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Osama bin Laden was assassinated by U.S. Special Forces on May 1, 2011. Although media emphasis thus far has been focused almost entirely on the pertinent operational and political issues surrounding this "high value" killing, there are also important jurisprudential aspects to the case that require similar attention. Whether or not killing Osama was a genuinely purposeful assassination from a strategic perspective, a question that will be debated for years to come, we should now also inquire: Was it legal?
International law is not a suicide pact. This particular sentence should be very familiar to this column's readers. Every state facing plainly existential harms always has the right to defend itself beforebeing attacked. In the increasingly urgent matter of Israel and Iran, a subject on which I have been commenting for some time, any further delay in undertaking permissible acts of preemption could irrevocably doom the Jewish state.
I like this book. Very much. Terrorist Cop will be of interest to all Americans and Israelis who remain deeply concerned (as they should) about our continuing vulnerability to Jihadist terror attacks. It will be of even greater interest, moreover, to readers of The Jewish Press. After all, the author, now retired New York City homicide Detective First Grade Mordecai Dzikansky, spent his distinguished 25-year career as an NYPD "Jewish cop."
From the beginning, Israel has successfully managed to craft its overriding strategic doctrine apart from any specific U.S. expectations. To be sure, keeping its "bomb in the basement" has been at least partially a response to expressed American wishes. After all, any explicit end to nuclear ambiguity could have proven unacceptable to Washington. Still, all other core doctrinal considerations of nuclear force structure, basing, targeting and nuclear retaliatory thresholds have likely been fashioned, quite correctly, to suit only Israel.
Only a selective end to its nuclear ambiguity would allow Israel to exploit the potentially considerable benefits of a Samson Option. Should Israel choose to keep its Bomb in the "basement," therefore, it could not make any use of the Samson Option.
The Israeli policy of an undeclared nuclear capacity will not work indefinitely. Left unrevised, this policy will fail. The most obvious locus of failure would be Iran.
Credo quia absurdum. "I believe because it is absurd." It is a term that I have used often here in my weekly column, but never more meaningfully than today. Now, years after the international community first blathered vainly about Iranian intentions, Tehran marches unhindered to full and final nuclear weapons status
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already indicated approval of a Palestinian state, subject, however, to some codified and verifiable forms of "demilitarization." Leaving aside the inherent infeasibility of this declared contingency -no Palestinian leader will ever accept a condition of fundamentally abridged sovereignty - there is also an overriding and antecedent policy question: Can any form of diplomacy with the Palestinians, Fatah and/or Hamas, prove reasonable and productive? Although, on the surface, such a stark and cynical question may appear distinctly odd or foolish or even needlessly bellicose, there may in fact be no clear benefits for Israel to proceed diplomatically.
Following his early June speech delivered in Cairo, U.S. President Obama pretty much gave the final green light to Tehran. More precisely, with regard to ongoing Iranian nuclearization, the president signaled plainly that further economic sanctions, and not any defensive military action, were the only remaining option. In Jerusalem, one must presume, Prime Minister Netanyahu understood immediately the substantially changing drift of American foreign policy toward the Middle East. For Israel, therefore, a new plan for dealing with an unprecedented strategic menace would now be necessary. This plan would somehow have to be based on "living with Iran."
In some important respects, Iran is only a microcosm. Whatever happens next within that particularly troubled and troubling country, many of the deepest underlying problems and divisions will remain genuinely global.This is because revolution, despotism, war and terrorism are always generic issues in world politics. In the end - that is, civilizationally - they will need to be understood and confronted on a broadly international level.
To be sure, it's a theme that I have already pursued in this column on several occasions, but nonetheless one that still seems to warrant further emphasis and elucidation. We all seem to know what Jihadistterrorists are after, yet our pertinent U.S. foreign policies remain founded upon altogether contrary assumptions. The most obvious example of such confusion, perhaps, is this country's continuing support of Palestinian statehood, an outcome that would, prima facie, undermine America's war on terror.
Until now, the strategic issue of Israel's nuclear ambiguity - the so-called "bomb in the basement" - has been kept squarely on the back burner. Today, however, time is quickly running out for the Jewish State, and Israel's new/old prime minister absolutely must reconsider this burning issue. From the standpoint of urgency, of course, the immediate problem is Iran.
Israel has elected a new prime minister. From the start - and even before he begins to consider assorted specific issues for negotiation with other governments and organizations - he will have to determine whether any form of diplomacy is actually indicated. Although, on the surface, such advice may appear distinctly odd or foolish at best, there will be clear benefits to Israel of proceeding diplomatically only after first cultivating genuine understanding.
In figuring out the core weaknesses of our troubled financial markets, there is far more than meets the eye. On the surface, Wall Street's seemingly interminable wild ride is the obvious outcome of purely economic factors. Yet, at a deeper level, the problem of market weakness and volatility is not really fiscal, but human.
To be sure, it's a subject on which I have written here before, but an additional and generally unrecognized observation now deserves important mention.
Some years ago, following one of the devastating suicide bombings in which small Jewish children were blown to bits, prominent Palestinian columnist Fahd al-Rimawi - then writing with obvious approval of Nobel Peace laureate Yassir Arafat in Amman's al-Majd newspaper, gleefully celebrated the monstrous act of terror:
The recent Annapolis "peace" conference - and President Bush's subsequent visit to the Middle East - shows that where Israel is concerned, there is still nothing new under the sun. Once again, fundamental Israeli rights were shamelessly subordinated to the presumed rights of all others, including even of openly Arab defiant terrorists now conveniently disguised as an "Authority." Once again, it seems, Israel had been called upon to offer land for nothing.
Already from its imperiled beginnings in May 1948 - indeed, even before statehood - Israel has sought desperately to negotiate with its enemies. Always, always - it has preferred peace to war. Nonetheless, challenged by interminable Arab aggression and subversion, diplomacy has almost always failed Israel.
Repeatedly, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Chief Mohammed al-Baradei has urged Israel to accept nuclear disarmament and join a Middle East "nuclear-weapon-free zone." Although this official proposal sounds perfectly reasonable and even-handed in principle, it would, in fact, lead quickly to Israel's final demise. Still surrounded by states and terror groups openly committed to its annihilation, Israel must soon remind the world, that it has an absolutely fundamental right of self-preservation.
One would think, certainly by now, that foolish optimism about Iran should have been swept completely away. One would now assume, with altogether good reason, that Iran has absolutely no intention of abandoning its nuclear program, and that it does not display markedly genocidal stripes only for Islamic public consumption.
With mounting evidence that Hizbullah-fired rockets can cause Israel considerable damage, one point should stand out glaringly above all others: Under no circumstances should Iran be allowed to reach the stage at which it could launch nuclear weapons.
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