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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘strike’

Israel, US to Conduct Biggest-Ever Military Drill

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

The United States and Israel will conduct their largest-ever joint missile defense exercise this month, making a display of solidarity as the international rift over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program grows.

This months’s three week exercise will simulate long and short-range missile attacks on Israel, and is meant not just to prepare Israel for possible warfare, but to show Iran and its allies that the US and Israel are prepared to work together against Iran.

The drill, which will include over 3,500 US personnel, has been in the planning stages for 2 years and will cost $60 million.

Patriot missile batteries, an AEGIS ballistic missile defense ship, and an Israeli multi-tiered missile defense system will be employed, though all but one of the missile launches will be simulations.

Iran has said it will retaliate against Israel and the US if attacked.  The US has said it does not support an Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear installations.  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has urged the United States to set “red lines” of Iranian nuclear activity beyond which the US would support a military strike.  The US has refused.

What ‘War’ with Iran is Biden Talking About?

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently warned that, “The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world.” During Thursday’s Vice Presidential debate the statement was read to Vice President Joe Biden and Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan  at the start of segment on Iran.

What exactly Gates meant by “catastrophic” I’m not sure (Muslim/Middle East resentment towards the U.S.? Lack of access to oil? Increase in global terrorism?), but during the debate, both Biden and debate moderator Martha Raddatz seemed to argue that it meant going to war with Iran.

Here’s Raddatz:

RADDATZ: Well, let me ask you what’s worse, war in the Middle East, another war in the Middle East, or a nuclear-armed Iran?

RYAN: I’ll tell you what’s worse. I’ll tell you what’s worse.

RADDATZ: Quickly.

RYAN: A nuclear-armed Iran which triggers a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. This is the world’s largest sponsor of — of terrorism. They’ve dedicated themselves…

And here’s Biden:

BIDEN: When Governor Romney’s asked about it, he said, “We gotta keep these sanctions.” When he said, “Well, you’re talking about doing more,” what are you -you’re going to go to war? Is that what you want to do?

But who said anything about “going to war” – a term that implies landing U.S. troops in Iran? What everyone – Netanyahu, Mitt Romney, and even the Obama administration – is talking about is a military strike, and making it clear to the Iranians that the U.S. is prepared to conduct such a strike.

Biden himself said during the debate “we feel quite confident we could deal a serious blow to the Iranians.” By “dealing a serious blow” in the singular, Biden surely means some kind of air strike, not putting boots on the ground for continuous warfare.

The question is how seriously do the Iranians take that possibility. Romney and Ryan are arguing that the Iranians don’t take it seriously at all because so many voices from the administration are playing down the need for an attack, while playing up the negative possible consequences of an attack (e.g., saying it would be “catastrophic,” eschewing talk of “war”)  and pressuring Israel not to attack.  The evidence, which Ryan pointed to during the debate, is the fact that Iranians have, for the past four years, continued and even sped up their nuclear program.

But Biden isn’t actually talking about Iran. With the talk “war,” Biden is implying that Republicans – as evidenced the wars initiated by President George W. Bush – are generally war mongers and only Democrats can be trusted with office of the “commander in chief.”

But “Bush’s Wars” were not solely Bush’s or the Republican Party’s. Democrats, including Biden (despite his insinuation otherwise), voted overwhelmingly in favor of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those were wars made necessary by the failure of the U.S. to pay attention to threats abroad and nip them in the bud, just as Obama is failing to do with Iran.

And, if it is true that attacking Iran will definitely trigger a counter attack which will require a greater U.S. response, then that would indicate the irrationality of the Iranians: that as their economy crumbles they would be willing to engage the most powerful military known to history. If they would act so brazenly without nuclear weapons/nuclear weapons capability, imagine how much more likely war would be if they already had a weapon/capability.

Ryan should have answered Raddatz’s “what’s worse” question like so: “You know what’s worse, a nuclear Iran that starts a war, because that’s the future we’re looking at under Obama’s leadership.”

Reports Of Syrian Maneuvers Prompt Israeli Military Concerns

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly considering a preemptive military strike against several Syrian chemical weapons storage depots and Scud missile sites. The goal is to prevent embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad from transferring the unconventional arsenal to Hizbullah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards if Assad appears on the verge of being toppled from power by opposition forces.

The possibility of an Israeli incursion into Syrian territory was bolstered by reports this week in the German weekly Der Spiegel and Britain’s Times of London that elite pro-Assad government troops used advanced missile systems, tanks and jet fighters to test blank chemical weapons canisters during the summer, with the field tests supervised by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The chemical weapons laboratory, according to Der Spiegel, is located in Safira (east of Aleppo) and is manned by Syrian, North Korean and Iranian scientists and intelligence agents.

A defecting Syrian general told the Times of London that Assad has discussed transferring the chemical weapons stockpiles, along with their delivery systems, to Hizbullah should Assad be forced to flee from Damascus. The Al Arabiya TV network reported on Wednesday that Assad’s sister, Bushra, defected with her children to Dubai, a Persian Gulf emirate. Her late husband, a member of the Syrian high command, was killed by Syrian opposition forces in July.

The news reports’ legitimacy and implications were strengthened when IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz ordered a surprise live fire drill across sections of the Golan Heights, along the border with Syria. Advanced Merkava tanks and elite paratroop units were said to be taking part in the drill, amid the heightened tensions with Syria and Iran. Over the last few months, the IDF has also begun to upgrade and fortify Israel’s border fence along the Syrian frontier, due to growing concerns that Hizbullah or al Qaeda terrorists will attempt to create a mass casualty incident against IDF troops or Israeli citizens in the Golan region.

NATO and the Pentagon say that in preparation for Assad’s possible ouster or use of chemical weapons against Syria’s civilian population, as many as 10,000 elite soldiers have been placed on alert in Europe and the Middle East to secure Assad’s chemical weapons and Scud missile depots. For their part Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak aren’t convinced that European and American leaders, including President Obama, will act fast enough to secure the weapons, which are purportedly dispersed across several dozen locations.

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert ordered a preemptive strike against a Syrian nuclear weapons development site in 2007 after President George W. Bush rejected Olmert’s request for an American military strike against the rogue Syrian nuclear site. Bush maintained that a diplomatic effort was preferable to the use of force.

According to several Israeli media reports, Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are becoming increasingly frustrated with the growing number of failed American foreign policy efforts in the Middle East. One report said that high-ranking Israeli Foreign Ministry members have accused their State Department counterparts of “burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the increasing radicalization of Arab states such as Tunisia and Egypt.”

Earlier this week, reports circulated that under the current circumstances in Egypt, it would be almost impossible for the Israeli Embassy in Cairo to function properly. And El Al announced that it was thinking of terminating its scheduled service to Cairo based on a lack of business and the rapidly deteriorating security situation in that country.

All You Need Is Breslov

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

A planeload of frum guys made its way on Wednesday to Uman, in the Ukraine, for the Rosh Hashanah festivities, despite some unexpected delays (wildcat strike) at Ben Gurion airport. As most everyone visiting these pages knows, Uman is the burial place of Reb Nachman of Breslov.

Reb Nachman, the great grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of modern chassidut, taught us how to speak to God in regular conversation “as you would with a best friend.” And he taught us about hitbodedut – self-seclusion, through which we can establish a close, personal relationship with God and gain an understanding of ourselves.

I don’t expect there will be much room for seclusion in Uman this coming holiday, what with thousands of Breslovers roaming the streets and packing every standing edifice. But, maybe, if you’re really good at it, you can find yourself even in a huge crowd.

Israel Newspaper Staffs Go On Strike

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Employees of Haaretz have gone on an open-ended strike, while Maariv employees are burning tires outside their office building, due to the anticipated firing of nearly 2000 people in Maariv, as well as anticipated staff staff cutbacks at Haaretz.

This comes in addition, according to a report on Galei Tzahal, of staff firings that have already begun in the recent days at Globes, Yediot, and others.

The strike was timed to coincide with a special Directors meeting at Haaretz.

Some of the striking newspaper staff are demanding that the government bail out the newspapers, because of their “important role in safeguarding Israeli democracy.”

In addition, there are new difficulties in the Makor Rishon acquisition of Maariv.  Maariv may be in more debt than previously disclosed, and it’s sales projections are less than were previously estimated placing the deal in a precarious position. Shlomo Ben-Zvi is reportedly working on renegotiating the deal.

FYI, you will still be able to get your news today from JewishPress.com.

Elliot Abrams: Americans Support Israeli Strike on Iran; Iranians Don’t Fear Obama

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Former advisor to George W. Bush Elliot Abrams stated in an interview that the American people would support an Israeli strike on Iran and criticized the Obama Administration for its handling of Iran’s nuclear threat, calling Obama’s approach “weak.”

“The President has made one big mistake . . . We have not made the Iranians afraid of a strike and I think they ought to be afraid of a strike – of an American strike in reality,” Abrams said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post.

Abrams said that this may be the reason why Iran has no desire to conclude an agreement with the Permanent Members of the Security Council and Germany (the so-called “P5+1”).

“They do not think it’s possible. They do not think it’s in the cards. I think that is one of the reasons diplomacy has failed – and it has failed,” he said.

As for an Israeli strike, Abrams said it would be “justifiable” given the danger Iran poses to Israel.

Abrams credited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “helping along” the sanctions regime against Iran with his public statements.

“I think the Europeans, for example, would not have supported sanctions as much as they have, nor, I think, the Russians [or] the Chinese, had it not been for Israel’s drawing attention to the threat from Iran and drawing attention to the possibility that Israel would feel [it] must act against that threat,” Abrams said.

Abrams predicted that Obama would not be able to take punitive measures against Israel for such a strike, saying that “in an election year it’s particularly hard for a president …to take a position against Israel as the American people are taking a position in favor of Israel.”

Abrams also revealed that one of the reasons President Bush pursued the Annapolis Peace Conference and the renewal of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority with such vigor towards the end of his term was that then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the administration such efforts had a good chance of success.

Former Cheney Aide: Obama, Like Bush Before Him, Won’t Strike Iran

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

JERUSALEM – In a column appearing in the Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom, David Wurmser, who served as senior Middle East adviser to former vice president Dick Cheney, warned the Israeli government that President Obama would not assist the Jewish state if it launched a preemptive strike against Iranian nuclear and military installations.

“I had always believed the U.S. would do the right thing at the last minute, but at this moment, I don’t expect the U.S. cavalry to ride alongside Israel, even at the last minute,” wrote Wurmser. He also maintained that “Israeli experts,” including former government and military personnel, who have publicly stated that America is “obligated” to stop Iran’s nuclear program misunderstand American foreign policy.

Wurmser acknowledged that former president George W. Bush had several opportunities to stop Iran’s fledgling nuclear program but did not launch a preemptive strike. (According to published reports, Wurmser and Cheney discussed asking Israel to launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s Natanz nuclear installation in 2007.)

Obama, Wurmser wrote, will not alter U.S. policy. “America…will only wake up and act if something terrible happens and American interests are attacked. Until that happens, much to my chagrin, our ally [Israel] will have to go it alone.”

President Bush also refused to attack Syria’s fledgling nuclear installation after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented the White House with intelligence about the Syrian operation. Faced with Bush’s unwillingness to act, Olmert sent Israeli warplanes to pulverize the al-Kibar nuclear station in September 2007.

According to Israel’s Channel 10 military correspondent Alon Ben-David, U.S. reluctance to take action is the prime reason Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “determined to launch an attack on Iran before the November presidential election.”

Ben-David added that Netanyahu believes economic sanctions against Iran have not prevented the Iranian regime from accelerating its nuclear weapons program and the window of opportunity to destroy or set back the Iranian nuclear agenda will be lost in the next few months.

While there have been reports that IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and several other high-ranking Israeli defense and intelligence officials are against attacking Iranian targets without American assistance, Netanyahu apparently has lined up significant political support for an attack.

Last week’s appointment of former Shin Bet commander and Kadima Knesset member Avi Dichter as minister of the home front fueled speculation that Dichter supports Netanyahu’s military agenda. Dichter has been asked by Netanyahu to prepare to defend the country’s infrastructure and civilian population against expected Hizbullah/Iranian or Syrian military retaliation in the event of an Israeli preemptive strike on Iran.

Last week the Israeli and American navies conducted several exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Pentagon previously reported that a second aircraft carrier battle group would deploy in the Eastern Mediterranean in early September in order to buttress America’s fleet. Meanwhile, President Obama warned that American forces would act if Syrian dictator Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on civilians or attempted to transfer weapons of mass destruction to hostile forces, i.e. Hizbullah or Iran.

Bibi and Barak Battle for Israeli Public Opinion Over Iran

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

All four of Israel’s major newspapers featured Iran in their headlines in their weekend editions. In Ha’aretz, Ari Shavit, who has been pro-strike, wrote: “Top Israeli Official: the Iranian Nuclear Threat is bigger than the threat faced by Israel before the Six Day War”
That “top Israeli official” (no extra points for guessing who he may be), told Shavit: “If Iran gets nuclear weapons, no one will be able to stop her when she provokes her neighbours,” adding, “what happened in the Rhineland in 1936 will be child’s play compared to happens with Iran.” The official continued: “If we don’t act, Iran will almost certainly go nuclear. If we do act, there is a chance Iran won’t go nuclear in the years to come, or might never go nuclear.” Assessing the risks to the homeland, the source told Shavit that the number of casualties Israel would suffer in any war with Iran would be less than the number of casualties suffered by the “Harel Brigade”(part of Palmach) in the 1948 war of Independence.

The description in the article left almost no doubt that the “official” in question is Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Wrote Shavit: “This decision maker is a controversial figure. At times, he was seen as a savior, then dismissed as a leper (מצורע), and again a savior, then a leper again. Even his opponents, however, agree that he is very intelligent. Even those who disagree with him point to his unique strategic experience, his half-century spent at the very center of Israeli decision making processes. Not just once or twice has he been at the absolute center. One very late night he opened the door to me…with a grand piano at his back he told me his point of view for two and a half hours.”

It is well known around Israel that Ehud Barak plays the piano. Chief of staff in the nineties, then the great white of hope of the left for peace as prime minister in the late nineties, later comeback kid as head again of the labor party. Recently, he presided over the splitting of the labor party and the formation of his new ‘Independence’ party and a bedrock member of Netanyahu’s coalition.

In Ma’ariv, meanwhile, the headline read: “37% of Israelis say Iranian possession of nuclear weapons could lead to a second Holocaust.” They then produced a series of polls attempting to gauge the public mood before a strike. 41% of Israelis say only military action will stop Iran, “only” (according to Ma’ariv) 22% believe in sanctions, 35% prefer a US strike to an Israeli one, 40% trust Netanyahu and Barak while 27% don’t.

Unsurprisingly, Israel Ha’yom has also promoted a pro-strike approach. “Iran intensifies weapon development,” screamed the headline, accompanied by a picture of Ahmadinejad flashing his fingers in a victory sign to the Israeli public. The paper quotes the Israeli chief of staff: “we are preparing ourselves for a multi-front confrontation.”

This weekend, the only newspaper that has adopted an anti-strike approach is Yediot-Ah’aronot: “Netanyahu and Barak are determined to attack Iran in the fall,” ran the headline. “Barak,” the story proceeded, “sat top generals down for a meeting in his office, but came across fierce resistance. Later, he again tried to persuade them in a conversation at a Mossad-run location. This didn’t help either. All the army professionals expressed opposition to a strike without the backing of the United States, and asked the same question: what happens on the Israeli home front the day after?”

When four of out four newspapers in Israel deal with any single subject one can count on the fact that there is a deliberate effort by some personnel to set the headlines on fire. Netanyahu and Barak are now fighting hard to win over the hearts and minds of the Israeli public to a strike on Iran – and the media blitz is a tool they are using to persuade recalcitrant generals.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/bibi-and-barak-battle-for-israeli-public-opinion-over-iran/2012/08/12/

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