Thursday 11 May 2017
Photo, left: Tblisi, Georgia synagogue
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Co-hosts: Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President on the national security advisory staff. Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents.
Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 1, Block A: Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, The Great Voice of the Great Lakes; and author, Liberty Risen @ThadMcCotter; in re: US Issues $10 Million Bounty for Ex-Al-Qaeda Leader in Syria The U.S. has put a $10 million bounty on the head of Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, the former de facto leader of Al-Qaeda in Syria and now chief ... It's been six years since the 9/11 mastermind's death—and in the shadows, al Qaeda has been quietly amassing power. State offers $10 million for leader of 'the Syria branch of al Qaeda' ; Al Qaeda Is Stronger Now than When Bin Laden Was Killed
Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 1, Block B: Edward W Hayes, Daily Beast sartorial columnist, and criminal defense attorney par excellence, in re: presidents choose the FBI director (although all were terrified of J Edgar Hoover). Pres Trump may have thought Comey was doing a terrible job; or, he may have been concerned lest an investigation be getting too close to him. . . . Somewhere, somebody is scheming in a room. . . . So much smoke you need a respirator, but nothing conclusive. Attorney’s advice: never talk. Call Ed Hayes.
Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 1, Block C: Patrick Tucker, Defense One, in re: Speech or defense clause anent Comey’s firing. Who in DOJ can be a prosecutor? No one available to be effective to steer a prosecution, not even an investigation. Senate Intell C’ee. Last resort: members of Senate, perhaps also House, Intell Committees, can bring the material into the public record and thereby not open a prosecution. Called the Speech or Debate Clause in the Constitution; anything a lawmaker brings up on the floor as part of debate cannot be questioned in any other place.” Used once in 1971, Pentagon Papers Mike Revel. Of curse you can be censured, kicked off a committee, potentially even be kicked out of the Senate. Supreme Court later protected Mike Revel and his staffers.
Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 1, Block D: Patrick Tucker, Defense One, in re:
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Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 2, Block A: Blaise Miztal, director of BPC’s national security program; in re: Turkey, Iran. Syrian Kurds–Rojava! Is there anything the US can offer Turkey to cause it to back down on bombing Kurds and Yazidis? Erdogan is committed to arming al Nusrah, in giving a corridor to ISIS, collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood, [mass murder, cessation of democratic process, et al.]. Erdogan’s chance of joining the EU are slender; however, if the EU is rude, he’ll send hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern refugees straight into the EU. Previous US administrations have given him carte blanche with his nasty ways, so he continues.
Reports of wall being built by Turkey by Iran: Turkey just signed an agreement with Iran and Russia (in Astana) to create safe zones for Syrian refugees and IDPs within Syria. . . . “Swarm the Temple Mount.”
Blaise Misztal is the director of BPC’s national security program. At BPC, Misztal has researched a variety national security issues, including Iran and its nuclear program, Turkey, cybersecurity, stabilizing fragile states, and public diplomacy in the 21st century. He has testified before Congress and published op-eds. Prior to joining BPC, Misztal spent a year as a Nuffield Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford University. He was selected as a future leader by the Foreign Policy Initiative in 2010 and named as a national security fellow by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in 2011. Misztal is currently completing his Ph.D. in political science at Yale University, where his research focuses on the relationship between democracy, liberalism, and social stability. He holds an M.Phil. in political science from Yale and an A.B. with honors from the University of Chicago.
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Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 2, Block B: Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-22), in re: Trump mtg with Abbas & Bibi; Iran & Taylor Force. Legislative update)
Congressman Ted Deutch, 50, represents Florida's 22nd district, home to communities throughout western Palm Beach County and Broward County in sunny South Florida. Now serving his fifth term in the 115th Congress, he has been described as a rising voice in the House Democratic Caucus by the Washington newspaper Roll Call and was previously named one of the Forward newspaper's top Jewish politicians to watch. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the House Ethics Committee, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on which he serves as Ranking Democrat on the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee.
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Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 2, Block C: Sarkis Naoum, Senior columnist and analyst for Lebanon's An Nahar newspaper; in re: Hezbollah & Lebanon. We can expect a new constitution with provisos for three central groups; Sunni, Shi’a, and Christian. Nabih Berry proposes a change in Parliament; Hezbollah is still largely in control, Hariri’s relations with Hezb must be acceptable or he couldn’t be chosen as PM again. He’s financially weak (less favor with the Saudis) and his supporters in the Lebanese Sunni community have somewhat diminished; still committee to his father but rather doubt him. Hezb will permanently keep him weak. His absence from Lebanon for four years while doing naught for Lebanese or even for his Sunni constituency. Theoretically, always a possibility of renewal of conflict betw the military and Hezb, but at this moment neither is eager to star – yet both are ready to defend if suddenly needed. Both waiting to see what happens in Syria. “I do not see Hezbollah’s launching a war against Israel now.” No interest in engaging in a mil conflict now, esp since Hezb has lost 2,000 people
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LEBANON PULSEإقرأ باللغة العربيةنبض لبنان Will Lebanon's president keep parliament from 're-electing' itself? To some legislators' consternation but to no one's real surprise, Lebanon's parliamentary elections have been delayed yet again for at least three months.
Despite four years' worth of extensions already, Lebanon's parliament could keep itself in office even longer because it's unable to break a deadlock over a proposed change in the electoral law.
On April 12, the day before parliament was scheduled to meet, President Michel Aoun invoked Article 59 of the Lebanese Constitution, which allows him to postpone a parliamentary session for one month. He may do so once during the legislative term.
Speaker Nabih Berri had called for the session to discuss extending parliament’s term, as members failed to agree on a new electoral law before a constitutional deadline expired. Aoun wants a new law implemented before elections are held for parliament, whose term ends June 21. He doesn't want the legislature to extend its own term without elections, which he considers illegal, but he also doesn't want a legislative vacuum. However, the constitution requires that voters be given 90 days to prepare for an election, so — because of repeated delays — one now can't be scheduled before August at the earliest.
In a televised speech, Aoun addressed the Lebanese people, saying, “I have warned repeatedly against the extension since it is unconstitutional and will definitely not be the path toward the recovery of the government and its authorities and institutions on a sound constitutional basis.”
Minutes after Aoun announced his decision, Berri set another session for May 15. In the meantime, Lebanese political forces continue their quest to agree on an electoral law by then. Simon Abi Ramia, a member of parliament's Change and Reform bloc, told Al-Monitor that despite differences between the parties, political forces seek to agree on a new electoral law and his political bloc will strive to prevent a parliamentary extension by all means.
Aoun wants to replace the contested 1960 Electoral Law, which is based on a majoritarian (winner-take-all) district electoral system with limited exceptions. That law allows Muslim leaders to select Christian parliament members in some constituencies. Aoun, a Maronite Christian, along with Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, are insisting on a "total proportionality" system, while others want either a hybrid law or the majoritarian system.
On the eve of April 13, the date set for the session to discuss the extension, the specter of civil war came back to haunt the Lebanese amid a sharp division of political forces and a serious threat by Christian political forces to take to the streets to prevent the session. They threatened to block the roads to prevent legislators from even reaching parliament.
The mounting tension might have escalated into a sectarian rift in the country if Aoun hadn't moved to contain the situation.
Adel Yamin, a constitutional expert and law professor at Lebanese University in Beirut, noted that the April 13 parliament session would have coincided with the anniversary of the outbreak of the Lebanese war. "Aoun defused political and popular tension that risked turning into a sectarian division," he told Al-Monitor.
But what if parliament fails to pass a new electoral law? And what if, during the May 15 session, it approves the urgent draft law submitted by member Nicolas Fattoush to extend parliament’s term for an additional year? Does the president have other constitutional cards up his sleeve?
Yamin said Aoun has several options.
Aoun may address a letter to the parliament urging it to reject the extension and approve a new electoral law that takes into account the requirements of the constitution and the 1943 National Pact. Parliament would then have to consider the letter within three days and take action.
Yamin noted that to consider the extension draft bill, parliament would need a quorum, which is the attendance of at least 65 of the 128 members. The proposal would then need a majority of the members present to pass. If parliament were to approve the extension, Aoun could ask — one time only — for parliament to reconsider the draft within five days. Then, to pass, the reconsidered draft law would need an absolute majority: 65 of the 128 members.
Yamin explained that if parliament passes the extension draft law, Aoun will have the right to appeal before the Constitutional Council within 15 days after the law is published in the Official Gazette. The council has the option to void the law, and its decision is final.
If the parliament’s term expires without any consensus being reached on the new electoral law, Aoun — with the assent of the prime minister and the minister of the interior and municipalities — can hold an election based on the amended law of 1960 at least 90 days after the decree is published, despite the vacuum it would create, Yamin added.
The parliamentary elections situation has hit a new low amid the threats of protests, in particular by the Christian political forces objecting to the extension. But Yamin noted that the environment gives the president another option: Go directly to the voters and ask them to express their opposition to parliament's attempt, as he sees it, to violate the constitution and control the state by an extension.
Lebanon's last parliamentary elections were held in 2009. After a four-year term during which they couldn't agree on the electoral law, they voted to extend their term for 17 months. Another extension in 2014 has kept them in office until this year. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/lebanon-president-elec...
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Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 2, Block D: MK Ofir Akunis, Minister of Science, Technology and Space, and Israeli Knesset; in re: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pres Trump’s visit to Israel. We’re al glad that Res Trump will visit Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, in his first overseas trip. I hear new voices in Washington: all so in favor of Israel. Moving US embassy to Jerusalem: we hope it will happen in Pres Trump’s first term; I’m sure it’ll happen in the next for years. Conditions of Palestinian prisoners: Probably the best of any in the world. Widely researched and much known. The only reason they're in jail is that they’ve done seriously terrible things. / Israel’s approach to science education we speak of policy with students in high school – science, math, cyber. I was just in Modi’in and in Beersheva; my goal is to encourage them to be the future researchers of Israel and of course Nobelists. We apply a great deal of our national budget to their free SEM education. Am very optimistic about science, technology, innovation, for our next generation.
A prominent right-wing Israeli politician, Akunis currently serves as a member of the Knesset for the Likud party, and as Minister of Science, Technology and Space. Akunis began his activities with the Likud party in 1996 and became Deputy Media Advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu later that year. He served in a variety of communications roles over the next twelve years, including Speaker for the Likud Party and Speaker for the Minister of Justice, until being appointed Deputy Director of Communications and Information for the Likud in 2008, where he served until his election to the Knesset. He also served as the as Chairman of the Economic Committee and Deputy Speaker of the House, had been appointed Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection, and a Minister within the Communications Ministry.
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Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents; in re: John Bachelor and Malclm Hoenlein will soon be in Tbilisi, Georgia, where under Shevardnadze Georgia celebrated 2,600 years of Jews in Georgia. Thence on to Baku, Azerbaijan – a great, modern city – and thence to Jerusalem. In Israel: Abbas says he wants to revert to discussions from 2008. Time moves on. He ‘s laid out a passel of preconditions, not always the best way to open negotiations. Someone at the Riyadh embassy removed the ________ reference from the press release? Iran has broadcast that “Saudi Arabia is in the pocket of the United States” [and so is no good] and explained that Iran would see to it that in the future all that would remain of Saudia are Mecca and Medina. Egypt has just blown up a massive tunnel into Gaza – the one used to transport humongous cars, the Brobdingnagian luxury cars for the Hamas leadership. Mercedes and up.
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Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 3, Block B: Michael Knights, Washington Institute, in re: Mini-Hezbollahs. Hezbollah in Iraq. Does the future of Iraq fulfill the Iranian aspiration to achieve the Shia Crescent? Iraqis have a strong desire to be neutral, not involved in regional wars. If we back Abadi, we have a fair chance of preventing [Iran’s total control]. US mil and Iraqi security forces: the latter need to be assured that they have a long-term partner; if so, will push back against the militias. Victory a Mosul: a large and complex battle; Iraqis have done the vast majority of bleeding, fighting and dying. Sunnis, Shia, Turkomen – the Iraqi forces are from all over the country; it's a national fight, building a national sprit. US has wisely accorded credit to Iraqis. . . . Even the Shi’ites don't want to be dominated by the Shia militias. PM Abadi is quite a retiring character; but the more support he gets from the intl community, the more he becomes a charismatic and [approved] leader. If he gets a second term, I think he’ll have the power to offset the Shia militias and dismantle them; remove the Iranian militias who do kidnapping, extortion, murders.
Michael Knights is a Lafer fellow at The Washington Institute, specializing in the military and security affairs of Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and the Gulf Arab states. Dr. Knights has traveled extensively in Iraq and the Gulf states, published widely on security issues for major media outlets such as Jane's IHS, and regularly briefs U.S. government policymakers and U.S. military officers on regional security affairs. Dr. Knights worked as the head of analysis and assessments for a range of security and oil companies, directing information collection teams in Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. He has worked extensively with local military and security agencies in Iraq, the Gulf states, and Yemen. Dr. Knights has undertaken extensive research on lessons learned from U.S. military operations in the Gulf during and since 1990. He earned his doctorate at the Department of War Studies, King's College London, and has worked as a defense journalist for the Gulf States Newsletter and Jane's Intelligence Review. https://warontherocks.com/2017/05/mini-hizballahs-revolutionary-guard-knock-offs-and-the-future-of-irans-militant-proxies-in-iraq/
Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 3, Block C: Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian advocacy group, in re: Paris climate accord & US involvement in it (or lack thereof).
Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 3, Block D: Michael Ledeen, FDD, in re: Watching former acting attorney general Sally Yates and James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence, sliming away at General Mike Flynn took me back to reminiscences of Wisconsin’s infamous Senator Joe McCarthy and his lists of Communists. He used to brandish sheafs of paper, on which he claimed to have the names of enemy agents operating within the government. We rarely got any real names, but we were assured there were hundreds of them. Finally a brave Massachusetts attorney asked the senator “have you no shame?” -- and the air went out of the balloon.
No such brave soul was in action Monday as Yates and Clapper ruminated on the deeds of Mike Flynn, arguably the most creative and effective intelligence officer of his generation. Anyone who knows Flynn well will tell you that he is a rare man, a straight talker who tells his superiors exactly what he thinks, a 3-star general who has often preferred the input of junior officers and/or enlisted men and women to that of senior officers. These habits unsurprisingly annoyed his superiors, who were taken out of the decision-making loop. And, with the success of his methods, Flynn became a pariah to the intelligence establishment, perhaps above all to the CIA. https://pjmedia.com/michaelledeen/2017/05/10/the-new-mccarthyites/
Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 4, Block A: Tyler Rogoway, The Drive.com, in re:
Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 4, Block B: Tyler Rogoway, The Drive.com, in re:
Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 4, Block C: Bob Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack.com, and author, Capitalism in Space; in re:
Thursday 11 May 2017 / Hour 4, Block D: Bob Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack.com, and author, Capitalism in Space; in re: