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tiny bits of politics & culture.


Filed in: america army defence middle east iran geopolitics israel

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"time" reports number of american troops in mid-october exercise with israel to be cut by two-thirds, and reducing both the number and potency of missile interception systems at the core of the joint exercise.
the exercise, “austere challenge 12”, will be the latest in a series of periodic joint maneuvers focusing mainly on missile defense, combining simulated missile fire with training for the command posts.
the current round will feature various intercept systems, iron dome, arrow II, patriot and aegis, along with the american X-band radar that is permanently stationed in the negev.
according to the report in “time”, however, the crews operating the patriot missiles will not arrive in israel as planned, and instead of the two aegis ballistic missile defense warships scheduled to arrive, only one might possible be dispatched.

this decision comes after the reinforced washington’s opposition to unilateral israel military action: general martin dempsey, US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said that an israeli attack on iran would delay but not stop its nuclear program.
"i don’t want to be complicit if they choose to do it," dempsey said.


Filed in: GOP america conservatives democrats economy lobbying media politics super-PACs

a couple months behind schedule thanks to the prolonged primary, republican super-PAC “american crossroads" is planning to release the hounds on barack obama. with santorum and gingrich out of the way, "american crossroads", anticipating about $200 million in funds, is set to to kick off a campaign to achieve its singular goal: unseating obama. according to a “new york times” report, the super-PAC founded with the advice of strategists karl rove and ed gillespie has for the past several months been studying the electorate.
"american crossroads"’ steven law said that the goal of the advertising onslaught, which will be waged in likely battleground states, will aim to "better connect americans’ disappointment with the economy to their views of the president, especially among crucial swing voters".
also the koch brothers’ “americans for prosperity" is all staffed up and is sharpening their arrows, ready to ally with whomever the nominee is and his respective super-PAC.
with an overall television advertising spending expected to reach $3 billion in 2012, americans voters better get ready for months of negative campaigning and tsunamis of slime.


Filed in: america conservatives politics media internet religion

"the conservative teen", is an (apparently real) magazine for youngsters that will foster conservative values and counter liberal bias, written by a roster of hard-core conservatives, including a number of folks employed by the "heritage foundation".
here you can browse through the first number, admire the prose and have a few laughs.
"the conservative teen" magazine went viral, thanks to "buzzfeed", then unfortunately vanished as abruptly as it arrived.
the website is gone, the publisher won’t talk, subscribers have received notices that their subscriptions are no more and the man who registered the website can’t be found.
right-wingers-in-training and mocking liberals are both sad for the loss.


Filed in: israel iran geopolitics middle east war

the debate in jerusalem about attacking iran makes clear that israel does not trust its unofficial “bomb in the basement” to do what nuclear weapons are best at doing: deterring their use by others. it seems that israel derives no concrete benefits from its nuclear capability.
"foreign affairs" has an interesting piece on the subject: the case for a new nuclear strategy.


Filed in: israel politics likud kadima avoda

con la recente sconfitta di tzipi livni nelle primarie (vinte con il 62% dall’ex ministro della difesa, shaul mofaz) per la guida di kadima, tramonta anche un progetto che sette anni fa destabilizzò e sconvolse la politica israeliana.
la sconfitta di livni è la sconfitta della linea originaria di kadima: mentre l’ex ministro degli esteri è contraria a scendere a patti con la destra religiosa, ostacolo insormontabile per l’elaborazione di un nuovo piano di pace, mofaz è invece ben disposto ad allacciare legami con l’area politica religiosa ebraica.
è una guerra tutta tra le varie anime della destra, quella in vista delle elezioni del 2013; l’obiettivo, per mofaz, è “sconfiggere netanyahu” e “diventare il prossimo premier”, anche se i sondaggi prevedono oggi una perdita consistente di seggi per kadima, così come per l’ormai inconsistente centro-sinistra laico.


Filed in: america GOP politics media

last week fox news asked self-identified republicans to narrow their nominee choice between mitt romney and rick santorum. among those who selected santorum (44%), 18% said that they would rather lose the general election in november with rick santorum as the nominee that win with mitt romney. the question was not asked of romney supporters.
no surprise then about rick santorum’s latest remark: “republicans might as well vote for obama if romney wins”.


Filed in: france lobbying germany qatar saudi arabia egypt middle east geopolitics defence america industry army

after the arab spring, western powers are rushing to rearm middle east countries.
the french defense minister, gerard longuet, flew friday to saudi arabia and qatar: on the agenda, major contracts worth billions of euros for rafale (doha), air defense (riyadh and doha) and modernization of warships (riyadh).
in qatar france have signed a defence agreement and will probably close a deal to replace 12 old mirage 2000-5 with between 24 and 36 rafale; the missile systems provider MBDA is also on track to deliver at a qatar-based air defense of aster 30 block 1 (valued at over one billion euros).
the ambitions of france are much more modest in saudi arabia: in recent times the french intermediaries have proven ineffective and other western countries have won big commissions.
britain with the typhoon, the US, who managed to sell 154 fighter jets F-15 in 2011 and germany (border surveillance) were able, themselves, to make great deals in riyadh.
saudi arabia is also preparing to finalize the purchase of 84 additional F-15 for a whopping $ 11.4 billion. the US will also provide the saudi navy of very large frigates to complement its extended air defense (anti-missiles) for $ 29 billion. finally, berlin is also close to selling 200 tanks leopard 2A7s.
today hillary clinton has also announced the resumption of US military aid to an annual 1.3 billion dollars for egypt.


Filed in: GOP lobbying politics america

this snappy-looking infographic from CQ press’ first street research group highlights findings from their new report (PDF) on mitt romney’s deep k street connections. as this chart shows, romney has received campaign donations from nearly 11 times more lobbyists than all other GOP candidates combined.


Filed in: africa china african union algeria ethiopia geopolitics politics infrastructures commerce

over the past decade, trade between the african continent and china has surged by six times to $120 billion, according to reports. china desperately needs africa’s undeveloped natural resources and is committed to spending hundreds of billions of dollars on constructing and upgrading infrastructure.
the chinese government has been leading a construction boom across africa,  setting up huge dams and infrastructure projects, soccer stadiums, and even the world’s third largest mosque in algeria.
thanks to chinese funds and labour, the african union recently inaugurated its new headquarters in addis ababa, ethiopia, a $200 million, 100-meter high structure.
the new complex was opened with great fanfare and symbolism in front of many african heads-of-state as well as one of china’s senior political figures, jia qinglin.


Filed in: america media journalism news social networking

the ninth edition of the "state of the news media" produced by the pew research center’s project for excellence in journalism is available online. among the features of this year’s report on the status of american journalism, are a survey that examines how people get news on different devices and another that looks in detail at news and social networking.