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Israel Has Reason to be Paranoid

 
 
Reply Tue 24 Sep, 2013 05:08 pm
Here is a very provocative piece on the fast-changing political/military considerations in the Middle East.



If Israel's paranoid, it has every reason to be
With the US disengaged, the prospect of Russia and Iran drawing closer is alarming

Roger Boyes,The Times of London, September 19, 2013

Across the Middle East today there is a sourness and a sense of abandonment because the old order has been broken and not replaced. It is Israel that feels the disappointment most strongly: the United States, a staunch protector since 1948, seems to be slipping away in its clumsy rush to disengage from the region.

The US-Russian deal to dismantle Bashar Assad's chemical arsenal has made the world more, not less, dangerous for Israel, introducing doubt into its US security guarantees, which until now have been the cornerstone of American policy in the Middle East. By blurring the red line on Syria's use of nerve gas, the Obama Administration has, from the Israeli perspective, hoisted a white flag. It makes no sense, says Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli intelligence minister, to pardon a murderer just because he has turned over his gun.

The Syrian agreement has sent a clear signal to Iran: the US will not engage in major military action against a country developing nuclear or chemical weapons, even if this stock poses a threat to an ally. This suggests the emergence of an Obama doctrine that hands over knotty problems to others and does not just accept the limits of American power, but surrenders it. Syria become a client state of Russia and ultimately a Russian, not an American, problem.

No wonder that the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, is so keen to meet Mr. Obama this month. Tehran will simulate a readiness to cooperate on Syria while enriching yet more uranium, speeding up work on its heavy water reactor and soft-shuffling towards a bomb. Net result from the past fortnight of force-backed diplomacy: the arsonists, Moscow and Tehran, now run the fire brigade.

Israel is right to be worried. For sure, a Syria shorn of chemical weapons is a good thing for its southern neighbour. There is a legitimate fear, though, that barrels of chemicals could soon be heading for the Hezbollah militias in Lebanon before UN inspectors get to work. More disturbing, the Russians look set to link their role persuading Assad to declare his weapons with a broader push to get Israel to admit to its own nuclear programm. Moscow is arguing for a regional disarmament that could take in Israel — surely a step too far even for the Obama Administration.

US officials complain privately about Israel's lack of trust in Washington. By putting this on display, they say, Israel further undermines American credibility. Israelis themselves admit to chronic over-anxiety about Mr Obama but conclude that paranoia is to be in possession of all the facts. Fact 1: under a weakened Assad, Iranian tutelage over Syria is growing fast. Fact 2: Sinai is becoming dangerously radicalised. Fact 3: Hezbollah units are being strengthened by the Syrian crisis. Fact Four: The US is not helping significantly in any of these spheres, although they all directly threaten Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu will use a trip to the US this month to warn that the Syria formula— threat of force prompts disarmament—won't work when applied to Iran. Will President Obama listen? Almost certainly not. If Israel acts pre-emptively against Iran, it will be acting alone. That is the only sensible reading of US behaviour over the past two years.

Israel's military planners have been gaming such an attack and there have been unusually public spats about it; most generals seem to agree that it would not be simple without US firepower. Yet the Kremlin's enhanced role in the Middle East could well narrow the time frame for action. One trigger for an attack could be if Russia met Iran's request to supply sophisticated S-300 air defence systems. Once they were in place, the physical costs of an attack mounted by Israel alone would rise steeply.

For the Israeli political class an Iranian bomb remains an existential issue. With or without America it has to be stopped. Indeed Israel has been discussing comments by its air force chief Amir Eschel. which reflected how air power should be used in a moral cause. Since these were the public musings of the man who would plan a possible attack on Iran, they were delivered in code.

In the spring of 1944, he said, the Allies had achieved air supremacy over Auschwitz-Birkenau, they had accurate intelligence—and they knew that a trainload of Hungarian Jews was en route to the concentration camp. Politicians decided not to act. Not because they were anti-Semites but because, he said, it was "easier not to bomb than to bomb".

It is harsh to say Mr Obama has been taking the easy road in not striking Syria. Nothing in the Middle East has come easy to him. The region—and above all Israel—would like to know, however, where US policy is heading, because that part of the world has rarely seemed so precarious, so ready to slip into chaos.
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Sep, 2013 03:32 am
@Advocate,
I agree, Advocate, Israel does have reason to be paranoid.

I wish it didn't...and I wish all the parties over there could just get along with one another. But they don't...and if America ever did withdraw its support completely (a move I don't think it will ever make)...eventually Israel would be defeated.

All that said, however, Israel has got to get over the notion that everything is about them. When you wrote:

Quote:
It is harsh to say Mr Obama has been taking the easy road in not striking Syria. Nothing in the Middle East has come easy to him. The region—and above all Israel—would like to know, however, where US policy is heading, because that part of the world has rarely seemed so precarious, so ready to slip into chaos.


There are some of us who think that perhaps moving to a more centrist position vis-a-vis the "Israeli versus the rest of the Middle East" problem...we are moving toward a more realistic postion.
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Sep, 2013 02:46 pm
@Frank Apisa,
The thing that you don't realize, or basically reject, is that it makes eminent sense for the USA to fully support Israel.

Every president, once he has served some time in office, realizes that the USA get a tremendous return for the bucks loaned or given Israel. The intell and technology from Israel is very valuable to us. It is the only real democracy in the Middle East, and the best and most valuable ally in the ME.

Moreover, what is given Israel is peanuts (about the value of a couple bombers). Further, much of the money given Israel is returned as payments for arms, etc.

Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 Sep, 2013 02:55 pm
@Advocate,
Advocate wrote:

The thing that you don't realize, or basically reject, is that it makes eminent sense for the USA to fully support Israel.


It may make eminent sense for the US to fully support Israel...just as it makes eminent sense for the US to fully support the Arabs of the Middle East.

To support Israel the way we...way out of proportion to the way we support the Arabs...does not make any kind of sense at all...eminent or otherwise.

I think that is something, Advocate, that you do not realize...or simply reject out of hand.

Quote:
Every president, once he has served some time in office, realizes that the USA get a tremendous return for the bucks loaned or given Israel. The intell and technology from Israel is very valuable to us. It is the only real democracy in the Middle East, and the best and most valuable ally in the ME.


Our uneven support for Israel at huge cost to the friendship of Arab nations is such a drag on our fortunes in that area...that any value (and I acknowledge there is plenty) we derive is negated several times over by the negatives.

You simply will not...or cannot...see that.



Quote:
Moreover, what is given Israel is peanuts (about the value of a couple bombers). Further, much of the money given Israel is returned as payments for arms, etc.


I am not interested in the cost in dollars...and I an disappointed that seems paramount to you, Advocate.

I am interested in the cost in fairness and evenhandedness.

Our position in that area would probably be MUCH better without the "valuable ally" of Israel.

Try to appreciate that...and you will see where I (and many Americans) are coming from on the issue.
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Sep, 2013 02:57 pm
@Advocate,
No it dosent make eminent sense to back Israels expansionist policies. If they moved the European settlers out of Palistianian territory, and grant palistinian citizens the same rights as Jewish citizens I would agree. But they do and will not.
Lordyaswas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 Sep, 2013 03:27 pm
@RABEL222,
Some may even go so far as to say that the unquestioning support from the USA in the past had actually encouraged Israel to act with total disregard to the Palestinians.
Now it may have to revise its strategy.
maxdancona
 
  3  
Reply Wed 25 Sep, 2013 03:30 pm
@Advocate,
Quote:
It is the only real democracy in the Middle East


No it's not.

In a real democracy, everyone gets a vote regardless of their ethnicity. This propaganda point is repeated incessantly, but that doesn't make it true.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Sep, 2013 03:34 pm
@maxdancona,
Lebanon is the democracy, not Israel. Israel does not let everyone under its control vote. Not for a body that has any power anyway.
InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 Sep, 2013 04:54 pm
@Advocate,
Mental illness is not a good reason upon which to base foreign policy.

Israel can counter with its own chemical weapons stores, perhaps many times over, whatever chemical weapons with which Syria might hypothetically attack it.

This hypothetical threat has existed long before the start of the Syrian Civil War. The reason Boyes is up in arms about it is because Syria's use of these weapons has brought their possession of them to the public eye, and he would like to see Israeli hegemony--I doubt that he's oblivious to the fact that Israel also possesses these weapons--in regard to those weapons.

What Boyes is oblivious to, however, is the fact that Syria is already a Russian client state, and has been since the Cold War of the previous century. Adding ignorance to mental illness is especially not a good combination upon which to base foreign policy.

Iran has every right to build nuclear reactors,and if it builds an atomic bomb then they'd only be countering Israel's possession of nuclear weapons and mitigating Israel's hegemony and balancing the power equation in regard to nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

It would be good for Russia to get Israel to give up its nuclear weapons along with measures to prevent Iran to develop nuclear weaons of their own. Less nuclear weapons in the world would be a good thing.

In regard to his "fact 3," this isn't a fact at all. As the Sysrian Regime is weakend through the civil war there their clients are also weakened.

As an example of his lunacy, Boyes, in his bizzar attempt to relate US policy in the Middle East with the Holocaust criticizes the Allies for not bombing "Auschwitz-Birkenau," ignoring the fact that untold numbers of concentration camp prisoners would have been killed in the process.
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 05:55 pm
@Advocate,
Quote:
It makes no sense, says Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli intelligence minister, to pardon a murderer just because he has turned over his gun.


It sure is a mad mad mad mad world. The Americans pardon, ignore, celebrate murderers, war criminals, rapists, torturers, terrorists, all manner of evil people all the time.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 06:03 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Israel has got to get over the notion that everything is about them.


That's what ignorant parents teach their children, Frank. Israel doesn't hold a candlestick to the US on this issue.
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 07:27 pm
@InfraBlue,
Are you that stupid? There is no mental illness on the part is Israel, which sees the proliferation of nukes and Obama's somewhat tepid support. Israel is not so blind that it fails to note that it is surrounded by a billion Muslims who are at war with it.

The use of the term "paranoid" is a product of author's license. Of course a hater like you will conflate it to include real mental illness.

Israel is fully aware that the world is full of dyed in the wool Jew-haters like you who pray for its destruction . Israel is a tiny country with few allies that cannot afford to lose a single battle.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 07:49 pm
@Advocate,
Quote:
because that part of the world has rarely seemed so precarious, so ready to slip into chaos.


Where have you and Mr Boyes been over the last 60 years when all the US and the UK could do was create chaos for so many in so many Middle Eastern countries?
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Fri 27 Sep, 2013 12:19 am
@Advocate,
Advocate wrote:
Benjamin Netanyahu will use a trip to the US this month to warn that the Syria formula— threat of force prompts disarmament—won't work when applied to Iran. Will President Obama listen? Almost certainly not. If Israel acts pre-emptively against Iran, it will be acting alone. That is the only sensible reading of US behaviour over the past two years.

I don't think Mr. Netanyahu believes that.

I think Mr. Netanyahu would be delighted with an outcome that had UN inspectors crawling all over Iran and dismantling their illegal nuclear program.

But Israel is plenty capable of bombing Iran's illegal nuclear program if they need to do that.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Fri 27 Sep, 2013 12:21 am
@RABEL222,
RABEL222 wrote:
No it dosent make eminent sense to back Israels expansionist policies. If they moved the European settlers out of Palistianian territory, and grant palistinian citizens the same rights as Jewish citizens I would agree. But they do and will not.

Israel does not have expansionist policies. There is no Palestinian territory outside the Gaza Strip. What rights are Palestinian citizens supposedly lacking?
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Fri 27 Sep, 2013 12:22 am
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:
Some may even go so far as to say that the unquestioning support from the USA in the past had actually encouraged Israel to act with total disregard to the Palestinians.

Those people would be liars (and likely anti-Semites).

US support is not unquestioning. And Israel has not acted with any disregard for the Palestinians.


Lordyaswas wrote:
Now it may have to revise its strategy.

Indeed. These current negotiations are the last gasp of 1967 borders I think.

It's getting time to think about forcibly deporting the Palestinians out of the West Bank and moving them all to the Gaza Strip where they belong.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Fri 27 Sep, 2013 12:24 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
Advocate wrote:
It is the only real democracy in the Middle East

No it's not.
In a real democracy, everyone gets a vote regardless of their ethnicity.

Such is the case in Israel. So yes it is.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Fri 27 Sep, 2013 12:37 am
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:
Iran has every right to build nuclear reactors,

Unfortunately what Iran is trying to do is build nuclear weapons.


InfraBlue wrote:
and if it builds an atomic bomb then they'd only be countering Israel's possession of nuclear weapons and mitigating Israel's hegemony and balancing the power equation in regard to nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Setting aside for a moment the fact that it is illegal for Iran to try to counter Israel's possession of nuclear weapons by building their own, them doing so would not balance anything.

Rather, what it would lead to is the end of the NPT, the proliferation of nuclear weapons to nations around the world, the expansion of the US arsenal back to Cold War levels, a resumption of nuclear testing, and the US providing nuclear weapons technology to all our allies.

It would only be a matter of time before a nuclear war happened. Likely the war would not involve the US. I'm betting it'd be a war between two minor African nations (no particular candidates in mind). But the US would still suffer from the global effects of the war.


InfraBlue wrote:
It would be good for Russia to get Israel to give up its nuclear weapons along with measures to prevent Iran to develop nuclear weaons of their own. Less nuclear weapons in the world would be a good thing.

Not everyone thinks it is a good idea to disarm the good guys.

But in any case, Russia is not going to get Israel to do that.

Israel has the legal right to have nuclear weapons, and Iran does not.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Fri 27 Sep, 2013 12:41 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:
Israel has the legal right to have nuclear weapons, and Iran does not.
Actually, every country has the "legal right" to possess these weapons - every country has the right to defend themselves.
(Okay, there are some limits for some by rulings of the International Court of Justice, but who bothers about that?)
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Fri 27 Sep, 2013 01:00 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Actually, every country has the "legal right" to possess these weapons

No. The NPT makes it illegal for most signatories to possess nuclear weapons. And most nations have signed and forfeited their right to such weapons.

There are now only eight nations who may legally possess nuclear weapons:

US
Russia
China
UK
France
Israel
India
Pakistan
 

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