World

That would make one less “special envoy” in the president’s service, which couldn’t be bad. According to Jack Khoury in Ha’aretz, the information came from “an Arab political source,” unidentified but published in Hadith a-Nass, a Nazareth-based daily (responsible, I’m told). Mitchell’s reason for wanting to quit are said to be two. One is that he believes “that certain elements within the State Department hold biased favor toward Israel.” Historically, this would be a brand-new departure in attitude for a bureaucracy that has always been more than a bit churlish towards the Jewish state.

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The local police have a pretty comprehensive surveillance capability. So don’t think that, if you’re crazy enough to retire to this economically troubled mini-state--still with large and now cheap villas (and even cheaper Asian labor)--you will have real privacy of any sort. Privacy in Dubai is reserved for Hamas and the vast network of Iranian arms traders, money launderers, and more ordinary gangsters. When the Dubai cops really want to, they can find out what they want—as you’ve seen with the otherwise highly successful Mossad operation.

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On the evening of February 17, BBC Radio 4 interviewed author Gordon Thomas, who estimated that half a million (and as many as a million) Jews work for the Mossad--or at least are on call. This is a rather remarkable work force, what with the cunning of the Jews and their mental agility.

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Yes, The Mossad Did It.

The Mossad did it. And, as Carly Simon sang about James Bond, “nobody does it better.” This is not my line. But I wish I'd thought of it. Actually, like my friend who did, I believe that the Mossad is very pleased that every bloody Palestinian terrorist will now worry whether he will wake up from his nightly sleep or instead meet the virgins in the morning. Keep up with TNR on Facebook and Twitter.

It is so simple. And elegant. What’s more, it is also true. Why are so many liberal Democrats reluctant to concede that there is an intricate international network of ideological gangsters who recognize each other as ikhwan? These brothers do not define themselves by nation. They define themselves by religion, although there are many hundreds of millions of Muslims who are defined out--and define themselves out--of the bloody fraternity of the faithful. Sometimes, they too are stigmatized as enemies, which means they are also targets.

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The news is reported by the Associated Press. It was announced by the Syrian state-run news agency. And confirmed by “Palestinian officials.” A’jad will meet with Bashar Assad, the object of President Obama’s courtship. The man whom Hillary last week basically called the military dictator of Iran will also confer with top guns from Hezbollah and Hamas. I’m sure that their topic will be the road to peace. Keep up with TNR on Facebook and Twitter.

Continuing my last Spine… The A.P. reports in Sunday’s New York Times that the Obama administration has lifted the travel advisory that warns American not to visit Syria. It’s not too much of a sanction on Damascus, and there is no punishment for American tourists and businessmen who want to see the glories of Damascus, such as they are.

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Really, I don’t care if there is an American ambassador in Damascus. It’s true, given the environment, that he might be shot by terrorists. But, otherwise, why not? We had U.S. diplomats in Tokyo, Berlin and Rome until just after Pearl Harbor. Of course, they did no good. But probably, they also did no harm—except prolonging the illusion that America was at peace with the host countries.  Why doesn't the administration just say that we are returning to our embassy in Syria because Syria is a player in the Middle East?

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Well, actually it's the governments of Israel and Palestine that are equal in this way. And it's in the propensity of high public officials to engage in sexual aggression against women. In fact, Israel wins the prize on this count. Former president Moshe Katzav resigned from office in order to ward off (unsuccessfully, it appears) an eight-count indictment on serious charges. The trial is now in process.

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The real dateline to the story is Pune, the eighth largest city in India, with over three million people. It is a university center so densely academic that Cambridge, MA may seem quotidian in comparison. In any case, an explosive went off in a bag left in a bakery frequented by foreign tourists. Eight people are dead, and another 32 are wounded (several in critical condition).

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