Roy Lichtenstein Femme d’Alger 1963
@DougAMacgregor: Eisenhower said if NATO still exists in 10 years then we have failed. That was 1955.
“This is blatant ethnic cleansing and it is receiving the full support of the United States..”
More than 2 million Palestinian people have now been without running water, electricity, food, medicine, for 10 days. After instituting the blockade of Gaza, Israel dropped 4,000 tons of bombs on Gaza in a 5 day period (Oct 7 – 12). Nine more days have passed with continued heavy bombing; if continued at the same rate, Israel has dropped more than 10,000 tons of bombs – 2 million pounds of high-explosive — on the people of Gaza. Israel told 1.1 million Palestinians that they had 24 hours to leave northern Gaza or else be bombed. The JDAM bombs being dropped on Gaza were supplied to Israel by the US. Many thousands have been killed since the bombing began. 52% of the Palestinians in Gaza are under 18 years of age; a huge percentage of those Palestinians being killed and wounded are children.
This is blatant ethnic cleansing and it is receiving the full support of the United States. In the UN Security Council, the US has twice vetoed Resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza; the vote on the second attempt was 14 to 1, with the US being the only no vote with their veto. The US does not want a ceasefire, it wants war, and thus has sent Carrier Battle Groups, squadrons of A-10 Warthogs, and thousands of Marines in preparation to back up an Israeli ground assault into Gaza. The US is now complicit in the massive war crime being committed in Gaza by Israel. All the endless US speeches about freedom and democracy ring hollow in the face of this atrocity. And these crimes are likely to get much worse once Israel sends hundreds of thousands of troops into Gaza.
“..West Jerusalem has no experience of making long-term arrangements with its neighbors without relying on the US. So, the question now is whether there is time for the Israelis to learn to live in a new way.”
The leitmotif of the varied history of a hundred years is that it has all taken place, if not under the dictates of, then with the active participation of external forces. The composition of the latter has changed, but in every combination such players have set the tone. The change that has taken place now is that outside players are forced to react to events initiated by regional forces. This reaction is based on accumulated experience, but it does not work the way it used to. The degree of self-determination of the states in the region (let us call it the pursuit of national interests as they understand them) is much higher than in the past. Meanwhile, the major countries are running out of the instruments of coercion that worked in the twentieth century.
US President Joe Biden’s arrival in Israel in the midst of the violence could be described as an act of political courage, were it not for the suspicion that Washington simply does not fully appreciate the urgency of the situation. In the aftermath of the horrific hospital tragedy in Gaza, it is understandable that a sharp escalation is taking place. But before that, the United States probably thought it could drag its feet. The idea seems to be to support Israel by pre-empting its most dangerous actions and reassuring the Arab countries – especially in the Persian Gulf – that the old agenda will be restored once passions subside. It is also to prevent Iranian interference by making it clear that it will trigger American military involvement, but if Tehran shows restraint, a return to talks on unfreezing money and relations cannot be ruled out. Finally, Biden wishes to guarantee a package decision on financial assistance to all of his major military clients – Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan – that will not allow one of them to be blocked individually.
Right now, the whole delicate plan is hanging by a thread. And the problem is not specific political and diplomatic mistakes, but a fundamental inability to manage processes in the way the US and big countries in general are used to, believing they have the levers for everything. This is a systemic change, the consequences of which could be anything. The transition from external regulation of the region to internal balance is painful, and success is not predetermined. Thus, Israel’s problem is that the overwhelming power advantage it has relied on for three-quarters of a century is no longer a reliable guarantee of its existence. The overall balance in the region will not shift in the Jewish state’s favor, and its patron’s attention may be diverted by other internal and external crises. Meanwhile, West Jerusalem has no experience of making long-term arrangements with its neighbors without relying on the US. So, the question now is whether there is time for the Israelis to learn to live in a new way.
How to turn the entire world except yourself against you. Nothing about the Palestinians’ rights. This verges on criminal behavior. Good thing is, it’s there for everyone to see.
President Biden, along with fellow leaders from Western-allied countries, reaffirmed their support for Israel and its right to defend itself Sunday while urging the nation to adhere to international humanitarian law, Report informs, citing foreign media. “Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom spoke regarding the ongoing conflict between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas,” the leaders said in a joint statement Sunday. While the group of leaders reiterated its support for Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorism, they also called for “adherence to international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.”
The leaders also called for the “immediate release of all remaining hostages,” noting that they are “committed to close coordination to support their nationals in the region, in particular those wishing to leave Gaza.” The group of leaders also welcomed the release of two Americans who were taken hostage by Hamas. The group of leaders also celebrated the recent announcements that the first humanitarian convoys arrived in Gaza, saying they’ll remain committed to coordinating “with partners in the region to ensure sustained and safe access to food, water, medical care, and other assistance required to meet humanitarian needs.”
..“a very unfortunate message to the Arab World” about Washington’s priorities.”
US policy toward Israel is “driven primarily by domestic politics,”[Dr. Shaun Narine, a professor of international relations and political science at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada] noted, with its response to the October 7 escalation dictated by the “shock” experienced by Jews inside the United States and around the world, resulting in Washington’s “unlimited, unconditional support.” Biden personally “has been dedicated strongly to Israel for his entire political career,” Dr. Narine recalled. Unfortunately for Washington, the US’s blind support for Israel, and its seeming lack of concern about Palestinian lives to anywhere near the same degree as Israeli ones is proving politically damaging to US foreign policy, the academic noted, since it sends “a very unfortunate message to the Arab World” about Washington’s priorities.
“Even beyond the Arab World, there are African politicians who have made clear that they’re looking at the American response in the UN Security Council, and they’re saying, ‘yes, this is about Palestinian lives not mattering, maybe the lives of people in the Global South not mattering that much.’” In that sense, Dr. Narine believes that viewed from the lens of America’s global competition with China, Beijing “stands to gain quite a bit in the Arab World by taking a more evenhanded approach to the conflict between Palestine and Israel, but also even weighing more towards the Arab side in this.” “So the Americans are giving the Chinese a really powerful advantage potentially in this context,” but “doing it anyway because their calculations are not driven by those foreign policy concerns at this moment,” the academic summed up.
Large street protests too against him.
Former Israeli military, political, and intelligence officials have criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his leadership amid the ongoing crisis caused by Hamas attacks on October 7. Prominent former Israeli figures, including ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak, have voiced their concerns about Netanyahu’s leadership during the crisis, as reported by British media. Barak described the Hamas attack as “the most severe blow Israel has suffered since its establishment.” He expressed doubt in Netanyahu’s ability to lead in the aftermath of such a devastating event. These criticisms come in the wake of growing concern within Israel about the government’s efforts to secure the release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Some families have urged negotiations, while others support an immediate military operation to dismantle Hamas leadership, even at the risk of the hostages’ safety.
Critics argue that the government’s response to the crisis has been inadequate. A former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces has called for Netanyahu’s resignation, citing the government’s dysfunction, as quoted by UK media. This sentiment is shared by many Israelis who believe the government has mishandled the situation. Netanyahu has been under scrutiny even before the Hamas attack, facing criticism for his attempts to overhaul the Israeli judiciary and legal issues, including a corruption trial. Cabinet ministers, defense chiefs, and intelligence heads have apologized for the government’s failure to protect citizens in the wake of the attack, and polls have shown that a majority of Israelis want Netanyahu to take responsibility for these failures.
While protesters have gathered outside the Israeli military headquarters to express their concerns about Netanyahu’s leadership, there remains trust in military leaders overseeing operations in Gaza. The crisis has prompted renewed calls for Netanyahu to step down and allow someone else to lead the country during these trying times. This situation also coincides with controversy surrounding Retired Brigadier General Gal Hirsch, who was appointed to coordinate the rescue of Israeli hostages abducted by Hamas. Defense officials have criticized Hirsch for his behavior and failure to effectively carry out his role, further highlighting leadership issues in the government.
It doesn’t look like Israel can beat Hezbollah.
Hezbollah “will be making the mistake of its life” if it enters the Israel-Hamas war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told troops stationed near the Lebanese border on Sunday. Netanyahu warned that Lebanon would be “devastated” in response. “If Hezbollah decides to enter the war, it will long for the Second Lebanon War,” Netanyahu said, referring to the 2006 conflict in which Israel invaded southern Lebanon and pounded Beirut with airstrikes in response to Hezbollah raids into Israel. Some 165 Israelis and more than 1,000 Lebanese were killed in the month-long conflict. “It will be making the mistake of its life,” Netanyahu continued, according to a transcript seen by Israeli media. “We will strike it with unimaginable strength and the significance to it and to the country of Lebanon will be devastating.”
Israeli and Hezbollah forces have engaged in tit-for-tat exchanges of rocket and artillery fire since the conflict with Hamas broke out two weeks ago. While the Lebanese paramilitary group has sent drones and a number of infiltrators across the border, no large-scale incursion has taken place, and Israel has thus far avoided opening a second front in the north. The Lebanese militia has stepped up its attacks in recent days, however, firing dozens of rockets at Israeli military bases and killing an Israeli soldier in a missile attack on Friday. Israeli forces have responded with artillery bombardments and drone strikes. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant proclaimed on Saturday that Hezbollah “has decided to participate in the fighting” and would pay “a heavy price” for doing so.
Behind the scenes, however, the US is warning Israel against getting drawn into a war on two fronts, the New York Times reported on Friday. According to the paper’s sources, American officials view Gallant as a Hezbollah hawk, whose actions risk dragging Israel into a war that it would struggle to win. Furthermore, with the US backing Israel and Iran backing Hezbollah, such a war could easily spiral into a wider and more destructive conflict, the sources said.
Hezbollah is currently “in the heart of the battle” between Israel and Hamas, the group’s deputy leader, Naim Qassem, said on Sunday. Qassem explained that Hezbollah’s objective at the moment is to “weaken the Israeli enemy and let them know that we are ready” for a possible major escalation. Tens of thousands of Israelis have been evacuated from settlements near the Lebanese border. Residents of 14 communities have been ordered to leave for temporary accommodation since Saturday morning, while 28 other settlements were emptied last week.
Right back at you. “..“If the war crimes against the Palestinians are not immediately stopped, other multiple fronts will open and this is inevitable..”
Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat said on Sunday that the Israeli forces would “eliminate” Hezbollah and target Iran if the Palestinian militants open up a “northern front.” “The plan of Iran is to attack Israel on all fronts. If we find they intend to target Israel, we will not just retaliate to those fronts, but we will go to the head of the snake, which is Iran,” Barkat told The Mail on Sunday. He added “the ayatollahs in Iran are not going to sleep good at night” if they move against Israel. Barkat warned that Lebanon and the pro-Palestinian militant group Hezbollah “are going to pay a heavy price, similar to what Hamas is going to pay.” Israel would go “after the heads of Iran” if necessary, the minister said.
“Israel has a very clear message to our enemies. We are saying to them, look what’s happening in Gaza – you are going to get the same treatment if you attack us. We are going to wipe you off the face of the Earth.” The statement came after Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Monday that the security situation for Israel may worsen very quickly. “If the war crimes against the Palestinians are not immediately stopped, other multiple fronts will open and this is inevitable,” he said. The Iranian diplomat later doubled down, warning the US and Israel that, if they do not stop mistreating the Palestinians, “anything is possible at any moment and the region will go out of control.” Amir-Abdollahian added that further escalation would have “far-reaching repercussions.”
The IDF and Hezbollah have repeatedly exchanged fire since the fighting erupted between the Israeli forces and Hamas earlier this month. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Sunday that Hezbollah would suffer “unprecedented destruction” if it officially joins the war against the Jewish state. The Israeli army made several large-scale incursions in Lebanon to fight the militants there in the past. The most recent invasion took place in 2006. On October 7, Hamas and allied Palestinian groups attacked multiple Israeli settlements, prompting Israel to begin airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. More than 1,400 Israelis and over 4,300 Palestinians have been killed, according to officials from both sides.
This is where China and Russia come in.
The Israeli nuclear arsenal is now suspected to include hundreds of warheads capable of being delivered by several methods. These include gravity bombs dropped by F-16s, cruise missiles fired from mobile platforms and even submarines with modified cruise missiles. Interestingly, Israel just launching a large new class of submarine this summer called the DolphinI/II which appear to carry much bigger missiles than previous submarines. These subs may in fact be capable of carrying and launching nuclear weapons and could strike almost anywhere in the world. The most likely use of nuclear weapons by Israel, though, would be as a deterrent to wider war. The international agreement Israel follows requires that they not be the first nation in the Middle East to “introduce” such weapons.
The word “introduced” has been interpreted very broadly to mean that Israel will not ever officially admit they have nuclear weapons, thereby spurring an arms race. That said, a deterrent weapon is not much of a deterrent unless your enemies know you have it. This might explain why Israeli officials have hinted at the existence of nukes in the past, calling them “other capabilities” in discussions on Israeli defense. The employment of nukes is another matter entirely. It would seem that a number of nations are ready to engage with Israel in direct warfare in the wake of the attack by Hamas, merely waiting for Israel to strike back with a significant ground force. These governments might have forgotten Israel has nukes, or, they might believe that Israel would never dare use them.
This is a dangerous assumption. Former Prime Minister Yair Lapid noted in a discussion on defense last year that Israel has “other capabilities” (i.e. nukes): “The operational arena in the invisible dome above us is built on defensive capabilities and offensive capabilities, and what the foreign media tends to call ‘other capabilities.’ These other capabilities keep us alive and will keep us alive so long as we and our children are here…” In other words, Israel intends to use their nuclear capabilities should their civilization come under threat. Strategically speaking, Israel is well placed for the employment of nukes, given all of its enemies are east or north of the nation’s position, which means Israel would not have to worry about suffering from the radioactive fallout from its own weapons.
But, this fallout could affect nations like Iraq and Iran, thereby giving them license to join in the war when they might otherwise abstain. Obviously this would have far reaching implications for the rest of the world, including escalation with nuclear powers such as Russia and China. The real question is not “if” Israel would use nukes, but under what conditions? How bad does the situation have to get before a nuclear response is assured? Given the rhetoric of previous Israeli leaders on defense, it would not take much. A war on more than one front leading to an uncontrolled breach of Israel’s border could be all the excuse the country needs.
Again, right back at you.
“Reality is shattered. People are asking themselves deep questions. Is it possible? Can I make peace with a neighbor who wants to chop my children’s heads off? Is it feasible?”
Members of the Palestinian radical group Hamas who infiltrated Israel carried instructions on making chemical weapons, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in an interview with Sky News. “This is how shocking the situation is where we’re looking at the instructions that are given on how to operate and how to create a kind of non-professional chemical weapon with cyanide,” the TV channel quoted the president as saying. “It’s Al Qaeda material. Official Al Qaeda material. We are dealing with ISIS, Al Qaeda and Hamas,” he said. Herzog demonstrated the documents to the TV channel. Sky News noted that it was unable to independently verify the claims. Replying to a question about the liability of the Israeli government for the situation where numerous militants were able to infiltrate into Israeli territory, the president said that “we will deal with all of that after the war.”
That said, he acknowledged that many Israelis are highly displeased with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. He also refused to discuss the possibility of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement given the military operation underway in the Gaza Strip. “”I can’t go into this [a two-state solution] right now when my nation is bleeding, and in pain, and in agony,” he said. “Reality is shattered. People are asking themselves deep questions. Is it possible? Can I make peace with a neighbor who wants to chop my children’s heads off? Is it feasible?” Herzog added. He also disagreed with a statement that Israel’s attempts to eliminate Hamas are disproportionate, harming civilians in the Gaza Strip.
“It’s not true. We have realistic objectives. We say we want to wipe out the military infrastructure of Hamas. We’ve said it clearly. We are cautious. Already two weeks have gone by, and we haven’t operated on the ground because we are cautious,” Herzog stressed. Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7 when militants from the Gaza-based Palestinian radical group Hamas staged a surprise incursion into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip. Hamas described its attack as a response to the aggressive actions of Israeli authorities against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. In response, Israel has declared a state of war readiness; announced a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians; and began delivering air strikes on the enclave and certain parts of Lebanon and Syria. Clashes are underway in the West Bank as well.
A 56% reduction in emissions by 2050 costs $7 trillion, but if emissions stay at current levels till 2050 it’s $10 trillion? I confuse easily.
Global industry will need $7 trillion in investment to ensure sufficient natural gas supplies and avoid crises through 2050, Bloomberg reported, citing Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics (IEEJ). According to the report, the funding will be required to build new liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities and expand existing plants, and to develop new gas deposits as countries shift from coal to cleaner energy sources. The forecast by the Japanese think tank assumes a 56% reduction in emissions by the middle of the century. However, in a scenario when emissions stay at current levels by 2050, the world will need almost $10 trillion to avoid natural gas shortages, the IEEJ projects.
Differing outlooks on gas demand in the coming years are hampering future planning, making companies uncertain over investments in new supplies, the International Gas Union (IGU) said in a report earlier this week. “The unprecedented demand uncertainty and insufficient level of investment in natural gas, low-carbon, and renewable gases are putting the energy transition at risk, undermining energy affordability, security, and sustainability,” the IGU stated. Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that global gas markets have entered a “new and more uncertain” period that is likely to be characterized by slower growth and higher volatility, and could lead to a peak in global demand by the end of the decade.
“It is the ultimate manifestation of our age of rage where expressing opposing views are now considered disqualifying acts for holding office..”
This weekend, presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) became the latest figure in Washington to call for the expulsion of members of Congress for their controversial views. In a New York Post op-ed, Scott cites pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel statements of members of “the Squad” as examples of officials giving “aid and comfort” to Hamas. Expulsion and disqualification have come into vogue in Washington as members of both parties seek to bar opponents from ballots or office. It is the ultimate manifestation of our age of rage where expressing opposing views are now considered disqualifying acts for holding office. Sen. Scott points to Rep. Rashida Tlaib declaring that Israel intentionally bombed a hospital in Gaza after U.S. intelligence found that the explosion was likely caused by a Palestinian missile.
He also cites Rep. Pramila Jayapal calling Israel “a racist state” and Rep. Ilhan Omar previously saying that Jews had “hypnotized the world.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was also cited for criticism of those supporting Israel as “takin the side of occupation.” I have previously criticized members of the Squad for reckless rhetoric and condemned the spreading of false or unproven claims on the Gaza hospital explosion. However, the solution to bad speech is better speech. Indeed, Scott’s op-ed (and the writings of many others) are an example of how free speech can combat disinformation and propaganda without the necessity for censorship or other punitive measures. Yet, Sen. Scott insists that “any member of Congress who gives [Hamas] aid, comfort or justification is in violation of their constitutional oath and must be removed.”
It is now a familiar refrain. Ironically, it is analogous to the argument put forward by some Democrats to bar Republican members through an alternative means. Those members have called for the use of the 14th Amendment to disqualify Republicans for giving “aid and comfort” to those who sought to block the certification of President Joe Biden. They have been supported by a host of legal academics. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) demanded the disqualification of the 120 House Republicans—including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)—for simply signing a “Friend of the Court brief” (or amicus brief) in support of an election challenge from Texas. Expulsion and disqualification demands are both based on the same view that political support for extreme or controversial positions should not be tolerated in members of Congress.
It is a dangerous, slippery slope as politicians declare certain views as incompatible with holding elected offices. Rather than based on a novel constitutional theory, expulsion is based on the inherent authority of Congress to expel members who violate the rules and standards of a house. Courts are generally deferential to Congress given the authority under Article I, Section 5 that “[e]ach House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.” Nevertheless, fewer than two dozen members have ever been expelled. Indeed, three of the then five members of the House had expressed loyalty to the confederacy during the Civil War. It is telling that, despite our long history of bitter and divisive politics, only five house members have been expelled in the House. Members have realized that expulsions not only deny the right of voters to pick their representatives, but invite endless tit-for-tat measures.
The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz showed a clear perspective on the issue of illegal migration in a recent interview with a local news source. He pressed for the deportation of migrants who had no right to stay in Germany, emphasizing the need to boost European border controls. He reiterated the need to limit the surge of illegal migrants on German soil. Chancellor Scholz’s stance leans towards reducing refugee numbers and a more stringent approach towards denying asylum seekers. “We must finally deport en masse those who have no right to remain in Germany …Those who have no prospect of remaining in Germany because they cannot claim asylum must return … We must deport more and faster,” Scholz said. The Chancellor has so far set down a more stringent approach towards illegal migration, according to which only refugees with legitimate claims are entitled to asylum.
At the same time, recognizing the vital need for immigrant labor, Germany’s reliance on skilled workers remains a distinct consideration. “Those who do not belong to one or the other group cannot stay with us,” Scholz noted. The leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party further indicated a desire to consider suggestions from the federal states to deter illegal migration. Scholz affirmed that the federal government would back such initiatives if states opt for in-kind benefits over monetary support, propose an asylum seeker payment card or extend public works opportunities. The European Asylum Agency’s latest data reveals that Germany shoulders about a third of asylum applications within the European Union. As of August 2023, Germany’s Federal Interior Ministry said there were around 1.1 million Ukrainian refugees seeking refuge in Germany.
The reason for this rise in Ukrainian refugees is the explicit support the Scholz government has given to NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine. Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has grappled with a significant influx, with more than 200,000 asylum applications pouring in from all sorts of nations this year, marking a substantial 77 percent increase compared with the corresponding period a year before. As of June 2023, Germany had approximately 44,500 recognized asylum-seekers, primarily from Turkiye, Syria, and Iran. Furthermore, roughly 755,000 individuals with refugee status under the Geneva Convention, predominantly hailing from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Nearly 280,000 foreigners in Germany are designated for departure, with roughly half of them asylum seekers who have been rejected. Many hold “temporary toleration” status because of life-threatening situations in their home country or unresolved health issues that prevent deportation. According to a German media outlet, Germany is in a terrible quandary, involving 95,000 individuals whose citizenship status remains elusive, rendering them without a clear destination for legal deportation.
Blockchain for babies
“When China spies on you”, France, 2023
Ernest Hemingway, Noel Coward and Alec Guinness on location at Hemingway’s favourite watering hole – Sloppy Joe’s – in Florida whilst shooting ‘Our Man In Havana’ in 1959.
Most people have heard of Koko, the gorilla who could speak about 1000 words in Sign Language, and understand about 2000 in English. What most people don’t know, however, is that Koko was an avid Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fan. When Fred Rogers took a trip out to meet Koko for his show, not only did she immediately wrap her arms around him and embrace him, she did what she’d always seen him do onscreen: she proceeded to take his shoes off.
Support the Automatic Earth in wartime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.