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April 30, 2016 / 22 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘deterrence’

Former Chief Scientist of Education Ministry: Cut off Gaza’s Power, Kill the Hamas Leadership

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Rocket Scientist Dr. Gabi Avital, formerly the chief scientist of the Education Ministry, Doctor of Aeronautical Engineering, who is running for a spot on the Likud list for the Knesset, spoke on Saturday night to a local Israeli radio station regarding the new barrage of rockets shot into Israel from Gaza, with four IDF soldiers hit while riding a jeep along the border. The interviewer, Shaul Cohen, asked if, with an angry public a million Israelis spending the night in bomb shelter, is the Netanyahu government isn’t performing now even worse than the Ehud Olmenrt government had done, facing a heating confrontation in Gaza.

Avital did not take the bait, saying earlier incidents, in Olmert’s day, were far more severe. Nevertheless, he stressed that it made no sense for a civilian population to remain under fire as hostages, in the name of the hope for some future negotiations for a compromise.

“The State of Israel must decide – no more terror. It’s true that this is an on-going war, but if a million people are held hostage, and the other side is allowed to shoot whenever they wish, with only minor retaliation, not the kind that would bring a resolution, this deems an examination.”

Dr. Avital said the Likud government, with, hopefully a different defense minister (the current minister, Ehud Barak, is loathed by the vast majority of Likud rank and file), must make good on commitments which were made in the past.”

Asked how he would deal with rocket barrages from the State of Gaza, Avital said, “We first must make the disengagement final. So far the disengagement has been one-sided. Israel continues to supply Gaza with energy: electricity, gasoline and consumer goods are still being trucked over. We must block all that permanently. If we are disengaged, then let’s be disengaged in both directions. And then we have to pick whatever targets must be exploded and destroyed in order that the citizens of Israel can live in security.”

The next phase in Dr. Avital’s plan is to “take out the heads of Hamas. Either kill them or take out Gaza as a whole, something totally dramatic.”

Asked to be specific, Avital said, “[We must tell them], if you keep the peace, you’ll get peace. Otherwise, your blood is on your own head, you, Hamas.”

But what should Israel do right now, after four IDF soldiers have been hit?

“I repeat, the reaction must be the annihilation of the heads of Hamas. Not the pawns, but [prime minister Ismail] Haniyeh and his people – the king and queen must go. This is why I insist that we must have a complete disengagement. The way we tried in the past to take out Arafat.”

Avital reminded the listeners of the last minute decision not to kill the late PLO chairman Yassir Arafat during the first Lebanon war, when he was already in the IDF’s crosshairs. “If we had killed him things would have looked much different,” Avital argued. “We would have prevented many deaths among Jews and Arabs alike.”

The interviewer asked if the killing of four Arabs, with 30 injured, last night was a sufficient response.

“I fail to understand the term ‘enough,'” Avital responded. “In my opinion it is forbidden to permit even one Israeli soldier or civilian to fall – and likewise on the other side. But right now we are not employing sufficient deterrence. What’s the meaning of ‘deterrence?’ the kind that would cause the other side to think a thousand times before they dare shoot. Right now they’re not thinking a thousand times – they just shoot. So they lost four men. What kind of game is this?”

How many Hamas heads must be killed tonight in retaliation for the shooting at out jeep? the interviewer wanted to know.

“Before we do that, we must complete the disengagement. First of all, we disconnect their electricity. No more electricity from Israel. No more Israeli goods. And we must pursue a similar attack to the one we launched against the Hizbollah in 2006, which was so harsh, they’re still keeping their heads down in fear. That would mean real deterrence. Today we don’t have real deterrence.”

Dr. Avital surmised that in the current government, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been unable to direct his Defense Minister Barak and the Chief of Staff Benny Ganz to launch a sufficiently massive attack on Gaza, suggesting the next government, with a different defense leadership, would do a better job.

Dr. Avital was fired from his post as Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Education following several statements that were met with severe criticism in the media. He objected to teaching the theory of Evolution without presenting students with the body of study objecting to the theory. He also objected to the notion that global warming was man made, and he also objected to recycling plastic bottles.

Dr. Avital is chairman of the organization of Professors for a Strong Israel.

Yori Yanover

Knesset Speaker Rivlin: Must Attack Iran, Can’t Keep Bluffing

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Knesset Speaker Reuven “Ruvi” Rivlin openly supported an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

In an interview with Makor Rishon this week Rivlin said, “If we don’t attack [Iran], we will lose our deterrence with our enemies. If Israel keeps threatening and threatening, but in the end doesn’t act, it will place us in a bad strategic position.”

Rivlin continued, “Israel’s deterrence capabilities are a strategic asset that has no equivalent.”

Rivlin then went on to attack specific individuals, such as Kadima head Shaul Mofaz, and the various former intelligence chiefs, condemnibg what he believes is their need to comment in real-time on the Iran situation, because otherwise they won’t be considered “in.”

A life-long conservative and member of the Likud party, Rivlin ran for president in 2007 as the Likud candidate. He withdrew after the first round of voting when it became clear that Shimon Peres had sufficiently broad support to win in a run-off.

This week, Rivlin, who may still has his on eye on the presidency, attacked President Shimon Peres as well, saying, “It bothers me less what the president said this week, than what his friends say, that the president is planning to return to politics. I recommend he just stick to playing with the polls.”

“I suggest to each one of our politicians and leaders to do some soul-searching,” the Speaker said. “Even if it was necessary to saturate the world with these critical issues, even if they used it the right way, it seems to me that too much politics is mixed in, which is not good. Even if you don’t mean it, you have to understand that sometimes when politics is mixed you can go into a tailspin.”

“Today in our politics we don’t know what it is right and what is left,” Rivlin said. “We don’t know who is an ideologue and who is willing to buy an ideological line if it serves them publicly. I mean, are we leading the public or are we being led by the public. Do we hear first what the public wants and then construct our position, or vice versa.”

“In the end,” Rivlin warned, the situation has deteriorated to the point where we flounder over serious, existential questions affecting the State of Israel.”

During his earlier term as speaker, Rivlin drew criticism for breaking the tradition of political neutrality of his post—he was one of Ariel Sharon’s harshest critics over the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, and had a public confrontation with Aharon Barak, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, concerning the court’s authority to declare legislation illegal. He has been re-elected to the post of speaker in 2006 and 2009.

In June of 2010, Rivlin ignored the advice of a committee that recommended the removal of Arab party Balad MK Haneen Zoabi for her participation in the Gaza flotilla earlier that year. He was criticized by many MKs—on the Right this time—while the Left praised Rivlin for his defense of Israel’s democracy.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Israel, Iran, And The Shiite Apocalypse (Second of Three Parts)

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

For Israel, and also its cross-pressured U.S. ally, there would be very difficult problems to solve if an enemy state such as Iran were permitted to go fully nuclear. These problems could lethally undermine the conceptually neat, but probably unrealistic, notion of balanced nuclear deterrence in the region.

The multi-fragmented Middle East could likely not sustain the sort of comforting equilibrium that once characterized U.S.-Soviet relations. For example, it would be hard to imagine such an area’s successful and long-term reliance upon MAD, or Mutual Assured Destruction.

Whether for reasons of miscalculation, accident, unauthorized capacity to fire, outright irrationality, or the presumed imperatives of jihad, an enemy state in this fevered neighborhood could sometime opt to launch a nuclear first-strike against Israel, in spite of Israel’s own obvious and forseeably secure nuclear capability. A Cold War “balance of terror” could not readily exist in the Middle East.

After absorbing any enemy nuclear aggression, Israel would certainly respond with a nuclear retaliatory strike. Though nothing is publicly known about Israel’s precise targeting doctrine, such a reprisal would almost certainly be launched against the aggressor’s capital city and/or similarly high-value urban targets. There would be no assurances, in response to this particular kind of authentically genocidal aggression, that Israel might limit itself to striking back against exclusively military targets.

But what if enemy first strikes were to involve “only” chemical, and/or “minor” biological weapons? In that case, Israel might still launch a presumptively proportionate nuclear reprisal, but this would depend largely upon Israel’s calculated expectations of follow-on aggression, and also on its associated determinations of comparative damage-limitation.

Should Israel absorb a massive conventional first strike, a nuclear retaliation could not be automatically ruled out. This argument is plausible if: (1) the aggressor were perceived to hold nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction in reserve; and/or (2) Israel’s leaders were to believe that non-nuclear retaliations could not prevent national annihilation.

Recognizing Israel’s exceptionally small size, its calculated threshold of existential harms could be considerably lower than Israel’s total physical devastation. In 2003, this precise judgment was contained in the Project Daniel final report, “Israel’s Strategic Future” (www.acpr.org.il/ENGLISH-NATIV/03-ISSUE/daniel-3.htm).

Facing imminent attacks, Israel, even if it had delayed launching defensive first strikes, could still decide to preempt enemy aggression with pertinent conventional forces. The targeted state’s response would then largely determine Israel’s subsequent moves. If this response were in any way nuclear, Israel would assuredly undertake prompt nuclear counter-retaliation. And if this enemy retaliation were to involve “only” chemical and/or biological weapons, Israel might still plan to undertake a quantum escalatory initiative.

This sort of initiative is known in military parlance as “escalation dominance.” It could be necessary, even indispensable, to Israel’s preservation of intra-war deterrence. Here we need to bear in mind that deterrence would not necessarily cease functioning upon the commencement of hostilities. It could, in fact, continue to play a very different, but still more or less productive role, during any ensuing conflict.

If an enemy state’s response to an Israeli preemption were limited to hard-target, conventional strikes, it is improbable that Israel would ever resort to nuclear counter-retaliation. But if the enemy state’s conventional retaliation were an all-out strike directed toward Israel’s civilian populations, as well as to Israeli military targets, an Israeli nuclear counter-retaliation could not be ruled out.

Such a counter-retaliation could be excluded only if the enemy state’s conventional retaliations were entirely proportionate to Israel’s preemption; confined entirely to Israeli military targets; circumscribed by the legal limits of “military necessity”; and accompanied by explicit and verifiable assurances of no further escalation.

It is almost inconceivable that Israel would ever decide to preempt any enemy state aggression with a defensive nuclear strike. While particular circumstances could arise where such a defensive strike would be completely rational, and also be entirely lawful according to the authoritative 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (which refused to prohibit certain residual resorts to nuclear weapons that are presumed essential to national survival), it is still implausible that Israel would ever permit itself to reach such distinctly all-or-nothing circumstances.

Also worth mentioning is that Israel remains pledged to a military doctrine of “purity of arms” and to incomparably strict compliance with humanitarian international law, especially the imperative minimization of collateral, or non-combatant, harm.

Louis Rene Beres

Ashlag Rebbe: Secular Youths Should Be Conscripted into Torah Study

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The Ashlag Rebbe, Rabbi Simcha Avraham Halevy’s weekly talk last Shabbat included some sharp comments on the social wedge issue of equality in shouldering the military burden in Israel and the attempts to conscript Haredi yeshiva students, the website Kikar HaShabbat reported.

The Ashlag Chasidic dynasty was founded by Rabbi Yehuda Leib Halevy Ashlag from Warsaw, Poland. While most Chasidic dynasties are named after their town of origin, this one is known by the surname of its rebbes.

The Ashlag Rebbe said: “Unfortunately we have recently begun to hear about malicious plans of regime leaders here in our Holy Land, to stick their paws in the sacred halls of the yeshivas, with vain claims about equal burden and responsibility, in order to enlist the yeshiva students for military service – this will not be.”

He added: “The stupidity of their hearts keeps them from seeing and understanding that the men of Israel who prefer sitting on yeshiva benches even though there are opportunities open before them to earn a good living and become rich thanks to their intelligence – and yet they prefer to kill themselves in her tent of Torah, sacrificing themselves many hours each day. Those who leave behind them the vanities of this world – they are the real defenders of the nation of Israel in the land of Israel …”

The Ashlag Rebbe addressed the issue of inequality in sharing the burden, and argued that inequality is caused by the secular Jews  who do not study Torah and do not keep the commandments: “Regarding the claim of not shouldering the burden and the problem with equality, we call on our erring brethren who do not labor to learn Torah and do not obey the commandments: Come share the burden of learning Torah with devotion, for the sake of the nation of Israel.”

He also said, “The nation of Israel did not survive our brutal history by the deterrence of the IDF, nor by the might of the State of Israel, but by the merit of the study of Torah.”

Finally, the Ashlag Rebbe suggested penalties for anyone who dares dodge the obligation to study Torah and keep the mitzvot.

 

Jewish Press Staff

General Salami Warns Enemies’ Interests “Within Range” of Iran’s Missiles

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Mehr quotes the deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) who said that Iran’s enemies’ strategic interests in the region are within the range of Iranian missiles.

“In our strategic planning, we have defined a radius named the radius of deterrence, which includes all strategic interests of the enemy in the region, so that we can manage the battle at any level in case of the outbreak of war,” Brigadier General Hossein Salami said during a televised interview broadcast live on Iranian television on Saturday.

Salami said that the IRGC is capable of destroying the enemy’s moving military targets using its domestically produced ballistic missiles.

According to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Iran’s newest missile has a range of at least 1,200 miles, which would include Israel, as well as and Iraq and the 134,000 U.S. troops stationed there. The radius also includes U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey, all of them Sunni Arab-dominated countries that are rivals of Shiite Iran.

In May, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned of a new regional “arms race.”

“I say with certainty that we are able to hit all moving targets using ballistic missiles which follow a curved path, travel several times faster than sound after entering the atmosphere, and can hardly be tracked and destroyed,” Salami said.

In addition, he said that the Naval Force of the IRGC has been equipped with cruise missiles which are radar-evading and enjoy advanced capabilities in terms of range, precision, and maneuverability.

Jewish Press Staff

Rationality, Irrationality, And Madness Core Enemy Differences For Israeli Nuclear Deterrence (First of Three Parts)

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Over the years, in several of my columns in The Jewish Press, I have examined the critical bases of Israeli nuclear deterrence. Recently, in consequence of the growing threat of Iranian nuclearization, increasing attention has been directed toward pertinent issues of enemy rationality. With this in mind, the following three-part column will seek to explain the impact of “irrationality” on Israel’s deterrence posture, and also the vital differences between prospective Iranian irrationality and “madness.”

For all states in world politics, successful strategies of deterrence require assumptions of enemy rationality. In the absence of rationality – that is, in those relatively rare or residual circumstances where an enemy country would rank certain values or preferences more highly than staying alive as a nation – deterrence could fail. In those potentially more serious situations involving nuclear deterrence, the direct consequences of any such failure could be catastrophic, stark, and even unprecedented.

Significantly, irrationality is not the same as “crazy” or “mad.” An irrational enemy leadership would still have a distinct and identifiable hierarchy of preferences, albeit one in which national survival does not always rank at the top. In more technical terms, analysts would say that these irrational state actors still have an order of preferences that is “consistent” and “transitive.”

A “crazy” or “mad” leadership, however, would have no discernible order of preferences; its actions, for the most part, would be random and unpredictable. It goes without saying that facing a mad adversary in world politics is worse than facing a merely irrational adversary. In different terms, although it might still be possible and purposeful to try to deter an irrational enemy, there would be little point to seeking deterrence against a mad one.

“Do you know what it means to find yourselves face to face with a madman?” asks Luigi Pirandello’s Henry IV. “Madmen, lucky folk, construct without logic, or rather with a logic that flies like a feather.”

What is true for individuals is sometimes also true for states. In the sometimes-unpredictable theater of modern world politics, a drama that often bristles with genuine absurdity, decisions that rest upon ordinary logic can quickly crumble before madness. Dangers may reach the most portentous level when madness and a nuclear weapons capability come together.

Enter Israel and Iran. Soon, because not a single responsible member of the international community has demonstrated a determinable willingness to undertake appropriately preemptive action (“anticipatory self-defense,” in the formal language of law), the Jewish state may have to face an expressly genocidal Iranian nuclear adversary. Although improbable, a potentially suicidal enemy state in Iran, one animated by graphically precise visions of a Shiite apocalypse, cannot be dismissed out of hand.

Iran’s current leadership, and possibly even a successor reformist government in Tehran, could, at some point, choose to value Israel’s physical destruction more highly than even its own physical survival. Should this happen, the play would almost certainly end badly for all actors. In theatrical terms, exeunt omnes.

Nonetheless, Israel’s ultimate source of national security must lie in sustained nuclear deterrence. Although still implicit or ambiguous, and not yet open or disclosed, this Israeli bomb in the basement could crumble before madness.

Though the logic of deterrence has always rested upon an assumption of rationality, history reveals the persistent fragility of any such understanding. We already know all too well that nations can sometimes behave in ways that are consciously, and even conspicuously, self-destructive.

Sometimes, mirroring the infrequent but decisively unpredictable behavior of individual human beings, national leaders can choose to assign the very highest value to certain preferences other than collective self-preservation – a Gotterdammerung scenario.

For the moment, no single Arab or Iranian adversary of Israel would appear to be authentically irrational or mad. Harsh enemy rhetoric notwithstanding, no current adversary appears ready to launch a major first strike against Israel using weapons of mass destruction, due to the expectation that it would thereby elicit a devastating reprisal.

Of course, miscalculations and errors in information could still lead a perfectly rational enemy state to strike first, but this decision, by definition, would not be the outcome of irrationality or madness. In strategic thinking, judgments of rationality and irrationality are always based upon prior intent.

Certain enemy states, most likely Iran, could one day decide that excising the “Jewish cancer” or the “enemies of Allah” from the Middle East would be worth the most staggering costs. In principle, at least, this genocidal prospect could still be avoided by Israel using pertinent “hard target” preemptions. Increasingly, however, any such once-reasonable expressions of anticipatory self-defense are now difficult or impossible to imagine. Operationally, a successful preemption is now almost certainly too late.

All pertinent Iranian nuclear assets have likely been deeply hardened, widely dispersed, and substantially multiplied. For Israel, there would also be considerable political costs to any preemption. A preemptive attack, even one that becomes an operational failure, would elicit overwhelming public and diplomatic condemnation.

Louis Rene Beres

Alan Dershowitz: Why Deterrence Won’t Work Against Iran

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Following President Obama’s strong renunciation of “containment” and his expression of willingness to use military force as a last resort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, some on the left continue to oppose any threat to use the military option. Leading this approach is Fareed Zakaria, who recently on his CNN program, characterized the Obama policy as “a serious error,” and called instead for a “robust policy of containment and deterrence.”

But the policy that Zakaria is proposing is anything but robust. To the contrary, it is a call for inaction. It presumed that Iran will be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, but that they will be deterred from actually using them by the threat of nuclear retaliation. Zakaria points to the fact that deterrence succeeded in preventing war between the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as between India and Pakistan. He claims that each side was effectively deterred by the threat of mutually assured destruction. He says it will work equally well with Iran.

Let us pause for a moment to understand precisely what a policy of deterrence entails. Any such policy is based on the promise that if one side launches a nuclear attack, the other side will retaliate with an equally devastating nuclear attack, thus assuring the destruction of both societies and the deaths of millions of innocent civilians. The first question therefore is whether the United States would actually be willing to retaliate against a nuclear attack on Israel by dropping nuclear bombs on Tehran, killing millions of its civilian inhabitants. The second question is whether any civilized country—the United States or Israel—should be willing to kill millions of Iranian civilians because their leaders made a decision to use nuclear weapons against Israel or the United States. The third question—and the one never asked by advocates of deterrence—is whether it would be legal, under the laws of war, to target millions of civilians in a retaliatory nuclear attack. These are the kinds of questions that Fareed Zakaria and his dovish colleagues refuse to ask. And the reason they refuse to ask these hard questions is precisely because we know the answers they would give: They would be categorically opposed to any retaliatory attack that targeted civilians in a tit-for-tat implementation of a mutually assured destruction policy of deterrence. If you don’t believe me, ask him!

As to the legality of nuclear deterrence, the International Court of Justice issued a decision in 1996, in a case challenging the lawfulness of using, or threatening to use, nuclear weapons. The majority decision declined “to pronounce…on the practice known as ‘the policy of deterrence’.” It did rule unanimously, however, that any “threat or use of nuclear weapons” must “be compatible with the requirements of the international law applicable in armed conflict, particularly those of the principles and rules of international humanitarian law…” These rules, of course, generally forbid the targeting of civilian population centers and require proportionality even in the bombing of military targets. Since nuclear weapons are, by their nature, virtually incapable of destroying military targets without also inflicting countless civilian casualties, it would seem to follow that they could not be used except against remote military targets, such as ships and submarines on the high seas, or armies in isolated deserts or mountains. In a divided vote, the court ruled that:

“the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict…”

“However, in view of the current state of international law, and of the elements of fact at its disposal, the Court cannot conclude definitively whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defence in which the very survival of a State would be at stake.”

In other words, it would be unlawful for the United States to threaten or use nuclear weapons as a deterrent, since its “very survival” would not be at stake, but it might be lawful for Israel to do so because it is a small state whose very survival would, in fact, be at stake were it to be attacked by nuclear weapons.

Menachem Begin, the Israeli Prime Minister who ordered the preventive attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, expressly renounced mutually assured destruction as a policy. He said that Israeli “morality” would never permit a retaliatory attack against an Iraqi city: “The children of Baghdad are not our enemy.”

A preventive attack, on the other hand, is always directed against a military target. Only one person—a nuclear technician—was killed in the attack Begin authorized.

It would appear to be ironic that Zakaria, and others who purport to be “doves”, would favor a mutually assured destruction policy that threatens the deaths of millions, over a preventive policy that targets military nuclear facilities. But it is not at all ironic, since such doves would be against actually carrying out the threat that is central to any credible policy of deterrence. For them, deterrence is a bluff—a hollow threat and the Iranians would see right through it.

That’s why President Obama is correct in renouncing containment and insisting that he isn’t bluffing when he says Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, even if it takes a surgical military strike to stop them. I am not here arguing in favor of a preventive attack on Iran at this time. I am arguing against reliance on a policy of deterrence and containment, because I don’t believe it will work in relation to Iran, Israel and the United States.

What if deterrence and containment didn’t work, and Iran were to fire nuclear rockets at Israeli cities? Those who now advocate robust deterrence—instead of surgical prevention—would simply say to the remaining Israelis: “Woops. We were wrong. Sorry. We’ll build you a new Holocaust Museum.”

Originally published by Stonegate Institute www.stonegateinstitute.org

Alan M. Dershowitz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/alan-dershowitz-why-deterrence-wont-work-against-iran/2012/03/21/

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