Canadian PM Harper arrives in Jordan, meets with King Abdullah II. Smart move. Here’s why.

Stephen Harper shakes hands with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Royal Palace in Amman on January 23 , 2014 prior to their meeting. (Photo credit: AFP)

Stephen Harper shakes hands with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Royal Palace in Amman on January 23 , 2014 prior to their meeting. (Photo credit: AFP)

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his first state visit to Jordan today, meeting with King Abdullah II, and announcing new humanitarian relief support for Canada’s most important Arab ally. Harper and his wife, Laureen, and part of their Canadian delegation have just completed a four-day visit to Israel. They will spend Thursday and Friday in Jordan.

It’s a smart move. Here’s why.

Canada’s evangelical Christian Prime Minister has developed very warm and close ties to the Israelis. Indeed, as I have noted often, Harper is the most pro-Israel leader on the planet.

That’s good, but it not enough. Now it’s vital that he forge deep ties with Jordan’s monarch.

Abdullah is the most moderate, peaceful and strategically-savvy Reformer/leader in the Arab world. He is building upon the extraordinary legacy of his father, the late-King Hussein, who battled Radicals, worked closely with Britain and the U.S., and forged a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. But Abdullah faces enormously serious challenges — a small territory, no oil, few other natural resources, a highly-educated population but not enough economic growth, extremist groups that want to topple his regime, and fellow Arab leaders who don’t all appreciate his moderate, pro-Western approach, especially with regards to peace with the Jewish “cousins” next door.

The fact is: King Abdullah and his nation need all the sincere, smart, principled friends and allies they can get. Harper and his nation are ideally suited to be such friends, and build a long-term relationship that can benefit both countries.

  • Canada has oil and natural gas that could be a blessing to Jordan.
  • Canada has high-tech businesses that can invest and expand into the Jordanian economy, creating jobs.
  • Canadians should be encouraged to take tours both to Israel and to Jordan.
  • Canadians are moderate, peaceful people who want to help build a stable, secure Middle East.

So Harper was right to plan two-days in Jordan on this trip to the epicenter. He sees the opportunity, and my early sense is that he is moving wisely.

“Harper began [the visit] with a roundtable discussion that included a variety of business officials,” reported The Canadian Press. “Harper, who was accompanied by International Trade Minister Ed Fast, made brief remarks about the importance of the Canadian-Jordanian relationship. Others at the roundtable included Nayef Stetieh, the president of the Jordanian-Canadian Business Association and Royal Jordanian Airlines chairman H.E. Nasser Lozi. Harper then had lunch with the king in an ornate room at the royal palace overlooking Amman….atri refugee camp, which is home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled their country.”

“Canada is providing $ 100-million to Jordan to help it deal with the influx of refugees from Syria — with much of the money going towards propping up the country’s overloaded child education system,” reports the National Post. “The announcement was made Thursday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper after a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II.”

“Jordan continues to show compassion and generosity by receiving Syrian refugees fleeing the crisis in their country,” Harper said in a prepared statement. “Our government is committed to helping them address the challenges posed by the Syrian conflict. The support announced today will help ensure that all children in Jordan, whether local or refugees, have access to a proper education.”

“Since the civil war began in Syria, about 576,000 refugees have fled to Jordan and now comprise about nine per cent of the country’s total population. This has put a tremendous strain on Jordan’s financial resources,” the Post noted. “Some of those refugees have ended up in massive tent camps while many others have ended up in Jordanian cities.”…..

The Post also reported that:

  • The new funds promised Thursday are in addition to previously announced Canadian commitments for Jordan which include:
  • $ 110-million to support development projects to ease the impact in Jordan of the refugee crisis, in areas such as health.
  • 41.6-million for Jordan to mitigate the threat posed by Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.
  • $ 26.4-million for humanitarian assistance projects in Jordan, with the funds being delivered through bodies such as the United Nations, and the Red Cross movement. The money is spent in areas such as emergency shelter, food, nutrition, clean water and sanitation.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

The Iran Smart Power Reset Wrapup

Ambassador John Bolton calls it an “Abject Surrender by the United States“:

This interim agreement is badly skewed from America’s perspective. Iran retains its full capacity to enrich uranium, thus abandoning a decade of Western insistence and Security Council resolutions that Iran stop all uranium-enrichment activities. Allowing Iran to continue enriching, and despite modest (indeed, utterly inadequate) measures to prevent it from increasing its enriched-uranium stockpiles and its overall nuclear infrastructure, lays the predicate for Iran fully enjoying its “right” to enrichment in any “final” agreement…

…Indeed, the interim agreement itself acknowledges that a “comprehensive solution” will “involve a mutually defined enrichment program.” This is not, as the Obama administration leaked before the deal became public, a “compromise” on Iran’s claimed “right” to enrichment. This is abject surrender by the United States.

A nuclear Iran would also be essentially invulnerable, providing a refuge that al Qaeda leaders hiding in Afghan and Pakistani caves could only dream of

So in truth, an Israeli military strike is the only way to avoid Tehran’s otherwise inevitable march to nuclear weapons, and the proliferation that will surely follow. Making the case for Israel’s exercise of its legitimate right of self-defense has therefore never been more politically important…

Iran Supreme Leader Khamenei welcomes nuclear deal:

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday the deal reached with world powers in Geneva was the basis for further progress, and the prayers of the Iranian nation had contributed towards its success.

“This can be the basis for further intelligent actions. Without a doubt the grace of God and the prayers of the Iranian nation were a factor in this success,” Khamenei wrote in a letter to President Hassan Rouhani published by the IRNA state news agency.

Israeli Leader Calls Iran Deal ‘Historic Mistake’:

Israel’s prime minister harshly condemned the international community’s nuclear deal with Iran on Sunday, calling it a “historic mistake” and saying he was not bound by the agreement.

Speaking to his Cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the world had become a “more dangerous place” as a result of the deal and reiterated a long-standing threat to use military action against Iran if needed, declaring that Israel “has the right and the duty to defend itself by itself.”

A Foreign-Policy Disaster:

…the American goal for the accord was that the Iranians not “advance their program” of building a uranium nuclear bomb (and perhaps a plutonium bomb too); the apparent deal exactly permits such advancement, plus sanctions relief to Tehran worth about $ 9 billion.

This wretched deal offers one of those rare occasions when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid. An overeager Western government, blind to the evil cunning of the regime it so much wants to work with, appeases it with concessions that will come back to haunt it. Geneva and Nov. 24 will be remembered along with Munich and Sep. 29.

Obama calls Netanyahu after Israeli leader slams Iran nuke deal:

Israel believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, and in the weeks leading up to Sunday’s agreement, Netanyahu had warned the emerging deal was insufficient.

He had called for increased pressure on Iran, and warned that any relief from economic sanctions would make Iran less willing to compromise during a coming, six-month period aimed at reaching a final agreement.

Netanyahu told his Cabinet that Sunday’s deal gave Iran much-needed relief from the sanctions, but left most of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure intact. In particular, he cited Iran’s continued ability to enrich uranium, a key step in making a nuclear bomb.

Israeli Leaders Denounce Geneva Accord:

Israeli leaders denounced the agreement reached Sunday in Geneva, saying they were not bound by it and reiterating the principle that Israel would be ready to defend itself without assistance against any threat.

…Mr. Netanyahu excoriated the world’s leading powers for agreeing to Iranian uranium enrichment for the first time and for relenting on sanctions “in exchange for cosmetic Iranian concessions that can be canceled in weeks.”

…Israeli outrage may have been fueled by the government’s sense of not having been kept fully in the loop by the Obama administration [and questions remain whether Israel] had been informed about the secret American-Iranian talks held over the past few months in Oman, as reported by The Associated Press early Sunday…

Israeli leaders slam deal on Iran nuclear program:

Israeli leaders slammed the deal reached in Geneva under which Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent and dilute all existing stockpiles already enriched to 20 percent, in exchange for $ 7 billion in sanctions relief… “For the first time, the world’s leading powers have agreed to uranium enrichment in Iran while ignoring the UN Security Council decisions that they themselves led,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday…

Israel Leaders Overtly Angry with Iran Deal:

“This is a bad deal. It grants Iran exactly what it wanted – both a significant easing in sanctions and preservation of the most significant parts of its nuclear program,” an official in Netanyahu’s office said…

“You stand and shout out until you’re blue in the face, and you try to understand why they’re not listening. The world wanted an agreement,” Finance Minister Yair Lapid, a member of Netanyahu’s security cabinet, told Israel’s Army Radio…

Economic Minister Naftali Bennett, another security cabinet member, told Army Radio in a separate interview: “Israel does not see itself as bound by this bad, this very bad agreement that has been signed.”

Knesset member Eli Yishai said “The world’s countries only saw the economic interests of the deal, and not their obligation to the security of Israel.” He stressed that Israel “has to no one to trust besides God and ourselves”.

This deal is historic, alright, but in a way we’re certain to regret.

Hat tip: BadBlue Real-Time News

Doug Ross @ Journal

SMART POWER: China Openly Publishes Map of American Cities as Nuclear Targets While Russia Boldly Tests ICBMs

Guest post by Investor’s Business Daily

Global Power: Moscow launches four ICBMs in a large-scale nuclear drill as Chinese state media, brandishing detailed maps, show how Beijing’s nuclear submarines can attack U.S. cities. We press “reset,” they press “launch.”

In March 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red “reset button” to symbolize improved ties. The era of confrontation when American presidents demanded the tearing down of walls was over. From now on, we would make nice.

Fast-forward to 2012, when President Obama met with Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s then-president and now prime minister, at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea.

That was when Obama assured Medvedev he’d have more leeway after his re-election to weaken missile defense. This would help him achieve his dream of U.S. disarmament and bring about, as he expressed in Prague in 2009, “a world without nuclear weapons.”

Apparently the Russians and the Chinese do not share that dream. On Wednesday, Russian strategic forces carried out a large-scale surprise military drill that included the test launch of two land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and two submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

So while Russia expands and tests its offensive and defensive missile capabilities, President Obama lets our missile capabilities wither and caves to Russian demands to halt previously planned expansion.

To placate Moscow, Obama has already betrayed our allies in Poland and the Czech Republic by abandoning plans to deploy ground-based interceptors and missile defense in those countries.

Our Chinese friends have also noticed that the famous “reset” button has been replaced with one marked “easy.” China’s military carried out on July 24 a third test of a long-range DF-31A road-mobile ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S. with nuclear warheads.

According to a recently published report by the Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center, “China has the most active and diverse ballistic missile development program in the world.”

Last Monday, Chinese state-run media — including China Central TV, the People’s Daily, the Global Times, the PLA Daily, the China Youth Daily and the Guangmin Daily — ran identical, top-headlined reports boasting of the “awesomeness” of the People’s Liberation Army navy’s strategic submarine force.

It is indeed formidable. China’s sub fleet is reportedly the world’s second-largest, with about 70 vessels. About 10 are nuclear-powered, and four or more of those are nuclear ballistic submarines.

In 2010, the Type 094 Jin class entered the service. It is capable of launching 12 to 16 JL-2 missiles with a range of about 8,700 miles, covering much of the continental U.S. with single or multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle warheads.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily. Image via Modern Survival Blog.

Doug Ross @ Journal