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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Lion of Zion: War Fighter Ashkenazi Draws Iranian Line in German Sand

Shocka! There appears to be “Daylight” between America & Israel on Iran

IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi was in Germany this week speaking at a Holocaust remembrance memorial, he gave an inspired speech. There are a number of reasons to examine the text;

  1. Ashkenazi as head of the IDF is probably the 3rd most powerful man in Israel.
  2. Ashkenazi is intensely popular, trusted & respected by an Israeli public which will support his judgment. 
  3. Ashkenazi is intensely popular, trusted & respected by an IDF which will also support his judgment.

After reforming the IDF and coming off of what is widely regarded as a successful military regional war in Gaza, no one has more solid support in Israel today than Ashkenazi. On military matters he is even more trusted than the Defense Minister Ehud Barack, to which can be added the public’s respect for him which rivals that of Benjamin Netanyahu. In Israel, such superheros cut across post-partisan lines and appeal across the strata on a much more emotional level -  As the no-nonsense General, defender of Israel.

Chief of Staff General Ashkenazi in Germany has words for Israel's enemies. (Photo: IDF Press Office)

Chief of Staff General Ashkenazi in Germany has words for Israel's enemies. (Photo: IDF Press Office)

Poignant, not so veiled words

Ashkenazi fills the top General role and void left by the legendary Ariel Sharon himself. This status in Israel, and the sharp words in his German speech make for a heady mix..

“We will never look lightly upon those who scheme our demise, we will not deposit our security in the hands of foreigners and we will allow no one to control the future of the State of Israel,” he said during a ceremony held at the ill-famed Platform 17 in Berlin, from which many Jews left for concentration camps.

“Out of the silent steel plates on this platform rise the screams of our Jewish brothers, who were marched into the train cars, beaten and humiliated. Their screams echo until this very moment and they are the screams of Israel’s obligation and my own, as the man who stands at the head of its army. It is our obligation to remember forever the most horrible tragedy in the history of mankind,” Ashkenazi said [...]

Not pulling punches.. in contrast to President Obama

Ashkenazi went to add that Anti-Semitism and this threat continues to this day alluding to Iran, and that Israel would assert itself in its own defense. He has been fairly clear until now and apparently going forward as well – His is the hawkish view in regards to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It is a view which stands in contrast to the Obama administration, which for all intents & purposes seems to have given up on stopping Iran.

Analysis: US making plans for Iran nuke strategy

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is quietly laying the groundwork for long-range strategy that could be used to contain a nuclear-equipped Iran and deter its leaders from using atomic weapons.

U.S. officials insist they are not resigned to a nuclear Iran and are pressing negotiations to prevent it from joining the world’s nuclear club. But at the same time, the administration has set in place the building blocks of policies to contend with an Iran armed with atomic weapons.

Those elements, former officials and analysts said, include the newly revised defense shield for Europe and deeper defense ties to Gulf states that feel threatened by Iran.

Daylight? Looks more like High-Noon.

The Obama administration may be resigned to apparent surrender on a nuclear Iran, but the Israeli position seems continuously clear. Netanyahu the PM is clear, Barak the Defense Minister is clear, Ashkenazi the top man in uniform is clear.. Together with the heads of Israel’s intelligence these three men will be the arbiters of judgment in regards to Iranian issues.

All options remain on the table.

For the Win: ‘Pro-Israel’ J Street Feeling the Pain (Link Update)

Newsflash: Criticism is par for the course when you are “Pro-Israel” – pseudo or not so get used to it.

What a week for the far left progressive democratic organization posing as a Pro-Israel lobby. The group has finally arrived, from obscurity to irrelevance that is.

Instead of furthering the J Street Agenda their upcoming conference has effectively pulled back the shades. Is suspect the lead up to the event has been even better than the conference! In sum, what has been confirmed is what many of us involved already knew.

This outfit is a pro-Obama far left organ that relies mostly on distortion to achieve its aims. It’s got very little to do with being Pro-Israel. Here in Israel the views it lobbies for (to the left of the Meretz party yet!) are not supported by Israelis, we’re talking not even 5%.

By default, this should make them totally irrelevant. Far be it for me to criticize American Jews, though as a product of both North America & Israel I do so liberally.. But one has to ask oneself. If you are pushing views as a concerned pro-Israel Jew in the diaspora, shouldn’t these views at least mesh up with say someone somewhere ACTUALLY in Israel? Not even the majority, but say a minimum 5% threshold? So far that is simply not the case.

Supporting Israel does not mean telling it or its electorate what to do, that’s called undermining Israel.

Frankly, the fact that J Street views have near zero representation here makes the whole thing rather insulting to us Israelis. Worse, the outfits make up is mostly composed of former Olso Israeli rejects, people actively booted out of Israeli politics because they have near zero support here. They picked up & setup shop in America instead, where the money & ignorance hopefully flow.. (Mrs. Avital neglects to mention in that Op Ed piece she’s an adviser / affiliated with J Street – because this is their modus operandi – Distortion)

Sadly, Obama made a similar mistake when he figured he in all his uneducated wisdom knew better than Israelis themselves about Israel or what the country’s policy should be. He was rewarded with the actual statistics – 4% of Israelis agreeing with him & a crisis of confidence from a chief ally. It is no shocker that a front group created by Obama’s biggest far left wing Jewish American supporters to provide cover for unpopular anti-Israel positions, should commit the same cardinal sin - or be rewarded by the WH for that matter..

When you align yourself with Israel’s enemies, when you equate Israel to Hamas, when you try to kneecap the INTL sanctions effort regarding Iran’s nuclear program, you are neither “Pro-Peace” nor “Pro-Israel”. What you are is a member of the most far left fringe in American politics, radicals. So don’t be so surprised when you are called out as such. These are the facts.

All credit to Daled Amos, Soccerdad & doubly especially Goldfarb at the Standard for these & many other links, and a fantastically amusing / enlightening week. Many links above in the text have further detailed sourcing which tell the story far better than I can.

J Street's Big Win at the Memeo

J Street's Big Win at the Memeo

 This image was shamefully ripped right from the standard blog, but it nicely documents the Big Win!
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UPDATE:
Two more excellent looks at the topic that would be criminal not to link: The Whiner that Roared ; and at Joshuapundit:  A Particularly Nasty Dead End.

Obama Prowess: 5 Months of Negotiations; 3 Month Iranian Nuke Delay (Update)

Sorta reminds me of Robert Gibbs’ Job Creation math

Mohamed El-Baradei is finishing up his crowning achievement after providing a decade’s worth of cover for rogue regime illicit nuclear programs. It’s sure to be touted as almost messianic by Obama’s all too eager sycophantic media cheerleaders. Too bad in reality the deal stinks.

The draft agreement between the great powers and Iran celebrated by International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Mohamed ElBaradei is no more than confirmation of the proposal submitted by Iranian representative Saeed Jalili in the first round of talks with the Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany.

The proposal constitutes a clever Iranian move: According to the deal, Tehran will sacrifice roughly 1,400 kilograms (about 3,000 pounds) of the low-grade enriched uranium (that is, 3-5%) produced at its enrichment plant in Natanz in exchange for Western recognition in principle of Iran’s right to enrich uranium on its own soil.

We should also note that we are talking about Iran giving up only 75% of the uranium quantity it already enriched (at least as far as the IAEA knows.) [...]

It was clear that Obama had waffled entirely on this point months ago, and the goal was now to get a deal, any deal – As opposed to stopping the Iranians. Anything to proudly tout as an accomplishment from the WH podium amid endless failures that seemingly all point to the fact that the entire Obama platform is one big bust.

We have learned that this deal has involved direct negotiations between the US & Iran stemming all the way back to June. Which explains why Obama was so non-chalant about propping up the Islamic regime while it was busy murdering & raping Iranian citizens and stealing elections. El Presidente had to be cautious, lest he tip his engagement boat which was already out to sea – Charming!

Smart Power

Doing the negotiation math, we can quickly calculate that this deal has been 5 months in the making from June until now. Sadly, the payoff is not all it is cracked up to be.

This is a modest step forward, at best.  “We are buying something like seven to 10 months,” a nameless insider told the Christian Science Monitor. And even that short timeline might be an overstatement.

There are at least 50 cascades of 164 centrifuges each now installed at at the Natanz enrichment facility, although many were still under vacuum in August. According to Alexander Glaser, a single cascade of 164 IR-1 centrifuges could be expected to produce up to 113 kilograms of 3.5% low enriched uranium (LEU) per year. Discount the efficiency of operations somewhat (Geoff Forden suggests 85% based on past performance at Natanz), and Iran could recreate 1,200 kilograms of LEU in a shade over four months using 36 cascades. With 54 cascades going, it would take less than three months.

(HT / Goldfarb)

Wooohoo!

So in return for granting total legitimacy to Iran to continue enriching Uranium. In return for dropping the number one red line set out by the west.. After 5 months of ‘negotiation’ Obama & the western powers are going to help Iran enrich their current stock even higher to 20%, then return the nuclear fuel rods and in the mean Iran will make even more enriched Uranium – Replacing the quantity sold to the west in approximately 3-7 months..

Carry the two, divide by 8.. disregard the exponent & voilà!! Fuzzy math!

That, my friend is worthy of a Peace Prize!

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UPDATE Oct 22: Hello? Where is everybody?

Been sorta scratching my head wondering where official reaction to the draft deal was!? It’s been over 24 hours now and I felt like I was hanging out on a limb. Sometimes this happens in blogging, usually when you screw up big time. I even went back to double check stories on the draft deal in case I missed something.. Because Israel, the blogs & press have been pretty silent.

Never fear, must have just been caution. Barak at the Israeli President’s Conference confirms the major beef with this very very bad deal for Israel:

Barak: Deal could give Iran legitimacy to enrich uranium.

This is now the lead at JPOST, YNET & Haaretz thankfully..

Now Available in Stereo: Kadima’s Livni Cut Down by Both Labor and Likud

The Knesset is clearly back in session..

Been a while since I did some politics, mostly related to the fact that Israel’s Parliament was on summer recess. But, have no fear – They’re back & raring to go! Kadima’s Livni late last week opened things up pledging to bring ‘relentless opposition’ to counter internal party criticism of her, which has been mounting steadily.

Her first major move was to sharply criticize Defense Minister & Labor leader Ehud Barak for spending a wad-load of money on a recent excursion to a Paris military exhibition (He was representing Israel’s significant weapons export industry).

Will that be cash or credit? $150,000 dollar hotel bill

Barak & his crew certainly spent a pretty penny, staying in one of Paris’ most expensive hotels & burning serious cash. Not exactly a smooth move by Ehud in tough economic times while on public dime.

In response, Livni pulled her typical above the fray gambit taking an opposition position criticizing Barak on ethics.. Laudable, but surely it occurred to someone in the Kadima brain trust that with former Kadima PM Olmert literally on trial for corruption, playing the little angel might not be the wisest of moves or tactics!?

That’s when all hell broke loose..

Until now, most of the heat Livni has felt has been internal from Kadima, but her critique & the fresh Knesset session clearly caused a snap – Get a load of the Labor & Likud responses!

“The double standards and hypocrisy of Livni have reached new heights,” Labor responded in an official message. “She would be better off checking first what is going on in her own party, which is the most corrupt party in the history of Israeli politics [and] which has created, through a number of scandals, reprehensible norms in public, criminal and ethical fields. The entire public remembers the parade of suspects for violation of public trust, theft, false documentation, vice and other offenses.

There are some double entendres in there. Olmert as mentioned, but also the criticism that Kadima corruption resulted in Livni stealing the party leadership, sidelining her rival Shaul Mofaz in last years party leadership race – A key source of the welling of internal resistance Livni is facing within Kadima, a divided house. The statement goes on..

“Livni’s voice was not heard then,” the response continued. “Livni would be better off remaining silent rather than reciting slogans from her public relations advisers, and to act in accordance with the saying that ‘people who have butter smeared on their heads shouldn’t go out in the sun.’”

That’s coming from the Labor Peace Party! Never fear however, Kadima’s rivals in the Likud (her former home) had some choice words for her too. Effectively making this broadcast in stereo..

A senior Likud official also issued a response, blasting “Mrs. Livni’s hypocrisy,” which he said was “breaking records in Israeli politics.”

Everyone is clearly well rested and ready to rock up there in Knesset land.. We’re already in ‘record breaking territory’. Should be a fantastic silly season, nothing could make me happier. I’m going to need to buy more popcorn for the big show : )

Chef-D’oeuvre: Hudson Institute US Israel Symposium Simply Stellar

Much better than the new season of Smallville..

The Hudson Institute may not be a team in the MLB, but they sure know how to crack one out of the park.  The topic? Particularly timely and suitably riveting for political junkies such as myself:

U.S.-Israeli Relations - Challenges to the Special Relationship.

Hudson's 3rd Panel - But they were all very very good!

Hudson's 3rd Panel - But they were all very very good!

The Panels? One after the other some of the most balanced I have ever seen, fantastic stuff.

Even the opening speech (usually a borefest) was particularly good, with Ambassador Oren delivering a surprisingly interesting and frankly illuminating speech clearly written specifically for the event – Unlike the usual stump speech.

Highlights:

Certainly included Daniel Levy (of Yossi Beilin, Obama tuchus licking fame) making a total ignoramus of himself (I could watch that all day), but that was just the cherry on top of what can only be described as delicious overall viewing. Look at some of these experts lined up..

Ambassador Oren; Aaron David Miller, Douglas Feith, Robert Lieber, Marty Peretz, Gabriel Schoenfeld, Martin Indyk, Elliott Abrams, David Wurmser, Michael Makovsky.

I love it, only complaint is the oddball video player at the Hudson website which makes access to this excellent content a bit difficult. If you have been following the US / Israel relationship in the age of Obama, or have had concerns over recent US policy, these panels will certainly please!

It should also be noted that one of the panels was clearly designed with the controversial J Street in mind, but J Street founder Ben-Ami was a no show. Judging by Levy’s pitiful display this was probably for the best.

I’ve seen video of dozens of think tank symposiums, hundreds of hours of c-span etc etc. This is definitely memorable stuff imho.

NIE Debacle: Benefits of Game Changing Diplomacy Backed by Game Changing Intel

Back in late 2007, I wasn’t alone while tripping out over what was clearly highly politicized intelligence. The American National Intelligence Estimate released on Iran at the time went against the prominent views of the US Bush administration, the NIE released just prior in 2005, and stood in contrast to the intelligence estimates of a number of key western allies; Including Israel, the UK, Germany and even France.

The NIE made the absurd claim that Iran had ceased the military dimensions of its nuclear program. Worse it did so in the cagiest of manners with buried footnotes, selective declassified wording, topped off with media briefings. It resulted in a derailing of effective US policy on the Iranian issue buying Iran plenty of precious time, a respite which continues.

Dishonest sorta means lying doesn’t it?

Alan Dershorwitz writes..

In December of 2007, I wrote an article about the National Intelligence Estimate that had just concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program back in 2003. The immediate effect of this pollyanna-ish report was to diminish the need for tough sanctions against Iran and take the military option off the table. We now know that the conclusion reached in the report was categorically false, and that those who issued the report knew it was false. [...]

It now turns out that at the time this “stupid intelligence” estimate was released, our intelligence agencies were aware that the Iranians were building a secret military facility buried deep in the mountains near the holy city of Qom. The United States recently disclosed the existence of this facility (after Iran was forced to acknowledge its existence) together with its firm conclusion that it could be used only for the development of a nuclear weapons program. If the intelligence community knew then what they know now, then its 2007 National Intelligence Estimate was not only stupid, it was dishonest.

Pretty damning, and justifiably so. Ed at Hotair commenting on a scathing WSJ Opinion piece, states matter of factly that it seems clear enough bureaucrats at US intelligence pulled off a full fledged sabotage of then President Bush’s foreign policy..

As Glenn Reynolds says, the NIE has been exposed as an effort by a handful of people at the CIA to kneecap Bush on national security. It deliberately misled Congress and the nation on the threat posed by Iran, a lie that has cost us valuable time in stopping the nuclear threat. If Iran gets the bomb, we can thank Tom Fingar and his colleagues for distracting the US long enough to allow them to do so.

Jennifer Rubin goes right to the source, raising a number of questions while commenting on remarks by CIA Director Leon Panetta to Time Magazine – She concludes..

Both the 2007 NIE report and the behavior of the Obama administration betray a concerted aversion to confronting Iran and doing what is needed to halt its nuclear ambitions.

Game Changing Diplomacy

Questions which tie in the current administration seem apt. The politicization of the intelligence had an important role supporting and nourishing the floating think tank engagement theories which were emerging. Those theories have become the hallmark of Obama’s foreign policy strategy, and called for ‘putting the military option in the drawer’. The think tanks termed it Game Changing Diplomacy, after a brief by The Center For A New American Security (CNAS) on US Iranian strategy in 2008. CNAS members then went on to staff Obama’s administration in a big way, including  the Deputy Secretary of Defense Michele Flournoy.

Today, CNAS policies are closely associated with the Obama White House, so it should come as no shock that the Game Changing Diplomacy / Grand bargain strategy has become the blue print for Obama on Iran. However, it is somewhat shocking that apparently part of the effort to usher in ‘Game changing diplomacy’, may have involved a little nudging best effectuated by ‘game changing intelligence’.

A game that seemingly has continued to this day.

* UPD - I futzed with the title a bit and corrected a typo.

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