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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘military’

Egypt in Dire Straits

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Ever since Mubarak was forced to resign in February 2011, a sense of a new dawn has swept over Egypt. Grand words and phrases such as “democracy,” “civil rights,” “freedom” and “state of institutions” have become the focus of political discourse, because of the sense that all of those fine characteristics of democracy have finally come to Egypt. As citizens of a state that has been treading on the path of independence and sovereignty for more than two hundred years, the Egyptians have been waiting for their turn to board the democracy train and enjoy its advantages, which many other peoples have been doing, among them peoples who have overthrown dictators and won their freedom only a few years ago, like the peoples of Eastern Europe.

For the first time in the history of modern Egypt, true, not rigged, elections were held for parliament and the presidency, and for the first time the people of Egypt saw how their sweet dream to be a state of its citizens is coming true, a state of constitution and law, of law and order, not the state of a dictator and his sons where every decision is an expression of the personal interest of someone who no one knows when – if at all – his autocratic rule will come to an end. The immediate expression of these hopes was supposed to be an upgrade to the Egyptian economy and an increase of per capita income. In a country where tens of millions live in unplanned neighborhoods, without running water, sewage, electricity or telephone, economic welfare is a matter of existential importance, and without it, life is too much like death.

But the greater the hope, the greater the disappointment. Almost two years have passed since the beginning of the “Spring” and Egypt only continues to slide down the slippery, dangerous slope into the swamp of political, civil, constitutional, and administrative problems, with almost no control of how things develop as they bring Egypt closer to the brink. The paralysis that has taken hold of the government is an obstacle to any progress in the wording of the new constitution, which was supposed to give the country a set of consensual and binding rules of the political game, and the rage over the lack of these rules drives many Egyptians out of their minds.

The elected president, Muhammad Morsi, a representative of the long-standing and well-known Muslim Brotherhood movement, at first enjoyed much credit from the public at large, but is now perceived in these troubled times  as the new dictator, after issuing a few “constitutional declarations” which grant him broad powers over other governmental agencies, particularly the legal system.

Morsi dismissed the attorney general, despite the claim that he had no authority to do so. According to Morsi’s “declarations,” his decisions are not subject to legal review, not even by the high court. Many Egyptians – even those who believed in him, supported him and voted for him – now feel that two years ago they managed to overthrow a military dictator and in his place they got a religious dictator.

In the summer, when Morsi dismissed Field Marshall Tantawi and other military commanders, his prestige increased in the eyes of most of the citizens of the country because this step was interpreted as the end of the rule of officers and the beginning of civilian rule.  Even the cruelty of the military in breaking up the demonstrations against him added to Morsi’s popularity, since he was seen as an opposing force to the military. However, he quickly lost a significant portion of the public credit because he failed to reconvene the parliament after it had been dispersed by the high court and because he did not convene the committee for drafting the constitution.

Morsi’s public struggle with the legal guild arouses the anger of opponents and supporters alike: his opponents rage over his attempts to control the legal system, which is supposed to be free, professional and without political bias, and his supporters are angry because he has not controlled this elite, professional class, which is not elected, but imposes its agenda on the state.

With the military, Morsi succeeded in avoiding conflict, but this is because he does not dare touch the economic monopolies from which the military makes a very good livelihood. The reason that Morsi did not take over the assets of the military is because he needs loans from the deep pockets that the military controls without oversight of the office of treasury or the tax authority.

Military Courts Chief to Consider Imposing Israeli Law in Judea and Samaria

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

President of the military court in the West Bank Colonel Aharon Mishnayot says he will promote an initiative to apply Israeli Penal Law in Judea and Samaria, where military security laws and Jordanian criminal law have been in effect since 1967, Haaretz reports this morning.

Since the Israeli occupation of Judea and Samaria is still considered temporary, the Jordanian penal code is still the law of the land, together with some 1700 military orders that have been added over the years. Nevertheless, court procedure and the rules of evidence are followed as they are in Israel, based on a military order to that effect.

Security laws are by far more stringent in Judea and Samaria than they are in Israel, in order to cope with terrorism-based felonies. For instance, murder is punishable by death in Judea and Samaria (the law was never implemented), compared to life in prison in Israel. Attempted murder gets life imprisonment compared to 20 years in Israel. On the other hand, Jordanian law does not punish a man who rapes his wife. The two codes also differ on the rights of detainees and on detaining and interrogating minors.

Pointing out that Colonel Mishnayot is a resident of Efrat, in Judea, Haaretz reports that recently, as chief of the military courts across the green line, he has been promoting the idea of legal reform that would apply the full Israeli Penal Law in the territories under his jurisdiction.

Mishnayot is careful to emphasize that his aim is not to introduce a de facto annexation of Judea and Samaria, but to put an end to instances of injustice stemming from the differences between the codes which often contradict each. He proposes to use a military decree to impose Israeli law in the “territories,” a factor which would be a barrier before an unwanted slippery slope toward annexation.

Haaretz notes that Israeli law already applies in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, and new laws enacted in Israeli are automatically applicable in those areas. Israelis who commit felonies in J&S are tried in Israeli courts according to Israeli law.

Real estate law, on the other hand, is a true legal nightmare currently, being comprised of a seemingly random hodgepodge of Turkish, British, Jordanian, military and Israeli laws, a fact which on occasion is being used by forces hostile to Jewish settlement in the area to annul legal transaction and uproot legal residents.

The IDF spokesman’s office pointed out that the decision on Mishnayot’s proposal will be made in time by those in charge of legal issues in the area.

Nobel Laureates, Notables Say Military Tie with Israel “Unconscionable”, Call for Boycott

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

A group of Nobel peace prize-winners, artists and activists are calling for a military boycott of Israel following the recent attempt by the Jewish state to protect its citizens in the south from rocket barrages from Gaza.

In a letter signed by 52 prominent figures, including Nobel Prize winners Nelson Mandela, Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Perez, Pink Floyd performer Roger Waters, movie directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach and others, the group called the US, EU, and other countries “complicit” in the death of Palestinians in Gaza due to their purchase and sale of weapons to Israel.

An article by England’s Guardian newspaper quotes the letter as saying:

“Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel’s decades-old violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel,” the letter says.

“While the United States has been the largest sponsor of Israel, supplying billions of dollars of advanced military hardware every year, the role of the European Union must not go unnoticed, in particular its hefty subsidies to Israel’s military complex through its research programmes.”

The letter calls Brazilian, Indian, and South Korean military ties “unconscionable given their nominal support for Palestinian freedom”.

India May Scrap US Military Deal in Favor of Israeli One

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

India’s army may opt to conduct a $1 billion military defense contract with Israel rather than the United States, showcasing the increasingly strong competition between the two countries in providing defensive solutions throughout the world.

According to an article in the India Times, the Indian Army initially planned to purchase American FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), but may instead purchase Israeli ‘Spike’ ATGMs because of a US hesitance to provide “transfer of technology” license (ToT) to India which would enable the country to produce its own anti-tank weapons after the initial purchase.

“The Javelin imbroglio has once again rekindled long-held fears in the Indian defence establishment about the US not being a reliable long-term supplier of cutting-edge military technology. India also detests American conditions on “intrusive end-user inspections” of weapons sold to its armed forces,” the article said.

The defense contract includes the provision of 2,000 launchers and 24,000 missiles.

The report notes that Israel is India’s second largest defense provider after Russia and said this sale would constitute the third major missile program between India and Israel.  Deals between the two countries for military technology are worth approximately $1 billion a year.

The Islamist Regime’s Game Plan for Egypt

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

What’s been happening in Egypt this week is as important as the revolution that overthrew the old regime almost two years ago. A new dictator has arrived and while the Muslim Brotherhood’s overturning of democracy was totally predictable, Western policymakers walked right into the trap. They even helped build it.

President Mursi has now declared his ability to rule by decree. The key concept is that he can do everything to protect the revolution. In doing so, he is defining the revolution—as the Iranian revolution of 1978-1979 which was made by a broad coalition of forces soon after became defined—as an Islamist revolution.

One could call the Islamist strategy a short march through the institutions. Once Islamists take power—in Iran, the Gaza Strip, and Turkey, perhaps, too Syria—that is only the beginning of the story. They systematically do a fundamental transformation of them.

The media, or at least a large part of it, is tamed. The draft constitution written by the Brotherhood and Salafists allows the government to shut down any newspaper or television station by decree. The courts are made impotent and judges are replaced. Mursi’s decree said he could ignore any court decision.At a November 18 press conference, a few days before Mursi issued his decree, the leading secular-oriented representatives in the constitution-writing constituent assembly resigned, charging the new document would enshrine Sharia law. The problem was not the statement in Article 2 about Sharia being the main source of Egyptian legislation but rather later provisions making it clear that Islamist-controlled institutions would interpret precisely what that meant. Amr Moussa, former foreign minister and Arab League secretary-general, said the new constitution would bring disaster for Egypt. Abdel Meguid called this combination “Taliban-like.”

Scattered secularist forces, Coptic Christians, liberals or the remnants of the old regime, and modern-minded women do not pose a real threat to the regime. They are not violent, not organized, and not flush with cash. They can expect no material international support. There will be no civil war between the moderates and the Islamists the suppression of one by the other. The Salafists are itching for confrontation; the Muslim Brotherhood is patient. But when Salafists harass women or stab secularists or attack churches, the Brotherhood-controlled government will do nothing to protect the victims.

Of critical importance for Egypt is control over the religious infrastructure: the ministry of Waqf that supervises huge amounts of money in Islamic foundations; the office of qadi, the chief Islamist jurist; al-Azhar University, the most important institution defining Islam in the Muslim world; which clerics get to go on television or have their own shows; and down to appointments of preachers in every public mosque in the country.

Many clerics are not moderate but most are not systematic Islamists. Soon they will be or at least talk as if they were. Revolutionary Islamism will become in Egypt merely normative Islam. Thus is the endless debate in the West about the nature of Islam—religion of peace or religion of terrorism?–short-circuited and made even more irrelevant. The real power is not what the texts say but who interprets them. And the Islamists will do the interpreting.

While the judges are still holding out bravely only the army has real power to counter the Islamist revolution transforming the most important country in the Arabic-speaking world into the instrument of the leading international anti-Western, anti-American, and antisemitic organization. It doesn’t matter how nicely Mursi spoke to Obama any more than say how Lenin–who moderated Soviet policy in the 1920s to consolidate the regime and get Western help–did in his day.

What is going on inside Egypt’s army, the last remaining institution that could offer resistance? We don’t really know but there are certainly some important indications. In theory, the army is the only force that can challenge the Muslim Brotherhood’s drive to transform Egypt into an Islamist state. But why should we believe the officers want to engage in such a battle?

Under the leadership of a secret society called the Free Officers, Egypt’s army overturned the monarchy in 1952 in a virtually bloodless coup. Yet while Egypt was for decades thereafter ruled by the resulting regime, the military government soon became a military-backed government. Officers either moved over to civilian offices or if they opposed the regime were purged.

IDF Reservists: “It’s Only a Question of Time Before We Are Called Up Again”

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

50,000 IDF reservists were called up for duty over the course of Operation ‘Pillar of Cloud’. They left their families, their jobs, their lives, and rallied to their country’s call to duty.

A cease-fire was announced on November 21st, before a ground incursion occurred, the next stage in the operation in which the reservists were supposed to participate. The reservists expressed their willingness to endanger their lives for this mission, understanding the necessity of such an action.

Now that they have been ordered to stand down, they feel disappointed and degraded. Thousands of reservists still in service have signed a petition calling on the government to initiate the ground incursion with the intent of eradicating all terror infrastructures in the Gaza Strip.

Yahel, 29, a father of two, a banker and a combat medic in the reserves was called up early Friday morning. “They fired on us, we fired on them, nothing was achieved at the end. It’s only a question of time before everything starts up again. Meantime, in Gaza they are rejoicing at their victory, while we are still dug in. I feel an unpleasant sense of disappointment. We have been humiliated,” he told Tazpit News Agency. Even though the operation is seemingly over, he doesn’t expect to go home until sometime in the middle week.

Oriyah talks about a general feeling of disappointment, but takes a more calculated stance. He is 32 years old, a father of four, who left his legal practice to man his position as an armored personnel carrier driver. He states he is not completely in unison with the general feeling of humiliation. “A ground incursion would have its costs. The test now is a simple one: when will the fire be renewed, and it will be renewed. The other point is the magnitude of the Israeli response when it is renewed. Only then will we really know if we have achieved anything now. There are political issues to take into consideration. Ultimately, we will have to wait and see how things develop in the future.” He raises another fundamental question. “The timing – why did they wait tell Wednesday to agree on a ceasefire. What have we gained over the past days that we couldn’t have a few days earlier? If they wanted a ceasefire, why wait so long?”

Major N. (name undisclosed for security reasons), a senior IDF officer in the reserves, offered a more in-depth analysis of the situation. “We need to view the situation in context. Militarily, we could have brought Hamas to their knees in a short time. For what ever reason, we did not receive the order from the political echelon, and that is a source of disappointment for me. Militarily, this was not a tie, as many people feel. We have complete domination of Gaza; we seriously crippled their military capabilities; we took out many of their military commanders and command posts, and in that aspect Hamas was completely defeated. The Iron Dome defense system completely negated Hamas’s rocket abilities, and in a sense gave Hamas life, because without the system the Israeli civilian casualties would have been much higher, forcing the government to respond much more harshly. The Iron Dome defense system prevented a further escalation and gave the Israeli political leadership leeway and time.”

“I am disappointed by the fact that we did not achieve a clear and decisive victory, one which could not be interpreted in any way. We did not clearly deter the Hamas from attacking Israel ever again. In the near future Hamas will try to develop new capabilities, such as anti-aircraft capabilities, and surface-to-sea capabilities with the intent of creating a new balance of power with the IDF. They have managed to open the land passages through the recent rounds of diplomacy, and will try to open a passage through the sea as well. The big question is how Israel will respond to these advanced capabilities.”

He too feels it’s a question of time before the firing is renewed. “The next time, it will be much more difficult and complex for Israel to operate. Egypt will not serve as Israel’s watch dog, will not stop the arms smuggling into Gaza and will not try to contain or be able to contain the various terrorist organizations. President Morsi is going to face a very difficult period in the near future, and should beware of the terrorist organizations.”

It’s Time We All Learned to Speak (and Act) Arabic

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Of course, we didn’t just lose a war with Hamas forever and ever, there will be a next time. Hamas did not gain any territory this time around, or destroy all our military assets etc. The political/military thinking on our side of the engagement is completely skewed, though, or as one Knesset Member, Michael Ben-Ari, put it, succinctly. “We keep on talking to Hamas in Hebrew, and they don’t get it. It’s time we spoke to them in Arabic.”

What he meant was, When we withdraw our army from Gaza, let us leave behind ten thousand Hamas widows and their loved ones wailing, ululating and gnashing their teeth in the smoking ruins of former homes and settlements. Let us leave behind stinking huge piles of skulls and mounds of offal. Let us flatten their dreams and drown their hopes in rivers of blood – or words to that effect. Let us, in effect, first do unto them what they will undoubtedly do to us if we don’t.

I, for one, am excited to learn Arabic, especially the local dialect; it has such catchy slang phrases as “Family Unification Program,” “Peace of the Brave” and “Explosive Undergarment Engineering.” And I’m all too eager for local Arabs to discover what happens when we do learn their lingo.

Can you only imagine what would happen to the Arabian Peninsula were we, Jews, to learn their language with any fluency? Can you picture one of us strapping something incandescent to his body and presenting it as a gift at the Ka’aba in Mecca in the middle of the pilgrimage? Can you wrap your head around it? Or something with a bit of a bang on the southern quadrant of the upper third of the lower cataract at Aswan? It would certainly flush out the gutters in downtown Cairo, pretty darn swiftly, I can tell you that much.

You know something, I could get to like Arabic, it has a certain flair, a certain je ne sais quoi.

I jest, of course; but I ought not to. I should do as MK Ben-Ari says, I should take him seriously and start learning Arabic. We all should, because our thinking is stuck in Hebrew and it’s getting us the rough end of the stick. That’s the whole point, we don’t just talk to Hamas in Hebrew, we force-feed them like stuffed geese with our Hebrew ideas and thinking as well, great big butterballs of concessions and privileges.

We need to learn Arabic from the ground up; Arabic as it is spoken to the Syrians by their Presidents Hafez and Bashar al-Assad. Or cultured, Farsi flavored Arabic of the kind Hassan Nasrallah talks to the Lebanese. And then we can do our post-graduate work in Arabic as it is spoken in Hamastan, Gaza.

I can smell it already, the heady whiff of brimstone-tinged cordite, laced with sewage, Khan Yunis, Arabic Springtime, 2013.

Arabic is more than a language you know, it’s a whole body experience, well, a whole body is what you start with, I mean.

Damage Inflicted on Hamas in Operation Pillar of Defense

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

IDF reports claim that Israel’s military inflicted serious damage on Hamas during the eight days of Operation Amud Anan – Pillar of Defense.

Israel eliminated Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari, 30 Hamas field commanders, almost all of Hamas’s long-range missiles, and thousands of mid-range rockets and launching systems.  Among the dead are senior Hamas police official Habas Masmah, senior Hamas anti-tank missile operator Khaled Shaar, and spokesman for Islamic Jihad in Gaza City Ramaz Harb.

All in all, the Israel Air Force hit approximately 1500 targets across Gaza, destroyed 60 bomb tunnels, 140 smuggling tunnels, and tens of Hamas headquarters and major command centers, including a Gaza media building where Hamas housed its intelligence operations, a Gaza police station, and terror hideout.

On top of punishing Hamas, the IDF had a lot of success defending Israeli citizens.  The Iron Dome system reportedly intercepted 84 percent – 421 – of the rockets headed for Israeli cities.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/damage-inflicted-on-hamas-in-operation-pillar-of-defense/2012/11/22/

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