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Putin framförde inte Netanyahus budskap till Assad – Därför gick Netanyahu ut i pressen med sitt budskap
Recent statements by security officials transmit direct message to Syrian president: Israel does not want all out war, will not allow for Golan Heights escalation, transfer of advanced weapons to militants
The bellicose statements issued by senior defense officials regarding Syria in the last three days are not accidental. This time, it seems, it is not a case of too many public appearances by the defense minister and army chiefs, whose rhetoric is ratcheted up a notch by sheer force of accumulation. The statements made by Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Air Force Commander Amir Eshel were an intentional public diplomacy offensive aimed to forestall a war from breaking out due to Bashar Assad‘s mistaken reading of the situation.
The gist of the message is: “Don’t push us. Acts such as ramping up tensions along the Golan Heights border fence, transferring advanced weaponry to Hezbollah or transferring chemical weapons into foreign hands will all be met with a quick and aggressive Israeli response which will deal a serious blow, perhaps a fatal one, to you and the Alawite regime.
In order to lend validity to the warnings, all three officials chose to highlight IDF’s readiness to issue such a response, at a short notice and on a full scale once the need arises.
Moreover, Israel understands it stands to sustain heavy damage in an all-out war with Syria, but nevertheless it will not be deterred from full-scale aggressive action, as it is not willing to be drawn into a lengthy war of attrition in which the civilian home front will be hit with tens of thousands rockets and missiles. The Israeli public, too, was also given a general warning to the effect that the current instability could escalate into a full-scale war, an event for which it should brace itself physically and mentally.
The immediate cause for the warnings by the security trio is the feeling that Assad is not reading the situation correctly and is bound to make critical mistakes in assessing Israel’s intentions. Western intelligence sources say members of Assad’s near coterie keep him in the dark on what is really going on in his country, making him believe he possesses greater freedom of action and staying power than he actually does. As a result, Assad has gained confidence and is willing to push the envelope with Israel further than ever before.
Assad, intelligence sources say, tends to heed the advice of a few of his senior officials, as well as that of Iran and Hezbollah. All those tell him he has nothing to lose by provoking Israel and responding with full force to any future action in Syria. According to them, Israel is already working toward overthrowing the regime and helping the rebels seize power, and will continue to do so.
Why did Israel step down from the fence it was perched upon and decided to intervene in the civil war? Because the US demanded it do so. Barak Obama cannot operate in Syria for reasons of domestic politicy, thus he unleashed the Israeli attack dog on Assad. Israel, in turn, will reap its dividends in the Iranian context.
Therefore, Assad’s advisors hold the solution lies in creating a double counter in order to deter Israel: the threats to the Israeli residents of the Golan Heights, and of missiles and rockets landing deep in the Israeli home front respectively. To this the Russians add a threat of their own: a shipment of new weapon systems to Syria.
Israel sees all this, which is why it chose to issue the public, direct and detailed message that might reach Assad without the middle men. The current situation in Syria renders the old-fashioned secret diplomacy impossible. There is simply no reliable Western diplomatic presence in Damascus today.
The Russians represented the only viable option to communicate a message to Assad – indeed, Netanyahu rushing to meet with President Vladimir Putin earlier this month would suggest as much. However, the inability of Russian diplomats to transfer a message without coating it in thick layers of self-serving spin is well known in diplomatic circles.
What is, then, Russia’s vested interest? Exaggerating the threat looming upon its trade partner in order to increase its dependence on Russia’s shipments of weaponry and diplomatic patronage. It was thus during the Cold War with Assad senior, and it is the case with his son today. Thus Russia is anything but a reliable messenger.
Israeli leadership is likely of this opinion too, as a “senior Israeli official” telephoned the New York Times’ chief political correspondent telling him with an emphatic directness Israel has no intentions of attacking Syria; yet should Syria continue transferring advanced munitions to Hezbollah, Israel would try to prevent it. The correspondent told Channel 10 News the official (most probably Israel’s ambassador to the US) spoke to Netanyahu before speaking to him.
A conclusion suggests itself that one of the most important messages the Israeli prime minister relayed to Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Sochi, and which he hoped would reach Damascus, was not transmitted. Or rather it was, but it reached its addressees gravely distorted. In those circumstances Israel had no choice but to ditch traditional diplomacy in favor of the public variety. At least this way it can be sure the Damascus Butcher hears the message from Jerusalem clearly and with no additional layers of interpretation place upon it.
Elections Won’t Change Iran – Ray Takeyh
While the race to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s president is infused with intrigue and drama, lest anyone confuse Iran’s contest for real democracy, the regime has ample mechanisms at its disposal to ensure the ”election” of its preferred candidate. Ultimately, the decision about who will govern is likely to be made in the Islamic Republic’s back rooms rather than its voting booths.
The politician who has generated the most excitement in Western chancelleries is former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. As president, when confronted with conservative resistance he quickly retreated. He remained devoted to terrorism as an instrument of statecraft. As the father of Iran’s bomb, he did much to reconstitute the nuclear program while speaking the language of moderation.
Ayatollah Khamenei may yet settle on his nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, who is known to be slavishly devoted to the supreme leader, a stern ideologue and a man of limited intelligence. In the deformed political society that Khamenei has created, such qualifications constitute ideal credentials for promotion to the office of the presidency. The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Financial Times-UK)
Pro-Palestinian Ads Misrepresent Apartheid – Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe
As a black South African who lived under apartheid, I was deeply disturbed to learn about the posters in San Francisco accusing Israel of apartheid. Those who make the accusation expose their ignorance of what apartheid really is.
In Israel, equal rights are enshrined in law. Black, brown and white Jews and the Arab minority mingle freely in all public places, universities, restaurants, voting stations and public transportation. All people have the right to vote. The Arab minority has political parties, serves in the Israeli parliament (Knesset) and holds positions in government ministries. In hospitals, Palestinian patients lie in beds next to Israeli Jews, and doctors and nurses are as likely to be Israeli Arabs as Jews.
I believe that it is slanderous and deceptive for Israel’s self-defense measures against the terrorists’ campaign of suicide bombing, rocket attacks and other acts of terrorism that have occurred, and continue to occur, to be labeled as apartheid. The writer is a member of the South African Parliament. (San Francisco Examiner)
Israel: Iran Wants Dozens of Bombs – Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
Iran is not looking for just a few nuclear bombs ”in the basement,” but rather to produce dozens each year, International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz said Tuesday.
Steinitz told a security conference that Iran’s nuclear industry was ”many times larger than that of either North Korea or Pakistan.”
He described the Iranian nuclear industry as designed ”not to produce a few bombs, but to produce fissionable material for dozens and hundreds of nuclear bombs.”
The issue, he said, is not only of Iran becoming a nuclear state, but rather becoming a ”nuclear superpower.”
According to Steinitz, Iran plans to expand the capability of the Natanz nuclear facility to enrich enough uranium to produce between 20 to 30 atomic bombs a year.
Steinitz Discusses Iranian Threat (IMRA)
Steinitz said that within a decade, the Iranians will be able to have over 100 nuclear bombs.
Moreover, Iran is making a concentrated effort to develop a satellite launch vehicle, which is, in effect, cover for developing inter-continental ballistic missiles.
Iran and the Arab World – Eric Trager
The Salafists, who are deeply opposed to Iran, have emerged as a major political force in a number of post-revolutionary Arab states, and in Egypt the Salafists are highlighting the Muslim Brotherhood’s outreach to Iran in their campaign against the Brotherhood. As with Iran, anti-Westernism is a foundational principle for the Brotherhood, which views the establishment of an Islamic state in Egypt as necessary for resisting Western cultural and political influence. The writer is a fellow at the Washington Institute. (Foreign Policy Association-Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Egypt: From Tehran with Love – Steven A. Cook
The writer is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at CFR. (Council on Foreign Relations)
Is Egypt Heading toward a Military Regime? – Jacques Neriah
After the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi himself began signaling their intention to turn Egypt into an Islamic state, the opposition turned hostile to the regime, castigating it with the newly acquired freedom of the press. Morsi became the target of satire and mockery. In addition, a new activist group emerged. Members of the Black Bloc, who dress in black with black masks, have declared an open war against the Brotherhood.
Amid a sudden popular wave of affection and longing for the Mubarak days, an increasing number of people are calling on the army to return to the political scene. A recent poll found 82% supporting such a move. Yet the Muslim Brotherhood, having waited almost eight decades to become the rulers of Egypt, are certainly in no hurry to give back what the 2011 revolution gave them on a silver platter. Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)