The Passionate Attachment

America's unrequited love for Israel

Archive for June 2012

Does Israel really fear Jihad terrorism from a post-Assad Syria?

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
June 29, 2012

According to an article yesterday in Ynet, the Israeli military fears that “global Jihad terrorists will launch attacks from Syria” if President Bashar Assad’s regime falls. The Israeli newspaper reported:

Army officials are not ruling [sic] a situation whereby terrorists will take advantage of the chaos that may follow a regime change in Damascus to seize control of the border region, as was the case in the Sinai Peninsula after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.

Over the past few months the 36th Armored Division (Ga’ash), which is in charge of security along the border, has been gearing for a number of possible scenarios, including a cross-border attack by global jihad, which is operating in Syria against Assad’s regime.

The IDF fears the Horan region, near the border with Israel, will become a “no man’s land” and a hotbed of terrorism. Military officials are not ruling out the possibility of rocket fire from Syria and attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians.

But if Israel is so concerned about global Jihad terrorists getting a foothold in Syria, then why is its American lobby leading the push for regime change in Damascus? Anyone who has been paying the slightest attention to websites such as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Foreign Policy Initiative or Foundation for Defense of Democracies over the past year and a half knows how fervently pro-Israelis have been urging Washington to topple Assad.

To cite but one example, in November last year Foreign Policy Initiative and Foundation for Defense of Democracies jointly issued a discussion paper that outlined “policy options for the United States and like-minded nations to further assist the anti-regime Syrian opposition.” Entitled “Towards a Post-Assad Syria,” the paper advocated imposing “crippling sanctions” on the regime and providing assistance to opposition groups, including no-fly/no-go zones.

Foreign Policy Initiative co-founder Bill Kristol also heads the Emergency Committee for Israel, which specializes in producing videos attacking any politician, including President Obama, it deems to be insufficiently supportive of the Jewish state. Unless Kristol et al. are pursuing an agenda on Syria opposed by Tel Aviv — which is most unlikely — then why have they been promoting a policy that the IDF says will lead to global Jihad terrorists launching attacks on Israel? Could they be that stupid? Or could it be that Israeli strategists welcome the chaos that its army officials supposedly fear?

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

June 29, 2012 at 11:28 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The Wake-Up May Be Too Late

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By Philip Giraldi
The Passionate Attachment
June 27, 2012

Is it possible that Americans are finally waking up to the dangers resulting from Washington’s involvement in Israel’s foreign policy? In the New York Times on June 24th there was an astonishing feature opinion piece by Professor Misha Glenny writing from London about “A Weapon We Can’t Control.” The editorial slammed the “decision by the United States and Israel to develop and then deploy the Stuxnet computer worm against an Iranian nuclear facility,” describing the development as a “significant and dangerous turning point in the gradual militarization of the internet.” Glenny warned that to use such a devastating weapon in peacetime will “very likely lead to the spread of similar and still more powerful offensive cyberweaponry across the Internet,” also noting that “virus developers generally lose control of their inventions, which will inevitably seek out and attack the networks of innocent parties.”

Glenny also mentioned the second generation Flame virus, developed jointly by Israel and the US, and which has now spread to computers throughout the Middle East.

On the same day in the same issue of the Times, Jimmy Carter chimed in with an op-ed, “A Cruel and Unusual Record,” which asserted that “Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended.” Carter did not mention Israel or name President Obama, but the decade long transition of the United States into a nation that believes itself to be above the law, following the Israeli example, would have been all too clear for the reader.

One day before the editorial and op-ed’s appearance, there was also another emperor’s new clothes moment at the Times. Regular columnist Nicholas Kristof had just completed a trip across Iran with his family in tow. And guess what? He found in “Not-So-Crazy in Tehran” that Iran was a “complex country,” not a police state, has a “vigorous parliament and news media,” and most university students are women who later obtain important jobs after graduation. Kristof’s advice? “Let’s not bluster…or operate on caricatures. And let’s not choose bombs over sanctions…”

I would add that it is about time that people in the United States begin to realize that unlimited support of Israel has turned US foreign policy into the poison that is bidding to destroy the republic.

Alas, over the same weekend that the Times was possibly coming to its senses, Mitt Romney was meeting in Park City Utah with his large donors. At a breakout session to discuss his support of Israel he revealed that he speaks regularly with Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to get advice on the Middle East. Unseemly does not begin to describe such an arrangement, as Oren is not exactly a disinterested party re the advice he is giving. Oh, and Bill Kristol and Michael Chertoff also spoke to the pro-Israel group.

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

June 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

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WINEP: Penetrate Iran’s Electronic Curtain to Change Tehran’s Mindset

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
June 27, 2012

In a Washington Institute policy analysis entitled “Iran Confident As Sanctions Tighten,” Patrick Clawson and Mehdi Khalaji claim that Tehran “sees itself in a strong position relative to the West and therefore believes it has little reason to be forthcoming in nuclear negotiations.” In addition to calling for “additional sanctions” to help change “this mindset,” the Israel lobby think-tankers conclude with this suggestion:

Finally, while Iran’s leaders are no democrats, they are influenced by public opinion. The chances of getting through to them will therefore improve if the West is able to communicate to ordinary Iranians the realities of their country’s situation. This need underlines the importance of penetrating the regime’s electronic curtain, as President Obama emphasized in his March 20 address to the Iranian people.

Penetrating Iran’s electronic curtain by communicating to ordinary Iranians? Sounds like a job for Jared Cohen and friends.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

June 27, 2012 at 11:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

How the Arab Spring pushed Russia into Israel’s lap

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
June 27, 2012

In a June 15 Insight for the Institute for Israeli National Security Studies (INSS) entitled “Russian Policies in an Era of Change,” Zvi Magen observes in relation to President Putin’s visit to Israel:

Russia’s standing in the region was undermined by the Arab Spring, when it lost most of the strongholds it had worked hard and long to construct. Now Russia is finding itself challenged by Islam’s rising power and is feeling isolated in the Arab world.

Magen, a former Israeli ambassador to Moscow, goes on to suggest:

In this new reality, it seems that some part of Russia’s interests is also in changing its Middle East policy; the echoes of this discussion on the intra-Russian scene are loaded. Some of the questions on the agenda are the need for an alternative to the radical axis with Russian involvement in the Middle East, which is crumbling before its eyes, as well as the establishment of new levers of influence in this critical area to replace those that have been lost.

Looking at how Israel fits into these developments, the former ambassador claims:

It seems that, in this new reality, Moscow senses that Russia and Israel are in the same boat, allowing the former to view the latter as a desirable partner in the region.

Writing in a June 24 op-ed in The Moscow Times, Andrei Kozhinov, director for Russian affairs at the Jerusalem-based rightwing Israel Project, strikes a similar note:

The Arab Spring is not perceived as a positive regional development because it has led to the rise of radical Islam. The Kremlin’s fear is that there may be a spillover effect in the North Caucasus and Central Asia.

President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Israel on Monday might be part of a new Kremlin policy toward Jerusalem. Israel is seen as a prosperous and stable regional power whose interests often coincide with Moscow’s. For example, Israel and Russia have strained relations with Turkey, and both fear the turbulence of radical Islam. Economically, trade between the two countries is growing, as is military and homeland-­security cooperation.

Citing Kozhinov’s piece, influential foreign policy commentator Walter Russell Mead adds:

The shared interests of the two countries cover some important ground: they oppose Turkey’s ambition to become a regional hegemon, they distrust the Obama administration’s support of democracy even when that leads to Islamist regimes and they both fear the rise of Sunni Islamism as a dangerous and destabilizing force.

Mead, known to be sympathetic to Israel, also observes:

Putin will find this a refreshing conversation; unlike American diplomats and their talk of universal principles and global order, it’s likely that the Israelis will speak the language of national interests that Putin prefers.

Commenting on Mead’s piece, Zack Beauchamp, writing in the rightwing pro-Israel Tablet Magazine, implies in a somewhat threatening tone that this should make the U.S. think twice before putting any pressure on Tel Aviv:

The unstated implication is that Bibi will find a conversation free of human rights discourse equally refreshing. What this suggests is that Washington’s ability to pressure Israel is directly dependent on the degree to which Israel relies on American financial and political support. Cut Israel off completely and it’ll find new friends, perhaps ones less interested in nudging Israel towards a deal with its Arab neighbors. It’s true that those new friends might not support Israel as fully as the U.S. does, but it’s not clear that this discrepancy would be enough to force Israel to accede to American terms.

In light of these overlapping analyses, it would appear that the Arab Spring has induced Russia to consider a closer relationship with Israel, which would afford Tel Aviv even greater leverage in its “special relationship” with the United States. Despite the much-touted Israeli fears of the winds of change blowing across the region, it appears to have been an ill wind…

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

June 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm

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Who’s Afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood?

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
June 24, 2012

Apparently not Washington. Ahram Online reports on a press conference held by Egyptian secular and liberal parties on Saturday. Of particular interest are the remarks made by Osama Ghazali Harb, co-founder of Democratic Front Party:

Several speakers at the press conference further condemned what they believe to be US intervention in Egypt’s domestic affairs. Harb claimed the US was pressuring SCAF to hand over power to the Muslim Brotherhood.

“We refuse that the reason someone wins is because he is backed by the Americans,” said Harb demanding that the Brotherhood should refuse US intervention.

While most observers will either ignore or dismiss Harb’s claim, readers of The Passionate Attachment will not be surprised to hear that Washington is backing the Arab Spring-facilitated Islamist takeover of Egypt.

UPDATE: Senator Lieberman and Senator McCain’s statement on Egypt suggests that Tel Aviv also favours an end to military rule:

“In the days and weeks ahead, we believe it is critical for Egypt’s democratic transition to continue moving forward – including restoring legislative power to an elected parliament and the drafting of a constitution that guarantees the rights of all and empowers an elected civilian government.”

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

June 24, 2012 at 11:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

WINEP: Washington “need not be too worried” about Putin’s trip to Israel

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
June 24, 2012

Reading Simon Henderson’s policy alert on President Putin’s “working visit” to Israel next week, one might get the impression that the Washington Institute for Near East Policy was created by the America lobby to influence Tel Aviv rather than the other way around:

For the United States, Putin’s trip demonstrates that there is competition for diplomatic leadership in the Middle East; in his view, Israel, the Palestinians, and Jordan have options other than Washington. Putin’s direct talks with regional leaders will be aimed at forcing them to judge which partnership they prefer on certain issues. Although Washington need not be too worried about this, it should press its partners, particularly Israel, to make sure U.S. perspectives are given due prominence during the discussions.

Considering Washington’s abysmal record on pressuring Israel to do anything, Henderson’s suggestion can be taken as pro forma. If there is something the U.S. needs to be worried about here, it’s that the Israel lobby is attempting to play both sides against each other.

UPDATE: The BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus writes suggestively:

The current instability in the Middle East prompts a cautious stance on the part of Moscow. But it is clear that this is something of a hinge moment for Russia.

Its old partnerships are under pressure or very much in decline. New relationships beckon but these are early days yet.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

June 24, 2012 at 9:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Israel lobby-created anti-Iran astroturf group employs Gene Sharp methods

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
June 22, 2012

In an article entitled “Israel Lobby Creates Anti-Iran Astroturf Group,” Richard Silverstein describes the “double life” of Iran180:

On the one hand it attempts to be a serious human rights organization. But it has a Jekyll/Hyde identity as a rough-and-tumble agitprop street theater group featuring giant puppets acting the part of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and various other Middle Eastern tyrants like Bashar Assad and Muammar Gadhafi.

None of this would be out of bounds… until you examine the product of Iran180′s street theater. In 2011, it hosted a float at San Francisco’s Gay Pride parade in which Ahmadinejad was sodomized by a nuclear missile. During the same event, Ahmadinejad fellated said missile. Last year, during UN demonstrations coinciding with the Iranian leader’s UN General Assembly speech, the group featured a gay Jewish wedding between Ahmadinejad and Assad in which they stood under a chuppah and broke a wedding glass. In another scene, the lovebirds take a drive in a horse-drawn carriage and one strokes the naked belly of the other.

If Iran180’s “street theater” sounds like something out of Gene Sharp’s 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action (.pdf), it may not be a coincidence that its single staff member, Chris DeVito, holds a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. The chairman of the Fletcher School is Peter Ackerman, a student of Sharp’s nonviolent warfare who funded his regime-changing work for two decades. Ackerman, chairman of the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, has been plotting regime change in Iran and Syria at least since 2005. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed entitled “Say You Want a Revolution,” Ackerman and Michael Ledeen wrote:

Freedom-loving people know what we want to see in Beirut, Damascus and Tehran: the central square bursting with citizens demanding an end to tyranny, massive strikes shutting down the national economy, the disintegration of security forces charged with maintaining order, and the consequent departure of the tyrants and the beginnings of a popularly elected government.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

June 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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