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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapons’

NPT Meeting Canceled Due to Israel Nonparticipation

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

AP reports that Western diplomats announced that the long planned meeting of the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) countries has been cancelled because Israel, not a signatory on the NPT treaty, has declined to show up.

The Arab states and Iran (yes, that’s right), all signatories of the NPT want Israel to sign the NPT and reveal and give up its supposed nuclear weapons stockpile. Israel says it will be prepared to sign the NPT treaty only when the Middle East countries sign a peace treaty with her, making nuclear weapons unnecessary.

The meeting was sponsored by the US, Russia and the U.K.

What Obama Should Have Done in the Last Four Years and Won’t Do in the Next Four Years

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Over and over again I’ve written about what President Barack Obama should do. Now the voters have given him a whole new chance. He could take it and change his policy. I don’t believe he will do that but let me lay out both what he’s been wrong and what he should do, just in case Obama is seeking a different approach.

What he did in the first and will do in the second term: Foster revolutionary Islamism in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.

What he should have done and should do now: Do what Franklin Roosevelt did in 1941 and Harry Truman in 1947 and George Bush in 1990. Lead an international coalition that will systematically fight against a totalitarian enemy. Today, that means revolutionary Islamism. The loose coalition should include Europe, anti-Islamist Arab regimes (Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Arab states) and pro-democratic opposition movements (Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, and Syria).

What he did….: Support Islamist opposition groups.

What he should have done….: Support anti-Islamist and moderate opposition groups.

What he did….: Pressed Israel to reduce pressure on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip and helped bring an Egyptian regime that backed Hamas.

What he should have done….: Supported a reformed—not overthrown—Egyptian regime and Israel in opposing Hamas and subverting its rule.

What he did….: Gave support and aid to the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt despite lip service to defending women’s and Christian rights and the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

What he should have done….: Clearly condition aid on Egypt to protecting women, Christians, and moderates; take a strong stand on the regime’s permitting cross-border attacks on Israel and gutting the peace treaty. The Obama Administration has, and will have, no credibility with an anti-American extremist and antisemitic Egyptian government.

What he did: Celebrate the Turkish regime as a great example of democracy and moderate Islam. Did nothing as that regime went into a non-shooting war with Israel, backing Hamas, Hizballah, and Iran; rewarded Ankara with special treatment, including letting it organize the Syrian opposition.

What he should have done….: Without provoking a conflict, use U.S. leverage to press Turkey’s rulers to change their policies. No rewards without their help in promoting U.S. goals. Be suspicious of the regime’s intentions and note its suppression of democracy within Turkey.

What he did….: Accepted the Lebanese government dominated by Hizballah and backed by Iran and Syria.

What he should have done….: Back the moderate Lebanese opposition that opposed the regime in order to combat the Iran-Syria bloc.

What he did….: Backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria’s civil war and did not interfere with weapons going to Salafist groups as long as they were not al-Qaida affiliates.

What he should have done….Support moderates and anti-Islamists in Syria against both the Islamists and the regime.

What he did….: Acted as if all of Libya’s problems had been solved; tried to please the regime and show his niceness by not intervening to save Americans in the September 11 Benghazi attacks.

What he should have done: Know that the U.S. is involved in an ongoing conflict in Libya and there will be more attacks in future.

What he did: Nothing.

What he should have done: Investigate the Benghazi incident seriously and honestly (his choice for chief investigator, former State Department hack Thomas Pickering, is an opportunist who will write whatever the White House wants), get those responsible and make sure that nothing like that has ever happened again. Perhaps an apology to the families of those killed would be in order.

What he did….: Pushed the “peace process” for two years though then he did get the idea it wouldn’t work. He also opposed, albeit starting far too late, Palestinian Authority (PA) unilateral statehood bids. But will he continue that revised policy into a second term?

What he should have done: Realize the peace process isn’t going anywhere and understand that’s because PA intransigence and the Hamas challenge that is radicalizing even further Palestinian policy. When the P.A. subverts U.S. policies be willing to pressure and criticize it.

What he did….: Said he supported the rights of Christians and women from (Islamist) repression. But he never did anything about it, zero. Cozied up to Syria and Iran at the very moment they were violently suppressing dissidents at home and opponents abroad.

Nuclear Posture And Israel’s Survival

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Nuclear weapons and nuclear war. This is not a new subject for my column in The Jewish Press. What is new is the urgent need to confront, head on, an expanding international movement to eviscerate Israel’s nuclear posture – and at precisely the precarious moment when this critical posture should actually be made more visible, and hence, more compelling.

Si vis pacem, para bellum atomicum. “If you want peace, prepare for atomic war.” At first glance it would seem an odd maxim for Israel, perhaps a misconceived admission of belligerence, or even an embarrassingly empty witticism.

Still, however reluctantly, this maxim must become Israel’s core strategic mantra in the years just ahead. This is not because a nuclear war is necessarily likely, but rather because Israel’s nuclear deterrent will remain utterly indispensable for the prevention of large-scale conventional conflict.

Nonetheless, the myriad threats facing Israel are not mutually exclusive. With Iran’s steady and unhindered nuclearization, an eventual nuclear war, or even a “bolt-from-the-blue” nuclear attack, cannot be ruled out. Considered together with the plausible understanding that an Iranian nuclear enemy could be driven by apocalyptic visions of jihad, this means Israel’s military planners will need to augment credible strategic deterrence with apt forms of diplomacy, ballistic missile defense, and (possibly) preemption.

At the moment, this last option might already be limited to cyber-attacks, assassinations and/or regime-change interventions, and/or to certain more traditional sorts of defensive physical harms. Jurisprudentially, all of these kinds of preemption could be considered as entirely proper expressions of “anticipatory self-defense.

Now, Israel must simultaneously examine the strongly related and inter-penetrating issue of a Palestinian state. If President Obama or his successor should persist with the so-called Road Map To Peace in the Middle East, an independent state of Palestine could still be carved out of Israel. Palestine would then become an additional and largely optimal platform for launching future war and terror.

President Obama still seeks “a world free of nuclear weapons.” However, the existential threat posed by a Palestinian state would require some forms of prior Israeli nuclear disarmament. Once a new enemy state and its allies believed that Israel had been bent sufficiently to their nicely-phrased “nonproliferation” demands, an adversarial military strategy could progress rapidly from terror to war, and subsequently from attrition to annihilation.

Any discernible movement toward Israeli denuclearization could remove the tiny country’s last stage barrier to national survival.

To be sure, Israel’s unilateral nuclear disarmament is improbable. But it is not entirely out of the question. For whatever reason, certain of the country’s leading academic strategists continue to advance this plainly insupportable recommendation. I have debated these strategists myself, most recently on the pages of Harvard University’s leading journal, International Security.

True, it is generally difficult to imagine nuclear weapons as anything other than implements of evil. Still, there are circumstances wherein a particular state’s possession of such weapons may be all that protects it from catastrophic war or genocide. Moreover, because such weapons may most effectively deter international aggression, at least in those cases where the prospective aggressor remains rational, their possession could also protect neighboring states (both friends and foes) from war-related, or even nuclear-inflicted harms.

Not all members of the Nuclear Club must necessarily represent a security threat. Some such members may even offer a distinct benefit to world peace and security. This point should already be clear to anyone who can remember the Cold War.

Should Israel ever be deprived of its nuclear forces because of naive hopes for peace, it could become vulnerable to overwhelming attacks from enemy states. Though such an existential vulnerability might be prevented, in principle, by simultaneously instituting parallel forms of chemical/biological weapons disarmament among these enemies, such parallel steps would never actually be undertaken. Meaningful verification of compliance in these complex matters is very difficult. Further, any such verification would become even more problematic in those conceivable cases wherein several enemy states might be involved.

It is time to be clear. Nuclear weapons are not the problem per se. In the volatile Middle East, the core threat to peace remains a far-reaching and unreconstructed jihadist commitment to “excise the Jewish cancer.”

Jerusalem should finally understand that the Road Map, like the prior Oslo agreements, is merely a convenient enemy expedient. Taken seriously in Jerusalem, it could easily become a cartographic detour to national oblivion.

Defining The Candidates’ Differences On Iran

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

WASHINGTON – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made headlines last month with this question: What are the U.S. red lines when it comes to Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program?

The two presidential campaigns are offering two different answers.

“Recently, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have talked about weaponization and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan talk about nuclear weapons capability,” said Michael Makovsky, a Bush administration Pentagon official who now directs the National Security Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

So what do the terms weaponization and capability mean as red lines?

The issue of red lines was lent urgency on Sept. 11, when at a blistering news conference, Netanyahu seemed to warn that a failure to set red lines for Iran could trigger a strike by Israel – an action the Obama administration has tried mightily to prevent.

“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu said at the time. The term “red lines” refers to actions that could trigger military action to stop Iran from progressing further.

In the Oct. 11 vice-presidential debate, the differences between the two U.S. presidential tickets on the Iranian nuclear issue were apparent.

Ryan, Romney’s running mate on the Republican Party ticket, cast the Iranian threat as one predicated on the degree of its enrichment.

“We cannot allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapons capability,” Ryan said, using a threshold that Romney has embraced.

The Netanyahu government has long employed the term “capability” to define a bridge too far in Iran’s nuclear program, and the term has been picked up in a number of recent bipartisan congressional measures.

“Now let’s take a look at where we’ve gone – come from. When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material – nuclear material to make one bomb,” the Wisconsin congressman continued. “Now they have enough for five. They’re racing toward a nuclear weapon. They’re four years closer toward a nuclear weapons capability.”

Biden pushed back, seeming to suggest that the proper measure should be how close Iran is to achieving a weapon.

“When my friend talks about fissile material, they have to take this highly enriched uranium, get it from 20 percent up, then they have to be able to have something to put it in,” Biden said.

“There is no weapon that the Iranians have at this point. Both the Israelis and we know – we’ll know if they start the process of building a weapon.”

But Israeli officials repeatedly have expressed the concern that Western intelligence agencies have failed to detect weaponization in time in the cases of Pakistan, India and North Korea.

Makovsky said the problem was especially acute in Iran because the regime there, which denies an interest in building a nuclear weapon, has denied access to inspectors at key sites.

“It’s a very hard thing to know, and we haven’t been able to detect it before,” he said.

The question is whether enrichment defines “capability,” and if so, at what level of enrichment is a country nuclear-capable.

The Iranians, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, already have achieved enrichment up to 20 percent – the level cited by Biden. Israel’s concern, outlined last month by Netanyahu in his speech to the UN General Assembly, is when they will get to the “and up” mentioned by the vice president.

Uranium is weapons-capable when it is enriched to above 90 percent.

“By next spring, next summer at most,” Iran will have finished the “medium enrichment” stage, Netanyahu said. “From there it’s less than a few months, possibly a few weeks, until they get enough uranium for an enriched bomb. The relevant question is not when will Iran get the bomb; the question is at what stage can we stop Iran?”

Michael Adler, an Iran expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, said that Netanyahu effectively aligned himself with the Obama administration’s red line with that speech.

“Netanyahu has walked capability back a lot saying it won’t come until next year,” Adler said.

That may have been in part because Netanyahu and Obama had spoken extensively between Netanyahu’s Sept. 11 news conference and his UN speech. U.S. and Israeli officials have said subsequently that the two leaders better understood each other on the Iran issue.

Netanyahu Warns the World: A Nuclear Iran Is like a Nuclear Al Qaeda

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

In his dramatic speech to the United Nations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu displayed a simple image to make clear home his urgent message to the international community to lay down a “clear red line” before Iran’s nuclear program – or face a reality in which a nuclear Iran would be be as dangerous as a nuclear Al Qaeda.

Netanyahu’s address before the U.N. General Assembly was a forceful appeal to the U.S. and all the other nations who understand the Iranian threat, to join Israel in drawing a line in the sand, beyond which Iran would have to face a military response.

Netanyahu stated that the “security of the world” is at stake.

“I ask, given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said to the assembly. “Who among you would feel safe in the Middle East? Who would be safe in Europe? Who would be safe in America? Who would be safe anywhere?”

“The red line must be drawn on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program,” Netanyahu said. “I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.”

“Red lines do not lead to war; red lines prevent war,” he told the United Nations General Assembly.

Netanyahu said the red line needed to be drawn “first and foremost on Iran‘s attempts to enrich uranium to 90 percent.”

After that it‘s too late, he said.

He said that Iran will finish the medium enrichment stage by next summer, and will move on to the final stage. At that point, he said, it would only be a matter of a few more weeks until Iran had enriched enough uranium to build a nuclear weapon.

The prime minister showed a kind of diagram with a cartoonish bomb, divided into three segments, each one representing a stage of uranium enrichment. Netanyahu drew a red line with a marker before the end of the second stage.

Netanyahu began his address with a heartfelt response to Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed the Jews have no history in the Middle East. The PM related the history of the unbroken ties of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, and vowed that they would remain there forever.

“Throughout our history the Jewish people have overcome all the tyrants who sought our destruction,” he said. “The Jewish people have come home. We will never be uprooted again.”

Netanyahu’s insistence that President Obama join him in drawing “red lines” that could spur an American attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities has been roundly rejected by the Administration and is threatening Israel’s relationship with this White House.

It has been noted that Obama did not meet with Netanyahu this week, even though both leaders were scheduled to speak at the U.N. Obama’s Republican foes were very critical of this presidential snub.

The only comment Obama made in his Tuesday U.N. speech regarding the Iranian nuclear program, was that the U.S. “will do what we must” to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained,” Obama said. “It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty. That’s why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who attacked decades of Israeli “racist” policies, received only a short comment from Nwetanyahu, who told the assembly: “We won’t solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the U.N. That’s not the way to solve them. We won’t solve our differences with a unilateral declaration of statehood. We have to sit together and negotiate together in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the one and only Jewish state.”

Statement from PM Netanyahu on the Eve of his UN Speech

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

“Citizens of Israel,

Tonight, I am leaving for New York to represent the State of Israel at the United Nations.

On the issue of Iran, we are all in agreement on the goal of preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapons.

On the day when we pray to be inscribed in the Book of Life, a platform was given to a dictatorial regime that strives, at every opportunity, to sentence us to death.

On the eve of Yom Kippur, which is sacred to the Jewish People, the Iranian tyrant – before the whole world – chose to publicly call for our disappearance.

This is a black day for those who chose to stay in the hall and listen to such slander.

In my remarks to the UN General Assembly, they will hear my response.

As the Prime Minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish People, I am working in every way so that Iran will not have nuclear weapons.

History has proven that those who have wanted to wipe us off the map have failed, as the Jewish People have overcome all obstacles.

We have set up a magnificent state, among the most advanced in the world.

Israel is a modern and strong state thanks to the strength and talents of its citizens and to our faith in the justice of our cause.

I wish you all gmar hatima tova!”

Report: Iran Moving Along on Ability to Build Nuclear Weapons

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Iran has moved further along in its ability to build nuclear weapons, according to some diplomats.

The diplomats say intelligence provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear monitor of the United Nations, shows that Iran has advanced its work on calculating the destructive power of an atomic warhead through a series of computer models that it ran sometime within the past three years, The Associated Press reported.

The information comes from Israel, the United States and at least two other Western countries, according to the diplomats.

Iran denies it is working on a nuclear weapon.

The IAEA would not comment, but four of the six diplomats who spoke to the AP on the issue said an oblique passage in its August report on Iran saying that “the agency has obtained more information which further corroborates’’ its suspicions alludes to the new intelligence.

The information, if credible, could provide added fuel for the Israeli officials who want a preemptive military strike on Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for “red lines” to be set for Iran, and said sanctions have not worked.

“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu said Tuesday at a meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borisov.

He added, “Every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs. If Iran knows that there is no red line, if Iran knows that there’s no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing: It’s continuing without any interference towards obtaining nuclear weapons capability and from there nuclear bombs.”

No Red Lines: The Prime Minister Strikes Back

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Yesterday, I wrote about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s rejection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sound call for the U.S. and the international community to delineate “clear red lines” for Iran.

(On the same day that Netanyahu told the Canadian Broadcasting Channel that the U.S. and Israel were discussing “red lines,” Clinton gave her own interview saying that the U.S. would not be setting such “deadlines”).

As I explained, Netanyahu’s repeated calls for “clear red lines” are Netanyahu’s way of begging the U.S. to do something which will enable Israel to avoid having to go it alone in striking Iran, something the U.S. has made it publicly known that it opposes. But the U.S. has rejected this too.

Tם add to Israel’s embarrassment, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland reiterated yesterday the Secretary of State’s rejection of Israel’s demand for a “deadline,” saying that “it is not useful to be parsing it, to be setting deadlines one way or the other, red lines.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the U.S. position today in a press conference with reporters in Jerusalem with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Metodiev Borisov.

Here is the Prime Minister in his own words – responding to a reporter’s question about the State Department’s position:

“I will answer your question in English as you are asking me a question that many in the world are certainly interested in by now.

“We can say with confidence that the diplomacy and the sanctions are not working. The sanctions have harmed the Iranian economy but they have not harmed the Iranian nuclear program. [Note: Clinton had said the best method to resolve the situation are sanctions and diplomacy]. That is a fact. And it is a fact that every day that passes, Iran is getting closer to a nuclear weapon.

“If Iran knows that there are no red lines, if Iran knows that there are no deadlines, what will it do? Exactly what it is doing. It is continuing without interference toward nuclear capability and nuclear bombs.

“The world tells Israel ‘Wait, there is still time.’ And I say ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’

“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines in front of Iran, don’t have a moral right to put a red light in front of Israel.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/no-red-lines-the-prime-minister-strikes-back/2012/09/11/

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