Gaza – War Crimes Against Humanity, Who are the True Culprits?

Editor’s Note – With all the hand wringing and accusations that Israel was committing war crimes in Gaza, who really is the war criminal? Palestinian supporters who act as if Hamas is a legitimate governmental entity need to learn a lot about the laws of war and what it means to provide support for a terrorist entity.

The only war crimes committed come from perpetrators in Gaza, not from beyond. Every argument the Palestinians/Hamas and their supporters use is actually proof of their own crimes. Collateral damage and death is solely the responsibility of Hamas because they caused the circumstances – with full knowledge and by design. Law is based in intent – Hamas intends to commit war crimes, Israelis intend the opposite, but cannot stand idly by just because they are far stronger.

Gaza and their supporters claim Israel is committing genocide!
Gaza and their supporters claim Israel is committing genocide!

Of course, according to Hamas/Palestinians and their supporters, the actions of Hamas are somehow justified, yet Israel’s responses with force are not. Why? Because Israel is blockading Gaza. Of course, even that accusation has little basis in reality, but since when did reality matter to the romanticism of all things Palestinian?

They forget that Egypt is also participating in the blockade, and aid has been provided by the Israelis and others since Hamas took over and it is the source of all the supplies to create the terror tunnels.

The other question to ask is why UNWRA has failed so miserably, despite billions in aid and 65 years of effort. The answer is that UNWRA is complicit and the UN itself is propagating the problems through dubious accusations to keep the money flowing. What has UNWRA really done since 1949?

UNRWA actually employs many from Hamas in its cottage industry, and it is in their best interests to keep the poor Palestinians stuck in a cycle of misery, much by their own hands. People have spent their entire professional careers working for UNRWA – quite a stable job isn’t it?

Irrational support for Hamas/Palestine (Including other terror organizations in Gaza) is as irrational as accusing Israel of war crimes when no nation on Earth has ever practiced such caution in war. In the article below, we see exactly how the laws of nations in war have been transgressed, repeatedly, for years and years, by the Palestinians and their enablers at UNWRA.

For 90 Minutes, Jewish Leaders Tell UN’s Ban Ki-moon About Hamas Abuses, List 19 War Crimes

By Joshua Levitt – The Algemeiner

For a full 90 minutes on Wednesday, Jewish leaders told United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon about the litany of abuses of international rules of warfare – 19 in total – by Hamas in Gaza.

HamasHidingPlacesThe group included Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, directors of The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and representatives from B’nai Brith and Hadassah.

Rabbi Cooper told The Algemeiner on Thursday, “Bottom line, the Jewish world will have to be more proactive on the international stage, not only to defend Israel, but ourselves as well. We will continue to interact with Ban Ki Moon to insure that this important leader will be more responsive.”

In a follow-up note to Ban after their meeting, the SWC rabbis summed up the argument they presented. They said that “we must frankly ask you how many times will the world allow itself to be held hostage by Hamas? This is the third time since 2005 when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza that Hamas has brought death and destruction to the people of Gaza. Once again they are using the people of Gaza, the civilian infrastructure and UN facilities in its non-stop campaign to terrorize the Jewish state.”

During the 90 minute meeting, according to Rabbi Cooper, the SWC urged the UN to announce an official inquiry into the use of various UNRWA schools by Hamas to store and launch rockets for the benefit of the UN’s own reputation. They also called on the UN not to permit the UNRWA to supervise the billions in reconstruction funds expected for Gaza.

“The systematic hijacking of previous aid, cement, and building materials by Hamas to build an underground superhighway of terror is scandalous and a violation of the wishes of the donors who did not contribute funds for rockets or tunnels,” they said. “Those who failed to stop such theft and serial abuse of humanitarian aid, must be held accountable and should not have any involvement in supervising or dispersing of future funds.”

They also said that work shouldn’t begin until “the total disarming of Hamas and the destruction of all of the thousands of rockets and missiles Hamas still harbors.”

The Jewish human rights group that works to protect Jews against anti-Semitism also raised that core issue with Ban. “There has been an explosion of anti-Semitism and genocidal hatred against Israel from Europe to Australia,” they said. “Rather than denouncing this toxic situation Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, contributed to it by being so rabidly one-sided in her criticisms of Israel.”

“During her tenure there was no effort to investigate previous crimes against humanity by Hamas, including its own admission that 160 Palestinian children died building their terrorism tunnels. Her behavior demands a public censure from the Secretary General.”rocket-fired-by-gaza-terrorists-in-palestine-towards-israel

They asked that “with a human rights disaster of epic proportions in Syria, with ethnic cleansing in Iraq, with a difficult situation in Ukraine and with continuing human rights outrages in North Korea,” the upcoming UN General Assembly “not be allowed to degenerate into an anti-Israel hate fest,” and noted that the UNGA will coincide with the Jewish High Holy Days.

“Anymore demonization of Israel emanating from the halls of the United Nations will only contribute to anti-Semitism globally,” they said.

To hammer home their point about Hamas violating human rights, although Israel is accused of doing so by the UN Human Rights Commission, the SWC rabbis left Ban with a detailed list they compiled of the 19 violations made by Hamas, with full notes and citations for Ban to reflect upon.

In further comments to The Algemeiner, Rabbi Cooper said Ban “refused to get involved with the travesty at UN Human Rights Council.”

Read the SWC’s list of Hamas’s 19 violations of the rules of war:

1) Hamas’ rocket attacks directed at Israel’s civilian population centers deliberately violates the basic principles of distinction (Additional Protocol I, arts. 48, 51(2), 52(1).) Any doubt about this is resolved by the fact that Hamas itself has boasted of its intention to hit population centres. It is well accepted in customary international law that intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities constitutes a war crime. (Rome Statute, art. 8(2)(b)(i))

Shujaiya-32) Staging of Attacks From Residential Areas and Protected Sites: The Law of Armed Conflict not only prohibits targeting an enemy’s civilians; it also requires parties to an armed conflict to distinguish their combatant forces from their own civilians, and not to base operations in or near civilian structures, especially protected sites such as schools, medical facilities and places of worship. As the customary law principle is reflected in Article 51(7) of Additional Protocol I: The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or shield, favor or impede military operations.

3) Use of Civilian Homes and Public Institutions as Bases of Operation – see (2) for citations.

4) Misuse of Medical Facilities and Ambulances – Any time Hamas uses an ambulance to transport its fighters it is violating the Law of Armed Conflict: Under Article 23(f) of the 1907 Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention IV Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, which reflects customary international law, it is especially forbidden … [t]o make improper use of a flag of truce, … as well as the distinctive badges of the Geneva Convention. Article 44 of the First Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (1949)also provides that: … the emblem of the Red Cross on a white ground … may not be employed, either in time of peace or in time of war, except to indicate or to protect the medical units and establishments…

5) Booby-trapping of Civilian Areas – see (2) for citations.

6) Blending in with Civilians and Use of Human Shields – As the ICRC rule states, lilt can be concluded that the use of human shields requires an intentional co-location of military objectives and civilians or persons hors de combat with the specific intent of trying to prevent the targeting of those military objectives.

7) Exploitation of Children – Hamas has paramilitary summer camps for kids. There are reports, from this war and previous ones, of children fighting and being used for tunnel digging. violates the Law of Armed Conflict, including prohibitions against allowing children to take part in hostilities. As customary international law is reflected in this regard in Additional Protocol I, the parties to a conflict must take “all feasible measures” to ensure that children lido not take a direct part in hostilities and, in particular, they shall refrain from recruiting them into their armed forces. (Additional Protocol I, art. 77(2))UNWRA

8 ) Interference with Humanitarian Relief Efforts – While Israel kept its end of humanitarian truces. Hamas used them to shoot rockets into Israel, including the Kerem Shalom crossing where humanitarian goods are brought into Gaza. All of these actions violate the Law of Armed Conflict, which requires parties to allow the entry of humanitarian supplies and to guarantee their safety. Article 59 of the Fourth Geneva Convention requires parties in an armed conflict to permit the free passage of [humanitarian] consignments and shall guarantee their protection. Article 60 of the same Convention protects the shipments from being diverted from their intended purpose, something Hamas has certainly done in the past and is reported to have done in this conflict as well.

9) Hostage-taking – The Fourth Geneva Conventions, article 34, says flatly “The taking of hostages is prohibited.” This is not an “arrest” as Israel-haters claim, and this is not a prisoner of war situation as Hamas has made clear – the purpose of Hamas’ hostage-taking falls under the definition on the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages: “Any person who seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure or to continue to detain another person (hereinafter referred to as the “hostage “) in order to compel a third party, namely, a State, an international intergovernmental organization, a natural or juridical person, or a group of persons, to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage commits the offence of taking of hostages (“hostage-taking ‘) within the meaning of this Convention.

10) Using the uniform of the enemy – Additional Protocol I prohibits the use of enemy flags, military emblems, insignia or uniforms “while engaging in attacks or in order to shield, favour, protect or impede military operations”. [3] Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, “making improper use … of the flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts when it results in death or serious personal injury. [4] According to some, this is considered perfidy, a war crime. (h/t Joshua)

11) Violence aimed at spreading terror among the civilian population – Rule 2 of ICRC’s Customary IHL is Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited. II It quotes Article 51(2) of Additional Protocol I prohibits “acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population”. Hamas rockets are aimed not only at killing civilians, but also at spreading terror among Israelis.

12)Targeting civilian objects, such as airports or nuclear power plants – Rule 7 of the Customary IHL says “Attacks must not be directed against civilian objects, quoting Articles 48 and 52(2)of Additional Protocol I.

Who started the need for a blockade, and who wasted millions on tunnels?
Who started the need for a blockade, and who wasted millions on tunnels?

13. Indiscriminate attacks – Besides targeting civilians and civilian objects, Rule 11 of the ICRC CIHL states flatly that “Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. II By definition, every Qassam rocket attack and most of the other rocket and mortar attacks are by their very nature indiscriminate. See also Rule 71, “The use of weapons which are by nature indiscriminate is prohibited.

14) Proportionality in attack – ICRC’s Rule 14 states “Launching an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated, is prohibited. Rocket attacks against civilians have zero military advantage, so by definition they are disproportionate to their military advantage. See also Rule 18: “Each party to the conflict must do everything feasible to assess whether the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

15)Advance Warning – Rule 20 of the ICRC CIHL states “Each party to the conflict must give effective advance warning of attacks which may affect the civilian population, unless circumstances do not permit. Given that Hamas has used the media and SMS calls to threaten Israelis, it is clear that they have the ability to warn before every rocket attack. Their failure to do so is a violation of IHL.

16) Protecting civilians – Rule 22 of the ICRC Customary IHL states, “The parties to the conflict must take all feasible precautions to protect the civilian population and civilian objects under their control against the effects of attacks. Hamas not only has failed to protect civilians in Gaza by building bomb shelters, they have deliberately put civilians in harm’s way.

17) Attacking medical units – Rule 28 states, Medical units exclusively assigned to medical purposes must be respected and protected in all circumstances. Hamas has shot mortars at the Israeli field hospital, set up for Gazans, near the Erez crossing.

18) Protection of Journalists – Hamas has threatened journalists, implicitly and explicitly, accusing some of being spies and sometimes not allowing them to leave Gaza, making them effectively hostages. Rule 34 states “Civilian journalists engaged in professional missions in areas of armed conflict must be respected and protected as long as they are not taking a direct part in hostilities.

19) Mistreating the dead. Rule 113 says, Each party to the conflict must take all possible measures to prevent the dead from being despoiled. Mutilation of dead bodies is prohibited. Hamas has shown off an alleged chip cut out from the (presumably) dead body of Shaul Orono.

US Undermined Egyptian Counter-Terrorism War on MB

Editor’s Note – The author of the following article, Tera Dahl is the Executive Director of the Council on Global Security. She is also a partner with Stand Up America US and recently planned and implemented the recent trip MG Vallely and a delegation of other national security experts and journalists made to meet with senior officials in Cairo recently.

In addition to this piece, a new release came out today about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and what candidate al-Sisi believes should happen:

Egyptian presidential favourite and former army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has vowed that the ousted Muslim Brotherhood group “will not exist” should he win. In his first interview with Egyptian TV, he added that two assassination plots against him had been uncovered.

Mr Sisi removed Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi from power last July. He is widely expected to win the presidential election on 26-27 May. (Read more here at the BBC.)

It is about time we in America learned what the Egyptians already know about the Muslim Brotherhood.

Please read on:

Egypt’s Counter-Terrorism War Undermined by US Insistence on Muslim Brotherhood

By Tera Dahl – Breitbart

On a recent trip to Egypt with a delegation of national security experts and journalists, we had the opportunity to meet with senior-level Egyptian security officials, as well as several members of the country’s various religious and civil society movements. The message being disseminated in the Western press about Egypt is contrary to the reality on the ground.

A recent Los Angeles Times article repeats the accusation that Egypt’s response to terrorism is in fact the reason Egypt is in such trouble. This narrative has become entrenched in some circles of the US foreign policy establishment. To quote directly from the article, “…some U.S. officials warn that the Egyptian actions may alienate civilians and spur anti-American sentiment.”egypt_morsi_obama_protest_AP

The inference is that the al-Qaeda-affiliated political movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), ousted from government, continues to be the most important “civilian” political entity in the Arab world’s most populous nation and that the MB is a legitimate political actor.

This is despite the Brotherhood being removed as a result of what may have been the largest popular democratic revolt in history, with tens of millions of anti-Brotherhood protesters flooding the streets in the summer of 2013 in rejection of the Brotherhood’s theocratic regime.

Having spent an extensive amount of time in Egypt since the removal of President Morsi last June, I can say with confidence that “anti-American sentiment” is currently at a dangerously high level, but not for the reasons many in the press cite.  The animosity stems from America’s policies of not backing the Egyptian people and their war on terrorism.

On our recent trip, members of Egypt’s civil society, that very backbone which any future democratic polity must be built on, asked us why Washington is supporting terrorism and not supporting the Egyptian people and military in their fight against terrorism. Many everyday Egyptians simply don’t understand why the U.S. cannot perceive the political reality on the ground. Egyptians are facing a counterinsurgency war in their very backyard – on Friday, an Egyptian soldier was killed by a suicide bomber in the Sinai and a policeman was killed and four more wounded by an explosion in Cairo.

In the same Los Angeles Times article, an unnamed U.S. counter-terrorism official was quoted as saying, “We fear that the Egyptian government’s heavy-handed tactics may be fueling recruitment for ABM [Ansar Bayt al Maqdis] or other extremist groups in the region.” Would it have been better for the Egyptian people to have allowed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to stay in power and embrace the fact that they were turning Egypt into a terrorist state?

POTUS-Cairo-Speech-2009-copyOne of President Morsi’s first official acts was to release the brother of Ayman Al Zawahiri, the head of al Qaeda, from prison and put him in charge of relations with the Sinai, the very area where foreign fighters have been waging a war against the people of Egypt. This same individual was later responsible for organizing the violent protest at the American Embassy in Cairo on September 11, 2012.

There is a clear campaign in the Western media and in many Western think-tanks and policy organizations to turn the Egyptian military into the enemy and the terrorist organization of the Muslim Brotherhood into the innocent, democracy-loving victims. This narrative is deceitful and needs to be countered. The Egyptian military is America’s ally and has been since 1973, and the Muslim Brotherhood is America’s enemy. The Egyptian military is fighting against terrorism; America fights against terrorism. America and Egypt are fighting the same enemy with the same ideology that killed thousands of Americans on 9/11, thousands of Americans in Iraq, and is still killing our troops in Afghanistan today.

An institutional double-standard is evident when comparing Ukraine and Egypt. Both nations faced popular political change that aligned with the U.S.’s national interest against common foes. Congress rallied to the side of the Western-leaning Ukrainian government but continues to balk at supporting Egypt. Why?

Mohammed Morsi and his allies were turning Egypt into a failed, terrorist state. This included turning the Sinai into a safe haven for HAMAS and other militants, or as we were told in Cairo, turning the Sinai into an “Islamist Ivy League.” Morsi gave Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a red carpet welcome in Cairo and went out of his way to engage with Iran in diplomatic relations for the first time since 1979.

Morsi granted himself far-reaching powers, issuing constitutional amendments that he had no authority to assume, placing himself above any judicial oversight. Then he released hundreds of HAMAS prisoners and other terrorists, to include Zawahiri’s brother. egypt-morsi

Now, after the ouster demanded by the Egyptian people, Morsi is being prosecuted for the deaths of protesters outside of Ittihadiya palace in December 2012, where at least ten people died in clashes, as well as his escape from Wadi el-Natroun prison and his clandestine relationship while in power with HAMAS, Hezbollah, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

What sense does it make to not support Egypt – and therefore push them towards Russia and risk losing our strongest ally in the Arab world and assist Russia in gaining a new strategic ally?

A message that was repeated quite often to us was that the United States’ policies (or absence thereof) are creating anarchy and instability in the region. To quote our hosts, Libya and Syria are turning into a new Afghanistan. “You left Libyans, you washed your hands of Libya,” they say. And we have.

There are reports of training camps in Libya run by the “Free Egyptian Army” seeking to wage war against the Egyptian security forces. The Egyptian military may have no other choice but to use military force in Libya to control their borders and protect their country. President Obama’s war in Libya has created an Al Qaeda safe haven which will have dire consequences for the region and also the United States.

The United States can no longer turn a blind eye to the chaos and anarchy in Libya. Militants are killing Libyan security forces and civilians every day in Libya, and instead of the Obama Administration taking any action to clean up the mess they created, they have instead embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, the terrorists, in Libya.”

Morsi worked to change the identity of Egypt into an intolerant, theocratic state, not unlike Iran. The Egyptian people knew that in order to save their country, they had to do something and could not wait three more years for elections that had already been dominated by a political movement with no respect for democracy. With no impeachment mechanism in the Brotherhood-written constitution, they had no way to politically remove Morsi. So they started a petition calling for early elections. The petition received 22 million signatures, whereas Morsi was only elected by 13.2 million people.

Following the petition, Egyptians held the biggest political protest in history on June 30th, when 33 million people went to the streets calling for early elections. Egyptians risked their lives to go out in the street to save the future of their country, much as Ukrainians are now doing in Eastern Ukraine. In Egypt the military intervened against a theocratic dictator and in favor of Egyptians who put Egypt first.

The United States has been consistently pressuring Egypt to be “all inclusive” with members of the Brotherhood. Why should any nation strive to be inclusive of a movement that believes in destroying all opposition and diversity? The Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology is treasonous to any country where it exists. The motto of the Muslim Brotherhood is “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope”.

We need to take them at their own word, as delivered by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Mohammad Badi:

Arab and Muslim regimes betray their people unless they confront not only Israel but also the US. Waging jihad against both is mandatory for all Muslims. Otherwise, “They are disregarding Allah’s commandment to wage jihad…”

All Muslims are required by their religion to fight as their highest priority, since “the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice, and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as its enemies pursue life.”

The only solution for the Muslim Brotherhood is a complete dismantling of the organization. Period. Instead America has adopted a policy of apology and appeasement, placating the terrorists, seeing them as the victims. This is all based on the altogether false narrative that the Brotherhood is a democratic and peaceful organization.

America has been on a trajectory of alienating our allies and emboldening our enemies while at the same time weakening our military. This is a very dangerous path, and our lack of attention to the reality in the Middle East is not going to serve us well in the future.

Hillary, The NY Times Called, What Successes?

Editor’s Note – It amazes us at SUA that people across the land still consider Hillary Rodham Clinton as a viable Presidential candidate anymore. The reasons must follow that too many people are still ill-informed, have willingly suspended disbelief, have a cognitive estrangement with the truth, and/or are so deeply ideological, even her failures do not count.

In fact, even she cannot cite any successes for which she is responsible in her years as Secretary of State or as a Senator from New York. When the New York Times points these issues out, it surely is time for America to take notice, peel the scales from their eyes, and come back to reality.

Today’s abysmal results of her foreign policy efforts on behalf of her boss, Barrack Obama, are telling to say the least. When we look at the current state of Ukraine, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, China, Myanmar, Venezuela, Cuba, and many more corners of the Earth; each display daily a cause of major concern. It is not a good time to be an ally of the United States – we are no longer to be trusted; we are less than a paper tiger.U.S. Secretary of State Clinton pounds her fists while testifying on the Benghazi attacks during Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington

Failure is the only consistent thing in her resume, going all the way back to the Whitewater scandal when her husband was Attorney General and then Governor of Arkansas and into his first campaign for the Presidency, then through the Travel Office Scandal when he took office, to Benghazi and beyond. Let’s not forget her allegiance and sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood through her assistant Huma Abedin and the Clinton Global Initiative that is supported by these types.

“At this point, what difference does it make?”

Remember, she was the one who chose Christopher Stevens as Ambassador to Libya and watched idly as he and three others died horribly, as well as leaving over 30 other people at risk that day. We must point out one nefarious fact, her only success there was the jailing of a man who made a silly video.

We can cite one major accomplishment, she ranks at the top of the most traveled Secretaries of State ever – all with no positive result. If numbers of countries visited, miles traveled, or fuel burned, were what counted, at least those she is compared against at those levels had a major impact in keeping America’s reputation and influence at a continued high level, most unlike our standing today.

Hillary Clinton Struggles to Define a Legacy in Progress

By MARK LANDLER and AMY CHOZICK – New York Times

WASHINGTON — It was a simple question to someone accustomed to much tougher ones: What was her proudest achievement as secretary of state? But for a moment, Hillary Rodham Clinton, appearing recently before a friendly audience at a women’s forum in Manhattan, seemed flustered.

Mrs. Clinton played an energetic role in virtually every foreign policy issue of President Obama’s first term, advocating generally hawkish views internally while using her celebrity to try to restore America’s global standing after the hit it took during the George W. Bush administration.

But her halting answer suggests a problem that Mrs. Clinton could confront as she recounts her record in Mr. Obama’s cabinet before a possible run for president in 2016: Much of what she labored over so conscientiously is either unfinished business or has gone awry in his second term.

Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's right hand - and that hand is Muslim Brotherhood aligned
Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s right hand – and that hand is Muslim Brotherhood aligned

From Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the grinding civil war in Syria to the latest impasse in the Middle East peace process, the turbulent world has frustrated Mr. Obama, and is now defying Mrs. Clinton’s attempts to articulate a tangible diplomatic legacy.

“I really see my role as secretary, and, in fact, leadership in general in a democracy, as a relay race,” Mrs. Clinton finally said at the Women in the World meeting, promising to offer specific examples in a memoir she is writing that is scheduled to be released in June. “I mean, you run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton.”

The relay metaphor has become a recurring theme for Mrs. Clinton during this year of speculation about her future. She did her part, it suggests, but the outcome was out of her hands. And so Mrs. Clinton is striking a delicate balance when discussing a job that would be a critical credential in a presidential race.

On the one hand, she wants credit for the parts of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy that have worked, like the pressure campaign against Iran over its nuclear program, which she helped orchestrate and which has pulled Iran to the bargaining table.

On the other, she is subtly distancing herself from the things that have not worked out, like Mr. Obama’s “reset” of relations with Russia. She recently likened President Vladimir V. Putin’s annexation of Crimea to actions by Hitler in the 1930s, and posted on Twitter a photograph of herself with members of Pussy Riot, the protest group that is Mr. Putin’s nemesis.

Mrs. Clinton’s Republican opponents, losing no time in trying to define her, note that she gave Russia’s foreign minister the infamous mistranslated red plastic button to reset relations. It said “overcharge,” not “reset.” They have been tireless in raising questions about the deadly attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

While Republicans are likely to make her part of a broad critique of the Obama administration’s approach to national security, Mrs. Clinton’s hawkish views could also be a problem in ensuring the support of liberals in her own party, who are weary of foreign entanglements.

In one sense, though, the cascade of foreign crises that now bedevil Mr. Obama could play to Mrs. Clinton’s advantage. By presenting herself in her book and in any possible campaign as the toughest voice in the room during the great debates over war and peace, she could set herself apart from a president who critics charge has forsworn America’s leadership role in the world.hillary-russian-reset-button

Mrs. Clinton has scrupulously avoided publicly criticizing Mr. Obama; White House aides said he still called her for advice. And much of the administration’s foreign policy still bears her imprint, like the Iran sanctions and a more confrontational stance toward China, which she pioneered and Mr. Obama has embraced.

But in recent interviews, two dozen current and former administration officials, foreign diplomats, friends and outside analysts described Mrs. Clinton as almost always the advocate of the most aggressive actions considered by Mr. Obama’s national security team — and not just in well-documented cases, like the debate over how many additional American troops to send to Afghanistan or the NATO airstrikes in Libya.

Mrs. Clinton’s advocates — a swelling number in Washington, where people are already looking to the next administration — are quick to cite other cases in which she took more hawkish positions than the White House: arguing for funneling weapons to Syrian rebels and for leaving more troops behind in postwar Iraq, and criticizing the results of a 2011 parliamentary election in Russia.

The criticism of the Russian election led Mr. Putin to accuse her of fomenting unrest, and left some senior Obama aides unhappy. “Some at the White House thought she overstepped,” said Michael A. McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia, who supported her view.

At the same time, Mrs. Clinton’s instincts were curbed by her innate caution, her determination to show loyalty to a rival-turned-boss and her growing pains in the job. Still, dissecting her record yields tantalizing clues about what kind of foreign policy she might pursue as president. “Hillary unbound,” people who worked with her say, would be instinctively less reluctant than Mr. Obama to commit the military to foreign conflicts.

“It’s not that she’s quick to use force, but her basic instincts are governed more by the uses of hard power,” said Dennis B. Ross, a former White House aide who played a behind-the-scenes role in opening secret direct talks with Iran about its nuclear program.

Leon E. Panetta, who forged close ties to Mrs. Clinton as defense secretary and C.I.A. director, said she was a stalwart supporter of the C.I.A.’s activities in Pakistan — read, drone strikes — and an influential voice in advising Mr. Obama to order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

“The president has made some tough decisions,” Mr. Panetta said. “But it’s been a mixed record, and the concern is, the president defining what America’s role in the world is in the 21st century hasn’t happened.”

“Hopefully, he’ll do it,” Mr. Panetta said, “and certainly, she would.”

The Mideast Peace Process

Mrs. Clinton’s hawkish inclinations were well established in her bitter 2008 Democratic primary campaign against Mr. Obama, when she famously criticized as naïve his willingness to talk to America’s adversaries without preconditions. But when he persuaded her to join his “team of rivals,” she submerged her views and worked hard to establish her loyalty — all of which has added to her problems in promoting her record.

hillary_obama_glare_reutersA case in point is the Middle East peace process, in which secretaries of state from Henry A. Kissinger to John Kerry have tried to make their mark. “There’s core-course curriculum, and then there’s extra credit,” said Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff. “This is always seen as a core requirement for a secretary of state.”

Mrs. Clinton’s marching orders from the White House were to demand that Israel cease the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank as a way to lure the Palestinians into talks, and she did so with a fervor that surprised Mr. Obama’s advisers. But they had conceived the strategy, and Mrs. Clinton privately had qualms with it, which proved well founded.

“We did not make it sufficiently clear that this was not a precondition but part of an effort to create an overall atmosphere in which negotiations could succeed,” said George J. Mitchell, the former Middle East envoy who left in 2011 after failing to break the logjam.

Mr. Kerry has tried a different approach to peacemaking, with little to show for it so far. But he seems determined to keep trying, while some veterans of Middle East diplomacy say Mrs. Clinton gave up too easily. In a recent interview with Time magazine, former President Jimmy Carter said that “she took very little action to bring about peace.”

Today, when Mrs. Clinton’s aides talk about the Middle East, they barely mention the Israeli-Palestinian talks, preferring to discuss the cease-fire she brokered in November 2012 between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, where she twisted arms to avoid escalating violence.

Building Pressure on Iran

Mrs. Clinton was more successful in dealing with Iran. As with the Middle East, she was skeptical that Mr. Obama’s initial strategy — reaching out to Iran’s leaders — would work. So when he shifted to sanctions, she was eager to build pressure on what she called a “military dictatorship.”

It was a tough job against long odds, said Tom Donilon, the former national security adviser, because it meant pressing allies in Europe and Asia, huge trading partners of Iran, to agree to steps “that had a real cost.”

Mrs. Clinton delivered her stern message with a smile. In June 2010, the day before the United Nations voted on strict new sanctions against Iran, Mrs. Clinton invited China’s ambassador to Washington, Zhang Yesui, to a hotel bar in Lima, Peru, where both were at a conference.AP_hillary-yang_6Sept12

Drinking pisco sours, the potent local cocktail, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Zhang went over an annex to the Security Council resolution line by line as she tried to clinch Beijing’s agreement to withdraw investments in Iran by Chinese banks and state-owned enterprises.

The sanctions, Mrs. Clinton likes to remind audiences, crippled Iran’s oil exports and currency, setting the stage for the election of Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, as president and for Iran’s renewed interest in diplomacy.

Mr. Obama had first proposed direct talks in a letter to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in 2009. Mrs. Clinton authorized Mr. Ross, then her special adviser, to explore a back channel to the Iranians through the Arab sultanate of Oman.

In January 2011, Mrs. Clinton stopped in Oman on a tour of the Persian Gulf that was notable because she gave a speech, on the eve of the Arab Spring, warning leaders that they risked “sinking in the sand” if they did not reform their societies. Less noticed was her meeting with the sultan, in which he offered to facilitate a meeting with the Iranians.

After some exploratory meetings with a delegation from Tehran, Mrs. Clinton sent two of her top lieutenants, William J. Burns and Jake Sullivan, to Oman for more intensive negotiations. That opened the door to the nuclear talks now underway in Vienna. But what her colleagues remember most is her steadfast conviction that Iran would deal only under duress.

“She was skeptical that it would produce anything, or at least anything quickly, and in a way she was right because it took several years to get to that point,” said Mr. Burns, a deputy secretary of state.

With China, too, Mrs. Clinton set the stage for a more confrontational approach, though that was not the policy she followed at the outset. When she made her first trip as secretary of state to Beijing, she stumbled by suggesting that the United States would not offer lectures on human rights as much as it had in the past.

By 2010, however, she sounded more like the woman who had cut her teeth on the global stage in 1995 with a defiant speech on women’s rights at a United Nations conference in Beijing. Attending a summit meeting in Vietnam, she thrust the United States into a tangled dispute between China and its neighbors over the South China Sea.

The Chinese government was enraged by her meddling, but her actions set a new context for the relationship. By insisting that China adhere to international norms and by shoring up American alliances with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, Mrs. Clinton moved Washington away from the China-centric model favored by previous presidents.

“Secretary Clinton strongly pushed for a 21st-century conversation with China and resisted occasional Chinese efforts to engage in a secretive, 19th-century diplomacy,” said Kurt M. Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs.

When the State Department proposed sending 2,500 Marines to Australia to underline America’s commitment to Southeast Asia, the Pentagon, Mr. Panetta said, latched on to the idea, because “it fit the new defense strategy we were developing.”

Mrs. Clinton became the most visible and energetic exponent of the president’s “Asia rebalance” — so much so, in fact, that her aides complained to Mr. Donilon at one point that she was not getting enough credit for it. In a lingering sign of Mrs. Clinton’s influence, Mr. Obama will visit the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea next week.

Kim Beazley, Australia’s ambassador to Washington, credits her with reversing a laissez-faire approach to the Pacific Rim that dated from the Nixon administration. “She was metronome perfect,” he said.

A Different Standard

As Mrs. Clinton’s aides shape her legacy, one of their biggest frustrations has been explaining that the most publicized work of her tenure — her emphasis on the rights of women and girls — was not a safe or soft issue, but part of a broader strategy that strengthens national security. Mrs. Clinton may be the only diplomat, they say, who is criticized for being simultaneously too dovish and too hawkish.

“You can’t have it both ways,” said Thomas R. Nides, a former deputy secretary of state who is now a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley. “You can’t say that she’s about soft power, women and girls, and hospitals and ribbon cuttings, and simultaneously maintain that all she cares about is drones, missiles, going to war.”

Because of her celebrity and her potential political future, Mrs. Clinton’s advocates say, she is held to a different standard than other secretaries of state. More than ever, they say, the job is defined not by clear victories but by a dogged commitment to the process.

“We have sort of a heroic vision of diplomacy,” said James B. Steinberg, who served as deputy secretary of state. “But it’s really easy to overwrite the traditional role of leader-to-leader diplomacy.”Hillary-Clinton-2016

Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning at the State Department, said, “I think of her as being extraordinarily resourceful within a set of constraints.” She noted, for example, that Mrs. Clinton had to spend three months apologizing for the undiplomatic remarks in the secret cables disclosed by WikiLeaks.

Mrs. Clinton’s memoir will allow her to give her view of WikiLeaks, Benghazi and smaller missteps like the Russia reset button — a stunt she nevertheless liked enough that she later gave one to Mr. McDonough to smooth over friction with the White House over personnel issues.

Mrs. Clinton’s vision of 21st-century diplomacy mirrors what her allies say is a vision of a more engaged America. The question is whether that vision will be appealing to a nation that, after 12 years of war, is weary of foreign adventures. Liberal critics may have no other choice for a candidate.

“Although there will be a good number of folks in the Democratic Party who are uncomfortable with her hawkishness, they will ask themselves, ‘Where else can we go?’ ” said Paul R. Pillar, a former C.I.A. analyst who now teaches at Georgetown University and supports Mr. Obama’s more cautious view of the American role abroad.

Mr. McDonough, one of Mr. Obama’s closest foreign policy advisers, declares himself a great admirer of Mrs. Clinton. But he was on the other side of the internal debate over providing weapons to the Syrian rebels, and, like his boss, is cautious about the use of American force. However harrowing the conflict, he said, “you have to be disciplined about where you invest this country’s power.”

“We’re leaving an era where the country gave the president a lot of leeway, in terms of resources, in terms of time,” Mr. McDonough said. “It will be a long time before a president has the kind of leeway in this space that President Bush had.”

Vallely – The will of the Egyptian people should not be ignored

By Paul E. VallelyWashington Examiner

The U.S. Working Group on Egypt, a Carnegie Endowment for Peace creation, co-chaired by Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution and Michele Dunne of Carnegie, recently wrote to President Obama expressing their profound concern over Egypt.

If we choose the wrong policies toward this major ally, they write, it will only “exacerbate persistent instability in that country.”

MG Paul E. Vallely, US Army (Ret.)
MG Paul E. Vallely, US Army (Ret.)

“A failed attempt at democratic transition,” they continue, “has given way to intense polarization, frightening repression, and escalating violence” making Egypt an unreliable “security ally” and unfit “peace partner” for Israel, while threatening increased terrorism against American “targets” and “important interests.”

What planet do they live on?

The group thinks the fact that 98.1 percent of Egyptians, or 19.6 million of those who cast ballots, voted to adopt the new constitution is proof-positive the electorate was bullied into it. The same electorate that toppled three presidents of Egypt in the last three years? I don’t think so.

In fact, while conceding the interim government could have done better on the “demonstration law,” Wael Nawara, a columnist for Al-Monitor’s Egypt Pulse, recently wrote that, “The Working Group on Egypt assumes that the Egyptian government is harsh and repressive.

But does it realize that most Egyptians have often accused the interim government and its predecessors of being too soft and indecisive when standing up to those trying to drag their country to chaos and anarchy?”

MG Vallely Dr Patrick Sookhdeo General El Sisi
MG Vallely, Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, and General al Sisi meet in Cairo

Tsk-tsking Egyptian leaders, WGE presents a persnickety list of particulars required to certify the government is “taking steps to support a democratic transition,” or else we should use our leverage — i.e., cease U.S. military discount vouchers totaling less than 0.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, which are currently suspended.

Leverage? Egypt simply went to Russia to fill the vacuum in American leadership. Last week, Vladimir Putin endorsed Egyptian Field Marshall Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in his bid for president.

The two countries are nearing a $3-billion arms deal financed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Moscow’s Vedomosti reported Friday.

Quite a Valentine!

Meanwhile, back in Washington, clueless insiders fail to see the tide of Islamic fascism sweeping the Middle East and Egypt’s key role in reversing it, somehow believing if Egypt is forced to play nice, everyone, including the Muslim Brotherhood, will comply.

Truly, they have taken a page from British Prime Minster Neville Chamberlin who famously appeased Hitler with the Munich Agreement in September 1938 in the hopes of averting war, paving the way to the invasion of Poland a year later and declaration of war.

Pacifying terrorists, writes Nawara, “is like giving your arm to a shark hoping it will spare the rest of your body.”

Just as in World War II, the stakes could not be higher. Here’s the Middle East chessboard, which Nawarasuccinctly spells out.

Contrary to WGE’s assertion, Israel thinks the current Egyptian government is a reliable security partner. Meanwhile, Libya is crawling with NATO-armed extremist groups turning that country into a militia state like Afghanistan, all the while it ships arms east to their comrades to do the same in Egypt. There, the Muslim Brotherhood attempts to divide the country into warring factions a la Beirut during its civil war, building on its work to destroy the country while in power, including granting terrorists safe haven in Sinai.

Farther east, Hamas, a Brotherhood affiliate, controls some 1,200 illegal tunnels under the Palestinian-Egyptian borders for smuggling in arms, fuel and goods, the customs for which line Hamas leaders’ pockets. Next is Syria, where “the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are declaring their own Islamist emirates, Afghan-style.”

And we’re worried about crowd control in Egypt?

Retired Army Major Gen. Paul E. Vallely is chairman of Stand Up America. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions for editorials,available at this link.

ALERT – Update from Egypt, Correcting Western Media Reports

Editor’s Note – Stand Up America and our partners at The Westminster Institute have been in constant contact with their new friends in the government of Egypt under General al Sisi since their official visit last September with him and other high level state, church, and military leaders.

Today, MG Vallely received an urgent update from his high level contacts in Cairo and wants to share with our readers the Egyptian State Information Service (S.I.S.)  press release to continue to bring you the real story. Please read on:

Press Release

SIS Assures Egyptian Judiciary’s Independence and Demands All to Respect its Sentences

MG Vallely Dr Patrick Sookhdeo General El Sisi
MG Vallely and Dr Patrick Sookhdeo meet with Egyptian leader General al Sisi last September in Cairo.

In light of the assigned role to the State Information Service (S.I.S.) in presenting the correct information about all events occurring in Egypt, and its subsequent review and observation of comments published in foreign media outlets about the “Abdeen” Misdemeanor Court’s sentence to imprison “April 6th Movement” founder Ahmad Maher and activists Ahmad Douma and Mohamed Adel for 3 years and fine them 50 thousand EGP each.

S.I.S. would like to indicate that Egypt, in this transitional period, is striving to establish a democratic state where the law prevails and all citizens are equal against its rule. Therefore, the three activists’ trial was held in light of executing the law and according to legal procedures that ensure their right to defend themselves.

In this regard, S.I.S. would like to note that the law organizing the right to hold public meetings, convoys, and peaceful protests confirms in its first article the right to hold and join public meetings, convoys, and peaceful protests according to the provisions and regulations outlined in the law, which do not detract from the guarantees to freedom of speech and intellect nor do they restrict them.

In fact, the law is to organize and secure protests and assure the safety of participants as well as that of citizens at large, which is an established practice in many democratic nations where prior notification is required.

With this said, S.I.S. would like to shed light upon a number of facts as follows:

  • The above mentioned gentlemen have been previously accused by the General Prosecutor of participating in the violent incidents that occurred at the “Abdeen” Court perimeter in Downtown Cairo on November 30th where they assaulted security forces assigned with protecting the court, as well as, organizing a protest without prior notification in front of the “Shurra” Council in addition to other accusations of congregating and disrupting public transportation; all of which are in violation of law “107” of the year 2013. It is worth noting here that the “Abdeen” Misdemeanor Court’s sentence is a preliminary one and the convicted reserve the right to appeal.
  • The arrest of Mr. Mohamed Adel occurred at the “Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights” in execution of the General Prosecutor’s decree to detain him and bring him to justice.

Finally, S.I.S. would like to reiterate the Egyptian Government’s confirmation that there no longer is a room for violating the law under any pretext and that the law shall be enforced upon all without exceptions regardless of political or party affiliation. The Egyptian Government, further, reinforces that it respects and upholds rights to freedom of speech and expression, peaceful assembly, and freedom of press.

In addition, the Constitutional Declaration issued on July 8th, 2013 states in articles (7), (8), and (14) that crimes and punishments are only in accordance with the law and that punishments are only implemented by a court sentence. The Egyptian Government, further, confirms that in light of the checks-and-balances system, the prevalence of law is the foundation of ruling and that the Egyptian Judiciary system and its judges are independent.