Ambassador Haley: Yes, Move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

God bless former South Carolina governor and current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

Say what you want about President Trump and his various cabinet picks, but it is this one woman who is standing head and shoulders above the fray, in terms of absolute boldness and right, in the face of madness.

Her steadfast defense of Israel, in what is the lion’s den of the anti-Semitic chambers of the UN is nothing less than an inspiration.

And now she appears to be speaking up against even her own colleagues within the Trump administration.

One of Trump’s bits of campaign bravado was that he would move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

This move would be unprecedented, as it would signal that the United States views Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel, something that is a flashpoint within the region.

Over the last few weeks, however, it has become increasingly clear that Candidate Trump and President Trump take two different views on the issue.

In February, Trump stunned when he turned to visiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference, and in an apparently off-script moment, suggested that he would appreciate it if Israel stopped building settlements along the West Bank.

That was a stance no different than that of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

Last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is dependent on a peace deal between Palestine and Israel.

At any time in the short history of modern day Israel, when a “peace deal” is broached, it means territory and lives given up by Israel – not actual peace.

So while Trump and Tillerson are hedging, Haley is being far more resolute on the issue.

Speaking on Tuesday night, Haley said:

“Obviously, I believe that the capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem because if you look at all their government is in Jerusalem. So much of what goes on is in Jerusalem and I think we have to see that for what it is,” Haley said in an interview on The Brody File.

Commonsense reasons for moving the embassy, but for the people of Israel, the meaning is much deeper.

Given the chaos surrounding the administration, it’s a relief to find this oasis of reason.

Thank you, Ambassador Haley.

Cruz to UN: Stop demonizing Israel

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has joined Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in a statement condemning the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural organization (UNESCO) for another expected anti-Israel resolution.

From the joint statement:

“These anti-Israel resolutions should be unequivocally rejected whenever they are proposed. It is long past time for Members of UNESCO to stop being complicit in this international campaign to delegitimize Israel”.

The resolution in question is expected to be passed next Tuesday, which not coincidentally happens to be the 69th anniversary of the official establishment of the Jewish State by the United Nations, according to the Hebrew calendar. The Gregorian calendar date of the nation’s independence is May 14.

The statement comes fresh off two rare moments of unanimity in the US Senate this spring regarding Israel. In March, all sitting Senators signed a letter to President Trump to move swiftly to address dozens of threats against various locations of interest to Jews in the United States, including a number of synagogues.

Then in April, the Senate voted unanimously to send a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to “ensure that Israel is treated neither better nor worse than any other U.N. member in good standing.”

Since taking the position earlier this year, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has been at the fore of a continued US effort to end what had become a constant barrage of anti-Israel UN resolutions under the Obama administration.

Cruz is no stranger to UNESCO, having called out the group on multiple occasions in the past for its anti-Israel bias.

Nikki Haley Issues Strong Call For UN Security Council Action On Syria And North Korea

Nikki Haley has proven once again why she was the perfect choice to serve as the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Earlier this week, the GOP rising star and former South Carolina governor issued a strong message for the UN Security Council: the UN must act regarding human rights abuses in North Korea and Syria.

Haley made her remarks as she led a security council meeting dealing with  “maintenance of international peace and security.” She stated that human rights and security go hand in hand and called out the UN for not doing enough to address human rights issues in places like Syria and North Korea.

“Systematic human rights violations help underwrite the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” she said. “The government forces many of its citizens, including political prisoners, to work in life threatening conditions in coal mines and other dangerous industries to finance the regime’s military.”

“This Security Council must devote considerable efforts to addressing North Korea’s increasing threats to international peace,” Haley asserted.

Haley then explained the direct relationship between human rights abuses and the conflict raging in Syria. She recounted how “in 2011, a group of 12-to-15-year-old teenage boys spray painted a message on the wall of their school” and were violently punished.

“These children were brutally beaten, had their fingernails ripped out by grown men in government prisons, and tortured before they were returned to their parents,” Haley said.

Haley noted that the current tensions in both regions stem directly from the human rights violations going in those countries and that the UN could have done more to address those abuses – and can do more now.

“It is a prime example of why we should take human rights violations and abuses more seriously from their beginning,” she concluded.

Haley made these remarks in the wake of United States airstrikes on Syria and heightening tensions in Asia over North Korean nuclear tests.

It will be interesting to see if the United Nations will act on Haley’s recommendations and take their jobs more seriously across the world (and lay off of Israel and the US for once).

Check out her full remarks here:

 

What’s America’s Next Move In Syria?

Is the Trump administration conflicted over the next move in Syria? CNN and the Washington Post seem to think so. I think the media is wrong.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told ABC News “This Week” that ISIS was our first priority. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told CNN that “We don’t see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there.” But she also said that defeating ISIS was America’s first priority. Where’s the conflict in that?

Haley said we have multiple priorities. Keeping to “red lines” set by former President Obama is a priority I think most American politicians are on board with. That’s not going to stop atrocities in Syria. But whoever said that we had to build policy goals around red lines? Defeating ISIS is a policy goal. Regime change in Syria would be a policy goal if we chose to pursue that.

Tillerson and Haley indicated that Assad’s fate is not going to be dictated by the United States.

“In that regard, we are hopeful that we can work with Russia and use their influence to achieve areas of stabilization throughout Syria and create the conditions for a political process through Geneva in which we can engage all of the parties on the way forward, and it is through that political process that we believe the Syrian people will lawfully be able to decide the fate of Bashar al-Assad,” he added.

Syria has been a thorn in America’s side for seven years. If there were a single country that’s attracted every evildoer within 1,000 miles, that’s the place. ISIS, Al Queda, Hizbollah, Iran, and Bashar Assad’s own brand of crushing despotism all fight there for primacy on a heap of bodies, drawing Russia and America into what could be a proxy war for control.

The Russians support Assad because he has kept Syria as a client state, giving them access to a Mediterranean warm-water port, and cash for modern weapons systems like the S-300 air defense system. If Assad is to go, the Russians are not going to let him go without having someone else in power who will continue his Russia-friendly policies.

Letting Assad stay guarantees years more of bloodshed and atrocities. But Assad isn’t going to leave without offering protection to the million or so Alawites, the minority sect that ruled Syria for 40 years. Decapitating Syria would certainly result in a proxy war for control of the country, with Russia supporting a Baath party or other friendly player.

For ISIS and other radical Sunnis, Alawites are considered heretics. The Baath Party in Syria cemented itself as enemies of Sunni religious leaders 43 years ago.

Then, in the second move, [Hafez al-Assad] arranged for a respected Islamic jurisconsult (not from Syria but from Lebanon, and not a Sunni but a Shia) to issue a finding (Arabic: fatwa) that Alawis were really Shia Muslims rather than heretics. This was not merely an abstract bit of theology: as heretics, Alawis were outlaws who could be legally and meritoriously killed—as we have seen in recent events in Syria.

Syria has really been in a sort of civil war ever since. In 1983, the elder Assad destroyed the city of Hama then rebuilt it, sending the message that life will be good for Syrians who do not oppose him. But now, the younger Assad does not have the luxury of complete control. Without Russian assistance, and freedom of air supremacy, the rebels may have defeated Assad several years ago.

That leaves “regime change” in Syria as a rabbit hole with no end, other than a Vietnam-style war. The Russians share our goal of destroying ISIS, and we have the benefit of NATO cooperation, along with enormous influence and strategic operations in Iraq. Together with the Russians, we can defeat ISIS. That likely means leaving Assad alone until the objective is complete.

It doesn’t mean we have to sit on our hands when Assad crosses red lines, though. Tomahawk missiles are a potent reminder that America can strike whenever and wherever we want. It’s only through our telegraphing our intent and warning Russian troops that Assad forces were able to escape more significant damage. It was the message that’s important, not the attack itself.

The Doolittle raid over Tokyo 75 years ago this month did little damage to Japan, but it sent a message that America was willing to spent an enormous amount to make a statement. America just spent up to $60 million to destroy some Syrian airfield facilities (and no, we couldn’t destroy the runway in a cost-effective manner). The message wasn’t that America is going to conduct a “shock and awe” war against Assad. It was that we are not going to allow chemical weapons to be used without responding.

Our implicit message is the next response might be a bit more personal to Assad.

Contrary to the media’s hot takes, President Trump hasn’t reversed course and policy on Syria. He reacted to a terrible event and acted on his gut where Obama acted cerebrally. In fact, Trump did the right thing. American policy is still to destroy ISIS, and I expect we’ll see our relations with Russia in the skies over Syria patched up soon once they realize we aren’t out for regime change.

The message on the Sunday talk shows wasn’t intended for the American press–it was intended for Vladimir Putin. It was a public acknowledgement of what’s surely being told to him privately. Regime change in Syria may be inevitable, but America isn’t going to call the shots.

Nikki Haley: “The Days Of Israel-Bashing Are Over”

“You’re not going to take our number one democratic friend in the Middle East, and beat up on them.”

Newly appointed Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has had a stellar first few months at her new job. And now, she is receiving a hero’s welcome back home for the work that she is doing abroad to protect American interests at home and overseas.

“For anyone who says you can’t get anything done at the U.N., they need to know there is a new sheriff in town,” she says. Haley made the comments to a packed crowd of around 20,000 pro-Israel advocates at yesterday’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Conference.

Ambassador Haley appears to be relishing her new international role, and has been eagerly defending American interests and allies abroad at the United Nations. Already, she has managed to successfully force the UN to withdraw a report accusing Israel of apartheid, and was able to stop a Palestinian from being given one of the highest positions at the UN. “What [this] means is, until the Palestinian Authority comes to the table, [and] until the UN responds the way they are supposed to, there are no freebies for the Palestinian Authority any more.”

“You just can’t comprehend how ridiculous it is,” she said, with regards to the incessant Israel-bashing. “I wear heels. It’s not a fashion statement. It’s because if I see something wrong, we’re going to kick them every single time.”

Isn’t it refreshing to finally have a Presidential administration that defends American interests at the UN instead of the Middle East? Let us know your thoughts on Nikki Haley’s comments by sharing this article on Twitter and tagging @resurgent.

Nikki Haley Will Do Just Fine At The UN Because She ‘Gets’ Israel

Kudos to Nikki Haley. She obviously “gets” Israel. She also “gets” that the UN is singularly out to get Israel.

After attending her first Security Council regular monthly meeting on Middle East issues, she remarked that it “was a bit strange.”

The Security Council is supposed to discuss how to maintain international peace and security. But at our meeting on the Middle East, the discussion was not about Hizballah’s illegal build-up of rockets in Lebanon. It was not about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists. It was not about how we defeat ISIS. It was not about how we hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of civilians. No, instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. I am new around here, but I understand that’s how the Council has operated, month after month, for decades.

Haley is beginning to understand the diplomatic challenges Israel faces in an international community all but committed to its destruction. If the UN could roll back every agreement that gave legal provenance to Israel’s existence, starting with the Balfour Declaration, I think they would do it, but for the U.S.

And the U.S. wavered at the end of the Obama era with the cowardly abstention on Resolution 2334. Haley blasted the double-standard.

The double standards are breathtaking. Just a few days ago, the United States sought unsuccessfully to have the Security Council condemn a terrorist attack to Israel, where the terrorist opened fire on people waiting for a bus and then stabbed others. The Security Council would not hesitate to condemn an attack like that in any other country. But not for Israel. The statement was blocked. And that’s downright shameful.

Haley gets it.

But what I find ironic, and troubling, here is the main stream media’s reaction to Haley’s remarks. While CBS News published the remarks in full, they led with the headline “U.S. envoy Haley: U.S. supports 2-state Israel-Palestinian solution.” They focused on trying to create a gap between what Haley said and what President Trump said in a joint news conference with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

CBS mentioned “two-state” seven times in their article, based on Haley’s answer to a reporter’s question. CBS didn’t publish the question. Here’s Haley’s answer:

First of all, we absolutely support a two-state solution. Anyone who says the U.S. doesn’t support a two–state solution … that would be an error. We absolutely support a two-state solution, but we are thinking out of the box as well, which is: What does it take to bring these to sides to the table? What do we need to have them agree on? At the end of the day, the solution to what is going to bring peace in the Middle East is going to come from the Israelis and the Palestinian authorities. The U.S. is just there to support the process.

Sounds to me that Haley is absolutely in lock-step with her boss, Donald Trump. A one-state, solution, a two-state solution, either one is acceptable if they make a deal work. That’s Trump’s position.

What CBS wanted to hear is that the U.S. is committed to a two-state solution. Under previous administrations, that was the American position. Obviously it hasn’t worked. Now Trump’s position is to support either solution but be committed to neither, only to a peace deal. I think that’s a more reasonable policy.

Haley gets it, but the media doesn’t.

U.S. to Russia: “It’s Not Your Ukraine”

Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., tweeted a statement and gave a speech directed at Russia on Thursday, saying:

The dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions… The United States stands with the people of Ukraine, who have suffered for nearly three years under Russian occupation and military intervention.  Until Russia and the separatists it supports respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, this crisis will continue.

Since March 2014, there has been an insurgency in eastern Ukraine by those who seek to separate their region from the rest of the country (the “War in Donbass”).  If they were successful, it would be very likely that Russia would then annex the territory, similar to what they did in Crimea in 2014.  Russia has been accused (correctly) of helping to support, arm, and man the insurgency in Ukraine.

Some context helps to understand why the fighting is occurring.  During the Soviet era, Ukraine and Russia were both part of the Soviet Union.  Following the Soviet collapse in 1991, Russia formed the Russian Federation as the Soviet successor state and remained the dominant power in the region.  However, Ukraine chose to go its separate way from Russia; over time, Ukraine drifted towards Europe and NATO, and thus away from Russia and its influence.

This is one factor in Russia’s fixation on Ukraine.  Another is Ukraine’s ethnic makeup.  The western part of Ukraine is ethnic Ukrainian, while the eastern part has a large proportion of ethnic Russians (Crimea itself is majority ethnic Russian).  These people tend to identify more with Russia than Ukraine and therefore seek to bring their territory into the Russian Federation.

A third factor centers around the natural gas fields in eastern Ukraine as well as past disputes between Russia and Ukraine concerning natural gas.  Europe receives about a quarter of its gas supplies from Russia and over 80% of it flows through pipelines in Ukraine.  The two countries have been bickering over gas flows, prices, and Ukrainian payment defaults for over a decade.

Thus, the conflict in eastern Ukraine involves issues of regional power, ethnicity, and commercial interests.  Therefore, it will be difficult for Russia to unwind the chaos it has unleashed in the region.  However, it is necessary in order for a continued warming of U.S.-Russian relations and joint cooperation on other matters, such as fighting ISIS and Islamic terrorism in general.  As I speculated recently, one possible outcome would be for Russia to cease its activities in eastern Ukraine, helping the rebels there to reach a negotiated settlement with the Ukrainian government (possibly with some form of self-rule), while the U.S. tacitly recognizes Russia’s annexation of Crimea.  In addition, an agreement on future natural gas flows and pricing would need to be reached.  Then, both sides can move onto other matters.

Therefore, Nikki Haley’s statement seems to be another move in the chess match between the U.S. and Russia.  Notice that she simply “condemned” the actions and tossed the issue over to Russia for their turn to respond.  There was no ultimatum or “red line” issued, simply a recognition that if Russia does not act, then “this crisis will continue.”

It will be interesting to see how Russia does respond.  Will it work to tone down the fighting in Ukraine so as to reach a negotiated end to the conflict, allowing all sides to save face?  Or will it seek to annex eastern Ukraine?  Another factor in all this is Iran.  Hopefully the U.S. and Russia can work together to help temper Iran’s belligerence in the Middle East (the U.S. by mounting a more forceful response to Iran, and Russia by leveraging its commercial links with Iran).

The alternative to U.S.-Russian cooperation would be that Russia and Iran come closer together in their alliance.  This would be unfortunate, as the possibility of an armed conflict between the U.S. on the one side and Russia and Iran on the other is in nobody’s long-term interests.

Samantha Power Reads News, Suddenly Discovers Russia is a Major Threat

In her farewell address, Samantha Power, outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, characterized the present Russian regime under Vladimir Putin as a “major threat,” adding:

Having defeated the forces of fascism and communism, we now confront the forces of authoritarianism and nihilism.

Given that Power will be leaving office as the Trump administration takes over, it is odd timing for her – and the Obama administration – to decide now that Russia is a threat which must be combated.  They allowed Russia to annex the Crimea from Ukraine and exercise control over parts of eastern Ukraine (a region heavily populated by ethnic Russians).  As Russia worked on expanding its power and influence over the past eight years, the Obama administration allowed it to happen.  Now, just before Trump takes office they have cast Russia as the next great threat which the U.S. must counter and left the problem to the incoming administration to deal with.

Trump has nominated South Carolina governor Nikki Haley to succeed Power as the U.N. ambassador.  In her confirmation hearings she expressed concern at Russia’s actions in Eastern Europe, but also the need to work with Russia on issues such as fighting ISIS.  For the outgoing administration to cast Russia in the same light as fascism and communism puts Haley and Trump in a difficult position.  They must attempt to work with Russia on problems which affect both countries (such as terrorism) while resisting Russian attempts at territorial expansion (particularly in the Ukraine) while also avoiding a direct conflict.  At the same time, any attempt to work with Russia will be seen by Trump’s detractors as evidence of Russian influence over him.

It seems that the stage has been set for U.S. – Russian relations to assume increased importance over the next few years.  It will be interesting to see how Trump’s foreign policy team navigates the hazards which await them.