Sunday, April 5, 2009

Finally some reality therapy...

Finally, harsh realism from Israel

If Avigdor Lieberman's first speech as Israel's new foreign minister did nothing else, it certainly vexed the media.

The Associated Press called it a "scathing critique of Mideast peace efforts" that had diplomats "cringing," while other reports said Lieberman had "dropped a political bombshell," "sparked an uproar," "repudiated a key accord," and "reinforced fears." The New York Times pronounced Lieberman's remarks "blunt and belligerent," describing the foreign minister as a "hawkish nationalist" who is "not known for diplomacy" and heads an "ultranationalist" party that is "seen by many as racist." Headlines summed up Lieberman's debut as an attack on peacemaking: "Lieberman dashes peace hopes," "Israeli official hits peace efforts," "Lieberman dumps peace deal."

But the headlines were wrong, as anyone can ascertain by reading Lieberman's short address. Far from disparaging peace, Israel's new foreign minister called for pursuing it with the respect and realism it deserves. And far from "dumping" agreements entered into by his predecessors, he explicitly committed himself to upholding the Roadmap - a step-by-step blueprint to a "two-state solution" adopted by Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the international Quartet in 2003.

"I voted against the Roadmap," Lieberman acknowledged, but it was "approved by the Cabinet and by the Security Council" and is therefore "a binding resolution." However, he insisted, it must be implemented "in full." The Roadmap imposes specific obligations that the Palestinians must meet prior to achieving statehood - above all, an unequivocal end to violence, terrorism, and incitement against the Jewish state - and Israel will not agree to waive them in order to negotiate a final settlement.

If Lieberman is as good as his word - and if he is backed up by Benjamin Netanyahu, the new prime minister - we may finally see an end to Israel's fruitless attempts to buy peace with ever-more-desperate concessions and retreats. Under Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, Israel surrendered the entire Gaza Strip, released hundreds of arrested terrorists, and even offered to divide Jerusalem with the Palestinian Authority. "But none of these far-reaching measures have brought peace," said Lieberman. "To the contrary." The steeper the price Israel has been willing to pay for peace, the more it has been repaid with violence: suicide bombings, rocket attacks, kidnapped and murdered soldiers, and wars with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

It is time, Lieberman is saying, for Israel to stop genuflecting to a feckless and counterproductive "peace process" and to return instead to the pre-Oslo policy of deterrence. "The fact that we say the word 'peace' 20 times a day will not bring peace any closer," he noted. It only makes Israel seem weak and irresolute, encouraging its enemies not to halt their murderous jihad, but to redouble it. Sixteen years of appeasement have left Israel more demonized and isolated than ever, the foreign minister observed. And when was Israel most admired in the world? "After the victory of the Six Day War," when no one doubted the Jewish state's audacity or resolve.

"If you want peace, prepare for war," Lieberman declared.

That idea may offend the smart set and leave diplomats "cringing," but Israel's new foreign minister is hardly the first to express it. "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace," affirmed President George Washington in his first address to Congress in 1790.

Perhaps the world would more clearly understand the nature of Israel's enemy if the media weren't forever fanning moral outrage at the Mideast's only bulwark of freedom and democracy.

In recent weeks, the Palestinian Authority has warned Arabs that it is "high treason" punishable by death to sell homes or property to Jews in Jerusalem; shut down a Palestinian youth orchestra and arrested its founder because the ensemble played for a group of elderly Holocaust survivors; and celebrated the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel's history with a TV special extolling the massacre. On Thursday, after a Palestinian terrorist used an axe to murder a 13-year-old Jewish boy, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - a wing of the "moderate" Fatah party - issued a statement claiming responsibility.

There is no appeasing such hatred, and demonizing those who say so will not change that fact. "If you want peace, prepare for war." How refreshing to hear an Israeli foreign minister say so.

Mr Bagel: Instead of never ending one sided concessions with no progress, now the agreed terms of the agreement have to be abided by. This is how it should have been in the first place.
To read the full article go to this link: Finally, harsh realism from Israel

References: Finally, harsh realism from Israel
Article by Jeff Jacoby

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Netanyahu warns of Iran

New Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran is a `grave danger.'
JERUSALEM -- Ten years after being ousted as prime minister, conservative Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power Tuesday as the head of a hawkish coalition government that will be a pivotal player in President Barack Obama's push to stabilize the Middle East.

Netanyahu, 59, faces an immediate challenge in assuaging skeptical world leaders who worry that the new prime minister's combative style will undermine America's diplomatic efforts and fuel another spiral of violence in the Middle East.

In an unusually blunt interview with The Atlantic magazine, Netanyahu charged that Iran was a ''messianic apocalyptic cult'' with nuclear ambitions and a ''grave danger'' to the world.

European leaders have been especially critical of Israel because of its recent 22-day military offensive, which ravaged the Hamas-led Gaza Strip and prompted a brewing feud over the threatened demolition of some Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.

''We are not happy with some of the steps of the Israeli government, namely construction works close to Jerusalem, but also access to Gaza, which is today very limited,'' Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose country holds the presidency of the European Union, told the country's newspaper Lidove Noviny in Tuesday's edition.

read more from The Miami Herald

Mr Bagel: Nice of Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg to deem it is any of his business what gets built in Israel. Then again Schwarzenberg, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, said, "The EU remains committed to the Durban Review Conference" and is ready to fully participate."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

An Israel MK supports Irans Nuclear quest???

I'm speechless.
Here's what others have got to say:

Samuel Sokol , JPost: New Balad MK praises Iran's nuke quest
Arutz Sheva: Arab MK Welcomes Iranian Nuclear Weapon
Islam in Action: Israel:Arab Politician Support Iran's Nuke Program
Esser Agaroth: New Balad MK Praises Iran's Nuke Quest
Huffington Post: Haneen Zuabi, New Arab-Israeli Knesset Member, Praises Iranian Nuclear Ambitions
Jewlicious: Freedom of Speech or Sedition?
Daniel Pipes: Iran's Representative in the Knesset - Haneen Zuabi

Some of her comments, according to Samuel Sokol in the Jerusalem Post:
  • The very concept of a Jewish state is "inherently racist." Israel must be turned into a "state of all its citizens," eliminating its Jewish or Zionist nature.

  • Iran's role in Palestinian affairs is "more useful" than that of regimes like Jordan and Egypt, in that Iran stands more firmly "against occupation than a lot of the Arab countries." Egypt and Jordan, indeed, are scared of a free and democratic Palestinian state.

  • It's not a good idea for Israel to be the region's sole nuclear power. "It would be more supporting me to have a [nuclear] counter-power to Israel. I need something to balance [its] power."

  • Is she worrying about Tehran getting close to acquiring a nuclear weapon? "No, I am not." To the contrary, said is "more afraid from the Israeli nuclear [weapons]."

  • Would the Israel Defense Forces use nuclear weapons? "The Israelis? I think yes. And I am afraid from real risk rather than from potential risk." More broadly, whereas the Iranian bomb is only "a potential" threat, the IDF is an actual danger. "Every day the Israeli [army] uses its violence, army violence."

  • Israel is an aggressor state, so only something along the lines of Mutually Assured Destruction would restrain it.

  • Would an Iranian bomb make Washington nervous, lead to more U.S. pressure on Israel, and that would be good thing? "Exactly."

Nuclear merry go round...

I came across this Cox and Forkum Cartoon drawn way back in May 2005
Why do I feel we're still being taken for a ride?

Noticed they posted a cartoon a few weeks ago, wish they would post more!
I miss seeing their razor wit.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shaking hands or just drowning?

Much is being made about Richard Holbrooke shaking the hand of the deputy foreign minister of Iran.
Joe Klein's article writing for 'Swampland' blog: 'Meeting the Iranians' on the Time website certainly has.
"The handshake is a big deal. In 2000, Madeleine Albright had choreographed a casual handshake between Bill Clinton and Iranian president Khatami at the United Nations--and Khatami pulled out, under orders, one presumes, at the last minute. It was only a deputy foreign minister this time, but he showed."
The unfortunate thing is the handshake and what Joe Klein has made of it is more revealing of Klein's changing 'colors' and his penchant for exaggeration than offering any real substantive diplomatic sign.

Observing the Iranians strategy of late, its easy to see this as simply a continuation of Iran's attempt at drawing out and extending the timetable of diplomatic wrangling over their 'rumoured' nuclear agenda.

Jonathon Tobin from Contentions blog part of the stable is a lot more sceptical of the real gains to be made with friendly gestures towards 'the mullahs'
he writes:
"Communication with Iran about the conflict in Afghanistan, as well as the fate of two Americans who are currently missing in Iran, is understandable. What appears to be missing from the administration’s agenda with Iran is conveying to Tehran just how seriously Washington takes their ongoing push for nuclear weapons. There are a lot of things on Obama’s plate right now including economic disaster and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But as much as he seems to want to pretend Iranian nukes are not a pressing problem, they are now potentially even more dangerous and destabilizing."
If the Israeli intelligence timetable is to be believed rather than the US timetable then days, weeks, months could count in Iran's on going march towards nuclear weaponry.

I actually believe that the Iranians are running ahead of what even the Israeli's intelligence services will publicly acknowledge.

Strategically Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement the previous year of having 3,000 cascades online must indicate just how serious the Iranians are in regards to enrichment of nuclear fuel, how much enrichment of uranium they have actually achieved is the real question, how much of their enrichment processes are 'transparent' and how much of it is clandestine. Iran has a history of lying about is nuclear progress.

The US is stuck between a very hard place, trying to keep the Russians on side, maintaining diplomatic gestures towards Iran in an attempt to shore up their need for a more compliant Iran in regards to Iraq, and even more importantly to neutralise their influence in Afghanistan at this critical juncture.

The sad fact is Obama thinks his diplomatic overtures towards Iran are helping match the US's 'global agenda', the real truth is Iran is quickly finding just how easily they can adopt their adroit 'puppet mastery' skills towards the US's foreign policy.

Seems the Russians might just be taking advantage of Obama's new diplomacy learning curve as well, Obama is slated to meet the Russians with regards nuclear disarmament and proliferation.

Cold War Flashback: The U.S. Talks Nukes With Russia
Lets hope that the US's foreign policy back flip in that "it would not recognize South Ossetia as an independent country" doesn't set the scene for another 'expendable ally' in the middle east.

If Obama is under estimating the Iranians progress in Nuclear technology then we will soon be seeing a lot more Iranian hand shaking, and they will not be in gestures of friendship.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Top House Dems back Iran engagement

March 29, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A group of seven leading House Democrats called on President Obama to take "urgent action" to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

In a letter to the president, members of the U.S. Congress including the majority leader of the House of Representatives and chairmen of some of its top committees backed Obama's effort to engage Iran but stressed that it "cannot be open-ended" and that talks must begin "as soon as possible."

"We cannot allow Iran to use diplomatic discussions as a cover for continuing to work on its nuclear program," said the letter, dated March 26. "Iran must verifiably suspend its uranium enrichment program within at most a few months of the initiation of discussions."

The missive suggests examples of sanctions that could be used if talks fail, including on the Central Bank of Iran and energy companies investing in Iran's oil and gas sector, as well as measures that U.S. allies could take against the Iranian regime.

The signatories includes Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland; California Reps. Howard Berman and Henry Waxman, the Foreign Affairs Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee chairmen, respectively; Texas Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the Intelligence Committee chairman; Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton, the Armed Service Committee chairman; New York Rep. Gary Ackerman, the Foreign Affairs Middle East and South Asia subcommittee; and Florida Rep. Robert Wexler, a close Obama ally and chairman of the Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe.

"We must use the time available to us to begin engagement and to convince the Iranians of our seriousness of purpose," the letter said. "Otherwise, we will face far more difficult decisions in the future."

Thanks to JTA

Gates sees sanctions as best bet on Iran

March 30, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The U.S. defense secretary said economic sanctions would be more successful than diplomacy in dealing with Iran.

"I think frankly from my perspective, the opportunity for success is probably more in economic sanctions in both places than it is in diplomacy," said Robert Gates on the television program "Fox News Sunday," referring to both Iran and North Korea. "Diplomacy -- perhaps if there is enough economic pressure placed on Iran -- diplomacy can provide them an open door through which they can walk if they choose to change their policies, and so I think the two go hand in hand. But I think what gets them to the table is economic sanctions."

Gates' remarks came a little more than a week after President Obama launched an effort to diplomatically engage Iran, sending a videotaped message to the Iranian people.

The defense secretary also said on the program that Iran has "enough low-enriched uranium" to give it the capacity to make a weapon "should they enrich it more highly." But he said the United States does not believe that Iran has the capability yet.

Article from and thanks to JTA
Cartoon: Thanks to Cox and Forkam

Monday, March 30, 2009

Iran increases the pressure of confirmity on its bloggers

After the recent events of Iran Blocks Facebook, Youtube and 5 Million Other Websites and the recent death of the Iranian blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi whilst in custody.
Recently I read about the fact that Iran had 'allowed' some losening of its barrier against the internet, re: Why Did Iran Unblock Facebook?.
There was a fair bit of discourse about this action, call me cynical but I simply saw it as a prudent move in allowing the population of Iran to actively 'blog' for Iran and 'advocate' for Iranian interests,(Read attack Israel). I think we've all seen just how effective the islamic backlash has been in '(mis)reporting' events concerning Israel.
Well now that Iran has 'freed' access to the internet, whats next? Simple threaten the death penalty to any blogger not towing the party line..(yay human rights in Iran..)

Hat tip to: Islam in action

US tries to defuse a ticking timebomb

Martin Livens writing for the Times discusses the G20 meeting summit this week and the pressing issue of a possible Israeli response to the rumoured Iranian pursuit of a Nuclear weapon.
In "Us tries to defuse a ticking timebomb" Martin Livens puts forward just how complex the issue is, read his analysis here.

"All eyes will be on Barack Obama at the G20 summit this week. Among the great and good, the dull and dreary, in London’s Docklands he will be the only superstar. But the young president knows that what is decided inside a gleaming tower block in Tel Aviv will have more bearing on whether his presidency is accounted a success or failure than this talking shop.

High in the defence ministry building Major-General Amos Gilad points to a photograph on his wall of three Israeli F-15 jets flying over the site of Auschwitz. “I put it here to remind us of what happened and what may happen,” says the old fire-eater. The press claims he has been the real leader of the state for the past six months while the politicians have been out wooing the voters."
read more from Times on Line

Will Israel attack Iran's nuclear facilites?

This video was produced for the BBC, for a synopsis and further information go to 'This World' page from the BBC: here