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October 7, 2015 / 24 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘US’

Magic Wand Works

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

A joint US-Israel anti-missile system called Magic Wand successfully intercepted a missile in a test on Sunday. The anti-missile system is also called David’s Sling in Israel.

Magic Wand is being jointly developed by Rafael in Israel, and Raytheon in the US. It’s primary target are missiles with ranges of at least 70 kilometers, such as ballistic missiles and long range rockets.

The goal is for Magic Wand to be operational by 2014.

It’s estimated that each missile costs 1 million dollars.

There’s a New Pharaoh in Town

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Eyes on the ball, folks.  In strategic terms, the most important thing that has happened in the last 10 days is that Mohammed Morsi has assumed dictatorial powers in Egypt.  Courageous Egyptians are protesting that move, but Morsi has less compunction than Mubarak did, and we can expect the protests to be dealt with effectively.

So, those of us who said Morsi was an Islamist extremist who would quickly reestablish authoritarianism in Egypt – with a sharia flavor – were right.  Those who said Morsi was a moderate were wrong.

And his Napoleonic self-crowning event changes the calculus for Gaza and Hamas, among other things.  The universal interpretation of the ceasefire brokered by Egypt this week puts the responsibility for preventing attacks by Hamas against Israel squarely on the Morsi government.  (Not all analyses refer to “frantic” diplomacy on the part of the United States.)  Far from making Egypt anyone’s partner in repressing Hamas, this move effectively hands Hamas over to Morsi – and with Hamas, the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is a terrorist group whose independence of him is an inconvenience for Morsi.  Hamas is the finger of Iran in the Levantine “pie” situated on Morsi’s northeastern border.  Hamas lies between Morsi and Jerusalem.  Morsi is not going to “work with” Hamas; he is going to give Hamas the choice to work with him, or be rendered insignificant.

Hamas can be useful to Morsi, if that’s what its leaders choose to do.  There may or may not be a “break” with Iran; it would probably be better from Morsi’s perspective to keep Iran on a string with Hamas, and prevent a divergence of objectives – i.e., between Egypt and Iran – for as long as possible.

But do not be deceived.

Iran has just taken a big strategic hit from the terms of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.  Iran may still have Qods Force operatives in the area, but Morsi has established a veto over Iran’s activities there.  There may be a few more attempts by Hamas at independence from Morsi – although frankly, I doubt it – but the die is cast: what happens from now on will happen on Morsi’s timeline and his say-so.

That, at least, is what he intends.  He has been rather transparent in the last few days.  Immediately upon getting the ceasefire on terms advantageous for his intentions, he declared himself all-powerful in Egypt.  This was not a coincidence.  His pursuit of the ceasefire was part and parcel of his overall planning.  He was happy to accept the vaguest of commitments on Israel’s side, as long as the understanding was that Egypt would guarantee Hamas’s behavior.

That was the prize Morsi sought.

Now he has started clearing the way to make good use of that prize.  Morsi is on the move.  He is moving very quickly to consolidate power, and position Egypt as a force to be reckoned with in the “race to Jerusalem.”  No longer a sleepy, despotic backwater, Egypt is now ready to play on the same field as Iran and Turkey.  We can expect Morsi to play off Turkey and Iran, remaining on good terms with both as he will seek to do with the US and Europe.  It won’t be time for a “break” with anyone until Morsi has acquired an advantageous position for inducing the fall of Jerusalem – the denouement sought eagerly by the Muslim Brotherhood, and hollered about often by Morsi himself.

In the near future, Morsi may well be able to keep Hamas in check in Gaza, a condition that might make some Israelis and Americans complacent about the turn of events.  I think we’ll know in the next month whether Hamas and Iran will try to restore the status quo ante, by recovering strategic independence from Egypt.  If they wait longer than that, their opportunity will have passed them by.  My guess is that they won’t make the attempt, however, and that Morsi has established himself as a new fact of the geopolitical landscape.

This will not have the effect of making him more moderate or conventional.  It can be said, meanwhile, that his ascent could not have happened, and certainly not so quickly, without the assistance of the United States.  At each step along the way, the US could have shown the kinds of useful leadership that we simply have not shown since the beginning of the Arab Spring.

US Blocks UN Security Council Statement Condemning Israel

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The United States on Tuesday blocked a U.N. Security Council statement condemning violence between Israel and Gaza, calling the statement a “fail[ure] to address the root cause” of the battle, namely missile attacks by Hamas.

Reuters reported that Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for the US mission to the UN said the statement would not assist the “de-escalation of violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities.”  She expressed US concern that “by failing to call for the immediate and permanent halt to rocket launches from Gaza into Israel, this press statement failed to contribute constructively to those goals,” and that  “as such, we could not agree to this statement.”

Russia has responded by vowing to push through a resolution rather than a statement, though the US would be expected to veto the move.

Guardian Staff Perplexed by US, UK Support for Israel

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Western government support for Israel’s right to defend it’s citizens against Hamas really infuriates some people.

Those who routinely demonize the Jewish state and parrot the most ludicrous claims about Israeli villainy – and excuse or ignore the racism, incitement and violence of Islamist extremists in the region – simply can’t wrap their mind around the fact their anti-Zionist view is extremely marginal.

The mind of Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell was evidently ready to explode upon hearing the expressions of support for Israel by British foreign secretary William Hague and former PM Tony Blair. So, Bell expressed, in cartoon form, his belief that the only possible explanation for this maddening political dynamic is the puppeteer like control exercised over the subservient British leaders by Israel’s Prime Minister.

Another ‘anti-Zionist head-exploding’ moment occurred when the U.S. House and Senate overwhelmingly passed non-binding resolutions backing “Israel’s right to self-defense.”

There’s nothing unusual about such a resolution, as popular support for Israel in America, based on polling by Gallup over the last 45 years, has been consistent and overwhelming – a fact which CiF contributor Glenn Greenwald, whose fear of powerful Jewish forces in the U.S. borders on the conspiratorial, simply can’t fathom.

He expressed his frustration today, thus:

Poor Glenn. The Congressional resolutions, which audaciously affirmed that “no nation”, including Israel, “can tolerate constant barrages of rockets against its civilian population”, actually passed unanimously.

In his essay on Nov. 2011, on ‘averting accusations of antisemitism‘, Guardian readers editor Chris Elliott warned Guardian journalists and commentators to avoid “antisemitic tropes such as Jews having too much power and control.”

Elliott also noted that “three times” he had “upheld complaints against language within articles [which] could be read as antisemitic”, such as his decision to delete the term “slavish” (to describe the US relationship with Israel) from a report by Chris McGreal.

Glenn Greenwald’s characterization of the democratically elected U.S. legislative body as “subservient” to Israel (and/or the Jewish lobby) similarly contains antisemitic undertones, but also represents, to quote Walter Russel Mead, a sign that the ‘Comment is Free’ contributor is among those who are “baffled, frustrated and the bewildered” and therefore “seek[s] a grand, simplifying hypothesis that can bring some kind of ordered explanation to a confusing world.”

“Anti-Semitism”, wrote Mead, “is one of the glittering frauds that attract the overwhelmed and the uncomprehending.”

The anti-Zionist left is increasingly defined as much by their intellectual laziness as they are by their blind subservience to the logic of historically right-wing Judeophobic narratives regarding the dangers of Jewish control.

Visit CifWatch.com.

IAEA: Dramatic Increase of Uranium Production in Iran

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will soon issue a report showing that Iranian nuclear centrifuges are dramatically increasing their production, according to a report by the AFP.

The watchdog group says Iran has completed the installation of 2,700 new centrifuges at its Fordo plant, which is buried deep in a mountain range and is considered impenetrable by air assault.

US President Barack Obama has said sanctions are having a strong impact on Iran.  Israel has asked the US to institute “red line” standards, the infraction of which by Iran would lead to a US military response.  The Obama administration said it would not institute such measures.

Aerial photos have shown Iran conducting clean ups of the areas around nuclear plants to eliminate evidence of their activities.

Anti-Semitic Incidents in the US at a 20-Year Low

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States declined by 13% in 2011, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The annual ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents reported a total of 1,080 incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment, compared to 1,239 incidents reported in 2010.

It is the lowest number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded by ADL in the past two decades.

“It is encouraging that over the past five or six years we have seen a consistent decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents across the country and that the numbers are now at a historic low,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “To the extent that these incidents serve as a barometer, the decline shows that we have made progress as a society in confronting anti-Semitism and pushing it to the far fringes, making expressions of anti-Jewish hatred unacceptable. These declining numbers, while promising, must nevertheless be viewed in the context of other factors, including online expressions of anti-Semitism that are impossible to quantify and often go unchecked.”

Among the more disturbing trends noted in the 2011 ADL Audit is the prevalence of reports across the country of incidents of school bullying, where Jewish students reported being harassed and intimidated by their peers using offensive anti-Semitic stereotypes or comments evoking the Nazis or the Holocaust.

“ADL continues to receive a distressing number of complaints about children, adolescents and teenagers engaging in anti-Semitic behavior, both on and off school grounds,” said Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair. “These have included physical assaults, treats of violence, and verbal and written taunts promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes or evoking disturbing Holocaust themes. We believe that these types of incidents show there is an ongoing need for comprehensive programming promoting diversity and tolerance and combating bullying of all kinds as well as a continued emphasis on Holocaust education in the schools, so that the next generation of students can fully understand the history of that period and the consequences of unchecked hatred, prejudice and bigotry.”

Read the full report.

The Ant-Churchill Tries to Rise Again

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Could there be an Israeli politician more cynical than Ehud Olmert?

Yesterday he accused PM Netanyahu of alienating President Obama — as if Obama could dislike him more — by ‘intervening’ in the US election:

“Following what Netanyahu did in the last few months, the question arises of whether or not our prime minister has a friend in the White House,” Olmert said in a meeting with New York Jewish leaders.

Olmert said that while the Israeli head of state was allowed to have a personal preference for one candidate over another, it would be “better, obviously, if he kept it to himself.”

“What took place this time was a breaking of all the rules, when our prime minister intervened in the US elections in the name of an American billionaire with a clear interest in the vote,” Olmert continued. “The very same billionaire used Israel’s prime minister to advance a nominee of his own for president.”

Olmert’s words were a clear reference to Jewish-American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who according to reports donated some $100 million to Romney’s failed campaign. Adelson also owns the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom, which is largely perceived as a stalwart backer of Netanyahu.

Olmert didn’t explain how he knows that Adelson was acting on Netanyahu’s instructions. He seems to think that it is impossible for a Jewish billionaire to prefer one or another candidate for US president or Israeli PM without engaging in a conspiracy. His remarks, intended to damage Netanyahu with the Israeli public, can only damage his relationship with Obama as well.

Olmert, who was probably the worst Prime Minister in Israel’s history, plans to return to politics after a miraculous escape, with his skin mostly intact, from a trial on several serious corruption charges. The Israeli state prosecutor’s office has filed an appeal of his acquittals on the major charges and an especially light sentence he received for one minor offense.

Olmert said that he would run only if Obama won the US election — which makes one wonder if he expects ‘intervention’ in the opposite direction, which apparently he considers appropriate! He is expected to join with Tzipi Livni and other outspoken enemies of PM Netanyahu, take over the moribund Kadima party, and run against him in upcoming elections on an anyone-but-Bibi platform.

Livni was Olmert’s partner in the government which so badly bungled the 2006 Second Lebanon War, leading to the unnecessary deaths of dozens of soldiers and a disadvantageous cease-fire which left Hizballah in a position to rebuild and rearm (which it has done with a vengeance).

Both Livni and Olmert are preferred to PM Netanyahu by the Obama Administration, because of their perceived willingness to withdraw from the territories in a deal with the Palestinian Authority. Olmert claims to have come close to such a deal in 2008, which thankfully fell through when he left office under a cloud of accusations of corruption.

He has recently criticized the PM for his tough position on the Iranian nuclear project and echoed Obama’s position that sanctions and diplomacy must be given more time to work. I’m sure this has endeared him even further to the president.

Olmert is also known for making one of the most embarrassing speeches in oratorical history in 2005, prompting me to call him “the anti-Churchill:”

We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies. We want them to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors, and I believe that this is not impossible… That it is within reach if we will be smart, if we will dare, if we will be prepared to take the risks, and if we will be able to convince our Palestinian partners to be able to do the same.

As I noted at the time, an unprecedented combination of defeatist rhetoric, bad politics, and fundamentally wrong analysis! But nobody ever accused Olmert of lacking arrogance or chutzpah, and he seems to think that with everyone to the left of Bibi and President Obama on his side, he can retake the Prime Minister’s chair.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/the-ant-churchill-tries-to-rise-again/2012/11/09/

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