A one-topic blog: how is it that the most imminent and lethal implication for humankind - the fact that the doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction" will not work with Iran - is not being discussed in our media? Until it is recognized that MAD is dead, the Iranian threat will be treated as a threat only to Israel and not as the global threat which it in fact is.
A blog by Mladen Andrijasevic
Damascus and Pyongyang violated their agreements. Tehran
can comply and still threaten millions.
The U.S. has signed agreements with three rogue regimes
strictly limiting their unconventional military capacities. Two of those
regimes—Syria and North Korea—brazenly violated the agreements, provoking
game-changing responses from President Trump. But the third agreement—with
Iran—is so inherently flawed that Tehran doesn’t even have to break it.
Honoring it will be enough to endanger millions of lives.
The framework agreements with North Korea and Syria,
concluded respectively in 1994 and 2013, were similar in many ways. Both
recognized that the regimes already possessed weapons of mass destruction or at
least the means to produce them. Both assumed that the regimes would surrender
their arsenals under an international treaty and open their facilities to inspectors.
And both believed that these repressive states, if properly engaged, could be
brought into the community of nations.
All those assumptions were wrong. After withdrawing from
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Pyongyang tested five atomic weapons and
developed intercontinental missiles capable of carrying them. Syrian dictator
Bashar Assad, less than a year after signing the framework, reverted to gassing
his own people. Bolstered by the inaction of the U.S. and backed by other
powers, North Korea and Syria broke their commitments with impunity.
Or so it seemed. By ordering a Tomahawk missile attack on
a Syrian air base, and a U.S. Navy strike force to patrol near North Korea’s
coast, the Trump administration has upheld the frameworks and placed their
violators on notice. This reassertion of power is welcomed by all of America’s
allies, Israel among them. But for us, the most dangerous agreement of all is
the one that may never need military enforcement. For us, the existential
threat looms in a decade, when the agreement with Iran expires.
Like the frameworks with North Korea and Syria, the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action of 2015 assumed that Iran would fulfill its
obligations and open its facilities to inspectors. The JCPOA assumed that Iran
would moderate its behavior and join the international community. Yet unlike
its North Korean and Syrian allies, Iran was the largest state sponsor of
terror and openly vowed to destroy another state—Israel. Unlike them, Iran
systematically lied about its unconventional weapons program for 30 years. And
unlike Damascus and Pyongyang, which are permanently barred from acquiring
weapons of mass destruction, Tehran can look forward to building them swiftly and
legitimately in the late 2020s, once the JCPOA expires.
This, for Israel and our neighboring Sunni states, is the
appalling flaw of the JCPOA. The regime most committed to our destruction has
been granted a free pass to develop military nuclear capabilities. Iran could
follow the Syrian and North Korean examples and cheat. Or, while enjoying
hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, it can adhere to the
agreement and deactivate parts of its nuclear facilities rather than dismantle
them. It can develop new technologies for producing atomic bombs while testing
intercontinental ballistic missiles. It can continue massacring Syrians, Iraqis
and Yemenis, and bankrolling Hamas and Hezbollah. The JCPOA enables Iran to do
all that merely by complying.
A nuclear-armed Iran would be as dangerous as “50 North
Koreas,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.N. in 2013, and
Iran is certainly many times more dangerous than Syria. Yet Iran alone has been
granted immunity for butchering civilians and threatening genocide. Iran alone
has been guaranteed a future nuclear capability. And the Iranian regime—which
brutally crushed a popular uprising in 2009—has amassed a million-man force to
suppress any future opposition. Rather than moderating, the current regime
promises to be more radical yet in another 10 years.
How can the U.S. and its allies pre-empt catastrophe?
Many steps are possible, but they begin with penalizing Iran for the
conventions it already violates, such as U.N. restrictions on missile
development. The remaining American sanctions on Iran must stay staunchly in
place and Congress must pass further punitive legislation. Above all, a strong
link must be established between the JCPOA and Iran’s support for terror, its
pledges to annihilate Israel and overthrow pro-American Arab governments, and
its complicity in massacres. As long as the ayatollahs oppress their own
population and export their tyranny abroad, no restrictions on their nuclear
program can ever be allowed to expire.
In responding forcibly to North Korean and Syrian
outrages, President Trump has made a major step toward restoring America’s
deterrence power. His determination to redress the flaws in the JCPOA and to
stand up to Iran will greatly accelerate that process. The U.S., Israel and the
world will all be safer.
Mr. Oren is Israel’s deputy minister for
diplomacy and a Knesset member for the Kulanu Party.
“Finally, after many months of
attentiveness, I reached my conclusion. In the absence of a high-profile
provocation – an attack on a U.S. aircraft carrier, for example – the United
States would not use force against Iran. Rather, the administration would remain
committed to diplomatically resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, even at the
risk of reaching a deal unacceptable to Israel. And if Israel took matters into
its own hands, the White House would keep its distance and offer to defend
Israel only if it were counter struck by a hundred thousand Hezbollah missiles.”
Let’s hope that President Trump
indeed has the determination to redress the flaws in the JCPOA and to stand up
The West’s obsession with ‘terror’ has been a mistake,
she argues. Dawa, the ideology behind it, is a broader threat.
The woman sitting opposite me,
dressed in a charcoal pantsuit and a duck-egg-blue turtleneck, can’t go
anywhere, at any time of day, without a bodyguard. She is soft-spoken and
irrepressibly sane, but also—in the eyes of those who would rather cut her throat
than listen to what she says—the most dangerous foe of Islamist extremism in
the Western world. We are in a secure room at a sprawling university, but the
queasiness in my chest takes a while to go away. I’m talking to a woman with
multiple fatwas on her head, someone who has a greater chance of meeting a
violent end than anyone I’ve met (Salman Rushdie included). And yet she’s
wholly poised, spectacles pushed back to rest atop her head like a crown,
dignified and smiling under siege.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in
Somalia in 1969, is Islam’s most eloquent apostate. She has just published a
slim book that seeks to add a new four-letter word—dawa—to the West’s vocabulary. It describes the
ceaseless, world-wide ideological campaign waged by Islamists as a complement
to jihad. It is, she says, the greatest threat facing the West and “could well
bring about the end of the European Union as we know it.” America is far from
immune, and her book, “The Challenge of Dawa,” is an explicit attempt to
persuade the Trump administration to adopt “a comprehensive anti-dawa strategy
before it is too late.”
Ms. Hirsi Ali has come a long way from the days when
she—“then a bit of a hothead”—declared Islam to be incapable of reform, while
also calling on Muslims to convert or abandon religion altogether. That was a
contentious decade ago. Today she believes that Islam can indeed be reformed,
that it must be reformed, and that it can be reformed only by Muslims
themselves—by those whom she calls “Mecca Muslims.” These are the faithful who
prefer the gentler version of Islam that she says was “originally promoted by
Muhammad” before 622. That was the year he migrated to Medina and the religion
took a militant and unlovely ideological turn.
At the same time, Ms. Hirsi
Ali—now a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, where I also
work—is urging the West to look at Islam with new eyes. She says it must be
viewed “not just as a religion, but also as a political ideology.” To regard
Islam merely as a faith, “as we would Christianity or Buddhism, is to run the
risk of ignoring dawa, the activities carried out by Islamists to keep Muslims
energized by a campaign to impose Shariah law on all societies—including
countries of the West.”
Dawa, Ms. Hirsi Ali explains, is “conducted right under
our noses in Europe, and in America. It aims to convert non-Muslims to
political Islam and also to push existing Muslims in a more extreme direction.”
The ultimate goal is “to destroy the political institutions of a free society
and replace them with Shariah.” It is a “never-ending process,” she says, and
then checks herself: “It ends when an Islamic utopia is achieved. Shariah
Ms. Hirsi Ali contends that the
West has made a colossal mistake by its obsession with “terror” in the years
since 9/11. “In focusing only on acts of violence,” she says, “we’ve ignored
the Islamist ideology underlying those acts. By not fighting a war of ideas
against political Islam—or ‘Islamism’—and against those who spread that
ideology in our midst, we’ve committed a blunder.”
There is a knock on the door. I
hear hushed voices outside, presumably her bodyguard telling someone to come
back later. To add to the mildly dramatic effect, a siren is audible somewhere
in the distance, unusual for the serene Stanford campus. Ms. Hirsi Ali is
unfazed. “What the Islamists call jihad,” she continues, “is what we call
terrorism, and our preoccupation with it is, I think, a form of overconfidence.
‘Terrorism is the way of the weak,’ we tell ourselves, ‘and if we can just take
out the leaders and bring down al Qaeda or ISIS, then surely the followers will
stop their jihad.’ But we’re wrong. Every time Western leaders take down a
particular organization, you see a different one emerge, or the same one take
on a different shape. And that’s because we’ve been ignoring dawa.”
Ms. Hirsi Ali wants us to get
away from this game of jihadi Whac-A-Mole and confront “the enemy that is in
plain sight—the activists, the Islamists, who have access to all the Western
institutions of socialization.” She chuckles here: “That’s a horrible phrase
. . . ‘institutions of socialization’ . . . but they’re
there, in families, in schools, in universities, prisons, in the military as
chaplains. And we can’t allow them to pursue their aims unchecked.”
America needs to be on full
alert against political Islam because “its program is fundamentally
incompatible with the U.S. Constitution”—with religious pluralism, the equality
of men and women, and other fundamental rights, including the toleration of
different sexual orientations. “When we say the Islamists are homophobic,” she
observes, “we don’t mean that they don’t like gay marriage. We mean that they
want gays put to death.”
Islam the religion, in Ms.
Hirsi Ali’s view, is a Trojan horse that conceals Islamism the political
movement. Since dawa is, ostensibly, a religious missionary activity, its
proponents “enjoy a much greater protection by the law in free societies than
Marxists or fascists did in the past.” Ms. Hirsi Ali is not afraid to call
these groups out. Her book names five including the Council on American-Islamic
Relations, which asserts—and in turn receives in the mainstream media—the
status of a moderate Muslim organization. But groups like CAIR, Ms. Hirsi Ali
says, “take advantage of the focus on ‘inclusiveness’ by progressive political
bodies in democratic societies, and then force these societies to bow to
Islamist demands in the name of peaceful coexistence.”
Her strategy to fight dawa evokes several parallels with
the Western historical experience of radical Marxism and the Cold War. Islamism
has the help of “useful idiots”—Lenin’s phrase—such as the Southern Poverty Law
Center, which has denounced Ms. Hirsi Ali as an “extremist.” She sees that
smear as a success for dawa: “They go to people like the SPLC and say, ‘Can we
partner with you, because we also want to talk about what you guys talk about,
which is civil rights. And Muslims are a minority, just like you.’ So, they
play this victim card, and the SPLC swallows it. And it’s not just them, it’s
also the ACLU. The Islamists are infiltrating all these institutions that were
historic and fought for rights. It’s a liberal blind spot.”
Western liberals, she says, are
also complicit in an Islamist cultural segregation. She recalls a multiculturalist
catchphrase from her years as a Somali refugee in Amsterdam in the early 1990s:
“ ‘Integrate with your own identity,’ they used to tell us—Integratie met eigen identiteit.Of
course, that resulted in no integration at all.”
Ms. Hirsi Ali wants the Trump
administration—and the West more broadly—to counter the dawa brigade “just as
we countered both the Red Army and the ideology of communism in the Cold War.”
She is alarmed by the ease with which, as she sees it, “the agents of dawa hide
behind constitutional protections they themselves would dismantle were they in
power.” She invokes Karl Popper, the great Austrian-British philosopher who
wrote of “the paradox of tolerance.” Her book quotes Popper writing in 1945:
“If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are
not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the
intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”
I ask Ms. Hirsi Ali what her solution might be, and she
leans once more on Popper, who proposed a right not to tolerate the intolerant.
“Congress must give the president—this year, because there’s no time to
lose—the tools he needs to dismantle the infrastructure of dawa in the U.S.”
Dawa has become an existential menace to the West, she adds, because its
practitioners are “working overtime to prevent the assimilation of Muslims into
Western societies. It is assimilation versus dawa. There is a notion of
‘cocooning,’ by which Islamists tell Muslim families to cocoon their children
from Western society. This can’t be allowed to happen.”
Is Ms. Hirsi Ali proposing to give Washington enhanced
powers to supervise parenting? “Yes,” she says. “We want these children to be
exposed to critical thinking, freedom, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights,
the rights of women.” She also suggests subjecting immigrants and refugees to
ideological scrutiny, so as to deny entry, residence and naturalization to
those “involved with, or supportive of, Islamism.”
In effect, Ms. Hirsi Ali would
modernize the “communism test” that still applies to those seeking
naturalization. “I had to answer questions when I applied for citizenship in
2013: ‘Are you, or have you ever been, a communist?’ And I remember thinking,
‘God, that was the war back then. We’re supposed to update this stuff!’
Potential immigrants from Pakistan or Bangladesh, for instance, should have to
answer questions—‘Are you a member of the Jamat?’ and so on. If they’re from
the Middle East you ask them about the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘or any other
similar group,’ so there’s no loophole.”
Might critics deride this as
21st-century McCarthyism? “That’s just a display of intellectual laziness,” Ms.
Hirsi Ali replies. “We’re dealing here with a lethal ideological movement and
all we are using is surveillance and military means? We have to grasp the
gravity of dawa. Jihad is an extension of dawa. For some, in fact, it is dawa
by other means.”
The U.S., she believes, is in a
“much weaker position to combat the various forms of nonviolent extremism known
as dawa because of the way that the courts have interpreted the First
Amendment”—a situation where American exceptionalism turns into what she calls
an “exceptional handicap.” Convincing Americans of this may be the hardest part
of Ms. Hirsi Ali’s campaign, and she knows it. Yet she asks whether the
judicial attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s—themselves a reaction to the excesses
of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s—might have left the U.S. ill-equipped to
suppress threats from groups that act in the name of religion.
I ask Ms. Hirsi Ali if there’s
any one thing she would wish for. “I would like to be present at a conversation
between Popper and Muhammad,” she says. “Popper wrote about open society and
its enemies, and subjected everyone from Plato to Marx to his critical
scrutiny. I’d have liked him to subject Muhammad’s legacy to the same analysis.
“But he skipped Muhammad, alas.
He skipped Muhammad.”
Varadarajan is a research fellow in journalism at Stanford University’s Hoover
A quote from Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new book, "The
Challenge of Dawa", on immigration:
“The administration, through the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS), should subject immigrants and refugees to
ideological scrutiny, as happened during the Cold War.
Individuals requesting temporary entry to the
United States, permanent residency, or citizenship must be asked about their
commitment to Islamism and related concepts such as the death penalty for
apostasy and support for sharia law and the subjugation of women. If
individuals are found to have lied in their immigration or
citizenship applications about their commitment to the US Constitution by
engaging in subversive dawa activities after establishing residency, their
residency or citizenship must be revoked."
I hope President Trump takes note that the emphasis is onideological scrutiny.
So if he says these are the seven countries that I am
going to impose a temporary travel ban on until we have sorted out a vetting
system, and that is vetting for ideology, then
I don’t see any problem with that
the moment it became clear that the ongoing Islamization of the Western world
was a potential disaster of historic proportions, the mainstream media – in
their perverse effort to defend the indefensible and keep the cart careening
downhill – have been making use of shameless sentiment to overcome the plain
facts. One of the first examples of this practice that I can recall was way
back in 2003, when the big, bad Norwegian government put resident terrorist
Mullah Krekar through the first of what would turn out to be many deportation
scares. Since Krekar, back in his homeland of Iraq, had been responsible for the
violent deaths of innumerable innocents – children included – it wasn't an easy
proposition to try to whip up sympathy for him (although, heaven knows, some
Instead, many reporters chose the family angle: Krekar might be a
bad guy, but what about his poor wife and kids? Repeatedly, the papers ran
tearful close-ups of Krekar's wife and pictures of her and Krekar embracing.VGran a wholestoryabout
the intelligence services' confiscation of her beloved cookbook, which had been
in the family for generations and which contained the recipes of all of
Krekar's favorite foods.Dagbladet,for its part, ran a report
whoseheadlinetold us that when Krekar's kids heard
on TV that Daddy had been released from custody and was headed home, they
kissed the TV screen. It wasDagbladet,too, that published one of the
greatsob storiesof all time. The headline: “My
children are waiting every single day to hear from Papa.” The first sentences:
“Mullah Krekar's wife (39) is scared. For her four children, and for the
And so on. You get the idea. If you're trying to obscure the truth,
defend the indefensible, and smear the good guys, go for sheer, unadulterated
bathos. So it is that as the clock ticks down to the March 15 parliamentary
elections in the Netherlands (which, as it happens, Iwriteabout
in this week'sNational
Review), Anna Holligan of the BBC – in an effort to paint Geert
Wilders, head of the Freedom Party (PVV), as a racist hatemonger – kicked off a
March 7articlefrom The Hague by focusing on one of
the Dutch Moroccans whom Wilders, as she put it, had “accused...of making the
streets unsafe.” Needless to say, Holligan didn't talk to one of the majority
of Dutch Moroccan males who have dropped out of school and are living on social
welfare benefits; nor did she buttonhole one of the nearly 50% of young Dutch
Moroccan males who have rap sheets.
No: she talked to a young lady named Hafsa Mahraoui, who, in
“trendy black trainers and matching hijab,” is “the quintessential image of
modern Muslim woman.” (Yes, nothing says “modern” like a hijab.) Mahraoui,
Holligan reported, thinks of herself as “a true Amsterdam girl.” But life has
been tough for her lately: “the tone of the campaign” has brought her down.
“They say Islam isn't normal, it doesn't belong in Dutch society, and that
being hijabi means I am an oppressed person,” Mahraoui lamented. “It's tiring
because we are always in the spotlight and you have to defend yourself.” As if
all this weren't terrible enough, Mahraoui complained – and she clearly meant
this to be understood as an example of the way Dutch people treat Muslims –
that her headscarf had been “ripped off just after the murder of the film-maker
Theo van Gogh.” Supposedly, the memory still makes her shudder. Not the memory
of the murder, mind you: the memory – the more than twelve-year-old memory – of
having her headscarf yanked off.
Thus does the murder of Theo van Gogh become a passing reference
in a story about Dutch people purportedly making life tough for Muslims.
mind the murder itself, which happened on a busy Amsterdam street and was
committed by one Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-born man of Moroccan parentage who,
before the murder, had been considered by friends and acquaintances to be a
fully integrated member of Dutch society. (Indeed, he might well have described
himself as “a true Amsterdam boy.”) Yes, it's regrettable that somebody
(allegedly) yanked off Mahraoui's headscarf. But it's quite a bit more
regrettable that, simply because Theo van Gogh had released a short film
drawing attention to the systematic oppression and brutal abuse of women under
Islam, Bouyeri, who had been born and bred in the Netherlands, was moved to
shoot him eight times, slit his throat in an attempt to decapitate him, stab
him in the chest, and then used a second knife to pin to his chest anopen letteraddressed
to van Gogh's film collaborator, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The letter praised Allah and
Muhammed, quoted extensively from the Koran, and concluded: “I know for sure, O
America, you will go down. I know for sure, O Europe, you will go down. I know
for sure, O Holland, you will go down. I know for sure, O Hirsi Ali, you will
go down. I know for sure, O unbelieving fundamentalist, you will go down.”
It is the murder of Theo van Gogh, and not some random act of
hijab-pulling, that is the ultimate emblematic act of the Netherlands in our
time. But you'd never know it to read the BBC or other major Western media.
If Holligan had been more honest – and braver – she wouldn't have
presented, as if it were unassailable truth, Hafsa Mahraouri's view of Dutch
people as hijab-pulling bigots and of Dutch Moroccans as innocent victims of
their prejudice. She would instead – or, at least, in addition – have spoken
with somebody like 57-year-old Salman Ezzammoury, a Muslim apostate who
immigrated to the Netherlands from Morocco at the age of 23 and who, in a
recent interview, painted a picture of the Dutch that is the exact
opposite of Hafsa's. Ezzammoury considers the Netherlandsprachtig –a word that can be translated as
“splendid,” “magnificent,” “exquisite,” “wonderful” – and regards the Dutch as
“tolerant and kind.” The only people in his orbit whoaren'ttolerant and kind are – guess
who? – his Muslim neighbors. Raised (as he puts it) to see all non-Muslims as
enemies who must be killed, Dutch Muslims deliberately isolate themselves from
Dutch society – while the Dutch, in their naivete, provide them every
opportunity to spread their “evil” ideas. What does Ezzammoury think of Geert
Wilders? Well, said Ezzamoury, “he shouts a little too much,” and he's a
conservative, whereas Ezzammoury himself is a man of the left – but at bottom,
he pronounced, he and Wilders share “the selfsame ideology.”
So who interviewed this courageous gentleman, this former Muslim
who's knowledgeable – and refreshingly forthright – about both Islam and the
Dutch? TheNew York Times?TheGuardian?CNN? Guess again: his interview
appeared in a localnewspaperin
Barneveld, a town of 30,000 in the largely rural province of Gelderland.
point about his own country, France, in his 2013 bookLa France Orange Mécanique,and
it holds true for many other countries as well, the Netherlands included: when
you want to know the facts about the dread impact of Islam on the West, don't
bother looking in major national media; go to the regional press, where obscure,
underpaid reporters who don't belong to the politically correct elite will give
you glimpses of the truth that their big-time, big-city colleagues – people
like the BBC's Anna Holligan – do their best to keep out of the public eye.
At a memorial service in the Foreign Ministry this week
marking the 25th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the embassy in Buenos
Aires that killed 29 people,Prime Minister Netanyahu is trying to
put the Islamic Republic back on the international agenda.
rvice in the Foreign Ministry this week marking the 25th
anniversary of the terrorist attack on the embassy in Buenos Aires that killed
29 people, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made one remark that goes a long
way toward explaining what is driving his diplomatic agenda.
“One of our security agencies estimates that over 80% of Israel’s fundamental
security problems stem from Iran,” he said.
Iran, and not the Palestinians. Iran, and no other.
Hezbollah, for instance, stems from Iran.
And this assessment is why the Palestinians,
indeed the whole issue of the West Bank and a diplomatic process, are taking a
back seat in his mind.
Following Donald Trump’s inauguration on January
20, there were all kinds of expectations on the Right – including among most
Likud MKs – that Netanyahu would push hard for the new president to carry out
his campaign pledge to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and that he would work
hard to get the Americans to alter their reflexively negative stance toward
Regarding the embassy issue, one senior Likud
official said that the person who is keeping that issue somewhat alive in
Washington – although much of the momentum has been lost – is Sheldon Adelson.
And, the official continued, Netanyahu is opposed
to moves within his own party to support a bill that would annex Ma’aleh
Adumim. The reason: It would not significantly have that much of an impact, and
it would deflect attention from Iran, the major source of Israel’s security
Netanyahu has turned a deaf ear to the arguments
that the annexation of Ma’aleh Adumim would significantly change the
conversation regarding a final deal with the Palestinians; that it would
strengthen Israel’s grip on Jerusalem; and that it would show that Israel is no
longer just going to sit around and wait for the Palestinians to agree to come
around and negotiate.
One of the reasons Netanyahu is opposed, the
senior Likud official said, is that he doesn’t want anything to hurt his
ability to get Washington to focus on Iran. Despite the premier’s opposition,
however, Bayit Yehudi and Likud MKs may very well push the bill through the
Knesset, just as was done with the Settlements Regulation Law, legalizing a
number of outposts.
Iran, not the settlements or the Palestinians, is
the diplomatic issue at the forefront of Netanyahu’s mind. He has said in
private meetings in recent weeks that there is now a much less forgiving
attitude in Washington toward Iran, and that this could be harnessed to moving
other countries to take a much more hardline approach toward the Islamic
Republic – not necessarily to cancel the Iranian nuclear deal, but at least to
check Tehran’s aggressive and destabilizing behavior in the region.
Netanyahu believes there is a different approach
to Iran now in Washington, and also to some degree in Britain. Even Australia –
which has been keen on normalizing relations with Iran, partly in the hope that
it will then take back a few thousand Iranian refugees knocking on its doors –
made some murmurings in the direction of checking Iran’s regional moves during
Netanyahu’s recent visit to Sydney.
The day after Trump was inaugurated in January,
Netanyahu posted a video on Facebook. What was telling about the video was that
it did not deal with the Palestinians or the settlements, but with Iran.
Once the Iranian nuclear deal was finally passed
in the summer of 2015, Netanyahu took a much lower public profile on Iran. He
fought US president Barack Obama intensely over the deal, but when it was not
held up by Congress, Netanyahu’s tactic changed from trying to block it, to
quietly working with the US to ensure that Iran lived by its commitments under
That lower profile on Iran ended the day Trump
came into office. From that moment, Netanyahu pursued a policy of again trying
to shine the limelight on Iran. It started with that first Facebook video, and
has continued unabated for the last two months in various speech and public
statements he has made.
“Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, advancing its ballistic
missile program in defiance of Security Council resolutions and sowing
instability in the region surrounding us. The regime in Tehran aspires to plant
its flag atop the ruins of the free world. It continues to threaten to
annihilate Israel,” he said at the Foreign Ministry memorial ceremony for those
killed in the embassy blast in Argentina.
“We will not back down. We will continue to build
up our strength. Since the attack in Argentina, Israel has become much more
powerful. We have become a global leader in intelligence, counter-terrorism and
cyber. We have armed ourselves with first-rate weapons systems and flight
systems, the best in the world.
Israel has become a great force, and this force
mobilizes others to challenge the threat posed by Iran. We will continue to
decisively confront the aggression of Iran and its proxies,” he continued.
While this may sound like more of the same old,
tired rhetoric against Iran, it should not be summarily dismissed, because it
is a fair gauge of what is propelling Netanyahu’s diplomatic agenda.
His critics will say that he is again raising the
Iranian threat to distract from his domestic political woes stemming from the
various police investigations against him. But to hear the prime minister
speak, the threat of Iran is very real.
The threat, however, has shifted. When he speaks
of Iran now, it is no longer of a concern that the country will immediately
make a dash and reach a point where it has the wherewithal to create a nuclear
bomb. The nuclear deal has moved the immediacy of that threat from a few months
to between 10 and 15 years. Or, as he told his Australian hosts during meetings
in Sydney two weeks ago, “The nuclear deal ensures no bomb today, but a hundred
a decade from now.”
Netanyahu told the cabinet this week that the
efforts to formulate an agreement in Syria will be at the center of his
conversation with Putin.
As the UN-led Syria peace talks are proceeding,
Iran – Netanyahu said – is trying to establish itself permanently in Syria
within the context of a possible overall agreement. He said it is trying to
establish a military presence on the ground and at sea, and also gradually
trying to open a front against Israel on the Golan Heights.
One senior diplomatic official said that Iran is
looking already to “formalize agreements” with Syrian President Bashar Assad –
who owes his survival in no small degree to Tehran – that will grant
concessions to Iran inside Syria.
Everything that enlarges Iran’s footprint inside
Syria is very troublesome to Israel, the senior diplomatic official said,
because it brings Iran directly to Israel’s doorstep. And this time not as a
proxy – like Hezbollah – but as Iran: its own army, its own navy.
Netanyahu traveled to Moscow on Thursday –
accompanied by the head of Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi – to
raise the alarm with Putin. For if Assad owes his survival in part to Iran, he
owes an even bigger debt to Russia, which actively intervened in the war in his
behalf in the fall of 2015, effectively changing the tide of the battle. In
Jerusalem’s view, Russia’s voice will be critical in shaping the terms of any
deal in Syria, and Netanyahu wants to ensure that Putin knows clearly that
Israel is completely and unequivocally opposed to any permanent Iranian
presence in Syria.
This, for Netanyahu, is now his top diplomatic
priority – far outpacing the Palestinian issue. Because, as he said at the
Foreign Ministry, Iran is responsible for 80% of Israel’s security problems.
The deal essentially said this, it said no bomb today, 100 bombs tomorrow, in ten years. That is what it says, because Iran can go for the enrichment of uranium which is the key component. Now the assumption was, people had hoped, well, OK, we’re kicking the can down the road, but this nuclear can, this single bomb then becomes a capacity to make dozens and dozens of bombs.
Since the signing of the deal, Iran has become more aggressive, more deadly, sponsoring more terrorism … with more money, a lot more money.
They’ve killed Americans all over the place. They’ve sponsored terrorism against Americans all over the place. Now they’re going to build ICBMs that can reach the United States and have multiple warheads to do that? That’s horrible. It’s dangerous for America, dangerous for Israel, dangerous for the Arabs. Everybody now understands it and there’s an American president who understands it and we’re talking about what to do about this common threat.
Forget peace talks. Work on building an alliance of
moderates and modernizers.
Jared Kushnerwill get his first real taste of
Mideast diplomacy this week, when his father-in-law receives Israeli Prime
the White House. Since the 36-year-old former newspaper publisher has been
widely touted as the administration’s point man on Israeli-Arab issues, this
week’s column humbly offers four rules Mr. Kushner ought to observe in the
months and years ahead.
(1)The Clifford Rule. After stepping down asLyndon
Johnson’s defense secretary in 1969, the lateClark Cliffordsettled
into the life of a Washington superlawyer—the sort of man who, for a price,
could open all the right doors for his clients and fix some of their worst
by a man with one such problem, Clifford considered the matter, then advised:
later, the man got a bill from Clifford for $10,000. Infuriated that such
seemingly simple advice would cost so whopping a sum, he marched into
Clifford’s office to remonstrate.
replied: “Do nothing.” He then sent the man a bill for an additional $10,000.
of this (perhaps apocryphal) story is that “do nothing” is often the best
advice—and that failing to heed it can cost you dearly.
the Clifford Rule, he might have been spared his fruitless yearlong foray into
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which led to the 2014 Gaza War. HadCondoleezza
it, she might not have advocated Palestinian elections that led to victory for
Hamas in 2006. HadBill
it, he might have been spared the diplomatic humiliation of being spurned byYasser
Camp David in 2000.
(2)TheKissingerRule. If “do nothing” is generally good advice, what’s
Mr. Kushner supposed to do?
Kissinger once observed that “when enough bureaucratic prestige has been
invested in a policy, it is easier to see it fail than to abandon it.” So it is
with the formulas that govern official U.S. thinking toward the Arab-Israeli
conflict: “land for peace” and the “two-state solution.” The State Department
has been rolling those boulders up the hill for 50 years, and still it thinks
one last push will do the trick.
Kissinger Rule disposes with the futility. It says that if you can’t solve a
small problem, fix the larger one that encompasses it. So it was with Taiwan
and the “One China” policy, or with Egypt and its post-1973 realignment with
Kushner, that means the goal of diplomacy isn’t to “solve” the Palestinian
problem. It’s to anesthetize it through a studied combination of economic help
and diplomatic neglect. The real prize lies in further cultivating Jerusalem’s
ties to Cairo, Riyadh, Amman and Abu Dhabi, as part of an Alliance of Moderates
and Modernizers that can defeat Sunni and Shiite radicals from Raqqa to Tehran.
The goal should be to make Palestinian leaders realize over time that they are
the region’s atavism, not its future.
(3)TheBushRule. In 2004, George W. Bush and then-Prime MinisterAriel
letters in which the president acknowledged that the world had changed since
of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli
populations centers,” Mr. Bush wrote, “it is unrealistic to expect that the
outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the
armistice lines of 1949.”
of the Bush Rule is to dispose with the flimflam that the Mideast’s contrived
borders are sacred. And the best place Mr. Kushner could put the Bush Rule to
use is to offer U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,
captured in 1967 from Syria.
benefits: Nobody there, including 20,000 Druze, wants to be ruled by Damascus.
U.S. recognition would put the Assad regime and its Iranian and Russian backers
on notice that there’s a price for barbaric behavior. And it gives the
administration an opportunity to demonstrate its pro-Israel bona fides while
exerting a restraining influence on settlement building in the West Bank.
(4)The Shultz Rule.Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state
held to a clear principle when it came to negotiating with tough adversaries:
Establish a reasonable position, announce your bottom line, stick to it. No
haggling. It proved effective in dealing with Soviet arms negotiators.
overworked metaphor for Mideast diplomacy is the bazaar. The secret to not
losing one’s shirt is not to enter the bazaar in the first place.
cannot solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; only Palestinians can. The U.S.
does have an interest in strengthening ties between its allies, both for their
own sake and to counter their common enemies. If the Palestinians want to be a
part of the solution, so much the better. If they want to continue to be a part
of the problem, they can live with the consequences.
principles are straightforward. The courage to stick to them will be the test
of Mr. Kushner’s diplomatic mettle.
Do nothing, because there indeed is nothing you can do. Why is
Robert Spencerexplains it well here:
"Chapter 2, verse 191. 'Kill them wherever you find them, and drive
them out from where they drove you out' . Drive them out from where they drove
you out means that no land that has ever belonged to Muslims or
been ruled by Muslims can ever legitimately in the eyes of Islam be
ruled by non Muslims. "
Spencer: "Chapter 2 verse 191
Kill them wherever you find them, and drive
them out from where they drove you out ". ( Robert Spencer's source is a slightly different
translation than the link above)
them out from where they drove you out means that no land that has ever belonged to Muslims or been ruled by Muslims can ever legitimately in the eyes of Islam be ruled by
many Israeli and world politicians know this? Do Trump and Jared Kushner?
This review is from: The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower (Kindle Edition)
I read the book in two sittings. It explains clearly and concisely the history of how Israel became the leader in many area of weapons design -- drones (Heron), tanks and tank protection systems (Merkava and Trophe), ballistic missile defense (the Arrow, David’s Sling and Iron Dome), malware (stuxnet and flame) and complex information systems to wage a modern war in real time .
But what also comes from the book is the discrepancy between the brilliancy in innovation in technical solutions and the total inability to apply this brilliance in the area of public relations to explain why Israel needs all this technology in the first place. Innovate or you will not survive is the motto of the book. But survive against the threat from whom? Why does Hamas launch thousands of rockets on Israeli cities and build 30 tunnels at enormous expense to attack Israeli kibbutzim? If only some of the Israeli ingenuity were devoted to explaining to the world that the ideology behind Hamas’s attacks, jihadi attacks in Nice, San Bernardino and yesterday’s attack outside the Louvre is one and the same, Israel would be in a much better position.
It is time that Israeli ingenuity turn towards illuminating the world whose ignorance became apparent after the hysteria that erupted in the US and the world after Trump’s travel ban.
*** The above review has disappeared from amazon . The last time I looked it had 3 out of 4 people who liked it
This review is from: The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower (Hardcover)
I read the book in two sittings. It explains clearly and concisely the history of how Israel became the leader in many area of weapons design -- drones (Heron), satellites (Ofek), tanks and tank protection systems (Merkava and Trophe), ballistic missile defense (the Arrow, David’s Sling and Iron Dome), malware (stuxnet and flame) and complex information systems to wage a modern war in real time .
But what also comes from the book is the discrepancy between the brilliancy in innovation in technical solutions and the total inability to apply this brilliance in the area of public relations to explain why Israel needs all this technology in the first place. Innovate or you will not survive is the motto of the book. But survive against the threat from whom? Why does Hamas launch thousands of rockets on Israeli cities and build 30 tunnels at enormous expense to attack Israeli kibbutzim? If only some of the Israeli ingenuity were devoted to explaining to the world that the ideology behind Hamas’s attacks, jihadi attacks in Nice, San Bernardino and the attack outside the Louvre is one and the same, Israel would be in a much better position.
It is time that Israeli ingenuity turn towards illuminating the world whose ignorance became apparent after the hysteria that erupted in the US and the world after Trump’s travel ban
"The Trump Administration condemns such actions by Iran
that undermine security, prosperity, and stability throughout and beyond the
Middle East and place American lives at risk."
Washington The Trump administration sent a stark message to
Tehran on Wednesday over Iran’s continued missile tests and support for proxy
militia groups battling Saudi Arabian forces.
Speaking publicly for the first time since Donald
Trump became US president, his national security adviser, former
lieutenant-general Michael Flynn, said the White House was putting Iran “on
notice,” and vowed to act decisively in response.
“Recent Iranian actions, including a provocative ballistic
missile launch and an attack against a Saudi naval vessel conducted by
Iran-supported Houthi militants, underscore what should have been clear to the
international community all along about Iran’s destabilizing behavior across
the Middle East,” Flynn said, calling the test a violation of international law.
The UN Security Council met on Tuesday to review
the matter and confirmed that the test occurred.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called the
test “unacceptable,” and her UK counterpart, Matthew Rycroft, warned that it
was a sign Tehran had not moderated since world powers signed an international
nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015.
Iran continues to threaten US friends and allies
in the region,” Flynn said. “The Obama administration failed to respond
adequately to Tehran’s malign actions – including weapons transfers, support
for terrorism and other violations of international norms.
The Trump administration condemns such actions by
Iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond
the Middle East and place American lives at risk.”
Flynn noted that Trump has, in the past,
characterized the nuclear deal as “weak and ineffective.” Trump’s national
security cabinet members have thus far signaled an interest in strictly
policing the nuclear accord, as opposed to scrapping it.
In a briefing with reporters, White House Press
Secretary Sean Spicer said the US was “not going to sit by and not act” as Iran
continued what it characterizes as malign activity.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to focus
on the threat posed by Iran in his February 15 meeting with Trump at the White
“Instead of being thankful to the United States
for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened,” Flynn warned.
“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on
Isi Leibler’s sane “Pseudo-liberal Jews are causing unspeakable damage” (Candidly Speaking, January 29) serves as an antidote to the madness I’ve been hearing since US President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees.
However, the crux of the matter is not being addressed: The ban should be on ideological, not religious grounds.
During the Cold War, communists could get into the US only through a waiver. Since Islam is not only a religion, but a political ideology, Trump is applying similar rules to Muslims, and we should view this as targeting the ideology.
If there were a way to easily differentiate between what Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls the “Mecca Muslims” (i.e., “Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly, but are not inclined to practice violence”) and the “Medina Muslims” (who “see the forcible imposition of Shari’a as their religious duty”), there would be less of a problem.
But this test is not easy to come up with, so it makes sense that until then, there should be a ban.