Shukri explained, "In 95% of the murders of women in Palestine, the [victim's] personal right is waived." Read more ..
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