- - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Despite his deteriorating economy, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is taking an increasingly aggressive tone of support for the Assad regime in Syria. He has tried to keep the Damascus corpse alive but can show little evidence of success against his opponents, some of whom have ties to international Islamic terrorism.

Israel’s security on its northern border is deteriorating, too, as Hezbollah, with a long record of terrorism against the United States, becomes increasingly embroiled as an Iranian ally in Syria. Hezbollah’s operations beyond the Middle East, in Latin America in league with guerrillas and drug traffickers, are a growing challenge to American influence and stability there.

An explosion of apparent lone-wolf terrorism against Israeli civilian and military targets has assumed new significance with attacks on Israeli security officers, many of them trained by the United States. Stabbings by teenagers schooled by Palestinians trained in institutions supported by the United Nations, are a result of the collapse of secular Palestinian leadership. The Muslim terrorists of Hamas, rearmed by Iran, are infiltrating the West Bank from Gaza.

Saudi Arabia is a sometime reliable ally of the United States but it seems persuaded that Barack Obama has abandoned the kingdom in the pursuit of love in Iran. The Islamic State, or ISIS or ISIL, continues to recruit young Muslims, even in the West and in the United States. Those who remain in their homelands threaten to extend to the West the daily massacres in the Middle East. Despite effective FBI surveillance and break-up of terrorist plots, not necessarily disclosed to the public, new massacres like those in Fort Hood, Texas, and San Bernardino, California, are a constant and growing threat.

President Obama, who visited a radical mosque Wednesday to make his first official visit to a mosque, makes only incremental gestures of concern by dispatching small special forces teams to Middle Eastern conflicts. Secretary of State John Kerry continues his frenzied diplomacy, racking up frequent-flier miles, trying to recruit a respectable number of guests for a Syrian peace conference. Few expect much to come of it with the United States and Russia in hot pursuit of conflicting goals.

No other Republican candidates are lining up to join Jeb Bush’s all-out military effort to destroy the Islamic State, though they share his belief that the Islamic State is a threat to the United States and must be destroyed. The continued violation of Turkish sovereignty by Russian fighter-bombers pose a growing problem for NATO and the United States. Mr. Obama moves closer to the pro-Palestinian policies of the Europeans. France, for example, threatens to recognize a Palestinian state if bilateral negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians fail, as they surely will since the Palestinians show no desire to straighten up and fly right to a place among peaceful nations.

The latest sign of the Obama administration moving away from Israel is its adoption of the Europeans’ designation, and implied boycott, of Israeli goods made in Jewish settlements on the West Bank, which incidentally employ thousands of Palestinian Arabs. Indeed, the Palestine cause has united old European anti-Semites with the traditional left to work for the creation of a Palestinian state that would be a direct threat to Israel, and the interests of the United States.

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