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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘threat’

It’s Not About Survival; It’s About Becoming the Spiritual Superpower

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

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The Director of the international department of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Chaim Richman, joins Yishai. Together, they discuss the Iranian nuclear threat and how the Jewish People need to remain strong in the face of danger. Rabbi Richman speaks about the video that his organization recently produced and they end the segment by talking about reaching the tipping point within Israeli society and how it will shape the future.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Israeli Ex-Defense Official: Hezbollah has 60-70,000 Rockets; Iran’s Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons is the Main Threat

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

The voice of Amos Gilad is generally a well-respected one in this part of the world. He is a major-general in the IDF reserves and at an earlier time was the IDF’s Spokesperson. For years he was the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). Today he heads the Political, Military and Policy Bureau at the Ministry of Defence.

He delivered a major speech this past Monday at the World Summit of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, which ended yesterday. Some highlights:

* The fact that Israel is not facing a conventional military threat is a massive improvement over this country’s historical security situation. But…

* Hezbollah has between 60,000 and 70,000 rockets  of various types aimed at Israel. Its arsenal is far more robust than the one it had prior to the Second Lebanon War. “The next war will be aimed against the home front,” he is quoted saying [source].

* The Golan Heights remains the quietest region in the entire Middle East. From Israel’s strategic standpoint, this is good news – at least for now. (Gilad has previously summed up the tragic Syrian situation this way: “Assad is an Alawite, and he is slaughtering his opponents. He will continue until he is defeated.” Few Israeli leaders have had any illusions about the Assad strategy since the darkest days of his father’s blood-soaked rule.)

* The (inevitable and approaching) fall of Assad will allow al-Qaida to open a new terror front against Israel, and there are signs now that it is “starting to rear its head”.

* In Egypt, though there are many terrorist groups actively seeking to attack Israel from the Sinai, new Egyptian president Morsy and his entourage remain “committed to peace”.

* Gaza: The situation is “relatively restrained”.

That number he quotes – 70,000 rockets – would be worrying all by itself. But it’s more disturbing still when you compare it with what Gilad himself said in an interview he gave to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, reproduced in Yediot Aharonot/Ynet, just seven months ago. In that February 2012 piece, Gilad says Hezbollah has accumulated 45,000 missiles that pose a threat to Israel. These came from Iran and Syria via ships, planes and trains. Lebanon’s political leadership is out of the loop and unaware; the result is a vacuum he calls “Hezbollastan”.

In case those facts slipped past you: one of Israel’s highest placed defense officials says, with zero fanfare and no drums, that a sworn enemy of this country, whose forces are arrayed right across the length of Israel’s northern border, has increased its offensive attack capabilities to such an extent that, in a period of seven months, it has expanded its already huge arsenal of rockets by a further 56%.

He also told the Kuwaitis that the Tehran regime intends to use its nuclear strategy not only against Israel but also against the Arab regimes and the Gulf nations.

The more informed among the Kuwaiti readership probably knew this already. In an analytic paper called “Updating Israel’s Security Policy” [online here] published in May 2012, Gilad reviewed the Iranian strategy and how it is perceived here in the neighborhood. Some highlights:

* “Hizbullah has taken over half of Lebanon. Hizbullahstan is much more powerful militarily, or even politically, than Lebanon itself, heavily financed by Iran and Syria. They have at least 45,000 rockets, compared with 14,000 in 2006 at the time of the Second Lebanon War. There is also Iranian terror all over the world, with Iranians whose base is in Lebanon.”

* “I cannot imagine Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or any of the other Arab countries tolerating a nuclear Iran. There is an Arabic word, “ajami,” which expresses disgust of the Persians. If you ask any Arab leader about the greatest threat, he will say Iran – not Israel – but not publicly.”

* “The terrorists in Sinai are financed by Iran [he wrote this some months before the recent murderous attacks in Sinai] and they want to murder as many Israelis as they can.”

* “The Iranians and the Turks have a 1,000-year-old tradition of rivalry. I cannot believe that the Turks believe there is room for friendship with Iran. If Iran goes nuclear, the Turks will be very upset.”

* “Israel’s identification of the Iranian nuclear threat was a great intelligence achievement. We identified the threat of a nuclear Iran in the mid-1990s, when Iran did not have a single missile that could reach Israel. Iran’s capabilities for developing nuclear weapons are no longer a question. They only have to make the decision. They have 5.5 tons of low-enriched uranium. They have hundreds of Shahab-3 missiles which can travel 1,500 km., and they have missiles with a range of 2,200 km. Their ambition is to become the regional superpower. They have the know-how to assemble nuclear warheads on missiles if they want to. They have not yet crossed the Rubicon.”

* Khamenei, who is the leader, not Ahmadinejad, relies on the brutal force of the Revolutionary Guard. Whenever he finds it appropriate, he is determined to develop the option to decide to develop nuclear weapons. He has not done so yet because he is shocked by the magnitude of exposure of these secret projects.”

* “Two years ago at the United Nations, the president of the United States exposed the existence of a top-secret project near Qom, and the Iranians were shocked. For a long time the world did not recognize the nature of this threat, but now there is a consensus among the world’s intelligence agencies: Iran is a threat. There is no current existential threat to Israel, but a nuclear Iran has the potential of creating such a threat when they get the bomb.”

* “Both Turkey and Iran used to be our best friends. We are doing our best to ease the tension between us and Turkey, but it is quite a challenge to digest and understand the changes that have occurred in Turkey. We do not like the way Turkey is cooperating with Iran from time to time, but the Iranians and the Turks have a 1,000-year-old tradition of rivalry. I cannot believe that the Turks believe there is room for friendship with Iran.”

* “If Ahmadinejad and Khamenei keep saying that Israel does not have the right to exist, then with nuclear capability it becomes serious. Without nuclear weapons, it remains just a statement. Iran without nuclear capability is a terrible threat but not an existential one. At the moment, they are using terror and we are suffering from it. The main issue today is how to prevent a nuclear Iran.”

Homeland Security Runs Threat Response Exercise with Jewish Leaders

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

About 50 high-ranking federal and state law enforcement officials met with an equal number of leading American Jewish officials for their first “table top” threat exercise.

The Joint Department of Homeland Security – American Jewish Community Table Top Exercise, held Wednesday at an unnamed location in Rosslyn, Va., was designed to identify gaps in information sharing, to share best practices and to push security concerns throughout the American Jewish community.

“This was not just another briefing,” Paul Goldenberg, national director of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Secure Community Network, told JTA. “This milestone event was to have the highest level national leaders together in a room for five hours with senior Jewish leaders so we know going out of that room what we need to know what to do to go forward.”

The program began with a current threat assessment by government officials and then simulated potential threats. It featured participants in an amphitheater-style room where they watched law enforcement coordinate responses to two particular scenarios: multiple attacks on Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora and then on Jewish institutions in the United States.

“I’ve got to tell you it didn’t take much prodding to get questions,” William Flynn, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Infrastructure Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security, told JTA. “This was a very engaged group and a very well-informed group that asked some very, very good and serious questions and posed some important issues.”

The Department of Homeland Security has helped coordinate security in recent months at the Maccabi Games in Houston, New York, and Memphis, Tenn., he added.

“This was an effort to pull it all together and take a look at the best practices that we’ve identified and any potential gaps that might be there, particularly in how we share information accurately and in actionable ways,” Flynn said.

Goldenberg added, “These leaders walked out saying, `I gotta go back to my constituents and my agencies and I now have a much better idea of what I need to do to secure my community because it’s not just securing a building, but a community. It’s not about panic and it’s not about fear. It’s about partnership” with law enforcement agencies.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who participated in the exercise, said in a statement, “Our partnership with organizations and leaders of faith communities has helped, and continues to help, communities across the country prepare for threats that may originate either within our borders or abroad.”

Other participants included: Rand Beers, Undersecretary for the Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs; Jerry Silverman, Jewish Federations of North America president and CEO; Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; and representatives from the FBI and the Department of State.

Eight Reasons why Containment is not an Option with Iran

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

1. Iran’s regime is outspokenly dedicated to the goal of destroying the State of Israel. Iranian political, religious, and military leaders have expressed their desire to annihilate Israel at every opportunity they have received. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says that the physical elimination of Israel is a religious duty. It would be criminally negligent to disregard Iran’s official state ideology and gamble with the lives of millions of Israelis on the unproven assumption that Iran will behave rationally as a nuclear-armed actor. For Israel, the struggle to keep Iran from going nuclear is not about regional influence or ensuring an edge over its enemies. It is about Israel’s Right to Life.

2. The Iranian regime is filled with quarrelling factions that could in the future lead to a destabilization of the government, the military, and the Islamic Republic Guards Corps.

Some factions are influenced by radical Shi’ite ayatollahs such as Mezbah Yazdi, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s spiritual mentor. Yazdi not only says that Israel is the embodiment of evil on Earth, he has also called for the production of nuclear weapons. In any future destabilization of an Iranian regime armed with atomic bombs, a hardline faction could seize control of nuclear missile bases and order an attack. The security of Israel, the region, and the world would be held ransom to the outcome of domestic Iranian power struggles. No country can be expected to accept such a threat

3. Despite all of the above, some commentators continue to insist that facing a nuclear Iran can be compared to the superpower rivalries of the Cold War, which pitted the U.S. and the Soviet Union against one another, and resulted in both sides refraining from resorting to nuclear force, due to the threat of mutually assured destruction (MAD).

The analogy, however, does not work. Ideologically, there is a stark difference between hardline Shi’ite Iranian ideology, which adores the concept of martyrdom, and the secular Soviet ideology, which dismissed with contempt notions of religious war and ideas about divine rewards in the afterlife.

4. Even if we set aside difference in ideology, there are other reasons MAD is not applicable in Iran’s case. Moscow and Washington established lines of direct communications that allowed them to deescalate standoffs. The open channels allowed the superpowers to walk away from the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, thereby sparing the planet from a nuclear holocaust. Jerusalem and Tehran have no direct lines of communication whatsoever, and no way to deescalate future crises, which will surely arise.

5. Iran’s territory is 70 times larger than Israel, a disparity that will form a constant temptation for Iranian leaders to realize their fantasy of destroying Israel. Iranian former president Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, considered an Iranian “reformist,” formulated this thinking, when he said in 2001: “If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the… application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.”

With 70% of the Israeli population concentrated in cities on the Mediterranean coastal plain, Iranian leaders face the constant temptation of initiating a nuclear attack based on Rafsanjani’s calculation. Israel has a population of 7.8 million. Iran has a population of 74.8 million.

6. Once Iran breaks through to the nuclear arms stage, it would automatically spark a Middle Eastern arms race, as Iran’s frightened Sunni rivals would rush to get their own atomic bombs. Sunni states suffering from chronic instability, such as Egypt – already under Islamist rule – as well as other Sunni powers such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia would end up armed with nuclear weapons, too.

With the Middle East at its most unstable phase to date (the dissolution of Syria and concerns about its chemical weapons as a case in point), nuclear armed states could experience severe turbulence that would compromise the security of their nuclear arsenals, putting them within reach of fanatical factions or terror organizations.

7. Iran remains the region’s number one state sponsor of terrorism. Operating through its extraterritorial covert elite unit, the Quds Force, Iran provides arms, tends of thousands of deadly rockets, explosives, cash, and logistical support to its Shi’ite proxy Hezbollah, as well as Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and several additional radical non-state actors around the region.

Netanyahu: I will go to the UN and Break the Silence on Iran’s Terror Regime

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to speak at the U.N. General Assembly next month in order to speak “the truth about Iran’s regime of terror,” which he said “constitutes the greatest threat to world peace.”

Netanyahu said his decision was in response to the Non-Aligned movement summit held in Iran.

“Today in Tehran the representatives of 120 countries heard a blood libel against the State of Israel and were silent,” Netanyahu said. “This silence must be stopped.”

The General Assembly will convene at the end of September. In order to speak Netanyahu will have to fly to New York immediately after the end of Yom Kippur.

We Are Not Home In America

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

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Yishai and Malkah further discussing the Iranian nuclear threat and how it has caused Iran’s neighbors and the rest of the Arab world to stock up on American-made arms and weapon systems and how because of it, Israel needs have less reliance on support provided by the United States. They move on to talk about how the upcoming American presidential election and how neither candidate is necessarily more pro-Israel than the other and ways that listeners can support Israel other than through elections. They end the segment by discussing how the ban of ritual circumcision in Germany has affected the German Jewish and Muslim communities and how circumcisions have continued in secret.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/elliot-abrams-americans-support-iran-strike-iranians-dont-fear-obama/2012/08/28/

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