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Elizabeth Warren uses Benghazi to fundraise. Claims ‘shameful’ GOP trying to make Obama, Kerry look bad


By Aaron Klein

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a possible presidential contender, used her criticism of the formation of a select committee on Benghazi to fundraise among supporters.

In an e-mail sent out yesterday and cross posted on her campaign website, Warren called House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to form the Benghazi committee “shameful,” a Republican distraction and “no-holds-barred political theatre.”

Alongside a “donate” button on her website, Warren claimed the House GOP “is on a waste-of-time-and-resources witch hunt and fundraising sideshow, shamefully grasping for any straw to make President Obama, former Secretary Clinton, or Secretary Kerry look bad.”

She continued: “House Republicans are doing whatever they can to distract the American people from what’s really going on in Washington – a rigged system that works great for those who have armies of lobbyists and lawyers but that leaves everyone else behind… It’s wrong, and it’s shameful.”

As evidence of Republican obstructionism, she cited an article from the liberal Huffington Post website that claimed Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who is to lead the select committee on Benghazi, ran a previous investigation that lacked basic facts.

Gowdy previously held hearings over Warren’s setting up a the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new agency purportedly charged with protecting consumers from financial fraud.


With research by Brenda J. Elliott.

Russia braces for victory in Syria.

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By Aaron Klein

TEL AVIV — Strengthening Russia’s presence in the region, Arab countries here widely expect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to win the rebel-led insurgency that has been targeting his regime for the last three years.

The anticipated victory will further solidify the position of the large Russian Navy fleet docked at Syria’s Tartus port.  That position is more strategic after Russia this past week seized the Ukrainian naval headquarters located in Sevastopol, where Moscow stationed its Black Sea Fleet.

Control of both the Tartus and Sevastopol ports provides Russia with open access to the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and beyond for both military and energy needs.

Russia and Iran have been the biggest state backers of Assad, while the U.S. and moderate Arab countries worked to aid the rebels fighting to topple the Syrian president.

Ahead of the Arab summit in Kuwait this week, Sunni Arab countries are operating under the working assumption that Assad’s regime is no longer in danger and that the Syrian president will be able to quell the rebellion, Egyptian security officials told KleinOnline.

In a major blow to the rebels, the security officials said Qatar has made a dramatic about face and is now ready to help Assad with finances to reconstruct Syria.  Qatar previously worked with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to arm and aid the Syrian rebels.

According to reports, Assad already rid Damascus of rebels and has retaken scores of rebel strongholds.  His victories were aided by instances of infighting within the rebel ranks, including the open rebellion of several rebel factions allied with al-Qaida.

The Egyptian security officials said Assad still faces pockets of resistance, particularly in the city of Daraa near the Jordanian border and in the north toward the Syrian border with Turkey. These locations contain important supply roads for arms transports to the rebels.

Another rebel stronghold is located near the Syrian border with Israel, the scene of clashes in recent days.



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'Obama reps discussed replacing Netanyahu if peace talks fail.' ID'd ‘moderate’ leader to push for Palestinian state


by Aaron Klein

TEL AVIV — In recent weeks, representatives for the Obama administration have held meetings with a senior politician here in which the U.S. delegates brought up the possibility of replacing Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, according to an informed Jerusalem diplomatic source.

The meetings were held with Israel’s popular finance minister, Yair Lapid, founder and leader of the Yesh Atid Party, which became the second largest party in the Knesset winning 19 seats in the last election.

The diplomatic source said the Obama administration identified Lapid as a moderate who could be helpful in pushing the Israeli government into accepting the framework to create a future Palestinian state.

According to the source, the talks included the possibility of Lapid bolting Netanyahu’s coalition government if the prime minister rejects the U.S.-brokered regional talks.

Lapid, however, is unlikely to abandon his government post over talks the Palestinians themselves have been less than enthusiastic about.

Such a move could be politically dangerous for Lapid, with polls ere showing a significant segment of the Israeli public has grown weary of the bid to create a Palestinian state amid regional turmoil, including the Syrian civil war, recent changes of leadership in Egypt and fears over Iran’s nuclear program.

Further, Lapid is a relative newcomer to Israeli politics. He will want more time to use his finance minister post to launch initiatives that could bolster a future run for prime minister.

If Lapid and his 19 Knesset seats did abandon Netanyahu’s government, the move could put the prime minister’s coalition in crisis, especially if other parties were to follow suit.  Netanyahu must maintain a plurality of the Knesset’s 120 Knesset seats in his governing coalition or he would have to face early elections.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennet, leader of the nationalist My Home party, has made a career out of openly challenging Netanyahu on numerous fronts. Bennet is part of the coalition with his party’s 12 seats. He has not been shy about his own future prime ministerial aspirations.

Last month, KleinOnline reported the Palestinian Authority received a pledge from the U.S. that by the end of 2014, the Obama administration will issue an official written declaration presenting general highlights of a future Palestinian state, according to a senior Palestinian negotiator.

The negotiator further said the goal is to have the general framework for a deal ironed out by April.

The framework for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement being brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry calls for the phased implementation of more Palestinian sovereignty within three to five years, the negotiator said at the time.

As part of the written declaration, the U.S. is set to officially recognize Palestinian rights in eastern sections of Jerusalem, without defining the exact territories that would be eventually handed to the PA.

The U.S. will declare on paper that the Jordan Valley territory is “occupied” by Israel and that Palestinians have rights there, the negotiator said.

Kerry is currently discussing a proposal in which Israel would lease some of the Jordan Valley from the PA so some Israeli communities in the area can stay, said the negotiator.

The written framework will also declare the West Bank “occupied,” according to the negotiator.


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