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July 2016


Tired of reading about Government Waste? go to http://www.openthebooks.com/
And please read this column:
To Reclaim America, Abolish the Federal Agencies By Michael Walsh May 17, 2016


The decline of America, perhaps surprisingly, can be traced directly to the Nixon administration. Surprising, because the Left hated Tricky Dick with a passion that can only be compared with the passion that animates the never-Trump crowd: sheer, animal loathing. Surprising, because Nixon was the most domestically liberal, if not actually leftist, president we’ve had until Obama. Surprising, because to this day old Nixon-haters still foam at the mouth at the very thought of the man who took down the “pink lady,” Helen Gahagan Douglas, and saved Israel in 1973; a year later, of course, they finally sacked him over Watergate.

But it was during the first Nixon administration that the hideous monstrosity of the Environmental Protection Agency came into being by executive order, along with its ugly twin, the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Seemingly innocuous and well-intentioned at the time, both agencies have metastasized, their original missions completed and now forever on the prowl for something else to meddle with. They’re both unconstitutional, of course, but what’s even worse is that they’ve turned into rogue agencies, issuing edicts, orders and regulations largely devoid of congressional scrutiny — pure instruments of executive power, with none to gainsay them.

To get an idea of just how obnoxious and intrusive these do-gooder agencies have become, get a load of this from Lou Ann Rieley, who owns a farm in Delaware:

This week a young rancher in Wyoming, Andy Johnson, won a battle for private property rights against one of the bureaucratic entities that strikes fear in the hearts of farmers and ranchers nationwide, the Environmental Protection Agency.

Johnson fought back against a mandate from the EPA to dismantle a pond that he had built on his own land with the required state permits. Fines totaling $16 million were imposed before they were finally overturned in the wake of his court victory.

As I read about his ordeal I thought back through the years that I have managed our small family farm and the many times we have been harassed by government busy-bodies who thought it was in their purview to question us, investigate us, intrude on us, and regulate us.

Let’s stop right there. (You can read all about the Johnson case, which ought to outrage every real American, here.) Sixteen million dollars in fines? For what?

Obama Justice Department Laughed Off Armed New Black Panther Threat By J. Christian Adams

In 2009 and 2010, lawyers working at the United States Justice Department warned top Obama political appointees and other Justice Department officials about the dangerous threats of New Black Panthers to kill police officers and other whites. I was one of those lawyers who delivered those warnings.

Our warnings came in the context of the Voting Rights Act case I and other lawyers brought against the New Black Panthers on behalf of the United States in 2009, a case the Obama administration ultimately abandoned. Both top DOJ officials, including now Labor Secretary Tom Perez, as well as rank and file employees in the Civil Rights Division, were warned but did not take the New Black Panther threat seriously or otherwise considered the organization to be a laughable joke.

Allies in the media echoed the narrative that the defendants in the voter intimidation case were harmless clowns.

Among the information presented to top officials was a video produced by the New Black Panthers entitled “Training Day.” The video proposes killing police officers by ambush. I wrote about the video:

Another New Black Panther posing in the above photo and kneeling with a shotgun is “Field Marshal” Najee Muhammad. As I wrote in my book Injustice: One of them was Panther “Field Marshal” Najee Muhammad, who is seen in a Panther video called “Training Day” in which he encourages blacks in DeKalb County, Georgia, to don ski masks, lie in wait behind shrubs, and kill police officers with AK-47s. Following that exhortation he mocks the hypothetical victims’ grieving widows.

Why Not Zero? By Shoshana Bryen

The Obama administration has announced that it will not cut the U.S. troop deployment in Afghanistan to 5,000 as planned, but will leave 8,400 soldiers to support the Afghan government in its fight against the Taliban. President Obama said, “Compared to the 100,000 troops we once had there, today, fewer than 10,000 remain.”

That is true, but why 8,400? Why not 50,000? Why not zero?

In making his announcement, President Obama said, “Even as we remain relentless against those who threaten us, we are no longer engaged in a major ground war in Afghanistan.” That’s interesting, but exactly who in Afghanistan threatens the United States? And how relentless can we be with 8,400 soldiers?

In 2010, Dr. Steven Metz of the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College wrote that the Obama administration’s Afghan strategy (like that of the Bush administration before him) was based on three assumptions:

Al-Qaeda “needs state support or sanctuary.”
If the Taliban regains control of Afghanistan, “it will again provide bases and sanctuary to al Qaeda.”
If the Taliban “did, for some reason, provide support and sanctuary to al Qaeda, this would increase the threat to the United States and other NATO countries.”

Assuming that Metz is right about what the U.S. feared/fears emerging from Afghanistan, America clearly has not been successful in creating a secure Afghanistan able to defend itself from the Taliban and repel al-Qaeda. Broad Taliban military successes are the reason the president changed the number of troops he’s willing to leave there. Al-Qaeda remains a force, albeit less of one as ISIS has grown, but that may not be a permanent situation.

It’s not that we haven’t done things.

We tried ousting the Taliban ourselves and tried training Afghan forces to do it. We tried instituting Western-style elections and changing the role of women in society. We provided $110 billion in civilian and (mainly) military aid between 2002 and 2015. We tried more troops and fewer troops. We tried fighting on the ground and supporting Afghans from the air. We tried drones in Pakistan and supporting the Pakistani government to the tune of billions in military aid every year, including $25.91 billion between 2001 and 2013.

The Dallas Massacre By The Editors

Thursday night’s attack in Dallas marks the deadliest day for American law enforcement since September 11, 2001. An ambush that started just before 9 p.m. local time, toward the end of a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration, left four members of the Dallas Police Department and one member of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit authority police department dead, and seven other officers and two civilians injured. The gunman, 25-year-old Micah X. Johnson, who told a hostage negotiator that he “wanted to kill white people, especially police officers,” was so successful only because of the bravery of Dallas’s finest, who spent the evening monitoring Black Lives Matter protesters, then rushed to shield demonstrators when shots rang out. On a week marked by intense hostility against our law enforcement, Dallas police reminded us of the courage and selflessness displayed by the vast majority of America’s men and women in uniform.

Police have yet to release the identities of the three suspects in custody, who are believed to have conspired in planning the attack. But about the motivations behind this episode there can be little doubt. Dallas police chief David Brown has said that the perpetrators clearly “planned to injure and kill as many law-enforcement officers as they could.” Johnson, who appears to have been the lone gunman, was a Facebook fan of the African American Defense League, which regularly called for violence against cops. Recent posts encourage readers to “ATTACK EVERYTHING IN BLUE EXCEPT THE MAIL MAN” and “sprinkle Pigs Blood.”

Responsibility for this vicious, cowardly act lies solely with the killer. But this tragedy is another reminder that the temperature should be lowered in the debate over policing and race.

Of course, Black Lives Matter almost exists to do the opposite, and a poisonous minority of it has even encouraged violence against police. In New York City in late 2014, protesters chanted: “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want them? Now.” Not long after, Ismaaiyl Brinsley assassinated two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, in their patrol vehicle.

The reactions to the recent officer-involved shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn., which prompted the demonstrations in Dallas and elsewhere, have been typically inflammatory. It is far from clear whether the officers acted justifiably, and the available evidence raises serious questions. We understand the passions evoked by these tragic encounters, partially captured in graphic videos. Nonetheless, Black Lives Matter activists immediately labeled the deaths “murder,” and appropriated them to a well-known narrative of an “epidemic” of police violence against black Americans. Meanwhile, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton blamed Castile’s shooting partly on “racism,” and President Obama decried “racial disparity in the justice system.” Events in Ferguson and Baltimore, where the facts did not support the instant Black Lives Matter narrative, have shown the imprudence of these sorts of knee-jerk pronouncements.

The Fatal Flaws in Comey’s Theory of Why Clinton Shouldn’t Be Prosecuted The FBI director is a talented lawyer, but even he could not mount a convincing case for his actions. By Andrew C. McCarthy

In a quarter century in law enforcement, I never encountered anyone more confident, or with more reason to be confident, than Jim Comey. The former Bush Justice Department deputy attorney general turned Obama Justice Department director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has earned bipartisan plaudits for a reason: He is as able as it gets. The nation got to see that this week: first, in his tour de force press conference both damning and clearing Hillary Clinton; then, just 48 hours later, in his deft jousting with a Republican-led House committee rankled by his decision to give a pass to the Democrats’ putative presidential nominee.

So well did Director Comey perform that you barely noticed his rationale withering away.

In arguing that Mrs. Clinton should not face felony charges of grossly negligent mishandling of classified information, the director illustrated that Mrs. Clinton is overwhelmingly guilty of grossly negligent mishandling of classified information. It made me wonder how many dozens — scores? hundreds? — of defendants Comey, in his 15 stellar years as a federal prosecutor, had convicted on a bare fraction of the proof he outlined against the former secretary of state.

Comey piled fact upon fact showing intentional misconduct — the setting up of a non-government, non-secure e-mail server system for the conduct of official business, in violation of guidelines Clinton was obliged not only to follow but to enforce; the transmission of classified information (including some of the government’s most closely guarded intelligence secrets) — information Clinton had to know was classified at the time it was sent, some of which was even marked classified (notwithstanding her serial denials of that tell-tale fact); the herculean effort to destroy any trace of thousands of government files, notwithstanding over a year’s worth of vows that no government-related information had been included in the 32,000 e-mails she attempted to delete rather than surrender to the State Department.

On and on Comey went: shredding one Hillary lie after another; all but guaranteeing that her “extreme carelessness” had resulted in the penetration of her communications by foreign intelligence services; pointedly rebuking Clinton’s recklessness in discussing top-secret intelligence via a homebrew system so amateurishly unsecure she’d have been better off using your teenager’s Gmail account.

In the end, nevertheless, he let her off the hook. Bursting with pride over the bureau’s forensic prowess and investigative energy, he left the listener certain his agents had built the slam-dunk case to end all slam-dunk cases, only to conclude with a thud that the case was too weak to charge. Not only too weak but so wanting, he proclaimed, that no reasonable prosecutor could think otherwise.

Turns out there are a lot of unreasonable prosecutors. Can it be that too many of them are retired and cranky, that from up here in the peanut gallery, the job looks a lot easier than it is?

Maybe . . . but I don’t think so.

Overrated: Leni Riefenstahl by Daniel Johnson

“Riefenstahl is now grotesquely overrated — despite or perhaps because of her notoriety. The influence of her personality, art and ideas is ubiquitous, from directors such as Herzog to photographers such as Mapplethorpe. When Pauline Kael, the New Yorker’s most revered film critic, pronounced Olympia and Triumph of the Will “the two greatest films ever directed by a woman”, criticism of Riefenstahl became uncritical. And when John Galliano declared his love for Hitler, aesthetics trumped politics. Among fascists and fashionistas alike, Leni Riefenstahl remains the high priestess of Nazi chic.”

Leni Riefenstahl, revered by critics as the greatest of all female film directors, made her name by celebrating the triumph of the willy. No male film director has championed masculinity in such a crude, even obscene form. For the 12 years that it actually lasted, Hitler’s thousand-year Reich was a thoroughly masculine, if sadomasochistic, sexual fantasy. In Triumph of the Will, Olympia and other propaganda films, Riefenstahl depicted it as such, while enriching herself as its obedient servant, enjoying lavish budgets that her Anglo-American counterparts such as Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles could only envy.

That is why the new Hollywood biopic Race — about Jesse Owens, the African American star of the 1936 Olympic Games — gets Riefenstahl so very wrong. She is played by Carice van Houten as a pragmatic, highly professional filmmaker trying to do a good job for the athletes, including black ones such as Owens, in the teeth of violent opposition from the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. It is true that Goebbels made one disparaging diary reference to Riefenstahl during the Olympics as “a hysterical woman”. But if the filmmakers had bothered to study the Goebbels Diaries in greater depth, they would know that such squabbles paled into insignificance compared to Riefenstahl’s heroic mythologising of Hitler on film — the Führer’s favourite art form. “She is the only one of the stars who really understands us,” Goebbels wrote.

Riefenstahl’s Nazi eroticism was mordantly evoked 40 years ago by the late Susan Sontag in “Fascinating Fascism”, one of her best essays: “Like Nietzsche and Wagner, Hitler regarded leadership as sexual mastery of the feminised masses, as rape. The expression of the crowds in Triumph of the Will is one of ecstasy. The leader makes the crowd come.” What Riefenstahl depicted was politics as pornography. Sontag glimpsed something which today we recognise from the Islamist propaganda of Isis: “Fascist art glorifies surrender; it exalts mindlessness: it glamorises death.”

Sontag was right: Riefenstahl exemplified everything that was wrong with the aestheticising of politics in the 20th century — a century that coincided almost exactly with her lifespan. But when this ferociously self-mythologising and litigious centenarian made her final exit in 2003, the gushing tributes seemingly vindicated her decision to live in denial. For 12 years she was Hitler’s propagandist; for the next 60 she was her own. More than 50 successful lawsuits testify to her determination to suppress any suggestion that she knew exactly what and whom she was justifying. Since her death, a growing army of apologists have defended her as a genius of cinematography.

Islam and the French Republic:Ben Judah

You only really know Paris when you know the Métro. When you recognise the Roma rapping on La Ligne 13, when you know without needing to look which stations let the sleeping bags in at night, when you get that instinctive feel for the hour the homeless beggars do their rounds up and down the carriages — “Mesdames, Messieurs.”

You only really know Paris when you know the spots where women look behind themselves at night. Get out quickly from the tunnels at Stalingrad — watch out for your bag, they say, that’s where the Eritreans are sleeping. Don’t get yourself a commute on La Ligne 13, they joke, it may be light blue but it goes from Romania to the banlieue end of hell. And with this ticket this is where I am going. I have to see the new France for myself to ask: is this country in danger? This is not just any old question to me. This is about my family.

My aunt lives on La Ligne 13. She, like most of my family is French. French and Jewish. She lives in the Paris that the tourists think can never change. But this is not the France we knew. Outside her apartment on the pavement someone has spray-painted in black “Too Many Arabs”, while inside our family has been arguing. Le Bataclan, les banlieues, Marine Le Pen, burnt police cars, jihadi assassinations, the HyperCacher — do we smell smoke?

If we get one more failed president then Marine Le Pen will win the presidency, says my uncle. My aunt wants a British passport. This is hysteria! Let’s be calm, tuts my cousin. But the killings have already started, says his wife. Round and round it goes. Optimists, turning into pessimists, and back again. Are we paranoid? I am on the Métro to find out.

A swirl of purple and blue light glows out of the rose windows of the cathedral of Saint-Denis and spills mystery over the silence of the nave. I am standing in a sacred necropolis: the burial place of the kings of France. Tombs surround me. Carved out of limestone, their faces calm, they look as ifthey are sleeping. The crypt holds their bones, from Dagobert I all the way to Louis XIII. This is the line of the Sun King. A man lies here who was not a king: Charles Martel, the Frankish warrior who Gibbon believed had saved Christendom by defeating the Arab invasion of France on the battlefield near Poitiers in 732.

Two hundred metres away, it is time for Friday prayers. The mosque is overflowing. Every week 3,000 believers come to pray here on Rue de la Boulangerie, in a dingy space that cannot hold more than 1,800. In tracksuits, jubbah, and the white tunics of Islamists it overflows. The road is crowded, blocked, as around a hundred fall to their knees towards Mecca. These hardline mosques are building a parallel Paris: segregated by faith.

I am only 20 minutes from my aunt’s flat on Ligne 13. This is Sunday morning. At the cathedral I count scarcely 500 faithful at Mass. They are almost all black. “This is a black church,” says the old white priest as I leave. Imagine Westminster Abbey in Tower Hamlets, a Tower Hamlets without jobs, which makes it more of a Bradford. This is the banlieue of Seine-Saint-Denis. In a country where ethno-religious statistics are illegal, this is seen as a Muslim-majority territory. To mention Saint-Denis is to start arguing about France’s greatest tension: Islam and the Republic.

Bradford upsets the British less than Saint-Denis does the French. France has a far more virulent rejection of Muslim multiculturalism. The majority even find Islam itself incompatible with the values of French society. The word communitaire is only used with sharply negative connotations. This is because Saint-Denis clashes with the underlying French ideology — La République, the enlightenment scheme whereby there should be nothing between the will of a uniform, secular state and its citizens. No priests, no imams, no community elders.

Last week one of the cathedral’s priests was savagely beaten here, thugs mistaking a long thin book for an iPad. Then they bolted, leaving him with a bleeding nose on the square. My notebook fills with stories like this: of thieves, hoodlums and pickpockets. This is nothing like poor London.

The streets of Saint-Denis talk as if the authorities have lost their grip. Jihadists are waging a dirty war on the Republic, recruiting intensively in these banlieues. Since 2012, stabbings, shootings and car rammings have taken place every few months, punctuated by slaughters such as Charlie Hebdo and the Bataclan.

It was here after the Bataclan massacre that the police stormed the hideout of the terrorist mastermind, firing 5,000 rounds. Three jihadis were shot dead, minutes from the cathedral. Their stated ambition was to start a civil war.

The odd woman circumvents France’s ban on complete face coverings, by wearing a little anti-bacterial facemask under tight-fitting hijab. The Catholic faithful drifting out of the cathedral are uncomfortable. “Everything has changed,” says Maria, a 62-year-old cleaner. “Immigration changed everything. The people changed. You can just see it for yourself. The French have all left Saint-Denis. Look around you.” She has lived here for 37 years. “The real French have left. I’m a Portuguese immigrant, and I want to leave too. It’s their own fault they let themselves get screwed like this. But now France is no longer France.”

The square is full of drug pushers, hustling in broad light. They are brazen in a way unthinkable in London. Dishevelled Arab men hawk parsley and fennel out of cardboard boxes where the escalators grind out from the Métro. A Roma beggar without one arm but instead three deformed fingers sprouting from her shoulder stump, chimes “Salaam Aleikum” at the hijabis outside a poky Islamic clothes shop.

Tony Thomas: Napoleon’s Dynamite

It’s one of the oddest films ever to come out of Hollywood, an extended exercise in the gently bizarre that has been on near-permanent rotation in my DVD player, so much so that my wife now suspects an unhealthy obsession with a gawky, mega-awkward teen.
For the serious tourist, it is disappointing to pass through a major historic site without being aware of it. I had that experience in Idaho four years ago. My host merely slowed the Dodge Charger through Preston (pop 5000), with its farm-machinery sheds and neat homes with nary a front or side fence – unlike Aussie home-owners who barricade their blocks. I asked, “Why no fences?” and he said, “Because we own guns”.

We’d come 27 miles north from Logan, Utah, to lunch on fried shrimp, twice-baked potatoes and honey-buttered scones at the Deer Cliff Inn, which sits by the Cub River canyon. Opposite is a cliff with an 80deg slope. The Shoshone, until virtually wiped out in the Bear River Massacre nearby (1863), used to stampede deer herds over the cliff, heedless of environmental impacts.

Last week my host, a Perth classmate who went native in Utah, emailed me and mentioned that he’d not given me a “Napoleon Dynamite” tour of landmarks in Preston, the setting for the film of 2004. I hadn’t seen the flick but the very next day I was in an op shop to buy toys, and there on an otherwise empty shelf was the DVD, price $2. It could not have been coincidence.

I have since watched it three times and according to my spouse, have developed an unhealthy obsession with mega-awkward teen Napoleon, his weedy brother, Kip (32), Kip’s unlikely black lover LaFawnduh and Tina the family’s llama.

The houses, farms and especially Preston High School are now sacred sites for Napoleon Dynamite tragics, attracting pilgrims from as far afield as Korea and New Zealand. Even Tina has her cult, though cynics claim the original llama has passed and visitors are patting a look-alike.

The cult film cost a paltry $US400,000 to make during 23 days shooting. That included a $US1000 salary for the star, Jon Heder. It made $US 40million at the box-office, although it’s so off-beat that none of Hollywood marketers’ algorithms could cope with it. Writer-director Jared Hess himself went to Preston High. He parceled all the weirdness of his adolescent world into the film. The plot is typical revenge-of-the-nerds, but the underwhelming characters are quirky bordering on surreal. There is no profanity, no sex, and no grossness. The Mormon ambience is obvious only to initiates. Preston also happens to be the second-most Republican-voting town (93%) in the US.

Much of the sly comedy can slip by un-noticed. You will also learn new meanings of boondoggle (in Idaho, plaited nylon keyring add-ons) and Tater-Tots (dice-sized cubes of potato, hash-brown style). The politically-correct class claim the film mocks the disabled and Mexicans. Napoleon Dynamite, as his name doesn’t suggest, is a 16-year-old carrot-topped misfit. His jaw sags, his eyes stay half-shut and he can barely manage a sentence. He pals up with a sluggish exchange student, Pedro from Juarez, with even less vocabulary and animation. One exchange goes:

Napoleon: How long did you take to grow that moustache?
Pedro: A couple of days.

The film is set in 2004 but abounds in 1980s anachronisms such as VCR players. For some reason Napoleon has no parents but is looked after by his grannie, Carlinda, who has trysts with boyfriends on quad-bike outings. Napoleon’s brother, Kip, is a 5ft, live-at-home weakling who is still getting his teeth straightened. Kip says, “Napoleon, don’t be jealous ’cause I’ve been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I’m training to become a cage fighter.”

Passivity in the Face of Big-Power Aggression by Gordon G. Chang

The West has developed reasonable-sounding rationales for not acting in the face of what is clearly aggression by big powers. That inaction has bought peace, but the peace has never been more than temporary.

Officials in Beijing and Moscow believe their countries should be bigger than they are today. Faced with little or no resistance, China and Russia are succeeding in redrawing their borders by force.

Should we be concerned by a nuclear-armed, hostile state falling apart? Of course, but we should be more worried by a hostile state launching nuclear attacks on the Baltics, as the Kremlin has repeatedly threatened to do.

The Chinese and Russians may be villains, but it is we, through inaction, who have permitted them to be villainous. The choice is no longer risk versus no risk. The choice is which awful risk to assume.

Speaking in April at the Aspen Security Forum in London, Douglas Lute, Washington’s permanent representative to NATO, said:

“So essentially there is a sense that, yes, there is a new more assertive, maybe even more aggressive Russia, but that fundamentally Russia is a state in decline. We have conversations in NATO headquarters about states in decline and arrive at two fundamental models: states in rapid decline which typically lead to chaos and breakdown, and states in gradual decline. Then we ask ourselves: Which of these two tracks would we rather have our nearest, most militarily capable neighbor, with thousands of nuclear weapons, move along? To many, trying to manage Russia’s decline seems more attractive than a failed state of that size and magnitude right on the border of NATO.”

Lute explained why the West adopted clearly inadequate measures to stop Russia after its seizure of Crimea and portions of Donbass. As the thoughtful diplomat explains, “it may not make sense to push further now and maybe even—and maybe accelerate or destabilize that decline.”

If we do not act because Russia is weak, then how do we explain the West’s China policies? China, in the estimation of almost all policymakers and analysts, is not on the way down. On the contrary, they believe it is ascendant.

By now, they also know that Beijing is increasingly aggressive. China grabbed Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines four years ago. Since then, it has attempted to seize another South China Sea feature, Second Thomas Shoal, also from Manila, and the Senkaku Islands, in the East China Sea, from Japan. The Chinese military has, without justification, closed off portions of the international waters of, and airspace over, the South China Sea. Chinese authorities, virtually without consultation, declared an air-defense identification zone, which included the sovereign airspace of Japan, over the East China Sea. China’s generals have repeatedly sent their troops deep into Indian-controlled territory at various spots in the Himalayas.

And our response? That has been to continue “engagement” of the Chinese regime, helping to strengthen its economy and institutions and integrate it into multilateral organizations. The concept is that, at some point, Beijing will enmesh itself into the international community and accept global norms. Most everyone believes that if China has a stake in the world, it will help defend the existing system.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 5-day tour of east Africa this week was judged to have been a resounding success both in Africa and Israel. Netanyahu visited Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia, but the presidents of other African countries including South Sudan and Zambia and the foreign minister of Tanzania especially flew into meet him.

Sources also reveal that several Muslim-majority countries in Africa that don’t have official diplomatic ties with Israel, including Somalia, Chad and Mali, are now forging close links with the Jewish state, and that Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud secretly met with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv earlier this year. As I have discussed before on this list, a number of Sunni Arab countries that officially have no diplomatic relations with Israel are also forging links with the Netanyahu government (several persons connected to Sunni Arab governments also now subscribe to this email list), while central Asian Muslim countries that do have ties, such as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are growing closer to Israel. Turkey also restored relations with Israel last week.

Netanyahu was accompanied to Africa by a delegation of 80 Israeli business leaders from 50 companies, as well as other Israelis of note, and diplomatic, economic, cultural and strategic ties were strengthened. (Israel supplies everything from agricultural seeds, state-of-the-art sprinklers and irrigation pipes, to CCTV cameras and counter-terrorism equipment to the many African states that have suffered Islamic fundamentalist terrorism).

While Netanyahu was on his tour, several African governments invited Israel to be given “observer status” at the 54-member African Union, a significant diplomatic breakthrough for Israel, meaning it will be involved in pan-African consultations. (The Palestinian Authority already has this status.)

African countries (including Muslim ones) significantly strengthen ties with Israel .