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Here’s a game plan to stop ISIS & the jihadists in the epicenter. The President admits he has no strategy. Thank God others do.

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2014 at 9:53 pm

(Central Israel) — The President of the United States has absolutely no idea what he is doing in the Middle East. Mr. Obama apparently has plenty of time to play golf. Yet he refuses to invest the time and energy necessary to come up with a plan to stop — much less defeat — ISIS, despite the genocidal attacks their forces are engaged in and the grave threat they pose to Israel and our Arab allies. 

“We don’t have a strategy yet,” President Obama admitted during a White House press conference on Thursday

Why in the world not?

Others have developed sound strategies. Here are a few:

Consider, too, an excellent op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer today by former Senator Rick Santorum. He lays out a game plan to deal with ISIS and the threat of the jihadists in the Middle East and protect the American people and our vital national interests.

SANTORUM: FACE REALITY IN THE MIDEAST

It is painful beyond words to behold the bloodthirsty brutality of the jihadists in the Middle East right now. But perhaps even more disturbing is the sight of an American president unable or unwilling to accurately assess the magnitude of the threat to America and our allies, and taking hesitant, awkward, vacillating half-measures in response.

The forces of radical Islam are on the move. In Syria, nearly 200,000 people are dead. Millions are on the run. In Iraq, the jihadists are slaughtering Muslims, Christians, and other minorities. In Gaza, the radicals have fired more than 4,000 rockets aimed at massacring Israeli civilians.

The jihadists may use different names (ISIS, Hamas, Islamic Jihad) and different tactics (rockets, tunnels, beheadings, crucifixions), but their goals are the same. Obliterate Israel. Topple our Arab allies. Establish an Islamic caliphate. Then launch a series of catastrophic attacks on the United States.

How is it possible that President Obama seems more interested in playing golf than in standing with our friends in the midst of a war that threatens our security too?

I have just returned from leading a solidarity trip to Israel. My colleagues and I witnessed the jihadist offensive firsthand. In the three days we were there, Hamas fired more than 300 rockets at Israeli cities, including Jerusalem. We heard the Code Red alerts go off. We experienced the adrenaline that comes with running to a bomb shelter. We met with Israeli Defense Force soldiers on the front lines near Gaza. We visited parents whose only son was kidnapped and murdered by these jihadists just weeks ago.

I was deeply impressed by the courage and resilience of the Israeli people in the face of this cruel enemy. I was blessed by seeing their immense love and appreciation for America, and particularly for U.S. funding of their miraculous Iron Dome rocket defense system. But I was also struck by how many Israelis privately expressed to me their growing fear that Obama does not seem to truly understand what is happening in the region, and isn’t sufficiently determined to defeat this enemy.

The president has told us repeatedly that “al-Qaeda is on the run” and “we have decimated al-Qaeda.” But his policies have actually allowed the jihadists to become stronger.

In 2011, I warned that the president’s foolish and reckless Iraq policy – especially his inability to build an effective working relationship with the Iraqi leadership and his decision to precipitously withdraw all U.S.

military forces by the end of that year – meant the United States would lose the war in Iraq, and create an environment into which other radical Islamic forces would be drawn. That now appears to be true.

There is a way to turn this around. The president should immediately:

Crush ISIS and prevent a caliphate. Hit them hard and relentlessly from the air. Pinpricks have slowed the ISIS advance, but is the president willing to accept a country in the heart of the Middle East governed by such Islamic radicals? Decisive air power is needed now.

Arm the Kurds. The Kurdish people in northern Iraq are fighting for their lives. They have long proven their friendship with America. They have demonstrated that they are a moderate, peaceful Muslim people. They have tried to create a safe haven for Christians and other minorities. Stand with them. Provide them with weapons of the amount and caliber that will truly help them defend their people.

Help the new Iraqi prime minister. Nouri al-Maliki is gone. Good. Haider al-Abadi is new but untested. Work with him. Show him and the Iraqi people that America has not cut them loose. Urge them to build an inclusive democracy that truly and fully welcomes and empowers Sunnis as well as Shias, along with Christians, Kurds, and all other minority groups. Provide Baghdad with real-time intelligence, as well as more military training and logistical support to regain the upper hand against the radicals.

Stand with Israel. John Kerry has been a disaster as secretary of state. Bring in a special envoy who treats Israel as a true friend and faithful American ally, not an irritant or obstacle to Mideast peace. Stop pressuring the Israelis to accept premature and deeply flawed ceasefire agreements. Stop halting or micromanaging the transfer of weapons to Israel that we have already promised them. Stand with the Israelis without hesitation or prevarication.

Support our Arab friends. The Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis, and some in the Gulf know first-hand the threat posed by the radicals. They want to work with the United States to prevent the creation of a caliphate. They feel abandoned by this White House, which seems more focused on helping Hamas and placating Iran than on engaging friends.

Seal America’s southern border. Every day this administration refuses to stop people crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally, the more likely terrorists will use these routes to plant sleeper cells inside the homeland.

Turn up the heat on Iran. The most serious threat to America, Israel, and our Arab allies is a nuclear-armed Iran. The Iranians are playing this White House. They want a deal that allows them to keep all of their centrifuges and enrichment equipment, their stockpiles of uranium, and their capacity to race for a nuclear bomb within a matter of months. Say no. Implement tougher sanctions. Move more military assets into the Gulf region. Make clear there will be serious consequences if Iran continues to defy the international community.

American leadership in the Mideast matters for our national security. There is a window of time for America to regain the initiative and protect ourselves and our allies, but we need a leader who levels with the American people about the nature of the threat and the serious consequences of inaction. Mr. President, it is time to tee it up in the game that you were elected to play.

—————————

Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, is chairman of Patriot Voices and author of “Blue Collar Conservatives.” contact@patriotvoices.com

Santorum & NRB executives showed real leadership by visiting Israel amidst a hot war. They get the importance of US-Israel alliance & gravity of jihadist threat.

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2014 at 7:19 am

(Central Israel) — Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to and travel through Israel with two solidarity delegations from the United States. One was organized by former Senator Rick Santorum and included businessmen, journalists and evangelical Christian pastors from across the country. The other was led by Dr. Jerry Johnson, president & CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters and included highly-respected Christian leaders such as Anne Graham Lotz, Kay Arthur, Tony Perkins and Dr. Richard Land.

I shared some of our experiences on my blog last week. But I want to add a few thoughts upon having had time to reflect further on what I saw.

Senator Santorum and the NRB executives showed tremendous leadership by visiting Israel during a hot war. Each is a long-time friend of Israel, but this was above and beyond the call of duty. These principled men and women demonstrated true love and support for America’s number one ally in the Middle East. They came here even while hundreds of rockets were raining down on the Jewish state. They came when almost no one else was visiting the country. They visited troops on the frontlines.  They visited Israelis personally scarred by Hamas terrorism. They met with high-level government officials. They met with everyday Israelis — Jews and Arabs — all over the country. They learned how the Iron Dome system works and saw its benefits. They heard the Code Red sirens go off. They ran to bomb shelters like everyone else. Most importantly, they studied the Scriptures together and prayed for the peace of Jerusalem and communicated what they saw and heard back to millions of Americans back home via radio, TV and newspaper interviews, as well as via Facebook and Twitter.

How many others did that over the past fifty days of this cruel war?

I don’t know whether Senator Santorum will run for President again. I know he did remarkably well in 2012, coming in second after Gov. Romney, after winning the Iowa caucuses and a total of 11 primaries and some four million votes. He’s not currently a declared candidate, and won’t make his decision about 2016 until sometime next year. Therefore, what impresses me is that he is standing up for what is right, right now. He didn’t come for a photo op. He came to better understand the crisis in the Middle East and explain it to the American people.

When Santorum was serving in the Senate, he took the lead in supporting Israel and advancing legislation to deal with the threats from Iran and Syria. Today, though he is out of office, he continues to demonstrate that he gets the importance of a strong US-Israel relationship; that he truly understands the threat Radical Islamic jihadists pose to the U.S., Israel and our Arab allies in the Middle East; that he sees the danger Christians, Jews and other minorities face in the epicenter. He has enormous experience on these issues, and it shows in the way he speaks about these issues and the policies for which he advocates. He’s willing to speak out in a bold, principled way, regardless of whether the establishment in Washington notices or cares, and regardless of whether the mainstream media notices or cares.

Good for him. I’m impressed and grateful. May his tribe increase.

Likewise, Dr. Jerry Johnson and the folks from NRB are acting as true Christian statesmen. They love and support Israel. But they also care deeply for the plight of the Palestinian people who are being traumatized by Hamas and being caught in the crossfire of this terrible, painful war. These Christian leaders aren’t succumbing to the moral relativism of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) or other liberal, apostate denominations that have abandoned the Bible and the Scriptural call to bless Israel. They are standing on the Word of God, boldly and without apology.

Good for them. I’m impressed and grateful. May their tribe increase, as well.

One last thought for now: I strongly agree with the point Senator Santorum makes in his new op-ed (see below) — supporting Israel should not be a partisan issue. It should be a bipartisan commitment. Sadly, the President has brought US-Israel relations to its lowest point in 66 years. This deeply concerns me. That’s why I’m working on building friendships with Democrats as well as Republicans who support Israel and understand the issues here in the Middle East, or want to. To the extent time permits, I will do my best to help any leader who cares about these issues and is trying to do the right thing. That’s why I joined the Santorum and NRB delegations, and why I’ll help others in the future.

Please join me in thanking Rick, Jerry Johnson, and all who joined their delegations for showing true leadership and the courage of their convictions “at such a time as this.”

RICK SANTORUM: WHEN ISRAEL NEEDS OUR HELP, WE HAVE TO BE THERE

Op-ed in the Manchester (NH) Union Leader by former Senator Rick Santorum, published on August 27, 2014

On May 14, 1948, the United States of America was the first nation to officially recognize the newly reborn State of Israel. It was morally right and strategically wise that we did so, and we have been blessed as a nation ever since with a true friend in the Middle East.

It happened to be a Democrat, President Harry Truman, who understood the Jewish people’s right and need to return to their ancient homeland to be safe and free, especially in the wake of the Holocaust. To his great credit, Mr. Truman refused to follow the counsel of those in his own administration, even his own secretary of state, who said it was foolish for America to support a strong, safe and free Jewish state.

Yet while it was a Democrat in the White House who set into motion America’s alliance with Israel, it is another Democrat in the White House who has brought U.S.-Israel relations to their lowest point in 66 years.

This great alliance should not be a partisan issue. Indeed, support for Israel on Capitol Hill is one of the few issues that bring both parties together. Yet the President is an outlier, consistently creating new tensions and divisions with Israel, even while she is under attack by a virulent and ruthless enemy.

This should not be. Most Americans see Israel not simply as an ancient nation but a modern miracle, a true partner on many fronts, from manufacturing to agriculture to the development of state-of-the-art weapons systems like the Iron Dome. They also see a vibrant democracy and a real partner in the war with terrorists.

Yet it has become painfully apparent that our current President does not agree.

I came to Israel last week to show solidarity with her people and government, in part because I am embarrassed by the actions of my own government. The White House should never pressure an ally to accept flawed, biased ceasefire proposals in a war with terrorists who are hell-bent on annihilating them.

The U.S. government should never hold back arms from — or micromanage arms transfers to — an ally fighting for her life.

No administration should try to force an ally to divide her own capital city and surrender the sovereignty of that capital to an enemy sworn to obliterate her.

Nor should any administration leak to the media policy or personal disagreements with an ally, especially during war time.

Yet this is exactly what is happening.

The delegation of American business leaders, pastors and journalists I brought to Jerusalem join me in standing with Israel because we see a friend under attack and feeling increasingly alone. While we were there, Hamas fired more than 150 rockets at Israeli civilian population centers, bringing their total rocket attacks to more than 4,000 in the past seven weeks. My colleagues and I were in Jerusalem on Tuesday evening when the Code Red sirens sounded. A rocket was headed for the Holy City and we had to rush into bomb shelters with our Israeli friends. Yet the world repeatedly criticizes and condemns Israel for exercising her right to self-defense.

Imagine if Washington, D.C., or St. Louis or San Diego were under rocket attack. Would we not strike back hard and relentlessly at those firing the rockets? Would we take kindly to foreign leaders who told us to stop defending ourselves even as the terrorists kept shooting at us?

The most moving part of our visit was meeting with the precious parents of Gil’Ad Shaer, one of the teenage boys Hamas kidnapped and murdered in June. As we sat in their home we heard their story and saw their grief. But we also saw their determination not to let the jihadists destroy their country or their hope for the future.

America must stand with such brave souls. After all, Israel’s fight against radical Islam is our fight too. If we do not defeat the terrorists in the Mideast, they will strike America at home.

Our commitment to Israel does not mean we are blind to the pain and challenges the Palestinians in Gaza face. To the contrary, we care deeply about them and seek their freedom from tyranny.

The Palestinians of Gaza absolutely need to be liberated….from the cruel occupation of Hamas. The Palestinians of Gaza need to be set free from Hamas’ reign of terror and barbarity. This should be a major priority of the U.S. government.

Unfortunately, American foreign policy today is in complete disarray. Incompetence reigns in the White House and State Department and has for six years. Our friends no longer trust us. Our enemies no longer fear us. This is a recipe for disaster.

“Leading from behind” is not leadership at all. The President’s steady retreat from the Mideast is creating a dangerous vacuum jihadist forces are moving to fill from Syria to Iraq to Gaza.

We can and must do better. Democrats should start by putting serious pressure on the President to truly and fully support Israel and to stop pressuring her to make bad deals with dangerous foes. Republicans can start by repudiating isolationist voices in our party and those who call for ending all military aid to Israel.

Now is the time to stand unified for Israel.

———————

Rick Santorum is a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

BREAKING: On Day #50, new cease fire takes effect after 4,450 rockets fired at Israel. Will the truce hold?

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2014 at 5:12 pm

(Central Israel) —  Today is Day #50 is Hamas’ war against the people of Israel. Thus far, Hamas and its Radical Islamic terrorist allies have fired 4,450 rockets, missiles and mortars at Israeli civilians, both Jews and Arabs.

Yet in the last hour or so, Hamas and Israel have agreed to a new ceasefire deal, one that was negotiated by the Al-Sissi government in Egypt.

Admittedly, this is the 12th ceasefire deal in the past seven weeks. Hamas has broken 11 of them. So there is not a great deal of confidence here in Israel that the true quiet and calm has come.

That said, we are certainly hoping and praying that this quiet will come at last. We are cautious, and somewhat skeptical, but we’re trying not to be cynical. We all want peace to come. Where Lynn and the boys and I live, we have been spared the rocket fire. But Israelis living in the south have been under relentless attack. They are brave and determined. But many of them are exhausted as well. Not since the Nazis fired rockets at London during World War II have civilian populations been under such relentless rocket attack. The sooner this ends — with as few casualties as possible — the better.

What has been extraordinary is to see how the Lord God of Israel has been so kind and gracious to the Israeli people during this time. There have been deaths, and injuries, to be sure. But if it weren’t for the Lord’s mercy and the miraculous Iron Dome system, this could have been a horrific massacre of the Jewish people. And it wasn’t.

The Israeli people have much to be thankful for, and I hope and pray that Israel’s Prime Minister and other leaders will call the nation to give thanks to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for His many blessings.

Here are the latest details on the cease-fire. I’ll post more details and analysis in the days ahead.

“Israel and the Palestinians agreed to an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire to end Gaza hostilities which went into effect at 7 p.m. Israeli time on Tuesday,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “Despite the Egyptian announcement of the cease-fire, red alert sirens continued to be heard in Israel’s southern communities after 7 p.m. An Israeli was killed by one of dozens of mortar shells fired at the Eshkol Regional Council just before the cease-fire was set to commence.”

“Senior Israeli officials said that the cabinet ministers were updated by phone that Israel would accept the cease-fire,” the Post reported. “The eight-person security cabinet was briefed on the decision to accept the cease-fire, but not asked to vote on it. The Egyptian proposal which the sides agreed to entails an unlimited cease-fire letting material in to rehabilitate Gaza under supervision. In addition, each side will raise other demands within a month. The announcement came after Palestinian officials had earlier stated that a deal had been reached to end the nearly two months of fighting.”

The Times of Israel is reporting the following summary of the past 50 days of fighting:

  • Hamas has fired 4,450 rockets and other projectiles at Israel.
  • Of these, 3,555 fell in Israel – 221 of them in residential areas.
  • The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 714 incoming rockets.
  • In Gaza, the Israel Air Force has hit 5,226 Hamas and other terror targets, the army says.

 

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