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Posts Tagged ‘Yoram Ettinger’

Israel’s Credit Rating Reaffirmed

Friday, October 5th, 2012

1.  Israel’s credit rating has been reaffirmed at A+ by “Standard and Poor,” at a time when S&P lowers the credit rating of an increasing number of Western countries.  According to S&P:

the Israeli economy continues to generate solid economic growth and enjoy a net external asset position, even though the current account has temporarily turned negative. The stable outlook reflects our view that there is sufficient political will to prevent a sizable increase in the government’s debt burden, and that major security risks will be contained. 

S&P noted that “there has been fiscal slippage on account of lower government revenues,” but added, “recent austerity measures and current growth levels should ensure that debt ratios modestly improve in the medium term.

Referring to the most important economic development in Israel in recent times, the discovery of large offshore gas reserves, S&P said, “We forecast that by the middle of the decade domestic natural gas production should contribute to improved external and fiscal balances” (Globes Business Daily, September 30, 2012).

2.  Israel’s GDP grew by 3.4% during the 2nd quarter of 2012, compared with 3.1% and 3.2% during the 1st quarter of 2012 and the 4th quarter of 2011 (Globes, Sept. 20) . While unemployment trends upward towards 7% – which is significantly lower than OECD countries – housing demand peaked in August, to a 13 year record (Globes, Sept. 28).

Israel’s export is impacted by the global meltdown in general and Europe’s intensified economic crisis in particular.  However, while export to Europe declined by 21% during July-August, 2012, compared with July-August, 2011, export to the U.S. surged by 16% during the same period and by 31% compared with May-June, 2012.  Total export ($7.7BN) decreased by 3.5% during July-August, 2012 (Israel Hayom, Oct. 3).

3.  According to the 2012 OECD report, Education at Glance, Israel is ranked 2nd in the number of adults (25-64 year old) with academic degrees, trailing Canada, but ahead of all other OECD countries (Israel Hayom, Sept. 12).

4.  eBay CEO John Donahoe at Israel’s Advanced Technology Conference in Jerusalem (Bloomberg, Sept. 11):  the Israel R&D centers of eBay and its subsidiary PayPal will continue to help drive the company’s innovation in commerce and payment in the foreseeable future. Those centers are based largely on Israeli start-ups acquired by eBay, including Shopping.Com, The Gifts Project and Fraud Sciences. Those centers, employing 340 people, work on everything from EBay’s global social activities to cataloging and data to search mechanisms as well as security and risk management.  Donahoe is looking forward to partnering with more Israeli entrepreneurs to help further spur the future of retail and commerce.

5.  Cisco Systems, the Silicon Valley-based Greylock Partners and the Englewood, CO-based Liberty Global participated in the $24MN 5th round of private placement by Israel’s Celeno (Globes, Sept. 28).

Kazakhstan’s Kenges Rakishev invested $20MN in Israel’s Mobli.  Additional investors in Mobli are Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey McGuire and Serena Williams.

In August, Rakishev invested $5MN in Israel’s TriPlay (Globes, September 20). The Radnor, PA-based New Spring Capital, the Menlo Park, CA-based Menlo Ventures and the Palo Alto, CA-based Trident Capital participated in a $12MN 3rd round by Israel’s eXelate (Globes, Sept. 25). Switzerland’s ABB will invest $10MN in an Israeli solar project (Globes, Sept. 3). Motorola Solutions led a $4MN round by Israel’s AgentVi (Globes, Sept. 12).

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Sukkot: Guide for the Perplexed 2012

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

1. The U.S. covenant with the Jewish State dates back to Columbus Day, which is celebrated around Sukkot (October 8).  According to “Columbus Then and Now” (Miles Davidson, 1997, p. 268), Columbus arrived in America on Friday afternoon, October 12, 1492, the 21st day of the Jewish month of Tishrey, the Jewish year 5235, the 7th day of Sukkot, Hoshaa’na’ Rabbah, which is a day of universal deliverance and miracles.    Hosha (הושע) is the Hebrew word for “deliverance” and Na’ (נא) is the Hebrew word for “please.”  The numerical value of Na’ is 51, which corresponds to the celebration of Hoshaa’na’ Rabbah on the 51st day following Moses’ ascension to Mt. Sinai.

2.  Sukkot is the 3rd Jewish holiday – following Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – in the month of Tishrey, the most significant Jewish month. According to Judaism, the number 3 represents divine wisdom, stability, permanence, integration and peace. 3 is the total sum of the basic odd (1) and even (2) numbers. The 3rd day of the Creation was blessed twice; God appeared on Mt. Sinai on the 3rd day; there are 3 parts to the Bible, 3 Patriarchs, 3 pilgrimages to Jerusalem, etc.

3.  The Book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon – one of the greatest philosophical documents – is read during Sukkot.  It amplifies Solomon’s philosophy on the centrality of God and the importance of morality, humility, family, friendship, historical memory and perspective, patience, long-term thinking, proper-timing, realism and knowledge.  Ecclesiastes 4:12: “A three-ply cord is not easily severed.” The Hebrew name of Ecclesiastes is Kohelet (קהלת), which is similar to the commandment to celebrate Sukkot – Hakhel (הקהל), to assemble.

4.  Sukkot starts on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Tishrey, commemorating the Exodus and the beginning of the construction of the Holy Tabernacle in Sinai. Sukkah (סכה) and Sukkot (סכות) are named after the first stop of the Exodus – Sukkota  (סכותה).  The Hebrew root of Sukkah (סכה) is “wholesomeness” and “totality” (סך), “shelter” (סכך), “to anoint” (סוך), “divine curtain/shelter” (מסך) and “attentiveness” (סכת).

5.  The Sukkah symbolizes the Chuppah – the Jewish wedding canopy – of the renewed vows between God and the Jewish People. While Yom Kippur represents God’s forgiveness of the Golden Calf Sin, Sukkot represents the reinstatement of Divine Providence over the Jewish People.  Sukkot is called Zman Simchatenou – time of our joy – and mandates Jews to rejoice (“והיית אך שמח”).  It is the first of the three Pilgrimages to Jerusalem: Passover – the holiday of Liberty, Shavuot (Pentecost) – the holiday of the Torah and Sukkot – the holiday of Joy.

6.  “The House of David” is defined as a Sukkah (Amos 9:11), representing the permanent vision of the ingathering of Jews to the Land of Israel, Zion.  Sukkot is the holiday of harvesting – Assif (אסיף) – which also means “ingathering” (אסוף) in Hebrew. The four sides of the Sukkah represent the global Jewish community, which ingathers under the same roof.  The construction of the Sukkah and Zion are two of the 248 Jewish Do’s (next to the 365 Don’ts). Sukkot – just like Passover – commemorates Jewish sovereignty and liberty.  Sukkot highlights the collective responsibility of the Jewish people, complementing Yom Kippur’s and Rosh Hashanah’s individual responsibility.  Humility – as a national and personal prerequisite – is accentuated by the humble Sukkah. Sukkot provides the last opportunity for repentance. 

7.  Sukkot honors the Torah, as the foundation of Judaism and the Jewish people. Sukkot reflects the three inter-related and mutually-inclusive pillars of Judaism: The Torah of Israel, the People of Israel and the Land of Israel. The day following Sukkot (Simchat Torah – Torah-joy in Hebrew) is dedicated to the conclusion of the annual Torah reading and to the beginning of next year’s Torah reading.  On Simchat Torah, the People of the Book are dancing with the Book.

8.  The seven days of Sukkot are dedicated to the seven Ushpizindistinguished guests (origin of the words Hospes and hospitality): Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David. They defied immense odds in their determined pursuit of ground- breaking initiatives. The Ushpizin constitute role models to contemporary leadership.

9. The seven day duration of Sukkot – celebrated during the 7th Jewish month, Tishrey –highlights the appreciation to God for blessing the Promised Land with the 7 species (Deuteronomy 8:8): wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olive oil, and dates’ honey – 3 fruit of the tree, 2 kinds of bread, 1 product of olives, 1 product of dates = 4 categories.  The duration of Sukkot corresponds, also, to the 7 day week (the Creation), the 7 divine clouds which sheltered the Jewish People in the desert, the 7 blessings which are read during a Jewish wedding, the 7 rounds of dancing with the Torah during Simchat Torah,  the 7 readings of the Torah on Sabbath, etc.

Yom Kippur Guide for the Perplexed 2012

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

1.  Yom Kippur is observed on the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tishrey, whose astrological sign is Libra (♎). Libra symbolizes key themes of Yom Kippur: scales, justice, balance, truth, symmetry, sensitivity and optimism. Libra is ruled by the planet Venus (Noga, נגה, in Hebrew), which reflects divine light and love of the other person.  The numerical value of Venus, נגה, is 58 just like the numerical value of אזן, which is the Hebrew root of “balance” and “scale.”

2.  Three holidays - Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot (Tabernacles) - are celebrated during the month of Tishrey. The number 3 is identified with balance, stability and The Essence.  The triangle is a symbol of stability.

3.  On the first day of Tishrey, the first human being, Adam, was created. Each year on the tenth day of Tishrey, Yom Kippur, human beings are accorded an opportunity to recreate themselves spiritually. Tishrey and Libra are dominated by the Hebrew letter ל, which is the tallest Hebrew letter, consisting of 3 parts, aiming upward, reflecting the need to elevate-oneself morally, self-enhancement. Yom Kippur is not driven by punishment, but by behavioral-enhancement.

4.  Yom Kippur’s central theme is the plea for forgiveness – directly and not merely via prayers - from fellow human beings.  It highlights humility (admitting fallibility), faith, soul-searching, thoughtfulness, being considerate, compassion, accepting responsibility, magnanimity.  Speaking ill of other people (“evil tongue” in Hebrew) may not be forgiven.

5.  The Jubilee – sanctifying each 50th year by proclaiming liberty, as also inscribed on the Liberty Bell – is announced by blowing the Shofar (a ritual ram’s horn) on Yom Kippur. The Jubilee liberates people physically and spiritually. The word “jubilee” (יובל) is a Hebrew synonym for “Shofar.” Yom Kippur and Jubilee highlight liberty and the subordination to God.

6.  Yom Kippur culminates the ten days of genuine, heart-driven atonement/repentance, which begin on Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the Jewish month of Tishrey - an Acadian word for forgiveness and Genesis. It is observed on the tenth day of TishreyTen has special significance in Judaism: God’s abbreviation is the tenth Hebrew letter (Yod - י); Ten attributes of God – Divine perfection – were highlighted during the Creation; the Ten Commandments; the Ten Plagues;  Ten reasons for blowing the Shofar; 10% gift to God (tithe); The Ten Martyrs (Rabbis who were tortured/murdered by the Roman Empire); Ten generations between Adam and Noah and ten generations between Noah and Abraham; a ten worshipper quorum (Minyan) is required for a collective Jewish prayer;  etc.

7.  Yom Kippur is a Happy Jewish Holiday, replacing vindictiveness and rage with peace-of-mind and peaceful co-existence between God and human beings and, primarily, among human beings.  Yom Kippur emphasizes God’s Covenant with the Jewish People, ending God’s rage over the sin of the Golden Calf.

8.  The Hebrew word Kippur כיפור (atonement/repentance) is a derivative of the Biblical words Kaporet כפורת - which covered the Holy Ark at the Sanctuary – and Kopher כופר, which covered Noah’s Ark and the Holy Altar at the Temple.  Yom Kippur resembles a spiritual cover (dome), which separates between the holy (days) and the mundane (rest of the year), between spiritualism and materialism. The Kippa כיפה (skullcap, Yarmulke), which covers one’s head during prayers, reflects a spiritual dome. 

9. Yom Kippur calls for repentance – Teshuvah, תשובה, in Hebrew.  The root of Teshuvah is similar to root of the Hebrew word for Return שובה – returning to positive values – and Shvitah שביתה – cessation (strike) of mundane thoughts and actions and eating.  It is also similar to the root of Shabbat שבת. Yom Kippur is also called Shabbat Shabbaton – the supreme Sabbath.  The last Sabbath before Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Teshuvah (based on Hosea’s prophesy, chapter 4).  While the Sabbath is the soul of the week, Yom Kippur is the soul of the year.

10.  The Hebrew spelling of “fast” (צם/צום) – abstinence from food – reflects the substance of Yom Kippur.  The Hebrew word for “fast” is the root of the Hebrew word for “reduction” and “shrinking” (צמצום) of one’s wrong-doing.  It is also the root of the Hebrew words for“slave” (צמית) and “eternity” (צמיתות) – enslavement to God, but not to human-beings. “Fast” is also the root of עצמי (being oneself), עצום (awesome),  עצמה (power), עצמאות(independence), which are gained through the process of fasting, soul-searching, spiritual enhancement and trust in God.

11.  The prayer of Veedooi-וידוי (confession/reaffirmation in Hebrew) is recited ten timesduring Yom Kippur, re-entrenching genuine repentance and the plea for forgiveness. The prerequisites for forgiveness are the expression and exercise (talking and walking) of repentance; assuming full-responsibility for one’s (mis)behavior, and significantly altering one’s behavior.  King Saul sinned only once – ignoring the commandment to annihilate the Amalekites – but was banished from the crown and killed, because he shirked responsibility, while responding to Samuel’s accusation.  King David sinned twice (The “Bat-Sheba Gate” and the “Census Gate”), but was forgiven, because he accepted full-responsibility and the death sentence (as proclaimed by Nathan the Prophet), which was promptly rescinded.

Will Congress Rise to the Occasion?

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

While Israel’s economy is facing the consequences of the global economic meltdown (e.g., unemployment is rising at 7%, gasoline price is surging):

1. According to the August 24, 2012 “Commentator” article by Peter Glover and Michael Economides,

as the tension between Israel and Iran ratchets up, an interesting sub-text has developed over the role of Iran’s traditional backer, Russia…. 20 million metric tons of liquid natural gas (LNG) exported each year from the eastern Mediterranean into Europe [a reference to the supposed potential of Israel’s and Cyprus’ offshore natural gas reserves] would amount to about one third of current Russian exports…. Putin’s Kremlin is clearly rattled by the threat of decline for that which underpins Russia’s entire economy: its energy hegemony…. Russia supplies a quarter of all Europe’s (rising) natural gas demand…. But there is now a new kid on the block that could pose a very clear and present threat to Russia’s vital European market: Israel, along with Cyprus, and their upcoming potential status as gas exporting energy superpowers…. During Putin’s recent visit to Israel, he and Netanyahu agreed to form a junior company to [Russia’s] Gazprom that would help develop Israel’s Leviathan gas field in the eastern Mediterranean…. Iran is suing Russia in the Court of Arbitration in Geneva for cancelling a contract to sell five divisions of the S-300 long-range anti-aircraft missile system…. the Kremlin appears to have higher economic and political priorities. Chief among them: ensuring its vast energy resources help it to remain a global superpower…

2. The Menlo Park-based Sequoia Capital, which is a leading global high tech venture capital fund, is dedicating $200MN for its 5th Israeli-dedicated fund. The 1st fund was established in 1998 ($30MN), followed by $150MN, $200MN and $200MN funds (Globes Business Daily, August 24, 2012). The Palo Alto-based Accel Partners, another leading global high tech venture capital fund and a frequent investor in Israeli high tech companies, invested $3MN in Israel’s Mobile Spaces (Globes, Aug. 27).

*3. Will Congress rise to the occasion, legislating the US-Israel Water Cooperation Act in the areas of water technologies, water industries, water conservation, water supply and consumption, water quality, irrigation, sewage recycling, desalination, water security, etc.?

The current drought afflicting the United States, which has spread to more than half of the continental United States, is the most widespread drought in more than half a century…. The US government has declared nearly 1,300 counties across 29 states a federal disaster area…. Head of the Desalination Department in Israel’s Water Authority claims Israel can help: “Educating people to use less water… The average consumption of water in the US per person is 3 or 4 times of Israel’s…. [More] efficient irrigation systems: 90-95% of agriculture in Israel uses drip irrigation as opposed to only 5% in America…. Proper maintenance of water pipes – there is a 20% average leakage rate on water pipes in the US, not quite as bad as London’s 40% average leakage, nonetheless twice the amount of Israel’s leakage…. Regarding sewage water – about 80% is reused in Israel for irrigation, as opposed to America’s 1%…” (Arutz 7, Gideon Israel, July 25).

From Yoram Ettinger’s newsletter, Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom, which can be found at the Ettinger Report

Yoram Ettinger: Israel’s Unilateral Action – a Test of Sovereignty

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Maintaining Israel’s independence of action – in face of Iran’s nuclear threat – is consistent with Israeli/Jewish history, with common sense, regional stability and with the enhancement of vital US national security interests.  On the other hand, surrendering Israel’s inalienable right of self-defense would undermine Israel’s sovereignty, erode its posture of deterrence, jeopardize its existence, fuel regional chaos and undermine US interests in the Middle East.

On June 3, 1967, President Johnson pressured Prime Minister Eshkol against preempting the pro-Soviet Egypt-Syria-Jordan military axis, which threatened the survival of moderate Arab regimes (e.g., Saudi Arabia) and Israel’s existence. Johnson advised that “Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go alone. We cannot imagine that [Israel] will make this decision.”

Johnson warned that a unilateral Israeli military preemption could trigger severe regional turmoil, transform Israel into a belligerent state, and preclude assistance by the USA. Johnson refrained from implementing the 1957 unilateral and multilateral guarantees issued to Israel by Eisenhower.  He insisted that Israel should rely on the diplomatic-multilateral option.

Eshkol defied Johnson.  He preempted the anti-US Arab axis; devastated a clear and present danger to vital Western interests; rescued the House of Saud from the wrath of Nasser; expedited the end of the pro-Soviet Nasser regime and the rise of the pro-US Sadat regime in Egypt; dealt a major setback to Soviet interests; and demonstrated Israel’s capability to snatch the hottest chestnuts out of the fire, without a single US boot on the ground.  He transformed the image of Israel from a national security consumer (a client state) to a national security producer (a strategic ally).

Eshkol realized that a defiant national security policy – in defense of the Jewish State – yielded a short-term political and diplomatic spat with the US, but resulted in a long-term national security upgrade and dramatically enhanced strategic respect.

From time immemorial, the Jewish People has faced powerful adversities in asserting its sovereignty over the Land of Israel, and by undertaking unilateral national security actions. Conviction-driven defiance of adversity has earned the Jewish People deep respect.

Israel’s contemporary history demonstrates that dramatic national security enhancement requires unilateral actions, in defiance of regional and global powers.

For example, in 1948/9, Prime Minister Ben Gurion declared independence, annexed Western Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, initiated wide construction in Jerusalem and refused to end “occupation” of the Negev and absorb Arab refugees, in defiance of a US military embargo, the threat of US economic sanctions and significant domestic Dovish opposition. Ben Gurion’s steadfastness led General Omar Bradley, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs-of-Staff in 1952, to recommend reconsideration of Israel as a major ally in the Middle East.

In 1967, Prime Minister Eshkol reunited Jerusalem and launched construction projects in eastern Jerusalem, in the face of US, global and domestic opposition.

In 1977, Prime Minister Begin’s initiative to negotiate directly with Egypt, circumvented President Carter’s initiative to convene an international conference, which intended to focus on the Palestinian issue and Jerusalem.

In 1981, Prime Minister Begin concluded that the cost of a nuclear Iraq would dwarf the cost of preempting Iraq.  He realized that diplomacy would not stop Iraq’s nuclearization, and that most Arab/Muslim countries considered a nuclear Iraq to be a lethal threat. Therefore, he preempted, destroying Iraq’s nuclear reactor, in spite of the US threat of a military embargo and a nasty diplomatic US reproach, worldwide condemnation and vocal domestic opposition, especially by national security circles.

Begin’s daring unilateral initiative in 1981averted regional chaos, sparing the US a nuclear confrontation in 1991, which would have devastated vital US human, economic and military concerns.

In 2012, Prime Minister Netanyahu is aware that sanctions against Iran are inherently ineffective due to non-compliance by Russia, China, India, Japan and some European countries.  He recognizes that sanctions provide Iran with extra-time to develop/acquire nuclear capabilities.  He knows that sanctions did not prevent Pakistan’s and North Korea’s nuclearization. He concluded that Iran’s time-to-develop/acquire is unpredictable and uncontrollable. He realizes that a nuclear Iran would doom the pro-US Gulf regimes; would traumatize the supply and price of oil; would accelerate nuclear proliferation; would provide a tailwind to Islamic terrorism and scores of sleeper cells in the US; and would entrench Iran’s military foothold in America’s backyard – Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Mexico. He understands that a military preemption – with no boots on the ground – is a prerequisite for regime change in Iran. Just like Begin, Netanyahu is convinced that the cost of a nuclear Iran would dwarf the personal, diplomatic, political, economic and military cost of preempting Iran.

Just like the aforementioned Prime Ministers, Netanyahu is cognizant of the cardinal Jewish proverb: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? (Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14).”

Originally published in Israel Hayom, http://bit.ly/OqqP7C

Yoram Ettinger: Israel’s Economic Culture Praised Despite Global Financial Gloom

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

While the global economy deteriorates and its ripple effects erode Israel’s economic indicators (e.g., unemployment increased to 7%), there is cause for optimism in the Holy Land:

–Frans Van Houten, the CEO of the Dutch giant, Philips Global recently told Globes Business Daily (Aug. 2, 2012): “Israel’s economic and organizational culture is consistent with Philips’ requirements…. Philips owes part of its enhanced performance [2nd quarter’s earnings – 17% above projections] to Israel’s excellent engineers in the imaging, data processing and data storage areas.  Philips has expanded its Israeli presence and acquisitions since 1999, when it acquired part of Israel’s Elscint, then Israel’s CDP and CDC…. Philips will expand its current 600 employee research & development center.”

–Marcos Battisti, head of Intel Capital in Europe and Israel, hired additional investment directors in Israel, expanding Intel’s pursuit of Israeli start ups.  Since 1991, Intel Capital invested in 60 Israeli companies, collaborating with Intel’s four research & development centers and two manufacturing plants in Israel (Globes, July 26).

–Israel’s Kayak raised $91MN in a Wall Street IPO led by Morgan Stanley (Globes, July 23).  Abingworth Ventures, 7 MedHealth Ventures, Arch Ventures, MPM Capital and F3 invested $38MN in a round of private placement by Israel’s Chiasma (Globes, July 24).  Battery Ventures and Bessemer Ventures led a $12MN round of private placement by Israel’s Vayyar Imaging (Globes, Aug. 3).

–Is Israel a future energy superpower?  Walter Russell Mead, Editor at-large of the Washington, DC-based bimonthly magazine The American Interest, which specializes in global economy and international affairs, July 2, 2012: “Canada and Russia are moving to step up energy relations with Israel….Israel and Canada have just signed an agreement to cooperate on the exploration and development of what could be vast shale oil reserves beneath the Jewish State…. The Russian Gazprom and Israel have announced plans to cooperate on gas extraction…. Drillers working in Israeli waters have already identified what seems to be 5 billion barrels of recoverable oil, in addition to over a trillion cubic feet of gas. Israel’s undersea gas reserves are currently estimated at about 16 trillion cubic feet and new fields continue to be rapidly found…. Another sensible target for Israeli energy diplomacy would be India… eager to diversify its energy sources…. According to the World Energy Council, a leading global energy forum, Israel may have the 3rd largest shale oil reserves in the world: something like 250 billion barrels (US – well over 1 trillion barrels; Canada – 2 trillion barrels)…. OPEC’s power to dictate world prices is likely to decline as Canadian, US, Israeli and Chinese resources come on line… An energy-rich Israel… is also going to be a more valuable ally…. The impact of Israel’s energy wealth is dramatic.  On President Putin’s visit to Jerusalem he donned a Kippah (skullcap) and went to pray at the Western Wall.  Turning to the Wall, he said: ‘here we see how the Jewish past is etched into the stones of Jerusalem….’  In the meantime, we wonder if there was an 11th Commandment at Sinai: ‘Thou shalt drill, baby, thou shalt drill.’”

Originally published at http://www.theettingerreport.com/Overseas-Investments/Israel%E2%80%99s-Economic-Culture-Praised-by-Philips-Globa.aspx 

Yoram Ettinger: Saudis Prefer US Military Preemption

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

A nuclear Iran would be a clear and present threat to pro-US regimes in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, would lead to a violent, regional and global slippery slope, thus severely undermining the US economy and national security.

A top official from Bahrain told me, at the office of a senior member of the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, that “Saudi Arabia and Bahrain expect the US to alter its policy, and resort to steps which are required to remove the Iranian nuclear threat.” A national security advisor to a senior member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee shared with me that “Pro-US Persian Gulf leaders are panicky about the rising Iranian nuclear threat.”

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf regimes – which are considered apostates by Teheran’s Ayatollahs – are aware that, unlike nuclear Pakistan and North Korea, the Ayatollahs of Iran have imperialistic-megalomaniacal aspirations to dominate the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and (at least) the entire Moslem World.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States realize that “effective sanctions” is a contradiction-in-terms, since Russia and China, as well as India and Japan, and probably parts of Europe, do not cooperate with the US. Forty years of diplomacy and sanctions have paved the road to a nuclear North Korea and are paving the road to a nuclear Iran.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States presume that the current multi-lateral policy towards Iran leads to a lethal slippery slope, featuring a belligerent nuclear Iran; a meltdown of pro-US Gulf regimes; a breakdown of the oil supply system; a collapse of global economies; an escalation of nuclear proliferation in the Middle Eat and beyond; a radicalization of Islamic terrorism against traditional Muslim regimes and Western democracies; an eruption of local, regional and possibly global wars; or, a submission by pro-US Gulf regimes and Western democracies to Iranian demands.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are convinced that a unilateral US policy is required to prevent the slippery slope. They vie for a massive military preemption – with no boots on the ground – to devastate Iran’s nuclear, air defense and missiles infrastructures, minimize Iran’s retaliatory capabilities, and preclude the calamitous ripple effects of a nuclear Iran.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are concerned that avoiding military preemption would further erode the US posture of deterrence and military power projection, which constitute the backbone of their national security. It would fuel fanaticism on the Arab Street, and would doom pro-US Saudi and Gulf regimes.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States assume that a decisive military preemption – with no ground troops – is a prerequisite to a regime change, which failed in 2009 due to Western vacillation. One cannot expect the domestic opposition to defy the Ayatollahs, while the US and/or Israel refrain from defiance. In 1978 and 2011, the US deserted the Shah of Iran and President Mubarak, thus facilitating anti-US regime change. In 2012, a military preemption would expose the vulnerability of the Ayatollahs, providing a significant tailwind to a pro-US regime change.

During the 1960s, the US failed in its attempt to appease Nasser and snatch him from the Soviet Bloc. It was the 1967 Six Day War – and not US diplomacy – which devastated Nasser and aborted his efforts to topple the pro-US regimes in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

In 2012, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States expect the US to recoup its posture of deterrence and avoid past critical errors, which have jeopardized their survival and have advanced the nuclearization of North Korean and Iran.

Will the US fulfill such expectations by altering its policy? Or, will the US sustain the failed policy of sanctions and diplomacy, which will force Israel to preempt, in order to avert a clear and present danger to global sanity?

Originally published at http://bit.ly/MI3Mpq

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/yoram-ettinger-saudis-prefer-us-military-preemption/2012/06/26/

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