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Mon, 11 Mar 2013 - 12:01 AM
Wed, 13 Feb 2013 - 2:00 PM
Israel: Daily Alert
(Atlantic) Jeffrey Goldberg - Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, says his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem late last month did, in fact, devolve into a sharp confrontation with the American ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro.
Rogers explained: “Here’s the problem….I support the sanctions. But if you’re going to have a hammer you have to have an anvil. You have to have at least a credible threat of a military option. So it’s having an effect, yes, it’s having an effect on the Iranian economy. It is not impacting their race on enrichment and other things, and that’s very, very clear.” He went on, “I think the Israeli position is, ‘Hey, listen, you’ve got to tell us – I mean, if you want us to wait’ – and that’s what this Administration’s been saying, you’ve gotta wait, you’ve gotta wait, you’ve gotta wait – got that – ‘but then you’ve gotta tell us when is the red line so we can make our own decisions about should we or shouldn’t we stop this particular program.”
“Right now the Israelis don’t believe that the Administration is serious when they say that all options are on the table, and more importantly, neither do the Iranians. That’s why the program is progressing.”
Tagged: iran, options, U.S.
Nuclear Weapons from Saddam to Iran: The Surprising Lessons for Israel from Captured Iraqi Documents
(Dore Gold - Israel Hayom)
- As a result of the 2003 Iraq War, the U.S. Army captured thousands of hours of recordings of highly-classified meetings of the Iraqi leadership on the subject of how they viewed the purpose of nuclear weapons in the future as well as how they envisioned their use in the context of a war against Israel.
- So how did Saddam Hussein view the utility of nuclear weapons in a future conflict with Israel? Contrary to the theories of many experts on international relations in the U.S., who claim that states seek to acquire nuclear weapons for defensive purposes alone in order to enhance deterrence against their neighbors, the Iraqi documents indicate that Saddam Hussein’s regime clearly had offensive goals in mind.
- Saddam’s strategic thinking was surprising, for he explained that Iraqi nuclear weapons would neutralize what many believed was Israel’s nuclear capacity, thereby allowing Iraq to wage conventional war against Israel.
- What Saddam’s strategy illustrates is that the military use of nuclear weapons on the part of an adversary of Israel is very different from the role nuclear weapons played during the Cold War, despite the efforts of some analysts to apply the Soviet-American experience to the current Iranian threat.
- Much has changed since the time of these Iraqi documents and the threats Israel might face are evolving. But it would be a mistake to imagine that they have disappeared completely, and much will depend upon the question of whether Iraq becomes a truly independent state or ends up being an Iranian satellite that serves as a springboard for its forces in the future.
- Saddam’s thinking about the relationship of nuclear weapons and conventional war is important to note for one other reason. In the debate over Israel’s future borders in the West Bank, it is frequently argued that in the age of missiles – especially if they are armed with weapons of mass destruction – topography, terrain, and strategic depth are no longer relevant and hence Israel can give them up in future peace arrangements. This thesis, if widely accepted, could have enormous implications for areas like the Jordan Valley, undermining Israel’s goal of obtaining defensible borders in any peace settlement.
- But if the purpose of nuclear weapons in the hands of Israel’s enemies is to make it safe for them to return to the era of conventional wars, then Israel must not be forced to concede its most vital territorial assets based on the unfounded notion that they no longer matter in the nuclear era.The writer, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Tagged: Dore Gold, Iraq war, israel, israel hayom, libya, middle east, politics, Saddam Hussein, U.S., weapons of mass destruction
President Bashar al-Assad continues to exploit the international community’s propensity to turn a blind eye to the escalation in Syria, which now results in the murder of hundreds of innocent civilians each week. A military intervention need not involve a ground invasion or even peacekeeping forces. The recommended model, built on the lessons of Iraq, is a Western aerial campaign that paves the way for regime change, as it did in Kosovo and in Libya. There are no “boots on the ground.”
The Syrian defensive capability is not dramatically greater than Iraq’s of 1991 or 2003, which already included advanced Russian systems. As the Syrian military has been preoccupied with internal uprisings over the past year and a half, it is likely that its capabilities have eroded. Therefore, those who doubt the West’s capacity to face the current Syrian defense ignore the fact that Western power was built to cope with much greater challenges.
The “Responsibility to Protect” principle, endorsed by the West and formally adopted by the UN in 2005, declared the international community’s obligation to halt and prevent mass atrocity crimes. In today’s situation, it compels Western leaders to act with the Arab League to stop the massacre of Syrian civilians by the regime. It also obliges the Western powers to promote this campaign with their allies if Russia and China obstruct any broad endeavor under the UN framework. Military intervention also enables Western powers to cope with the potential use of chemical weapons.
Finally, acting in Syria could weaken, if not break, the nexus between Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, and Palestinian terror organizations, and therefore likely contain Iranian influence in the Levant. This would have a dramatic impact on the balance of power between radical and pragmatic forces in the region. And it would signal to Iran the West’s resolve to back up its interests and threats with force. A “Syria first” approach might complement international efforts and undermine Tehran’s recalcitrance vis-a-vis the West. The writer is Executive Director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University and former Head of Military Intelligence of the Israel Defense Forces. (Amos Yadlin- Independent-UK)
Tagged: Bombing Assad's Forces, iran, Iraq, Syria
Over the past two days Hamas has been carrying out a campaign of arrests against armed Salafist Jihadist groups in Gaza. The campaign was begun in the aftermath of last month’s attack on an Egyptian army checkpoint that resulted in the deaths of 16 Egyptian soldiers. Egypt has said the attack was carried out by 6 foreign nationals and one Egyptian citizen. Hamas intensified its arrests of Salafist Jihadists after rockets were fired at the Israeli town of Sderot, with the Mujahideen Shura Council [MSC] claiming responsibility.
Salafist Jihadist official Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Hamas arrested 37 [Salafist Jihadist] members in a short period of time, including 20 arrests over the past 48 hours….They are pursuing the jihadists from house to house and street to street.” Al-Muhajir claimed the Hamas investigation is focusing on where the Salafist Jihadists are obtaining their arms, as well as the membership and command structure of the MSC.
The Salafist Jihadist movement issued a statement on Tuesday from Gaza accusing Hamas of “carrying out a broad campaign of arrests targeting our ranks in order to prevent the firing of rockets towards the Zionist towns near Gaza.” The statement accused Hamas of arresting the Salafist Jihadist leader of Jaish al-Umma, Abu Hafs al-Maqdisi, as well as senior figure Abu Suhaib Rashwan, who, it claimed, had been interrogated and tortured by Egyptian security officers. (Kifah Zaboun - Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
(Melanie Lidman - Jerusalem Post)
Recently, part of a floor collapsed in a massive underground drainage ditch deep below the Western Wall as archeologists were taking it apart. Archeologist Eli Shukron looked into the hole and was blown away by the size of the room they had uncovered.
Based on previous research and excavations in the area, Shukron was immediately convinced they had stumbled on an enormous underground well from the First Temple Period, the first evidence of stored water next to the Temple.
The reservoir measures 12 meters by 5 meters by 4.5 meters and uses the same type of plaster as other reservoirs from the First Temple Period.
The handprints of the laborers who added the plaster are still visible.
Tagged: western wall
President Obama, seeking to quell a storm of criticism from pro-Israel groups, directed the Democratic Party to amend its platform to restore language declaring Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The change, approved in a voice vote Wednesday that had to be taken three times because of a chorus of “noes” in the arena, reinstates the line, “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.”
That sentence had been in the 2008 platform, but the Democrats had removed it this time. After a day of protests, however, the change was made to “maintain consistency with the personal views expressed by the president and in the Democratic Party platform in 2008,” the chairwoman of the Democratic Party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, said in a statement. (Mark Landler - New York Times)
Tagged: Democrats, Jerusalem Israel's Capital
79% of Israeli Jews are optimistic about Israel’s future and only 18% are pessimistic, according to the Israel Democracy Institute’s annual Democracy Index published on Thursday. Among Israeli Arabs, 60% are optimistic and 39% pessimistic.
85% of Jewish respondents said Israel would be capable of defending itself militarily. (Gil Hoffman - Jerusalem Post)
Tagged: Iranian Threat, israelis
- In the wake of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, a sense may develop in public opinion, both in Israel and abroad, that the operation was a failure. It can be assumed that the Iranian regime and others who support it will make every effort to establish such an awareness
- On the other hand, a sense that the attack was successful would have tremendous importance in establishing deterrence in Israel-Iran relations and Israel’s relations with other hostile states. This is likely to have positive consequences for Israel’s relationship with the U.S. administration and vis-a-vis the Palestinian Authority, while a sense of limited success, or a lack of success, is likely to have negative consequences.
- At the same time, a partial strike against Iranian nuclear facilities that leads to a delay in its nuclear program, even if it is only for a year or two, is liable to have far-reaching consequences. The Iranian leadership must ask itself whether it is worthwhile for Iran to pay the heavy price of the nuclear project, and ultimately to suffer physical destruction of at least some of its nuclear facilities, with the knowledge that in another year or two years, a further attack is possible.
- Moreover, an Israeli attack on Iran, even if it ends with partial destruction of the nuclear facilities, will perhaps bring about the collapse of the psychological barrier that exists today in regard to an attack on Iran. If it becomes clear to the entire world that Iran’s ability to respond is very limited, then the probability of an attack by Israel or the U.S. in the future will grow.The writer is a senior research fellow at INSS.
(Zaki Shalom - Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
Tagged: iran, israel
Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday: “The daily slaughter in Syria represents the dying breath of a tyranny that goes back four decades….Bashar al-Assad has no moral authority to govern. He never did. His hourglass is running out.”
“Iran is the problem in Syria – not the solution. Every day it provides Assad with the tools of mass murder. Iranian Revolutionary Guards are on the ground today assisting Assad’s henchmen. They have been deployed on Syrian soil to help sustain the Syrian regime and take part in the slaughter of the Syrian people. The outside forces that have been instrumental in Assad’s killing spree speak in a Persian accent.”
“Israel will continue to raise its voice for the people of Syria. We extend our hand to them, offering humanitarian aid, food, and medicine.” (Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor - Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Tagged: Iran's Revolutionary Guards, laughter in Syria
The Palestinian Authority has racked up a steadily mounting debt to the Israel Electric Corporation that already exceeds NIS 700 million and it appears that the authorities in Ramallah are quite content to have average Israelis pick up the PA’s tab. The PA’s uncontrolled fiscal delinquency cannot be subsidized by Israeli citizens, even if the upshot will be bad press and the usual distortions that Israel faces abroad.
It cannot be that Israeli consumers need suffer power shortages, while underwriting the PA’s residents. Israel needs to show the PA that it will not inflict pain on its own citizens just to avoid yet another demonization drive overseas. (Editorial - Jerusalem Post)
Tagged: The PA's Electricity Tab