Inside Opinion

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Tag: Hamas

April
25th

A red line for Syria – and for President Obama

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

What does “red line” mean? What does “game changer” mean?

Either Barack Obama or Syria’s Bashar Assad will come to regret those words. In the near future, we’ll find out which.

When the president of the United States issues a warning that dire, he’d best be ready to back up the words with action. Assad’s government appears to have crossed Obama’s portentous line by using chemical weapons against rebels – such is the assessment of Britain, France, Israel and now the U.S. secretaries of Defense and State. What next?

If the evidence of nerve gas attacks is established beyond a reasonable doubt, Obama must come through – somehow – on his unspecified threat.

A U.S. invasion of Syria cannot be an option; the Middle East is enough of a mess already without a herd of American elephants stomping into a conflict few people on this side of the planet understand.

We want to help the good guys win, but it’s hard to figure out exactly who they are. Assad is a brutal tyrant, but some of his enemies are friends of al-Qaida, which makes them enemies of ours.

One of the best reasons to tread cautiously is the possibility that sarin – which is 500 times more toxic than cyanide – might fall into the hands of people who rejoiced at the sight of mangled Americans at the Boston Marathon.
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Nov.
23rd

Iron Dome saved lives – Palestinians among them

The only pleasant news from the latest Israel-vs.-Hamas cage fight was the success of Israel’s new Iron Dome missile defense system.

Iron Dome doesn’t kill people, just missiles that kill people. And unlike many touted high-tech wonders, it actually appears to work. At $40,000 or $50,000 a copy, the interceptors are expensive, but the system sorts out which incoming rockets are likely to hit people and targets only those. The intercepters aren’t wasted on glorified bottle rockets.

It may have averted an Israeli invasion of Gaza. Had the jihadist rockets killed more than a handful of people, Israeli public

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Nov.
20th

Call Israel’s bluff, Hamas: Give up the rockets

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

The only hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians is a two-state solution that guarantees both Jews and Arabs a secure homeland.

That’s a distant dream, though, without a no-rockets solution right now.

When fighting breaks out between Israel and the jihadist Hamas government of Gaza, the news is dominated by massive Israeli air strikes and dead Palestinian noncombatants. It looks like swatting a flea with a sledgehammer.

Mostly unreported, month in and month out, are the barrages of missiles that Hamas and related militias launch into Israel.

The latest outbreak of warfare between Israel and Gaza is dated to Israel’s Nov. 14 assassination of Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari. Jabari was the mastermind behind Hamas’ increasingly sophisticated arsenal, which now includes smuggled Iranian ballistic missiles capable of hitting Jerusalem.

When Jabari died, Hamas vowed revenge and launched rockets at Israel, hence the Israeli counterstrikes aimed at firing pads and other missile infrastructure in Gaza, among other targets.

According to The New York Times, though, Gaza jihadists had already fired – in 2012 alone – more than 700 rockets at Israel. Killing Jabari may have been a political blunder, but he was Gaza’s Rocketman – a legitimate military target.

Hamas is internationally recognized as a terrorist organization whose long-term goal is the complete destruction of Israel. Its leaders exalt death; they have celebrated Osama bin Laden and suicide bombings; its military has hidden weaponry in densely populated areas, betting that attacks will produce videos of mangled civilians.

Nevertheless, it has admirers who will jump to its defense every time the rockets are mentioned.

The standard line – before the Iranian missiles arrived – was that the rockets were crude and inaccurate. That’s like saying it’s OK to shoot at someone as long as you’re a bad shot.

No country but Israel is expected to sit passively as mortal enemies drop high explosives on its towns and territory.

The Hamas-enablers also argue that the rockets are a justified response to Israel’s sea blockade on Gaza. The blockade does cripple the Gaza economy – but it also slows down Hamas’ imports of heavy weapons.
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Jan.
26th

Who, exactly, will replace Mubarak in Egypt?

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

The United States supports democracy and detests autocracy. Except when it doesn’t.

What’s been happening in Egypt may be one of the excepts. Huge angry crowds have taken to the streets, threatening to overturn the dictatorship that’s been misgoverning and mismanaging the country for as long as most people can remember.

Since President Hosni Mubarak took power in 1981, he has systematically crushed any opposition groups that posed a serious threat to his rule, rigging elections and sometimes brutalizing his opponents.

The complication is, he’s also been a crucial American ally in the Middle East. He kept his country out of the Soviet orbit during the cold war, kept violent Islamists at bay and maintained the friendly ties his much more impressive predecessor – Anwar Sadat – established with Israel.

Those policies served his interests, and it so happens they served American interests as well. As Franklin Roosevelt is reputed to have once said about a Nicaraguan dictator, “He may be an S.O.B., but he’s our S.O.B.”

So far, the Obama administration is following that line with Egypt. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has declared Mubarak’s government to be “stable” and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.”

In other words, we’ve got your back, Hosni.
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