Saturday, December 15, 2012

Two years on – who was right on the Egyptian crisis?

The Egyptians are voting today in the referendum. Most probably the Muslim Brotherhood will win. We will know next week.  So who was right on Egypt?  Israeli or American analysts?  Almost two years ago, I wrote US and Israeli Analysts Split Over the Egyptian Crisis

It is becoming obvious that the Israelis were right and the Americans were wrong. But who in the US will ever admit to this?  Who among the politicians and among the journalists will be taken to account for their idiotic policies and idiotic reporting?  No one.  Who is there left, when the Obama administration supports the Muslim Brotherhood and the media supports the administration?     

Iran will turn into an even bigger catastrophe for everyone if Israel trusts American politicians who support the Muslim Brotherhood and  journalists who failed to report on that support.  Jeffrey Goldberg thinks that Obama takes Iran more seriously as a threat to American national security interests than he does Syria.  On the contrary, all the evidence shows that Obama does not understand the magnitude of the Iranian threat.   Unlike the Egyptian crisis, Israel cannot afford to wait and demonstrate that Obama has screwed up on Iran as well. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

If You Want Peace, Prepare for Atomic War -- not sure Bernard Lewis would think it is enough

I am not sure how does this article by Louis Rene Beres  fit with what
Bernard Lewis has been saying

 Particular importance should be attached to the policies, and perhaps still more the attitudes, of the present rulers of Iran, who seem to be preparing for a final apocalyptic battle between the forces of God [themselves] and of the Devil [ the Great Satan--the United States].  They see this as the final struggle of the End of Time and are therefore undeterred by any level of slaughter and destruction even among their own people . "Allah will know his own" is the phase commonly used, meaning that among the multiple victims God will recognize the Muslims and give them a quick pass to heaven.

                In this context, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, namely M.A.D. (Mutual Assured Destruction) , would have no meaning.  At the End of Time, there will be general destruction  anyway.  What will matter is the final destination of the dead-- hell for the infidels, and the delights of heaven for the believers. For people with this mindset, M.A.D. is not a constraint; it is an inducement...

On December 3, just four days after voting in strong support of a Palestinian state, the UN General Assembly condemned Israel for allegedly violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Of course, this enthusiastic condemnation made no formal legal sense, because Israel, for very good reasons, has chosen to remain outside the 1968 pact. For Israel, agreeing to join the NPT as a non-nuclear member state, its only available treaty membership option, would be tantamount to national suicide.
Why would joining be so lethal to Israel? Plainly, making the Middle East in particular a nuclear weapon free zone could endanger Israel, and correspondingly strengthen Israel’s enemies, including non-Arab Iran. By removing Israel’s indispensable deterrent to suffering annihilatory military defeat, Israel’s non-nuclear enemies would no longer be confronted by the near-certain prospect of unacceptably damaging retaliations.
In such a denuclearized region, these relentless enemies, soon to be joined by “Palestine,” could – at least in various collaborative combinations – achieve an unprecedented strategic advantage. This significantly one-sided advantage could be further enhanced by still-growing Arab and Iranian stockpiles of chemical or biological arms.
A core truth now needs to be more thoroughly understood.
By themselves, US President Barack Obama’s well-publicized views notwithstanding, nuclear weapons are not always evil.
Indeed, by themselves, nuclear weapons are not the problem. In some situations, circumstances where war and genocide are not mutually exclusive, these weapons can even prove a blessing to peace and survival.
In the turbulent Middle East, a no-longer-nuclear Israel could be quickly overwhelmed by substantially larger enemy forces. As every military thinker who has read Karl von Clausewitz On War will readily recall, there can come a time, in virtually any military conflict, when “mass counts.”
Israel, it follows, must never allow such a time. Instead, it must remain recognizably willing and able to use its nuclear weapons. The objective would not be to encourage any form of nuclear exchange, but rather to diminish the overall probability of existential aggressions and catastrophic war.
Si vis pacem, para bellum atomicum. “If you want peace, prepare for atomic war.” At first glance, this would seem an odd strategic maxim for Israel, perhaps even needlessly belligerent. But, in the end, there can be no better military advice for the increasingly imperiled Jewish State.
Soon, this maxim, still only whispered (in deference to longstanding Israeli policy of “deliberate nuclear ambiguity”), must become part of a more open Israeli strategic doctrine. This is not because a nuclear war is necessarily becoming more likely. It is because Israel’s nuclear deterrent will remain sorely critical for the prevention of large-scale conventional conflict, and because the credibility of this deterrent will require incrementally greater disclosures.
The myriad security threats facing Israel are not mutually cancelling. With Iran’s steady and unhindered nuclearization, an eventual nuclear war, or even a “bolt-from-the-blue” nuclear attack, cannot be ruled out. Considered together with the plausible understanding that an Iranian nuclear enemy could be driven by incomparably ecstatic expectations of jihad, Israel’s military planners will need to augment credible deterrence postures with (1) apt forms of diplomacy; (2) ballistic missile defense; and/or (3) still operationally possible forms of preemption.
Under authoritative international law, such a preemption, if directed against an “urgent” threat that is also “imminent in point of time,” would represent “anticipatory self-defense.”
This last option might include cyber-attacks, assassinations, or regime-change interventions. It need not be limited to the more conspicuously traditional sorts of defensive military strike.
Following the UN General Assembly’s recent upgrading of “Palestine” to the diplomatically elevated status of a “nonmember observer state,” Israel must examine the strongly related and inter-penetrating security consequences of a Palestinian state. Today, especially if newly-reelected Obama should continue with the Road Map To Peace in the Middle East, a truly independent state of Palestine could be carved out of Israel. Here, Palestine would quickly become an additional and largely ideal platform for launching anti-Israel war and terror.
Without any evident subterfuge or masquerade, Obama still seeks “a world free of nuclear weapons.” For Israel, acceptable compliance with this improbable and imprudent vision would require certain antecedent forms of nuclear disarmament. Then, once a new enemy state of Iran and its grateful allies believed that Israel had been bent sufficiently to US-supported “nonproliferation” demands, adversarial military strategies could progress, rapidly, from terror to war, and from attrition to annihilation.
Israel’s unilateral nuclear disarmament is very hard to imagine. But it is not entirely inconceivable. Ironically, certain of the country’s leading academic strategists continue to advance this manifestly self-destructive idea. I have debated these strategists myself, even on the sober pages of the Harvard journal, International Security.
It is usually difficult to imagine nuclear weapons as anything other than evil. Yet, there are circumstances wherein a particular state’s possession of such weapons may be all that protects it from major war or genocide. Moreover, because such weapons may most efficiently deter international aggressions, at least in those cases where the prospective aggressor remains fully rational, their possession could also protect neighboring states, both friends and foes, from war-related harms.
Should Israel ever be deprived of its nuclear forces because of any naively idealistic hopes for peace, it could become starkly vulnerable to overwhelming enemy attacks. Although such a life or death vulnerability might be prevented, in principle, by simultaneously instituting parallel forms of chemical/biological weapons disarmament among Israel’s enemies, such steps would never actually succeed. Verification of disarmament compliance is inevitably very difficult. Any such verification would become even more problematic in those complicated cases in which several enemy states would be involved.
In the volatile Middle East, the core threat to peace is not Israel’s nuclear weapons. These weapons are actually peace-preserving. The real core threat, especially with newly-intersecting dangers emanating from Iran and “Palestine,” remains a steadfast jihadist commitment to “excise the Jewish cancer.” To wit, we need only consider the most recent exterminatory exhortations from Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal.
“From the river to the sea,” says Mashaal, unambiguously delineating the borders of “Palestine.” Significantly, it is a definition also fully accepted by the “moderate” Palestine Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas.
The US-backed Road Map , like the prior and once functional Oslo agreements, is merely a convenient enemy expedient. Nothing more. If ever taken seriously in Jerusalem, it could become an irreversible cartographic detour to oblivion.
With its undeclared nuclear weapons, Israel could still more-or-less efficiently deter enemy unconventional aggressions, and also most large conventional ones. With these weapons, Israel could still launch non-nuclear preemptive strikes against enemy state hard targets that would threaten Israel’s annihilation. Without these weapons, any such expressions of anticipatory self-defense would likely represent the onset of a much wider war. This is because there could no longer be any sufficiently persuasive threat of an Israeli counter retaliation. Some truths are annoyingly counter-intuitive. In essence, Israel’s nuclear weapons represent an effective impediment to the regional use of nuclear weapons, and to the corollary start of any regional nuclear war. Over time, however, the credibility of Israel’s nuclear deterrent will also require certain carefully considered departures from the nation’s traditional posture of “deliberate nuclear ambiguity.” That point, planning with the correct intent of enhancing national nuclear deterrence, will be the right time to take Israel’s bomb out of the country’s “basement.”
Si vis pacem, para bellum atomicum.
“If you want peace, prepare for atomic war.”

The writer (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is the author of many major books and articles dealing with nuclear strategy and nuclear war, including Security or Armageddon: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy; Mimicking Sisyphus: America’s Countervailing Nuclear Strategy; and Apocalypse: Nuclear Catastrophe in World Politics. In Israel, he was Chair of Project Daniel (2003). Professor Beres was born in Zürich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945.

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's time for Israel to talk to Hamas says A.B. Yehoshua

I apologize for digressing from my narrow MAD subject. But A.B. Yehoshua  is one of my favorite writers who I think should have long ago received the Nobel Literature Prize for Mr. Mani. His statement came as a shock. 

I do not have access to A.B Yehoshua’s article in Haaretz  and I have not read it.
However,  the reasoning below will show that any argument A.B. Yehoshua has come up with is irrelevant.   

Article 7 of the Hamas Charter reads:

  "The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews." 

Article 7 is taken from   Hadith Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177 and quotes the Prophet Muhammad:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. "O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him."  

There are only two possibilities. Either A.B.Yehoshua never read the Hamas Charter
and Hadith Bukhari  Volume 4 Book 52, Number 177 or he believes Hamas do not really take seriously what Muhammad said.

Which is it?

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Iranian A-Bomb diagram. What is it doing in the business section?

Am I missing something? Is this diagram authentic or not is a valid question.  But surely the significance of this piece of news goes beyond the BUSINESS section of the Washington Post?  

Associated Press - The undated diagram that was given to the AP by officials of a country critical of Iran’s atomic program allegedly calculating the explosive force of a nuclear weapon _ a key step in developing such arms. The diagram shows a bell curve and has variables of time in micro-seconds and power and energy, both in kilotons _ the traditional measurement of the energy output, and hence the destructive power of nuclear 

By Associated Press, Published: November 27

VIENNA — Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a diagram obtained by The Associated Press.

The diagram was leaked by officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program to bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon. The officials provided the diagram only on condition that they and their country not be named.

The International Atomic Energy Agency — the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog — reported last year that it had obtained diagrams indicating that Iran was calculating the “nuclear explosive yield” of potential weapons. A senior diplomat who is considered neutral on the issue confirmed that the graph obtained by the AP was indeed one of those cited by the IAEA in that report. He spoke only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue.

The IAEA report mentioning the diagrams last year did not give details of what they showed. But the diagram seen by the AP shows a bell curve — with variables of time in micro-seconds, and power and energy both in kilotons — the traditional measurement of the energy output, and hence the destructive power of nuclear weapons. The curve peaks at just above 50 kilotons at around 2 microseconds, reflecting the full force of the weapon being modeled.

The bomb that the United States dropped on Hiroshima in Japan during World War II, in comparison, had a force of about 15 kilotons. Modern nuclear weapons have yields hundreds of times higher than that.
The diagram has a caption in Farsi: “Changes in output and in energy released as a function of time through power pulse.” The number “5’’ is part of the title, suggesting it is part of a series.

David Albright, whose Institute for Science and International Security is used by the U.S. government as a go-to source on Iran’s nuclear program, said the diagram looks genuine but seems to be designed more “to understand the process” than as part of a blueprint for an actual weapon in the making.

“The yield is too big,” Albright said, noting that North Korea’s first tests of a nuclear weapon were only a few kilotons. Because the graph appears to be only one in a series, others might show lower yields, closer to what a test explosion might produce, he said.

The senior diplomat said the diagram was part of a series of Iranian computer-generated models provided to the IAEA by the intelligences services of member nations for use in its investigations of suspicions that Iran is trying to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran denies any interest in such a weapon and has accused the United States and Israel of fabricating evidence that suggests it is trying to build a bomb.

Asked about the project, Iran’s chief IAEA delegate, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said he had not heard of it. IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said the agency had no comment.

Iran has refused to halt uranium enrichment, despite offers of reactor fuel from abroad, saying it is producing nuclear fuel for civilian uses. It has refused for years to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear agency’s efforts to investigate its program.

Iran’s critics fear it could use the enriched uranium for military purposes. Such concerns grew this month when the IAEA said Iran is poised to double its output of higher-enriched uranium at its fortified underground facility — a development that could put Tehran within months of being able to make the core of a nuclear warhead.
In reporting on the existence of the diagrams last year, the IAEA said it had obtained them from two member nations that it did not identify. Other diplomats have said that Israel and the United States — the countries most concerned about Iran’s nuclear program — have supplied the bulk of intelligence being used by the IAEA in its investigation.

“The application of such studies to anything other than a nuclear explosive is unclear to the agency,” the IAEA said at the time.

The models were allegedly created in 2008 and 2009 — well after 2003, the year that the United States said Tehran had suspended such work in any meaningful way. That date has been questioned by Britain, France, Germany and Israel, and the IAEA now believes that — while Iran shut down some of its work back then — other tests and experiments continue today.

With both the IAEA probe and international attempts to engage Iran stalled, there are fears that Israel may opt to strike at Tehran’s nuclear program. The Jewish state insists it will not tolerate an Iran armed with nuclear arms.

An intelligence summary provided with the drawing linked it to other alleged nuclear weapons work — significant because it would indicate that Iran is working not on isolated experiments, but rather on a single program aimed at mastering all aspects of nuclear arms development.

The IAEA suspects that Iran has conducted live tests of conventional explosives that could be used to detonate a nuclear weapon at Parchin, a sprawling military base southeast of Tehran. The intelligence summary provided to the AP said data gained from those tests fed the model plotted in the diagram. Iran has repeatedly turned down IAEA requests to visit the site, which the agency fears is undergoing a major cleanup meant to eliminate any traces of such experiments.

The intelligence summary named nuclear scientists Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Majid Shahriari and Fereidoun Abbasi as key players in developing the computer diagrams, adding that Shahriari and Abbasi were also involved in the Parchin testing.

Iran has for years rebuffed IAEA attempts to question Fakhrizadeh for his suspected involvement in secret programs. Shahriari was assassinated in 2010 by what Iran says were Israeli agents. Abbasi, now the head of Iran’s nuclear agency, was wounded in a separate assassination attempt the same day that Shahriari was killed.

The senior diplomat, who is familiar with the Iran probe, said the agency has not yet determined any connection between Parchin and the computer models. But Olli Heinonen, who headed the IAEA’s Iran investigation until 2010, said using the results of the alleged Parchin tests would “make sense as part of the design and testing of a (computer) model.”

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mr. Kissinger, do you still believe in Cold War-era deterrence with Iran?

By Henry A. Kissinger, Saturday, November 17, 2:57 AM

Henry A. Kissinger was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977.

In the aftermath of an exhausting reelection campaign, the most urgent decision facing the president is how to stop Iran from pursuing a military nuclear program. Presidents of both parties have long declared that “no option is off the table” in securing this goal. In the third presidential debate, the candidates agreed that this was a matter of the American national interest, even as they described the objective alternately as preventing an Iranian “nuclear weapon” or “breakout capacity” (President Obama), or a “nuclear-capable Iran” (Mitt Romney). As Iran continues to elaborate its enrichment capacity and move it underground, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a spring deadline for counteraction. In this fraught environment, what operational meaning should be given to America’s declared objectives?

The United States and Iran are apparently conducting bilateral negotiations through official or semiofficial emissaries — a departure from the previous procedure of multilateral talks. Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program do not have an encouraging record. For more than a decade, Iran has stalled, first with the “EU-3” (France, Germany and Britain) and then with the “P5+1” (the members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany). It has alternated hints of flexibility with periods of intransigence, all while expanding, concealing and dispersing its nuclear facilities. If no limit is placed on this process, Iran’s tech­no­logical progress will dominate events. But at what stage, and in what manner, should Iran be deprived of a military nuclear capability? This has been the essence of the argument over “red lines.”

Three stages are involved in the evolution of a military nuclear capability: a delivery system, a capacity to enrich uranium and the production of nuclear warheads. Iran has been augmenting the range and number of its missile systems since at least 2006. Its enrichment capacity — long underreported to the International Atomic Energy Agency — has been expanded to thousands of centrifuges (the instruments that enrich uranium to bomb-grade material). The level exceeds any reasonable definition of peaceful uses authorized by the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The inevitable culmination is a nuclear weapon.

To draw the line at proscribing an Iranian nuclear weapon — as some argue — would prove unmanageable. Once the requisite amount of fissile material has been produced, constructing and equipping a warhead is a relatively short and technologically straightforward process, almost certainly impossible to detect in a timely fashion.

If so ineffectual a red line were to emerge from a decade of diplomacy by the permanent members of the Security Council, the result would be an essentially uncontrollable military nuclear proliferation throughout a region roiled by revolution and sectarian blood-feuds. Iran would thereby achieve the status of North Korea, with a military nuclear program at the very edge of going operational. Each nation that has a nuclear option would compete to minimize the time to its own full military nuclear capability. Meanwhile, countries within the reach of Iran’s military but lacking a nuclear option would be driven to reorient their political alignment toward Tehran. The reformist tendencies in the Arab Spring — already under severe pressure — would be submerged by this process. The president’s vision of progress toward a global reduction of nuclear weapons would suffer a blow, perhaps a fatal one.

Some have argued that even in the worst-case scenario, a nuclear Iran could be deterred. Yet this ignores the immensely costly, complex and tension-ridden realities of Cold War-era deterrence, the apocalyptic strain in the Iranian theocracy and the near-certainty that several regional powers will go nuclear if Iran does. Once nuclear balances are forged in conditions where tensions are no longer purely bilateral, as in the Cold War, and in still-developing countries whose technology to prevent accidents is rudimentary, the likelihood of some nuclear exchange will mount dramatically.

This is why the United States has insisted on limits on Iranian enrichment — that is, curtailing access to a weapon’s precursor elements. Abandoning the original demand to ban allenrichment, the P5+1 has explored what levels of production of fissile material are compatible with the peaceful uses authorized by the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The higher the level of enrichment, the shorter the time needed to bring about militarily applicable results. Conventional wisdom holds that the highest practically enforceable limit is 5 percent enrichment, and then only if all fissile material beyond an agreed amount is safeguarded outside Iran.

The time available for a diplomatic outcome shrinks in direct proportion as the Iranian enrichment capacity grows and a military nuclear capacity approaches. The diplomatic process must therefore be brought to a point of decision. The P5+1 or the United States unilaterally must put forward a precise program to curtail Iranian enrichment with specific time limits.

This does not imply a red line authorizing any country to go to war. However respectfully the views of friends are considered, the ultimate decision over peace or war must remain in the hands of the president. Why negotiate with a country of such demonstrated hostility and evasiveness? Precisely because the situation is so fraught. Diplomacy may reach an acceptable agreed outcome. Or its failure will mobilize the American people and the world. It will clarify either the causes of an escalating crisis, up to the level of military pressure, or ultimate acquiescence in an Iranian nuclear program. Either outcome will require a willingness to see it through to its ultimate implications. We cannot afford another strategic disaster.

To the extent that Iran shows willingness to conduct itself as a nation-state, rather than a revolutionary religious cause, and accepts enforceable verification, elements of Iranian security concerns should be taken seriously, including gradual easing of sanctions as strict limits on enrichment are implemented and enforced. But time will be urgent. Tehran must be made to understand that the alternative to an agreement is not simply a further period of negotiation and that using negotiations to gain time will have grave consequences. A creative diplomacy, allied to a determined strategy, may still be able to prevent a crisis provided the United States plays a decisive role in defining permissible outcomes.

So Mr. Kissinger, which part bothers you the most?

1)  complex and tension-ridden realities of Cold War-era deterrence

2)  the apocalyptic strain in the Iranian theocracy 

3)  the near-certainty that several regional powers will go nuclear if Iran does

Does not point 2 outweigh all other concerns? If you really take point 2 seriously then there is no  Cold War-era deterrence and who cares about near-certainty that several regional powers will go nuclear when Iran will have already started a nuclear war?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Be'er Sheva under Grad attack

By 3:30 am we already have had 4 attacks since 11 pm, I think 8 altogether, lost count, and I was getting tired  to every time get up and shut the door of the safe room when the siren goes off and reopen it after the attack.  I once calculated that we would have enough air in the safe room for about 10 hours because when the door is shut the room is hermetically sealed, but it is uncomfortable to sleep in a room if you know that you are using up the air slowly . Feels as if you were in a submarine. Das Boot and The Hunt for Red October comes to mind. However, if you leave the door or the window ajar  there is always the probability, small, but not zero, that the shrapnel would ricochet into the room . Still,  I left the door open and went back to sleep, till the next red alert. Should try and do the math and calculate the probabilities and consequences of leaving the door open.

It was eerie to drive  through almost deserted streets of Be'er Sheva  this morning to pick up my daughter from the bus stop. A few taxis and nobody else.  At least there are no cars at intersections so you could more easily take cover within the 60 seconds.  On the way back I asked my daughter to  measure how long it would take us from  the nearest circle till home. 54 seconds. Should not make a dash for it if caught at the circle. Too risky.

Tried to post Article 7 of the Hamas Charter and Hadith Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177  from which it is taken on Sky News . Article 7 reads  " The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews."  It never appeared on the Sky News site. Censored. Direct quotes from the Hamas Charter is just too much truth for the Brits. Churchill must be turning in his grave. This is not Britain's finest hour.

My son's school teacher phoned to inquire about my son. He's fine my wife says. She skips the fact that he is thanking Hamas there is no school. Homework assignment is on the internet. In the meantime he is playing chess with himself.

Obama is backing Israel's action. Very nice. Everyone seems to have forgotten that only three years ago his administration transferred $900 million to Hamas. The 69 percent of American Jews who voted for him could not care less that the Soviet designed, Chinese manufactured Grads falling on my head are being financed by the American taxpayer.  Maybe they will more concerned with their own soap opera scandal and interested what Petraeus will say in his testimony to the congressional intelligence panels.

Meanwhile the Mahdi, the 12th Imam,  is still in occultation but the centrifuges are spinning...  

Iron Dome intercepts Grads over Be'er Sheva

Update, Dec 2:  The other day while driving in Be'er Sheva I realized I had found the music I should listen to during Grad attacks.  Shostakovich's  "Leningrad"  Symphony.  The wailing of the sirens goes well together with the main repetitive theme of the approaching German armies...  

Shostakovich Symphony No. 7 "Leningrad" 1st Movement part 2

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Muslim Brotherhood. Is this what Americans stand for?

Americans have just re-elected a President who supports the virulently  anti-Semitic and anti-American Muslim Brotherhood and appeases Iran! Imagine what would have happened if FDR had supported the fascists and appeased the Nazis .

 Are we living through the alternative history of a Robert Harris novel?   With Churchill  fleeing the British Isles and Joseph Kennedy becoming US president?  No Churchill  War Rooms, no V-E Day? Alas! This is not alternative history. This what happened today is the real history.

I wish I could see how this day will be explained by the historians of the 22nd century, if our civilization survives to that day. How will they explain today's vote?   

Four years ago I wrote Facing Iran, Alone  Unfortunately, reality has become even worse than I thought  then, so I reproduce the article here once again. This time the polls will be on January 22.

Facing Iran, Alone

In May 1940 Britain stood alone facing Nazi Germany. The USSR had signed the Ribbentrop-Molotov nonaggression pact; the US had not entered the war yet.
On May 7, Leo Amery spoke in the Commons, attacking Neville Chamberlain's government, quoting Oliver Cromwell: "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"
On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister.
Ever since the US government's National Intelligence Estimate report it has become increasingly probable that Israel will be the one to tackle Iran. With the election of Barack Obama this is now almost certain. We are back in May 1940.
There are many who believe that, for all their talk, the Iranians would never launch a nuclear attack. The 12th Imam is for the masses, the way Marx was, the argument goes, and not to be believed in verbatim. How many Arab or Muslim leaders have become suicide bombers to get the virgins? None.
But comparing Communists with the followers of the Islamic prophet is misleading. For one, the Communists never produced suicide bombers and we already have had 148 explode here in Israel. Muhammad Atta was not the top leader, but he was among the educated, for whom education was just a tool to be used in accomplishing his jihadi goals. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an ardent believer in theMahdi, the Hidden Twelfth Imam, the four-year old who went into hiding in a well 1,140 years ago. The idea that Iran itself may become a nuclear suicide bomber is real.
Those who question Iranian motives are projecting Western values, almost patronizingly so. The privileged party members in the USSR, the so-called priviligentsia, would not dream of sacrificing themselves. They had their closed shops, hospitals and pharmacies, access to foreign media and, most coveted of all, access abroad. They enjoyed their privileges. The Iranian mullahs are no Bolsheviks.
The world watched Hitler rearm, reoccupy the Rhineland in 1936, annex the Sudetenland in October 1938 and the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, and rape Austria in 1938. As Churchill put it, they kept feeding the crocodile hoping they would be eaten last.
Anyone who reads about the policies and the press of the 1933-1940 period cannot but be struck by the similarities. We know what happened then, yet we are following almost the same path. Scary.
Might Israel strike at Iran before Obama takes over? As reported in the Jerusalem Post, Benny Morris says yes. Most other analysts disagree. I believe that it is in the US interest for Israel to destroy the Iranian nuclear sites, since the destruction and the rise in oil prices resulting from a non-nuclear Iranian retaliation would still be much less than the consequences of a nuclear war following an Iranian nuclear strike on Israel and an Israeli nuclear retaliation.
There is only one remaining scenario left.
On February 10 Israel goes to the polls. The leaders we elect will be our last line of defense. Help will not come from the Europeans, the United Nations and not even from the US. The decisions that will determine the survival of this country will come from Benjamin Netanyahu, Moshe Yaalon, Benny Begin or Tzipi Livni. Make your pick.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I am ashamed of American Jews

Last night I read an article in ynet titled US Jews: Ashamed of Israel, proud to be Jewish.   I  posted the following talkback -  it never appeared:

Well, as an Israeli Jew I am ashamed  of American Jews
I am ashamed of American Jews because of their utter ignorance about the Middle East. They are willing to vote for a president who supports   the most anti-Semitic and anti-American  organization - the Muslim Brotherhood.  They are prepared to vote for a president whose  appeasement of Iran may well  permit  Iran to start a nuclear war in which millions will die.  I am ashamed of American Jews because they refuse to educate themselves about Shia eschatology and the Twelvers  and in their ignorance and irresponsibility they  make  our lives here in Israel  much more dangerous.
How many  American Jews have read Matthias Kuntzel  and Bernard Lewis?
Matthias Kuntzel - Antisemitism, Messianism and the Cult of Sacrifice:The Iranian Holy War
Why are Bernard Lewis's views on MAD ignored?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ari Shavit - The pot calling the kettle black . Why doesn’t Ari Shavit interview Bernard Lewis, Raphael Israeli or Matthias Kuntzel?

In his latest article in THE COUNTDOWN series titled  Iran is here, Ari Shavit writes: There are no good people and bad people in the face of Natanz, only those who see and those who are blind”.  

Thirteen people were interviewed for the series: Moshe Ya’alon, Isaac Ben-Israel, Yehezkel Dror, Uzi Arad, Giora Eiland, Kobi Richter, Yossi Beilin, Ephraim Sneh, Efraim Halevy, Tzachi Hanegbi, Amos Yadlin, a former senior official from the Atomic Energy Agency and a well-known decision-maker.”

Ari Shavit  is among the blind. He is among the blind because of the thirteen people whom he interviewed NONE were scholars of  Islam.  When PM Netanyahu in his speech to the UN General Assembly  quoted   Bernard Lewis "He said that for the Ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it’s an inducement"   how many Israelis  knew what he was talking about?  Very few.  Very few because Ari Shavt failed to interview the only people who really know the magnitude of the Iranian threat.    

Ari Shavit continues..
 “He [Netyanyahu] did not make the required political moves to accord his government domestic legitimacy. Even as he engaged in brinkmanship vis-a-vis Iran, he also engaged in brinkmanship vis-a-vis the United States, the Israeli security establishment and local public opinion. Suddenly, therefore, the tables were turned. Instead of Iran being perceived as an evil power undermining the world order, Israel began to be perceived as a crazy state threatening world peace.”
And why does the world perceive Israel as a crazy state threatening world peace?  Precisely because the world press, including Ari Shavit, refused to discuss  Shia eschatology, the Mahdi and the Twelvers, and refused to interview scholars  who would have informed them.  
Ari Shavit writes.”  Instead of the United States and Israel working together against Iran, the United States and Israel began to work against each other."
What Ari Shavit omits is to explain how is Nathayhu supposed to trust the Obama administration which supports the Muslim Brotherhood, the most anti-Semitic and anti American organization?   Here is former federal prosecutor  Andrew McCarthy on the Obama administration  and the Muslim brotherhood.
Ari Shavit should  pack his bags and fly to Philadelphia and interview Bernard Lewis instead of  complaining how everyone is blind.  

Ari Shavit's final countdown: Iran is here

Something went terribly wrong with the Netanyahu strategy of blocking Iranian nuclearization. The threat is as daunting as ever, but stopping it has become increasingly complicated

It’s clear: one way or another, Iran is going to change our lives. If Iran becomes a nuclear power, Israel will be forced to become a fortress state with high walls around it in order to stand fast in a nuclearized, radicalized Middle East that will pose a threat to its very existence. There will be no chance for peace and no prospect of normality: we will become as Sparta. If Israel tries to curb Iran by means of a military attack, it will find itself in a missile war that will strike at the home front as the home front has never been struck before. Israeli society will undergo a severe trauma for which it is unprepared, morally or mentally.
If it is the United States that finally stops Iran by the use of force, that move will likely exact high prices from Israel. To counterbalance a violent assault against a Muslim power, the United States will have to engage in political acts against the Jewish state which are liable to damage Israeli security assets. It follows that the question of Iran is not an abstract strategic issue but a question of real life. The answer to that question is going to influence the way of life and the course of life of each and every one of us. Iran is not out there somewhere, beyond the hills of darkness; Iran is here, in every bar in Tel Aviv and in every housing project in Be’er Sheva and in every moshav in the Galilee.
The problem of Iran is not an ideological problem and not a moral problem − it is an attentiveness problem. There are no good people and bad people in the face of Natanz, only those who see and those who are blind. The far-reaching implications of the challenge posed by Iran’s nuclear project were known a decade ago. Already a decade ago it was clear that Israel’s cardinal mission was not to arrive at a bomb-or-bombing crossroads. But Israel refused to internalize the Iranian challenge.
The strategic establishment addressed it and the intelligence community coped with it, but the broad public repressed it. As the Iranian threat did not entail an immediate price or concrete consequences, it remained amorphous. It was not part of the political debate or the public discourse. It had no concrete place in our concrete life. The psychological difficulty of looking head-on at Iran brought about a situation in which the good decade, in which it was possible to stop Iran without resorting to force, was allowed to slip by.
The attentiveness deficit was not confined to Israel. By the middle of the last decade, all the Western intelligence agencies were already quite familiar with the Iranian nuclear project. All the leaders in the West understood that Iran was seriously threatening the United States, Europe and the entire world order. But Western public opinion was not capable of coping with the challenge, either psychologically or conceptually. The Western elites turned their back on Iran.
The Western leaders therefore lacked a political context which would enable them to act with determination against Iran. Because the Iranian threat was not a tomorrow-morning thing, dealing with it was put off and fudged. No crippling sanctions were imposed on Iran in time. No deal was struck with Russia so that Iran could be subjected to a true political-economic blockade. Khamenei was not presented with a credible ultimatum of nuclearization or survival. For the past decade, Tehran has faced a weak and flaccid West which has been unable to block Iran’s nuclear project.
The attentiveness problems of both Israel and the West stemmed from the same source: the intoxication of success. For 40 years, the Israelis have lived quite a good life under the safety net which Dimona cast over them. For that very reason, they are not aware of the great debt they owe to Israel’s regional strategic monopoly. Nor are they aware of the jolting consequences liable to ensue if the monopoly is shattered.
The Americans and Europeans are in the same boat: for the past 67 years they have lived a life of peace and wellbeing under the safety net cast over them in the form of the West’s overwhelming nuclear superiority. For that very reason they are not aware of the great debt they owe to that situation of superiority, which ensures that they do not face a concrete nuclear threat. Nor are they aware of the jolting consequences liable to ensue if Western strategic superiority is undercut and a Shiite nuclear threat emerges, which will have a direct effect on the good life in Paris, Berlin, London and New York.
So, the Iranian nuclear issue is like a baobab tree. In its early stages of its growth there was no difficulty in chopping it down. But in the advanced stages there was no general mobilization to fell it. The disparity between Iranian stamina and Israeli and Western lethargy played into the hands of the Iranians. The disparity between the focus, tenacity and sophistication of the ayatollahs, and the lack of focus, lack of tenacity and the lassitude of the democracies allowed the clerics of darkness to get the best of the enlightened statesmen. As a result of the attentiveness deficit of Israel and of the West, there was no timely political prevention and no timely economic prevention.
Another result was that a belief developed in the power of clandestine prevention which was as naive as it was false. Owing to a severe blindness, brought on by a deep mental and cultural weakness, the baobab tree was not uprooted in the years when uprooting was possible. Instead of curbing Iran, the United States became entangled in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel was preoccupied with settlements instead of being preoccupied with centrifuges. Europe froze as though crippled. Both the international community and the Jewish state watched the horrifying tree of the Iranian nuclear project growing before their eyes, helpless to stunt its growth.
Thus, Benjamin Netanyahu’s great contribution to the struggle against the Iranian nuclear project was to inject attentiveness. In contrast to many others, Bibi understood Iran, internalized Iran and was totally focused on Iran. From the day he entered the Prime Minister’s Bureau it was clear that the mission of his life was to thwart Iranian nuclearization. With that end in mind, he formed the odd coalition with Ehud Barak. To block the Iranian nuclear project he capitulated to the ultra-Orthodox, neglected the economy and ignored social problems. To block the Iranian nuclear project, he created an Israeli military option in which vast financial resources were invested. To block the Iranian nuclear project, he made sophisticated use of the military option.
Indeed, during 2011 and at the beginning of 2012 the Netanyahu strategy produced impressive results. After long years of do-nothingness, the Iranian issue rose to the top of the global agenda. The West woke up. The United States promised to prevent a nuclear Iran and prepared a military capability which can actualize that commitment. Europe imposed harsh sanctions on Iran. Not for fear of Ahmadinejad, but for fear that Netanyahu would strike at Ahmadinejad the international community started to place obstacles in the way of the Iranian president.
However, at a certain point something went awry. Netanyahu went too far and overdid the pressure. He did not try to persuade the West but only threatened the West. He did not make the necessary political concessions to accord Israel international legitimacy. He did not make the required political moves to accord his government domestic legitimacy. Even as he engaged in brinkmanship vis-a-vis Iran, he also engaged in brinkmanship vis-a-vis the United States, the Israeli security establishment and local public opinion. Suddenly, therefore, the tables were turned. Instead of Iran being perceived as an evil power undermining the world order, Israel began to be perceived as a crazy state threatening world peace.
Instead of the United States and Israel working together against Iran, the United States and Israel began to work against each other. Instead of a wedge being driven between the government and the people in Tehran, a wedge was driven between the government and the people in Tel Aviv. Netanyahu became completely isolated. The pistol with which he threatened Iran and threatened the world had no bullets.
Netanyahu’s strategy was based on two fundamental concepts. One was the Iranian zone of immunity (which obliges action against Iran before it succeeds in implanting its nuclear project deep underground where it will be invulnerable). The second was the Israeli zone of immunity (which was the only period of time in which Israel could act against Iran without the United States blocking it). Netanyahu believed that the two zones of immunity brought about a situation in which zero hour was now. Only in the summer-autumn of 2012 would it still be possible to stop Iran. Only in the summer-autumn of 2012 would an Israeli action be possible, both operationally and politically. If Israel did not vanquish Iran this year, it would not be able to do so in the coming years, Netanyahu believed. The country’s fate would no longer be in its own hands but in the hands of others.
No one knows whether Netanyahu and Barak truly intended to attack this year or whether they intended to parlay the attack at the last minute into a firm international commitment that would render an attack superfluous. However, it is perfectly clear that Netanyahu, at least, planned to bring the crisis to a peak before the American presidential elections. Those who think that the prime minister tried to topple President Obama are mistaken. Netanyahu tried to exploit the political vulnerability of candidate Obama to recruit him willy-nilly for the campaign against Iran. But that goal, too, eluded Netanyahu. Beginning in the spring, the American president stopped heeding his threats. The hold-me-back strategy boomeranged. International attentiveness was again lost. The Israeli zone of immunity that Netanyahu tried to build with such great labor collapsed on his head.
Four months ago, Haaretz Magazine launched the Countdown series of articles. The series was intended to serve as a platform for a high-quality, untainted, businesslike discussion of the Iranian issue. It tried to go beyond militancy and beyond passions and beyond the personal squabbles in order to present Haaretz readers with a broad range of thoughts about Iran. Thirteen people were interviewed for the series: Moshe Ya’alon, Isaac Ben-Israel, Yehezkel Dror, Uzi Arad, Giora Eiland, Kobi Richter, Yossi Beilin, Ephraim Sneh, Efraim Halevy, Tzachi Hanegbi, Amos Yadlin, a former senior official from the Atomic Energy Agency and a well-known decision-maker. Two or three vigorously supported an attack, three firmly opposed an attack and the others expressed complex viewpoints.
However, the majority of the interviewees agreed that the hub of Israel’s Iranian strategy must be close cooperation with the United States. Almost all the interviewees agreed that cooperation of this sort was not achieved in the past few years and that a supreme effort must be made to achieve it in the immediate future. Even though the majority of the interviews suggested implicitly that Netanyahu and Barak took a sharp and focused view of the Iranian challenge, they also suggested that the two had focused inordinately on the Israeli military option. They failed to prepare world and Israeli public opinion for a clash with Iran and they did not prepare Israel properly for the ordeal ahead.
The Iran decision is probably the most difficult that Israel will have to make in this generation. In a number of senses it resembles the Dimona decision. As with Dimona, so with Iran: the risks are enormous in either direction. As with Dimona, so with Iran: a distinctive combination of boldness, responsibility and creativity is required. Cooperation is needed with the Western powers, but at the same time Israel must be able to stand up to the Western powers. It is necessary to mobilize all the national resources, devise singular solutions and exercise wise and far-sighted leadership. However, while young Israel displayed model behavior regarding Dimona, when it came to Natanz and Fordow, adult Israel behaved awkwardly and confusedly. Tremendous deeds were done. There was professional excellence. However, the state as a state did not mobilize all its abilities and all its skills to cope properly with the existential threat.
Accordingly, as of now, the Iranian nuclear project has not been foiled politically, not been foiled economically and not been foiled clandestinely. Accordingly, as of now, under present conditions, to foil the Iranian nuclear project militarily appears adventurist and inapplicable. The likelihood is growing that in the years ahead the burden of foiling the Iranian nuclear project will pass from Israel’s hands to those of the United States (which may or may not act). The risk is growing that Israel’s efforts to block Iranian nuclearization will come to naught.
The summer of 2011 was a summer of protest; the summer of 2012 was a summer of dread. Toward the end of the summer the dread faded. The more the public discussion about the Iranian issue seethed, the less likely it came to seem that Israel would strike at Iran already this year. However, the truth is that no one knows what the truth is. Not even the prime minister and the defense minister. The Iranian challenge has not diminished. On the contrary: The risks embodied in Iranian nuclearization have not lessened; they have intensified. So the countdown has not yet ended. It will be renewed when the cloud of uncertainty evaporates and Israel will again face the dilemma of its very existence.