Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Miscalculations In The Middle East

Miscalculations In The Middle East
©2011 By David Talbot

April 19, 2011. Egypt just announced renewed relations with Iran, accepting Iran’s newly appointed ambassador to Egypt for the first time since Egypt recognized Israel in 1979. Then, a few moments later, the Egyptian government-in-transition announced an upcoming trip to Syria, Iran’s surrogate state, the first trip of the acting Prime Minister since the fall of the Mubarak regime.

Many, including this writer, have been warning that the “Democracy Movement” in Egypt was not toward a Western style government. These two events indicate the growing influence of Iran in an area that was supposed to be friendly to the West. This can only foretell big problems in the Middle East.

Two countries directly impacted by Iran’s warming relations with Egypt are Saudi Arabia and Israel. In Israel’s case, I see ever deteriorating relations with Egypt leading up to a complete breakdown of their treaty and a return to hostilities. With Iran supplying Hezbollah in Lebanon (through Syria) and Hamas via a renewed relationship with Egypt, what are Israel’s options? And, how much additional restraint can we expect from the Israeli government?

Saudi Arabia was embarrassed recently by Wikileaks when diplomatic cables revealed in 2010 that Sunni Arab leaders singled out Iran as the greatest threat to regional stability. The cables showed that Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia supported a military attack on Iran to stop their nuclear program.

However, Saudi leaders refuse to discuss the matter publicly. They fear upsetting their own citizens who would revolt on the thought of their country taking sides with the West (The principal customers for Saudi oil) against an Islamic nation.

While both Iran and Saudi Arabia are Islamic nations, Saudis are Sunni Arabs, and Iranians are Persians, the difference a source of conflict for centuries.

What does the miscalculation of the reality of Islamic Democracy mean for the Middle East? For the West? Only time will tell. Saudi Arabia are surrounded by potential enemies all united under the influence of Iran. Saudis have very little time to decide what course of action they will take, after their position on Iran’s nuclear program was disclosed.

If the Saudis make a deal with Israel, there will be a revolt much like Egypt. Israel will be almost totally isolated and will have to make a preemptive strike on Teheran. The U.S. oil supply will be in jeopardy.

If the Saudis make a deal with Iran, the Arabian Peninsula will be almost completely under Iranian influence. Israel will be almost totally isolated and will have to make a preemptive strike on Teheran. The U.S. oil supply will be in Jeopardy.

In my opinion the current situation in the Middle East is deteriorating quickly. I believe there will ultimately be a war in the Middle East. While we were busy backing the so-called Democracy Movements across the region, some to the detriment of long time U.S. allies, we failed to consider the most likely outcome of these regional issues, and what the impact will be on the U.S. economy and national security.

Anyway, that’s my opinion. What’s yours?


David Talbot

Contact me at: talbotnotes@gmail.com

Monday, April 18, 2011

Signs Of The Times

Signs Of The Times
©2011 By David Talbot

A few days ago, my grandson Mason, took part in his Elementary School talent contest. Mason is 8 years old, a second grader.

Mason has been practicing his tune for several months and was ready for the tryouts to take place. My daughter got the necessary forms, told the teachers Mason would be singing again this year, and prepared him for the event with words of encouragement.

Then came the announcement, delivered by his teacher, reviewed by the principal, and reviewed again by the school district. Mason cannot sing that song in the talent show because there were inappropriate words in the song.

Actually there was only one inappropriate word, Jesus. Yes, my grandson had the audacity to want to sing a song he learned in choir practice at church.

The song was very short, only 3 paragraphs. The offending word was used only twice. He was given the option to sing another song or substitute some other word in the song. He declined saying, “I learned it this way and I’m going to sing it this way.” At 8 years he showed more intellectual honesty than his teachers.

He was not allowed to sing that afternoon.

Another group of his school mates wanted to perform a dance routine they designed at home. They were allowed to perform.

What music did they dance to? Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” with lyrics that made this old soldier blush, including the phrase, “I want your disease.”

Do I need to say that the school is located in California?

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, the city Health Department is publishing a website (that’s right, with tax dollars) offering condoms to children 11 to 19 years old. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter unveiled the campaign on April 7, 2011, as he announced the winning design for the city's custom labeled condom wrapper.

But that’s not all. Here’s a quote from the site: "Figure out what position works for you. You can stand with one foot on a chair, sit on the edge of a chair, lie down, squat, or for fun, have your partner help you out." This on a website for 11 year old children.

The city defends it’s action saying the rate of STD’s like Chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV/AIDS is skyrocketing and the age of sexual conduct is as low as 11.

No parental consent is required for the 11 year old child to order the condoms straight from the website.

As I write this piece it is the beginning of Passover and the Holy week before Easter. I pray that somebody in this country can find a way to restore sanity to our country. I feel like the inmates have taken over the asylum.

Anyway, that’s my opinion, what’s yours?

Wishing all, Jews and Christians, a blessed holiday, Shalom,

David Talbot

Send your comments to: talbotnotes@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Facebook and The Third Intifada

Facebook and The Third Intifada
©2011 By David Talbot

Facebook is amazing. Over the past 3 years I have been able to meet many new friends and renew old friendships using this “Social Networking” site. Facebook brings people together for a variety of purposes: friendship, business, reunions, sharing of information, and all manner of social interaction purposes.

Some in the social networking universe are giving credit to Facebook, and other similar sites, for the Middle East democracy movements ability to connect to thousands of protestors in very short periods of time. In effect, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and My Space have been more reliable sources of information for combatants on both sides of the conflicts, than any other source.

Proof of the value of these sites to the rebels was the immediate shut down of the internet by the governments in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, and Libya, as a first reaction to conflict. This occurred even before they shut down cell phones and put the clamps on other information sources.

Recently, a pro-Palestinian group opened a Facebook page called the Third Intifada, encouraging Palestinians to return to guerilla-terrorist tactics against Israel. Using the flawed Goldstone UN Report on Israel’s operation in Gaza as a basis for the call to arms. Within days, the site had amassed 300,000 “Friends” and growing at an astounding 25,000 new friends a day. The site was loaded with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric and was just becoming a phenomenon when the massacre of the Fogel family occurred in Itamar in the West Bank a few weeks ago.

One example of the rhetoric posted on the site was the slogan: “From the River to the Sea.” This refers to the total annihilation of every Jew in Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Last week, Facebook management, gave in to international pressure and took down the offensive page saying it violated Facebook’s “Terms of Use” policy. And, was that the end of the story?

Of course not! Within an hour of the removal of the Third Intifada page, at least 100 other sites popped up, in many languages, and the call to arms continues. But now, groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Peace Now, and the Palestinian Authority are not making overt threats.

Instead, these sponsors of terrorism are hiding their ultimate goal, the total removal of every Jew in Israel, dead or alive, behind well known messages that all understand, but are not explicit calls to terrorize Israel.

To Facebook these new sites, evil as they may be, are permitted on Facebook as political speech and do not violate it’s Terms of Use policy since no specific threat is mentioned.

From the river to the sea rhetoric continues and the number of new anti-Israel sites is expanding. It is now impossible to determine who is a terror sponsor and who is just espousing a “legitimate” political point of view.

On Monday, April 4, 2011, Judge Richard Goldstonethe of South Africa, author of the Goldstone Report, recanted almost everything in his infamous report to the United Nations. However, no where in the US liberal press, the international press, and certainly in the Arab press, is there any mention of the reversal of Goldstone. So, the lies and the outcry stemming from the lies, ares perpetuated.

In my opinion, Israel and the international community would have been better served by allowing the Third Intifada Facebook page to stay online. Knowing what’s transpiring on any particular site is better than trying to figure out what’s taking place on a thousand sites, in dozens of countries, in many languages.

Anyway, that’s my opinion, what’s yours?


David Talbot

You can contact me at: talbotnotes@gmail.com.