Friday, January 23, 2015

Why does the Israeli Government Cover Up for the PA, Hamas and Hezbollah?

The link below is to a crow of victory from Israel Behind the News (David Bedein). He has been reporting for two decades, since Oslo, on the military cooperation between Fatah and the PA and Hamas. Now, a respected third party has issued a report that the PA has been arming Hamas.

The fact that successive Israeli governments refused to listen to the allegations does not surprise me. Those governments, both Labor and Likud, had too much invested in the Oslo Accords.

What is surprising and bothering me is a string of revelations that seems to indicate that the Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are deliberately keeping the Israeli public in the dark. Other examples:

1. Prior to last summer's Gaza war, the IDF repeatedly said it had no evidence of Hamas tunneling under Israeli kibbutzim and moshavim in the south, although residents kept saying they could hear sounds of digging at night. It turned out that the IDF knew about the tunnels.

2. The same thing is now going on in the north, along the Syrian and Lebanese borders. People hear sounds of shovels through their water pipes at night. The IDF denies that Hezbollah is tunneling into Israel, and comes up with all sorts of explanations for the sounds.

A plausible explanation for the apparent IDF coverup reminds me somewhat of the XYZ scandal during the John Adams Presidency, when President Adams kept secret a letter from Talleyrand, who as a pre-condition to negotiating a treaty between the U.S. and France, then under the rule of the revolutionary Directory had demanded a personal bribe of $50,000 and the assumption by the United States of all American claims against France. Had the letter become public, it would have resulted in irresistable pressure for an immediate declaration of war, a war for which Adams correctly felt the United States was not yet prepared militarily or financially. The Federalists, the party to which Adams nominally belonged, but which Alexander Hamilton actually led, wanted a war with France. The Republicans of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who virulently opposed and libeled Adams, were pro-France and supporters of the French Revolution and the Directory. Adams initially kept the letter from Tallyrand secret, but only informed Congress that his peace mission to France had failed and urged strong defense measures, including strengthening the U.S. Navy. Eventually, when Republicans in Congress accused him of war mongering and demanded to see the diplomatic dispatches. Adams released them to Congress, substituting the letters W, X, Y and Z for the names of the French agents who had delivered Tallyrand's demand. The resulting scandal, known as the XYZ Affair, temporarily increased Adam's popularity and greatly damaged Jefferson and Madison's popularity. However, Adams continued to counsel patience and resist Federalist demands for war. That cost him a second term, and the Federalists turned against him and the Republicans continued to vilify him.

Is Prime Minister Netanyahu trying to delay what would be a costly war with Hamas and Hezbollah, and perhaps Iran, with a high prospect of civilian casualties and property loss, either
until Israel is better prepared to deal with it, or until after the elections? If it is the former reason, the Prime Minister is cut from the cloth as John Adams. If it is the latter, not so much.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What was an Iranian General Doing on the Golan Heights?

An Israeli airstrike directed at Hezbollah vehicles in the Golan Heights of Syria ends up taking out an Iranian general of the Revolutionary Guard.  What was he doing there?
COMMENTARY has the answer--the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah were scouting out possible locations for ballistic missile launching sites outside of Lebanon, from which Iran and Hezbollah could rain death and destruction down on Israel.  This is the regime with which our President seeks engagement, while the Obama Administration continues its pivot away from Israel and Sunni Arab states, and toward Iran.

Why does Iran back the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen in their largely successful attempt to take over that country?  Iranian missiles supplied to a Houthi regime would threaten Israeli shipping from its Red Sea port of Eilat, which must pass through the narrow passage leading from the Red Sea to the Sea of Aden.  Of course those same missiles would also threaten the shipping of Sunni Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and indeed might block world shipping to and from the Mediterranean Sea, passing through the Suez Canal. Major wars have erupted for far less, including the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, which was triggered by Egypt's blockade of the Straits of Hormuz, which also threatened Israeli shipping from Eilat.

The United States will probably do nothing to counteract the Iranian threat in Yemen.  Like sanctions, opposition to Iran's initiative in Yemen might offend the mullahs.  As for Iran's active role in Syria, why it's an ally against ISIS.

Ironically, when President Obama announced the initiation of the bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, he cited Yemen as an example of his foreign policy successes.  A few more such successes, and we may be worrying about Iranian missiles in Venezuela.