Tuesday, June 25, 2019
In the formation and equipping of the country's defence forces, due attention must be paid to faith and ideology as the basic criteria. Accordingly, the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are to be organized in conformity with this goal, and they will be responsible not only for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country, but also for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad in God's way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God's law throughout the world (this is in accordance with the Koranic verse "Prepare against them whatever force you are able to muster, and strings of horses, striking fear into the enemy of God and your enemy, and others besides them" [8:60]).
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 10:56 AM
Sunday, June 23, 2019
Regarding “Kushner reveals peace plan to invest $50b. into region” (June 23), I hope this economic prosperity is not the gist of the peace plan. Palestinians commit acts of terrorism not because they are economically frustrated but because they are waging jihad.
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 9:16 AM
Friday, June 21, 2019
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Weekly Commentary: Warning: Iran may actually seek mutual destruction
Dr. Aaron Lerner 20 June 2019
Policymakers considering the challenge presented by Iran today would be well
advised to heed the warning of Bernard Lewis:
"...In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs
concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time -- Gog and Magog,
anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of
the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over
evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers
clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has
already begun and is indeed well advanced....
A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian
schoolbook, is revealing. "I am decisively announcing to the whole world
that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against
our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease
until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go
to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's
hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to
eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours."
In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so
well during the Cold War, would have no meaning. At the end of time, there
will be general destruction anyway. What will matter will be the final
destination of the dead -- hell for the infidels, and heaven for the
believers. For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint; it is an
Bernard Lewis The Wall Street Journal Aug. 8, 2006
Time and again simulations have been carried out during which those assigned
the Iranian roles operated under the working assumption that the ultimate
goal of the Iranian leadership is to remain in power.
The true outcome could be dramatically different if Bernard Lewis is right.
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 2:11 AM
Sunday, June 16, 2019
Saturday, June 15, 2019
If Iran won’t change its behavior, we should sink its navy.
June 14, 2019
On April 14, 1988, the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts, a frigate, hit an Iranian naval mine while sailing in the Persian Gulf. The explosion injured 10 of her crew and nearly sank the ship. Four days later, the U.S. Navy destroyed half the Iranian fleet in a matter of hours. Iran did not molest the Navy or international shipping for many years thereafter.
Now that’s changed. Iran’s piratical regime is back yet again to its piratical ways.
Or so it seems, based on on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman provided by the U.S. Central Command, including of one of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps patrol boats removing an unexploded limpet mine from the hull of one of the damaged tankers.
The Iranians categorically deny responsibility. And the Trump administration has credibility issues, to put it mildly, which is one reason why electing a compulsive prevaricator to the presidency is dangerous to national security.
In this case, however, the evidence against Iran is compelling. CentCom’s account notes that “a U.S. aircraft observed an IRGC Hendijan class patrol boat and multiple IRGC fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft (FAC/FIAC) in the vicinity of the M/T Altair,” one of the damaged tankers. The Iranian boats are familiar to the U.S. Navy after decades of observing them at close range. And staging deniable attacks that fall just below the threshold of open warfare on the U.S. is an Iranian specialty.
Trump might be a liar, but the U.S. military isn’t. There about the types of munitions that hit the ships, and time should be given for a thorough investigation. But it would require a large dose of self-deception (or conspiracy theorizing) to pretend that Iran isn’t the likely culprit, or that its actions don’t represent a major escalation in the region.
That raises two questions, one minor, the other much more consequential.
The minor question is why the Iranians did it. There has been a pattern of heightened Iranian aggression for nearly two months, including highly sophisticated attacks on four oil tankers near the Emirati port of Fujairah on May 12.
This might be seen as a response to the resumption of major U.S. sanctions, which have had a punishing effect on Iran’s economy. Except that Tehran after the nuclear deal was signed, and most sanctions were lifted, in 2016.
It might also be seen as an effort by regime hard-liners to sabotage the possibility of a resumption of nuclear negotiations. It’s hard to believe it was just a coincidence that the attacks on the ships, one of which was Japanese, coincided with the visit to Tehran by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. Then again, the I.R.G.C. was a major of the nuclear deal, so it’s not exactly clear why it would want to stop a new one.
The most likely explanation was offered by Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who suggested that Iran’s purpose was “to demonstrate that Trump is a Twitter Tiger.”
It’s not a bad guess. The Iranians know that vainglory and timidity often go hand in hand.
Trump went from apocalyptic to smitten with Kim Jong-un in a matter of weeks after concluding that the risks of a confrontation with North Korea just weren’t worth it. He’s delivered similar toward Tehran. Driving a crisis in the Middle East so that the U.S. president can “solve” it with a fresh nuclear deal on even easier terms than Obama’s would be a canny Iranian gambit.
Which brings us to the consequential question: What’s the proper U.S. response?
It can’t be the usual Trumpian cycle of bluster and concession. Neither can it be the liberal counsel of feckless condemnation followed by inaction. Firing on unarmed ships in international waters is a direct assault on the rules-based international order in which liberals claim to believe. To allow it to go unpunished isn’t an option.
What is appropriate is a new set of rules — with swift consequences if Iran chooses to break them. The Trump administration ought to declare new rules of engagement to allow the Navy to engage and destroy Iranian ships or fast boats that harass or threaten any ship, military or commercial, operating in international waters. If Tehran fails to comply, the U.S. should threaten to sink any Iranian naval ship that leaves port.
If after that Iran still fails to comply, we would be right to sink its navy, in port or at sea. The world cannot tolerate freelance Somali pirates. Much less should it tolerate a pirate state seeking to hold the global economy hostage through multiplying acts of economic terrorism.
Nobody wants a war with Iran. But not wanting a war does not mean remaining supine in the face of its outrages. We sank Iran’s navy before. Tehran should be put on notice that we are prepared and able to do it again.
Bret L. Stephens has been an Opinion columnist with The Times since April 2017. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at The Wall Street Journal in 2013 and was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post.
I do not think that Trump's terms would be "even easier terms than Obama’s " On the contrary.
The proposition being put before you tonight is that you have a choice between war and an Iran with the bomb. You have a choice as has been said before, between war and dishonor – you will choose dishonor this evening and you will get war. You have a choice between a war with a nuclear Iran, or a war at some point, with an Iran that is not nuclear which you stop from ever being nuclear, and hope that in stopping that regime in embedding itself, you will give the Iranian people the best chance of overthrowing that regime. But as I say, thank God this does not rely on you or any Europeans. Because you’ve made the same mistake before and nobody should trust you to get it right this time.
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 2:41 AM
Sunday, June 2, 2019
In “2019 is becoming Israel’s ‘lost year’” (May 31), Yaakov Katz writes: “There was no talk about the issues that Israelis really care about – social equality, matters of religion and state, the lack of civil marriage, education, health and more.”
There was also no talk about the Iranian nuclear threat. Why do Israelis refuse to talk about the only topic the resolution of which is the precondition for all others to have meaning since matters of religion and state, the lack of civil marriage, education and health would be pointless in a rubble after an Iranian nuclear attack?
Are Israelis in collective denial? Netanyahu’s legal troubles or not, we all seem to forget what Albert Wohlstetter wrote in his 1958 paper “The Delicate Balance of Terror” – “A deterrent strategy is aimed at a rational enemy.”
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 12:37 PM
Saturday, May 25, 2019
A new national security plan says avoid risky diplomatic escapades and prepare for war.
At a much darker hour in Jewish history, prior to the UN vote in 1947, David Ben-Gurion said: “We hold no illusions, but do not despair. For us Jews, and particularly Zionists, two things are forbidden: easy optimism and sterile pessimism.”
That dictum, “no illusions, no despair,” is the headline of a national security policy plan for Israel’s new government that will be released next week by the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS).
At the basis of the plan’s 14 concrete policy recommendations is the assumption that Israel must be ready for war on three fronts against an Iranian-led coalition. This means preventing the emergence of an Iranian war machine in Syria and Iranian long-range missile bases in Iraq; presenting a credible capacity to strike Iranian nuclear targets and the ability to withstand an intense missile war; and preparing ground forces capable of swift maneuvers and attaining decisive outcomes (“mowing the grass”) in the two Palestinian arenas.
All this will test the cohesion of Israeli society, the strength of the IDF, and Israel’s diplomatic agility. Therefore, say JISS fellows, the new government must nurture a spirit of unity and national purpose by building a policy consensus as broad as possible.
Among other things, this means avoiding risky diplomatic escapades like unilateral withdrawals from parts of the West Bank, withdrawals that would unnecessarily and unjustifiably tear the country apart while feeding unrealistic Palestinian expectations – without any real diplomatic reward for Israel.
“Indefinitely managing the conflict with the Palestinians is not a cowardly choice by hapless political and military leaders, but a rational choice,” write the JISS fellows. “Especially when the Iranian challenge looms larger than ever on Israel’s horizons.”
To this I add: Judicious conflict management requires a steady hand at the helm of state, and self-confidence in the justice of Israel’s long-term interests. Most of all, it requires patience.
As for the extension of Israeli law to settlements in Judea and Samaria, here too the JISS plan urges restraint. “No action should be taken until the Trump administration peace initiative has been exhausted; and even then, Israeli moves should adhere to the contours of broad national consensus” (meaning the settlement blocs, the Jordan Valley and other key strategic areas).
The big exception to this rule is Jerusalem. Israel’s national security requires control over Jerusalem and its very broad environs. Reinforcing Jerusalem should be a high priority, with the government acting to bolster the Zionist majority in the city by massive building in the E-1 quadrant (despite Palestinian and European objections) and linking the city to Ma’aleh Adumim and eventually to the Jordan Valley.
The plan also recommends that Arab parts of the city be governed more firmly and fairly. This means that resolute action needs to be taken against radical elements who seek to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, and against foreign elements (like Turkey and the European Union) who undermine Israel’s sovereignty in the Jewish people’s historical capital. At the same time, the government should encourage greater integration of eastern Jerusalem Arabs in Israeli life through investment in infrastructure and education.
JISS FELLOWS say that Israel should welcome the so-called “Deal of the Century” about to be unveiled by Washington and agree to negotiate on its basis. The reason for this is simple: Hopefully, the Trump plan will upend stale “common wisdom” regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and offer more realistic contours. (This is often termed EKP – the “Everybody Knows Paradigm” for Israeli-Palestinian peace, something like the “Clinton Parameters.”) In any case, Israel must be ready for a security deterioration if, as expected, Palestinian leadership rejects the American initiative.
Other diplomatic and defense recommendations in the JISS plan are to prioritize relations with Egypt and Jordan while seeking new partnerships in the Arab world; exact a price for Erdogan’s provocations and bolster alliances in the eastern Mediterranean; preserve bipartisan support for Israel in the US; maintain active dialogue and deconfliction channels with Russia; act boldly to find European anchors to negate hostile attitudes in Brussels; tread carefully amidst rising tensions in Asia; and enhance Israel’s diplomatic toolbox.
The latter point bears elaboration. JISS fellows give very high marks to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for greatly expanding Israel’s global diplomatic standing, including enhanced ties with Russia, China, India, Eastern European countries and African and South American countries. But capitalizing on Israel’s opportunities in the international arena requires a strengthening of the professional Israeli foreign service.
This should include appointment of a full-time foreign minister; a return to the Foreign Ministry of professional units dispersed among other ministries; the allocation of additional budgets for diplomacy; the enhancement of MASHAV (Israel’s foreign aid agency) and the integration of Israeli (and Jewish) NGOs in aid projects overseas; and training cadres of professionals who can communicate with an increasingly attentive audience in the Arabic-speaking world.
The Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security was established in 2017 to express a realist strategic worldview. It promotes the Jewish people’s historical connection to the Land of Israel “as a central component of security and national identity,” and advances “pragmatic policies that keep Israel strong and will lead to stable diplomatic arrangements in the long term.”
Among its leaders are Prof. Efraim Inbar, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror (the Anne and Greg Rosshandler Senior Fellow), Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yair Golan, Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, Mrs. Micky Aharonson, Dr. David Koren, Dr. Joshua Krasna, Dr. Yossi Mansharof, Dr. Emmanuel Navon, Dr. Uzi Rubin, Dr. Jonathan Spyer, myself and others.
My sense is that the Israeli public has long hankered for expert analysis that would validate its healthy conservative instincts in matters of war and peace. The Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security is the answer to this need. Thus, it is not surprising that the key word in the JISS national security plan is “caution.”
Israel is a strong country and its strategic position is better than ever. Nevertheless, it still faces significant security challenges, primarily from the Iranian regime and its proxies, alongside a violent and intractable conflict with the Palestinians. Therefore, the IDF must be geared for war. This is the ultimate test for Israeli society, too.
The writer is vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, jiss.org.il. His personal site is davidmweinberg.com.
I am not sure if I fully agree with “JISS FELLOWS say that Israel should welcome the so-called “Deal of the Century” ” As I wrote from my mamad three weeks ago, while I could hear the booms of the exploding scuds:
“So the real question is how does the Trump Peace Plan deal with the fact that the followers of Islamic ideology would always try to impose their Shari’a law on everyone else?”
I would wait for the “Deal of the Century” to be unveiled first.
Posted by Mladen Andrijasevic at 2:52 AM