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Mideast Media Sampler – 06/13/2013 – Fiji bails out UN

Mideast Media Sampler – 06/13/2013 – Fiji bails out UN

1) Fiji rescues UNDOF

With the Syrian civil war moving closer to Israel, Austria has withdrawn its contingent of peacekeepers from the UNDOF.

Not to worry, Fiji is slated to pick up the slack.

the military from the island country of Fiji who will replace the Austrian peacekeepers on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) stationed on the Golan Heights.

The contingent will be made up of 300 soldiers representing one-twelfth of the Fijan armed forces.

Fiji has been involved in a peacekeeping role before. In 1996, Charles Krauthammer wrote about what Fiji’s earlier involvement in peacekeeping meant:

The Fijians episode is only the most recent demonstration of the uselessness of the U.N.’s acting on its own as peacemaker. The most dramatic and tragic demonstration of this truth occurred not in Lebanon, nor even Bosnia, but Rwanda, from which the U.N. withdrew last April after ignominiously standing by while the worst mass murder since World War II occurred right before its eyes.

These operations are a direct consequence of the grandiosity of a U.N. apparatus that refuses to acknowledge its unsuitability to any kind of active warfare, its dearth of military expertise, its abject lack of independence, and its fractured command and troop structure. It is a disgrace that these forces are deployed around the world in places where they do more harm than good.

An expensive disgrace. It costs the U.N. about $ 130 million a year to keep UNIFIL going. It has cost more than $ 2.5 billion since 1978. Why not withdraw the troops and give the money directly to war victims on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon frontier for reconstruction and compensation? And let the good Fijians go home.

What’s true for UNIFIL, where the UN’s soldiers did nothing to protect Israel is equally true for UNDOF. If the UNDOF troops served any purpose they wouldn’t be running at the first sign of trouble! In recent weeks rebels have kidnapped UNDOF peacekeepers and they’ve been the target of occasional gunfire. And of course the peacekeepers are doing nothing even as Syrian rebels threaten to “liberate” the Golan.

They’d rather run than fight.

2) Egypt to Ethiopia: Don’t Dam it

Tensions are mounting over the Nile.

The Washington Post reports Egypt frets, fumes over Ethiopia’s Nile plan:

But trace the Nile about 1,400 miles upstream and there’s a rising colossus that threatens to upset a millennia-old balance. There, in the Ethiopian highlands, one of the world’s largest dams is taking shape.

For Ethiopia, the dam promises abundant energy and an escape from a seemingly permanent spot in the lowest rungs of the world’s human development index. But for Egypt, the consequences could be dire: a nationwide water shortage in as little as two years that causes crop failures, power cuts and instability resonating far beyond even the extraordinary tumult of the recent past. …

To Egyptians accustomed to thinking of their country as a powerhouse of the Arab world, the idea of bowing to a historically weaker African rival has been a sobering reminder of their nation’s diminished clout. It has also been an early test for the year-old government of President Mohamed Morsi — one that critics say he has badly mishandled.

While Morsi has stated that “all options are open,” Egypt’s military has been more circumspect. A spokesman for the military said explicitly that the dam building is not a “military issue.” Ethiopian insists that the dam will not harm Egypt as it isn’t looking to divert its waters for irrigation but to harness them for power.

3) #BDSfail news

By now you’ve probably read that the traffic mapping app, Waze is being sold to Google. But what’s especially interesting is why the reported deal with Facebook fell through:

What perhaps was different about Google’s offer was a willingness to allow Waze to return its own identity (as an R&D firm, regardless of what the company’s new owners do with the technology Waze is continuing to develop).
As Waze CEO Noam Bardin put it in a blogpost announcing the sale (the post was published at the same time Google VP Brian McClendon announced the sale in his own blogpost): “Nothing practical will change here at Waze. We will maintain our community, brand, service and organization – the community hierarchy, responsibilities and processes will remain the same. Our employees, managers, founders and I are all committed to our vision for many years to come.”
McClendon’s post also explicitly noted: “The Waze product development team will remain in Israel.”
Part of that vision is keeping Waze independent – and in Israel. Waze executives, among them company President Uri Levine, have many times stated that they planned to keep the company here, and saw no reason to move elsewhere. According to a company source, Waze executives, anticipating a buyout at some point, long ago decided that they wanted to be sure employees were treated fairly if an acquisition took place.

(This writer says that keeping Waze in Israel was not a dealbreaker. However staying in Israel was important to Waze management.)

In another display of pride in Israel, Norm Geras interviewed architect Daniel Libeskind. (h/t Instapundit) Libeskind was asked about his relationship with Israel, where he once lived:

I always felt that I was fortunate enough to experience two paradises – Israel and America! I have a very close relationship to Israel. It is still a young country which has faced numerous difficulties in its short existence. However, I am hopeful that this nascent nation, despite its geographic location and problems both internally and externally, will continue to grow and be a positive force for good and democracy in the region.

If you’re not looking for these sentiments, you won’t find them. In much of the MSM, Israel is an object of scorn and derision. Those who condemn Israel, or are, at least, ashamed of it are considered the norm and worthy of attention. It’s nice to see that there is a perception of Israel uncontaminated by such influences.


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The dog just got wagged.

June 13, 2013

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on Syria:

“We appreciate the President’s finding that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on several occasions. We also agree with the President that this fact must affect U.S. policy toward Syria. The President’s red line has been crossed. U.S. credibility is on the line. Now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. Now is the time for more decisive actions.


“A U.S. military proposal for arming Syrian rebels also calls for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced from Jordanian territory to protect Syrian refugees and rebels who would train there, according to U.S. officials.”

“The U.S. planes involved in the no-fly zone would fly from Jordan and possibly from Navy ships in the Mediterranean or Red Sea. Jordan has offered the U.S. and its allies the use of its military bases to protect a safe zone inside the kingdom, according to U.S. officials. Jordanian officials in Washington had no immediate comment.

U.S. military officials believe it will take about a month to get such a limited no fly zone up and running, officials say. Officials say there may be a limited window to do so. If Russia decides to provide advanced, long-range S-300 air defense weapons to Syria, it would make such a limited no-fly zone far more risky for U.S. pilots.”

Several years ago I had an Ethiopian colleague tell me of Egypt’s continued efforts to deny/stop the building of the dam. My prayers are with them. Remember Ethiopia has been fighting jihad for 1200 years.

BannedbytheGuardian | June 13, 2013 at 8:03 pm

The Golan Heigts zone has been patrolled for 40 years. I am not sure why other nations must send their troops over to keep the peace between Syria & Israel but there it is.

Many nations use the UN force as a gold mine – paying their troops a pittance & keeping the rest . However the regions hosting the UN forces are usually happy to have something better than nothing . So you cannot just dismiss them all.

Yes it was xtremely difficult for UN forces in Rwanda to not intervene , but nobody else volunteered to hold back the machete crowds either. Not you , Not I . Kraut hammers wheelchair is no excuse either . There is nothing in his medical, ethics turned political economic commentator that could have mastered a way out other than what eventuates. In the face of that momentum we have nothing.

Fijians are very capable . They could use the $$$ & the experience as they have been frozen out of all military co operations in the Pacific. A slight case of non one man one vote .

When it comes to volunteering on the Israel borders – not many hands up . Not even on LI.

Juba Doobai! | June 13, 2013 at 10:47 pm

UNDOF. Pish tosh!

I sincerely hope that Israel is not crazy enough to rely on these anti-Semites in the UN to watch her back.

The Israeli government should remember that during the Six Day War, as Henry V said after the Battle of Agincourt, “God fought on our side.”

BannedbytheGuardian | June 14, 2013 at 3:25 am

Then a few years later God gave a barely past childhood Joan of Arc a vision that God had chosen her to drive out the English.

Which she did.