50/50, a Movie About Terminal Illness, Sidesteps a Big Question   

In the recent film 50/50, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young professional with his life seemingly worked out: a rewarding career, a charming girlfriend, and a nice house. But then he hears the worst news he could expect: those pains he’s been having in his back are due to a rare form of spinal cancer. It’s an […]

Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from Syria   


Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from SyriaMitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham lead condemnation of foreign policy move that could prove ‘disaster in the making’Donald Trump with Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, in the Cabinet Room on Monday. Lindsey Graham said abandoning the Kurds would be ‘a stain on America’s honour’. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/APDonald Trump was dangerously isolated on Monday as, in a rare rebuke, some of his most loyal allies revolted against his decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell led a chorus of Republicans who, having defended the president on almost every other issue – including over impeachment – decided to draw a line in the sand.“A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said. “And it would increase the risk that Isis and other terrorist groups regroup.”He added: “As we learned the hard way during the Obama administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal.”The criticism was significant because McConnell is usually at pains not to cross Trump even at his most capricious. Last week the Kentucky senator released a Facebook video promising to stop Democratic-led impeachment in its tracks.Article 1 of the United States constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to initiate impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" – although the constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are.The process starts with the House of Representatives passing articles of impeachment. A simple majority of members need to vote in favour of impeachment for it to pass to the next stage. Democrats currently control the house, with 235 representatives.The chief justice of the US supreme court then presides over the proceedings in the Senate, where the president is tried, with senators acting as the jury. For the president to be found guilty two-thirds of senators must vote to convict. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 of the 100 senators.Two presidents have previously been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868, though neither was removed from office as a result. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before there was a formal vote to impeach him.Martin BelamThe unusual fracture emerged on Sunday night when, shortly after a phone conversation between Trump and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House announced removal of US troops from the Syria-Turkey border area. “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” it added.Critics of all political stripes have long feared that the move could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area. Kurdish groups have fought alongside a small US presence in Syria to drive Islamic State militants from the region.The Republican backlash was rapid and potentially unnerving for a president whose fate is tethered to the party and the assumption that it will acquit him in the Senate if, as widely expected, the Democratic-led House of Representatives votes for impeachment.Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, who has become an outspoken defender (and frequent golf partner) of Trump, did not acquiesce this time. Abandonment of the Kurds would be “a disaster in the making”, he said, and “a stain on America’s honour”.Graham told Fox News: “I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is. I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”Graham wrote on Twitter that if the plan goes ahead, he will introduce a Senate resolution opposing it and seeking reversal of the decision. He added: “We will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate.”Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, whose attempts to defend Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president have provoked mockery, said: “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”Michael McCaul of Texas, the lead Republican on the House foreign affairs committee, also urged the president to reconsider. “The United States should not step aside and allow a Turkish military operation in north-east Syria,” he said. “This move will undermine our ongoing campaign to prevent an Isis resurgence and will ultimately threaten our homeland.“Additionally, the United States needs to stay engaged to prevent further destructive involvement in the region from our adversaries like the Assad regime, Putin and Iran.”Notably, senator Marco Rubio of Florida, reluctant to criticise Trump even when the president suggested that China investigate former vice president and 2020 election rival Joe Biden, was clear , describing the retreat as “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria”And Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, admonished Trump without mentioning his name. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she tweeted. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. TurkeyIsNotOurFriend”Ominously for Trump, even conservative Fox News aired dissent. Host Brian Kilmeade described the pullout as “a disaster”, telling viewers of Fox & Friends: “Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?”Republicans who have contradicted Trump before did so forcefully again. Utah senator Mitt Romney described Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal”, adding: “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”Romney and Democratic senator Chris Murphy issued a joint statement insisting Trump’s administration “explain to the American people how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests”.Democrats also piled in but there was a lone voice of support for the president on Capitol Hill. Republican senator Rand Paul, long a critic of foreign intervention, said: “So many neocons want us to stay in wars all over the Middle East forever. [Trump] is absolutely right to end those wars and bring the troops home.”Trump himself was undeterred by the blowback. Speaking at the White House on Monday, he said he has “great respect” for the prominent Republican critics. And added: “People are extremely thrilled because they say it’s time to bring our people back home. We’re not a police force. They’re policing the area. We’re not a police force. The UK was very thrilled at this decision … many people agree with it very strongly.”


Bernie Sanders, resting at home, announces plan to curtail money in politics   


Prominent friends and supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., say he should cut back on his relentless campaign pace and speak openly about his recent heart attack when he returns to the campaign trail, urging a shift toward a more personal and less hectic campaign than he has run so far.

The comments reflect what supporters describe as a deeply personal decision with big implications for Sanders’s candidacy: how the 78-year-old democratic socialist, viewed by many of his backers as the leader of a movement, should proceed after a health scare that has sidelined him for days and raised questions about whether he can - or should - maintain the punishing demands of a presidential campaign.

“I would be very open about the experience he had,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., a national co-chair of the Sanders campaign who made his pitch to the senator in a brief telephone conversation last week. “I think it can show a resilience, a sense of empathy and a sense of vulnerability.”

Sanders supporters privately acknowledge concern that the heart attack could give voters second thoughts about the candidate, who would be the oldest president in history if elected. In an effort to move beyond the setback, some hope he can seize on the event to transmit a softer side that’s eluded him.

The goal, said Khanna, would be to “make a very human connection.” He said he texted the senator’s wife, Jane Sanders, last week to tell her that this could be Sanders’s “FDR moment,” referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose battle with polio is sometimes said to have contributed to his empathy for the less fortunate.

The sensitivity of dealing with the heart attack has been evident since the episode occurred. The campaign did not immediately disclose the heart attack, initially saying only that Sanders had experienced chest pains and had two stents inserted in an artery.

Advisers and friends also say Sanders should consider easing his breakneck campaign pace. Sanders has been sprinting across the country, holding multiple events per day, maintaining a speed that has surpassed his top rivals.

“If I were giving him advice, I would tell him just slack up a little bit,” said former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who visited Sanders in a Las Vegas hospital last week. “Even if he slacks up a little bit, he’s campaigning more than anybody else.”

Sanders spent Monday recuperating at home in Burlington, Vermont. On a conference call with staff, he reiterated that the movement he has been leading is not about him, a theme he often hits in campaign speeches.

“If there’s anything that this event kind of tells us, it is the importance of what our message is in this campaign. And our message is ‘Us, not me,’ ” Sanders said, according to a person with knowledge of his remarks.

Campaign officials have signaled that he is not expected to return to the trail until the Oct. 15 debate near Columbus, Ohio. That makes the debate a critical event for the campaign, as Sanders will face considerable scrutiny from voters and rivals sizing up his health and vitality.

“Bernie is raring to go, and his campaign staff has been trying to hold him back until the debate,” said Ben Cohen, who co-founded Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and serves as a national co-chair of the campaign. “The plan is for the debate to be his reentry into the race.”

People with knowledge of the situation said there had been a period of uncertainty about the campaign’s future in the immediate aftermath of Sanders’s hospitalization for chest pains last week. The campaign suspended an Iowa ad buy and made reassuring calls to supporters during those first hours.

But in recent days, the campaign has shown determination to move full speed ahead. The Iowa ad touting Sanders will be on the airwaves starting Tuesday.

The campaign rolled out a new policy proposal Monday aimed at curtailing the role of money in politics. It would eliminate big-dollar fundraising for all federal elections, enact a constitutional amendment to declare that campaign contributions are not speech and end corporate contributions to the party conventions.

Surrogates campaigned for Sanders in the key early states over the weekend, a strategy the campaign plans to continue. Cohen said he plans to campaign for Sanders this weekend in New Hampshire.

The campaign is also aggressively calling voters. After establishing a goal of making a million calls in the early primary states over the past 10 days, it beat that goal by 300,000 calls, the campaign said.

Sanders and his allies have also used his heart attack to call attention to his push to enact a Medicare-for-all universal health-care system. They note that while Sanders was fortunate to have access to good doctors and treatment, many Americans do not.

And Sanders has already begun showing a more personal side of himself. When he left the hospital on Friday, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his wife, Jane, smiling and waving. When he returned to Burlington, reporters there noted Sanders saying he was “happy to be home” before walking inside where family was waiting.

On Monday, he and Jane took a walk in the rain, and he joked with reporters he said should get paid more for working in the drizzle.

Early this year, when he launched his second campaign for president, advisers encouraged Sanders to speak about his participation in the civil rights movement and his modest upbringing in Brooklyn. He mentioned those things at early campaign stops. But as time went on, they faded from his stump speeches.

“He’s somewhat reticent to talk about his own … life experiences,” said Cohen. “But I think it’s helpful for him to do that and it’s certainly only a decision that he can make, but I do think this is an opportunity for him to talk.”

Sanders has been trailing former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in many recent polls, sparing him the pressure that can face the front-runner. His Democratic rivals have either wished Sanders well or brushed aside questions about his physical fitness for office. President Donald Trump and his allies have been preoccupied with the impeachment inquiry.

These external events have led some Sanders allies to conclude that he does not have to rush back onto the national stage.

“The next months are going to be dominated by the impeachment inquiry, not the presidential race,” said Khanna. “His volunteers can do a lot of the work and he just needs to focus on recovering.”

In a sign of how the Sanders movement has charged ahead without him on the trail, a video created by a supporter arguing that he’s been criticized unfairly by the media had received 6 million views as of late Monday.

As Sanders recovers, his campaign has taken steps to reassure staffers and supporters, scheduling calls and other outreach to keep allies focused.

“The campaign reached out to me to let me know that he was doing fine. They gave me the details, which made me feel really comfortable,” said Deb Marlin, an Iowa small-business owner who has endorsed Sanders.

Reid recalled spending 30 to 45 minutes with Sanders on Thursday. They reminisced about their work in the Senate and talked about health care, Reid said. As for the next debate, Reid said Sanders ought to take things slowly before then.

“He should take it easy until then,” said Reid. “As far as I understand, that’s what he’s going to do.”


Comment on Impeachment open thread by hermansfeet    

I wonder if we're going to have to amend the 25th amendment. It doesn't cover what happens when the Prez and Veep are impeached at the same time. Somehow I think Nancy Pelosi taking office as the third in line may be problematic. If Pence really is dirty, and there's already a prima facie case he is, then they could go the Watergate route and impeach Pence first and appoint a new veep broadly acceptable to Dems and Repubs, if such a thing is possible these days. It pains me to say it, but a fella like Romney may be the best we can do. To the extent a better standard-bearer might actually have a chance against the Dem nominee, Romney would be more formidable than Pence. Another plus to a Pence-first strategy is that it could easily be limited to Unkrainia-mania (not a good name, but we should look for something that doesn't end in -gate). As to the bigger question, I don't know how limited impeachment should be, but it should err on the side of less, not more. Maybe obstruction and Ukraine-ensky. (In honor of the fact that this will be the second impeachment in a row with a key figure with an "insky" in their last name as principal players.) At least some of Trump's financial corruption could be addressed in legislation -- if Dems have 50 senators, a law requiring the disclosure of tax returns will pass in about a week. They could probably also pass a law that puts teeth in the emoluments clauses by simply outlawing a president earning an outside income while president. One thing I remember from the aftermath of Watergate is that there was a lot of reform legislation passed after Nixon resigned, but I don't remember too many specifics. Hopefully the same thing will happen again.

10/04 Links Pt1: The EU Demonstrates a Distinct Political Bias Against Israel; Meet the Palestinian Villagers Living Out the American Dream; Arab citizens of Israel undergo quiet revolution   

From Ian:

Seth Frantzman: Israel appears strong, but there are risks ahead
BUT ISRAEL has some issues on the horizon that, if they would come together at the wrong time, would be a perfect storm. Among these is the increasing hostility of Turkey. Ankara has become more nationalist and religious-nationalist, a toxic mix. It is flexing its muscles, taking over swaths of northern Syria and seeking to keep on track to totally remove the Americans from the region. That would be a setback for the US – and setbacks for the US also impact Israel. Turkey is buying the S-400, not in itself a problem for Israel. Ostensibly, both Ankara and Jerusalem have an interesting relationship with Moscow today, borne of Russia’s increased role in the region, particularly in Syria.

Russia’s role in Turkey is strategic and also related to energy and Syria. This can impact Israel in a complex way. Turkey’s current government is seeking to take up the mantle of being the main opposition to Israel in the region. It bashes Israel over Jerusalem, and its media run hyperbolic stories about Israeli abuses. Turkey is close to the Muslim Brotherhood today and wants to see Hamas have a more prominent role in Ramallah. Yet Israel can deal with Turkey’s anger. The question is whether it can deal with the emerging Turkey-Iran relationship.

Iran has been a challenge for Israel due to a variety of reasons, but lately it is capitalizing on the weakness of its adversaries. That means it is increasingly playing a role in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. That means it is transferring precision missile technology to Hezbollah.

Iran’s IRGC says that it can destroy Israel. It launched an attack on Saudi Arabia on September 14 that has ramifications for Israel. That Riyadh did not respond shows that Israel’s supposed common interests with the Gulf are more problematic than in reality. Saudi Arabia won’t confront Iran. So who will confront Iran? The US? No. The US has signaled it will not. And the next US administration may be more pro-Iran than this one. That could give Tehran what it wants in Syria, which means a kind of “land bridge” that ends near the Golan and threatens Israel.

What Israel faces today is potentially two strong adversaries in Turkey and Iran, although they are quite different in how they confront Israel. Turkey uses soft power; Iran uses hard power. But Israel, appearing strong, now faces these challenges in some ways alone. It is not like the 1950s, when Israel was truly alone. Israel has made major inroads in India, China and elsewhere. But the immediate challenges are still there. It is dangerous to be too confident and arrogant today, and it is essential that Jerusalem seek to analyze and deal with these challenges in the long-term because short term planning won’t work. Iran thinks in the long term – and its role in the region is a long-term role.
Jpost Editorial: No Third Election
Against that backdrop, the 22nd Knesset was sworn in on Thursday in Jerusalem. Many are wondering if, like the 21st Knesset, it will also last for less than two months and perhaps become the shortest-lived legislature in Israel’s history.

As the Post’s Lahav Harkov pointed out on Wednesday, there are only eight new members of this Knesset, as well as another nine who are returning from past stints as legislators, which means that 103 members of the 22nd Knesset will be sworn in for the second time this year.

A proud institution, the Knesset is in danger of becoming a laughing stock. But it’s no joke. Israel needs a stable government and a stable Knesset. Every attempt must be made to prevent the newly sworn-in Knesset from becoming the shortest Knesset in Israeli history.

All parties should take the responsibility upon themselves as if they alone are charged with insuring that a third election is not called for. The country has survived some nine months of paralysis, but it’s only a matter of time before the string starts to unravel out of control and the situation begins to do irreparable damage to Israel and its population.

At Thursday’s ceremony, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein led the MKs with “I pledge allegiance to the State of Israel and to faithfully fulfill my mission in the Knesset.” And the newly sworn-in lawmakers responded: “I pledge.”

Let’s hope they take that allegiance and mission seriously and prevent a third election.

Amb. Alan Baker: The EU Demonstrates a Distinct Political Bias Against Israel
European Union Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Susanna Terstal, writing in the Jerusalem Post on Sep. 21, evidently believes that incessant repetition of the phrase "two-state solution" adds some element of legitimacy and feasibility to the idea. But the two-state solution has never been agreed-upon between Israel and the Palestinians, and does not figure in any of the agreements between them. It is nothing more than an expression of wishful thinking within the UN and the EU.

To the contrary, the Oslo Accords, to which the EU itself is a signatory, clearly leaves the issue of the permanent status of the territories to be decided in negotiations. Thus, whether the outcome will be one, two or three states, or a federation or confederation, remains on the negotiating table. By incessantly plying a two-state solution, the EU is in fact prejudging an agreed negotiating issue.

Suggestions by Israeli leaders to "apply sovereignty" led EU representatives to complain that unilateral modification of the Oslo Accords "undermines the entire agreement" and "dismantles Oslo." One wonders why the EU did not view the recent declarations by the Palestinian leadership canceling the territorial division between areas A, B and C in a similar light. Did this not undermine the accords?

The EU representative also expressed support for a "Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines." Yet the issue of borders is an agreed-upon permanent-status negotiating issue, and her presumption of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines clearly contradicts and prejudges both the Oslo Accords and UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967.

The EU cannot in good faith claim that it does not take sides in the conflict. The EU has not only taken sides, but clearly demonstrates a distinct political bias against Israel in virtually all its positions, policies, statements and dealings regarding the Israeli-Palestinian negotiation process.

Iran displays ancient clay tablets, returned by US, from empire that freed Jews
The National Museum of Iran opened on Wednesday an exhibition of around 300 cuneiform clay tablets returned from the United States after a drawn-out legal saga.

The tablets were found at the ruins of Persepolis, capital of the Persian Achaemenid Empire (6th – 4th c. BC) in the south of Iran. Cyrus the Great, who ruled during the Achaemenid Empire, is said to have liberated the Jews from Babylonian captivity in 539 BCE, allowing them to return home and build the Second Temple.

The works on display belonged to a group of 1,783 clay tablets or tablet fragments returned to Iran by the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.

In the 1930s, the university had received on loan around 30,000 tablets or tablet fragments found at Persepolis for research purposes, Iranian media reported.

A large portion of the tablets were returned in three batches between 1948 and 2004 before their restitution was blocked by legal action initiated by American survivors of an attack in Israel in 1997 carried out by the Palestinian Hamas terror group.

Blaming Tehran for supporting the armed group, the plaintiffs demanded the seizure of the tablets and their sale put toward the $71.5 million that Iran was ordered to pay in the case.

The proceedings only ended in February 2018 when a US Supreme Court decision banned the seizure of the works.
Yossi Cohen: The Mossad Spy Chief Who Stole Iran's Secret Nuclear Archives
In March 2018, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen, 58, updated then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo on what the Mossad had found inside Iran's secret nuclear archives that it had stolen from the heart of Tehran in January 2018. Sources close to Cohen told the Jerusalem Post that the information the Mossad seized is "still being used right now" to glean high-quality and valuable intelligence. A map of nuclear sites captured in the operation has yet to be made public. These revelations "even go beyond Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's revelation of the Abadeh nuclear site" earlier this month. Cohen says Pompeo praised the Mossad for redefining "daring and boldness."

Dozens of agents were involved in surveillance missions and the heist itself. Neutralizing any electronic surveillance that could expose them, they spent six hours and 29 minutes nabbing Iran's secret nuclear files, which were kept in 32 safes. They used special torches to slice into these safes. They loaded the vast files onto trucks and used Iranian smugglers to get across the border.

Cohen's view is that relations with Sunni countries in the Gulf are "not as much about personal trust, but about overlapping national interests" - especially when it comes to Iran. For example, while Cohen would be against sharing sensitive Israeli technologies with the Saudis to combat the drone threat from Iran, he would seek to help states in the Gulf combat Iran together in other ways.

Regarding the Palestinians, sources close to Cohen indicate that he does not believe anything will move on the peace process until PA President Mahmoud Abbas leaves office.
FDD: The Israeli–Palestinian Struggle, Continued.
There is no chance of a “peace party” returning to Jerusalem unless Israelis see that Palestinians have unequivocally denounced the past, that the celebrations of those who’ve died killing Israelis are rejected. That is impossible to envision in the near-term: neither Fatah, nor Hamas, nor the Israelis, nor Washington want the Palestinian people voting. All fear the worst—the wrong side winning. Perhaps most perversely, the Israelis are invested in a security status quo with Fatah that likely negates the chance of any Palestinian change, and surely makes Hamas more popular on the West Bank than its tyranny in Gaza has earned. But it’s possible that if there were a free vote among Palestinians the hostility towards Israelis—the fundamental rejection of the legitimacy of a Jewish state—could be the common denominator among Palestinians who otherwise loathe Fatah’s and Hamas’ dictatorships. Palestinians again voting could lead to intense violence, among Palestinians and against Israelis. Nonetheless, Palestinian popular sovereignty is likely the only way out of this cul-de-sac. We have two peoples wanting the same land with national and especially religious narratives that negate the other’s. For even non-practicing Muslims, Moses is a great prophet, trying to lead his people toward the one, true calling—Islam. A Jewish homeland wasn’t in Allah’s message. Yet the unrelenting secularism of Westerners reduces the most compelling stories we have to differences about water rights, East Jerusalem, and security checkpoints.

The basic character of a people and faith can change, but that usually happens after a truly devastating military defeat or a long evolution. The Palestinians haven’t actually seen a society-crushing catastrophe; they have endured foreign, non-Muslim overlords, with all of the indignities, and incompetent, avaricious, ambitious, insouciant, deluded and sometimes brutal native rulers (they, however, get a middling score in hideousness in the modern Middle East).

Since 2002, the Israelis appear to have a consensus: Palestinians cannot be trusted. On the other side, Palestinians seem more conflicted about the Jews, more divided religiously and culturally, more prone to internecine violence today than they were when the Israelis directly ruled all of the West Bank and Gaza.

The continuing decline of America in the Middle East will unavoidably remove certain delusions about what might be possible between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The torpor of the peace process under Obama and Trump is likely the new American standard. If they haven’t already, Palestinians will give up on the idea of Washington’s intercession, of American democracy coercing Israeli democracy into making concessions to unelected Palestinian officials. For the Palestinian people that will, at least, change the rhetoric and excuses of the ruling elite.

America’s retreat may tempt the Israelis to act more hubristically towards the Palestinians, to take land in the West Bank that has no plausible security value. But the most effective check on ugly Israeli actions has always been the internal debate, the tension between the executive, legislative, and judicial authorities in Israel’s messy democracy.

For decades out, it’s hard to see anything better than an unpleasant modus vivendi between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Given that it is the Middle East, however, that isn’t an awful state. Americans always want to believe that honesty is the best policy, that without honesty solutions aren’t possible. We are certainly tardy in applying that principle to the Israeli–Palestinian clash.
The Missile War in Southern Arabia: Lessons for Israel
UAV Warfare
Another hint of the effectiveness of Patriot defense are Houthi/Iranian alliance efforts both to suppress it and evade it. To elucidate this point, we need to refer to another aspect of the Houthi/Iranian war machine in Yemen: UAV warfare. UAVs are one of the main pillars of Iranian military doctrine. Together with other weapon shipments, Iran has been providing the Houthis with numerous types of UAVs, both of the larger types used for armed reconnaissance such as the Shahad 129 (roughly equivalent to Israel’s Hermes 450) and smaller “suicide” UAVs (such as the Ababil, used by Hezbollah in 2006 for attacks deep within Israel, which for the sake of Iranian deniability has been renamed Kasef 2). The Houthi arsenal is augmented by the acquisition of mail order UAVs such as the Chinese “Skywalker” available online from Ali Baba. More remarkable, the Iranians have provided the Houthis with knowhow, production machinery and expertise to set up a UAV industry of their own in their stronghold of Sad’ha in northern Yemen. The Houthi UAV industry is now producing unique designs of long-range machines, some equipped with jet engines, obviously designed in Iran. Beyond the classic UAV roles of reconnaissance and light bombardment, the Houthi/Iranian alliance is using them for direct “suicide” attacks on Patriot batteries. Three incidents of direct attacks on Patriot batteries have been claimed: Two attacks were within Yemen, probably targeting UAE batteries in Mocha and Marib, and one attack on a Patriot battery defending the Saudi border city of Najran, with unknown results.

Even more significantly, the Houthi/Iranian alliance exploits the Patriot’s system limitations in engaging low and slow threats in order to penetrate beneath the Saudi air/missile defense shield. In fact, UAVs are now being used by the Houthi’s as ersatz land attack cruise missiles. With immunity against air and missile defense, and with much better accuracy than ordinary ballistic missiles, UAVs now seem to be the preferred weapons for imaginative and audacious strikes deep within Saudi territory. For example, the civilian airport of the Saudi town of Abha, about 120 km. from the Yemeni border, was attacked by Houthi suicide UAVs no less than three times during the month of June 2019, wounding 28 passengers and airport workers. In August 2019, the Houthis managed to strike the Shaybah oilfield deep within Saudi Arabia, almost 1200 Km from the Houthi stronghold in Sad’ha. The attack was carried out by no less than 10 UAVs and sparked a fire in gas storage tanks. Such a complex attack needs precise coordination and excellent navigation, which demonstrates the proficiency achieved by Iran’s UAV operators. While those strikes did not cause excessive damage – perhaps intentionally so – they were propaganda coups for the Houthis, providing them with solid achievements in the cognitive battlefield.

The fourth lesson for Israel is the growing military role of UAVs both for missile defense suppression and for evasion. UAVs were first used by Hezbollah for reconnaissance over Israel even prior to the 2006 Lebanon war. At the closing stage of that war, four suicide UAVs were launched by Hezbollah against Israeli targets (One suffered a failure and fell near the border, two were intercepted by Israeli jet fighters, and the fourth vanished). In the 2014 Gaza war Hamas tried to attack Tel Aviv with its own UAVs (Two, perhaps three UAVs were shot down by Patriot air defense batteries). This experience is not indicative of the future. The Yemen war demonstrates how UAVs will be employed in future wars in significant numbers to erode Israel’s missile defense capabilities by attacking the Iron Dome, David Sling and Arrow batteries. Hostile UAVs, in conjunction with precision rockets, may well be tasked to damage Israel’s critical infrastructures such as desalination plants. Consequently, Israel needs to integrate air defense capabilities into its missile defense systems, and to provide its critical infrastructures with their own point defenses.

The current civil wars in the Middle East – especially in Syria and in Yemen – resemble the Spanish civil war of the 1930s inasmuch as they are exploited by outside powers to test new doctrines, weapons and tactics in realistic battle conditions. What the Axis powers (and to a lesser extent the USSR) did in Spain during the 1930s is being done today by Iran in Yemen.

It would be advisable for Israel’s Ministry of Defense and the IDF to closely study the civil war in Yemen, particularly its rocket and drone warfare aspects. The weapons and tactics in use in Yemen today will be employed against Israel tomorrow.
Israeli President Tells Papal Diplomat Israel Wants to Share Land with Palestinians
Israel wants to “share the land and find a way to live together” with the Palestinians, President Reuven Rivlin told Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, one of the highest-ranking Vatican diplomats, when they met at the President’s Residence on Thursday night.

Sandri, who is the Prefect of the Congregations for the Oriental Catholic Churches, came with a delegation that included several Franciscan priests, as well as the Papal Nuncio and the Custos of the Holy Land.

He is in the region to mark the 800th anniversary of the Pilgrimage of Peace to the Middle East by St. Francis of Assisi and his dialogue with the Sultan of Egypt.

Rivlin, who has met with Pope Francis and is aware of the efforts being made by the Vatican to bring about a cessation of hostilities in the Middle East in general and between Israel and the Palestinians in particular, told Sandri that he knows how hard the Vatican is working to find a solution to this century-old tragedy.

Knowing that Sandri is also going to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Rivlin asked him to convey his regards, and noted that Abbas had sent New Year greetings to the people of Israel.

Emphasizing the need to build understanding between Israelis and Palestinians, Rivlin was of the opinion that a valuable asset in this regard was the restoration of the baptismal site at Qasr el-Yahud on the Jordan River near Jericho, where Jesus first met John the Baptist.

The restoration project was approved by Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian leadership, said Rivlin, who was personally involved in the process.
Dr. Martin Sherman: Alternative Jordans?
Although the details of the “Deal” are as yet obscure, it would appear the Jordan is slated to play a major role in it—grudgingly or otherwise. Accordingly, the feasibility of the “Deal”—indeed its acceptability—will be dramatically impacted by the nature of the regime east of the Jordan River and its prospective stability (or lack thereof).

After all, although some may hope otherwise, there seems little prospect that any successor regime in Amman will be more favorably disposed toward Israel than the current one.

This takes us back to the crucial strategic importance for Israel of the highlands of Judea-Samaria and the Jordan Valley. As I have been at pains to point out on numerous occasions, not only are these highlands the only topographical barrier between Jordan and the heavily populated coast plain, but any forces—regular or renegade—deployed on them will have complete topographical command and control of virtually all Israel’s airfields (military and civilian, including Ben Gurion, the only international airport), its major ports and naval bases, is principal traffic axes (rail and road), vital infrastructure installations/systems (electrical power, desalination plants and water conveyance), centers of civilian government and military command and 80% of the civilian population and commercial activity.

All of these will be in range of cheap, readily available weapons that have already been used against Israel from areas evacuated by it and transferred to Arab control.

Thus, the rationale of any plan that entails Israeli evacuation of this vital territory will hinge critically on the nature of the regime-type in Jordan, which abuts it from the East.

For whatever other grave detriments their might be in such a plan, it will matter greatly if Jordan is ruled by a government that strives to reign in forces hostile to Israel, or one that is indifferent to their aggressive intent—or worse, is complicit with it.

After all, should the Trump plan entail significant territorial concessions, Israel may well find itself in a situation in which it will have to contend with a huge expanse of hostile territory, stretching from the fringes of Greater Tel Aviv to the border of Iraq—and perhaps beyond.

Accordingly, Israel’s security establishment should indeed draw up plans to deal with prospective alternatives in Jordan—not only how to cope with them once they arise, but to prevent them from arising at all.
Why Israelis should support the Iraqi protesters
Another Arab Spring-like protest movement now seems to be arising, seeking to topple the present Iraqi government. As Israelis, we should support the Iraqi people in their quest for true freedom and democracy.

Mendi Safadi, heads of the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, has noted that if we want to prevent the creation of another Syria, we should call upon the community of nations to intervene as soon as possible to uphold the rights of the protesters, prevent additional bloodshed, and stop the radical Islamists, Iran, and the former Baathists from overtaking the protest movement.

“Today, this Arab Spring has begun to take over Iraq against a government that is corrupt and loyal to Iran,” Safadi said. “These protesters are against the Iranians taking over Iraq. Talks with activists on the ground and the leaders of the protest movement reveal that the people are repulsed by the government, who betrayed their nation by becoming a proxy of Iran. The Iranian takeover of Iraq has gotten the people to revolt, to take to the streets and to demand that Iraq be returned to its rightful owners. They seek freedom and basic human rights that every citizen of this world deserves.”

According to a report from the Internal Commission of Iraq, “The Iraqi government takes instructions from Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani. Over 700 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard shot live fire at Iraqi demonstrators. There were demonstrators who were killed including men, women and children. The Iranians even went as far as burning a 2-year-old child in a car with her father. The Iraqi people are calling upon the international community to intervene urgently in order to save the Iraqi people, who have suffered under Iran and political Islam. We demand that all pro-Iranian parties be banished from Iraq and to take away all of Iran’s influence in the country. We seek to hold the regime accountable and to change from a parliamentary system to a republican form of government. We seek that the rights of women be respected, as the number of women in the country is very high. The Iraqi people will stop protesting only once our demands are met.”
Iraq crisis: Protests say anger could boil over Friday after 44 deaths
Protesters in Iraq prepared Friday for bloody clashes with security forces in Iraq after three days of protests that saw the government order live fire against the demonstrators. The protesters are angry. They have tried to block roads to the airport in Baghdad and break into the “Green Zone” where foreign embassies are located. They are shocked that officials have ordered live fire used against them.

The protests began on October 1 in the wake of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sidelining a popular Counter-Terrorism service commander named Abdul Wahab Al-Saadi. But the real reason for the protests are much larger. They are angry over corruption and wage stagnation and lack of opportunities.

The Prime Minister has closed down internet and sought to isolate cities in Iraq. He gave a speech on Thursday evening and has indicated he could meet the protesters. But there are no clear leaders of the protests. The demonstrators gained some solace when the Shi’ite religious leader Ayatollah Ali Sistani appeared to express sympathy on Friday. Many believed that after prayers on Friday there would be bloody clashes unless the government retrains its tactics. It is not entirely clear which police have been ordered to fire on the protesters, because protesters say they cannot identify them by uniform. Some said it was not the Federal Police but other interior ministry forces. Others claims it was members of Shi’ite militias loyal to Iran, including the Saraya Khorosani unit. But much of this is rumors and has not been confirmed. What is clear is that security forces can be heard in dozens of videos using gunfire. Up to fifty demonstrators may have been killed and thousands injured, including members of the police.

The UN has called on Iraq to have a transparent investigation about the shooting of the demonstrators. “We call on the Iraqi government to allow people to freely exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”
Iran tries to blame Israel and US for Iraqi protests
Iranian media and local sources in Iraq have reported on the protests sweeping the country with increasing concern that the protesters oppose Iranian influence. This concern has now reached the highest levels of Iran’s regime where the narrative that has been concocted is to blame “foreign” hands for the unrest. Under this logic tens of thousands of young men, leaderless and braving the gunfire of security forces, have been sacrificing themselves by the dozens all because of some complex conspiracy.

Iraq’s government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has shut down internet, social media and even made phone calls difficult in areas across Iraq, all to stop the protests. Yet the protests continue. To discredit them an Iranian cleric on Friday claimed the US and Israel are behind the protests. Supposedly it was to “disrupt a major annual Shi’ite Muslim pilgrimage planned to be held in Iraq later this month,” Reuters reported. “The enemy is now determined against the Islamic nation, America and Zionism are targeting the Arabaeen pilgrimage in Iraq, causing trouble,” claimed Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani.

His full Friday sermon, published at Tasnim News in Farsi claims that “America and Zionism are the enemies of God.” He mentions the Houthi rebels in Yemen who “have shown themselves against the miserable Saudi rulers,” and notes that Saudi Arabia’s reputation has been weakened. This is a reference to the September 14 drone and missile attack on Saudi Arabia. He also mentions the US “maximum pressure” sanctions on Iran and says that it has not been successful. “Endurance is the way of the martyrs.” It is in this context he says that the “enemies” are targeting the religious pilgrimages to the holy sites in Karbala, where Shi’ites make pilgrimage. He calls on people to take refuge in the shrine of Imam Hussein.

In Iraq the senior Shi’ite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, lamented the deaths of dozens of protesters and called for an end to the deaths, casualties and destruction. He called on the government to listen to the people’s demands about corruption and other issues.
Russian journalist arrested in Tehran on suspicion of spying for Israel
A Russian journalist has been arrested in Iran on suspicion of spying on the Islamic Republic on behalf of Israel, according to family members and Russian media reports.

Yulia Yuzik was first declared missing earlier this week by family members who said she was arrested in Tehran days ago. Her ex-husband Boris Voytsekhovskiy posted on Facebook that Yuzik was facing charges of cooperating with Israeli intelligence services, and that her trial is scheduled for Saturday.

According to Voytsekhovskiy, Yuzik’s charges carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

It wasn’t clear when Yuzik was arrested; her last post on social media was a series of Instagram pictures taken in Kashan, a city in northern part of Isfahan province.

Voytsekhovskiy told Russian media outlets that Yuzik used to work as a correspondent in Tehran several years ago, and she returned to the Iranian capital last week at the invitation of an unknown party.
Engel bows to Arab lobbyists, pro-Israel friends are silent
An anti-Hamas bill has been severely watered down by Congressman Eliot Engel. It’s a turn of events that should trouble every supporter of Israel.

The New York Post revealed this week that Engel (D-NY), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, agreed to change the bill after heavy pressure from Qatar and the Palestinian Authority (PA)

The Post quoted “a personal acquaintance of Engel’s” as saying, “Eliot told me directly that he was getting a lot of pressure from the Qataris” about the bill. At the same time, Engel or his representatives held seven meetings this past spring with lobbyists for the PA, apparently to discuss the bill.

The Qataris didn’t like the fact that the bill mentioned Qatar’s massive financial support for Hamas. The PA didn’t like the fact that it would have penalized regimes—like the PA—that assist Hamas in various ways.

So the bill, which was authored by Rep. Brian Mast (R-Florida), was changed. The language about Qatar was removed, and loopholes were added so that aid to Hamas which is considered “humanitarian” would not be blocked.

We put “humanitarian” in quotation marks because we all remember how “humanitarian” concrete, which supposedly would be used to build homes, instead was used to build tunnels to kidnap and murder Israelis.

At this point in the story, you would imagine that those Jewish leaders who claim to be Engel’s buddies would have intervened to restore the original language of the Mast bill.
Behind the Lines: Pakistan and Israel: Much ado about nothing?
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan last week dismissed speculation that his country was moving toward the establishing of open diplomatic relations with Israel. Speaking at the Asian Society in New York City last Thursday, as reported by the Middle East Eye website, Khan reiterated Pakistan’s traditional stance on the issue:

“Pakistan has a very straightforward position,” the Pakistani prime minister and former cricket star said. “It was our founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who was very clear that there has to be just settlement, a homeland for Palestinians, before Pakistan can recognize Israel.”

His remarks, according to Middle East Eye, were met with enthusiastic applause. They came amid widespread recent speculation at a possible diplomatic breakthrough between Jerusalem and Islamabad. Prominent Pakistani journalist Kamran Khan launched the rumors with a tweet on August 25, asking “Why can’t we openly debate pros cons of opening direct and overt channels of communication with the State of Israel?”

What is the background to the recent speculation, and is there a realistic chance of a breakthrough, or do Imran Khan’s remarks settle the matter in the negative?

THERE IS a school of thought in Pakistan that favors the abandonment, or at least the questioning, of Islamabad’s long rejection of formal ties with the Jewish state. Why now?
'Recent convert' to Islam stabs 4 to death at Paris police headquarters
A 45-year-old technology administrator at the police headquarters in central Paris went on a knife rampage inside the building on Thursday, killing three police officers and an administrative worker before he was shot dead by an officer, French officials said.

French broadcaster BFM TV said the attacker had converted to Islam 18 months ago.

Officials did not say anything about the motive for the attack and said they were still trying to discover if there was a terrorism link.

The man launched the attack in his office then moved to other parts of the large 19th-century building across the street from the Notre Dame Cathedral.

An officer stopped the attack when he shot the assailant in the compound's courtyard, said a police official. The official was not authorized to talk publicly about the case and requested anonymity.
IDF thwarts weapons smuggling attempt from Lebanon to Israel
The IDF and Israel Police thwarted an attempt to smuggle weapons from Lebanon into Israel in September, according to an IDF spokesperson.

An IDF field observer from the 869th battalion spotted two suspects acting suspiciously on the Lebanese side of the border with Israel near the border fence. IDF soldiers went to the scene to check the issue.

Bags found in the area contained about 40 pistols and magazines which were meant to be smuggled from Lebanon into Israel. The background of the incident is being looked into.

One suspect was arrested on the Israeli side of the border and was transferred for questioning by security forces.

"I saw a suspect approaching the fence and immediately realized that this was an unusual incident," said Pvt. Adi ben Naim, the field observer who identified the suspects. "I alerted the troops and directed them to the location. It was only after the incident that I realized that a very large weapon-smuggling attempt was thwarted. My job as a field observer is to identify what takes place in the field and alert my commanders; which is exactly what I did in this incident.

Israeli military marks ‘Mean Girls Day’ by trolling Iran on Twitter
The Israel Defense Forces marked “Mean Girls Day” this week by tweeting a meme of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah.

The meme, posted on Thursday, October 3, was an altered version of a “never before seen” photo published by the Iranian government showing the supreme leader, Nasrallah and Qassem Soleimani — the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

The IDF photoshopped the Iranians into a “Mean Girls” scene alongside Lindsay Lohan, with the caption: “There’s no one meaner than the mean girls of the Middle East…”

The IDF added #DontSitWithThem and #MeanGirlsDay to their post.

October 3 was a date that was mentioned in passing by Lohan’s character to her crush in Mean Girls, and has since become a pop cultural phenomenon marked annually by movie fans.

The “Don’t sit with them” refers to a line in the movie when Rachel McAdams’s character Regina George is turned away from popular clique’s table at lunch because she’s wearing sweatpants.

Arab citizens of Israel undergo quiet revolution
The Arab citizens of Israel need rapid development of their areas. They dream of having high-tech zones and industrial centers; they seek enhanced police work to battle the crime that is raging in the streets of Arab cities; and they resent the vicious incitement against them that was led for years by the prime minister and the ruling party. Will the future government, which for now is still nowhere to be seen, be able to fulfill all of these demands and build bridges between the establishment and one-fifth of Israel’s population?

During the recent political campaign, the Likud party accused Gantz numerous times of “planning to create a government with [Joint List MKs] Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh,” but the leaders of the bloc had ruled it out many times. When Blue and White MK Ram Ben-Barak, ex-deputy director of the Mossad, turned to the Arabs this summer, he said that Blue and White needed them “to change the government.” But what will happen the day after such a change is accomplished?

Amjad Iraqi, a contributing editor at +972 magazine, said to The Media Line that what is missing from the tactical decision of the Joint List is thought about the day after. “This decision is quite some gamble that could also backfire, especially if a unity government will be formed eventually between Likud and the Blue and White bloc. I do understand the logic —Ayman Odeh decided to prioritize getting rid of Netanyahu, and most of the public endorsed him because they want to change at least some part of the equation. But how do we know that the Blue and White bloc, whose leaders had their share of critical and negative remarks about Arabs, will be able to live up to its promises?” said Iraqi.

El-Sana believes that if the Joint List is unable to maximize its gains this time around, the alternative for the next time will be voting for existing Jewish parties or for a joint Arab-Jewish party, a project that el-Sana tried to run this time together with the former Knesset speaker, Avrum Burg. There are also many question marks about the participation of the Balad party, which is increasingly seen by many in the Arab public as a destabilizing element that fails to serve its people. “If they were to participate in the elections today by themselves, they would go down. They have three seats in the Joint List, but they are worth only 1.5 seats, or even less” says Darawshe. On the opposite side, Iraqi believes that Balad gives legitimacy to the Joint List, serving as a link between them and the wider Palestinian cause. “Balad still represents a significant portion of voters. They need the Joint List, and the Joint List needs them,” he concludes.

For now, Arab voters seem to be quite satisfied with the result. They proved to be resilient against incitement and intimidation, increased their representation at the Knesset, and now will wait just like everyone else to see how the current political reality TV unfolds.

The leaders of the Joint List will now have to prove to their voters that they can make some real gains with the increased power that they received this time. Considering the shaky structure of the bloc, which includes four different parties with contradicting ideologies, this will not be easy. If no government is formed and Israel goes to a third round of elections, the bloc will have to campaign extremely hard to maintain its success. For now, it is unlikely that the Joint List will top its current result—13 seats. The quiet revolution in the Arab sector, however, will continue, sweeping Arab Israeli citizens away from segregation and isolation, toward integration and equality.
Thousands of Arab Israelis march, block roads to protest deadly crime wave
Thousands of Arab Israelis held protests Friday at the conclusion of prayers, a day after a general strike over a wave of deadly violence within the minority community.

Protesters blocked roads, including sections of the major highways in the north of the country. Demonstrators carried signs with slogans such as “our children’s blood is not cheap” and chanted slogans about what they say is police inaction on the issue.

Ayman Odeh, the head of the Knesset’s predominantly Arab Joint List faction, called on the Jewish community to join the protests, saying that a society without weapons should be the ideal for everyone.

“I also urge the Jewish public to join the protests. A society without firearms is a civil and social aim for us all,” Odeh tweeted.
Some Israelis to Celebrate Sukkot with 4 Species Holders Made in Gaza
Some Israelis — many, in fact — will celebrate the holiday of Sukkot this year holding their four species bound with holders produced in the Gaza Strip.

Ahead of the Jewish holiday, the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has approved the import of tens of thousands of four species holders, used for the traditional customs of the holiday.

The four species – the etrog, a citron fruit; the lulav, a frond of a date palm; the hadas, a myrtle bough; and the aravah, a willow branch – are the species the Jewish people are commanded to bind together during the holiday.

The holders are made out of dried palm leaves, woven into a shape that allows the four species to be held together comfortably during the holiday prayers. The abundance of palm trees in Gaza, as well as cheap labor, makes the enclave a prime location for the production of the holders.

Despite the growing tension between Hamas, the terror group that controls Gaza and Israel, COGAT was able to facilitate the import successfully, passing it through the Kerem Shalom Crossing under heavy security inspection.
Ha'aretz: Meet the Palestinian Villagers Living Out the American Dream
Halfway between the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Nablus, the road gives way to an exit unlike any other along Israel’s Highway 60. At first glance, this route — lined with palm trees and polished sidewalks that lead up to lavish stone villas — looks like a well-funded Jewish settlement. But a closer look reveals that unlike other typical settlements, there is no security gate at the entrance to the community and its houses are not lined up in rows along the hilltops.

The expensive homes scattered on slopes among olive trees, reminiscent of the famous Hollywood Boulevard, are actually a window into the Palestinian diaspora. The majority of their dwellers are dual American-Palestinian nationals who live in the United States for most of the year and treat the village of Turmus Ayya as their summer home.

Turmus Ayyans are not only based in the United States. These Palestinian villagers are spread throughout the world, with members of the community living in Spain, Panama, Cuba and Brazil. According to the village’s municipal office, there are some 11,000 Turmus Ayyans in total; 4,000 are permanent residents, while 7,000 made their home abroad.

Unlike the majority of Palestinians living in the diaspora, Turmus Ayyans are not refugees of the 1948 war. Rather, they are economic immigrants who chose to leave this West Bank village in pursuit of better financial opportunities. Residents told Haaretz that the first villager to immigrate was Odeh Abdel Qader, who left for the United States in 1909 and worked in Manhattan's Little Syria (where the Financial District is situated today). Local Wadi Abu Awad recalls Qader’s return to the village: "He was the guy who came from America," he says. Throughout the 20th century, Qader’s legacy became an inspiration for other Turmus Ayyans who wished to chase the American Dream.

Hamas Facing Growing Criticism in Gaza
A picture making the rounds on social media shows the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, with his six sons, standing healthy in tailored suits, and beneath it, a picture of Gaza youths who have had a leg amputated after rioting at the Gaza fence.

Another example is a recording by a Gazan father whose son was wounded at the border confrontations.

"I was told I needed to provide his medicine out of my own pocket. If he were the son of one of the Hamas higher-ups, the whole world would have given aid."

"Where am I supposed to get money for medicine? They told my boy to get on the bus and protest, and then they threw him out to die."

Iran not 'drawing back' militarily after Saudi attack-US admiral
Iran has not drawn back to a less threatening military posture in the region following the Sept. 14 attack on Saudi Arabia, the top U.S. admiral in the Middle East told Reuters, suggesting persistent concern despite a lull in violence.

"I don't believe that they're drawing back at all," Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, said in an interview.

The United States, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and Germany have publicly blamed the attack on Iran, which denies involvement in the strike on the world's biggest crude oil-processing facility. The Iran-aligned Houthi militant group in Yemen has claimed responsibility.

Malloy did not comment on any U.S. intelligence guiding his assessment. But he acknowledged that he monitored Iranian activities closely, when asked if he had seen any concerning movements of Iranian missiles in recent weeks.

Malloy said he regularly tracks Iranian cruise and ballistic missile movements -- "whether they're moving to storage, away from storage." He also monitors whether Iran's minelaying capabilities head to distribution sites or away from them.

"I get a briefing of movements on a daily basis and then assessments as to what that could mean," he said.

Relations between the United States and Iran have deteriorated sharply since President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord last year and reimposed sanctions on its oil exports.

For months, Iranian officials issued veiled threats, saying that if Tehran were blocked from exporting oil, other countries would not be able to do so either.

However, Iran has denied any role in a series of attacks that have followed, including against tankers in the Gulf using limpet mines earlier this year.
UN nuclear watchdog says Iran taking ‘step in right direction’
The UN’s nuclear watchdog said Friday Iran had taken “a step in the right direction” towards dealing with questions on its nuclear program but cautioned that the issues have not been “completely addressed.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did not detail what the questions related to but said it was “discussing substance” with the Iranians.

There has been “engagement” from Tehran in recent weeks on questions relating to its nuclear safeguards declarations to the agency, IAEA acting head Cornel Feruta told journalists in Vienna.

“[That] engagement doesn’t mean that the issues are completely addressed but it’s a step in the right direction,” he added.

Feruta said the queries did not touch directly on the faltering 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers but rather on Iran’s separate safeguards agreement with the agency.

Diplomatic sources in Vienna say the agency has been waiting for information from the Iranians relating to samples taken earlier this year from a warehouse near the capital Tehran.
France: Iran, US have one month to come to negotiating table
Iran and the United States have one month to get to the negotiating table, France's foreign minister warned, suggesting Tehran's plan to increase its nuclear activities in November would spark renewed tension in the region.

French President Emmanuel Macron attempted but failed to broker talks between US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York last week.

"We consider that these initiatives, which didn't succeed, are still on the table and it is up to Iran and the United States to seize [them] in a relatively short amount of time because Iran has announced new measures to reduce its commitments to the Vienna accord in November," Jean-Yves Le Drian told parliament's foreign affairs committee.

Iran is breaching the restrictions of its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers in response to US sanctions imposed since Washington pulled out of the agreement in May of last year.

It has said its next roll-back would be at the start of November, and diplomats fear that this next breach could force European powers, which are trying to salvage the accord, to respond.
Iran rejects French call for release of dual national scholar
Iran said on Friday that France's call for it to release a detained French-Iranian scholar was an interference in its internal affairs and would not help resolve the issue, the official news agency IRNA reported.

France's Foreign Ministry on Thursday demanded Iran release dual national Fariba Adelkhah, a senior research fellow at Sciences Po university in Paris, who was detained on unspecified charges earlier this year.

"(Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas) Mousavi said the French Foreign Ministry's interference in the case of an Iranian citizen was irrelevant..., and added: 'This will not only fail to help resolve the issue, but rather make the legal process more complicated'," IRNA reported.

Rights activists have accused Iran of arresting a number of dual nationals to try to win concessions from other countries - a charge that the Islamic republic has regularly dismissed.

Adelkhah's arrest came at a time when France and other European powers were caught up in an international standoff over Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal, which the United States abandoned last year.
U.S. Sanctions Paralyze Imports via Iranian Ports
More than 20 ships carrying around one million tonnes of grain are stuck outside Iranian ports as US sanctions create payment problems and hamper the country’s efforts to import vital commodities, sources directly involved in the trade said.

Trading companies such as Bunge (BG.N) and China’s COFCO International have been hit by payment delays and additional costs of up to $15,000 a day as the renewed US restrictions stifle the processing of transactions, trade sources said.

According to Reuters, food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are exempt from sanctions Washington re-imposed after US President Donald Trump said he was walking away from a 2015 international deal over Iran’s nuclear program.

But the US measures targeting everything from oil sales to shipping and financial activities have deterred several foreign banks from doing any Iranian business, including humanitarian deals such as food shipments.

The few remaining lenders still processing Iranian business face multiple hurdles to facilitate payments as financing channels freeze up.
U.S. Sanctions Squeezing Iran-Backed Hizbullah in Lebanon
The conflict between Iran and the U.S. that has created tensions throughout much of the Middle East is now also being felt in Lebanon, where Washington has slapped sanctions on the Iran-backed Hezbollah and warned they could soon expand to its allies, further deepening the tiny Arab country’s economic crisis.

The Trump administration has intensified sanctions on the Lebanese militant group and institutions linked to it to unprecedented levels, targeting lawmakers for the first time as well as a local bank that Washington claims has ties to the group.

Two U.S. officials visited Beirut in September and warned the sanctions will increase to deprive Hezbollah of its sources of income. The push is further adding to Lebanon’s severe financial and economic crisis, with Lebanese officials warning the country’s economy and banking sector can’t take the pressure.

“We have taken more actions recently against Hezbollah than in the history of our counterterrorism program,” Sigal P. Mandelker, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury, said in the United Arab Emirates last month.

Mandelker said Washington is confident the Lebanese government and the central bank will “do the right thing here in making sure that Hezbollah can no longer have access to funds at the bank.”
Iran’s regime lashes out at German antisemitism commissioner in response to 'Post' article
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign ministry blasted a prominent German official on Wednesday after the commissioner tasked with combating antisemitism told The Jerusalem Post that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration should withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions on Tehran for its nefarious conduct.

The Iranian regime-controlled PressTV wrote that "in an online statement on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi condemned the remarks by Uwe Becker, commissioner of the Hessian federal state government for Jewish life and the fight against anti-Semitism.”

PressTV added that “Becker on Monday called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to put Israel's security above ‘possible economic interests’ that comes with the deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

Becker, the commissioner of the Hessian federal state government for Jewish life and the fight against antisemitism, told the Post on Monday that “the current escalation with Israel should be reason enough for Germany to advocate the.... Iran nuclear agreement, which has been undermined by Iran... [as] dead, and for the necessary sanctions against Tehran to become effective again in their entirety.”

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Dr Mahathir takda masaalah serah.

Tapi harus diingat bahawa ada kelas atasan dan kayangan dlm masyarakat Malaysia yg hidup seperti lintah darat menghisap.kekayaan negara untuk kesenangan mereka.

Baru2 ini, mantan Menteri Undang Undang Zaid Ibrahim mengkritik Daim Zainuddin dan kawan2 billionaiare beliau dilaporkan telah membuat beberapa keputusan yang kritikal bagi pihak Kerajaan dan Kabinet Malaysia.

Kata @zaidibrahim:

Hasilnya Zaid Ibrahim telah dibantai atas bawah dan skrg dia bersara dari menulis. Sila baca artikel terakhirnya bertajuk "Last Testament by Zaid Ibrahim"

Kita mesti ingat. Kumpulan2 peniaga billionaire serta Daim sendiri yg dirujuk oleh Zaid Ibrahim ini, bukanlah kumpulan peniaga yg boleh dibanggakan. Mreka2 ini tidak pernah berjaya dalam perniagaan pun. Mereka jadi kaya hanya kerana projek-projek kerajaan yg mereka dapat secara terus tanpai persaingan hasil dari pengaruh politik  mereka.

Dengan kata lain, mereka ini tidak layak mendapat kontrak kelas F pun tapi diberi kontrak2 berbillion2 ringgit sbb mereka ada pengaruh politik semata-mata. Sekarang ini mereka boleh buat keputusan bagi pihak Kabinet Malaysia, mengikut Zaid Ibrahim.

Anwar Ibrahim meringkuk dalam penjara dua kali. Dimalukan dan diaibkan dgn tudhhan meliwat yg kita tau tuduhan dan fitnah ini dimulakan oleh Daim Zainuddin sendiri sedari tahun 1996. Sila rujuk pengakuan Raja Komando (Arwahnya) yg pada mulanya dilibatkan utk menyebarkan cerita jahat ini.

Fitnah jahat ini diulang2 hanya kerana lintah-lintah penghisap darah ini takut Dato Seri Anwar menjadi Perdana Menteri.

Mereka2 ini hidup dengan menjadikan kekayaan Malaysia seperti hak milik mak bapak mereka.

Tuduhan Anwar meliwat ini digunakan dan diulang acapkali kerana mreka amat takut Anwar Ibrahim naik ke kerusi Perdana Menteri.

Bila naik sahaja Anwar Ibrahim maka lintah2 darat ini terpaksa menjalankan perniagaan mereka secara lurus dan bersungguh-sungguh. Mereka tidak boleh lagi bersambil lewa dan tidak boleh lagi membolot semua projek-projek gajah dan paus yg biasanya tidak pergi kepada orang2 kecil yang masih miskin dan bergelut dgn kehidupan yg sukar alam perniagaan.

Yang kaya semakin kaya dan yang miskin semakin merempat.

Anak2 Dr Mahathir pun tergolong dalam kumpulan ini juga.

Usaha menaikkan Azmin Ali juga menggantikan Anwar juga telah berlaku dan masih sedang diusahakan juga walaupun tampaknya konfinden utk projek ini berjaya semakin kurang memandangkan terdedahnya beberapa video jijik dan memualkan.

Anwar Ibrahim benar2 mahu melihat kekayaan negara pergi kepada orang yang sepatutnya. Bukan pergi kepada kroni dan mereka yg jadi kaya hanya kerana pemberian dari kerajaan.

Kalau usaha Anwar berjaya, Malaysia boleh menjadi sebuah negara yang maju dan tersohor di muka dunia. 

Kalau gagal, Malaysia akan jadi sebuah lagi Zimbabwe dan Burkina Faso. Orang2 Melayu dan Bangsa Malaysia akan terus merempat di bumi sendiri. Berebut cebisan2 kekayaan negara manakala segelintir elit di atas meratah 80% kekayaan negara.

Ini selari dengan ayat Allah dalam Surah 3_110:

Kamu adalah umat yang terbaik yang dilahirkan untuk manusia, menyuruh kepada yang ma´ruf, dan mencegah dari yang munkar, dan beriman kepada Allah. Sekiranya Ahli Kitab beriman, tentulah itu lebih baik bagi mereka, di antara mereka ada yang beriman, dan kebanyakan mereka adalah orang-orang yang fasik.



www.malaysiawaves.net tidak bertanggungjawab di atas setiap pandangan dan pendapat yang diutarakan melalui laman sosial dan halaman komen blog ini. Ia adalah pandangan peribadi pemilik akaun dan tidak semestinya menggambarkan pandangan dan pendirian blog ini
Last Testament by Zaid Ibrahim
Zaid Ibrahim -November 10, 2018 1:31 PM
11.7k 1.6k 283

The world came crashing down on me after I suggested in a tweet and a blog posting that Tun Daim Zainuddin and his billionaire friends were making key decisions for the Pakatan Harapan government.

First Mr Lim Guan Eng called and said my statement was uncalled for as it was not true and not based on facts. He suggested that I make a retraction. Then my closest friends asked why I was picking unnecessary fights with so many people. Even my family members seemed unhappy. They told me we would no longer have food on the table if I continued giving opinions about powerful people in the country.

The die is cast.

I now fully retract my statement about Tun Daim’s involvement with the Pakatan Harapan government and the reference to his role in making important decisions. I regret my unfair and unjustified remarks and apologise to both Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Daim Zainuddin for the anguish my writing has caused them both. In all my years of writing, I have taken great pains to ensure the accuracy of the information I received, but this one is obviously faulty and has crossed the line of responsible writing. I much regret it.

To my readers:

I have decided it’s best for my self esteem and my family’s welfare that I cease writing altogether. I started writing regularly nine years ago. It’s difficult to write with honesty and some courage without upsetting or hurting some feelings somewhere.

Five years before the Wall Street Journal report about the 1MDB scandal came out, I gave a speech at the Kuala Lumpur Rotary Club where I spoke of the undesirability of having Dato Seri Najib Razak succeed Tun Abdullah Badawi as prime minister because of the many financial scandals that I believed he was embroiled in although the stories were not out yet.

The reaction was fast and furious, just like it is now, and that’s why I took the step of retiring from my firm Zaid Ibrahim & Co so that it would not suffer from the association with me. Such was the heavy price I had to pay for the freedom to speak on matters that I thought were important to the country.

Having left the firm, I continued writing, on average three times a week. Sometimes I ran foul of the law, at least as perceived by the then attorney-general. I was in and out of court countless times. Fortunately for me, my friends M Puravalen, Americk Singh and Gopal Sri Ram took the cases pro bono and I was able to survive five long years of court actions.

I thought that a new country would be born from the struggles of the people against Najib Razak, and I was playing my part as a responsible citizen should. I got pats on my back for those writings and no one then said I was picking unnecessary fights. Now an opinion piece on Tun Daim has caused so much anger from so many, exacting another heavy price from me.

Not only I will stop writing altogether, I will no longer be a member of any political party. I have wasted enough years in politics, thinking I could make some difference to the country, but it’s not to be. Maybe Malaysian politics does not need someone like me and I have realised this a little too late. I thought I had given Pakatan Harapan enough in the last eight years to at least get some respect and recognition from its members, but it’s not to be.

I will now start working again to pay for the debts I have accumulated in the many years in the wilderness. To my friends who remain steadfast and support me in finding a job again, I say thank you. To my readers, I appreciate your support too. They called me all sorts of names – maverick and what not – but don’t believe them. I am just a simple man who believes in truth and justice, but I don’t have the means to fight anymore.

Zaid Ibrahim is a former law minister.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.


RIP part two   

the military pilot get bored, he choose the prettiest house to hit with rockets

It was not clear why did the air coalition force hit the house with rockets ! why this house?why my family house?

we are living in the twenty-first century. the percentage of getting an error in hitting a target must not exceed a 1%.

Many explanations  followed the cascades; the one that I was really believe in is the one that one military officer from Mosul said; the air force intentionally harm the houses (either directly or indirectly) of well known doctors and scientist of Mosul. But looking to the other side; many houses of poor people are being hit with rockets and many bloods are shed without the presence of someone who could carry the appeals on behalf of the victims !
we are living in the world where if you want to take your right; you have to make some noise. we only hear about the victims from doctors because this is who we are and those are who we know !

Few days ago the anti-terrorism device investigate the place where the two rockets fell. they found two corpses of RUSSIAN ISIS under the wreckage of the clinics building !!!!!

So, it seems that ISIS broke the door of the clinical's building that belong also to my family and hide inside without permission but under the eyes of air force ! 

The cause of my nephew and my brother death is the one percentage possibility of error in hitting the target or it might be the unclear image from the above that make two building houses looked like a one !! I don't know if that's possible ! 
I am trying to find an answer. but whether I found it or not. this won't change the fact that two souls belong to my family are being shed unjustly.

the science said that the pain of labor is the second most painful hurt after the pain of being burned alive.but eventually the mother could forget this hurt and pain once she carried her baby !
I wonder what could ever make this mother forget and skip the hurts and pains of losing her child who was burned alive!? - Brain injury maybe !

Beyond losing the husband and son, the house, money and all their identification papers. my sister had two injured children waiting a chance to be treated and more over a broken skull ! how strong should she become to carry out all of this. 

without interring the details; my sister with her children could reach the camp after three days. the medical staff of the camp gave them the right to moved to the medical hospitals in Erbil but yet this is Kurdistan and whether you have something left in Mosul to return back to or not; you have to leave Erbil once you are treated. With this difficulties ; Mam and Dad are trying their best to find a way to get residency permission for their widow daughter and their orphans grandchildren ! 

the previous two week was hard for all of us as a family; beyond all the lost. my old nephew had to do three surgery and yet not able to use his injured leg. My sister is under medical weekly review to exclude the need of brain surgery.

My old niece "Aya" had only minor injuries, she is the only one who didn't need to stay in hospital. My parents were surprised of the way she was acting; she never asked about her brother,sister and her mother while they were in hospital. never talked about what she passed through at that night unlike her brother and sister.
I know Aya very much, I know how much she love her brothers and sister, she is more like their mother despite the fact that there is narrow age difference between them, Mam said that Aya seemed very happy to meet us after all this year and not thinking about anything else!
she might be Escaping the reality, she had enough hurts and fears. she lost her father and her very deer brother and she can't accept the idea of losing anything more! after two weeks of neglecting and acting perfectly normal; she burst into crying.

cry baby cry!
maybe your tears could wash your heart from what drape on it from fears and worries
maybe your tears could irrigate your thirsty soul to meet your loved father and brother.
maybe your tears could return your stolen childhood.
maybe your tears could tell what is hidden inside your heart, your fears that you can't talk about. and your memory that you can't get over .
maybe your tears could strengthen your weakness and give you the power to live, love and smile again!
Cry because you are human;
 because you have a heart
because your emotions should not be hidden and your liberty should not be forbidden.

To be continue



This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone! But it shall pass   

with silent I am watching; My city getting hurt !
 Only prayers and rosarys; I resite day and night .
I waited for this libration for so long. Long enough to feel like it might last forever. Today;I am not unable to define which feelings cope the other: fears or the expectancy joy.
 May Allah be with you my relatives and friends.
 Only time seperate us from the end of this game. But we ran out of patient.
 Me and my parents are not talking to each other, everyone is sitting in his own room, sharing his pains and prayers with only God and I can't stand seeing my parents this way. Please time; Go fast!

 يا غارة الله جدي الحل مسرعة
 Mosul is on Allah preservation and protection.
 # الموصل_تتحرر
#الموصل_طبلها الجيش


Chains that have blooded my wrists.   

As far as I knew; this is my married golden cage. As a matter of fact; it used to be mine !
while I am trying to accept the idea that i lost my apartment after ISIS getting control of my belongs and properties. I woke up to the news from one neighbor of us in Mosul,that a family from ISIS are living in what was called  our house !!!!!!!!!!

while I am living this non settlement ; there is a women (ISIS's wife) cooking on my kitchen!
using my own spoons and folks ! sleeping on my bed and spreading her poison everywhere.

For this obtrusive ISIS;

Don't wear my clothes! my wedding dress cost me days to find, don't touch it.
Keep it virgin as it was, pure from violent, hatred and  malignity.

Don't threw out my photo albums !
Pictures are all what left from my past, Don't thrust on my broken heart.
Don't cancel my history, Don't smash my presence..

Don't sit on my sofa, don't sit where I used to think of my plans and dreams.
Don't sit where my plans were stand and where my dreams fear to proceed.

Don't treat on a ground that I used to pray on !
don't distort my Islam with your dirty deeds.

I never felt peace inside that apartment but I am not feeling home without.

The idea of hard work and money saved that my husband did are going now for the serve of one terrorist is killing me !

أن تسأل الدار إن كانت تذكرنا

أم أنها نسيت إذ أهلها رحلوا

أن تسأل السقف هل مازال منتصبًا

فوق الجدار شموخًا رغم ما فعلوا

أم أنها ركعت للأرض ساجدة

تشكو إلى الله في حزن وتبتهل

هيهات يا دار أن تصفو الحياة بنا

ويرجع الجمع بعد النأي مكتمل

لكن روحي ستبقى فيها ساكنة

ما لي بأطمة لا شاة ولا جمل

What justice I am expecting from the world! when the only way to get my revenge from ISIS is to bombard my apartment !

What justice I am expecting from united nation high commissioner for refugees when after more that two year of registration, I get nothing but a printed paper of asylum seeker certificate !
I am fighting my own battle alone and I am feeling hopeless from everyone including myself.

I feel fully tired. Pains are accumulating inside my soul. Past memories passing as a shadow in front of my eyes and giving me nothing except hurt !
There is no hope I can hold and no dream I can catch.

" I can't be seen,
can't be felt,
can't be heard, can't be smelt.
 it lies behind stars and under hills ,
and empty holes it fills."

could your bias allow you to put yourself in my place,
What will you feel if:
Your school and college were bombed,
the hotel where you held your wedding party was erased from the ground.
your house was taken by ISIS and is being lived by some of them !
you find no place to live in peace with your humanity inside your own country,
you fled your country to start living as a refugee in other country that barring your work permission.
you didn't see your sisters for years, didn't heard anything from some of your friend since you had left, some of your relatives are in Mosul and living under the injustice of ISIS and you can't help them !
you have to live away from your husband most of the days during the week.
and you have a toddler that you have to raise as everything is quit normal !

how was that?
stand by my side and share my appeal


Microsoft wants to make its cloud the platform 'for every workload on the planet,' and one way it's doing that is helping startups win bigger customers (MSFT)   


Charlotte Yarkoni 2

  • Microsoft launched a program called Microsoft for Startups in February 2018 to teach startups how to sell to larger customers and give them access to Microsoft's customer base.
  • Microsoft sees helping startups as an investment because they can become partners in the future, and startups are also using Microsoft's cloud, Microsoft Azure.
  • Microsoft is also doing more to attract developers in startups like investing in open source software, something that it was previously reluctant to do.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

When Chad Fowler, general manager of startups at Microsoft, initially joined the company through its acquisition of the Berlin-based productivity app startup Wunderlist, he felt that Microsoft was an "unlikely suitor" because it was a "sales-y company" that "didn't really get startups."

"I would describe myself as one of the least likely eventual Microsoft employees," Fowler told Business Insider. "I grew up in the '90s in technology companies, and I was very much on the open source side of the world. Microsoft's perception and resonance with that community is pretty well known historically."

Fowler meant that back in the 1990s, Microsoft often fought with open source, or software that's free for anyone to download and contribute to. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer even called the popular open source operating system Linux "a cancer." 

Fowler says that he still had these misconceptions, even after he joined Microsoft initially, but since then, Microsoft has made a turnaround. Now, he's leading a program called Microsoft for Startups, which was launched in February 2018. It helps startups sell their products to Microsoft's customers and teaches them how to scale up.

"I think of myself as a startup person first and an open source person second, and here I am doing that stuff in the context of Microsoft where I never thought I would actually be, but the company is different now," Fowler said.

The startup program underscores the radical shift at Microsoft in the five years since Satya Nadella took the CEO reins, leaving behind old hangups and propelling the company to a trillion dollar market valuation. For Microsoft, forging close ties with startups represents an important market opportunity as it tries to make headway against Amazon in the booming cloud computing market.

Charlotte Yarkoni, corporate vice president of commerce and ecosystem in the cloud and AI division at Microsoft, says that while startups have talented engineering teams, they often need help selling, so that's where Microsoft is uniquely positioned to help.

Startups on their own may have a harder time getting in front of enterprise customers in fields such as health care or manufacturing, but Microsoft for Startups gives them access to Microsoft's customer base. It also gives startups credits for Microsoft's cloud, Microsoft Azure, making startups likely to pick Azure as their cloud of choice to run their software. As a result, Microsoft sees helping these startups as an investment. 

"Startups are important because they do represent a lot of the innovation, whether it's building new workloads or even developing new trends and technologies that are more forefront in terms of business models they're contemplating," Yarkoni told Business Insider.

'Help first, sell last'

It's a win for Microsoft, too. Yarkoni says these startups may end up becoming partners in the future. 

"What we really wanted to do is build more of a startup ecosystem that represented a partner ecosystem for us, a budding partner ecosystem," Yarkoni said.

Microsoft also offers these startups credits for its cloud Microsoft Azure and helps them onboard onto it. If these startups sell their product on Microsoft's cloud, it also benefits Microsoft, and Microsoft gets to see "interesting new solutions" running on its cloud, Yarkoni says.

"We aspire for our cloud to be the platform for every workload on the planet," Yarkoni said. "These newer workloads and the innovations they bring are fantastic for us to have on our cloud."

Still, Fowler says helping startups is his top priority. His mission is to "help first, sell last." 

Read more: A top VMware exec explains how it avoided getting crushed by Microsoft in its early days — and the lesson startups can learn from it

Yarkoni says that startups who are part of the Microsoft program see an immediate increase in their businesses, with an average deal size "north of six figures."

"We continue to hear from startups that the most valuable thing we can do for them is help them win customers," Yarkoni said. 

'These startups today are the big enterprise customers of the future.'

Fowler worked on the Wunderlist team at Microsoft for a while, but he missed the startup world. When he met Yarkoni, she pitched him the idea of leading startup teams and advising founders, which he thought would be "the best of both worlds."

"Startups are small companies usually," Fowler said. "You can think of it as an investment. Not every startup that we work with goes on to become a unicorn and eventually IPO, but we do believe that Microsoft was a startup one day as well. These startups today are the big enterprise customers of the future."

Now, he leads the startup team, helping startups land deals with big companies and guiding them through technological and business expertise that they will need when selling to enterprise customers. The team is staffed with people who have gone through the pains of growing startups, such as having to completely rewrite their technology as the company grows. 

Fowler recalls that at Wunderlist, when a large customer contacted it to buy a large license, the team had no idea how to address things like disaster recovery and data privacy standards. He recalls that when Wunderlist was first building a sales team, the team "had no idea what we were doing."

"We hired the wrong sorts of people," Fowler said. "We were doing the wrong processes, all kinds of classic mistakes. What we do at the Microsoft for Startups program is become that trusted adviser that helps startups through that time."

Yarkoni says Microsoft plans to continue its investment in this program, including in its presence around the world and also in female founders. She says the number of startups coming into the program is growing. 

"Thes startup ecosystem is a great representation of meeting these communities where they are. It's very much the cornerstone of our startup philosophy," Yarkoni said. "Helping Microsoft get more engaged in the community is really something we're quite proud of, and we obviously want to share our journey as we go."

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at rmchan@businessinsider.com, Telegram at @rosaliechan, or Twitter DM at @rosaliechan17. (PR pitches by email only, please.) Other types of secure messaging available upon request. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Executives at $2.15 billion PagerDuty explain how it's keeping its 'love affair' with developers alive, almost six months after IPO

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A la découverte des olives d’Espagne en Andalousie   


Anne - cueillette des olives

C’est dans la région de Séville, en Espagne que je suis allée il y a une dizaine de jours pour voir la récolte des olives de table. Ce sont celles que l’on consomme à l’apéro ou en cuisine et non celles que l’on presse pour l’huile. J’étais trop contente de me rendre en Andalousie. Tous les ans nous l’envisageons comme […]

A la découverte des olives d’Espagne en Andalousie est un article du blog Papilles et Pupilles.

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La belle effervescence du cinéma algérien   

Mounia Meddour, Amin Sidi-Boumédiène, Karim Moussaoui, Sofia Djama… Cette bande de copains incarne le renouveau du cinéma en Algérie. Malgré le manque de financements, le piratage généralisé et les difficultés bureaucratiques, ils regardent leur histoire en face et s’attaquent aux sujets tabous : le sexe, le voile, la décennie noire. Avec comme seule aide, ou presque, la solidarité et le système...

"Life is better with a bump" is a LIE: Things I learned while pregnant   

So before I got pregnant I kept seeing all these adorable bumpie photos, cute maternity clothes and daydreamed about eating a whole barrel of ice cream without anyone fat-shaming me. I dreamed of getting teary-eyed at seeing my little one's ultrasounds (ok, I did actually get teary-eyed when I first say my little guy on the screen) and giddy when feeling him kick.
I only had a few friends that have been pregnant recently, so the truths of pregnancy were not totally real for me. Now what people didn't forewarn me was how people treat you when you're pregnant. Some women have absolutely wonderful pregnancies and others do not. Well, as it turns out- mine was the dreadful kind- however it didn't turn into that till I hit the second trimester (we will dive into that later in the post). Now granted, I know there are ladies who had it WAY worse than me, and those ladies I commend you for being true blue troopers.

Life is better with a bump is a lie: things I learned while pregnant

So, in order to help out any of you newly pregnant/or trying to be pregnant gals out there, here are some things that no one prepared me for or talked about when it comes to being pregnant, that I can now share with you (now that my little one is out of my bump):
  • The Questions & 3rd Trimester Comments: People will ask you “how are you feeling?” basically from the second you announce your pregnancy. It was the default question people would ask me- many times I’d be asked that phrase at least 10 times in one day (or more).

    Once you hit your 3rd trimester, people will constantly ask you your due date- questioning basically how much longer you’re going to look like you’re smuggling watermelons down the hallway.

    Also in your 3rd trimester, you’ll get a lot of “oh you’re riding low, you must be ready to pop soon”- I was told that basically my entire 3rd trimester. Newsflash people, my son just rode low the whole pregnancy (he stuck to my lower right side almost the entire time). He also was late- born at 40 weeks, 5 days. But my labor was less than 6 hours from when my water broke to him being born- so I guess him being that low helped somehow? haha.
  • The Weird/Degrading/Rude/Old-School Comments: Also, be prepared for people to make weird comments. So I was in the grocery store at the checkout lane and the cashier noticed my giant bump. “Oh when are you due?” “January 30.” “This your first?” “Yes.” “Know if it’s a boy or girl?” “Boy.” Her face then lit up and she responded “Oh you’re so lucky! You got the good one on the first try!” The first thing I thought of was… a) what if I had to try to get pregnant for a long time or had multiple miscarriages- that comment would be a little rough. B) the “good one”? Really? Do we still live in a society where having boys is considered superior to girls?- but then again, maybe its just me reading into things while being very touchy and emotion.
  • Lightening Crotch: Ok, some people might not want to talk about this special subject, but I'm gonna be real here (real specific). No one ever talks about “lightening crotch.” So for those who haven't experienced it yet, there is more than just back/hip pains that go on when you’re pregnant. What many fail to talk about is what the mommy threads refer to as “lightening crotch.” For some reason, these threads were the only place I ever found anyone talking about it, besides talking to my doctor. They rarely mention it on "pregnancy woes" lists that exist on any of those fun baby sites.

    Basically "lightening crotch" is when you get sharp pains in your groin. I almost always got them on the left side and mine started in my 2nd trimester. They would persist all throughout my 3rdtrimester. It basically feels like someone is poking you down there or a nerve is being pressed on. Mine ALWAYS hurt after I slept on my side, and often would happen if I tried to lift my legs higher than knee level. Luckily I have chairs at the end of the bed, because every day I’d sit on the chair to put any clothes that were below the belt on- it was the only way to not be in pain. This pain in the groin- sometimes brief, sometimes lasting a few hours- was “normal” according to the doc. My doc gave this suggestion to help alleviate it- "do thigh exercises with a kids ball between your legs." Tried it- but for me it just hurt worse after that. So in short- lightening crotch I guess is normal- wish someone would of told me about that!
  • Paranoia: Be prepared for you to freak-out about every thing you’re feeling. When it's your first pregnancy, you have NO CLUE what’s going on with your body- no matter what people tell you. I would spend hours online typing in “ I feel this way, while pregnant” in google searches (which honestly is not always something you should do- Dr. Google is never the best source). I’d mention to my doctor certain symptoms, and most of the time it was “normal in pregnancy”- many of which I was like “Really? Seriously?” Often times you ask yourself- is this serious enough to call the doctor or am I just over-reacting? You will become the most paranoid person you know during this pregnancy, forewarning.

    Believe me, for at least in my case, the last few weeks I constantly thought my water might of "had a slow leak" or "these contractions must be it" before they'd go away for many hours to my disappointment. Well, when my water did break and my contractions started, I then realized "Yep. This 100% is it. Why did I think those symptoms/Braxon Hicks contractions I had earlier were the real this? This is 100% totally the real deal." Not everyone has it as intense and some people DO have slow leaking water- but in my case, it just was paranoia before the real deal happened.
  • LOTS of Tests: Be prepared to feel like a lab experiment (lots of test) and keep up with educating yourself. You don’t realize nearly how many doctors appointments, blood test, etc. that your OB doctor will suggest- it adds up QUICK. I quickly went through my FSA account (I only put $500 in it, thinking "that should be enough to cover my co-pays for the first majority of the pregnancy, since my kiddo wasn’t due till the new year. That should cover all my doctors visits, test, etc- right?"- Wrong.)

    Some people are LUCKY- they have a very smooth pregnancy, are not high risk in any way, have a great health insurance plan- and pay little to nothing during their pregnancy. Then you have the rest of us. Just be prepared to have your blood drawn, monitors placed on your belly constantly and peeing in a cup a hell-of-a-lot more than that first pregnancy test. The second the doc sees even one hiccup, prepare yourself for at least 3 more tests to follow that. I felt like I lived at the doctors. Again- some people are lucky, but be prepared to not be one of those.

    Now I "lucked out" and only had to go once a week for Fetal Non-Stress Tests (Recommended because I ended up having Gestational Diabetes -stay tuned for a later post on dealing with that). Because I could keep my glucose in check only by diet. I didn’t have to be on pills or insulin, but many ladies are not as lucky and have to go twice a week for the Non-Stress Tests. With my insurance, I had to pay my $40 copay for basically every single one of the specialists visits. I also had to pay $40 copay for my glucose strips, not to mention the $40 copay up front for EVERY fetal non-stress test I had to take every week starting at 32 weeks. I would then often got charged $40 after the visit (so total $80 a non-stress test)- because they'd charge $40 for the visit and $40 for the doctor to access it after the test was done! WTF?!

    If you’re considered high risk in any way, and/or end up having Gestational Diabetes- be forewarned- the copays start to add up quick. I was kinda flabbergasted over the sheer amount of money having to be shelled out during this pregnancy. Don't get me wrong, I am 100% behind making sure my kiddo is growing safely and is healthy- but DAMN! So biggie with this- be prepared to spend a lot of $ up front if you end up being considered “high risk” in any way shape or form.
  • Sometimes Doctors Forget You're Not a Doctor (Be Sure to Always Ask Questions if You Don't Know What They Are Talking About):  So, I started out with a semi-smooth pregnancy with my son. My 1st trimester was the easiest- I paid my $40 copay for my first OB visit to confirm I was pregnant, and I had NO morning sickness- just nausea. The only hiccup in my first trimester was that during that very first visit I was a single pound in the “overweight” category- meaning I was considered higher risk. I got pregnant at age 29 and had no previous history of miscarriage or whatnot. So other than that 1 pound, I was in a good place (I kept saying, couldn’t you have just let me go pee it out or something- 1 lbs, seriously!).

    However once I had my 20 week ultrasound- things went downhill from there. The ultrasound doctor noticed that one of the measurements was a little high- which in turn can be a red flag for various genetic disorders. He suggested talking to a genetic counselor, getting a fetal echo-cardiogram and another followup ultrasound. Of course all of this was dropped in my lap on a Friday afternoon, minutes before the end of the work day- so when I called back (I had bad reception in my workplace, so I missed the call) the doc was gone for the weekend. Nurse gives me the news with the doc's suggestions and I immediately have a mini-heart attack. She had no clue what all the doctor mumbo-jumbo ment- so I was left to turn to Dr. Google till my doctor could contact me via their patient portal or the following Monday.

    This was the WORST weekend I ever had to go through mentally during the pregnancy. Luckily the following Monday the doctor got back to me and answered all my questions and apologized for the news being dropped before everyone left for the day, though he still suggested I get all these tests/meetings done.

    I sat through the genetic counseling- though most of what she said I already had found out about during my weekend of traumatic googling. What she said didn’t change our minds on anything. I drove out to another hospital to get a fetal echo-cardiogram (because my hospital didn’t do those) and baby’s heart was doing great through that whole test. I got a followup ultrasound- at this one, baby looked great (and that one measurement was not to be measured after a certain number of weeks, so the followup Ultrasound didn’t discuss that at all!). After all of that testing, traumatic talk and what not- it was never spoken of again.

    Because I’ve had multiple times of dealing with specialists and constantly having to talk to doctors- I had to educate myself on various things to get it all straight in my head (because honestly, most doctors don’t tell you everything- let alone put it in easy terms that you can understand). Don’t hesitate to ASK QUESTIONS and do your research- because there is a LOT going on- and often you won’t find the answers to every single question you have from the short doctors visits.
my glucose numbers- gestational diabetes
My Glucose Numbers after the dreaded test...
  • The Nasty Glucose Test/Gestational Diabetes: Because I was 1 lb in the “overweight” category, aka. "higher risk," I had to take the 1-hr glucose test at 2 different times of my pregnancy. I passed the first one with flying colors. Then the second one I failed by only a few points. That sad failure in the second one ment I had to go through the 3-hour glucose test (Note: this test most insurance company’s consider special/extra tests- so I had to pay more for this test).

    When you’re one of the unlucky ones who has to do this 3-hour test, you form a bond with other 3-hour mamas in the waiting room. One such mama who was also taking the 3-hour test, actually ended up being in my birth class later, so we shared our trauma of the whole ordeal.

    Overall it wasn’t too horrible- I think the prep for it was the worst part- who the heck wants to force a pregnant gal to not eat/fast for 10-12 hours!? Mine was scheduled the morning of Halloween- my whole thought was “if I fail, I won’t be able to have much candy. So I’m taking the test the morning of Halloween, so I can have all the candy I want for one last time before the results come in.” Sure enough- I failed the glucose test (only the 1 hr and 2 hr- my fasting and 3 hr numbers were fine). Again, only failed them barely. *Stay tuned for my Gestational Diabetes post.*
  • Other Random Symptoms Rarely Mentioned: 
    • You often will Sweat on your upper thighs from where your tummy rest while seated. (I know gross, but totally happens easily).
    • Dry, itchy eyes (I had this the entire pregnancy!)
    • Sometimes when your toes swell/feet swell, they swell so much that the skin around your toenails hurt. Think about it- your toenails are not swelling too- Painful!
    • Acne like your 14 years old again! I got acne (still do and I'm 2 months Postpartum) all around my neck line and all over my shoulders/chest and chin. Gross.
    • Never sleeping comfortably from the 2nd trimester on. Doesn't matter what position you are in, you are never comfortable.
    • Carpel Tunnel (I had this happen a few times in my 2nd trimester).
    • Also, your cat might randomly decide they loveeeeee laying on you or near you. Though I've also heard some people say their animals avoided them while they were pregnant. My cat who hates most people, all of sudden was my best friend. Weird.
cats love pregnant ladies

I know I got real specific here for some things and kind of ranty/long winded on others, but I hope this helps you first-time pregnant gals or those wanting to get pregnant. Now that my baby is in the world, I adore him (though of course he does have times he's a pain in the butt). Just know, always ask if you're unsure if something you're feeling is normal. Even if it is normal, it never hurts to ask- as for some people "normal" actually isn't. You want you and your baby to be healthy in your pregnancy.
Godspeed in your pregnancy endeavors and I hope for your sake, you have a smooth pregnancy.
Have a great day all!


Planning ahead   

There are so many things I love about Europe. Really. I love that you can see buildings that were built thousands of years ago. I love that you can actually live the history and culture of the place. I love trying to figure out another language. I even love that they don’t use air conditioning and let their laundry air dry. Love love love.


I hate that stuff isn’t open on Sundays. It really is one of the things that drives me absolutely crazy every time I’m here, and no matter what I do, I cannot get used to it. I know, I know, I’m an American consumer, used to over the over-saturated convenience of wanting what I want NOW. It’s an unhealthy, capitalistic notion full of entitlement. But I still seriously need shit on Sundays.

Like this morning. I woke up in the middle of the night, and really needed some advil. There are certain pains that only advil can cure me of, and this was one of them. I searched around in my stuff, and I had a bottle, but there were only two left. Enough to let me go back to sleep in the moment, but to cause me to roll my eyes before I drifted back to sleep, knowing that it was Sunday, and I was going to have to go on some kind of major expedition when I woke up in order to find a pharmacy that is actually open.

After I woke up, I set out into the streets hoping that Austria would be different from Germany and Italy, and I would magically find that they sold advil at the Grocery Store, which would magically be open on Sundays. No on both counts. I walked through the “Old Town” where all the tourists congregate thinking that some brilliant person would keep their pharmacy open on Sundays for all the stupid Americans who needed to buy asprin and didn’t plan ahead. The only place I found open besides the restaurants was a tourist postcard shop, and I conjured up my best smile and my best German to ask the nice lady if she knew of any pharmacies open on Sundays? She scowled at me and asked in a mean Austrian accent how should she know these things, I would have to ask in the tourist office, dummy. She didn’t say dummy out loud, but she said it with her eyes.

So after more walking and suffering, I found the tourist office, with a line 15 people deep. I saddled myself up to the side of a counter and tried to get a woman’s attention who was shuffling papers. I mean, I didn’t want to buy the special tour card all these people were waiting for, I just needed some freaking advil! “Entschuldigung?” I said, loudly enough for her to hear. She ignored me. “Entschuldigung?” I said even louder. Still ignored me. So I just yelled it in a voice that was obviously too loud, so that she had to look up. I asked her in my same German about open pharmacies, and she answered me in a voice that was way too soft for me to hear (especially after how loud I had to talk to get her to pay attention to me) and pointed to the left. “It’s open today?” I asked again, just to be sure (still in German). She said something else soft, pointed, and looked away from me to show she was done with me.

I set out again into the old town in the direction she had pointed, and finally saw a sign that said Apotheka with a light on! Eureka! Nope, it was not open. So I continued to walk around until I passed a café that I had been told had internet, and since I had my computer with me, I decided to stop and have a coffee, hoping the caffeine would at least help a little in the meantime. I asked a couple of different waitresses if they knew of any open pharmacies, and finally one kindly leaned over my computer and typed something in German, which magically brought up a list of the pharmacies that were open on Sunday! And she even told me in great detail, in a mix of English and German, how to get there from where I was!!

It turned out to be like 5 minutes from my apartment in the opposite direction that I had started out in. Of course. And it wasn’t actually open open – there was just a little tiny window where the pharmacist could peek out and ask you what you needed.

Luckily, he knew what ibuprofen was (It’s called Nurofen, in case you’re ever in a German speaking country and need some), and for only 5 Euro 50, I was about to feel some sweet relief. He was weirded out that I took the above photo, but come on! How often am I going to come up to a pharmacy, where the drugs are doled out of a tiny window, above which you are looking at a reflection of the Alps? Only here, probably.

I probably won’t ever learn exactly how to be a native here. Or how to speak German very well. But who cares? I got my drugs. Ahhhhh.
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