2016-08-29

Iran

Why Obama let Iran's Green Revolution fail. '... Obama wasn't just reluctant to show solidarity in 2009, he feared the demonstrations would sabotage his secret outreach to Iran. In his new book, "The Iran Wars," Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon uncovers new details on how far Obama went to avoid helping Iran's green movement. Behind the scenes, Obama overruled advisers who wanted to do what America had done at similar transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and signal America's support.'

The Iranian naval threat. '... Meanwhile, the Iranians keep improving the firepower of their fast patrol boats and adapt Western technology to further raise the threat level. They now have a semi-submersible fast patrol boat they acquired from North Korea and improved. This carries significant firepower and is hard to find and hit. They have taken British technology from the superfast Bladerunner speedboat and turned it into the Seraj-1, which exceeds 55 knots on the surface. A newer version, thought to be the Seraj-2, may reach 80 to 85 knots, far faster than anything in the U.S. inventory. And the Iranians appear able to acquire diesel engines, surface drives and other sophisticated gear from Western sources without any practical interference.'

200 yards is too close. '“Too close” has to be publicly defined. The Iranians should be put on notice that if they close to within 500 yards of any ship or boat, they will be fired on, not just given the courtesy of warning shots. Five hundred yards is about the range of a rocket-propelled grenade (though it’s hard to hit anything smaller than a large ship from that distance).'

2016-08-22

Morning Report: 2016-08-22

Turkey promised to "cleanse" its southeastern border area of Islamic State following Saturday's attack at Gaziantep, which killed 54 people at a Kurdish wedding. A security official linked the attack to earlier Islamic State bombings targeting Kurds.

Libyan government forces claim capture of mosque and prison from IS in the terrorist group's stronghold of Sirte. Long War Journal has background:

US Africa Command announced today that the US has carried out 62 “precision” airstrikes since Aug. 1 in support of “Operation Odyssey Lightning,” which seeks to dislodge the Islamic State from its stronghold in Sirte, Libya. On Aug. 17, the US bombed 13 “enemy fighting positions” and a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).

Al Bunyan Al Marsoos (“Solid Structure”) operations room, which draws fighters from militias based in Misrata and is allied with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), is the main ground force seeking to clear the city. Special Forces from the US, and possibly other Western nations, are on the ground in Sirte as well. ...

Afghan government claims to have captured Khanabad district in Kunduz province.

Russia is suspending use of Iranian base at Hamadan. "Russia first used the base last week to deploy long-range bombers last week and faced international criticism for it" as part of the joint Russian / Iranian campaign to support Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Debka has more:

Monday, Aug. 22, just a week after the Russian defense ministry proudly released images of the first Russian bombardments in Syria to be launched from Nojeh airbase, which Tehran had granted Moscow near the Iranian town of Hamedan, the Iranian defense ministry snatched the concession back in a public rebuff for Moscow. The Russians had presented its Iranian acquisition as the twin of the air base granted by Syria at Kmeimim near Latakia.

However, the Iranian defense ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi announced baldly on Monday that the Russian mission “is finished for now.” He added that the Russian air strikes in Syria were "temporary, based on a Russian request;" they were carried out with "mutual understanding and with Iran's permission" and that the Russian mission "is finished, for now.” Iranian sources claimed that this stinging slap to the Kremlin was prompted by mounting Iranian popular and parliamentary criticism ...

Israel continues to attack terrorist targets in Gaza in response to a rocket explosion in Sderot.

2016-08-17

Morning Report: 2016-08-17

North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production. 'North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production by reprocessing spent fuel rods and has no plans to stop nuclear tests as long as perceived U.S. threats remain, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday. ...'

Munich raises beerfest security after jihadi threats. 'Organizers of the world's biggest beer festival, Munich's Oktoberfest, have raised security after Islamist attacks in Germany last month, including banning rucksacks, introducing security checks at all entrances and erecting fencing. ...'

Leaked Soros memo on refugee crisis. 'A leaked memo from left-wing financier George Soros’s Open Society Foundations argues that Europe’s refugee crisis should be accepted as a “new normal,” and that the refugee crisis means “new opportunities” for Soros’ organization to influence immigration policies on a global scale. ...'

2016-08-14

Morning Report: 2016-08-14

Hafiz Saeed Khan gets his virgins. Islamic State's emir for Khorasan province (eastern Afghanistan) was killed in a July 26 airstrike in Nangarhar, the US military has confirmed. LWJ observes that 'Khan and his followers were so violent in Nangarhar that he even alienated Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who served as an unofficial spokesman for Khorasan province.'. Stratfor adds that 'Khan's death has been falsely reported before, but Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal said he had confirmation from security forces.'

Russia / Turkey rapprochement. Late last week, Turkish and Russian officials met in St. Petersburg to discuss cooperation on economic and Middle East issues (chiefly the Syria situation).

Totten: Iran payment wasn't ransom ... ... but it was ransom.

Simon: Which is worse ... ... an October surprise or a December surprise?

2016-03-03

Cruz, Trump, and Open Primaries

Citing Michael Harrington's post, the Washington Post observes that so far, Donald Trump has fared well in open-primary states (such as South Carolina) while Ted Cruz has won three of the four closed-primary states (Iowa, Oklahoma, and Alaska, with Nevada going to Trump).

US primary elections, in which each party chooses its respective candidate for the Presidential election in November, are held throughout the 50 states on varying dates. Rules regarding the primary process vary from state to state.

In a state with "open primaries",  any eligible voter may vote in either party's primary, regardless of the voter's own affiliation.  In such states, it's possible for voters to vote in the opposing party's primary, and damage that party's chances by choosing a weak candidate.

And that's what may have happened here:  Democrats in South Carolina may have voted for Trump in the Republican primary, because they are confident that he will lose the election to their own candidate, presumably Hillary Clinton.

Harrington concludes that Trump's victories in open-primary states were largely attributable to Democrats voting for Trump in Republican primaries.

The good news for Cruz, according to the Post's Zywicki, is that most of the upcoming primaries - and all of those being held this Saturday, March 15 (Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Maine) - are closed.  So this may be Cruz's chance to pull ahead - without interference from Democrat voters.

"If we don't have a country, we don't have trans issues."

Caitlyn Jenner favors Ted Cruz for President, and would like to serve as his trans ambassador, according to reports. 

This is being reported in the appropriate sneering tones by the leftist press, of course, but better understanding between transgender people and conservatives would certainly be a good thing.  (Good for everybody except leftists, of course.) 

While this draws a puzzled "Wait, what?" from the towering intellects at the Huffington Post, Caitlyn herself puts the issues pretty clearly in the People article:

"I get it. The Democrats are better when it comes to these types of social issues. I understand that," she said, but countered, "Number one, if we don't have a country, we don't have trans issues. We need jobs. We need a vibrant economy. I want every trans person to have a job. With $19 trillion in debt and it keeps going up, we're spending money we don't have. Eventually, it's going to end. And I don't want to see that. Socialism did not build this country. Capitalism did. Free enterprise. The people built it. And they need to be given the opportunity to build it back up."
 Queer issues matter, but they're not the only issues that matter.  It's unfortunately still true that many conservatives are behind in their understanding of lesbian, gay, and transgender people, but there's opportunity for dialog.  Queer folk will gain if they do not tie their fortunes exclusively to the leftist star; conservatives will gain if they understand that queer folk do not want to "destroy society" but rather want the same things the rest of us want:  dignity, liberty, and the right to earn their own place in the world.

2016-03-01

Twelve Years and Counting

Next month will mark 12 years of posting hear at DiL.  The last few years have been off-and-on, and I'm looking forward to getting back into blogging.

Within the past year I've made two trips overseas to places I really wanted to visit:  Iraqi Kurdistan, and the African Jewish communities of Kenya and Uganda.  In the coming year I expect to be getting more involved in local politics (no, I'm NOT running for office!) and focusing on the areas of current events that interest me the most.

I plan to be writing primarily about Israel and the Middle East, Africa, the global jihad threat, the free market vs. socialism, classical liberal values, USA politics, Oregon politics, and Western lands issues.  I'll also probably write on science, books, music, and social issues from time to time.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned.