web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘deal’

Next Stop: Obama Puts his Trust in Negotiations with Iran

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Originally published by Rubin Reports.

The most important foreign policy effort President Barack Obama will be making over the next year is negotiating with Iran. The terms of the U.S. offer are clear: if Iran agrees not to build nuclear weapons, it will be allowed to enrich a certain amount of uranium, supposedly for purposes of generating nuclear energy (which Iran doesn’t need) and other benefits, supposedly under strict safeguards.

Will Iran accept such a deal? The Obama Administration and others argue as follow: Sanctions have taken a deep bite out of Iran’s economy and frightened the regime with the prospect of instability. Iranian leaders are concluding that nuclear weapons aren’t worth all of this trouble. They are interested in becoming wealthy not spreading revolution and this includes even the once-fanatical Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) which is steadily gaining power in the country.

In a few months, June 2013, Iran will have elections to choose a new president to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Perhaps, goes the argument, they will pick someone more flexible and less provocative, a signal that they want to stand down from the current confrontation. Thus, a deal is really possible and it could be implemented.

I won’t dismiss this altogether. The truth is that despite extremist statements and radical tactics, the Iranian regime is by no means ideologically or theologically mad. The rulers want to stay in power and they have been far more cautious in practice than they have in rhetoric. Despite the claims that the Iranian regime just wants to get nuclear weapons to attack Israel as soon as possible, a serious analysis of this government’s history, its leaders and factions, indicates otherwise.

A key factor here is that Iran wants nuclear weapons for “defensive” purposes. By this I do not mean that a poor Tehran regime is afraid that it will be attacked for no reason at all and thus needs to protect itself. Not at all. It is Iran’s aggressive, subversive, and terrorist-sponsoring positions that jeopardize the regime. Like it or not, if the Tehran government got on with the business of repressing its own people without threatening its neighbors the world would be little concerned with its behavior. But it has refused to take that easy and profitable choice.

Rather, Iran wants nuclear weapons so it can continue both regime and behavior without having to worry about paying any price for the things it does. The situation has, however, changed in two respects. First, the “Arab Spring” has put an end to any serious hope by the regime of gaining leadership in the Middle East or in the Muslim world. Two years ago it was possible that Arabs would dance in the street and cheer Iran having a nuclear weapon as the great hope of radical Islam. Today, though, the Sunni Islamists are on the march and have no use for rival Shias, much less ethnic Persians.

They want to make their own revolutions, destroy Israel, expel the West, and seize control of the Middle East for Sunni Arabs and not under the leadership of Persian Shias. Iran’s sphere of influence has been whittled down to merely Lebanon, Iraq, and a rapidly failing Syrian regime. Under these conditions, getting nuclear weapons will not bring Iran any great strategic gain.

Second, sanctions have indeed been costly for Iran, though one could exaggerate the extent of this suffering. Additional internal problems have been brought on by the rulers own mismanagement and awesome levels of corruption. In other words, to stay in power and get even richer Iran’s leaders, along with disposing of Ahmadinejad, might seek a way out of their ten-year-long drive for nuclear weapons.

Thus, it is not impossible that Iran would take up the Obama Administration on the proposed deal either because the leaders now seek riches rather than revolution or because they intend to cheat or move far more gradually toward getting nuclear weapons or at least the capability to obtain them quickly if and when they decide to do so.

It is, however, equally or more possible that Iran would use the negotiations to wrest concessions from the West without giving anything in return and to stall for time as it steadily advances toward its nuclear goal. As this happens, Israeli concerns will be dismissed by the administration and the mass media. The kinder ones will say that Israel is being unnecessarily concerned; the more hostile that it is acting as a warmonger when everything can be settled through compromise.

Road To Recovery

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Dear Brocha,

As I write this letter I am overcome with emotions. Relief, fear, trepidation, elation…the feelings are all jumbled up inside of me.

Please allow me to back track.

My daughter, who recently turned 20, just left to rehab. After four years of denial, lies, manipulation, anger and chaos she finally admitted she has a problem with alcohol.

Her drinking started at a school Shabbaton. Some of her so called friends brought liquor and they drank that Shabbos away. Since then she has been continuously sneaking drinks.

It took my husband and me a considerably long while to fully grasp the severity of the problem. Eventually, we finally emptied our house of all alcoholic drinks, informed the local liquor store that she should not be permitted to purchase any alcohol (evidently, there are various frum liquor store owners who will permit under age children to purchase alcohol if they say it’s for their parents, without any verification) and limited her access to money.

At that point, out of desperation, she figured out how to replace straight alcohol with mouthwash. What a nightmare! The mouthwash abuse was impossible to control! Additionally, it seems that it was much more damaging to her liver than regular alcohol. Recently, with Hashem’s help and the involvement of both a rav and an interventionist, she was able to admit that she had a real problem and to enter rehab.

While I am hopeful and happy that she is in a rehab, I need to know if you can advise me on how to deal with the phone calls. My daughter keeps calling and telling me how awful the food is, how she doesn’t like the other clients, feels restricted and various other complaints. Almost every time I see her phone number on the caller ID I start to cringe wondering what the issue is going to be.

By nature I am a very giving person. When she complains about the food, I try to send her home cooked meals. When she gets into arguments with her roommates I try speaking to her counselors about switching her room. The list goes on and on.

I am unsure if I am helping or hurting when I try interceding on her behalf. I am hearing terms like co-dependent and enabler and am very confused. At what point does helping become unhealthy?

This has become a major point of contention between my husband and me. He is more of a disciplinarian and feels that I need to take a tougher stance with our daughter.

Please advise.

A Giving Mom

Dear A Giving Mom,

Congratulations!

You should be very happy that your daughter is finally on the road to her recovery! She still has a long and difficult road ahead of her. She will need to learn more about herself and retrain her self-perception. She needs to learn how to be real with her emotions and to be in control of them and not vice-versa. She needs to learn how to live, laugh and appreciate life again.

Most people enter the rooms of recovery kicking and screaming. They are usually upset that they “were caught” or “trapped” and now have to learn how to live sober.

It is hard work. Very hard work!

There is shame, guilt and various other forms of emotional pain they now have to learn to deal with as opposed to numbing themselves.

On the other hand, you should be using the time your daughter is in rehab to learn more about yourself.

For the past few years your daughter’s issues have been the sole focus of everything. If there are other children at home you should be spending considerably more time with them.

Additionally, you mentioned the terms co-dependent and enabler. The truth is that many loved ones who live with addicts inadvertently assume that role.

The addict becomes the drug.

Our “high” comes when there are no incidents and they appear to be doing well. Then, when they fall, we fall with them.

Your job is to learn how to live in peace and serenity, independent of the addict. You should be looking for Al-Anon meetings in your area. Your entire immediate family needs to find recovery.

The Russian and the Charmer

Monday, October 29th, 2012

It’s funny in a way how Israelis think of our leaders. As a young man, Bibi Netanyahu was thought of as a lady’s man, a charmer. He’s an excellent speaker, motivated, intimate. He gives you this feeling he is talking to you – and he can do it to a room of 20 people, 100 people, 1,000 people. As he did at the United Nations recently, he is a man that speaks from the hearts of many Israelis and you almost forget that it is his gift, to speak, to charm, to touch. The man is in his 60s; he’s a grandfather, and still there is this element of charm about him.

Avigdor Liberman moved to Israel in 1978. That’s 35 years ago – and still he is thought of as the Russian – more, he thinks of himself that way. His outlook on life is very much Russian and that’s how he runs his political party and his position as Foreign Minister. He is outspoken to say the least, and even, at times, a bit of an embarrassment because his concept of diplomacy involves a sledge hammer. Democracy is a concept to him; security a reality.

Both men are, above all else, pragmatic. They will defy logic and critics to shake up the political spectrum. Bibi has done it several times. A few months ago, polls guaranteed him a sure win if he called early elections. The announcements were made; dates were discussed and then, in the dead of night, he made a deal to unite with Kadima. No surprise to anyone, that deal fell apart rather quickly and Israel is once again on the path to elections.

And then another shocker – rather than make a post-election deal to have Yisrael Beitenu (Liberman’s party) join a coalition, the two men announced a joint ticket where the parties would run together. Israel was in an uproar – they had most definitely outmaneuvered the left. They had, to a degree, surprised the right wing as well.

As part of that agreement, Netanyahu announced that Liberman might even become Secretary of Defense. I did a quick Google search and found that Liberman had indeed done army service. I smiled when I saw he had been in Artillery, as Elie was. Liberman finished as a “Corporal” according to Google. That would make him, I think, a רב טוראי. By contrast, Elie finished the army two ranks above as a First Sergeant.

What qualifications could Liberman have to be Secretary of Defense? I asked Elie and his answer surprised me. I had considered the possibility of this man filling this position a joke – Elie was not nearly as pessimistic or surprised.

It was an analysis that I find myself agreeing with. No one thinks Liberman is stupid – far from it. What he is, is loud and decisive. He doesn’t care about diplomacy – he is most assuredly strong-willed. “If he threatens Iran,” Elie said, “the world is going to believe he’s crazy enough to follow through.”

While the world might doubt someone else, they will believe that an Israeli army under Liberman would be not only ready and able, but willing and even anxious to attack. That alone might really spur the world to stop Iran. And, added Elie, Bibi knows this.

Though I won’t vote for them – perhaps Bibi is right. He will, barring some major stupid action on his part, win the upcoming election. By taking in Liberman, he has sent a strong message to the left parties – they will have no place in the upcoming coalition. Not only will they remain in the opposition, they will be further weakened as Israelis, in reaction to many world events, turns just that much further to the right.

The left-wing will not join a government in which Liberman serves. Liberman once said, “The peace process is based on three false basic assumptions; that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main cause of instability in the Middle East, that the conflict is territorial and not ideological, and that the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders will end the conflict.”

The first of those has been proven again and again in the last year (Arab Spring). On the second and third point, it is something Israelis for the most part have accepted for a long time – but the world (media, Obama, etc.) still fail to understand.

But I liked Elie’s interpretation, liked even better his analysis. Avidgor Liberman is seen as the big ferocious, Russian bear – let the world be afraid. Let them think that Avigdor Liberman is a warmongering right wing fanatic that will lead us to war. Let them think it because in their fear, the nations of the world may react, they may stop a madman from carrying out his threat.

And, if they don’t stop him, if Israel will have to act to protect its citizens, perhaps the Russian and the Charmer make a good combination. Certainly better than anything Kadima, Labor, etc. has to offer. So, yalla – on to the elections.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

10,000 Pounds

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Staring out his window, Yakov tried ignoring the overwhelming sweep of emotions. He watched as the horses calmly grazed in the fields, oblivious to the deep hate brewing on each side of the farm. The audacity his brother has, Yakov shuddered thinking about it. Shaking his head he couldn’t think. Things hadn’t been easy since Father had died, he admit, but why now? After all the legal issues to deal with. After all the emotional pain. After watching their own mother wither away from the ache and void. But Levi couldn’t let it go.

He couldn’t let that child rivalry pass. Fighting over toys. Fighting over who sat where at the table. Why couldn’t it just disappear with the childish freckles? Why couldn’t they just move on, and start their lives all over again? Was it still about whose sandcastle stayed over night? Whose tower didn’t topple? Whose snowman didn’t melt? Somehow it still leads to those subconscious levels of hatred.

Silently Yakov had hoped it would stop, now that Father had died. Didn’t Levi realize it wasn’t a game? Can’t he see that this is real life now? But still, for Levi it was about whose side of the farm was better. It’s still about who can do it faster.

The glimmering blue water, shining in the sunlight. Biting his lip, Yakov couldn’t believe this immature gesture. Levi had built a lake. A lake to separate them – like a trap in Capture the Flag.

A lake! To separate their halves of the farm. Like the jump rope they had tied across their bedroom. Swallowing, Yakov couldn’t hold back anymore. Levi was no brother. This was not the way brothers acted. Years of this, and still it hadn’t stopped. He was tired of it, he decided.

Yakov watched as the muscled workers carried long wooden panels across, their sweat laminating in the sunlight. Ten thousand pounds of wood, the contractor explained. A couple of weeks and the wall would be up – a wall that would cut Levi off from Yakov’s side of the farm. He wouldn’t have to watch Levi’s children running through the meadows. He wouldn’t have to watch Levi come out every morning, content with life, while torturing his younger brother, just a couple of acres across the field.

Turning from the window, Yakov sat down to eat his breakfast, finally satisfied. All these years of tireless childish arguments would come to an end. A wall blocking his view of that half of the world. Blocking him off from the entire idea. Running away from the reality of facing the painful rendezvous.

Hours later, Yakov turned back to see his masterpiece. A forced smile was on his lips as he strutted towards the lake, and that’s when he saw it. There wasn’t a fifty foot wall, blocking every ray of sun from that side of the planet. It was just a thin bridge. One that went from one end of the lake to the other. Connecting his half to the other. Breaking the gap. Ending the problems.

Staring blankly Yakov didn’t understand, “I asked for a wall,” he yelled at the contractor, “To block that devil out of my life forever.”

Rummaging through his pockets, the contractor extended the blueprint, “It was the same ten thousand pounds of wood,” he explained.

Biting his lip, Yakov tried holding back his anger. He thought these useless games were over. But Levi would come back at him some other clever way. He would think of another childish prank to break off their ties once again. He took a deep breath, closing his eyes in defeat.

Scratching his head, he looked up at the contractor, “You’re going to need to take this down,” he demanded. “You’re going to have to build the wall I asked for.” Pausing he tried biting back his anger and then burst, “I don’t understand! You know I hate him!”

Shaking his head, the contractor whispered, barely audible, “It was the same amount of wood. It was the same effort.”

And then Yakov noticed, under the splash of the watercolor sunset, his brother’s shadow came closer and closer. Levi stood humbly in front of him, a slow smile creasing his face, “You did it, dear brother. You built a bridge.”

Israel Negotiating Acquisition of 4 Missile Boats from S. Korea

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

In a deal estimated at 400 million dollars, Israel’s Ministry of Defense is in the advanced stages of negotiations for the acquisition of four missile boats from South Korea. This deal, one of several large scale defense deals being carried out between Israel and this Asian country, is expected to repair the damage caused to the cooperation between the two countries after Israel’s purchase of training planes a few months ago from Italy rather than from South Korea, Maariv reported.

The deal was confirmed by a Korean source, while a source in the Israeli defense department told Maariv that several defense deals were being considered with South Korea, among them the acquisition of missile boats which would be built according to Israeli Navy specifications.

Over the past few months, the Israeli Navy has been exploring the possibility of acquiring updated missile boats from manufacturers all over the world. In the course of deliberations regarding the multi-year plan for equipping the Navy, there were demands for escalating the process in light of the new mission of protecting the off-shore gas drilling facilities in the Mediterranean.

Much tension existed between Israel and South Korea over the past few months. The Asian industrial giant was competing in a Defense Ministry tender for the purchase of 30 training planes by the Navy worth approximately one billion dollars. The two competitors for this tender were a South Korean and an Italian company. The Air Force considered the competition “very close” as both plane models were of high quality and suited the requirements of the Israeli Air Force.

Israel Authorizes Sale of Water Purification Tabs for Syria

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Israel’s Finance Ministry has authorized the sale of water purification tablets to Syria by Israel Chemicals.

According to a report by Israel21c, the availability of clean water is at an all-time low in Syria.  UNICEF turned to Israel to purchase Israel Chemicals’ AquaTabs water purification tablets, but Israeli law prohibiting companies from selling products to enemy countries stood in the way.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz personally signed off on the deal, saying the tablets are being sold to the UN, not to Syria.  Israel’s law forbidding companies from knowingly selling products that will benefit a hostile state without special authorization dates back to 1939

AquaTabs kill micro-organisms and are considered better water treatment than boiling.

EU Sanctions Against Iran Up for Increase, Sweden Objects

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Because of concern for scuttling a major telecommunications deal with Iran, Sweden will oppose any additional sanctions by the European Union against the country, according to a report in Haaretz.

An unnamed Israeli official said that due to a deal being brokered between Tehran and Sweden’s Ericsson telecom provider, Sweden will not support a toughening stance against the country which appears to be pursuing a nuclear weapon which it has insinuated it may use against Israel or the United States.  Ericsson also conducts business with China, a country which has raised international concerns over human rights abuses.

In October 2011, Bloomberg news reported that Ericsson enabled tracking of cell phone users to the Irancell phone provider, technology which was used by the Iranian government to track opposition leaders.

According to Haaretz, Sweden’s official position is that the only ones impacted by sanctions are Iranian civilians, and that the measures would not influence government policy.

Greece, Malta, and Cyprus have also opposed increased sanctions against Iran.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the UK, France, Italy, and Germany have all proposed a full trade embargo on Iran.

Sanctions to be discussed by EU members in Luxembourg on Monday include the banning of financial transactions and export of metals and graphite, as well as a total halt to the provision of ship building, oil storage technologies by European firms, and a boycott of Iranian natural gas.

Humanitarian and medical supplies, and food, would not be affected by sanctions.

The Iranian currency, the rial, has plummeted by two-thirds of its value against the dollar in the last several weeks.  Iran has announced its intention to implement austerity measures and reduce imports of non-essential goods.

The effective shutdown of the Iranian nuclear program due to sanctions has been a major goal of the United States.  Failure to shut down the program will likely lead to an Israeli military action against Iranian nuclear sites.

How Do You Answer Evil? Ten Years After the Bali Terror Bombing

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Today marks ten years since jihadist terrorists carried out a ghastly bombing attack on night club spots on the Indonesian island of Bali. The Kuta Beach massacre was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia: 202 people were killed that night. 164 were foreign nationals, 38 were Indonesian citizens. 209 people were injured.

Almost immediately after it happened on 12th October 2002, the then editorial team at the Melbourne (Australia) Herald-Sun newspaper contacted Arnold Roth. This was only a year after the death of the Roths’ daughter Malki. Arnold and Malki had both been born in Melbourne. The Herald-Sun requested a first-person response, an open letter to the families of the Indonesian attack victims.

Malki‘s death, like those of the Bali massacre victims, came at the hands of terrorists acting in the name of Islam. Arnold felt he had something to say and set everything else aside to quickly write an op-ed [background here].

He sent it off to the Herald-Sun. Then… silence. For reasons that have never been explained, his article never appeared in the pages of the Melbourne newspaper. The paper’s editor at that time never responded to several emails asking for an explanation.

Eventually, the Jerusalem Post picked it up and published it in the paper’s December 9, 2002 edition. Here are excerpts:

A letter to the families of the Kuta Beach victims 

By Arnold Roth, Jerusalem

I never felt more like a father than when taking the hand of my little daughter Malki and crossing the street with her. There is something so right and solid about being your child’s protector.

I never felt more wretched, frightened and alone than on the night the call came saying her body had been identified. My daughter was murdered by a deliberate act of explosive horror. I was not there to protect her.

If you’re asking what can be done, I want to offer this. When a young life ends, a huge empty space is left behind. How do you fill it? With hatred, thoughts of revenge, evening up the score? After our daughter’s death, we sat down as a family and asked ourselves how her life and actions should be remembered. We decided to raise money and give practical help to families raising a child with disabilities. Malki, a very practical teenager, did this herself and believed in it. It would have made her smile.

Perhaps it’s not politically correct to say this, but I believe evil does exist in the world – a great deal of it.

How do you answer evil? For us, the right response has been to do things which we hope will increase the stock of good in the world. We know this will have no impact on the barbarians who killed our children and loved ones. But we’re absolutely determined that they won’t be impacting us any more than they already have. They and their values are irrelevant to our lives.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/this-ongoing-war/how-do-you-answer-evil-ten-years-after-the-bali-terror-bombing/2012/10/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: