Egypt and Israel versus Hamas and Abbas 1

New alignments, new discords, new issues are emerging in the Middle East. The US has nothing to do with them. Obama and Kerry have snuffed out US influence in that important region.

This is from DebkaFile:

President of Egypt Abdul-Fattah El-Sisi, even before taking the oath of office Sunday June 8, became the first regime head to strike out at the Palestinian unity government installed in Ramallah on June 24, by intensifying the siege on its Gaza partner, Hamas. His steps threaten to stir up strife between the two newly reconciled Palestinian partners over who calls the shots in the Gaza Strip …

El-Sisi acted expeditiously to refute the claims by Palestinian Authority sources in Ramallah and Hamas officials in Gaza City that he would open the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egyptian Sinai as soon as the new Palestinian government was in place, as a gesture of support. The answer they received from from Cairo to their request was that the border terminals would remain open only if PA security forces from Ramallah assumed control of the borders and officiated at the crossings.

But Hamas has no intention of handing this strategic resource over to Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah. A standoff has therefore developed between the two partners, souring the amity they have strived to display. Any PA bid to take over control of the Gaza crossings would be forcibly resisted by Hamas, a clash that could spell the end of their reconciliation and power-sharing deal. 

Not only has Cairo kept the Rafah crossing shut, it has beefed up military oversight on its borders with Gaza to prevent incursions at any point. A law has been drafted moreover by the Egyptian authorities setting out long prison sentences for anyone attempting to “prepare, dig or use” a tunnel connecting Egypt to a foreign “entity” or nation (i.e. Hamas or the Palestinian government) for the passage of goods or persons.

By these actions, Egypt has begun tightening its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Friday, June 6, Israel’s President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu phoned the incoming Egyptian president to congratulate him on winning the national election. Both Israeli and Egyptian officials declined to comment on the supposition that Cairo’s steps for sealing the Gaza borders and taken inside the enclave had been coordinated with Israel.

[President El-Sisi] only stated pointedly that new opportunities had opened up for strengthening the peace pact with Israel. He did not elaborate on this. But …  Israel has contracted to supply Egypt with 4.5 billion cubic meters of gas annually from its Tamar offshore field, to meet the economy’s desperate shortage of energy. Israel, which already sells gas to Jordan, will shortly become Egypt’s biggest gas supplier.

El-Sisi’s clampdown on Hamas ties in with the heavy Egyptian military deployment on its western border with Libya, and his determination to put a stop to the flow of smuggled weapons to the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip into the hands of Islamist terrorists.

Cairo recently received an intelligence tip-off that a number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders on the run had set up base in the Gaza Strip to engineer terrorist attacks on the Egyptian army, especially in Cairo and the Suez coastal cities.

Cairo is meting out harsh treatment not only to Hamas, but also to the pro-Iranian Palestinian Jihad Islami. Egyptian military intelligence made it clear to these extremists that, since their military wing now rivals Hamas’s militia, the Ezz a-Din Al-Qassam, its leader Mohammed Al-Hindi, a personal enemy of El-Sisi, must go.

If not, Cairo will bar its members from travel between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, thereby cutting them off from their ties to Iran and the Arab world. This week, Jihad Islami knuckled under and replaced Al-Hindi with a new Gaza leader, Nafez Assam.

Mahmoud Abbas will try, when he visits Cairo next Tuesday to attend El-Sisi’s inauguration as president, to obtain clear answers about his intentions. If Egypt maintains its current restrictions on the Gaza Strip and Hamas into the future, the Palestinians will be unable to hold the elections for president and parliament that are scheduled for Jan. 2, 2015 in the two territories. This will place the survival of the power-sharing government in Ramallah in grave doubt.

Curious and curiouser 1

What sense can be made of this story?

Syria flies rockets to Iran: Iran loads them on a ship and sends it sailing down the Gulf, south-west on the Arabian Sea, and north up the Red Sea.

Israel intercepts the ship, commandos board it, find the rockets, re-route the vessel to the Israeli port of Eilat.

Where was it bound for? For whom were the rockets intended? Gaza? How the hell would they get there?

Look at the map showing the path of the arms to the point of interception, search and capture:

Next we are told that the Israelis didn’t accomplish the whole feat alone – gathering the intelligence, setting up the capture. No, suddenly Jay Carney claims that it was a US-Israeli joint venture.

In an unusually frank disclosure, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday night, March 5, that US intelligence services and military had worked with Israel to track the Iranian Panama-flagged ship KLOS C, which was apprehended by Israeli naval commandos on the Red Sea earlier that day carrying missiles for Gaza via Sudan. The ship was boarded by the Israeli elite Shayetet 13 (Flotilla 13) and found to be carrying dozens of 302mm rockets with a range of 150 km made in Syria. It is now on its way to Eilat.

Just how would they get from Port Sudan to Gaza? Through Sinai? Then through tunnels? Isn’t the Egyptian army patrolling Sinai? Hasn’t Egypt closed the arms-smuggling tunnels? Why would Egypt allow arms to reach Hamas, the rulers of Gaza and a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood when the MB is the present Egyptian government’s enemy?

And even more curious, why would Obama suddenly co-operate with Israel against Iran when his whole policy towards those two countries for at least the last four years has been to co-operate with Iran against Israel?

Has he had a sudden change of heart and mind? If so, what will his party, his base, his hurrah-chorus the mainstream media, say to this 180 degree turnabout?

It’s really very hard to believe.

The White House spokesman said that Washington worked with Israeli through intelligence and military channels, and at the national security adviser level, as soon as it knew the shipment was on the move. He said that President Barack Obama also directed the US military to work out contingencies in case it became necessary to intercept the vessel (therebysanctioning military action).

Obama? Military action?

“Our Israeli counterparts ultimately chose to take the lead in interdicting the shipment of illicit arms,” Jay Carney said. …

This was the first time in four years that the US and Israel have collaborated in an operation against Iran – ever since the Stuxnet virus attack in 2010 on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Until now, the Obama administration steadfastly refused to act against Iran for fear of jeopardizing the international diplomatic track for curbing its nuclear program.

The unusual frankness with which the Obama administration announced its coordination with Israel is both dramatic in itself and a road sign pointing the way to a radical change in its Iran policy.

The US and Israel appear to be lining up – in their military policies as well – against the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah bloc.

This radical turnabout was most probably the high point of the conversation between the US president and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House Monday, March 3, after which Netanyahu raised comment by showering Obama with praise during his speech to the AIPAC conference in Washington the next day. …

Whereas  Obama had shown impatience, irritation, and antipathy towards Netanyahu in an interview just one day before the meeting.

US and Israeli intelligence sources report that both countries are braced for a swift and stinging response from Tehran … As Carney put it: “We will continue to stand up to Iran’s support for destabilizing activities in the region in coordination with our partners and allies.These illicit acts are unacceptable to the international community and in gross violation of Iran’s Security Council obligations.”

Israel’s elite Shayetet 13 (Flotilla 13) early Wednesday, March 5, boarded [the] Iranian Panama-registered cargo vessel KLOS C. Concealed in its hold under sacks of cement were dozens of 302mm rockets with a range of 150 kms, manufactured in Syria and destined by Iran for the Gaza Strip after being offloaded in Sudan.

The Israeli commandos seized the vessel in open sea on the maritime border of Sudan and Eritrea, 1500 km south of Israel, and have set it on course for Eilat.

Sudan has [become] in the last two years …  a major Iranian weapons manufacturing and logistic depot, which supplies Syria, Hizballah and Hamas. Port Sudan is the hub for the smuggling of Iranian arms to various Middle East locations.

The IDF [Israeli Defense Force] said the Iranian missile cargo was destined for the Palestinian Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip. If this is so, it would mean that Iran had gone back to arming Hamas with missiles and rockets after a two-year pause during which the Palestinian extremists were cold-shouldered by Tehran for their animosity to Syria’s Bashar Assad. …

[But] it is hard to believe the Assad would consent to relay Syrian-made missiles to this antagonist.

Some Middle East military sources believe the shipment was not destined for Palestinian terrorists for use against Israel, but rather for Muslim Brotherhood activists fighting the Egyptian army from their forward base in the Gaza Strip.

They don’t rule out the possibility of Al Qaeda affiliates fighting in Sinai as being the address. Western intelligence has recorded instances of Iran entering into ad hoc operational collaboration with al Qaeda elements when it suits Tehran’s book. …

The rockets were flown from Syria to Iran, then loaded on [the] ship where they were concealed under sacks of cement inside containers. From the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, the ship headed into the Red Sea bound for Sudan where it was intercepted by Israeli commandos.

The Iranian arms ship’s progress was tracked all the way.

By Israel, apparently. By the US, easily if that’s what Obama wanted. But why suddenly does he want to “jeopardize the international diplomatic track for curbing Iran’s nuclear program“?

Will Jay Carney, standing there among the flying pigs, do something he has never done before – tell the truth and explain everything?

That’s not very likely, but then much is not very likely in these bizarre events.

Obama – horrifying failure or terrifying success? 12

On June 7, 2008, we faced with horror the possibility that Barack Obama could become president of the United States with a post titled Obama can only fumble and fail:

We would say to him: ‘Come on, Barry, face the fact that you cannot lead this nation.’

Barack Obama makes flabbergastingly naive statements of intent. He seems to be stuck with adolescent ideals, a view of what is desirable and possible that few sane people over the age of 21 can normally continue to hold. He manifests no knowledge of history, or of political or economic theory. His ideas have the quality of sticky-sentiment greetings cards, but are delivered with the grandiloquence of extreme narcissism. His manner of dropping his voice at the end of every sentence gives everything he says a certainty; an inarguable ‘I say so, so that’s how it is’ finality; an apodictic quality. This manner, combined with the lift of his chin to one side like Mussolini, enchants gullible listeners: makes them think, ‘Ah yes, he is so sure, he must be right, he should lead us!’ Only when he has to answer a question he has not prepared himself for, do we hear him fumbling, stammering, losing the eloquence of the well-rehearsed demagogue.

To elect him to the presidency of the United States at this point in history would be a mistake so devastating that it’s hard to believe sensible voters could even contemplate doing so. Now, just as Europe has learnt too late that socialism does not work, he would bring socialism to America. For make no mistake about it, Obama is a socialist …  Just for starters he wants a national health service – a wholly socialist notion – though every example of such a thing everywhere in the world is failing.

Has he brought socialism to America? Yes. Or very much more of it to add to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s start.

Has he imposed a national health service on the nation? Yes. He has begun to do it with a health care act that taxes every citizen and resident of America just for existing, and is proving to be so unmanageable that the only way out of its mess is either to repeal it as Republicans want to do, or go to a full “one-payer system” – the one payer being of course the state – as Obama’s faithful Democrats want to do.

His foreign policy ideas are even more disastrous. He wants to disarm the US in a world of spreading nuclear know-how and capability along with hostile intention.

Is he doing so? Yes. He is defunding the US military and turning servicemen into social workers.

Is the country called ‘the last best hope’ of humanity about to follow the European example and become weak, demoralized, decadent, and slowly subjugated by aliens whose ideas derive from the seventh century?

Yes. In addition to following the European model of socialism, Obama has brought the Muslim Brotherhood into his administration. 

What of his world leadership as US president? He has just proved himself incapable of exercising it. Worse, he has broken the Pax Americana on which the world relied – as Caroline Glick explicates: 

What happened in Geneva last week was the most significant international event since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The collapse of the Soviet Union signaled the rise of the United States as the sole global superpower. The developments in the six-party nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva last week signaled the end of American world leadership.

Global leadership is based on two things – power and credibility. The United States remains the most powerful actor in the world. But last week, American credibility was shattered.

Secretary of State John Kerry spent the first part of last week lying to Israeli and Gulf Arab leaders and threatening the Israeli people. He lied to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Saudis about the content of the deal US and European negotiators had achieved with the Iranians.

Kerry told them that in exchange for Iran temporarily freezing its nuclear weapons development program, the US and its allies would free up no more than $5 billion in Iranian funds seized and frozen in foreign banks.

Kerry threatened the Israeli people with terrorism and murder – and so invited both – if Israel fails to accept his demands for territorial surrender to PLO terrorists that reject Israel’s right to exist. …

It is hard to separate the rise in terrorist activity since Kerry’s remarks last week from his remarks.

What greater carte blanche for murder could the Palestinians have received than the legitimization of their crimes by the chief diplomat of Israel’s closest ally? Certainly, Kerry’s negotiating partner Catherine Ashton couldn’t have received a clearer signal to ratchet up her economic boycott of Jewish Israeli businesses than Kerry’s blackmail message …

Kerry’s threats were so obscene and unprecedented that Israeli officials broke with tradition and disagreed with him openly and directly, while he was still in the country. Normally supportive leftist commentators have begun reporting Kerry’s history of anti-Israel advocacy, including his 2009 letter of support for pro-Hamas activists organizing flotillas to Gaza in breach of international and American law.

As for Kerry’s lies to the US’s chief Middle Eastern allies, it was the British and the French who informed the Israelis and the Saudis that far from limiting sanctions relief to a few billion dollars in frozen funds, the draft agreement involved ending sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas sector, and on other industries.

In other words, the draft agreement exposed Washington’s willingness to effectively end economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran’s agreement to cosmetic concessions that will not slow down its nuclear weapons program.

Both the US’s position, and the fact that Kerry lied about that position to the US’s chief allies, ended what was left of American credibility in the Middle East. That credibility was already tattered by US fecklessness in Syria and support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

True, in the end, Kerry was unable to close the deal he rushed off to Geneva to sign last Friday. [But] it wasn’t Iran that rejected the American surrender. And it wasn’t America that scuttled the proposal. It was France. Unable to hide behind American power and recognizing its national interest in preventing Iran from emerging as a nuclear armed power in the Middle East, France vetoed a deal that paved the way a nuclear Iran.

Kerry’s failure to reach the hoped-for deal represented a huge blow to America, and a double victory for Iran. The simple fact that Washington was willing to sign the deal – and lie about it to its closest allies – caused the US to lose its credibility in the Middle East. Even without the deal, the US paid the price of appeasing Iran and surrendering leadership of the free world [in this instance] to France and Israel. …

Thus, Iran ended Pax Americana in the Middle East, removing the greatest obstacle in its path to regional hegemony. And it did so without having to make the slightest concession to the Great Satan. …

It was fear of losing Pax Americana that made all previous US administrations balk at reaching an accord with Iran. …

The Obama administration just paid that unsustainably high price, and didn’t even get a different relationship with Iran.

Most analyses of what happened in Geneva last week have centered on what the failure of the talks means for the future of Obama’s foreign policy.

Certainly Obama, now universally reviled by America’s allies in the Middle East, will be diplomatically weakened. This diplomatic weakness may not make much difference to Obama’s foreign policy, because appeasement and retreat do not require diplomatic strength.

But the real story of what happened last week is far more significant than the future of Obama’s foreign policy. Last week it was America that lost credibility, not Obama. It was America that squandered the essential component of global leadership.

And that is the watershed event of this young century.

Until Obama became president, the consensus view of the US foreign policy establishment and of both major parties was that the US had a permanent interest in being the hegemonic power in the Middle East. US hegemony ensured three permanent US national security interests: preventing enemy regimes and terror groups from acquiring the means to cause catastrophic harm; ensuring the smooth flow of petroleum products through the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal; and demonstrating the credibility of American power by ensuring the security of US allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia. The third interest was an essential foundation of US deterrence of the Soviets during the Cold War, and of the Chinese over the past decade.

Obama departed from this foreign policy consensus in an irrevocable manner last week. In so doing, he destroyed US credibility.

[Even] if  a conservative internationalist in the mold of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan is elected in 2016, Obama’s legacy will make it impossible for him to rebuild the US alliance structure. US allies … will not be willing to make any longterm commitments based on US security guarantees.

Obama has taught the world that the same US that elected Truman and formed NATO, and elected George H.W. Bush and threw Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, can elect a man who betrays US allies and US interests to advance a radical ideology predicated on a rejection of the morality of American power. Any US ally is now on notice that US promises – even if based on US interests – are not reliable. American commitments can expire the next time America elects a radical to the White House. …

America’s appalling betrayal of Jerusalem under Obama …  is the straw that has broken the back of American strategic credibility from Taipei to Santiago. …

The twice-elected president of the United States has dispatched his secretary of state to threaten and deceive US allies while surrendering to US foes. It is now an indisputable fact that the US government may use its power to undermine its own interests and friends worldwide.

Could a president fail more catastrophically than Obama has? The list of his failures is too long for this space. Enough to say he has had no successes. America under his leadership is more in debt, its government is more corrupt, its position in the world is weaker, its Constitution is voided, its citizens are less free, its enemies are triumphant, its allies are enraged …

And yet … an awful question arises. What if all this represents not failure but success? What if the wrecking of the economy, the collectivization of the people, the weakening of America as the dominant world power, the voiding of the Constitution, the advancement of Islam, the existential crisis of Israel, are precisely what Obama set out to achieve?

Then he would have to be assessed as the most successful president since George Washington. The failure is colossal, but it is not his. It is America’s.

Israel for itself 15

We continue to suspect that Obama wants to protect Iran from an Israeli attack on its nuclear installations.

But one part of the the report we quoted in our post Obama protects Iran from Israel, that the US called off scheduled joint military exercises with the Israelis, turns out to be untrue. They were called off by Israel itself.

This is from DEBKAfile, the source of the information we used for our earlier post:

Contrary to recent reports published in Washington, Jerusalem – and this site too – it was Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, not the Obama administration, who decided to call off the biggest ever joint US-Israeli military exercise Austere Challenge 12 scheduled for April 2012.

Washington was taken aback by the decision. It was perceived as a mark of Israel’s disapproval for the administration’s apparent hesitancy in going through with the only tough sanctions with any chance of working against Iran’s nuclear weapon program: penalizing its central bank and blocking payments for its petroleum exports.

This was the first time Israel had ever postponed a joint military exercise; it generated a seismic moment in relations between the US and Israel at a time when Iran has never been so close to producing a nuclear weapon.

This week, Netanyahu further orchestrated a series of uncharacteristically critical statements by senior ministers: Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon called the Obama administration “hesitant” (Jan. 15), after which Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman urged the Americans to “move from words to deeds” (Jan 16).

The underlying message was that the Israeli government felt free to attack Iran’s nuclear sites on its own if necessary and at a time of its choosing.

Why now? DEBKAfile suggests four reasons:

1. Washington has taken no action against Iran’s capture of the RQ-170 stealth drone on Dec. 4 more than a month after the event, and not even pressed President Obama’s demand of Dec. 12 for the drone’s return. Tehran, for its part, continues to make hay from the event …

2. Silence from Washington also greeted the start of 20-percent grade uranium enrichment at the underground Fordo facility near Qom when it was announced Jan. 9. Last November, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned in two US TV interviews (Nov. 17 and 22) that as soon as the Fordo facility went on stream, Iran would start whisking the rest of its nuclear facilities into underground bunkers, out of reach and sight of US and Israeli surveillance.

Barak made it clear at the time that Israel could not live with this development; therefore, the Netanyahu government believes Israel’s credibility is now at stake.

3. Exactly three weeks ago, on Jan. 3 Lt. Gen. Ataollah Salehi, Iran’s Army chief, announced that the aircraft carrier USS Stennis and other “enemy ships” would henceforth be barred from entering the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz . Yet since then, no US carrier has put this threat to the test by attempting a crossing. Tehran has been left to crow.

4. Even after approving sanctions on Iran’s central bank and energy industry, the White House announced they would be introduced in stages in the course of the year. According to Israeli’s calculus, another six months free of stiff penalties will give Iran respite for bringing its nuclear weapon program to a dangerous and irreversible level.

So it does look very much as if the Israelis are planning to strike Iran. We hope they do.

 

Post Script: Commenters have more than once pointed out the unreliability of DEBKAfile. We agree with them, and will treat this source of information more skeptically in future.

Three As for failure 1

Last night (Thursday April 8, 2010) at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Liz Cheney made a speech all Americans need to hear.

The Washington Post reports:

“It seems to be increasingly clear that there are three prongs in the Obama doctrine: Apologize for America, abandon our allies, and appease our enemies.”

America’s allies, she said, have been met by “humiliation, arrogance and incompetence.” She attacked Obama for the administration’s “shabby” treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and “especially dangerous and juvenile” behavior toward Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

“There is a saying in the Arab world that it’s more dangerous to be America’s friend than it is to be our enemy,” she said. “I fear very much that in the age of Obama, that’s proving to be true.”

She was sharply critical of the administration’s policy toward Iran. “In this administration’s dealings with Iran,” she said, “the deadlines are meaningless, the sanctions worthless and the speeches pointless.”

Apologize … Abandon … Appease. Three As for Obama’s foreign policy failures.

The abandonment of allies (and nuclear deterrence), and the appeasement of enemies may be the most dangerous, but the apologies are the most infuriating. What are these countries that America needs their approbation?

Are they more free?

More just?

More successful?

More innovative?

More trustworthy?

More generous?

More powerful?

More prosperous?

Why should America need to beg or buy their favor?

And one more question:

How about Liz Cheney for President in 2012?

Honored and dishonored guests at the White House 1

Some weeks ago the White House claimed that a William Ayres and a Jeremiah Wright had come in as part of a tour group, and were not to be confused with the notorious Jeremiah Wright and William Ayres associated with the president’s past.

Were they lying? (And if they were, would it be uncharacteristic of the present administration?)

From Atlas Shrugs:

There are consequential, disturbing revelations to be found when flipping through the visitors list at the White House. Bill Ayers is there no less than three times, Louis Farrakhan at least once, but there is also a separate visit for his family, and the infamous hater Jeremiah Wright is there at least five times (four times under Jeremy, one under Jeremiah). Contemptuously, Farrakhan’s visit is tagged as “MEETING WITH SCIENCE CLUB MEMBERS”… Al Sharpton is there twice, and Jesse “hymietown” Jackson is a regular (six times).

It bears noting that despite solid evidence that Obama was tight with these haters, inciters and revolutionaries and traitors, he distanced himself from them during the campaign and outright lied about his ties to them. Mr. Ayers, for example, was dismissed as “a guy who lives in my neighborhood” and “somebody who worked on education issues in Chicago that I know.”

Obama lied about his friends and nefarious colleagues because he knew that his connection to them was deadly. He knew these were bad characters, and that his being involved with them would not sit well with the American people. He knew. And so he lied. And now they are regulars at the White House (while the Dalai Lama and Netanyahu are begrudgingly ushered in the side door or seen chilling with the trash).

These are terrorists, inciters to genocide, America haters, the underbelly of an ugly America — and they are in the House.

Posted under Commentary, News, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, March 27, 2010

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Let slip the dogs of war 1

Israel has been too co-operative with the treacherous Obama administration.

John Bolton thinks so too. He writes in the Wall Street Journal:

On the Palestinian front, Mr. Netanyahu’s government has tolerated 14 months of feckless administration diplomacy that has not altered geopolitical realities between Israel and the Palestinians… On Iran, Mr. Netanyahu has faithfully supported Mr. Obama’s diplomacy, hoping to build credibility with the president against the day when Israel might have to strike Iran’s weapons program pre-emptively. Jerusalem, for example, currently backs U.S. efforts to increase sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, doomed to failure though they are. As time passes, Israel’s military option grows more difficult and the chances for success shrink as Iran seeks new air-defense systems and further buries and hardens nuclear facilities.

Mr. Netanyahu’s mistake has been to assume that Mr. Obama basically agrees that we must prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But the White House likely believes that a nuclear Iran, though undesirable, can be contained and will therefore not support using military force to thwart Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

What’s more, Mr. Obama is also unwilling to let anyone else, namely Israel, act instead. That means that if Israel bombs Iranian nuclear facilities, the president will likely withhold critical replenishments of destroyed Israeli aircraft and other weapons systems.

We are moving inexorably toward, and perhaps have now reached, an Israeli crisis with Mr. Obama. Americans must realize that allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is empowering an existential threat to the Israeli state, to Arab governments in the region that are friendly to the U.S., and to long-term global peace and security.

Mr. Netanyahu must realize he has not been banking good behavior credits with Mr. Obama but simply postponing an inevitable confrontation. The prime minister should recalibrate his approach, and soon.

And destroy Iran’s nuclear sites as completely as possible.

Posted under Commentary, Iran, Israel, jihad, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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All clear on the middle-eastern front 14

In our  post below, Reaching for the moon no more, we discuss our belief that Obama, by choice and taste, is committed to Islam. If we are right, it is entirely consistent that he should dislike Israel and wish to turn US policy against the small beleaguered state, even though a majority of Americans strongly support it. (The wishes of the American majority are not something he takes much notice of anyway.)

What Obama needed was an excuse. He’s found one in a zoning decision by the municipal authorities of Jerusalem to build some houses for Jewish occupants in a Jewish neighborhood in Israel’s capital city. The Israeli government recently replied, out of diplomatic courtesy, to a stupid and bullying demand by the Obama administration that building for Jewish settlement on the West Bank should be stopped, by agreeing to suspend such development for a few months, but the agreement specifically excluded Jerusalem from the suspension. There is no cause here for the Obama administration to take offense, but any excuse is better than none when there’s a really big strategy to be advanced.

Jennifer Rubin writes at Commentary’s Contentions that the Obama administration

wants a fight, a scene, a sign to its beloved Palestinian friends that it can be tough, tougher than on any other nation on the planet, with Israel. What we have here is a heartfelt desire to cozy up to the Palestinians; what’s missing is a cogent explanation for what this gets us. No Israeli prime minister has suspended or will suspend building in its capital. No amount of unilateral concessions, even if offered, would unlock the “peace process.” So the point of this is what then? To permanently shift American policy toward [ie now to be against] Israel? To create havoc and further uncertainty as to where the U.S. stands regarding Israeli security? We are seeing the full flowering of what many of us during the campaign suspected and what was revealed in the Cairo speech: Obama has a deep affinity with the victimology mythology of the Palestinians. We have never had such a president and never had such an Israel policy.

The Wall Street Journal is puzzled too:

In a speech at Tel Aviv University two days after the Israeli announcement, Mr. Biden publicly thanked Mr. Netanyahu for “putting in place a process to prevent the recurrence” of similar incidents.

The subsequent escalation by Mrs. Clinton [she harangued the Prime Minister, as is her harpy way, for 45 minutes on the telephone] was clearly intended as a highly public rebuke to the Israelis, but its political and strategic logic is puzzling. The U.S. needs Israel’s acquiescence in the Obama Administration’s increasingly drawn-out efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear bid through diplomacy or sanctions. But Israel’s restraint is measured in direct proportion to its sense that U.S. security guarantees are good. If Israel senses that the Administration is looking for any pretext to blow up relations, it will care much less how the U.S. might react to a military strike on Iran.

But there is no puzzle at all if it is understood that the Obama administration does not want to halt Iran’s nuclear bid. And all becomes even clearer if Obama’s intention is seen to be an exercise in accustoming Israel and the world to such expressions of US outrage against Israel’s ‘behavior’, that, should Israel be contemplating unilateral military action against Iran, it will be thoroughly discouraged.

Jennifer Rubin herself cannot see what the objective is:

It’s difficult to see who could possibly be pleased with this performance — not skeptics of the peace process, not boosters of it, and certainly not the Israelis. For those enamored of processing peace, this must surely come as unwelcome news, for why would the Palestinians make any move at the bargaining table “when the international community continues to press for maximum concrete concessions from the Israelis in exchange for words more worthless than the air upon which they float away as soon as they’re uttered.” And as for the Palestinians, well they’re delighted to have a president so infatuated with their grievances. They’re once again learning the wrong lesson: fixation on settlements and obstruction gets them American support. What it won’t get them, of course, is their own state.

Indeed not. And that’s the point as far as the Palestinians are concerned. They don’t want their own state if it’s to exist alongside the State of Israel. To accept such a state would be to accept  Israel’s legitimacy. Oh, they want a state alright – but one consisting of Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel. They’ll accept nothing less. That is why they have rejected all offers of a contiguous state since 1947.

Even AIPAC, until now a blind supporter of Obama, rebukes him, displaying a bewilderment which results only from its own deliberate blindness:

AIPAC calls on the Administration to take immediate steps to defuse the tension with the Jewish State. Israel is America’s closest ally in the Middle East. The foundation of the U.S-Israel relationship is rooted in America’s fundamental strategic interest, shared democratic values, and a long-time commitment to peace in the region. Those strategic interests, which we share with Israel, extend to every facet of American life and our relationship with the Jewish State, which enjoys vast bipartisan support in Congress and among the American people.

The Administration should make a conscious effort to move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel, with whom the United States shares basic, fundamental, and strategic interests. The escalated rhetoric of recent days only serves as a distraction from the substantive work that needs to be done with regard to the urgent issue of Iran’s rapid pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and all her Arab neighbors.

Again, all bewilderment clears away if it is understood that Obama does not want Israel to be a close ally, or any ally at all; does not want to stop Iran having nuclear weapons; does not want peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors; does not want there to be a state of Israel. Yes, our suspicion stretches that far! Obama, we guess, is in perfect tune with the international Left, and the international Left passionately desires the dissolution of the state of Israel.

Of course poor old Joe Biden is not aware of this. He’s generally not aware of what is going on or ever has gone on. That’s why he was an ideal envoy to send to Israel at this juncture, to declare everlasting love for the Israelis and immediately afterwards take offense at a quite ordinary and inoffensive thing they’ve done. Any bewilderment he feels is chronic and can never be cleared away.