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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘hizb’allah’

Will Obama Make Israel “an Offer it Can’t Refuse”?

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

There is a report making the rounds that unnamed “Israeli sources” claim that Barack Obama will shortly “demand a timetable for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank,” presumably in return for the U.S. dealing with Iran. A 2014 deadline to establish a Palestinian state is mentioned.

Things like this surface all the time, and mostly they are simply nonsense. It is irresponsible for a journalist, or even a blogger, to publish what is essentially a rumor based on a single report which does not even include a source.

And yet…

There are certainly people in the White House who would think this is a good idea. Everyone knows, they would say, that only details prevent a two-state solution, and the main obstacle to moving forward is right-wing influence on the Israeli Prime Minister. Here’s an opportunity, they are saying, let’s take it.

The simple reason that there can be no two-state solution is that it entails the acceptance by the Palestinians of the continued existence of the Jewish state west of the Green Line, and that contradicts the essence of the Palestinian national project. Indeed, one could — I would — go so far as to say that Arabs who would accept a peaceful state alongside Israel as a permanent goal could not properly be called ‘Palestinians,’ since the very definition of a ‘Palestinian people’ negates Zionism (but perhaps I digress).

Dennis Ross, who knows as much about ‘peace processing’ as anyone, recently put forward a 14-point plan to bring about a two-state solution. It illustrates two things: one, that Ross possesses a paradoxical combination of intelligence, experience and the inability to see his nose in front of his face; and two, that the concessions it would require from the Palestinians are, as I said above, unthinkable.

Regardless, while a ‘solution’ — that is, an agreement that ends the conflict — is impossible, a coerced Israeli withdrawal in the context of an agreement that pretends to end the conflict is possible. And that is the danger.

Whether those who would like to force a withdrawal cynically understand that it would be disastrous for Israel’s security and don’t care (or welcome such a disaster), or whether they actually believe it would be a step toward peace is not important. What is important is that they might be able to sell the idea to a public — particularly liberal Jews — that to a great extent continues to believe in the two-state idea. And if they don’t object strongly enough, how could it be stopped?

The confirmation of Chuck Hagel, and particularly the collapse of Sen. Charles Schumer should be instructive. When push comes to shove, today’s liberals — even “strong supporters of Israel” like Schumer are Obama supporters first.

There is another aspect of the situation. That is that the combination of a blow against Iran with a blow against Israel would be a win-win for Sunni Muslim interests in the Middle East: the Saudis, the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey would all like to see Iran defanged and Israel weakened vis-a-vis the Palestinians. Interestingly, Islamist Turkey, the Brotherhood and the Saudis seem to be the people that President Obama finds the most congenial in the region.

Everything seems to be lining up to their advantage. Israel withdraws, the U.S. bombs Iran, Hizballah responds by attacking Israel. Sunni forces, in particular those supported by Turkey, take advantage of the chaos (and the preoccupation of Hizballah) to finish off Assad and take control of Syria. Although the U.S. will support the Palestinian Authority for a time, Hamas — don’t forget, it is the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood — will soon get control of Judea and Samaria one way or another.

There are other unpleasant possibilities — U.S.-led U.N. or NATO troops in Judea/Samaria to ‘protect’ the peace agreement, which will end up protecting Palestinian terrorists against Israel, even the possibility of the IDF and Americans shooting at each other. Sound impossible? Chuck Hagel thought it was a good idea, as did Samantha Power, Obama’s “Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council.

Have We Been Overlooking Southern Lebanon?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

It’s relatively quiet on Israel’s Lebanon border for the moment and a good time to pay attention to the things going on their that don’t get reported outside of Israel.

Things like this matter of explosions in rural villages that have the grim misfortune of being occupied by the Hizbullah terrorist forces.

In the early morning of 17 December, a loud explosion was heard in the town of Tair Harfa in southern Lebanon… 2.5 kilometers from the Israeli border. Lebanese media did not report any injuries, and this was confirmed by the mayor of Tair Harfa…

The explosion occurred in a munitions depot belonging to Hizbullah. The building where the munitions were stored is located on the outskirts of the town near residential dwellings. There is a school about 300 meters from the munitions depot.

Immediately following the explosion, dozens of Hizbullah men sealed off the area and proceeded to erase all evidence of the incident, flattening the warehouse and removing what was left of the arms and explosives that had been stored there.

UNIFIL soldiers arrived in the area, but access to the actual site of the blast was blocked by Hizbullah. Lebanese army soldiers were also denied access to the site. This is the fourth explosion that has occurred in the last few years in Hizbullah munitions depots in South Lebanon…

UN Security Council Resolution 1701… calls for the disarmament of the Hizbullah and prohibits the storage of arms near the border with Israel. The Hizbullah’s military network in southern Lebanon includes munitions depots as well as military outposts. Most of the military infrastructure is located in populated areas, in dozens of Shiite villages in the south

The arms, missiles and explosives are stored near residential homes and other civilian buildings such as schools and mosques. Hizbullah is endangering innocent Lebanese civilians, in order to conceal its military activity in southern Lebanon, in direct contravention of UN Resolution 1701.[more]

Experience tells us no one in the international news media is going to pay any attention to yet another series of Arab-on-Arab attacks. They will rouse themselves only when Hizbullah’s well-entrenched and armed-up-the-wazoo irregulars open fire on Israel villages, towns and cities whereupon Israel will hit back.

The presence of Iran-funded and Iran-inspired Hizbullah is hardly new. A bevy of UN conventions, multilateral agreements and Lebanese undertakings mean nothing if we are thinking of disarmament and supervision (the UN’s soldiers are told by the Hizbullah that they can’t look in – and no one does anything about it).

When Hizbullah decides it’s time to open fire, there will be war, and Israel – which cannot absorb the mass damage that will follow from the firing of even parts of the vast Hizbullah arsenal of south-pointing rockets (an astounding 50,000 of them, according to a report this week) will have no military or political option other than to deliver devastation to the places from which Hizbullah is firing.

Israel’s preoccupation with the existential threat that Hizbullah poses is not widely shared in Europe. Here’s an extract from a long analysis published in the New York Times this past August:

Washington and Jerusalem insist that Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed terrorist organization with bloody hands, and that it is working closely with Tehran to train, arm and finance the Syrian military’s lethal repression of the uprising there.

Yet, the European Union continues to treat it foremost as a Lebanese political and social movement… Israeli and American officials have attributed the Bulgarian bus bombing [July 2012] that killed six people, including five Israeli tourists, to Hezbollah and Iran…

While the group is believed to operate all over the Continent, Germany is a center of activity, with 950 members and supporters last year, up from 900 in 2010 [according to] Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said in its annual threat report…

Hezbollah has maintained a low profile in Europe since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, quietly holding meetings and raising money that goes to Lebanon, where officials use it for an array of activities — building schools and clinics, delivering social services and, Western intelligence agencies say, carrying out terrorist attacks. European security services keep tabs on the group’s political supporters, but experts say they are ineffective when it comes to tracking the sleeper cells that pose the most danger…

Israel Should Pre-empt Hizbollah Now

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

As Israel comes closer to a confrontation with Iran, we should note that Iran’s primary strategy is unlikely to be direct conflict with Israel. Iran’s air and missile forces, despite their bragging, are not sufficiently well-developed to support such a conflict.

Instead, I expect that they will depend on their main proxy, Hizbollah. Hizbollah can be expected to attack with its considerable missile forces and even to attempt ground incursions into Israeli territory. At the same time, Iran will try to leverage Western fears of terrorism and oil-supply disruption into pressure on Israel; so we can also expect to see terrorist attacks against Western targets.

The difficulty of destroying or seriously damaging Iran’s nuclear capability is much-discussed, but I think the neutralization of Hizbollah will also be a major task, and one of more immediate importance. In the short term, the number of Israeli casualties and the amount of damage to the home front in a conflict with Iran will be proportional to the time it takes the IDF to end Hizbollah’s ability to fight.

Hizbollah is also an essential component of Iran’s long-term strategy, whether or not she succeeds in building a bomb. A nuclear Iran is more likely to pursue her interests in the region by threats and low-intensity conventional conflict under a nuclear umbrella than by actual use of atomic weapons, which would expose her to devastating retaliation.

In 2006, the Bush Administration gave Israel a month to finish Hizbollah. Israel did not make use of the opportunity because of the incompetence of the government and top military commanders, complacency, lack of planning, poor intelligence, etc. I believe that these problems have been fixed to a great extent.

Although one might expect Obama to be less cooperative, it’s possible that the administration’s closeness with conservative Sunni interests — primarily Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or even Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood — which are natural enemies of Hizbollah, might lead it to wait before lowering the boom.

On the other hand, if Hizbollah terrorists are car-bombing buildings in New York, Los Angeles or Washington, there will be enormous pressure on Israel to end the conflict (yes, it’s irrational, but we’ve seen this response before). I don’t think that Israel can count on getting a month this time.

If I were an Israeli planner I would think about a preemptive attack on Hizbollah — separately from and before attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities, for the following reasons:

*Hizbollah is the most immediate threat to Israel;
*Hizbollah will be Iran’s major weapon of retaliation if Israel strikes Iran;
*By not attacking Iran, Israel does not give the regime an excuse to disrupt oil supplies;
*The IDF can concentrate on defeating Hizballah;
*It’s always better to initiate than to respond; and
*The chaos in Syria makes it easier to isolate Hizballah from its source of supply and keeps the Syrian military too busy to intervene.

I would stress the importance of a short campaign, which will probably mean the use of massive force. Hizbollah is very well dug-in in southern Lebanon, and an operation aborted by international pressure could be disastrous.

If Israel can be successful in removing Hizbollah from the equation, Iran will be greatly weakened, Israel’s security and posture of deterrence will be strengthened, and the chances for future military action (or even diplomacy) to keep Iran from getting the bomb will improve.

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Sic Transit Gloria Mundi: Thus Passes the Glory of the World

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

In the past, the United States was the “glory of the world”, mainly after it came to the aid of Europe in the Second World War, the victory over Germany and Japan in 1945, and the American success in establishing a democratic state in South Korea (1953) following the war against the communists, who were allied with China and the USSR. However, the glory of the U.S. has faded during the last generation. Historians point to Vietnam as the beginning of the process of decline; the war lasted 16 years (1959-1975), cost the lives of almost 60,000 American soldiers and ended in a disastrous American rout and Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, falling to the Vietcong, the militia of communist North Vietnam.

The Vietnam War left parts of American society with a lack of will to fight for the values of freedom and democracy, especially if it’s a question of fighting in countries outside of the U.S. The U.S. military took part in several wars since 1975, but in the Middle East its performances were not always satisfactory. As a result of this, the military strength of the U.S. does not make much of an impression in the Arab and Islamic world, and even back in September of 1970 the terrorists of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine did not hesitate to hijack American and British jets to Jordan and blow them up for all the world to see.

In 1973 the American ambassador, his deputy and the deputy ambassador of Belgium were kidnapped in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan by the Palestinian organization “Black September,” and were executed on the personally telephoned orders of Yasir Arafat. Despite the fact that the Americans recorded the discussion and knew all of the details in real-time, the humiliation by the terrorist silenced them and Arafat subsequently became (with the help of a few bleeding-heart Israelis who were taken in by his charisma and his lies) a “darling of the peace groupies.” He mocked the Americans, fooled them without blinking an eye, and they believed him.

The Iranian audacity towards the U.S. knows no bounds: In October 2011, Iran attempted to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, no less than the capital of the U.S. The Iranians have no problem calling the U.S. “the Great Satan,” which has only one meaning: that holy war must be waged against the U.S. – a jihad for the sake of Allah, which will only end with the destruction of the U.S. government and the conversion of its citizens to Shi’ite Islam.

In April 1983 Hizb’Allah – the long arm of Iran in Lebanon – blew up the U.S. embassy in another breach of its sovereignty and killed 63 people. In October of that same year, Hizb’allah demolished Marine headquarters in Beirut killing 241 American soldiers and citizens. The American reaction was to flee from Lebanon, which very much encouraged Hizb’Allah and its patrons in Iran and Syria, and caused the United States to appear as a country without a backbone. A month before this, in March of 1983, Hizb’Allah attacked the U.S. embassy in Kuwait, and in June, 1985 Hizb’Allah organized the hijacking of an American passenger jet of TWA. In June, 1996 Hizb’Allah carried out an attack on an American military base in Saudi Arabia. All of these attacks, carried out by Shi’ite Hizb’Allah with Iranian inspiration, were left unanswered by the Americans.

Qadhaffi’s Libya also contributed its part to aggression against the U.S. with the attack on the disco in Berlin where a number of American soldiers were killed as they were enjoying a night out in 1986. The aggression was answered with an attack on Qadhaffi’s palace, and although his adopted daughter was killed, he did not stand down: In 1988, he organized a revenge attack on a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing almost 300 people. What was his punishment? Nothing, until 2011, when the United States was dragged into attacking Libya, almost reluctantly.

On the Sunni side of the Islamic equation, they saw the American weakness toward Iran and Hizb’Allah, and also decided to increase the pressure on the U.S.: in August, 1990, Saddam Hussein disregarded U.S. warnings and invaded Kuwait, one of the West’s main suppliers of oil, claiming that Kuwait is a province of Iraq. The West was outraged, and led by the U.S., in January, 1991, it entered a war that successfully liberated Kuwait, but did not liberate Iraq and the world from Saddam Hussein. This war caused the detractors of the U.S. to draw two conclusions: One is that the West goes out to war not for idealism but rather for interests, and in the case of Kuwait, oil was the causative factor. The second conclusion is that the West is afraid of causing regime change, no matter how bad the regime may be, because of the fear that the successor will be even worse. However, in this war there was an additional American failure. There were Americans, perhaps CIA operatives, who hinted to the Shi’ites in Southern Iraq that if they rebel against Saddam, the U.S. will support them and overthrow him. In March 1991 the Shi’ite rebellion against Saddam (who had been vanquished in Kuwait) began, but he put down the rebellion with great cruelty, costing the lives of tens of thousands of Shi’ites, and the U.S. did not lift a finger. The effect of the American betrayal of the Shi’ites of Iraq at that time continues until today to influence the way the Shi’ites in Iraq relate to the U.S.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/dr-mordechai-kedar/sic-transit-gloria-mundi-thus-passes-the-glory-of-the-world/2012/09/23/

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