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Posts tagged as Palestinians

Modi, media, military a dangerous combination

Bollywood has a strange effect of taking you away from reality and that is exactly what sells in a country of 1.4 billion people. Unfortunately, in the electioneering season it can also cloud the judgement of beleaguered political leaders.
What follows for the next three weeks is a classic example of falling prey to deceitful narratives, built on flawed intelligence information.It is here that the role of the Indian media in fanning war hysteria comes in. If the spin doctors could embroil the US and the West in Iraq and countless other conflicts, why couldn’t this be done in India? With over 400 TV channels and 200 million whatsApp users, the world’s largest, this was easy.
To justify military action, a new terminology of non-military pre-emptive strikes’ was coined.While the air incursion had all the elements of copying the US- Israeli airpower model used against benign victims, the Indians ignored Pakistan’s resolve and military potential.The Indian Air force tasked to boost Mr Modis vote-bank must have put in their Tom Cruises in their best machines, to undertake the task of eliminating battle-hardened terrorists. How the incursion was executed and where the bombs were ultimately thrown is another story.
Of consequence is how the Pakistan Air Force clinically struck back. Taking on six targets, shooting down two aircraft and capturing one pilot is a rare feat and an embarrassment which will haunt the IAF for decades.Meanwhile, sensing a nuclear showdown, the world powers which had edged India pulled back to their own agendas; the Trump-Kim summit, Brexit, Venezuela and so on. The release of the Indian pilot and calls for talks by the Pakistani Prime minister have fallen on deaf ears.
With the BJP chief Amit Shah asking people to vote for Modi, a mere eight hours after the Jaba fiasco, the realisation of a plot has finally dawned on the Indian opposition. The media-bollywood hypnotized public is slowly waking up to reality.As Modi bemoans for the Rafale machines, it is clear that a semblance of sanity has crept in. It is now an Indian battle of the sane voices versus the insane.The sane club is appalled at the combined failure of the strong Indian political and military systems, and calls for reappraisal and restraint. It is bewildered at the brazen use of military might for political gains.The ordinary Indian realizes that without a resolution of the Kashmir issue the region will remain embroiled in a brutal circle of violence. It yearns for the Gandhi, Nehru and later, Mother Teresa era, when India had some character.
The non-aligned movement, support for the Palestinians were at least a semblance of Indian balance and a just and righteous image.The sanity propagators are also deeply concerned about the rise of Hindutva doctrine, the slow painful death of Indian secularism and the perils of playing around with Pakistan’s deterrence regime.They recognise gains of an engagement strategy with Pakistan and understand that the only way forward is to coexist in harmony. It is only then that the potential of seemingly endless possibilities of prospering together, sharing benefits of mutual trade and energy with Afghanistan and Central Asia can be realised.
The insane club led by Modi, media and the military is sluggishly coming out of stunned disbelief. They very well know that the world supports India for its money, and not for its principles.
It’s already put the contingency plan in motion. The events have not gone as portrayed in the movies.It’s time for the media wizards to sound the victory mantra on every event. Spin a web of lies and deceit.Consequently, the fantasy of Abhinandan’ the hero, who shot an F-16; in reality, the poor guy didn’t know what hit him. The assumption that Pakistan is down on its knees, India must get new intel capabilities and weapons ASAP.
Get Rafale’s or whatever from the experienced Israelis to exact revenge, accelerate the covert operations and hybrid war in Pakistan, isolate it internationally, and if all else fails, plan another Pulwama to settle scores.With dreams of Indian grandeur, it is the insane group currently in majority which worries Pakistan.After Pulwama, the BJP under a struggling Modi is deaf, dumb and blind. A very thin line separates the regimes policies from active coercive terrorism.Practically, with no international condemnation for its actions, it feels emboldened to go a step further.This would again be a serious miscalculation.
But then again it’s a forty- day Indian style election season. Under the circumstances, who so ever wins the contest has implications not only for the region alone but also for the world? In the meantime, it would be prudent to keep Mr Modi away from the movies.The writer is director of policy and doctrine at the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies. He can be reached at The 14th February Pulwama incident handling reflects the implausible chain of events, which has ensnared the Indian government in a dangerous vicious cycle.What follows for the next three weeks is a classic example of falling prey to deceitful narratives, built on flawed intelligence information. It is here that the role of the Indian media in fanning war hysteria comes in.
If the spin doctors could embroil the US and the West in Iraq and countless other conflicts, why couldn’t this be done in India? With over 400 TV channels and 200 million whatsApp users, the world’s largest, this was easy. To justify military action, a new terminology of ‘non-military pre-emptive strikes’ was coined.
While the air incursion had all the elements of copying the US- Israeli airpower model used against benign victims, the Indians ignored Pakistan’s resolve and military potential. The Indian Air force tasked to boost Mr Modis vote-bank must have put in their Tom Cruises in their best machines, to undertake the task of eliminating battle-hardened terrorists.How the incursion was executed and where the bombs were ultimately thrown is another story. Of consequence is how the Pakistan Air Force clinically struck back.Taking on six targets, shooting down two aircraft and capturing one pilot is a rare feat and an embarrassment which will haunt the IAF for decades.Meanwhile, sensing a nuclear showdown, the world powers which had edged India pulled back to their own agendas; the Trump-Kim summit, Brexit, Venezuela and so on.
The release of the Indian pilot and calls for talks by the Pakistani Prime minister have fallen on deaf ears. With the BJP chief Amit Shah asking people to vote for Modi, a mere eight hours after the Jaba fiasco, the realisation of a plot has finally dawned on the Indian opposition.The media-bollywood hypnotized public is slowly waking up to reality. As Modi bemoans for the Rafale machines, it is clear that a semblance of sanity has crept in.
It is now an Indian battle of the sane voices versus the insane.The sane club is appalled at the combined failure of the strong Indian political and military systems, and calls for reappraisal and restraint.It is bewildered at the brazen use of military might for political gains. The ordinary Indian realizes that without a resolution of the Kashmir issue the region will remain embroiled in a brutal circle of violence.It yearns for the Gandhi, Nehru and later, Mother Teresa era, when India had some character. The non-aligned movement, support for the Palestinians were at least a semblance of Indian balance and a just and righteous image.
The sanity propagators are also deeply concerned about the rise of Hindutva doctrine, the slow painful death of Indian secularism and the perils of playing around with Pakistan’s deterrence regime. They recognise gains of an engagement strategy with Pakistan and understand that the only way forward is to coexist in harmony.
It is only then that the potential of seemingly endless possibilities of prospering together, sharing benefits of mutual trade and energy with Afghanistan and Central Asia can be realised.The insane club led by Modi, media and the military is sluggishly coming out of stunned disbelief.
They very well know that the world supports India for its money, and not for its principles. It’s already put the contingency plan in motion.The events have not gone as portrayed in the movies. It’s time for the media wizards to sound the victory mantra on every event.Spin a web of lies and deceit. Consequently, the fantasy of ‘Abhinandan’ the hero, who shot an F-16; in reality, the poor guy didn’t know what hit him.The assumption that Pakistan is down on its knees, India must get new intel capabilities and weapons ASAP. Get Rafale’s or whatever from the experienced Israelis to exact revenge, accelerate the covert operations and hybrid war in Pakistan, isolate it internationally, and if all else fails, plan another Pulwama to settle scores.With dreams of Indian grandeur, it is the insane group currently in majority which worries Pakistan. After Pulwama, the BJP under a struggling Modi is deaf, dumb and blind.A very thin line separates the regimes policies from active coercive terrorism. Practically, with no international condemnation for its actions, it feels emboldened to go a step further.This would again be a serious miscalculation. But then again it’s a forty- day Indian style election season.

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Ex-Mossad Chief Secretly Visited Saudi Arabia in 2014 – Israeli Channel 13

The former leader of Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad visited Saudi Arabia in secret in 2014, in an effort to rally support against Iranian influence, Israel’s Channel 13 News revealed on Tuesday evening.The dispatch is the latest to come from a report on covert efforts between Israel and the Gulf countries to normalise security and diplomatic ties over recent years, as Tel Aviv presses for open ties with its Gulf allies at a Middle East summit in Warsaw today.
The report revealed that the then-chief of Mossad, Tamir Pardo, made a behind-the-scenes visit to the Saudi capital where he met with Prince Bandar bin Sultan, King Abdullah’s special envoy to discuss the Iranian issue shortly after the nuclear deal was signed between Iran and the major powers, bringing to end the sanctions that had crippled the Islamic Republic for decades.The meeting was unprecedented due to the fact that until that point, Saudi officials had only met with Israeli officials in a third country, refusing to host them themselves.The report, quoting unidentified Western diplomats, said that by the end of 2013, following the signing of the interim nuclear deal, there was a major breakthrough in relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.The report comes as Netanyahu suggested at an anti-Iran summit in Warsaw on Wednesday that he would make public Israel’s covert normalisation of ties with many Gulf states.With the exception of Egypt and Jordan, who have signed treaties with Israel, no other Arab state has official direct relations with Tel Aviv. However a series of under-the-table deals and alliances are gradually being unearthed.
The ultra-conservative kingdom, concerned about international rapprochement with its regional nemesis, reportedly decided to ally with Israel, who is equally opposed to any move that will enable the strengthening of Iranian influence.Israel and Iran consider each other their primary enemy, while Saudi Arabia and Iran compete for influence in the wider region.Bandar bin Sultan is believed to have developed the sharing of Saudi and Israeli intelligence during his tenure as director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, before he became King Abdullah’s envoy and adviser.These ties have accelerated since Mohammed bin Salman became crown prince and de facto ruler, as he has also been developing an anti-Iranian front to include Hizballah and Lebanon.
Channel 13’s report also reveals how a Saudi proposal to lead peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians amid the 2014 Gaza War was rejected by Netanyahu, to the Saudis’ bitter dismay.The report comes as the Saudi monarch reaffirmed his support for a future Palestinian state.Meeting with the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday, King Salman said his country “permanently stands by Palestine and its people’s right to an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital”, reported the official Saudi Press Agency.The pledge comes as the United States is expected to offer hints of its proposals for peace between Israel and the Palestinians at a conference on Wednesday in Warsaw, Poland.

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Democrats forced to confront growing divide over Israel heading into 2020

Democrats are entering the 2020 election cycle with many of their leading presidential contenders increasingly willing to break with a pro-Israel foreign policy orthodoxy that guided the party for a generation.
But in voting in near lockstep against it, the presidential contenders highlighted a shift that has been gaining steam among Democrats for years.In 2018, the Pew Research Center found that 27% of Democrats said their sympathies lied with Israel, while 25% said the Palestinians — with the rest saying neither. That was a sharp drop from the 43% who chose Israel just two years earlier.
Younger and more liberal Democrats, in particular, said they were more likely to side with the Palestinians. And some companies that cater to a younger clientele have also shifted their positions in response to Israeli government actions: Airbnb in November said it would stop listing rentals in West Bank settlements.The election of two BDS supporters  Omar and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim women in Congress — to House Democratic ranks last year pushed the issue to the forefront.
“We are finally able to have conversations that we weren’t really willing to,” Omar told CNN recently, “and so it is really important for us to get a different lens about what peace in that region could look like and the kind of difficult conversations we need to have about allies.”Their willingness to criticize Israel, often in the context of clear and unabashed advocacy for Palestinians, has already begun to test old rhetorical boundaries in a way that even some of the party’s more liberal elected officials have typically sought to avoid.
Freshman lawmakers like Tlaib, Omar and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have been quick to reject those constraints, and seem poised now to insist on a conversation that top Democrats have long stifled or sought to avoid.
“Straight up, the party is not ready for the debate that is coming,” one senior aide to a Democratic senator told CNN last year “It is an overdue debate and my strong sense is that no, the party is not ready to have it — look who the foreign policy leaders are.But that doesn’t matter because it’s coming.”A major moment that opened the doors for Democrats to become much more critical of Israeli policy came in 2015, when Benjamin Netanyahu came to Capitol Hill to denounce former President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a left-leaning Jewish advocacy group.”When he came to Congress and argued against the policies of the sitting President of the United States at the invitation of the Republican speaker at the time, that was really what I think will be regarded as the historical moment when that bipartisanship was shattered. And it opened up the possibility for people to have arguments over these issues in ways that they probably didn’t prior to that,” Ben-Ami told CNN last week.”It gave permission to people to actually say what they think. To open up.”Netanyahu “threw in his lot with these right wing dictators and with Trump and as a result the liberal Democrats that make up the majority of the Jewish community . are going to oppose what Netanyahu is doing,” he said.”Elected officials should be particularly sensitive and careful on the question of the role played by campaign contributions in influencing US policies toward Israel and the Middle East,” he said, adding that they “should also refrain from labeling all criticism of Israeli actions or policies as ‘anti-Semitic,’ in a transparent effort to silence legitimate discussion and debate.”What’s not yet clear is whether Democrats, including the party’s new progressive vanguard, are willing to go any further in breaking with the Israeli government or curbing long-standing US support.McCarthy tweeted on Sunday that “Anti-Semitic tropes have no place in the halls of Congress,” but before the midterms said in a post of his own, “We cannot allow (George) Soros, (Tom) Steyer, and (former New York Mayor Michael) Bloomberg to BUY this election! Get out and vote Republican November 6th. #MAGA” — a reference to three Jewish billionaire donors whose names have been used in anti-Semitic propaganda. He deleted the tweet a day later.President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has embraced Netanyahu and pleased pro-Israeli advocates within both parties’ ranks by moving the United States’ embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In the spring of 2017, a bipartisan anti-BDS bill arrived in the Senate with more than 50 cosponsors, another sign of how deeply entrenched support for Israel has become at the highest levels of national politics.Despite the overwhelming initial support, Democratic Sen.Ben Cardin was pressured into redrafting parts of the legislation after it came under scrutiny by civil liberties groups. Gillibrand, an opponent of BDS initially listed as a sponsor of the bill, withdrew her name following a burst of criticism, led by the ACLU, and said she would ask the authors to “rewrite it” to make clear that individuals would not be targeted for taking part.Grassroots Jewish progressive groups like IfNotNow, which was formed in 2014 during a conflict that became known by many as the Gaza war, believe opposition to Israel’s presence in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem — often described as “the occupation”  fits in naturally with other, increasing popular priorities, many of them championed by Sanders.”The same progressive values that so many Americans use to support issues like ‘Medicare for all’ or abolishing ICE and promoting more humane treatment of immigrants, raising the minimum wage, stricter gun control, keeping fossil fuel money out of politics are the same progressive values — and they’re Jewish values — that lead us to oppose occupation,” said Emma Saltzberg, an IfNotNow co-founder and volunteer organizer.

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