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Will there be Peace in the Middle East?
 
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Welcome To MGI NEWS!

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The Postulate of Illegitimacy

By Sarah Honig
The Jerusalem Post
April 4, 2014


ImageJabotinsky in Acre Prison, 1920: Perfidious Albion knew whom to blame Jabotinsky in Acre Prison, 1920: Perfidious Albion knew whom to blame

ImageSomething strikingly dramatic happened in this country exactly on this day 94 years ago. Cries of Itbach el-Yahud (slaughter the Jews) filled the air. It was the first coordinated mass-murder offensive launched by infamous Jerusalem Mufti Haj-Amin el-Husseini (who would in time become an avid Nazi collaborator, Hitler’s personal guest in Berlin during WWII and a wanted war-criminal).

Ever since, this land shook fitfully as rounds of massacres and wars followed each other in breathless succession. The past mustn’t be consigned to irrelevance. Unbroken historical continuities contextualize current events. Nothing springs forth from a vacuum. What now transpires began back then.

The pivotal murder-drive of 1920 and its aftermath are vital for understanding why John Kerry’s peace pageant is a flop and why Israel so profoundly displeases him, his boss Barack Obama and their pet-Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas. It established the prototype whereby Jews are punished for Arab crimes against Jews. It highlights the pattern of appeasing Arab wrath and of Jews paying – as if Jewish existence is in and of itself a casus belli.

 
Vladimir Putin: The rebuilding of 'Soviet' Russia

By Oliver Bullough
BBC.COM
March 31, 2014

ImageThe world was stunned when Russia invaded Crimea, but should it have been? Author and journalist Oliver Bullough says President Vladimir Putin never kept secret his intention to restore Russian power – what's less clear, he says, is how long the country's rise can continue.

On 16 August 1999, the members of Russia's parliament – the State Duma – met to approve the candidacy of a prime minister. They heard the candidate's speech, they asked him a few questions, and they dutifully confirmed him in the position.

This was President Boris Yeltsin's fifth premier in 16 months, and one confused party leader got the name wrong. He said he would support the candidacy of Stepashin – the surname of the recently sacked prime minister – rather than that of his little-known successor, before making an embarrassing correction.

If even leading Duma deputies couldn't remember the new prime minister's name, you couldn't blame the rest of the world if it didn't pay much attention to his speech. He was unlikely to head the Russian government for more than a couple of months anyway, so why bother?

That man was a former KGB officer, Vladimir Putin, and he has been in charge of the world's largest country, as president or prime minister, ever since. Few realised it at the time, because few were listening, but that speech provided a blueprint for pretty much everything he has done, for how he would re-shape a country that was perilously close to total collapse.

 
Former PM Ehud Olmert Convicted of Taking Bribes

By Elie Leshem
The Times of Israel
March 31, 2014


ImageTel Aviv court also convicts 9 others, including Uri Lupolianski — Olmert’s successor as Jerusalem mayor — in Holyland case

The Tel Aviv District Court on Monday morning convicted former prime minister Ehud Olmert, along with nine other former senior officials and businessmen, of taking and giving bribes in the development of a massive Jerusalem construction project promoted while Olmert was mayor of the city over a decade ago.

The ruling marks the first time a former Israeli prime minister has been convicted of bribery in what has been called one of the worst corruption scandals in the country’s history.

The verdict appeared to put an end to Olmert’s lingering hopes of making a comeback to national politics. Sentencing will take place at a later date, but legal experts say that the conviction will almost certainly entail years in prison for Olmert. A first sentencing hearing was set for April 28. Olmert’s attorneys did not immediately say whether they would appeal the verdict.

“We will weigh our options going forward,” lead defense attorney Roy Blecher said outside the courtroom. “The last word has not been said. Today is not just about Mr. Olmert. We will read the 700-page decision and prepare accordingly for sentencing.”

 
New Find May Bring Nazi-tainted Art Trove to $2B.

By Michael Leidig
The Times of Israel
March 30, 2014


ImageAdditional 180 paintings discovered in Salzburg and at house near Austrian salt mines of the ‘Monuments Men’

SALZBURG, Austria — The saga of the trove of artworks hoarded away under the Nazis by the son of art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt was given a new twist this week with the discovery of a third house in a town in the Austrian state of Styria that may well contain further pieces of art.

The location of the third house in Bad Aussee next to the salt mines where the vast majority of the art looted by the Nazis had been stored had been unknown until now, because it had been in the hands of Hildrebrand’s cousin Wolfgang, who had also gathered art for the Nazis. On the same day that its location was revealed, Austrian officials also admitted that they had apparently “missed” another 180 paintings from a previously discovered residence that had “suddenly” been discovered.

Austrian officials indicated these new works were found in the house in Salzburg of Hildebrand’s son Cornelius Gurlitt, who claimed he had inherited the collection from his father, who took orders from Hitler to buy and sell so-called “degenerate art” to fund Nazi activities during World War II.

 
Hamas Imposes Radical New Law: Lashings, Amputations, and Massive Executions

By IPT News
March 29, 2014


Hamas is now trying to outdo the Taliban in imposing new Shar'ia inspired draconian punishments, including amputations of limbs and massive increases in lashings and executions. A senior Hamas official told Gulf News that a new punitive law, "inspired by" Shar'ia Law, is required to replace the former and "impractical" one. The article states that there will be a minimum of 20 lashes for minor offenses and a minimum of 80 lashes for criminal cases: the death penalty will also be expanded in accordance with the Shar'ia. In addition, the new law includes cutting off the hands of a thief.

By replacing an almost 80-year old punitive law with a new radical one, Hamas has earned widespread condemnation by other Palestinian factions. Even other terrorist groups condemn Hamas' new law.

"The new law will harm the interests of the Palestinians and perpetuate the Palestinian internal split. Hamas must retreat and show priority and preference to the higher Palestinian interests," according to The Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) statement.

According to the article, Hamas asserts that the law aims at deterring criminals in Gaza.

Instead of planning to alleviate Gaza's deteriorating economic situation or reining in terrorist groups operating in the Strip, the Hamas regime is reinforcing its radical rule. Clearly, Hamas prioritizes imposing its radical Islamist agenda on Palestinian society over enhancing Gaza's standard of living.

It remains to be seen whether Hamas' front groups and supporters in the United States, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, American Muslims for Palestine and the Muslim American Society, who claim to be civil rights organizations, will condemn Hamas for implementing this new law.

 
Iran Resumes Financial Assistance to Hamas

By Steven Emerson
IPT News
March 29, 2014

Facing increasing pressure from Egypt and deteriorating economic conditions in Gaza, Hamas has been flirting with the notion of re-entering the Iranian camp. Now, Al-Monitor is reporting that Iranian monetary aid has officially resumed to Hamas, but at a lower level than that it provided before ties between the two broke. The report also cited a source close to Hamas' political leadership who says Iran is planning to receive Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Qatar was mediating discussions between Iran and Hamas in an effort to restore ties, after a two-year hiatus.

Syria's civil war led to the split. Iran, trying to protect its Shiite axis, backed dictator Bashar al-Assad and ordered its Lebanese terror proxy Hizballah to help shore up the regime. Hamas, a Sunni movement, allied with anti-Assad rebels.

Iranian Shura Council head Ali Larijani announced the resumption of relations between the two sides on March 10. Larijani stated that “Iran is supporting Hamas on the grounds that it is a resistance movement. … Our relationship with [Hamas] is good and has returned to what it was. We have no problems with [Hamas].” It is clear that their differences in Syria do not trump Hamas and Iran's shared desire to facilitate Israel's destruction.

 
Why 'Moderate Islam' is an Oxymoron

By Raymond Ibrahim
CBN News
March 29, 2014


At a time when terrorism committed in the name of Islam is rampant, we are continuously being assured—especially by three major institutions that play a dominant role in forming the Western mindset, namely, mainstream media, academia, and government—that the sort of Islam embraced by “radicals,” “jihadis,” and so forth, has nothing to do with “real” Islam.

“True” Islam, so the narrative goes, is intrinsically free of anything “bad.” It's the nut-jobs who hijack it for their own agenda that are to blame.

More specifically, we are told that there exists a “moderate” Islam and an “extremist” Islam—the former good and true, embraced by a Muslim majority, the latter a perverse sacrilege practiced by an exploitative minority.

But what do these dual adjectives—”moderate” and “extremist”—ultimately mean in the context of Islam? Are they both equal and viable alternatives insofar as to how Islam is understood? Are they both theologically legitimate? This last question is particularly important, since Islam is first and foremost a religious way of life centered around the words of a deity (Allah) and his prophet (Muhammad)—the significance of which is admittedly unappreciated by secular societies.

 
Some Are More Equal

By Sarah Honig
The Jerusalem Post
March 28, 2014


ImageSpeaking the truth can be a dangerous undertaking. It can expose the speaker to all sort of chastisement. This isn’t only so in any given country’s domestic affairs but very much so in relations between states.

Ours, after all, is a globalized reality. This fact can induce and intensify inordinate hubris in some leaders with pretensions to hold sway over more than their own specified domain. White House occupant and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barak Obama, for instance, often conducts himself as if the American electorate and the Nobel committee had put him in charge of the whole earth.

Had Obama been an unqualified success, his conceit may be suffered but his isn’t and he doesn’t like to hear that he isn’t.

Despite his resplendent liberal credentials, Obama’s concept of liberty is a tad constricted. Everyone – everywhere on the face of this planet and beyond – is perfectly free to go into raptures over him but it’s a whole different opera when not-so-flattering opinions are sounded.

 
Why Obama Won't Give (or Get) Much in Saudi Arabia

By Aaron David Miller
American Interest
March 28,2014


As President Obama heads off to Riyadh this week—the last stop, on Friday, of a Europe-heavy itinerary—he should be a happy guy. Unlike his relationship with Vladimir Putin (or Lehman Brothers), the U.S.-Saudi relationship really is too big to fail. Key linkages—billions in recent U.S. weapons sales, counter-terrorism cooperation, and all that oil—will keep Riyadh and Washington together for some time to come, whether each side, deep down, really likes it or not.

At the same time, he should be worried, too. Conflicting interests and views concerning Egypt, Syria, Iran and Palestine have created big rifts in the relationship. Unless the President is prepared to alter his approach to these issues—and be more careful about what he says to journalists about supposed Saudi difficulties with accepting “change”—the best he can do is contain the damage. Even this won’t be easy.

In recent years, the list of issues on which U.S. and Saudi leaders don’t agree has gotten pretty long. Riyadh opposed Mubarak’s fall; after an initial hesitation, we sounded like we welcomed it. They saw the Morsi Muslim Brotherhood government as a threat; we were prepared to live with it. They fully supported the Egyptian military coup and backed it with billions; we waffled and conditioned our military assistance to Egypt. They backed the Khalifa family in Bahrain; initially we supported reform in their backyard. They remain worried that a Shi’a government close to Iran rules just across their border in Baghdad; we enabled it. Indeed, the Saudis see the Middle East as a struggle between good Sunnis and Bad Shi’a; we refuse to take sides.

 
Bin Laden's Son-in-Law Convicted of Conspiring to Kill Americans

By Abha Shankar
The Investigative Project on Terrorism
March 27, 2014


ImageA federal jury in New York found senior al-Qaida member Sulaiman Abu Ghayth guilty on terrorism-related charges Wednesday, including conspiracy to kill Americans. In video statements and speeches released after the Sept. 11 attacks, Abu Ghayth promised similar attacks against U.S. and Western targets.

Evidence presented during the three-week trial included a screen shot of a video from September 12, 2001 showing Abu Ghayth sitting beside Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida members, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of the terrorist group. A videotaped statement broadcast a month later on al-Jazeera showed Abu Ghayth saying "there are thousands of Muslim youths who are eager to die and that the aircraft storm will not stop." He warned "Muslims in the United States and Britain, the children, and those who reject unjust U.S. policy not to travel by plane."

Abu Ghayth testified about being summoned by bin Laden to an Afghanistan mountain cave just hours after the 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden acknowledged al-Qaida's responsibility and sought Abu Ghayth's help "to deliver a message to the world."

 
Russian TV anchor: Jews brought Holocaust on themselves

By JTA
March 26, 2014


ImageEvelina Zakamskaya says Jewish support for Ukraine protests will lead to ‘second Holocaust’ — much as it did to the first

A television news anchor on a state-owned Russian television network said the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves.

Evelina Zakamskaya of the Rossiya 24 channel made the statement earlier this week during an interview with writer Aleksandr Prokhanov on the Ukraine crisis. The interview was first made public by Americablog.

Prokhanov said that supporters of Ukraine were bringing about “a second Holocaust.”

He added that it is “strange that Jewish organizations, the European and our own Russian organizations, support the Maidan [protests]. What are they doing? Do they not understand that they are bringing about a second Holocaust with their own hands? This is monstrous.”

Zakamskaya replied that the Jews “brought about the first [Holocaust] similarly.”

 
Should Israel release more Palestinian terrorists?

By Stephen Flatow
JNS.org
March 25, 2014


ImageFirst published by JNS.org. Reprinted with the author's consent.

Pictured is columnist Stephen M. Flatow's daughter Alisa Flatow, who was murdered by the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad in 1995. Credit: Courtesy of Stephen M. Flatow. Every time there's a public discussion about whether Israel should release more imprisoned Palestinian terrorists, my heart skips a beat. My daughter Alisa was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 1995. Two of the killers have been in an Israeli prison since 1995, serving life sentences. I always worry that they will be among the ones released. So yes, it's personal.

But it's also much more than that.

It's not just about my daughter's killers; it's about dozens of other Israeli and American families whose loved ones also were victimized by Palestinian terrorists. It's about the future Israeli victims, if the released terrorists return to their violent ways, as so many of them do. It's about what's best for Israel's national security. And, of course, it's about what's best for America, too.

Last year, Israel agreed to release more than 100 terrorists, some of them convicted murderers, in stages, as a gesture of "good faith" to the Palestinians. It was a measure of Israel's desperation for peace, and of the Obama administration's not-so-subtle threats to publicly blame Israel if the peace process derails. So to keep that process going, the Israelis took what everyone agrees is a serious security risk.

 
Pipeline Politics in Syria
By Maj. Rob Taylor
Armed Forces Journal
March 25, 2013


ImageA gas pumping station in Georgia near the Turkish border. The author argues that the tensions surrounding the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline shed light on the Syrian conflict. (Photo: Robert Thomson)

Much of the media coverage suggests that the conflict in Syria is a civil war, in which the Alawite (Shia) Bashar al Assad regime is defending itself (and committing atrocities) against Sunni rebel factions (who are also committing atrocities). The real explanation is simpler: it is about money.

In 2009, Qatar proposed to run a natural gas pipeline through Syria and Turkey to Europe. Instead, Assad forged a pact with Iraq and Iran to run a pipeline eastward, allowing those Shia-dominated countries access to the European natural gas market while denying access to Sunni Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The latter states, it appears, are now attempting to remove Assad so they can control Syria and run their own pipeline through Turkey.

The standard Shia-Sunni conflict is little different from many other socio-ethnic-economic-political-religious (SEEPR) conflicts that originate in competition for resources, but in Syria it has a lucrative twist. The pattern of SEEPR control in Syria is similar to that in many other Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan Africa countries (and is arguably common in every country, but more so in traditional societies): Who controls the government controls the state’s resources, and by extension, the wealth derived from them. In Syria, the Sunnis have tried to unseat the Alawites ever since France installed them during the French mandate that ended in 1943. But now the stakes are higher, thanks to natural gas.
 
Abbas: I Am a Hero. I Said No to Obama

By Khaled Abu Toameh
Gatestone Institute
March 23, 2014


ImageIf in the past Abbas was afraid of Hamas's response to the signing of a peace deal with Israel, it is now clear that he also has good reason to fear the reaction of top Fatah officials to any movement he makes concerning the peace process.

These rallies [Abbas asks for] are intended not only to send a message to Obama and Kerry, but also to Abbas's rivals in Fatah.

Even before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas left Washington on his way back to Ramallah, Palestinian Authority [PA] officials rushed to announce that their president's talks with President Barack Obama over the future of the peace process were "unsuccessful."

The officials said that Abbas rejected most of the proposals made by Obama during their meeting at the White House, including the idea of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and maintaining an Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley. Abbas, according to the officials, also dismissed as "immature" Obama's proposal concerning the status of Jerusalem because it did not call for a full Israeli withdrawal from the eastern part of the city.

 
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MGI News is the sole U.S. incorporated news and programming organization specializing in the Middle East directed by Jay Bushinsky, founding Bureau Chief of CNN Jerusalem. Topics from President Barak Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hamas, Hizbollah and more...

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