White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts /File Photo

Sunday Reads: Bannon is ‘going nuclear’, Watching Charlottesville from Jerusalem


U.S.

Rosie Gray reports that sources close to Steve Bannon believe “he’s going nuclear”:

“Steve is now unchained,” said a source close to Bannon. “Fully unchained.”

“He’s going nuclear,” said another friend. “You have no idea. This is gonna be really fucking bad.”

And Bannon himself uses similar language to describe his future plans in an interview with The Weekly Standard’s Peter Boyer:

“I feel jacked up,” he says. “Now I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, ‘it’s Bannon the Barbarian.’ I am definitely going to crush the opposition. There’s no doubt. I built a f***ing machine at Breitbart. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.”

Bannon tells The Weekly Standard that he can be more effective without the constraints of the White House. “I can fight better on the outside. I can’t fight too many Democrats on the inside like I can on the outside.”

Israel

Daniel Gordis shares his impressions of Charlottesville from Jerusalem:

The tiny, embattled country our family now calls home has raised a generation of young people to understand that ultimately, the only people who can be fully trusted to safeguard the safety of the Jews are the Jews. For having afforded our children a chance to grow up with no sense of the vulnerability that we knew growing up in America, we owe Israel and its founders a profound debt of gratitude. It is a debt that I don’t believe we fully appreciated until Charlottesville and its disgraceful aftermath.

Shimon Shiffer discusses the Netanyahu couple’s ongoing legal trouble:

Fortunately for Prime Minister and Mrs. Netanyahu, the law in Israel does not permit the publication of the disputes discussed in family court. As such, one can only hint that if the public were to be exposed to the court discussions between Sara Netanyahu and her brother Hagai Ben Artzi, it would add new meaning to the concept of shame. The odor that wafts up from the conduct of the Netanyahus with their own family members was, at the very least, supposed to obligate them to behave more modestly. So it is not all about a cup of tea, food deliveries, or the persecution of the Netanyahu family, but about their behavior, whose repercussions will, as it stands today, be decided by the court.

Middle East

Nicholas Danforth believes that Turkish Democracy is dead but that things can get even worse:

But it would be a mistake to assume that Turkey’s fate will now be a stifling but stable form of civilian authoritarianism. The fragmentation of institutions such as the military, coupled with the erosion of Erdogan’s democratic legitimacy and the ongoing assault on Turkey’s veneer of parliamentary democracy, have left the country unprepared for the shocks it is likely to face in the year ahead. If the situation in the country spirals out of control, the result could easily be violence and chaos rather than a resurgence of democracy.

Shlomi Eldar writes about how Hamas, Egypt and Israel have been cooperating in the fight against ISIS:

The situation is clear to both sides: To the extent that Hamas proves that it is indeed acting against the groups threatening Egypt’s security, Gaza will enjoy the “fruits of its war against terror.” At the same Cairo meeting, the sides also agreed to establish a joint headquarters for Egyptian intelligence and Hamas’ security apparatus to cooperate in real time.

Meanwhile, Sinwar committed in his meetings with Dahlan to arrest wanted men living in Gaza based on lists supplied by the Egyptians. It can be assumed that some of the names on the list, associated with Salafi groups in Gaza, originate in Israel, which knows that the information will be passed on to Hamas. Thus, there is apparently indirect intelligence cooperation between Israel, Egypt and Hamas in the war against the common enemy — IS. Given the attack at the Rafah border crossing, it seems Hamas might now welcome indirect cooperation with the “Zionist enemy.”

Jewish World

Ron Kampeas assesses Steve Bannon’s record with the Jews:

Watercooler chat plus: Bannon brought into the White House a host of staffers, among them Jewish Breitbart alumni like Julia Hahn, who is a special assistant. He reportedly is close to Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was the National Security Council staffer responsible for coordination with the intelligence community. McMaster removed Cohen-Watnick from the NSC, reportedly in part because his views on Iran were too hawkish.

Watercooler chat minus: Bannon clashed with Jared Kushner, Trump’s Jewish son-in-law and a senior adviser, reportedly calling him a “globalist” — seen in some quarters (see above) as coded language for Jews. Ditto Trump’s senior economic adviser, Gary Cohn. Breitbart, still believed to be influenced by Bannon, has recently taken to surrounding Cohn’s name with globes in its headlines.

Bret Stephens takes a look at Trump’s remaining Jewish supporters, who have a lot of thinking to do:

The president’s Jewish supporters are left to wonder why the Iran deal remains in force, the United States Embassy is still in Tel Aviv, Bashar al-Assad is stronger than ever, the Israeli government is outraged by the deals the administration has cut with Russia at Israel’s strategic expense, and Jared Kushner has not proved a worthy strategic heir to Henry Kissinger. What’s the mystery? A man whose word is worthless when it comes to his legal contracts will have no compunction breaking his political promises, no matter whom his daughter married.

 

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