Jul
22

Do the people around the world who complain about “civilian casualties” in Gaza understand that it is a war crime to target civilians with missile attacks (which Hamas does) and also to hide behind civilian shields (which Hamas also does)?  Or to shoot rockets from “protected” locations like schools, hospitals and mosques (which Hamas also does)?

Do they understand that civilians and protected institutions lose their protected status according to the rules of war when they are unlawfully used for war activities?

Gazan

Gazan “Missile Defence”

Do they realize that they are “useful idiots” playing into Hamas’ hands and encouraging Hamas leaders to continue to try to get their own people killed so they will get more sympathy?  Do they realize they are therefore insuring there will be more civilian casualties on both sides in the future?

Finally, does this say something, anything at all, about a group of people that voted Hamas into power and continues to play along with the Human shield game?  Anything?

Hat tip: Boldt Andreas

Oct
27

Here is yet another article on the abysmal record of Israel’s Foreign Ministry to present Israel’s case to the world:

For the failure or – perhaps more accurately – the virtual absence, of Israeli PD [public diplomacy — ed.] strategy goes beyond the problem of what it is not doing for Israel in presenting its case and promoting its image. No less damaging is what it allows others to do to Israel in undermining its case and perverting its image…

Continued impotence and incompetence in the (mis)conduct of Israel’s public diplomacy is becoming not only strategic threat to the country but is beginning to imperil Jewish communities abroad.

(Hat tip: Allyson Christy)

Well, yeah…  But this is unfortunately nothing new.  Israel army’s incomparable valor and skill on the battlefield has been juxtaposed to the incomparable incompetence of its official hasbara (PR) efforts for decades.   This incompetence has limited or even allowed the reversal of the country’s military victories on the ground over and over again.

However, while there may be some benefit in complaining about it in order to (yet again) bring the dire situation to people’s attention, know one thing: The situation is NOT going to change any time soon.  The problem is related to deeply-entrenched technicalities such as funding and staffing at the Foreign Ministry that, barring a miracle, could not be fixed quickly even if their was a will to do so.

So instead of (or at least in addition to) complaining, it is incumbent on all those that care about Israel to fill the void that Israel’s official representatives are not.

Oct
25

A history of failed “peacekeeping” forces in the Middle East and why Israel, and only Israel, can defend herself:

You can see more information on this subject from the original post at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Hat tip: The Israel Media Network

Oct
13

The IDF has discovered another terror tunnel from Gaza. This one is built to last, with concrete walls and ceiling, electricity and communication cables and energy-saving light bulbs:

Gaza Terror Tunnel Design
(Source: Ynet)

Unfortunately this shows the folly of “separation” and building walls to keep terrorists out. As was warned from the beginning, a wall can be passed, either under, over or through it. The separation barriers have slowed down terrorists but not stopped them. Stopping terrorists can only be accomplished by controlling fully the territories from which they originate and disrupting their infrastructure at all levels.

In the meantime, what does this say about Hamas, who is investing a tremendous amount of resources preparing for the “next round” of the conflict instead of helping their fellow Arabs?

You can see videos (in Hebrew) of the tunnels in the original Hebrew article here:

http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4440001,00.html

Hat tip: HS

Feb
05

Caroline Glick hits on some good points here:

  1. The immorality and foolishness of creating a Jew-free Palestinian Arab state in Judea and Samaria
  2. The failure of the Disengagement from Gaza, and
  3. The nonexistence of the “demographic time-bomb”

Worth watching.

Hat tip: Jacob Richman

Aug
21

Missiles from Gaza? Again?

Once again we are reminded of the willful naivete that is such a major part of life and politics.

Here’s is a nice Who’s Who of people who assured us that Israel would not be attacked from Gaza once it retreated from there:

Rockets had already been falling on Israel from Gaza for years before the Disengagement. It was obvious that handing a huge victory to the terrorists would embolden them and encourage others to join them. How anyone in Israel could say otherwise is a mystery, even taking ideology into account.

Unfortunately, it is absurd to expect much contrition from people were so spectacularly wrong, in fact so spectacularly stupid, even though they were caught on video.

May
05

Here are some thoughts on the premature death of Osama Bin Laden:

First, IRIS would like congratulate President Obama (we still hope he gets handily defeated in 2012), the US Military and Intelligence Services, and all the people from the present and past administrations that contributed to this wonderful event.

That said, there is still a lot to be learned. The following comments are meant to be purely constructive, and are not to be taken as complaints or accusations. While Bin Laden’s demise is a wonderful thing that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement.

So here goes:

* Dancing in the streets: Sorry, this just seems wrong or at least bad policy. When Muslims celebrate successful terror attacks that shows how bloodthirsty and yes, evil, they are. One can say that this is different because an evil killer got what he deserved. But the Muslims will have a hard time understanding the difference, especially as they apply the concept of collective guilt to whomever they don’t like, even civilians. So at the least this sends the wrong message, that it is ok to celebrate when someone gets killed. At the worst it is barbaric.

In Israel, even when really nasty people like Sheikh Yassin and Yahya Ayyash, “the engineer” were eliminated there was no partying.

On the other hand, psychological momentum is very important in war and this really does throw it back in the enemy’s faces. The Americans might as well say it outright: You drew first blood, but we got you back. Who’s dancing now?

* Left-wingers beating their chests: It is a pleasure to see the peaceful Left crooning over the manhood of their guy who just had someone killed instead of bringing him to trial. What happened to due process? I am not complaining, just wondering how we can expand the list of bad guys that the Left are willing to kill instead of coddle…

* Swooning over Obama: The Leftists are just falling over themselves again about their hero. So cool despite the heavy burdens he bears (doesn’t hurt his golf game a bit apparently)! So gutsy a move! Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis has any president made such a bold move! The news has been so bad for so long, but it’s alright again. He has got the magic back. They are back in love.

Gimme a break. Carter authorized the same kind of move during the hostage crisis in Iran, it just failed. Reagan stood up to the Soviets and invaded Granada and Panama. Both Bushes initiated actual wars. President Obama certainly deserves credit for some good decisions and good luck but that’s all.

One wonders how this man has such power to send tingles up the legs of the Left. Just like with his alleged supreme oratory skills (as long as there is a teleprompter). I never understood what the big deal was. He is a decent speaker but let’s not overdo it. Is the Left exercising the soft racism of low expectations here?

* Obama’s jump in the polls: Sure President Obama’s polling numbers will go up, and deservedly so. Long-term, not just short-term. He has shown a different face than he has before on foreign affairs. Eliminating Bin Laden doesn’t erase the bowing to foreign leaders, the apologies about American greatness, the capitulating to the Russians, the dropping the ball on Iran, or the throwing of allies like Great Britain, Poland and Israel under the bus. It doesn’t even come close to offsetting those mistakes. But it does create a more complicated picture, one where he can no longer be painted as someone who is ALWAYS a sissy who can’t defend American interests. Let’s hope he continues the new approach now that he sees how popular it is.

* Democracy at work: Can anyone believe that Obama’s self-interest wasn’t at work here, at least a little bit? The man of peace had a fugitive tracked and gunned down instead of arrested and read his rights. Surely the public’s desire to get Bin Laden played a part in his decisions. That is wonderful. That’s democracy — the people get their will done (some of the time) even between elections.

* Huge mistake to publicize it so soon: Why, why, why? The president just couldn’t contain himself. Couldn’t he have waited until the Intelligence services had a chance to go over all the goodies they acquired from Bin Laden’s lair before blabbing about what happened? Now every Al Quada creep in Bin Laden’s rolodex knows that the US has information on him and will act accordingly. A major opportunity to get closer to a lot of bad guys has been squandered.

It could be that the president figured that the news would leak fast anyway so he might as well be the one to spread the word for maximum credit. Understandable, but sad.

* Why not capture him? Take it a step further: Why kill Bin Laden at all? He should have been captured alive no matter what the cost, brought to one of those secret CIA facilities overseas, and treated the most severe… um… enhanced interrogation techniques known to man. I am sure our Russian quasi-allies could have helped out a bit with that. How about the Chinese? They know a thing or two about tor… er.. EITs.

The man was a treasure trove of intelligence information and every last bit of it should have been wrung out of him. BEFORE his capture was announced.

Yes, capturing him would have complicated things. Gitmo, miranda rights, trial in the US, giving a murderer a platform to spout his views. But these were not insurmountable issues. Again, a major opportunity to get closer to a lot of bad guys has been squandered.

* Don’t expect it to be “ok” for Israel to do the same now: If Israel would do the same thing tomorrow President Obama and the rest of the world would still condemn Israel in the strongest possible terms. Just like happened when Israel was conducting targeted assassinations during the Second Intifada. Even though those assassinated were just as evil as Bin Laden, even as the Americans were doing the exact same thing to less evil men, they still condemned Israel. And that when George W. Bush was president. He is a 100 times more pro-Israel than his successor.

Israel will still have to do what she needs to to protect herself. Despite the condemnations that are still sure to come.

* Bonus: Pakistan. Everyone is asking a lot of questions about Pakistan. Can’t wait to learn the answers. And hopefully to watch something be done about them.

=====================

So there you have it. A great and wonderful thing has been done, and again congratulations to all those who participated. The world is a better place. But let’s keep it in perspective and learn from it so that it can be done even better the next time around.

Mar
18

Last Friday night, Palestinian terrorists broke into the home of the Fogel Israeli family in the settlement of Itamar in Samaria and murdered 5 family members. The victims included parents and three children aged 11, 4, and 3 months. (!)

I regret to say that I have been in Israel long enough that this simply registered as bad news. Even after my daughter rode home from school on the same Egged bus as the crying family on its way to funeral.

Not anymore.

If you, like me, need a better sense of what actually was involved in this brutal, inhuman act of cruelty, watch this video:

The True Face of Terrorism

WARNING WARNING WARNING

BEFORE you watch:

In this video you WILL see pictures of bloody, murdered children and who knows what else because I could only watch it for about 10 seconds before I had to close it. I can only imagine what was in the rest of the video.

I post this link with great reluctance and I did NOT embed the video on this page because I am morally opposed to people viewing this kind of thing. But 10-20 seconds of this video should be enough to change the worldview of any person with a pulse and a shred of decency. If the idea of a murdered 4-year-old and a murdered baby doesn’t sicken and enrage you or someone you know, maybe you should watch. If you can take it.

Is it really possible for a human being to commit such an act of barbarity? Apparently it is. And this is the kind of enemy that Israel faces every day. These are the people with whom we are told that we must make peace.

Palestinian society glorifies this kind of deed at every level, from the top to the bottom. Do such people deserve a country of their own? Would you give them a state in your own back yard? A state adjoining all of the major population centers of YOUR country? Why should Israel?

Feb
08

Here is quite a surprising quote from the normally-enlightening Caroline Glick, from the not-so-subtlely-titled Clueless in Washington:

When given the opportunity, the crowds on the street are not shy about showing what motivates them. They attack Mubarak and his new Vice President Omar Suleiman as American puppets and Zionist agents. The US, protesters told CNN’s Nick Robertson, is controlled by Israel. They hate and want to destroy Israel. That is why they hate Mubarak and Suleiman.

What all of this makes clear is that if the regime falls, the successor regime will not be a liberal democracy. Mubarak’s military authoritarianism will be replaced by Islamic totalitarianism. The US’s greatest Arab ally will become its greatest enemy. Israel’s peace partner will again become its gravest foe.

Understanding this, Israeli officials and commentators have been nearly unanimous in their negative responses to what is happening in Egypt. The IDF, the national security council, all intelligence agencies and the government as well as the media have all agreed that Israel’s entire regional approach will have to change dramatically in the event that Egypt’s regime is overthrown.

None of the scenarios under discussion are positive.

Really?

Let’s dissect that a bit.

First of all, it is clear that the Egyptians hate Mubarak because he is a repressive dictator, not because he is a stooge of the US or Israel. It is hard to believe that Glick wrote what she did.

Second, there ARE potential positive outcomes here.

For the US, a more democratic regime which is not dominated by Islamics would definitely be an improvement over the current dictatorship.

On the other hand, I have seen commentators that I trust who assert that this is unlikely given that the Moslem Brotherhood is the only well-organized opposition group, and they are highly-motivated and probably quite ruthless. There is a good chance that they will wind up on top when this is all finished and that would obviously be bad for US interests.

The Obama administration manages to come out on the wrong side of every upheaval, from Honduras to Iran, and now seems intent on doing the same in Egypt. As Glick notes, this is not due to “cluelessness” (as the title of her article implies) but rather due to ideological blinders:

It is this anti-colonialist paradigm, with its foundational assumption that that the US has no right to criticize non-Westerners that has informed the Obama administration’s foreign policy. It was the anti-colonialist paradigm that caused Obama not to support the pro-Western protesters seeking the overthrow of the Iranian regime in the wake of the stolen 2009 presidential elections.

And it is this anti-colonialist paradigm that has guided Obama’s courtship of the Syrian, Turkish and Iranian regimes and his unwillingness to lift a hand to help the March 14 movement in Lebanon….

Anti-colonialists by definition must always support the most anti-Western forces as “authentic.” In light of Mubarak’s 30-year alliance with the US, it makes sense that Obama’s instincts would place the US president on the side of the protesters.

How very sad that the Left is so often drawn to those who most want to destroy the West.

That said, Israel’s interests are somewhat different than those of the US in this case.

It is in Israel’s interests that Egypt be either pacified or weakened.

Like the US, Israel probably would benefit from a more democratic regime in Egypt, assuming that the Islamics didn’t wind up running the show. Israel fears Egypt could one day join another war against her. In a dictatorship, the decision to go to war ultimately rides on the whims of one man, and there is little doubt that Mubarak or any of his likely successors would gladly go to war against Israel in the right circumstances. Democracies however are less likely to go to war, and an Egyptian democracy would lower the risk of war even if the average Egyptian hates Israel. A democratic Egypt will be more pacified and therefore that benefits Israel.

And if the Islamics take over, Egypt will be weakened.

Mubarak successfully played the bad-cop-worse-cop game with the US for decades — support me, he said, or else you will get the Islamic fanatics instead. The Americans turned a blind eye to, and even tacitly supported, his oppression, and gave him money and weapons which could easily be used against Israel.

This is the same game that Arafat played — support me, or you will get the Hamas — and it is shocking that the Israeli Right that rightly opposed Arafat should now support Mubarak. Israel should have opposed both Arafat and the Hamas, just like it should have and still should oppose both Mubarak and the Moslem Brotherhood.

If the Moslem Brotherhood gains power in Egypt, in the short term Israel will gain yet another fundamentalist neighbor and that will not be pleasant. But that neighbor will immediately lose the knee-jerk support of its current patron, the US. When the financial aid drops to zero, and when the cool weapon systems and spare parts stop pouring in, Egypt’s power will begin to melt away. Just as happened in Iran after the Shah fell. It is unlikely that the Shah’s Iran would have lost a war with the much-smaller Iraq like Khomeini’s Iran did not long after the revolution.

Therefore Israel’s worst-case scenario is probably the present one.

Israel should do whatever it can to insure that Mubarak is replaced by some kind of democratic regime, with the Islamics kept out. But should the Islamics come to power Israel should maximize the natural instincts of the US to withdraw its support from and actively oppose such a regime. The fall of Egypt as power in the Middle East is likely to follow forthwith.

Jan
17

Here is the latest technology breakthrough engineered in Israel:

Intel’s Sandy Bridge revolution engineered in Haifa

“It was clear to all of us that the new thing we developed at Haifa was something completely different,” said Shlomit Weiss, the architect of Sandy Bridge architect, whose development she oversaw at Intel Israel Ltd. over the past four years. Sandy Bridge is the business card that Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC) is developing for next-generation PCs, which are designed to operate in a market in which consumers are demanding greater computer performance.

[Hat tip: JR]

Will there come a time when Israeli brainpower is more valuable to world, and perceived as such, than Arab oil? Will electric cars and/or Israel’s massive recent natural gas finds reduce the Arab edge?

Ultimately, society progresses due to ideas, not resources. But when push-comes-to-shove, the world can always wait a bit longer for new technologies to emerge whereas most countries can’t last long without imported oil.

It certainly would be nice if Israelis could provide brainpower-based services that would be as necessary on a day-to-day basis as gas for the car but such a scenario is hard to envision. Israel is at the forefront of solar energy development, but it will take decades, at least, before alternative energies can supply more than a small fraction of the world’s massive energy needs.

The best bet might be the electric car, which would receive its power from non-oil-generated electricity. Might electric cars, made viable on a massive scale by Israeli Shai Agassi’s car charge and battery switch revolution, powered by electricity generated by (Israeli!) natural gas, and with their range extended by solar panels on their roofs, be the first nail on the coffin of the oil weapon?

Jan
15

Dennis Prager sums up the “Middle East problem” in 5 minutes:

Let’s sum up those 6 minutes in one sentence:

Israel wants peace with the other side; the other side does not want Israel to exist and is willing to fight to achieve what they want.

Some might disagree on how to define “the other side”, but it is clear that there IS another side that does not want peace, that they have enough influence that there can be no peace, and that they are not going to magically disappear.

The nice thing about summing up the problem so succinctly is that it makes it clear why the many attempts at peace that have failed, failed: Peace fails to materialize when one side doesn’t want it. They might say they want peace, if only they can have land or a state, but if they don’t really mean it then there will be no peace.

When people, or at least Israelis, fully understand that the other side doesn’t want peace, regardless of what they might say, we can stop wasting time and lives on failed peace processes that bring less peace instead of more.

Jan
13

Apparently life is not all sorrow for the “refugees” in Gaza. If your country is one of the many that give aid to the Palestinian Arabs of Gaza, here are your tax dollars at work:

 

Looking for a luxury hotel, fine dining, high-end shopping or an amusement park for the kids? Here is the updated version for 2011:

 

[Just make sure “Israel” is not stamped anywhere on your passport if you want to come back alive from your visit.]

Apparently the IDF missed a few buildings in its recent forays into Gaza, and some goods are squeaking through the blockade on Gaza that all the “peace flotillas” are trying to break.

It would be absurd to suggest that these videos prove there is no squalor in Gaza. But then again, there is plenty of squalor in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and every other non-oil-rich Arab country. But in all these places, amongst the squalor there is plenty of money flowing around too. Keep that in mind the next time you see a special report on the “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza.

Jan
11

Melanie Phillips, a staunch British advocate for Israel had this to say about the sad state of affairs of Israeli hasbara (public relations) in England:



 

Perhaps it could be said that, in her frustration, Ms. Phillips exaggerates somewhat. However, the lack of an effective hasbara campaign by the Israeli government is both well-known and longstanding.

Of course combating anti-Israeli propaganda all over the world is a massive job, especially when an anti-Israel (read: anti-Jewish) message is so readily accepted in so many quarters. But the Israeli government and Foreign Ministry have proven quite incapable of doing a competent job, let alone showing the kind of ingenuity that Israelis are famous for in so many other fields.

It should be clear that a substantial portion of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, including the diplomatic core, are from the political Left and are highly invested in the ever-failing peace process — politically, professionally and personally. These people shy away from an active defense of Israel’s position since that is confrontational and would upset the Arabs. And they may be hesitant to work with Israel’s natural allies on the Right.

Due to the way the system in Israel works, these people can not and will not be purged from positions of importance any time soon. Don’t expect them to change or to go away. Therefore it is pointless to rely on the Israeli government to handle this job effectively.

The only options are 1) to bypass the “official” hasbara system and/or 2) to find an effective pro-Israel message that the Left in Israel can support.

Alas, it seems that #1 is much easier to accomplish than #2.

Apr
23

The Jerusalem Post’s commentator Caroline Glick comments on Israel’s leftist-agendized media as epitomized by the Haaretz spy scandal:

When the gag order was revoked last Thursday, Israelis… learned that Anat Kamm, a reporter hired by the Walla Web portal when it was partly owned by Haaretz, had been under house arrest for four months. She is on trial for acts of espionage with the intent of harming national security that she committed not as a reporter, but during her service in the IDF… She continued reporting for Walla, while under house arrest until the end of March.

Haaretz staff reporter Uri Blau fled the country not to protect a source, but to evade punishment for possessing classified military documents in breach not only of the law but of a plea bargain agreement with the Shin Bet.

Kamm served in the IDF from 2005 to 2007 as a secretary in the office of the commander of Central Command. In the weeks before her release from service, she copied about 2,000 highly classified IDF documents onto two CDs and uploaded them to her home computer. After her release, she shopped the documents around to various military reporters and eventually gave them to Blau…. Such information in the hands of Israel’s enemies could cause the death of thousands of Israeli soldiers and civilians…

The Shin Bet launched its investigation of stolen IDF documents, which led it to Blau and then to Kamm after Blau published articles in November 2008 based on the documents he received from Kamm. At the time, the Shin Bet asked that Blau return all the classified documents in his possession. In return for his agreement to do so, the Shin Bet agreed not to prosecute him for illegally possessing classified materials. Blau returned 50 such documents and asserted that he had no more documents in his possession.

But then the Shin Bet found Kamm. And after confessing to stealing the 2,000 documents, she told them that she gave them all to Blau. When Blau found out that the Shin Bet knew he lied, and still illegally possesses thousands of classified documents, he decided not to return to Israel…

With the knowledge that their reporter lied to the Shin Bet and fled the country Haaretz chose to pay his living expenses in London and his legal expenses in Israel.

In her statements during her investigation published in court documents, Kamm revealed that she is a messianic leftist. She came to the army not to serve the country, but to transform it. It was only when she realized that she had failed to bend the IDF to her will that she decided to reveal its secrets.

Kamm’s treachery is a deeply disturbing comment on the mindset of the radical Left in Israel. But her crimes are even more alarming when we realize that Kamm is not a lone renegade. In her treasonous activities, she enjoys the support of a massive organization…

Haaretz has demonstrated that leftist traitors have a powerful sponsor capable of exacting painful revenge on the State of Israel for daring to prosecute them.

As for the State of Israel… the Haaretz spy scandal demonstrates is that the state is utterly unwilling to deal with this dangerous state of affairs. Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin stated that Israel will not change its screening process of candidates for military service. In the post-Kamm IDF, religious youths will continue to be grilled about their willingness to expel Jewish Israelis from their homes, and radical leftist youths will not be questioned about their loyalty to the state and willingness to keep the IDF’s secrets.

Ma’ariv and Globes both reported that thousands of Israelis canceled their subscriptions to Haaretz this week. Haaretz denied the reports. But really, it doesn’t care. Haaretz’s target audience is not Israeli. It is global. And there it remains the champion of those who seek an Israeli affirmation of their anti-Israel attitudes.

Once again, the real problem is not the bad apples in the barrel but the vast numbers of people that support them (and vote for them).

Apr
23

The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday the sentencing of a New York man convicted in a terrorism financing case:

A New York businessman was sentenced Monday to more than 10 years in prison for trying to funnel money to a terrorism training camp in Afghanistan through an undercover agent posing as a wealthy Middle Easterner.

Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari pleaded guilty in September to charges of terrorism financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Judge Alvin Hellerstein sentenced him to 121 months, plus three years of supervised release. He faced up to 20 years behind bars.

Alishtari was operating a phony loan investment program when he met the undercover agent. Prosecutors said he accepted an unspecified amount of money from the agent to transfer $152,500 he believed was being sent to Pakistan and Afghanistan to support a terrorist training camp.

Alishtari, also known as Michael Mixon, thought the money would be used to buy night vision goggles, medical supplies and other equipment and advised the agent he had to be “three steps away” from the money so it could not be traced back to him.

Alishtari also pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars from victims through the fraudulent loan investment program. The judge ordered him to pay restitution to victims in the scheme, but a figure has not been determined.

The judge said at sentencing Alishtari knew what he was doing.

“You knew these ends were assisting terrorism that was of a type, that it was on the edge of causing substantial death and destruction to people like you and me,” the judge said. “The very fabric of civilization is endangered by terrorism.”

Apr
23

In light of the recent disclosure by Israeli president Shimon Peres that Syria has shipped Scud missiles to Hezbollah, Wall Street columnist Bret Stephens considers recent actions by Syria, Hezbollah and how they could ignite the Next Mideast War:

In the matter of Syria’s alleged shipments of Scud missiles to Hezbollah, it bears noting how often the fate of the Middle East has turned on seemingly trivial or nearly imperceptible events…

Why would Syria risk war with Israel by transferring the sorts of weapons it doubtlessly knows could provoke a sharp Israeli reprisal?

It is no secret that since Israel’s summer 2006 war with Hezbollah, Syria has helped to rearm its Lebanese ally with as many as 50,000 rockets and missiles, many of them hidden-at the unwitting recommendation of last year’s Goldstone Report-in homes, hospitals and schools. But the transfer of Scuds, which can be tipped with chemical or biological weapons, poses a threat to Israel of a different order of magnitude.

The prosaic answer is that Syrian President Bashar Assad has a reckless streak. He was reckless in allowing Syria to become a way station for Iraq-bound jihadists, reckless in (almost certainly) ordering the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, reckless in attempting to build a covert nuclear facility, and reckless in pursuing a no-wriggle-room alliance with Hezbollah and Iran.

Then again, Mr. Assad has never had to pay the ultimate political price for those gambles…. Another destructive war over Lebanon might just be sufficient to topple Beirut’s fragile pro-Western governing coalition, enhance Hezbollah’s prestige, and perhaps give Damascus the cover it needs to re-enter Lebanon militarily by posing, as it so often has in the past, as a force for “stability”…

What does the Obama administration do? So far, it hasn’t helped matters by giving the impression of a clear wedge between Israel and the U.S. Nor has the administration’s assiduous courtship of Damascus done anything other than embolden Mr. Assad’s taste for adventure.

In 1967, a series of seemingly minor events, tactical misjudgments, and particularly an Arab perception that the West would not honor its international commitments or come to Israel’s defense triggered a war the consequences of which have defined the Middle East ever since. We are adrift in those same waters today.

Apr
19

This one needs no commentary:

Please pass this along!

Great Israel Video

Apr
11

ABC News is reporting that an award-winning Iranian nuclear scientist has defected to the United States:

An… Iranian nuclear scientist, who disappeared last year under mysterious circumstances, has defected to the CIA and been resettled in the United States, according to people briefed on the operation by intelligence officials. The officials were said to have termed the defection of the scientist, Shahram Amiri, “an intelligence coup” in the continuing CIA operation to spy on and undermine Iran’s nuclear program. A spokesperson for the CIA declined to comment. In its declassified annual report to Congress, the CIA said, “Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons though we do not know whether Tehran eventually will decide to produce nuclear weapons.” Amiri, a nuclear physicist in his early 30s, went missing last June three days after arriving in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage, according to the Iranian government. He worked at Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University, which is closely connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, according to the Associated Press.

The Daily Alert, prepared by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs adds this note mentioned in the above video:

Amiri has been extensively debriefed since his defection. One Iranian web site reported that Amiri had worked at the covert Qom facility.

Apr
09

A group of highly-ranked retired U.S. officers have stated that Israel is “highly important to U.S. Middle East Policy”:

Close to 50 generals and admirals have signed a letter that termed
Israel a key element in U.S. global strategy.

…The retired officers, who have toured Israel, said the Jewish state was highly important to U.S. policy in the Middle East and Mediterranean region.

“We brought with us our decades of military experience and, following unrestricted access to Israel’s civilian and military leaders, came away with the unswerving belief that the security of the State of Israel is a matter of great importance to the United States and its policy in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean,” the letter, released on April 2, read. “A strong, secure Israel is an asset upon which American military planners and political leaders can rely.”

“…We also recognize that the important countries of the region won’t like us any better if we shed Israel as an ally.”

“They will wonder how quickly we will shed them when they are inconvenient.”

JINSA [the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs] has been lobbying the Defense Department and U.S. military regarding Israel since the early 1980s. In January 2010, the organization released a report that asserted that Washington was denying Jerusalem — the largest recipient of U.S. military aid — a range of weapons in what could harm Israel’s military superiority over its Arab neighbors.

….The retired senior officers said they could not rule out the prospect that “political differences may be allowed to outweigh our larger mutual interests.”

“As American defense professionals, we view events in the Middle East through the prism of American security interests,” the letter said. “In the Middle East, a volatile region so vital to U.S. interests, it would be foolish to disengage — or denigrate — an ally such as Israel.”

The admirals and generals said Israel and the United States have engaged in defense and military cooperation at all levels. The letter cited training, law enforcement, counter-insurgency as well as research and development.

The United States would require Israeli cooperation for a range of threats, the officers said. They said this would include nonconventional and ballistic missile proliferation as well as CI [counterintelligence] operations.

Unfortunately, the great strategic importance of Israel to the US and the unreliability of the Arabs is something that has to be learned over and over by new American administrations, usually the hard way.

Apr
09

Recalling that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was the financier of the Munich Massacre and other murderous terror attacks against Israel, it should come as no surprise that Abbas has promoted a terrorist who masterminded the murder of 3 Americans (and many others) to Major-General rank (2 stars):

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has promoted a man who commanded a Palestinian terror unit to the rank of major-general. Mahmoud Damra, commander of Yasser Arafat’s personal guard and terror unit called Force 17, was responsible for the planning and logistic coordination of numerous terror attacks in which many people were killed. Among those killed in the terror attacks he commanded were US citizens Esh-Kodesh Gilmore and the couple Binyamin and Talia Kahane in the year 2000. He has been imprisoned by Israel since 2006.

The following is from the Palestinian daily Al-Quds:

“President Mahmoud Abbas decided to promote the prisoner Mahmoud Damra, [known as] Abu Awad, commander of the ‘President’s Security Force 17,’ to the rank of major-general.” [Al-Quds, March 6, 2010]

As an interesting aside, in most armies Major Generals typically command divisions (10,000+ soldiers) or at least brigades (usually around 5,000 soldiers). It is clear that Damra, who merely commanded a terror unit, will never command that many troops even if Israel makes the mistake of releasing him from prison. So the rank is either purely ceremonial or an example of the fantasy rank-inflation seen in many third-world despotic cultures. See, for example, Manuel Noriega of Panama, who promoted himself to be a full, 4-star general despite commanding only 16,000 troops. This is the same rank as Eisenhower had for much of the time he was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

In contrast, Israel has more normative ranking of its commanders, with the Israeli Chief of Staff being the IDF’s only Lieutenant General (3 stars). Moshe Dayan, Israel’s chief of staff in the 1950’s when the army was smaller, had the rank of Major General.