Over 3,300 Subscribers
Elliot Chodoff - Yisrael Ne'eman
December 16th, 2009
29 Kislev 5770
Help support Mideast: On Target.
If you would like to advertise on Mideast: On Target or if you would like to sponsor a Newsletter please email us at webmaster@me-ontarget
Yisrael Ne'eman will be visiting the US on a lecture tour from January 27 - February 7. In particular Yisrael will be speaking on the topic of "Understanding the Hamas and Defining Its Policy Objectives - Implications for War and Peace." Other topics concerning Israel and the Middle East can be covered. If you would like to have Yisrael speak to your organization or community, please contact him at email@example.com
Israel's Next Round With Iran & Co.
By Yisrael Ne'eman
Very unfortunately Israel's next war is looming on the horizon. When exactly, is hard to say – most likely within ten months fitting in perfectly with the settlement "building freeze". The Iranians have rejected all suggestions for compromise over their nuclear weapons program and experts suspect they may have developed a bomb already and if not, then within the immediate future. All threats of sanctions make no impression. Policy positions in both the public and private sphere remain identical, to "wipe Israel of the map". Iranian Pres. Ahmedinejad who enjoys the full backing of Islamic Council leader Khamenei is consolidating a military/police dictatorship within the framework of an Islamic republic.
Iran is moving towards a totalitarian society similar to Mussolini's fascist Italy, Hitler's Nazi Germany, Stalin's Bolshevik Soviet Union and Mao's Peoples Republic of China. With the increasing numbers of internal enemies the Tehran leadership is becoming more repressive daily. On the foreign front the "threat" of Zionism and the West in general are and will continue to be amplified in a desperate effort to unify the Iranian masses against these supposed ultimate evils. Lest one forgets, the reformists led by Mousavi favor nuclear development for military purposes no less than Ahmedinejad and his radical supporters. Israel is the lightning rod for the ultimate extermination of "evil" in the eyes of the Khomeinist Shiite extremist revolutionaries.
Hezbollah has recovered from the 2006 summer war with Israel and is said to have at least 15,000 men, 2.5 times the manpower they had three and a half years ago. If last time their rocket capabilities stood at some 12,000 – 15,000 today estimates hover beyond 50,000 with thousands capable of hitting the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. UN Resolution 1701 proved to be a complete washout despite the deployment of UN and Lebanese government forces on Israel's northern border. All know both forces can be removed in a flash should hostilities break out. The increasingly Shiite influenced Lebanese Army could conceivably join the Hezbollah. In violation of this resolution and previous ones (425 and 1559) Syria and Iran are resupplying the Hezbollah militia/terrorists mostly through the cross border route between Lebanon and Syria. Hezbollah Sec. Gen. Hasan Nasrallah now awaits his orders from Tehran – when to go on the attack.
Hamas took a pounding in last year's Cast Lead Operation and the organization has not fully recovered. If last year there were some 600 tunnels between Gaza and Sinai today the estimates go as high as 1,000 in addition to smuggling at sea. The supposed contraband blockade to be enforced with European assistance agreed upon last winter has come to naught. The Hamas too has tens of thousands of rockets and of longer range than last year. This time Hamas may very join Hebollah in rocketing Tel Aviv.
So far the Israeli response is to prepare for the "fateful moment" through military and civilian exercises. We can call this period "The quiet before the storm". As pointed out yesterday by Gen. Yadlin, Israel's intelligence chief, since the Cast Lead Operation all has been calm. Very few shells have come out of Gaza (mostly mortars) and no Israeli soldiers or civilians have been killed either by rockets or terror attacks in the past year (2009 – not including the Operation itself). But it is very deceptive as all sides rearm and retrain.
In Israel there is the continuing media overemphasis on the deal to release Gilad Shalit. Everyone's heart goes out to him but releasing 1000 terrorists, many of them with multiple murders of Israelis on their hands will not increase security. Supposedly the Israeli armed services and the pro- Fatah Palestinian security apparatus (Gen. Dayton's force) will keep constant watch on those released.
Following the media time dedicated to the demands to release Shalit at "any price" and "immediately" one gets the impression such a move will solve all of Israel's problems. Any opposition to such a heavy price is brushed off. So here is the perfect palliative since very few want to fully delve into what lurks around the corner. The only serious hint of concern by the government is in the upcoming distribution of gas masks to the 70% of the population living in the north and central regions. The south is left out due to lack of funds. Hint – Hezbollah and Iran have chemical weapons, Hamas does not and the government is going on the assumption that the Iranians will not use such weapons on Beersheva and the Negev. Does anyone expect Iran to play by these rules?
Israel, the West or both need to neutralize the Iranian nuclear facilities before weapons can be produced and dropped on the Jewish State. (Note - most of Europe is in Iranian missile range as well.) Then all hell will break loose. Missiles and rockets from Iran, Gaza and south Lebanon can be expected to land all over Israel, completely covering the country, Tel Aviv will lose its bubble status enjoyed over the past 19 years, previously lost in 1991 when Iraq's Saddam Hussein's scuds hit the city.
And what of Syria? That is anyone's guess. They can be expected to weigh the odds of "loss-gain" and then decide whether to join the fray or not. Assad will enjoy his wild card status.
But that's not all. Although there should be contingency plans the expectation in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) is for Gen. Dayton's force to keep the Fatah Palestinians out of the fray and hold back any Hamas challenge. The chances of such an eventuality recede when releasing 1000 Hamas terrorists. With Israel facing a very destructive missile war it is naïve to believe they will stay out of the anti-Israel line up. Hamas will be emboldened, garnering more support through the prisoner deal and openly challenging Pres. Mahmoud Abbas and PM Salam Fayyad for control of the West Bank. No one knows whether Gen. Dayton's force and the populace will remain loyal to Fatah. If not, Israel will be forced to put down a major uprising similar to that of the Low Intensity Conflict – LIC (AKA – Second Intifada) of 2000-04. This will involve tens of thousands of troops. The absolute worst case scenario is the Dayton fo rce taking up arms against Israel, a rerun of the Palestinian Authority police actions at the outset of the 2000 LIC.
The ripple effect will hit Israeli Arabs or "Palestinian Arabs with Israeli citizenship" as many define themselves. Will they too rebel, at least in part as happened with the pro-Palestinian demonstrations turned riots in October 2000 in support of Yasir Arafat's LIC? Nine years ago the Triangle in the Wadi Ara region and the central Galilee were completely shut down cutting off much of the north from the rest of the country. During the 2006 Second War in Lebanon there were pro-Hezbollah demonstrations but as aggravating as they were to Israeli Jews (and many Arabs as well) they remained peaceful.
Gilad Shalit as the great smoke screen will continue to dominate public discourse. Life is a bit too calm and most have lapsed into complacency. No real discussion exists about the response of West Bank Palestinians and Israeli Arabs should the Jewish State face an existential threat.
Israel is heading into the great unknown. Iran needs to be derailed from its nuclear plans and everyone else deterred. Anti-Israel ripple effects in the Arab/Moslem world can go much further than discussed above. Hence it is most important to contain and knock out Iran before we are all locked into a no-exit conflict. It is much better for Israel should the West to take action against Iran. Israel's capabilities are quite limited when adding in the necessity of defending against threats from Gaza, south Lebanon, possibly Syria and the unpredictable actions in the West Bank and among Israeli Arabs. For Israel to go it alone is extremely dangerous.
Western involvement however, will involve a price in the form of an agreement with the Fatah led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. This will inevitably lead to a two-state solution, not exactly with borders or conditions favorable to Israel.