Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Palestine - Continuing Jew-hatred Must Exact A Heavy Price


[Published 20 November 2014]


The slaughter of four Rabbis with axes, knives and guns whilst praying in a synagogue along with the serious wounding of six other Jews caught in this horrific blood bath — and the murder of a Druze police officer who went to their rescue — is the end result of endemic Jew-hatred:
1. Begun in the 1920 Jerusalem riots
2. Embodied in the 1964 PLO Covenant, and
3. Reinforced in the 1987 Hamas Charter

Arab Jew-hatred has continued unabated for the last 90 years since the Jewish people’s right to self- determination was unanimously endorsed by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.

Alarm bells warning of this week’s massacre should have sounded loud and clear when American Secretary of State John Kerry visited Israel on 2 January following Israel releasing 26 long term Palestinian Arab prisoners convicted of murder and other serious criminal offences.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presciently told Kerry on that occasion:
“A few days ago in Ramallah, President Abbas embraced [these] terrorists as heroes. To glorify the murders of innocent women and men as heroes is an outrage. How can President Abbas says — how can he say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes? He can’t stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists. And I’m wondering what a young Palestinian would think when he sees the leader of the Palestinian people embrace people who axed innocent men and women — axed their heads or blew them up or riddled them with bullets — what’s a young Palestinian supposed to think about the future? What’s he supposed to think about what he should do vis-a-vis Israelis and vis-a-vis the state of Israel? So it’s not surprising that in recent weeks Israel has been subjected to a growing wave of terrorist attacks. President Abbas didn’t see fit to condemn these attacks even after we learned that at least in one case — I stress, at least in one case — those who served and are serving in the Palestinian security forces took part in them.”
Among those 26 prisoners released were:
1. Yakoub Muhammad Ouda Ramadan, Afana Mustafa Ahmad Muhammad, and Da’agna Nufal Mahmad Mahmoud — convicted of stabbing Sara Sharon, 37, to death in Holon on January 20, 1993.
2. Abu Mohsin Khaled Ibrahim Jamal — convicted of the ambush and murder of Shlomo Yahya, a 76-year-old gardener, in a public park in Moshav Kadima and stabbing him to death.
3. Barham Fawzi Mustafa Nasser — convicted for the murder of Morris (Moshe) Edri 65 — a former employer of Nasser who Nasser ambushed and stabbed in the back.
4. Muammar Ata Mahmoud Mahmoud and Salah Khalil Ahmad Ibrahim — convicted of murdering Menahem Stern, a history professor at Hebrew University. Stern, 64, a winner of the prestigious Israel Prize, was stabbed to death while walking to work at the university’s Givat Ram campus on June 22, 1989.
5. Abu Hadir Muhammad Yassin Yassin — convicted for the murder of Yigal Shahaf — shooting him in the head as he and his wife were walking through Jerusalem’s old city toward the Western Wall.
Netanyahu then told Kerry to his face:
“In the six months since the start of peace negotiations, the Palestinian Authority continues its unabated incitement against the state of Israel. This Palestinian Government incitement is rampant. You see it in the state-controlled media — the government-controlled media — in the schools, in textbooks, in kindergartens. You see it at every part of Palestinian society. So instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel. This is not the way to achieve peace. President Abbas must lead his people away from terror and incitement, towards reconciliation and peace.”

Kerry failed to address this virulent Jew-hatred motivating Palestinian Arabs to murder Jews - ignored the adulation afforded these convicted murderers by Abbas and remained silent on the rampant incitement conducted on a daily basis against Israel.

Instead — Kerry — apparently languishing in a time warp—sought to provide some comforting reassurance for Netanyahu with these incredibly inane remarks:
“On a personal level, last month I travelled to Vietnam on my first visit there as Secretary of State. And the transformation in our relationship—I was a young soldier who fought there—the transformation in our relationship is proof that as painful as the past can be, through hard work of diplomacy history’s adversaries can actually become partners for a new day and history’s challenges can become opportunities for a new age.”

Kerry’s words have turned out to be a massive misjudgement.

It is surely time for America and the European Union especially - and for the rest of the international community generally - to take stock and make clear that:
1. no further financial aid will be given in either Gaza or the West Bank
2. Abbas and his Government will be regarded as persona non-grata
Until:
1. the insidious Jew-hating provisions in the PLO Covenant and Hamas Charter are repealed
2. Government-controlled media and schools excise all references denigrating and demeaning Jews.
3. The PLO is prepared to recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people in any peace agreement signed by Israel and the PLO.
Failure to so act can only see the Jewish-Arab conflict spiralling out of control into a crisis of catastrophic proportions.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Syria Hysteria Dooms Obama's Plan To Destroy ISIL


[Published 21 September 2014]


President Obama’s failed policies in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt and the West Bank do not bode well for the success of the President’s current plans to end the threat to world peace posed by the meteoric rise of both the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL) and the Al-Nusrah Front (ANF).

That threat was articulated by UN Security Council Resolution 2701 - passed on 15 August - which expressed:
” its gravest concern that territory in parts of Iraq and Syria is under the control of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al Nusrah Front (ANF) “

Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter—the Security Council strongly condemned:
“the indiscriminate killing and deliberate targeting of civilians, numerous atrocities, mass executions and extrajudicial killings, including of soldiers, persecution of individuals and entire communities on the basis of their religion or belief, kidnapping of civilians, forced displacement of members of minority groups, killing and maiming of children, recruitment and use of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence, arbitrary detention, attacks on schools and hospitals, destruction of cultural and religious sites and obstructing the exercise of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to education, especially in the Syrian governorates of Ar-Raqqah, Deir ez-Zor, Aleppo and Idlib, in northern Iraq, especially in Tamim, Salaheddine and Niniveh Provinces;”

America has subsequently acted as though Resolution 2701 had never been passed.

In his speech to the American nation on 11 September Obama declared:
“Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state… It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.”

The President is wrong on both counts.

Firstly — ISIL is Islamic — as its formal Declaration of Statehood on 29 June 2014 proclaims - and this following analysis asserts:
“The Islamic State is not only a terrorist group. It is an extremist, Islamist, political and military organization that holds a radical interpretation of Islam as a political philosophy and seeks to impose that worldview by force on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Expelled from al-Qaeda for being too extreme, the Islamic State claims to be the legitimate ruler of all Sunni Muslims worldwide. They have established what they regard as a state which includes large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, governed from Raqqa in Syria.

It advances a number of theological opinions to support its claims. Its adherents hold that they are merely practicing Islam fully, pronouncing those who disagree with them takfir (heretics).

This designation is used as religious justification for killing the Islamic State’s opponents”

Secondly - ISIL is a State - meeting the legal requirements of Article 1 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention:
“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:
(a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

Thirdly - Obama’s claim that ISIL is recognized by no other government is irrelevant — as article 3 of the Montevideo Convention makes indisputably clear:
“The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states."

Obama’s false assumptions are a recipe for policy failure — as the goals enunciated by Obama in the same address clearly demonstrated:
“Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”
Destroying the UN condemned Al Nusrah Front did not rate a mention. A lukewarm response from 57 Islamic States to help defeat ISIL’s declared world threat to peace was not factored into Obama’s thinking.

Four days later an international conference held in Paris made it clear that Syria was not even part of the battleground where ISIL was to be confronted, degraded and destroyed.

Mouram Daoud—a member of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change in Syria — an internal opposition coalition — opined that ISIL cannot be defeated militarily without Syria and Turkey’s backing:
“The US administration should first pressure the Turkish partner to stop the flow of jihadists through its airports and stop buying oil from IS. According to [United Nations] Resolution 2170, the US will not be able to strike IS sites in Syria without the approval of the Syrian government, which is eagerly awaiting this type of cooperation to restore its international legitimacy. But the US will not include the Syrian government in this war, and will not recognize the government either. This means that the US will stick to its decision to only provide weapons to the Syrian [rebel] factions.”

Obama’s mantra - first delivered in August 2011 - remains unchanged:
“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

Not even 200000 deaths and the creation of millions of Syrian civilian refugees since 2011 have produced any momentum for rapprochement between Obama and Assad that would enable Assad to extend - and Obama to accept - any invitation to confront ISIL in occupied Syria.

Any expectation that Assad and his backers — Russia, Iran and Hezbollah — will help Obama by destroying ISIL in Syria - is a pipe dream.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Palestine - 1922 Two-State Solution Key To Resolving Arab-Jewish Conflict


[Published 22 October 2015]


United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon has jetted into Jerusalem on a fool’s errand - with tensions continuing to escalate between Arabs and Jews as their conflict spanning almost 100 years remains unresolved.

The Secretary-General observed:
“Beyond the immediate tensions, what is missing is the resolve to restore a political horizon for talks, and a political process that delivers real results and hope… We must, for the future of our children, turn back from this dangerous abyss, safeguard the two-state solution and lead people back onto the road towards peace,”

Safeguarding this “two-state solution” – code words for creating a second Arab State in Mandatory Palestine in addition to Jordan – is a lost cause. Restoring talks on this failed political process after twenty years of fruitless negotiations is meaningless United Nations babble speak.

The Secretary-General needs to focus on the “two-state solution” actually existing in 2015 – Israel and Jordan – the two successor States to the 1922 Mandate for Palestine – which eventually emerged after:
1. the 1920 Arab riots and

2. the political machinations of France and Great Britain between 1920 and 1922.
The riots were intended to pressure decisions affecting the fate of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Mesopotamia (Iraq) at the San Remo Conference starting on 19 April 1920 - following the liberation of those territories from 400 years of Ottoman Empire rule in World War 1.

The Arabs opposed a Jewish homeland in Palestine – and went on a murderous rampage to express their rage. 5 Jews and 4 Arabs were killed and hundreds wounded between 4 April and 7 April 1920.

However,the riots had little impact on the decisions taken at San Remo and the subsequent signing of the Treaty of Sevres.

The resulting Mandate for Palestine – adopted unanimously by all 51 member States of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922:
1. Gave recognition to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country

2. Empowered Great Britain as the Mandatory Power to be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as would secure the establishment of the Jewish national home whilst safeguarding the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine and the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
The Mandate, however, contained Article 25 – a provision used to deny the Jews the right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Transjordan - 78% of the territory of Mandatory Palestine.

The inclusion of Article 25 followed French pressure on the British to stop Abdullah – the second son of the Sharif and Emir of Mecca Hussein bin Ali – leaving Transjordan whilst en route to Damascus with an armed force of 400 Arabs to help his brother Feisal resist French attempts to remove him from power in Syria.

Britain obliged by appointing Abdullah Emir of Transjordan on 11 April 1921. This Emirate became the independent Jew-free Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan in 1946 – today’s Jordan.

Achieving these British and French objectives closed the door firmly on any right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Transjordan - confining that right within the remaining 22% of Mandatory Palestine – today’s Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza.

Redrawing the current boundaries of that fateful 1922 decision - taking into consideration today’s changed circumstances on the ground - remains the key to ending the Arab-Jewish conflict.

Pencils and rubbers wielded by Israeli and Jordanian negotiators can end the indiscriminate murder and maiming of Jews by Arab gun-toters, knife-stabbers, stone-throwers and car-rammers - and the inevitable Jewish response.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Islamic Lifelines Can Prevent Islamic State Dead Lines


[Published 14 October 2015]


Australia was introduced to a high school chaplain and Muslim community leader Sheikh Wesam Charkawi on one of Australia’s most widely viewed TV shows - Q and A - last Monday evening.

Australians were still trying to come to terms with the shooting murder of a 58- year-old police department accountant by a 15-year-old Muslim youth dressed in black robes shouting “Allahu Akbar” outside NSW Police Headquarters in Parramatta some 10 days earlier.

Indeed the Parramatta murder was the third such instance involving Muslims in Australia in the last year - culminating in the loss of three innocent lives and the deaths of the three perpetrators.

Yet Sheikh Charkawi told his audience:
"Our faith teaches to withhold our hands from the breaking the branch of a tree, let alone taking the life of a human being, which equates to taking the life of humanity and saving the life of one amounts to saving the life of all. These are bedrock principles"

The Sheikh’s viewpoint was a revelation - considering the widely held belief that Islam with its Koranic concepts of jihad, martyrdom and forced conversion of non-Muslims was anything but the sanctity-of-life faith portrayed by him.

Sheikh Charkawi in seeking to explain the circumstances of the Parramatta murderer opined:
"I’m seeing a lot of identity issues with the young men and women and I keep hearing from many on the streets and in the schools that I visit that they tell us that we don’t belong. They say that we’re not part of the Australian society, we’re not part of the Australian community, that we’re terrorists, that we’re extremists, that our religion is one that is of destruction and loss of life and so on and so forth. Now, you’ve got to remember that these people were born into the age of terror and they’re being told that they don’t belong. What that leads to is to marginalisation and isolation, and if you add that to the mix of the propaganda that is being put forward by the groups like ISIS, it’s a very dangerous mix and so you see that it requires a whole of society effort and that’s the reality of it."

Left unanswered by the Sheikh was why such marginalisation, isolation and propaganda could lead a 15-year-old Muslim boy to take the life of another human being had he been properly instructed in the bedrock principles of Islam as enunciated by the Sheikh.

Instead the Sheikh tried to pass the buck - stating:
"If we take this issue and we restrict it to the Muslim narrative and we say that this is a Muslim problem, what happens is you can’t then step back and look for other empirical evidence as to any underpinning or driving forces that may be at hand here."

With the greatest respect to the Sheikh it is indeed a Muslim problem resulting from failing to properly educate its adherents from an early age that:
1. the taking of life is contrary to the principles of Islam

2. negative attitudes or grievances held by a Muslim cannot be resolved by taking the lives of other Muslims or non-Muslims

3. If the religious instruction afforded Muslims is faith-based on the bedrock principles espoused by the Sheikh — then attempts by Islamic State or other groups to recruit Muslims to their murderous ranks will surely fail.
Let the Australian Muslim community condemn those who seek to violate the sanctity of life in mosques and madrassas as this video recently taken in a mosque in Gaza so chillingly demonstrates.

The silence so far has been deafening.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Palestine - United Nations Bedazzled By Abbas Word Wizadry


[Published 4 October 2015]


PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the UN General Assembly last week contained a concoction of half-truths and outright lies that everyone who listened to him should question.

Here are some prize porkies:
1. “The question of Palestine was one of the first just issues brought before the United Nations from the time of its inception, and yet it remains unresolved until this moment”

Abbas failed to mention that it has remained unresolved since then because:
(i) The Arabs did not accept the 1947 UN Partition Plan to partition western Palestine into a Jewish State and an Arab State — whilst the Jews did.

(ii) The Arabs — instead - unsuccessfully sent six Arab armies to invade Palestine in May 1948 to rout the newly declared Jewish State — Israel - and drive its Jewish population into the sea

(iii) Jordan and Egypt successfully drove out and permanently expelled the Jewish population living in the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria (later termed “the West Bank”) - keeping those areas Jew-free from 1948 until 1967

(iv) No attempt was made between 1948 and 1967 to create the Palestinian state Abbas says he will now accept. That opportunity has been well and truly missed.
2. Abbas described the Palestinian Arabs as “a people that had lived peacefully in their land and made genuine intellectual, cultural and humanitarian contributions to mankind.”
Abbas was gilding the lily.
(i) The Arab riots in Jerusalem in 1920, the Hebron massacre of the Jewish community in 1929 and the Arab riot between 1936 and 1939 give the lie to his claims.

(ii) No genuine intellectual, cultural and humanitarian contributions have been made to mankind by the Palestinian Arabs — unless airline hijackings, suicide vests, and indiscriminate targeting of Jews is what Abbas had in mind
3. “While Palestine was partitioned into two states — according to which Israel was established 67 years ago - the second part of that resolution still awaits implementation.”

Abbas suffers from a selective memory.
(i) Palestine was effectively divided 92 years ago in 1923 - when 78% - originally designated for the Jewish National Home by the 1920 San Remo conference and the Treaty of Sevres — was denied to Jewish settlement by article 25 of the Palestine Mandate.

(ii) This area subsequently became the Jew-free independent Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan in 1946 - renamed Jordan in 1950 after being unified with Judea and Samaria.
4. “We recall here the words of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1976, when he stated that Israel will become an apartheid state if it continues its occupation of the Palestinian territory and described the Israeli settlements on Palestinian land as “cancer”.

Abbas misleadingly failed to tell the General Assembly that Rabin’s view had changed markedly just before his assassination in 1995 — after experiencing 19 years of unremitting terrorism and rejectionism by the PLO — telling the Knesset:
(i) The borders of the State of Israel would be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. Israel would not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.

(ii) Jerusalem would be united and would include both Maale Adumim and Givat Zeev as the capital of Israel under Israeli sovereignty

(iii)The security border of Israel would be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term

(iv) Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities in the area east of what was the “Green Line” prior to the Six Day War would be included in the State of Israel;

(v) Blocs of settlements would be established in Judea and Samaria like the one in Gush Katif

(vi) No single settlement would be uprooted in the framework of the Interim Agreement, nor building hindered for natural growth
5. “Palestine is a country of holiness and peace. It is the birthplace of Christ, the messenger of love and peace, and the Isra’ and Mi’raj (ascension to heaven and night journey) of Mohammed”

Abbas omitted any mention of the Jews — the forebears of the Christians
6. “It is no longer useful to waste time in negotiations for the sake of negotiations; what is required is to mobilize international efforts to oversee an end to the occupation in line with the resolutions of international legitimacy.”

(i) Abbas supposedly supports “resolutions of international legitimacy” — yet the PLO he heads has declared that the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.

(ii) The League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter are resolutions of international legitimacy that cannot be swept away because Abbas does not like them.
7. "The state of Palestine, based on the 4th of June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, is a state under occupation, as was the case for many countries during World War II.”

(i) “The state of Palestine” does not meet the legal requirements of customary international law as encapsulated in the 1933 Montevideo Convention.

(ii) There were no borders — only armistice lines.

(iii) How can “Palestine” be a state under occupation since there was no such State in existence prior to 1967?
The applause accorded Abbas in the UN General Assembly indicates how his deceptively misleading word wizardry continues to confound attempts to end the 100 years old Jewish-Arab conflict.

Exposing its false peddlers must never cease.

Time the United Nations woke up and restored its own credibility.

Syrian Sinkhole Swallowing Obama And Putin's Credibility And Political Judgement


[Published 30 September 2015]


President Barack Obama’s continuing focus on removing Syria’s President Assad to secure America’s co-operation with Russia to destroy the Islamic State — whilst President Putin has now independently commenced Russian air strikes in Syria - supposedly on Islamic State forces — exposes both leaders lack of credibility and political judgment.

Obama addressing the United Nations General Assembly on 28 September asserted:
“The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict. But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo…

... Yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out ISIL. But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader, and an inclusive government that recognizes there must be an end to this chaos so that the Syrian people can begin to rebuild."

Obama’s acceptance of Russia and Iran as acceptable partners — but not Syria - makes no sense. Russia and Iran have propped up Assad’s hold on power in Syria for the last five years enabling the bloodshed and carnage in Syria to continue unabated.

Putin however argues for co-operation with Syria’s armed forces:
“We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces, who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face. We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and Kurds militias are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria.”

Putin’s undisguised contempt for the American led coalition’s efforts to degrade and destroy the Islamic State is a harsh — and arguably unfair - indictment.

Nevertheless both Presidents’ differing viewpoints and responses are now on the public record - and need to be reconciled before any Security Council resolution creating a UN armed force to destroy the Islamic State can emerge.

Obama’s preference for a Security Council Resolution can be gleaned from his comments made at a press conference in Russia on 6 September 2013 — shortly after chemical weapons had been used in Syria to gas 1400 people including 400 children. America took the view that Assad was the culprit — whilst Russia considered that the rebel forces battling Assad was the aggressor.

President Obama reasoned:
“You know, there are number a of countries that just as a matter of principle believe that if military action is to be taken, it needs to go through the U.N. Security Council…

... It is my view ... that given Security Council paralysis on this issue, if we are serious about upholding a ban on chemical weapons use, then an international response is required and that will not come through Security Council action.

And I respect those who are concerned about setting precedents of action outside of a U.N. Security Council resolution. I would greatly prefer working through multilateral channels and through the United Nations to get this done”

Eight days later — after three days of negotiations between America and Russia — the Security Council in fact adopted a resolution - jointly sponsored by America and Russia - on destroying chemical weapons in Syria - contrary to Obama’s belief that such co-operation was not possible.

Concentrating on their commonly agreed problem — destroying chemical weapons — and not who fired them — averted any possible Security Council paralysis.

Similarly Russia and America need to concentrate on jointly destroying their common agreed enemy - the Islamic State - under a UN mandated Security Council Resolution - rather than acting independently — and dangerously - of each other whilst arguing about Assad’s fate as President or Syria’s inclusion in any proposed UN force.

President Putin warned that the stakes of operating outside a UN Security Council resolution are high:
“Russia stands ready to work together with its partners on the basis of full consensus, but we consider the attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous. They could lead to a collapse of the entire architecture of international organizations, and then indeed there would be no other rules left but the rule of force.

We would get a world dominated by selfishness rather than collective work, a world increasingly characterized by dictate rather than equality. There would be less of a chain of democracy and freedom, and that would be a world where true independent states would be replaced by an ever-growing number of de facto protectorates and externally controlled territories.

On the basis of international law, we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism.

Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces that are resolutely resisting those who, just like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind. And, naturally, the Muslim countries are to play a key role in the coalition, even more so because the Islamic State does not only pose a direct threat to them, but also desecrates one of the greatest world religions by its bloody crimes.”

President Obama also understands the risks of acting unilaterally:
“No matter how powerful our military, how strong our economy, we understand the United States cannot solve the world’s problems alone.”

With Russian airstrikes seriously escalating the conflict in Syria - Obama and Putin need to urgently sponsor that Security Council resolution before the Syrian sinkhole opens even wider.

America's Policy Mistakes Give Islamic State Big Breaks


[Published 24 September 2015]


America’s ongoing insistence on wanting Syria’s President - Bashar al-Assad - removed from power - continues to hinder American policy on removing the Islamic State as a threat to international peace and security.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly made it patently clear to America on 2 June 2015 that the issue of removing Assad as Syria’s President should not be confused with removal of the Islamic State from the world scene:
“The U.S.‘s “obsession” with [Syria’s President] Assad isn’t helping in the common fight against the threat from Islamic State…

People put the fate of one person whom they hate above the fight against terrorism. Islamic State can go “very far” unless stopped, and air strikes alone “are not going to do the trick.

If people continue to acquiesce with what is going on and continue to acquiesce with those who categorically refuse to start the political process until Bashar Assad disappears, then I’m not very optimistic for the future of this region…”

America should have:
1. accepted Lavrov’s sage advice

2. acknowledged the ineffectiveness of its coalition led air strikes in preventing the Islamic State rapidly expanding its occupation into large areas of Syrian and Iraqi sovereign territory causing the horrific murder, brutal beheading and ethnic cleansing of its civilian populations

3. joined Russia in preparing an alternative agreed plan of action to defeat the Islamic State
America missed this opportunity - enabling the Islamic State to continue its policy of conquest and subjugation contributing to the current refugee crisis now threatening to sink the European Union’s capacity to meet the tide of human misery knocking on its door.
Two earlier unanimous UN Security Council Resolutions — Resolutions 2170 and 2199 — had specified measures short of military action aimed at stopping the Islamic State.

Both however have failed to halt Islamic State’s brutal advance.

Resolution 2170 — passed on 15 August 2014 - clearly enunciated the Security Council’s revulsion at the Islamic State’s territorial grab and genocidal intentions following the self-declaration of the Islamic State in June 2014 - stressing:
“that terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States, and international and regional organizations to impede, impair, isolate and incapacitate the terrorist threat,”

Only a third Security Council resolution urging military action binding on “all States”can hope to meet this Security Council prescription.

American Secretary for State John Kerry has apparently learnt nothing from Lavrov’s June warning - declaring mantra-like on 19 September:
“We (America and Russia) share the same goals. We share the goal of ridding the region of ISIL. They (Russia) allege that they also share the goal of a political transition that leads to a stable, whole, united secular Syria.”

Kerry continues to tie the fate of the Islamic State to the fate of Assad — which will assuredly fall on deaf Russian ears.

America and Russia need to jointly sponsor the passage of that third Security Council resolution authorizing military action against the Islamic State by a UN-commanded armed force under Article 42 of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.

Negotiating that Resolution’s terms can be considerably expedited by understandings being reached with Russia that once that UN Mandated-force is constituted:
1. America and its coalition partners will only continue air strikes on the Islamic State as part of any such UN force

2. Those American-backed rebel forces seeking Assad’s overthrow and those Russian-backed Assad forces defending Assad will be respectively withdrawn behind agreed red lines until the Islamic State is routed.
Syria’s seven million displaced people may then just be able to see the slightest glimmer of light at the end of a long and very dark tunnel.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Russia And America Must Jointly Confront Islamic State



[Published 18 September 2015]


The possibility that Russia and America may at long last be seeking common ground on confronting Islamic State has been increased with US Secretary of State John Kerry revealing that his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov has approached America proposing military talks over Syria.

Kerry told reporters:
“The Russians proposed in the conversation I had today and the last conversation specifically that we have military-to-military conversation and meeting in order to discuss ... precisely what will be done to de-conflict with respect to any potential risks that might be run, and to have a complete and clear understanding as to the road ahead and what the intentions are,”
Russia is concerned to ensure that America will not take the opportunity to use any jointly agreed action against Islamic State as a pretext to try and oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or weaken his hold on power.

America suspects that Moscow’s motives in sending 200 Russian naval infantry soldiers, seven tanks, a portable air traffic control station and components of an air defense system to an Assad-stronghold airbase near Latakia on the Mediterranean coast is part of an ongoing military build-up to support Assad’s continued hold on power.

Russia would also not have been too impressed with White House spokesman Josh Earnest reportedly stating a few days earlier:
“What we would prefer to see from the Russians is a more constructive engagement with the 60-member coalition that’s led by the United States that’s focused on degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL,”
Eleven members of that US coalition comprise a group known as the London 11 supporting and arming the rebels fighting Assad for the last five years.

American and Russian distrust of the other’s possible motives in Syria were successfully put aside when they co-operated to have all chemical weapons in Syria held by Assad and his opponents destroyed by jointly securing the passing of Security Council Resolution 2118 (2013) on 27 September 2013.

Such agreement - reached between Russia and America without threatening to either restrict or extend Assad’s hold on power - was an impressive diplomatic achievement. However it only came about after they both decided to focus on destroying all chemical weapons in Syria — rather than focusing on whether Assad or the rebels was responsible for the use of chemical weapons that caused the deaths of 1429 Syrians on 21 August 2013.

Security Council Resolution 2118 ended the deadlock that had paralysed the Security Council’s efforts to end the civil war in Syria for the previous thirty months.

Russia and America now need to solely focus on defeating Islamic State - whilst putting their support for Assad or his overthrow on the backburner until Islamic State is defeated.

They can achieve this by jointly sponsoring another Security Council resolution under Chapter VII article 42 of the United Nations Charter which empowers the Security Council to:
“take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.”
Every day’s delay in securing the passage of such a resolution - and acting on it - means further deaths, injuries and suffering for the Syrian and Iraqi populations at the hands of Islamic State. Internal displacement of those populations inside Syria and Iraq, or to neighbouring countries - or even into the European Union - has had disastrous consequences that have shocked all people of compassion and goodwill over the last three weeks.

The time for procrastinating, arguing and blaming is surely over.

Obama And Kerry Must Stop Playing Games With Israel's Future


[Published 9 September 2015]


Attempting to secure the Congressional vote required to confirm President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has necessitated Secretary for State John Kerry pledging Obama’s “rock solid” diplomatic support and increased military assistance for Israel — the bitterest opponent of Obama’s Iranian proposal.

Speaking at the National Constitution Center on 2 September—Kerry said:
"And diplomatically, our support for Israel also remains rock solid as we continue to oppose every effort to delegitimize the Jewish state, or to pass biased resolutions against it in international bodies."
Kerry continued:
"I take a back seat to no one in my commitment to the security of Israel, a commitment I demonstrated through my 28-plus years in the Senate. And as Secretary of State, I am fully conscious of the existential nature of the choice Israel must make…"
If Kerry is to be seriously believed then he must reassure Congress — irrespective of its vote on Iran - that the commitments made to Israel by President Bush in his letter dated 14 April 2004 supporting Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza will be scrupulously adhered to by the current Obama administration.

Kerry unequivocally supported those Presidential commitments when interviewed by Tim Russert on Meet the Press on 18 April 2004:
RUSSERT: On Thursday, President Bush broke with the tradition and policy of six predecessors when he said that Israel can keep part of the land seized in the 1967 Middle East War and asserted the Palestinian refugees cannot go back to their particular homes. Do you support President Bush?

KERRY: Yes.

RUSSERT: Completely?

KERRY: Yes.
Those commitments included:
1. Preventing any attempt to impose any plan other than President Bush’s Roadmap envisioned by him on 24 June 2002.
2. Being strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state.
3. Understanding that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement would need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.
4. Accepting as part of a final peace settlement that Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.
5. Acknowledging that in light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it would be unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations would be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949,
Bush’s commitments were overwhelmingly endorsed by the House of Representatives 407-9 on 23 June 2004 and the Senate 95-3 the next day (“the Bush/Congress Commitments”).

Obama attempted to water down these commitments in 2011 by suggesting possible Israeli land swaps be made for any territory Israel acquired in the West Bank.

Kerry piggybacked Obama in 2013 - inducing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resume negotiations with Israel with this letter:
Dear Mr. President

In response to your question regarding our position on the issue of borders, this letter is to confirm that the position set forth by President Obama in his May 2011 speeches, that Palestine’s borders with Israel should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, still represents our position. As negotiations begin, I reiterate our commitment to this position. As you confirmed, this letter is and will remain private and confidential between you and me.”
Playing such furtive games with Abbas contrary to the Bush/Congress Commitments is now surely over following Kerry’s statement. Those commitments are set in concrete - binding all American administrations including Obama’s.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Iran - Is Obama Conning 340 Rabbis or 200 Generals?


[Published 3 September 2015]


The upcoming debate and vote in the US Congress to endorse the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran (JCPOA) has become even more critical now that President Obama has reportedly secured the necessary votes to veto any Congressional resolution of disapproval.

Congress has been flooded with petitions - ostensibly neither Democrat nor Republican - urging Congressmen to cast their votes by crossing political party lines.

340 Rabbis in their appeal to Congress dated 17 August — have made the following assertions:
1. The Obama administration has successfully brought together the major international powers to confront Iran over its nuclear ambitions. The broad international sanctions moved Iran to enter this historic agreement. Should this agreement be rejected by the U.S. Congress, those sanctions will end. There will be no new negotiations, as the other member countries are fully in favor of this agreement and have no desire to re-negotiate.

2. We understand that while this agreement blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb, we recognize it does not deal with Iran’s support for terror, but that was never the purpose of these talks.

On the other hand some 200 retired generals and admirals in their open letter to Congress dated 25 August — have counterclaimed:
1. As you know, on July 14, 2015, the United States and five other nations announced that a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reached with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. In our judgment as former senior military officers, the agreement will not have that effect.

2. There is no credibility within JCPOA’s inspection process or the ability to snap back sanctions once lifted, should Iran violate the agreement. In this and other respects, the JCPOA would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.

3. The agreement as constructed does not “cut off every pathway” for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. To the contrary, it actually provides Iran with a legitimate path to doing that simply by abiding by the deal. JCPOA allows all the infrastructure the Iranians need for a nuclear bomb to be preserved and enhanced. Notably, Iran is allowed to: continue to enrich uranium; develop and test advanced centrifuges; and continue work on its Arak heavy-water plutonium reactor. Collectively, these concessions afford the Iranians, at worst, a ready breakout option and, at best, an incipient nuclear weapons capability a decade from now.

These claims are highly disturbing and require a reasoned and detailed rebuttal by President Obama prior to the Congress vote — especially since President Obama sought to assure America to the contrary in the following statement made by him on 15 July at his Press Conference:
"It [JCPOA] solves one particular problem, which is making sure they don’t have a bomb. And the point I’ve repeatedly made and I believe is hard to dispute is that it’ll be a lot easier for us to check Iran’s nefarious activities, to push back against the other areas where they operate contrary to our interests or our allies’ interests if they don’t have the bomb."

The considered opinion of 200 retired generals and admirals cannot be brushed off with a deafening silence from President Obama — nor can those 340 Rabbis who call for support of the President on the basis of an “understanding”.

Before it votes - Congress should demand that President Obama provide it with written reasons substantiating that Iran cannot get the bomb under the terms of the concluded JCPOA.

Who has Obama conned - the Rabbis or the Generals? Congress—and the world - need to know.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Palestine - Changed Narratives Need To Nurture New Negotiations


[Published 26 August 2015]


France is not expected to present its anticipated draft proposal for the declaration of a Palestinian State to the U.N. Security Council in September — having reportedly been criticized both by Israel - which does not want any external solution imposed on it - and by the PLO - which fears the Security Council will not meet its demands.

The Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap are dead and buried — even if the headstone is yet to be ceremoniously unveiled marking the actual date when the collective records, transcripts and secret minutes detailing fruitless negotiations conducted during the last 20 years between Israel and the now-disbanded Palestinian Authority were finally consigned to the graveyard of history.

It is now also becoming increasingly apparent that creating a 22nd independent Arab State between Israel, Jordan and Egypt can:
1. ever peacefully eventuate without Israel, Jordan and Egypt’s express consent

2. be unilaterally imposed on Israel as a result of any resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council contrary to the express terms of its own Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
Filling this potentially explosive void will require the groundwork to first be meticulously prepared before any new negotiations can actually be undertaken to try and resolve competing Arab and Jewish claims to sovereignty in the remaining 6% of the territory of the former Mandate for Palestine — Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), East Jerusalem and Gaza — where sovereignty still remains undetermined (“the disputed territories”).

Such groundwork will require the following factual narratives to have been commonly agreed on and adopted by the negotiating parties prior to commencing negotiations to resolve the conflict:
1. Two of Israel’s immediately adjoining neighbours — Jordan and Egypt — have recognised the existence of Israel as a sovereign State in peace treaties signed by them with Israel in 1979 and 1994 respectively. These peace treaties have been honoured and respected during difficult periods when they might have been abrogated. They stand as a tribute to the determination of all three sovereign States to maintain a state of peace and avoid a position of confrontation as differences were resolved. Jordan and Egypt are accordingly indispensable parties to any new negotiations with Israel — if Arab sovereignty is to be established in any parts of the disputed territories.

2. Two of Israel’s other immediately adjoining neighbours — the PLO and Hamas — have since 1964 and 1988 respectively maintained in their respective Charters that the Jews have no claims to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in any part of the territory of the Mandate for Palestine vested in the Jews by the unanimous vote of all 51 members of the League of Nations in 1922. Including either the PLO or Hamas in any new negotiations is pointless and meaningless whilst those Charters remain unrevoked.

3. The on-going conflict needs to be re-branded “the Jewish-Arab conflict” replacing “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. The current conflict had its origins in the events that took place during World War 1 — well before the State of Israel was declared in 1948. Marginalising the ongoing conflict by avoiding any consideration of the events that occurred between 1915 and 1948 has operated to paper over any proper discussion of the many opportunities presented to and rejected by the Arabs in relation to gaining territorial sovereignty in the disputed territories during that time - and indeed after 1948. This could impact on the current Arab claims to sovereignty over any of the disputed territories which may have been jeopardised or prejudiced as a result.

4. Recognition that the territory of the Mandate for Palestine is currently under Jewish sovereignty in 17% (Israel), Arab sovereignty in 78% (Jordan) with the remaining 6% comprising the disputed territories.

5. Claims that the building of Jewish settlements in the disputed territory are illegal in international law — based on the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention - need to be reconsidered having regard to the following prior territory-specific piece of legislation — Article 6 of the 1922 Mandate for Palestine — legalising such Jewish settlement:
"The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”

Pursuant to this provision — preserved in 1945 by article 80 of the UN Charter - Jews have legally settled in the disputed territories between 1922 and 1947 - and since 1967.

6. The continued use of language referring to the disputed territories as being “occupied territory” or “Occupied Palestinian Territories” and the need for Israel to “end the occupation” fails to recognise that it was the Jews whose occupation in the disputed territories was first abruptly ended in 1948 — after every single Jew then living there was forcibly driven out by six invading Arab armies and not allowed to return until after the Six Day War in 1967.

Unless these narratives are changed, nurtured and mutually accepted by the parties before formal negotiations actually begin - one can confidently predict that any fanfare trumpeting yet another round of negotiations will be destined to see those negotiations inevitably end up in their own designated graveyard plot alongside the tomb housing the Oslo-Roadmap failed negotiations.

Negotiations based on shaky foundations without real substance can only guarantee their eventual death-throes.

Palestine - More Straight Talking - Less Doublespeak


[Published 13 August 2015]


The well-publicised “secret meeting” recently held in Jordan between Israel’s newest negotiations Minister Silvan Shalom and perennial PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat is but the latest in a 20 years old meaningless talkfest that has seen little tangible signs of ending the 100 years old Jewish-Arab conflict — despite two offers made by Israel in 2000/2001 and 2008 and rejected by the Palestinian Authority.

Talks have been conducted on Israel’s side within a framework comprising the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2003 Bush Roadmap (with 14 documented Israeli reservations.)

Mahmoud Abbas’s approach to those Israeli reservations should have sounded alarm bells from the start:
“They don’t interest me…

We do not accept each side picking and choosing only those specific elements that are convenient for them in the road map.

The map was prepared last December and we accepted it, despite our own comments and reservations. We wanted to give this initiative a chance, but it’s impossible to continue inventing comments and reservations after it was submitted.”

One of Israel’s reservations stated:
“In connection to both the introductory statements and the final settlement, declared references must be made to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel."

Abbas’s consistent refusal to accept these terms from the outset has seen the negotiations reduced to a farce.

Those proponents of the two-state solution who continue to allow Abbas to maintain this rejectionist stance are actively contributing to its demise.

The Roadmap further states unequivocally:
“A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel’s readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established….”

Those do-gooders particularly in the European Union and the United States still supporting the “two-state solution” seem to have lost sight of this clearly agreed democratic destination.

Democracy in any projected Palestinian State has been shoved under the carpet and out of sight — without a whimper from the world’s democracies.

Any signs of democracy are noticeably absent in both the West Bank and Gaza — where elections for the President have not been held since 2005, parliamentary elections were last held in 2006 and no single government exercises authority in both areas.

Tongue-tied Western democracies make no objection to this farcical state of affairs - guaranteeing continuing negotiations remain a diplomatic joke.

Another Israeli reservation consigned to the garbage bin by Abbas was allowed to pass without comment or objection by the Western democracies:
“The character of the provisional Palestinian state will be determined through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel."

The Palestinian Authority no longer exists — having been disbanded on 3 January 2013.

By Decree number 1 for 2013 — Abbas unilaterally tore up the Oslo Accords:
“Official documents, seals, signs and letterheads of the Palestinian National Authority official and national institutions shall be amended by replacing the name ‘Palestinian National Authority’ whenever it appears by the name ‘State of Palestine’ and by adopting the emblem of the State of Palestine.”

Negotiating parameters established between identified parties pursuant to Security Council Resolution 242, the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap have been replaced by a set of fictitious propositions lacking negotiating partners.

Western democracies supporting this disingenuous state of affairs should hang their heads in shame. Unless they engage in more straight talking and less doublespeak — any negotiated two-state solution will remain pure fantasy.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Palestine - Chickens Coming Home To Roost For Turkey


[Published 7 August 2015]


Turkey’s championing of the Palestinian Arabs in their quest for an independent State has come back to bite Turkey with a vengeance - as Kurdish Statehood is once again firmly placed on the political agenda.

Turkey became the first country in the world with an ambassador to “Palestine” - after its envoy in Ramallah, ≈ûakir √ñzkan Torunlar, presented his Letter of Credence to “State of Palestine” President Mahmoud Abbas on 14 April 2013.

Incredibly this self-declared “State of Palestine” - admitted as a member State of UNESCO on 31 October 2011 and as a non-State observer to the United Nations on 29 November 2012 with Turkey’s active support — lacks the four following criteria required by the 1933 Montevideo Convention to qualify as a State:
1. a permanent population;

2. a defined territory;

3. a government; and

4. capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
Turkey’s swift recognition of this illegally constituted state for the “Palestinians” — a people only created for the first time in 1964 by the PLO Charter — starkly contrasts with Turkey’s consistent refusal to grant its 15 million ancient Kurdish community — part of the largest stateless minority group in the world - the identical right to their own State in Northern Turkey for the last 90 years.

Tim Arango sums up the current situation:
"The Kurds - a population of roughly 30 million spread across Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria - have historically been treated as second-class citizens by autocratic governments and have long dreamed of their own state. Their aspirations were thwarted by Western powers after World War I, when new borders were drawn that carved up the Kurdish communities. But slowly, during the upheaval of the Middle East, the Kurds are now reaching for self-determination.

The battle for Kobani last year in Syria, which ended in victory for the Kurds after a month long American-led air campaign, drew Kurdish fighters from around the world and fanned the flames of pan-Kurdish nationalism.

In Iraq, after the Islamic State swept across the north of the country last year and captured Mosul, Kurdish forces took charge of Kirkuk, a city long contested between Kurds and Arabs that sits on a sea of oil and is considered something of a spiritual homeland for the Kurds."

Gains by the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) in the last Turkish elections at the expense of Turkey’s President Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development Party (A.K.P) have put added pressure on Kurdish demands for their own State.

Barham Salih - former prime minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region — has stated:
“I think this is a milestone for Kurdish people and for Turkish politics. Not long ago, Kurds were officially non-existent, at best identified as mountain Turks. After decades of denial and persecution, the time for the Kurds has arrived.”

Elif Safak - one of Turkey’s most famous novelists - wrote in Time magazine:
“It is one of the biggest ironies of Turkish political history that the Kurds — once belittled by the elites as a ‘backward culture’ — have become the major progressive force in the country.”

Turkey and the Kurds now appear to be hurtling toward renewing the all-out conflict that plagued Kurdish Statehood demands for decades - following a suicide attack that killed 32 people in the town of Suruc along the Syrian border.

Erdogan — robbed of his parliamentary majority by the Kurds - is in no mood to support Kurdish Statehood — a position he so enthusiastically embraced for the Palestinians.

Turkey seems set to pay a huge price for Erdogan’s hypocritical double standards.

The chickens are indeed coming home to roost.

Iran Deal Presages UN Military Action Against Islamic State


[Published 24 July 2015]


China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, America and the European Union (E3/EU+3) — the Septet — have shown a rare degree of international cooperation in signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear horizons.

Such unanimity presages the possibility of a United Nations Security Council Resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizing military action against Islamic State — already declared a threat to international peace and security in Security Council Resolutions 2170 and 2199.

The Security Council’s inability to commence military action to free vast tracts of Syria and Iraq and its captive civilian populations from Islamic State rule — has been frustrated by the following conflicting national interests of Septet members and Iran:
1. Russia and Iran backing the Assad regime in Syria

2. America, France, Germany and the United Kingdom forming part of the London 11 supporting rebels attempting to overthrow the Assad regime

3. China and Russia vetoing Security Council resolutions aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict.

4. Shiite Iran — backed by Russia - focusing on preserving its interests in Iraq - the first Arab country to be ruled by a Shia government since Saladin overthrew the Fatimids in Egypt in 1171.
Preserving these competing interests could explain the deliberate and extraordinary decision by the Septet to not demand changes in Iraq’s current aggressive and hostile behaviour — as President Obama’s remarks at a news conference hailing the JPCOA make clear:
“And my hope is that building on this deal, we can continue to have conversations with Iran that incentivize them to behave differently in the region, to be less aggressive, less hostile, more cooperative, to operate the way we expect nations in the international community to behave. But we’re not counting on it."

So this deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior. It’s not contingent on Iran suddenly operating like a liberal democracy. It solves one particular problem, which is making sure they don’t have a bomb. And the point I’ve repeatedly made and I believe is hard to dispute is that it’ll be a lot easier for us to check Iran’s nefarious activities, to push back against the other areas where they operate contrary to our interests or our allies’ interests if they don’t have the bomb.

And — and so will they change their behavior? Will we seek to gain more cooperation from them in resolving issues like Syria or what’s happening in Iraq, to stop encouraging Houthis in Yemen, we’ll continue to engage with them.

Although keep in mind that unlike the Cuba situation, we’re not normalizing diplomatic relations here. So the contacts will continue to be limited, but will we try to encourage them to take a more constructive path? Of course. But we’re not betting on it. And in fact, having resolved the nuclear issue, we will be in a stronger position to work with Israel, work with the Gulf countries, work with our other partners, work with the Europeans to bring additional pressure to bear on Iran around those issues that remain of concern.”

Iran - diplomatically unscathed, emboldened and financially enriched once the current international sanctions omelette has been unscrambled — will not change its behaviour — nor will the Septet members have to abandon their perceived national interests.

Iran’s macabre dance with death will assuredly continue in the Middle East.

Obama could be betting this latest show of Septet-Iranian co-operation will finally procure Security Council approval to destroy their common enemy - Islamic State — which Obama’s American-led coalition of 62 States has spectacularly failed to accomplish.

Hopefully Obama’s giant gamble pays this huge dividend.

Abu Dhabi And Sydney - A Tale Of Two Cities


[Published 15 July 2015]


An Australian woman — Jodi Magi - has been arrested, jailed and deported from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates after being found guilty of “writing bad words on social media about a person” — reportedly a cyber-crime in the United Arab Emirates.

Her crime?

Photographing a car in her apartment block that was parked across two disabled parking spaces without any disability stickers, blacking out the number plate, putting the photo on Facebook without any other identifiable detail and drawing attention to the seemingly selfish act.

Someone in the apartment block apparently complained to police and the case went to an Abu Dhabi court in June.

Ms Magi - who has lived in Abu Dhabi with her husband since 2012 - said she was forced to sign multiple documents in Arabic without any translation.

Two weeks after her conviction she was told she would be deported.

Last week Ms Magi tried to voluntarily deport herself and pay the approximately $3,600 fine - but Abu Dhabi authorities would not allow her to leave without presenting herself to the court.

When she did she was jailed - spending 53 hours in custody, shackled at the ankles, strip-searched, blood tested, sleeping on a concrete floor without a mattress or pillow, without toilet paper or eating utensils - before being deported.

Meanwhile in Sydney an on-line petition signed by hundreds of members of the Muslim community has successfully resulted in the cancellation of an Eid Dinner organised by the Australian Federal Police marking the end of Ramadan — whilst another similar dinner organised in Melbourne will proceed.

The petition - urging invited Muslim community leaders, Imams, representatives and prominent personalities to boycott the Eid Dinners — made the following charges (among others):
1. The Australian Government has over the last 12 months executed a concerted and prolonged campaign of anti-Muslim hysteria, pulling out all stops to demonise, marginalise and victimise the Muslim community. Under the pretext of international developments and a supposed impending domestic threat, many tranches of counter-terrorism legislation have been passed that ostensibly target Muslims specifically.

2. Federal and State Government bodies such as their police forces (including the Australian Federal Police) and intelligence agencies (such as ASIO) have been a key strategic component in the Australian Government’s deliberate targeting of the Muslim community, used to execute phoney raids that have often amounted to nothing.

3. An Islamopbobic atmosphere is directly resulting from the actions of police and government agencies.
Regrettably the petition failed to note that the “many tranches of counter-terrorism legislation” were adopted with the support of the Opposition and after extensive consideration of amendments proposed by the bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

Making this petition an attempted political “cause celebre” against the Australian Government will elicit no sympathy from the alternative Government.

The Muslim community in Australia has the perfect right to express any concerns it has with its alleged treatment. It however needs to document and substantiate the generalised allegations made in the petition if they are to have any credibility whatsoever.

That such a petition can appear on-line and its authors and signatories not be subjected to the kind of treatment visited on Ms Magi in Abu Dhabi is something they should seriously reflect on. So too should those Muslim community representatives who spurned the Australian Federal Police invitation — rather than attending the function and repudiating the statements expressed in the petition as representing the views of the Muslim community.

They should all dwell on Dickens' words in his “Tale of Two Cities”:
“Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; — the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Islamic State - Confusion, Delusion and Illusion


[Published 10 July 2015]


Australia’s Minister for Communications — Malcolm Turnbull — has sought to play down the threat Islamic State poses to world peace and security with these few throwaway unsubstantiated sentences during an address to the Sydney Institute on 7 July:
”... Da’esh is not Hitler’s Germany, Tojo’s Japan or Stalin’s Russia. Its leaders dream that they, like the Arab armies of the 7th and 8th century, will sweep across the Middle East into Europe itself.

They predict that before long they will be stabling their horses in the Vatican.

We should be careful not to say or do things which can be seen to add credibility to those delusions.”

Turnbull used the term “Daesh” — instead of Islamic State - on 16 occasions during his address.

This was in itself an indication of the confusion that he and other leading politicians around the world are experiencing - continuing to use an outdated Arab acronym from 2013 to identify an enemy whose original objectives have now extended far beyond Syria and Iraq — as its self-declaration of Statehood on 29 June 2014 makes clear:
“Accordingly, the “Iraq and Shām” in the name of the Islamic State is henceforth removed from all official deliberations and communications, and the official name is the Islamic State from the date of this declaration.”

Turnbull ignored that Islamic State has since then seized control of an area of territory in Syria and Iraq larger than Great Britain — whilst 20 groups in Sudan, Philippines, India, Algeria, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and most notably Boko Haram in Nigeria have sworn allegiance to Islamic State.

Boko Haram has been responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and displacement of an estimated 1 million people in the past year and now reportedly controls an area about 52,000 square kilometres - roughly the size of Slovakia.

Regrettably delusions are the stuff wars are made of - as Hitler’s Germany demonstrated so horribly in World War 11. When fed with declarations of allegiance and support from others their delusional goals become an achievable reality in their warped minds.

Failing to immediately extinguish these Turnbull-identified Islamic State delusions ensures the continuation of the belligerent actions carried out by Islamic State as detailed in Security Council Resolutions 2170 dated 15 August 2014 and 2199 dated 12 February 2015:
1. the displacement of millions of people,

2.seizing control of oilfields, dams and power plants,

3. extortion, kidnap ransoms and stealing money from the territory it controls

4. abductions of women and children, their exploitation and abuse, including rape, sexual abuse, forced marriage,

Turnbull only mentioned in passing the prescription needed to end such continuing atrocities and the termination of such dangerous delusions:
“The… most important part of the Government’s response to Da’esh, is of course lending the support of our armed forces to defeating them in the field. The means of doing so are well beyond the scope of this speech, but the roll back and destruction of Da’esh in Iraq and Syria is critical to ending not just their barbaric rule in the Middle East, but their appeal beyond it, even, as we know, to a few of our own citizens.”

The illusion that Islamic State can be destroyed by the 62 nation coalition presently led by America — rather than by a United Nations force sanctioned under Article 42 of Chapter V11 of the United Nations Charter — represents a lack of genuine international will to stop Islamic State — and its threat to international peace and security - dead in its tracks.

The parallels with failing to stop Hitler’s Germany much earlier become clearer with each passing day.

State Of Palestine And Islamic State Highlight International Double Standards


[Published 2 July 2015]


UNESCO, the United Nations and just this week - the Vatican - have recognised that the “State of Palestine” exists — despite the fact that it lacks all four basic requirements laid down in Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention 1933:
“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:
a) a permanent population;
b) a defined territory;
c) government; and
d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”
Reverend Federico Lombardi — the Vatican spokesman — confirmed the Holy See’s stance:
“Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists”

The Vatican is justifiably concerned to protect Christian communities in the Middle East against further ongoing death, dispersion and destruction of their churches as has occurred to Christian communities in Syria and Iraq during the last twelve months.

Easing the concerns of Christians in the West Bank would have certainly played a part in the Vatican’s decision.

Bethlehem’s Christian population has been reduced from 60% in the 1990’s - prior to coming under Palestinian Authority control in 1995 - to 15% Christian by 2013 - whilst 1,000 Christians are reported to be leaving every year.

However Christian population growth in Israel last year stood at 1.3%.

Risking a rift in its relations with Israel displays poor judgement by the Vatican given these realities.

Those 107 member States voting for Palestine’s admission to UNESCO on 31 October 2011 did so in direct contravention of Article II (2) of the UNESCO Constitution which provides:
”...states not members of the United Nations Organization may be admitted to membership of the Organization….”

Voting to admit an entity into UNESCO that is not a lawful state is beyond understanding.

The UN General Assembly compounded UNESCO’s amazing decision when 138 UN member States voted to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state” on 29 November 2012.

The rule of law was thrown out the window with these UNESCO and UN decisions.

The international response to Islamic State has been markedly different since its declaration on 29 June 2014.

In just one year Islamic State has pillaged, plundered, beheaded and murdered its way through Syria and Iraq - now governing the population and controlling state assets in an area larger than Great Britain. Pledges of allegiance have come from many terrorist groups including Boko Haram and Sinai Province.

Islamic State meets all four Montevideo Convention criteria.

Yet British Prime Minister David Cameron urges Islamic State’s existence not be recognised by simply not using its self-declared name — reportedly telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
“I wish the BBC would stop calling it ‘Islamic State’ because it is not an Islamic State. What it is, is an appalling barbarous regime ...it is a perversion of the religion of Islam and many Muslims listening to this programme will recoil every time they hear the words.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has an even whackier view:
“This is a terrorist group and not a state. I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists. The Arabs call it ‘Daesh’ and I will be calling them the ‘Daesh cutthroats’.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reportedly used the term “death cult” 346 times since last September.

The Pope too seems reluctant to use the term “Islamic State”.

President Obama uses the acronym “ISIL” to deny it is Islamic or a State.

“Palestine” — not a State — is recognised as a State. “Islamic State” — a State —is not recognised as a State.

No wonder the world is in such a state of turmoil and confusion.

Palestine - European Union Risks "Jew-hater" Label


[Published 24 June 2015]


The European Union (EU) runs the risk of being labelled “Jew-hater” - should it proceed with its plans requiring supermarkets and other retailers to label products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) differently from those made by Jews in Israel.

No matter what spin the EU uses to justify any such discriminatory labelling — the EU will be seen to be actively supporting the 2005 Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel — whose manifesto states:
“We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel ... We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel ...”

These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

The BDS campaign regards the ending of all trade and economic relations with Jews living in Judea and Samaria as just the “first step” in its campaign of racial vilification, denigration and delegitimisation designed to ultimately dismantle the Jewish State.

The EU appears to be readying itself to help the BDS campaign achieve this “first step” — as the foreign ministers of 16 of the EU’s 28 member states have urged EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini to introduce the labelling regulations—stating in a letter dated 16 April that they:
“remain of the view that this is an important step in the full implementation of EU longstanding policy, in relation to the preservation of the two-state solution. The continued expansion of Israeli illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and other territories occupied by Israel since 1967 threatens the prospect of a just and final peace agreement.”

These foreign ministers conveniently ignore that:
1. The two-state solution — as contemplated by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap — is dead and buried after fruitless negotiations and rejected Israeli offers made during the past 20 years have all come to nought. Any hope of peacefully resolving the competing territorial claims of both Jews and Arabs to Judea and Samaria under these negotiating parameters is a figment of the EU’s imagination.

2.The Palestinian Authority—Israel’s negotiating partner under Oslo and the Roadmap - no longer exists — having been disbanded by decree of Mahmoud Abbas on 3 January 2013.

3.Earlier two-state solutions were rejected by the Arabs:
(i) when that result could have been achieved with the stroke of an Arab League pen at any time between 1948-1967 or

(ii) when previously proposed by:
(a) Britain in 1923
(b) the Peel Commission in 1937
(c) the United Nations in 1947
Jews are residing legally in Judea and Samaria pursuant to the rights vested in the Jewish people under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

The EU labelling diktat — if it proceeds — will have very little economic effect.

Such EU action will however align the EU squarely with those BDS racists and Jew-haters who continue to drool at the prospect of Israel being replaced by another Arab and Islamic State.

The EU will indeed merit the “Jew-hater” tag - should its ill-considered and misconceived labelling action proceed.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

BDS - Sinister Hoax With Genocidal Intent


[Published 18 June 2015]


The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) instituted in 2005 by “Palestinian civil Society” against Israel and its civil society continues to attract people from all around the world—including Jews and Israeli Arabs - who support the campaign without realising its genocidal objective.

The BDS manifesto makes clear that its punitive measures are to be pursued until Israel ends:
“its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands”

These are code words effectively calling for Israel’s destruction since:
1. According to the PLO: "Israel is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab home land, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation."

2. According to Hamas: "Israel is an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it."

Those who have:
1. boycotted theatre performances by Israeli groups in Barcelona,
2. stripped supermarket shelves of Israeli food products in London,
3. marched in South Africa to protest Woolworths stocking Israeli made goods or
4. protested outside Max Brenner outlets in Sydney

are actually supporting a racist campaign that calls for the total elimination of the Jewish State.

However the European Union (EU) — mindful of the Jew-hatred endemic in the BDS campaign - yet anxious to appease its Arab trading partners and burgeoning Arab populations within its member countries — has targeted only the West Bank — presently working to enact measures requiring Israel to label products coming from Jewish settlements there - following guidelines established on 18 July 2013.

These EU policy initiatives are ostensibly based on the 1980 Venice Declaration — which stressed that:
1. Israel needed to end its territorial occupation of the West Bank
2. Israeli settlements constituted a serious obstacle to the peace process in the Middle East.
3. Jewish settlements established there - as well as modifications in population and property — were illegal under international law.

The EU position on the illegality of those Jewish settlements has now been totally discredited following the recent decision by Norway’s largest pension fund — KPL - to sell its shareholdings in Heidelberg Cement AG and Cemex SAB de SV - whose two Israeli subsidiaries are currently operating quarries established after 1967 in Area C of the West Bank.

Under the 1995 Oslo Accords Israel has sole civil and security control in Area C — comprising 60% of the West Bank where no more than 4% of the West Bank’s Arab population currently lives.

KPL first sought advice on the legal situation pertaining in the West Bank from the Oslo-based International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI) - an independent institute focusing on good governance, peace and conflict, and international law.

The advice completely refutes the EU’s long held position.

Senior ILPI Partner Gro Nyusten — former Norwegian Foreign Affairs staffer, former Associate Professor of International Humanitarian Law/the Law on Armed Conflict at the University of Oslo, from 2008 Associate Professor at the Defence Staff University College in Oslo and former chair of the Council on Ethics of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global — advised KPL that:
1. international law does not provide “unambiguous answers”

2. it was “highly probable” that the operation under Israeli licence of the subject quarries was inconsistent with the requirements of the law of belligerent occupation

3. a case on quarrying activities in Area C went all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court - but was rejected because the court concluded that it raised issues that could only be resolved through political channels and not through the court

4. Occupation law did not prohibit Israel from making use of real property - but Israel’s role was restricted to that of a caretaker that must restore such property to the “occupied power” once the conflict has ended. Significantly Ms Nyusten failed to identify that the “occupied power” was Jordan - whose annexation of the West Bank in 1950 was declared illegal by every country except Great Britain and Pakistan.

5. The issue of whether Israel was entitled to open new quarries which did not exist before 1967 — was “controversial”.

6. The 1995 Oslo Accords (Oslo II) “presume” the ultimate transfer of Area C from Israeli to Palestinian control through so-called final status negotiations. Ms Nyusten however did not point to any provision in the Oslo Accords that supports this “presumption”.

Ms Nyusten’s legal opinion also failed to consider two territory-specific provisions in international law sanctioning the right of Jews to live in the West Bank for the purposes of reconstituting the Jewish National Home there — article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

In the end KPL — faced with no definitive international law to justify its decision to disinvest - concluded:
“that the ethical arguments carry the heaviest weight in this case”.

Ethics are not law.

EU decisions supposedly based on judicially determined principles of international law were exposed as myths that can no longer be legally or politically sustained.

The BDS hoax is set to swallow many more well-intended people into its Jew-hating vortex.

The EU could suffer a similar fate with the introduction of its labelling policies — no longer being able to rely on non-existent international law to camouflage that decision — whilst opening itself to the charge it is supporting a genocidal campaign designed to dismantle the Jewish State.

Common sense will hopefully prevail.

Beating The BDS Jew-haters


[Published 11 June 2015]


Recently, a group of 52 Harvard students - of all backgrounds and faiths - visited Israel for 10 days during the Harvard Israel Trek 2015

Sometimes the impact of such a trip cannot be expressed in prose - but can only be captured in poetry.

What follows is a poem - posted on the Harvard trek blog by Oliver Marjot - a British PhD candidate studying Medieval Latin at Harvard - that reflects his transformative experience.

Oliver expected that the Trek would confirm his reasonable European certainty of Israel’s arrogant oppression. That’s not quite the way things turned out.

Oliver’s Poem eloquently answers those who continue their vicious attempts to denigrate and delegitimize Israel by exhorting the boycott and isolation of Israel, its people, products, commercial enterprises, medical breakthroughs, academics and artists:
“To my newfound Love,

I came to you, Israel, wanting to hate you. To be confirmed in my reasonable European certainty of your arrogant oppression, lounging along the mediterranean coast, facing West in your vast carelessness and American wealth. I wanted to appreciate your history, but tut over the arrogant folly of your present. I wanted to cross my arms smugly, and shake my head over you, and then leave you to fight your unjust wars.

I wanted to take from you. To steal away some spiritual satisfaction, and sigh and pray, and shake my head over your spiritual folly as well. To see the sad spectacle of the Western wall, and bitterly laugh at your backward-looking notion that God sits high on Moriah Mount, distant and approachable. I wanted to smirk in my Protestant confidence, knowing that God is with me, even if you refuse to turn to him, standing instead starting blankly at a wall of cold stone, pushing scribbled slips of paper into the Holy mountain, not daring to raise your face, and ask with words.

I wanted to see your sights, to bask in your sun, to tramp my feet over your soil, to swim in your seas, to eat the fruit of your fields. I wanted to be amazed, to be interested, to be engaged. I wanted.

I didn’t realise you were broken as well as wealthy, fragile as well as strong. I didn’t realise that you suffer from a thousand voices clamouring in your head, and that some of those voices care about justice and democracy, and that some of them love their neighbours. I didn’t realise that a thousand enemies press on your borders, hoarding instruments of death, as chaos and darkness and madness consume the world every way you look. I didn’t realise that you care about your past - that some of those voices of yours treasure the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob every bit as much as I do. I didn’t realise. Nobody told me. Or maybe they did, and I refused to listen

I didn’t expect to fall in love with you. Your beauty caught me like a hook. Seeing you, I see what Solomon saw when he wrote about his Beloved. I see that homeland that Jesus loved. The lush green of your Galilee, the stark strength of your desert, the bare whiteness of your Judean hills. I love the Hebrew you speak, the churches your wear like flowers in your hair, the proud golden dome that crowns your head. I love the strength of your soldiers, the warmth of your sun, the joy of your songs, the peace of your kibbutzim.

This cold Boston air is a mockery of your spring warmth, and in this vast sprawl of concrete and red brick it’s no exaggeration to say that I yearn for your troubled horizons, your ancient hills. I’m not ashamed to say it. I love you.

I’m sorry I had to leave you. I know I have no right to love you. What’s ten days compared to a year, a childhood, a lifetime? Or the five-thousand year lifetime of a people? I know that you won’t remember me, that you probably barely even registered my short time with you. I’m sure my love means nothing to you amid the whispers of a million other lovers, and you’re so very far away.

But I will come back to you. I will. I’ll leave these busy, harried, Western shores, and come to you, to the East. I’ll learn your Hebrew, I’ll share your troubles, I’ll breath your air, I’ll walk in your fields again.

I will. I will.

Until then, Israel, mon amour, my love. Until then, shalom.”

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) started in 2005 by “Palestinian Civil Society” falsely claims that Israel is persistently violating international law — whilst that Society’s Government — the Palestine Liberation Organisation — continues to reject substantive segments of international law formulated over the last 95 years legalizing Jewish self-determination:
”The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.”

The European Union — threatening to join these racist-inspired, Jew-hating BDS campaigners — is being well and truly conned.

Think again Europe. A Harvard student has — so should you.

Russia Demands American Capitulation To Help Eradicate Islamic State


[Published 4 June 2015]


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on America to end its attempt to remove Syria’s President Assad from power in return for Russia’s co-operation to militarily confront Islamic State.

Lavrov reportedly told Bloomberg on 2 June 2015 :
“The U.S.’s “obsession” with [Syria’s President] Assad isn’t helping in the common fight against the threat from Islamic State…

People put the fate of one person whom they hate above the fight against terrorism. Islamic State can go “very far” unless stopped, and air strikes alone “are not going to do the trick

If people continue to acquiesce with what is going on and continue to acquiesce with those who categorically refuse to start the political process until Bashar Assad disappears, then I’m not very optimistic for the future of this region…”

America is part of the Friends of Syria core group known as the London Eleven that has been assisting rebel forces in Syria attempting to overthrow Assad.

Assad – backed by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah – has rebuffed such attempts during four years of horrendous conflict that has so far seen over 220000 Syrians die, four million citizens made refugees and another 7.6 million internally displaced.

A report published by the UN in March 2015 estimated the total economic loss since the start of the conflict was $202bn and that four in every five Syrians were now living in poverty - 30% of them in abject poverty. Syria’s education, health and social welfare systems are also in a state of collapse.

America apparently intends to ignore Lavrov’s sage advice and continue to pursue its Syrian policy to oust Assad.

Marie Harf - a U.S. State Department spokeswoman told reporters in Washington that:
"we’re certainly not going to coordinate with a brutal dictator who’s massacred so many of his own citizens.”

“That’s just an absurd proposition. That’s certainly not going to happen.”

Lavrov’s comments come at a time when Islamic State - already controlling a large part of Syria and Iraq covering an area greater than the United Kingdom - continues to make further advances – recently seizing the city of Ramadi 110 kilometers west of the Iraqi capital – Baghdad - and capturing the strategic northern Syrian city of Palmyra – a World Heritage listed site containing the monumental ruins of one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.

Islamic State reportedly controls up to 80 per cent of oil fields in Syria and has destroyed and also sold looted antiquities in Hatra, Nimrod and Mosul to acquire a major source of its funding - sometimes for seven figure sums.

The American led coalition of some 62 States – meeting in Paris this week - has proved totally unable to stem the advance of Islamic State in its stated objective of restoring the Islamic Caliphate and Sharia law wherever it seizes territory.

Graeme Wood – a contributing editor at The Atlantic – sums up Islamic State’s vulnerability:
"If it loses its grip on its territory in Syria and Iraq, it will cease to be a caliphate. Caliphates cannot exist as underground movements, because territorial authority is a requirement: take away its command of territory, and all those oaths of allegiance are no longer binding.”

Only a UN sanctioned military force can hope to achieve this objective.

Obama and Putin need to urgently do a deal that sees:
1. A UN led process on the political future of Syria being undertaken without first removing Assad

2. UN Security Council Chapter VII Resolution passed under Article 42 of the UN Charter authorising military action against Islamic State.

Senseless head-butting needs to give way to sensible brain-storming.