Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Israel’s Never Looked So Good

March 6, 2011

by D  Suissa

February 2, 2011 02:32 PM

They warned us. The geniuses at Peace Now warned us. The brilliant diplomats warned us. The think tanks warned us. Even the Arab dictators warned us. For decades now, they have been warning us that if you want “peace in the Middle East,” just fix the Palestinian problem. A recent variation on this theme has been: Just get the Jews to stop building apartments in East Jerusalem and Efrat. Yes, if all those Jews in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would only “freeze” their construction, then, finally, Palestinian leaders might come to the table and peace might break out.
And what would happen if peace would break out between Jews and Palestinians? Would all those furious Arabs now demonstrating on streets across the Middle East feel any better?
What bloody nonsense.
Has there ever been a greater abuse of the English language in international diplomacy than calling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the “Middle East peace process?” As if there were only two countries in the Middle East.
Even if you absolutely believe in the imperative of creating a Palestinian state, you can’t tell me that the single-minded and global obsession with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the expense of the enormous ills in the rest of the Middle East hasn’t been idiotic, if not criminally negligent.
While tens of millions of Arabs have been suffering for decades from brutal oppression, while gays have been tortured and writers jailed and women humiliated and dissidents killed, the world — yes, the world — has obsessed with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As if Palestinians — the same coddled victims on whom the world has spent billions and who have rejected one peace offer after another — were the only victims in the Middle East.
As if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has anything to do with the 1,000-year-old bloody conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, or the desire of brutal Arab dictators to stay in power, or the desire of Islamist radicals to bring back the Caliphate, or the economic despair of millions, or simply the absence of free speech or basic human rights throughout the Arab world.
While self-righteous Israel bashers have scrutinized every flaw in Israel’s democracy — some waxing hysterical that the Jewish democratic experiment in the world’s nastiest neighborhood had turned into an embarrassment — they kept their big mouths shut about the oppression of millions of Arabs throughout the Middle East.
They cried foul if Israeli Arabs — who have infinitely more rights and freedoms than any Arabs in the Middle East — had their rights compromised in any way. But if a poet were jailed in Jordan or a gay man were tortured in Egypt or a woman were stoned in Syria, all we heard was screaming silence.
Think of the ridiculous amount of media ink and diplomatic attention that has been poured onto the Israel-Palestinian conflict over the years, while much of the Arab world was suffering and smoldering, and tell me this is not criminal negligence. Do you ever recall seeing a UN resolution or an international conference in support of Middle Eastern Arabs not named Palestinians?
Of course, now that the Arab volcano has finally erupted, all those chronic Israel bashers have suddenly discovered a new cause: Freedom for the poor oppressed Arabs of the Middle East!
Imagine if, instead of putting Israel under their critical and hypocritical microscope, the world’s Israel bashers had takenIsrael’s imperfect democratic experiment and said to the Arab world:
Why don’t you try to emulate the Jews?
Why don’t you give equal rights to your women and gays, just like Israel does?
Why don’t you give your people the same freedom of speech and freedom to vote that Israel does? And offer them the economic opportunities they would get in Israel? Why don’t you treat your Jewish and Christian citizens the same way Israel treats its Arab and Christian citizens?
Why don’t you study how Israel has struggled to balance religion with democracy — a very difficult but not insurmountable task?
Why don’t you teach your people that Jews are not the sons of dogs but a noble, ancient people with a 3,000-year connection to the land of Israel?
Yes, imagine if Israel bashers had spent a fraction of their energy fighting the lies of Arab dictators and defending the rights of millions of oppressed Arabs. Imagine if President Obama had taken one percent of the time he has harped on Jewish settlements to defend the democratic rights of Egyptian Arabs — which he is suddenly doing now that the volcano has erupted.
Maybe it’s just easier to beat up on a free and open society like Israel.
Well, now that the cesspool of human oppression in the Arab world has been opened for all to see, how bad is Israel’s democracy looking? Don’t you wish the Arab world had a modicum of Israel’s civil society? Would you still be worrying about “stability in the Middle East?”

You can preach to me all you want about the great Jewish tradition of self-criticism — which I believe in — but right now, when I see poor Arab souls being murdered for the simple act of protesting on the street, I’ve never felt more proud of being a supporter of the Jewish state.

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WikiLeaks exposes Obama

February 25, 2011

Op-ed: Leaked documents refute US President Obama’s fundamental assumptions

Yoram Ettinger

Published: 12.09.10, 11:37 / Israel Opinion
 

Recently published Wikileaks documents expose the failure of President Obama’s counter-terrorism policy. 

While reaffirming a 1,400 years old Muslim track record, the documents refute Obama’s fundamental assumptions, which have shaped his counter-terrorism policy: that the Palestinian issue is a root cause of Middle East turbulence and anti-Western terrorism; that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are allies of the US; that there is no Islamic terrorism since Islam promotes peace and not terrorism; that there is no Jihadist terrorism since Jihad is a process which purifies the soul; that there is no global terrorism; that Islamic terrorists represent a Muslim minority which rejects modernity and that Islam has always been part of the American story.

According to the documents, Islamic terrorism has afflicted the globe from Latin America through the US and overseas American targets, Western Europe, the former USSR, Africa, the Middle East (hitting mostly fellow-Muslims), South Asia, the Far East and Australia.

The worldwide proliferation of Islamic terrorism is orchestrated and executed, also, by multi-lingual graduates of Western universities, who proficiently use the Internet, Blackberry, iPod, Twitter and Facebook. Contrary to Obama’s assumption, modern-day Islamic terrorists do not reject modernity. In fact, they leverage modernity in order to advance Islam’s historical values and goals. They believe that Islam’s destiny of religious and territorial domination of the globe is divinely-ordained. And, they pursue their goals via violence, intolerance toward “infidels” and “apostates,” totalitarianism and “Holy Wars” (Jihad) against civilizations and entities that undermine their megalomaniac aspirations, which transcend the Palestinian issue and Israel’s policies or existence.

Irrespective of the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict, Muslim terrorists operate along the joint border of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, as well as in San Paulo, Foz do Iguacu and Parana, Brazil. Independent of Israel’s policies and existence, the Lashkar-E-Taiba, Jaish-E-Mohammed and other Islamic terrorist organizations – operating with the backing of Pakistan – target India. Moreover, Lashkar-E-Taiba expands its presence in Pakistan – where it collaborates with the Inter Services Intelligence – Sri Lanka and Nepal in order to intensify terrorism in India.

Tailwind to terrorists

According to WikiLeaks – quoting a December 2009 Secretary of State Clinton memo – Saudi Arabia (especially), Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are the chief financial supporters of global Islamic Sunni terrorism, such as al-Qaeda, Taliban and Lashkar –E-Taiba, raising funds for terrorism through seemingly philanthropic organizations during pilgrimages to Mecca.

The May 31, 2010 edition of The Sunday Times reported that Afghanistan’s financial intelligence unit, FinTraca, documented a $1.5 billion transfer from Saudi Arabia to Afghani terrorists, mostly Taliban. The British daily asked: “One wonders how much of this money was used to buy weapons that killed 1,268 American soldiers and maimed thousands more in Afghanistan?!”

Undersecretary of the Treasury for Financial and Terrorism Intelligence, Stuart Levey, testified at an October 6, 2009 Senate Banking Committee hearing that “money is leaving Saudi Arabia to fund terrorism…Undoubtedly, some of that money is going to Iraq, to South-East Asia and to any other place where there are terrorists…”

For example, the Riyadh-based al-Rajhi Bank was implicated in funding the Islamic Chechen Mujahedeen. Saudi involvement in anti-Western Islamic terrorism was also reported in 2009 by Pakistan’s police, including a $15 million transfer to Jihadists who were involved in the murder of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. A November 15, 2010 report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), a US Congress investigative unit, maintained that Saudi Arabia made progress in curbing terror-funding within the kingdom but did not cooperate in de-funding Islamic terrorism outside the kingdom.

Saudi-funded Islamic non-profit foundations – with direct and indirect ties to terror organizations – proliferate globally. The first foundation, the Muslim World League was established in 1962, five years before the Six-Day War, before the first settlement was established, while Jordan and Egypt occupied parts of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza and the Palestinian issue did not preoccupy Western

policymakers. More Saudi-supported foundations followed, including the USA-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIS), the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), etc.

However, President Obama has overlooked the fact that those who finance and incite terrorism are more culpable than the brainwashed terrorists who execute terrorism. President Obama has subordinated counter-terrorism to wishful thinking, oversimplification, misreading of the writing on the wall and a series of wrong assumptions, such as a supposed linkage between the Palestinian issue and countering-Islamic terrorism and preventing Iran’s nuclearization. Thus, wrong assumptions have produced wrong policies, which have yielded tailwind to terrorists and rogue regimes and headwind to Western democracies.

Clinton a danger to Israel

December 27, 2010
Photo: AFP
Hillary Clinton  Photo: AFP

Clinton a danger to Israel

Op-ed: Hillary Clinton’s disregard for Arab desire to eliminate Israel delusional, evil

Moshe Dann

Published: 12.18.10, 18:03 / Israel Opinion

 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s address to the Saban Forum should leave little doubt that she is a danger to the State of Israel and, thereby, to the Jewish people. For those who care about Israel, her words, because she expresses the position of President Obama’s administration, are alarming.

 

Clinton’s speech was praised for not demanding a further settlement freeze; this was because US policy makers realized it would accomplish nothing, and PM Netanyahu had already agreed to stop, or severely limit building de facto. Instead, she emphasized state-building, “ending the occupation,” and borders. Coupled with international recognition of Palestinian statehood, this side-steps Israeli resistance to a freeze and insistence on Palestinian acceptance of Israel, further isolating Israel. What she did not say is worse.

 

Analysis
Peace impasse: Israel at risk / Ron Ben-Yishai
Analysis: Vacuum in wake of stalled negotiations recipe for trouble; Israel must act quickly
Full Story

Not once did she mention official PA support, directly and indirectly, for incitement and terrorism. While passing on the usual gesture to America’s “commitment to Israel’s security,” her focus was elsewhere.

 

Blindly obedient to the notion of building a Palestinian state, she ignored the recent statement of Fatah, the PA’s ruling party in the West Bank: “No to Israel as a Jewish state, no to interim borders, no to land swaps.” And that’s only for openers.

 

She did mention how important it was to “ease the situation in Gaza,” and “foster legitimate economic growth.” Yet she forgot to mention the plight of Gilad Shalit.

 

Clinton’s focus was “the core issues of the conflict on borders and security; settlements, water, refugees; and on Jerusalem itself.” Her solution was “state-building work of the PA” and support for the Arab (Saudi) Peace Initiative – which grants the Palestinians a state based on the 1949 Armistice Lines, including Jerusalem’s division, and returning the Golan Heights to Syria. Israel gets “normal relations,” as long as that may last.

 

Clinton waves at “fundamental compromises,” but given her pro-Palestinian agenda, and her “two-state” axiom, this means Israel’s capitulation and surrender. Although she refers to “security arrangements” to prevent terrorism, she never spells out how that is possible; her vagueness is either lack of understanding, or ignorance. Even-handedly, she moves on to the issue of settlements: “we do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.”

 

On borders: “the occupation will be over.”

 

On Palestinian refugees: “a just and permanent solution.”

 

On Jerusalem: “the religious interests of people and all faiths around the world must be respected.”

 

“Palestinian state-building” inspires her: “The lack of peace and the occupation that began in 1967 continue to deprive the Palestinian people of dignity and self-determination. This is unacceptable, and ultimately, it too is unsustainable.”

 

She missed the fact that Jordan is a Palestinian state, carved out of the Palestine Mandate by Britain in 1922, with a population that is two-thirds Palestinian.

 

This is not, however, what makes Ms. Clinton, and those who think like her, so dangerous; it’s the notion of what the core issues really are.

 

If the dispute between Arabs and Israelis is territorial, it would have been resolved long ago. It’s not about the “occupation in 1967;” it’s about the Nakba (Catastrophe), as Arabs see it, the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

 

The problem is not the area that Israel occupies, but her existence. Enshrined in the charters of the PLO and Hamas, Palestinians don’t want a state alongside Israel, but one that replaces Israel. Not understanding this is delusional; not including this as a core issue is evil.

 

Evil is a harsh word, so here’s why I use it. Clinton, Obama’s Administration, and everyone else know that Israel cannot accept her agenda, since that would mean exposure to significant risks. Rejecting her efforts will create more tension, and serve to isolate and vilify Israel, while strengthening the forces of de-legitimization.

 

She chose her words carefully: “We hope to see a significant curtailment of incursions by Israeli troops into Palestinian areas.” What about the reasons for those incursions? What about the lives that will be saved by capturing terrorists before they attack? From her impressions, Israel is not only wrong, but wicked.

 

And Clinton knows – as experts have informed her – that the Palestinian security forces that “stood watchful guard” during her visits may easily turn into executioners. They have done little or nothing to protect Israelis, nor should that be expected.

 

PA “corruption and mismanagement,” billions in US funds wasted? No problem; “I was pleased to announce the transfer of an additional $150 million in direct assistance to the PA” – and to Hamas. That should soothe American workers on unemployment lines.

 

Clinton’s emphasis on “an independent, viable sovereign state,” may be misguided; but in her insistence that there is no other alternative, linking such a state with vital American interests, condemning “provocative (Israeli) announcements on east Jerusalem,” and blaming Israel for preventing peace, Madame Secretary has contributed to a global climate of anathema towards Israel.

 

She cannot say, “I was only following orders;” she gives them.

 

The Middle East conflict

November 14, 2010

Pope urged to denounce archbishop’s ‘political stunt’

October 28, 2010

Pope urged to denounce archbishop’s ‘political stunt’

Jewish groups call on Benedict XVI to condemn remarks denying Jews’ link to Land of Israel. ‘These latest moves will damage interfaith relations and embolden anti-Semites and terrorists,’ Simon Wiesenthal Center says

Ynetnews

Published: 10.26.10, 17:04 / Israel Jewish Scene
 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging Pope Benedict XVI to immediately denounce a statement by Melkite Catholic Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros at a Vatican Synod on the Middle East wherein he denied the Jewish people’s link to the Land of Israel. 

Peace Process
Pope: Mideast peace is possible, urgently needed / Associated Press
Benedict XVI says freedom of religion ‘one of the fundamental human rights,’ should be subject of dialogue with Muslims
Full story

The archbishop asserted, “We Christians cannot speak about the promised land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. All men and women of all countries have become the chosen people. The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians.”

He added that “the justification of Israel’s occupation of the land of Palestine cannot be based on sacred scriptures.”

“This political stunt, wrapped in theological garb, not only insults every Jew but flies in the face of the statements and actions of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, both who have visited Israel and expressed solidarity with her people,” charged Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, dean and founder and associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, respectively, who have had audiences with both Pontiffs.

“The archbishop’s statement comes at the end of the conference wherein the so-called ‘Palestine Kairos Document’ – which openly denies the right of Israel to be a Jewish state – was presented at the Vatican for the first time.

“These developments demand immediate action by the Pope. Hopes for peace in the Middle East will only come when both sides recognize the rights of the others. These latest moves, left unchallenged, will damage interfaith relations and embolden anti-Semites and terrorists,” they concluded.

Another Jewish group, B’nai B’rith International, said it was deeply concerned that the just-concluded Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops indicates unsettling views regarding Jews and Israel among Catholic clergy and laity in the Arab world.

B’nai B’rith said it was greatly disappointed that rather than promoting reconciliation and self-reflection in the region, the assembly focused on amplifying Arab political positions and narratives on the Jewish state.

Gaza Strip: Lattes, beach bbqs and dodging missiles in the world’s biggest prison camp | Mail Online

October 14, 2010

Gaza Strip: Lattes, beach bbqs and dodging missiles in the world’s biggest prison camp | Mail Online.

Lattes, beach barbecues (and dodging missiles) in the world’s biggest prison camp

By Peter Hitchens

Last updated at 3:08 PM on 11th October 2010

It is lunchtime in the world’s biggest prison camp, and I am enjoying a rather good caffe latte in an elegant beachfront cafe. Later I will visit the sparkling new Gaza Mall, and then eat an excellent beef stroganoff in an elegant restaurant.

Perhaps it is callous of me to be so self-indulgent, but I think I at least deserve the coffee. I would be having a stiff drink instead, if only the ultra-Islamic regime hadn’t banned alcohol with a harsh and heavy hand.

Just an hour ago I was examining a 90ft-deep smuggling tunnel, leading out of the Gaza Strip and into Egypt. This excavation, within sight of Egyptian border troops who are supposed to stop such things, is – unbelievably – officially licensed by the local authority as a ‘trading project’ (registration fee £1,600).

Tale of two cities: Gaza's sparkling new shopping mall offers a stark contrast to the images of slums we are used to

Tale of two cities: Gaza’s sparkling new shopping mall offers a stark contrast to the images of slums we are used to

It was until recently used for the import of cattle, chocolate and motorcycles (though not, its owner insists, for munitions or people) and at its peak earned more than £30,000 a day in fees.

But business has collapsed because the Israelis have relaxed many of their restrictions on imports, and most such tunnels are going out of business. While I was there I heard the whine of Israeli drones and the thunder of jet bombers far overhead.

Then, worryingly soon after I left, the area was pulverised with high explosive. I don’t know if the Israeli air force waited for me to leave, or just walloped the tunnels anyway.

The Jewish state’s grasp of basic public relations is notoriously bad. But the Israeli authorities certainly know I am here. I am one of only four people who crossed into the world’s most misrepresented location this morning.

Don’t, please, accuse of me of complacency or denying the truth. I do not pretend to know everything about Gaza. I don’t think it is a paradise, or remotely normal. But I do know for certain what I saw and heard.

 

The new Gaza Mall

The new Gaza Mall

There are dispiriting slums that should have been cleared decades ago, people living on the edge of subsistence. There is danger. And most of the people cannot get out.

But it is a lot more complicated, and a lot more interesting, than that. In fact, the true state of the Gaza Strip, and of the West Bank of the Jordan, is so full of paradoxes and surprises that most news coverage of the Middle East finds it easier to concentrate on the obvious, and leave out the awkward bits.

Which is why, in my view, politicians and public alike have been herded down a dead end that serves only propagandists and cynics, and leaves the people of this beautiful, important part of the world suffering needlessly.

For instance, our Prime Minister, David Cameron, recently fawned on his Islamist hosts in Turkey by stating Gaza was a ‘prison camp’. This phrase is the official line of the well-funded Arab and Muslim lobby, who want to make sure Israel is seen by the world as a villainous oppressor.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1319157/Gaza-Strip-Lattes-beach-bbqs-dodging-missiles-worlds-biggest-prison-camp.html#ixzz12Mt3zbFw

Netanyahu to consider peace deal referendum

September 21, 2010

Netanyahu to consider peace deal referendum

PM says any agreement with Palestinians to be submitted for voters’ approval, promises to favorably consider referendum; Netanyahu vows to respond harshly to Gaza rocket attacks, reiterates demand for recognition of Jewish state

Attila Somfalvi

Published: 09.21.10, 18:29 / Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuhe said he would favorably consider a national referendum before finalizing any agreement with the Palestinians during a tour of the Gaza vicinity communities Tuesday.

“It’s clear to me that any agreement I secure would be presented to the people to decide, and there are several methods for that,” he said in Sderot. “Such decision requires a national verdict, and I therefore said I would consider it (a referendum.)”

Peace Talks
US to Palestinians: Don’t attack Netanyahu / Ali Waked
Senior US officials urge Palestinians to refrain from personal attacks on Bibi, PA official says
Full Story

The prime minister, who also visited Ashkelon, warned Hamas against firing at Israeli communities.

“Our prime commitment is security, and I suggest that Hamas and the other organizations refrain from testing our resolve to respond to the fire,” he said, arguing that the equation he presented on the matter prompted a reduction in the number of rocket attacks.

“I determined that fire (from Gaza) will meet a rapid response, and this brings down the number of missiles,” he said. “There was fire recently, and we responded and hit Hamas targets, including a senior Hamas figure. We shall continue with this policy.”

Netanyahu also stressed his unwavering commitment to the residents of Ashkelon who continue to live under the missile threat.

‘Recognize the Jewish state’

A day after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas cynically dismissed calls to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Netanyahu reiterated the demand: “The Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state, and the fact they haven’t done so raises doubts. I’m saying to Abbas – recognize the Jewish state.”

Meanwhile, the PM avoided an answer about the settlement construction freeze and whether it would be extended, saying: “Ask me again on Monday.” He also refused to respond to a question about whether Jonathan Pollard’s release was conditioned upon extending the freeze.

“We are aiming to secure his release, regardless of the freeze,” he said. “There is no need for a special event to bring up the Pollard issue.”

Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin thanked Netanyahu for his support but also reminded him of the recent rocket attacks. “Since Operation Cast Lead four Grad missiles have landed in the city, including inside a school,” he said.

Qassam attacks against Israel continued in the past week. On Monday, a Qassam rocket landed in the Eshkol Regional Council and last Thursday nine mortar shells and rockets were fired at Israel. The IDF responded by attacking weapons caches in the Gaza Strip.

Shmulik Hadad contributed to the story

Emerging Rupture in Iran-Turkey Relations

July 6, 2010

RealClearWorld – Emerging Rupture in Iran-Turkey Relations.

Emerging Rupture in Iran-Turkey Relations

By Meir Javedanfar

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suddenly found himself reassessing his government’s burgeoning ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran – and sooner than expected.

One of the reasons Turkey agreed to Iran’s demands and voted against new UN Sanctions was because the Iranian government promised that it would continue to negotiate with the West. However, it did not take long for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to break his promise. Soon after the UN resolution was passed, the Iranian leader declared, through Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that all negotiations will be suspended for two months.

This has clearly angered the Turks, who may not be able to stand by Tehran for very much longer. And why should they? The U.S. government is already breathing down Erdogan’s neck, and word is that the meeting between the two sides at last month’s G20 summit in Canada was tense. Obama arrived late to the meeting, and there were no joint press statements or photographs taken together.

This, in addition to other reports that the U.S. canceled its participation at a recent regional security conference in Turkey a mere 12 hours before it started.

The Turkish government knew well in advance that its decision to back Iran in the UN would raise the ire of the Americans. However, they hoped that the merits of their relationship with Tehran would compensate for that and make such a policy worthwhile. Reality is proving otherwise. The Brazilians soon realized after sanctions passed that it wasn’t worth their while to defend Iran’s nuclear cause. The Turks, based on Washington’s reaction and the fact that Tehran broke its promise of negotiations, could very well reach the same conclusion – and sooner than many expected.

This does not mean that Turkey is going to break relations with Tehran, nor does it mean that it will distance itself from Iran altogether. What it does mean is that Erdogan and his AKP party will reduce their support for Iran’s cause in the UN. They will stop acting like Ali Khamenei’s lawyer and defender in the West, because that’s what Khamenei wanted from them all along, and he was prepared to pay handsomely for it with a cheap gas deal and lucrative contracts for Turkish companies.

Now that new sanctions are going to be imposed by the United Nations, as well as the U.S. and the EU, the Iranian government is going to find it harder to buy political support at the UN.

One major reason will be the decline in value of Iranian incentives. There are few countries in the world who would now prefer to side with Iran against the west. This means it will be more difficult for Khamenei to find heavy weight countries from the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) to back its stance. Even Hugo Chavez is not as vociferous as he once was; snubbed by Iran’s ties with Brazil, he did not attend the recent nuclear summit in Tehran.

This is just one impact of sanctions. There are also domestic implications. Some countries, including Israel, have dismissed the latest round of sanctions against Iran. The Iranian government has not. Ahmadinejad has already started a domestic PR campaign to calm nerves. In a recent interview he tried to downplay the impact of sanctions by saying that the U.S. and Iran do not have any economic relations, therefore the latest round of sanctions won’t have any impact on Iran’s economy.

This is of course wrong. Although direct economic trade between both countries is not very much, the new round of sanctions are nevertheless going to hit the economy hard. First and foremost, it is going to become more difficult for American companies who were using the United Arab Emirates to resell their products to Iran. This is partly due to the UAE’s commitment to abide by the new sanctions.

There is also the oil sector. The Iranian oil industry needs close to $140 billion of investment over the next 10 years in order to maintain its current production capacity. The new round of sanctions by the U.S. and the EU will complicate the Iranian oil industry’s abilities to attract the investment it needs to keep functioning. It will also make it far more expensive and difficult for them to buy equipment for this all important sector. This is a serious threat, one which in the long term could threaten the oil industry with a possible meltdown.

Nuclear armed or not, these are dangers which Iran’s leaders can only ignore at their own peril.

Meir Javedanfar is an Iranian-Israeli Middle East analyst and a regular contributor to RealClearWorld. He is co-author of The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran.

Experts: Ofek 9 will detect Iranian activity – Israel News, Ynetnews

June 23, 2010

Experts: Ofek 9 will detect Iranian activity – Israel News, Ynetnews.

Ofek 9 launched to space Photo courtesy of Israel Aerospace Industries

Following successful launch of spy satellite, chairman of Israel Space Agency tells Ynet no country will be able to conduct secret operations in Middle East

Aviel Magnezi

Published: 06.24.10, 00:53 / Israel News
The chairman of the Israel Space Agency (ISA) says the new Ofek 9 spy satellite will be able to detect any material transferred by the Iranians.

Experts explain that Israeli satellite, which was successfully launched Tuesday evening, will be able to broadcast images from around the world within days. Its abilities, they say, are much higher than what has been cleared for publication.

“With Ofek 9, Israel now has about 10 satellites working in a joint system – a commercial amount,” ISA Chairman Isaac Ben-Israel told Ynet on Wednesday night. “One of them completes a round every 90 minutes, then the second one comes along, then the third one, and so on. At a given moment, there is not one place which interests us in the Middle East and is not being shot.

“In fact, a country will not be able to conduct any secret operations in the Middle East without the area being covered by one of our satellites, as there are no longer such moments. Iran won’t be able to transfer different materials without us noticing,” Ben-Israel explained.

The satellite, he said, was has been launched to a spot located 40 degrees north and south of the Equator, focusing on the Middle East and the southern half of the globe, “so that we can basically air all the World Cup games from South Africa.”

Ben-Israel explained that although the official publications talk about 70-centimeter (2-feet) objects which can be seen, in practice the abilities are much higher and the satellite can even detect objects carrying people.

‘Only US comes before Israel’

“There are satellites with optic cameras, and Ofek 9 has a radar camera which can see beyond clouds and networks,” Ben-Israel explained. He noted that the satellite, which would likely be launched next year, will be able to provide some answers on the Iranian nuclear facility in Bushehr.

“There are seven independent countries in space, and in terms of quality and technology only the United States comes before Israel,” he said.

Tal Inbar, head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, says Ofek 9 would be used by Israel for many years.

“Satellites of this type can live 10 years,” he said. “Ofek 5, for example, has been in space since 2002. A lot of it depends on the satellite’s altitude above the earth, but all the Israeli satellites work better and live more than planned.”

//

Inbar said the new satellite was a case of Israeli pride. “Ofek 9 was built in Israel and all of its components were made in Israel. It was built in the Israel Aerospace Industries and the camera was made by an Israeli company.

“Within days, after the camera is calibrated and checked, we will be able to watch images from the new satellite. Every such satellite is another step towards a situation in which we can watch anywhere, anytime.”

Ex-Spain PM: If Israel goes down, we all go down

June 17, 2010
Photo: AP
Aznar: Israel has not had moment of peace Photo: AP

Ex-Spain PM: If Israel goes down, we all go down

In Times op-ed, José Maria Aznar asks West to remember Israel its only ally in ‘turbulent’ region

Ynet

Published: 06.17.10, 13:06 / Israel News

// José Maria Aznar, former prime minister of Spain, published an opinion article with the London Times Thursday saying the world must support Israel because “if it goes down, we all go down”.

Aznar, who has joined the ‘Friends of Israel’ campaign to which David Trimble, a foreign observer taking part in Israel’s flotilla raid probe, also belongs, calls on Europe to refuse to put up with cries to eliminate Israel as part of global Christian-Jewish cooperation.

Opposition
Lebanon, Turkey oppose Israeli raid probe / Yitzhak Benhorin
Diplomatic source tells Ynet only two Security Council members welcomed appointment of Turkel Committee. Politico website reports US was only member not to voice support for UN commission of inquiry
Full Story

“Anger over Gaza is a distraction. We cannot forget that Israel is the West’s best ally in a turbulent region,” Aznar writes of the IDF’s calamitous raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza on May 31.

“In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the ‘Mavi Marmara’ would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship.”

Aznar also criticizes Turkey, to which the Marmara belonged, for placing Israel “in an impossible situation” in which it would have to either give up its security or face world condemnation.

The former prime minister calls on the world to “blow away the red mists of anger” and take a “reasonable and balanced approach” based on the fact that Israel was created by a decision of the UN and therefore unquestionably a legitimate state.

“Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology,” he adds.

However, he says, “62 years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.”

Aznar says the real threat to the region is extreme Islamism, “which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfillment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony”.

“Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large,” he adds.

Aznar concludes by saying that Israel is the West’s first line of defense against the chaos set to erupt in the Middle East, and therefore must be protected.

“It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East,” he writes. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.”