Well, that was certainly quick…

Christie slams Paul as “dangerous”

Paul’s war with the neoconservative wing of the GOP explodes in the first volley of the 2016 campaign

…Speaking at a panel of GOP governors in Aspen, Colorado, Christie said the “strain of libertarianism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought.

Asked if he was specifically alluding to Paul, Christie responded, “You can name any number of people and he’s one of them.” He continued: “These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans [of the 9/11 attacks] and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have.”

Team Paul heard fighting words, and Doug Stafford, one of Paul’s closest advisers, told the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin, “If Governor Christie believes the constitutional rights and the privacy of all Americans is ‘esoteric,’ he either needs a new dictionary, or he needs to talk to more Americans, because a great number of them are concerned about the dramatic overreach of our government in recent years.” Stafford even invoked the lyrics of Christie’s beloved Bruce Springsteen in firing back.

It’s one of the first volleys of the 2016 GOP primary from two candidates who are widely expected to lead the pack, but it also underscores an apparent effort by some Republicans and conservatives with more muscular foreign policy views to disqualify Paul from the race before he even enters…

It is that singular ‘strain of Libertarianism’ that I subscribe to within either party…! However, on the Libertarian domestic policies, outside of the National Security apparatchik, I flatly reject their basic tenets…!

Now, ironically, at that very same Aspen confab that Christie had lashed out at Rand Paul…

Ex-US general: We pay a price for backing Israel

Slamming settlements, James Mattis, former commander of CentCom, tells crowd in Aspen that moderate Arabs are forced to hide support for America…

“I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CentCom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and that moderates all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for the Arab Palestinians,” he said Saturday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado in response to a question about the peace process. {…}

He called the current situation in Israel “unsustainable” and blamed the settlements for harming prospects for peace. The chances for an accord between Israel and the Palestinians, said Mattis, “are starting to ebb because the settlements and where they’re at are going to make it impossible to maintain the two state solution.”

Mattis then described a hypothetical in which 500 Jewish settlers live among 10,000 Arabs, and the implications of where Israel draws the border. He called it a choice between giving up the idea of a Jewish state or becoming an apartheid state.

He then returned to the idea of the cost of lack of progress in peace talks, arguing that it “shortstops a lot of support for us because all politics are local… And I would just tell you that they can’t come out in support of us if we don’t see some progress where Secretary [of State John] Kerry is wisely focused like a laser beam right now.”

As the former CIA MENA bureau chief, Philip Giraldi wrote recently…

The Lobby Never Sleeps

Developments in Syria and Egypt have been a godsend for Israel. The bloodshed and political turmoil have meant that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can continue with business as usual, with no one paying much attention to what is going on as he dismembers Palestine. Amidst all the fun and games, Israel launched a new air attack on Syria, the fourth such incident this year and an act of war, which was scarcely reported in the media while Netanyahu characteristically signaled his contempt for the Obama Administration by announcing a new settlement expansion just as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived to jump start a new round of pointless peace talks with the Palestinians. Israel’s government is also simultaneously moving ahead with the Prawer Plan, which will remove as many as 70,000 Palestinian Bedouin from their ancestral homes in the Negev Desert, the latest phase in the ethnic cleansing of Arabs which has been going on since 1947. {…}

Former CIA senior analyst Paul Pillar describes it as “A prolonged campaign to keep us scared about what is depicted as an inexorable Iranian march toward acquiring nuclear weapons.” Since the few critics who might challenge such a narrative are preoccupied with crises elsewhere in the Middle East, Netanyahu and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have been engaging in what might be seen as a full court press to bring about a new war before anyone knows what is happening. {…}

So when it comes to actual war and peace, those of us who have been preoccupied by the crises in Egypt and Syria would be well served by taking another look at what Israel has been up to. Settlements are expanding and still more Arabs are being dispossessed, making peace all but impossible. Benjamin Netanyahu bombs Syria, for which there are no consequences, while dictating what the United States must do to support his government. Back here at home, the pandering to the Israel Lobby a la Samantha Power is incessant and, quite frankly, should be seen as humiliating by every American.

Syria and Egypt might well morph into full scale civil wars, but what Israel is demanding from Washington is US entry into yet another major war in Asia, this time against Iran, close on the heels of the misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Egypt and Syria, no matter what way they turn, will not pose disaster for the United States. War with Iran would be different, however. It would be no cakewalk, would unleash a new wave of global terrorism, and would upend a slowly recovering world economy. It would be a catastrophe not only for Iran but also for the United States, but it is what Israel wants and in Washington Israel and its many friends nearly always win the policy debate.

Funny how former Shin Bet head, Yuval Diskin, said today…

Diskin: Israel Approaching the ‘Point of No Return’

Israel will need to promote peace or risk becoming a minority in the region, warns former Shin Bet head.

Former Israel Security Authority (Shin Bet) head Yuval Diskin said Friday that Israel was approaching the “point of no return” when it came to achieving peace in the region.

Speaking to Channel 10 News, Diskin warned that soon the point will come when it will be impossible to make any changes in the area.

“Our leaders on both sides, both us and the Palestinians, are deep in the mud with very little energy and ability to move forward,” said Diskin.

“There are some things that are very painful which might have to happen in order to get the ball rolling,” he added. “If we do not try, then we will never know. Not doing anything and saying, ‘Let’s wait and see what happens’ is what we’ve been doing for many years, unfortunately. I do not believe in this approach.”

Hinting that he was a supporter of territorial concessions on the part of Israel as part of a peace agreement, Diskin warned that unless Israel did something, it would turn into “an apartheid state.”

“The region, life, demography, geography – everything is changing all the time and I think we are likely to get to the point, and we are very close to it already, that it would be impossible to change anything anymore,” he said. “We really are close to the point of no return. We’ll be there soon and there will be no warning, no one will ring the bells. One day we will see that it is impossible to do it. In such a situation we’ll have to either annex the territory or give the Palestinian people equal rights here. Otherwise we will be an apartheid state. That’s why I think that in this situation there is no choice but to try to give this thing a chance.”

As +972′s Noam Sheizaf wrote recently…

Don’t cheer these peace talks

To register their recent success, Secretary of State Kerry and the Obama administration destroyed whatever was achieved in the last two decades. For the first time since the 1991 Madrid Conference, the starting point for the negotiations are the positions of the Israeli right

…All along the way, Prime Minister Netanyahu presented a firm opposition to the peace process both on principle – rejecting the idea of a Palestinian state – and due to various territorial aspects. Netanyahu and his senior collation partners even rejected the Clinton Parameters (since those included ceding 94-96 percent of the West Bank and most of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians) let alone Olmert’s proposal in Annapolis.

The second Obama administration basically accepted Netanyahu’s position, allowing Israel to ignore the terms of reference for the talks and all previous rounds of negotiations. According to all reports, Kerry replaced all that was accomplished in the past with “a creative solution:” the U.S. was to present some aspects of the terms of reference in a statement ahead of the talks (not even all of them), and Israel was allowed to ignore the American position. Whatever was done in the last two decades is gone. For the first time since Madrid 1991, the Israeli right is dictating the starting point for the negotiations.

This diplomatic withdrawal (“collapse” might be a more apt term) had one major reason: the Obama administration’s failure to stand up to the so-called “pro-Israeli” forces in American politics, from AIPAC to, GOP’s hawks, to leading democratic legislators. The last push was aided by a whole array of “peace organizations” that let their desperation for political achievements cloud their judgment, ending up with them cheering an administration that didn’t do much more than force the Palestinians to accept the Israeli right’s ideas for the process. As Molad’s Michael Menkin wrote just a few months ago, the honest move by “the peace camp” is to oppose negotiations on those terms.

Here’s proof positive of the Overton window shift in the Peace Farce dynamics…

Steinitz: Israel Willing to Make Concessions for Peace

Israel would be willing to make painful concessions in order to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority, International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz told the British Daily Telegraph in an interview published Thursday.

Steinitz said that a “demilitarized” Palestinian state was the “only possible solution” to the conflict between the sides.

The comments come on the eve of the first peace talks between the sides for three years. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the Israeli chief negotiator, is scheduled to meet PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat in Washington on Tuesday.

“I think that this is the only possible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Steinitz told the Daily Telegraph. “At the end of the day, we will have such a situation. It’s going to be difficult to achieve it – there are many obstacles in the way – but I think there is no other solution to the problem.”

In order to reach agreement, Israel was willing to relinquish territory in Judea and Samaria, he said.

“We are prepared to make considerable concessions and it’s not going to be easy,” said Steinitz. “Both sides will have to make very significant concessions and very difficult concessions. We will probably have to make very serious territorial concessions. And the Palestinians will have to make also both territorial concessions – because there will be settlement blocs – but more important still they will have to recognize the very existence of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.”

He added that the PA must recognize not only Israel’s right to exist but its status as a Jewish state. They will also have to abandon their demand for the “right of return” which would see millions of refugees who fled Israel during the 1948 War of Independence and their descendants flooding Israel. As for Jerusalem, Steinitz said the status quo was the only option…

Again, What ‘painful concessions’…?

Oh, Boo-Hoo, cry me a river… Assad opponents see U.S. distancing itself from their goals in Syria.

And, seriously peeps… US ‘Vetting’ in Syria Boils Down to a Handshake…!

Moving along to Egypt…

As of this posting, 6 7 protesters have been killed in the dueling protests between the MB and the pro-military folks…!

I have no respect for either faction, but, this recent bit of reality, has certainly clued me into the Egyptian Military’s true colors…!

To be sure… Pro-Morsi sit-ins to be dispersed soon, interior minister…!

*gah*

It seems the last several links have since been scrubbed…! Here’s the Grey Lady… Scores of Demonstrators Killed in Egypt…!

God Bless their souls…!