Iran, Livni and the price of political stability

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On Sunday, Israeli military intelligence commanders sounded the alarm bells on Iran. Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, who commands the assessment division of the IDF's Military Intelligence Directorate, said that Iran is "sprinting towards a nuclear bomb."

 

Baidatz explained that the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency's handling of Iran's nuclear program "is not bringing results." He further warned that the international community's efforts to isolate Iran and place sanctions on it are failing.

 

Baidatz warned the Kadima-Labor-Shas government that, based on what the IAEA has already discovered, it's clear Iran currently possesses a third of the quantity of enriched uranium necessary to make an atomic bomb. What he did not note is that Iran has multiple nuclear installations that it has not disclosed to the IAEA. Moreover, now that Iran has gotten a handle on the uranium enrichment process, it will not take the ayatollahs nearly as long to enrich the last two-thirds of the uranium needed for a bomb as it took them to enrich the first third.

 

From Baidatz's briefing, and from what we already have learned about the international community's failure to unify around the need to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it's apparent that the only way to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power is to bomb its nuclear installations. Only a military strike can prevent Iran from getting the bomb. And the only countries that can possibly be expected to perform such a service to humanity are Israel and the U.S.

 

Unfortunately, it is fairly clear today that President Bush, in his waning months in the Oval Office, will take not military action against Iran. Since Bush in May 2007gave Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice full control over U.S. policy toward Iran, Rice has made appeasing Tehran rather than confronting it the goal of American policy. It is all but impossible to foresee this policy changing – despite its self-evident failure – before Bush leaves office in January.

 

That leaves Israel. But Israel has no coherent government at the moment. Sunday evening Prime Minister Ehud Olmert officially submitted his resignation to President Shimon Peres. Olmert now heads a transition government that will remain in power either until Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni forms a government or until elections are held and the winners form a government.

 

The central question, then, is what serves Israel's interests better: a coalition led by Livni that spares Israel months of political instability, or months of political instability ahead of general elections that will bring to power a new government with a fresh mandate from the Israeli public?

 

Livni, her allies in Kadima, many Labor Party members, and the non-Zionist Meretz and Shas parties claim that the best thing for Israel is political stability and the worst is political instability. They argue that chances for peace with the Palestinians and Syria may slip away if there is no continuity in government. They also say that in light of "the great threats" (meaning Iran) that Israel faces, now is no time for political distractions like elections.

 

Opposing Livni and her allies is Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who argues that Israel needs elections now despite the instability that such elections would necessarily entail. Netanyahu points out that Livni — who was elected last week by less than 20,000 Kadima voters to replace Olmert as Kadima's leader in a primary election riddled by accusations of vote fraud whose results are now being contested in the courts – has no legitimate claim to the premiership. She represents no one, was elected by no one, and may not even be the legitimate leader of Kadima.

 

Beyond that, Netanyahu claims, Livni's demonstrated incompetence in the foreign ministry makes her unfit to lead Israel in a dangerous time. Moreover, Netanyahu and his allies argue that there is no chance whatsoever of making peace with either the Palestinians or the Syrians today and the government's embrace of the PLO and Syrian dictator and Iranian proxy Bashar Assad harms Israel's national security.

 

Sitting on the fence waiting to see who offers them the best deal are Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and his supporters in Kadima. Rather than accept Livni's authority after losing the primary to her by a mere 431 votes, Mofaz announced he was taking a break from politics. Mofaz's supporters allege that Livni used fraud to win her narrow victory and have contested the results. These Kadima members could leave the party and rejoin Likud in exchange for safe seats on Likud's Knesset list.

 

Also sitting on the fence is Labor Party Chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Barak sees no advantage to accepting Livni's authority. Doing so will simply increase her chances of defeating him in general elections. Moreover, Livni's dubious electioneering maneuvers against Mofaz have tarnished her image as the Mrs. Clean of Israeli politics and likely harmed her prospects in general elections if she fails to form a coalition and is forced to stand for election. On the other hand, Barak's fellow Labor Party members and cabinet ministers wish to join forces with Livni to prevent elections.

 

It is impossible to foretell how this drama will unfold. But it can only be hoped that Netanyahu gets his wish and elections are called. Since Olmert, Livni and then-defense minister Amir Peretz led Israel to its first military defeat in the war with Hizbullah two years ago, Kadima and Labor have continuously claimed that in spite of their failures, what Israel needs most is political stability and so they must not be forced to seek a mandate from the public for their continuation in office. And with the support of their backbenchers in the Knesset, they have over and over again blocked the public's right to choose.

 

But far from securing Israel, the "stability" they have provided has simply moved the country from failure to failure. Their failure in the war with Iran's Lebanese proxy army was followed by their failure to prevent Hamas – Iran's Palestinian proxy – from taking over Gaza. They've also failed to stop Iran from arming Hamas to the teeth and so transforming Gaza into the new Lebanon. And they failed to prevent Iran's postwar takeover of Lebanon through Hizbullah this past May.

 

Rather than confront Iran's proxies, they have compounded the dangers by legitimizing Iran's Syrian proxy by initiating negotiations towards the surrender of the Golan Heights with Iran's man in Damascus, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. And they compounded the dangers of Hamas's takeover of Gaza by negotiating the surrender of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria with Fatah, and so showed Iran and its proxies that no matter what they do to Israel, Israel will continue to cough up land to them.

 

As for Iran itself, Olmert, Livni and their colleagues have failed to garner any significant international support for confronting Tehran. Indeed, it is they who have overseen Israel's relations with the U.S. as Washington has effectively abandoned the cause of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

 

This is not the team Israel needs to lead it. And though it's true Israel will go through a period of increased volatility as its neighbors take advantage of the power vacuum in Jerusalem, that mustn't deter it from moving toward elections. As Iran sprints toward a nuclear bomb, the only way Israel can stop the mullahs from securing the means to destroy the Jewish state is by electing leaders who will have the courage to attack Iran.

 
Originally published in The Jewish Press.

 

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13 Comments

  • Jay 09/24/2008 at 23:59

    This is a very scary time for Israel and the West. We could see the beginning of Ezekiel’s War. New York Times best selling author Joel Rosenberg has outlined all of the major players and events in his book Epicenter. There are several facts which are undeniable.
    First, Russia continues to forward deploy more elements of its Black Sea fleet from the Ukraine to Syria and is renovating its naval facilities there.
    Second, they continue to arm Iran, Syria, and Libya with high-tech weapons. For example, last year, Russia made a $7 billion arms agreement with Libya.
    Third, Turkey recently formed an military and economic alliance with Iran. It’s only a matter of time before they withdraw from NATO and force the U.S. and other members to pull their forces out of Turkey.
    Fourth, Iranian influence in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories continues to grow as Hamas and Hezbollah continue to prepare for a new war against the Jewish State.
    Fifth, Russia has repeatedly blocked U.S. efforts to punish Iran for its nuclear weapons programs at the U.N.
    Sixth, misguided U.S. and EU efforts to divide Jerusalem will increase the risk of war, not peace in the Middle East. This is also evidenced by Secretary Rice’s failed efforts in the Gaza Strip and by forcing Israel to pull back the Rafah border crossing

    Reply
  • Jay 09/25/2008 at 0:29

    NY Times best selling author Joel Rosenberg has said the following repeatedly over the years: To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it. Unless the Israel and the West wake up and realize soon who Putin and Ahmadinejad are and what they, we will be ill-prepared for the horrors that lay ahead.

    Reply
  • Marc Handelsman, USA 09/25/2008 at 1:45

    As long as unstable Kadima remains in power, there will be instability in Israel. Iran and Syria sense weakness with Israel’s resolve, and are taking advantage of the situation. Israel’s strategic deterrent is dormant, and Iran’s proxies are ready to strike. The price of political instability is very costly for Israel, and maintaining mediocre continuity is unacceptable. It’s obvious that Iran will obtain nuclear weapons soon, and diplomacy will not stop them. The only way to contain Iran is by military force. Israel needs to return Likud to power, and confront Iran.

    Reply
  • Dan 09/25/2008 at 8:24

    THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR THE WHOLE WORLD, not just Israel, not just The United States, but for the entire world, is that Tehran’s Manhattan Project be obliterated.
    Not checked.
    Not degraded.
    Not placed in stasis through bueaucratic maneuvers.
    None of that.
    That Manhattan Project must be thoroughly, entirely and comprehensively eradicated.
    When the Allies struck at the 3d Reich’s experimental weapons facilities in Pannemunde, {sp?} they just didn’t go after physical structures.
    They went too for the personnel that staffed the site, for the scientists that were making the weapons reality.
    Iran’s nuclear team has to be wiped out as well.
    Diplomacy has repeatedly been tried, and it has repeatedly failed.
    Sanctions are futile, for the “international community” refuses to implement any sanction regime that’s worth the while.
    So what’s left?
    Diplomacy has failed.
    Economic means won’t ever be applied to truly deter Tehran.
    So what’s left?
    Moreover, Tehran has hardened many of the sites.
    Review of the use of bunker-busters in Iraq, against hardened targets, proved their destructive power much less than advertised.
    I’m convinced that the only way to get through the intense hardening that Iran has surrounded their nuclear facilities with, ———– tactical nuclear weapons will need to be used.
    Repeat that.
    Tactical nuclear strikes will be necessary to penetrate the hardening surrounding key Iranian nuclear installations.
    And what’s more, repeated salvos might be needed for some targets that are capable of withstanding tactical nuclear strikes.
    We need to recall that Germany and Russia were contracted to harden some of the targets.
    So we’re not talking some Keystone Cop operation here. Rest assured, the Germans and the Russians hardened those facilities as much as humanly possible.
    So what’s left?
    I said years ago that Bush couldn’t be relied upon, for the simple reason that whatever appetite he ever had to grapple with these problems was gone.
    And now my country, The United States, is on the verge of electing the most radical Lefty who ever got a Presidential nomination.
    Israel has to lay down the law.
    And tell Washington that either you send in your Air and Naval Air, ————– or we’re going to be left with little option but tactical nuclear strikes against those facilities.
    Washington is ignoring you.
    There’s no other conclusion possible.
    Biden articulated as much, when he told an Israeli delegation that Israel would have to “reconcile” themselves to Iran going nuke.
    But it’s not just Biden, ————– it’s now bipartisan, it’s State, it’s CIA, it’s Lugar, it’s Condi, it’s Gates, it’s the Joint Chiefs, ————————- it’s just about everybody.
    Except McCain.
    But how do we know that if he’s elected, he’ll have the nerve to impose his will on a bureaucracy in widespread rebellion against him and his policies.
    This is going to get grim, grim beyond all telling.

    Reply
  • marcel cousineau 09/25/2008 at 15:01

    ‘This is not the team Israel needs to lead it’
    But it is most likely the team who will lead Israel.The people look to everyone but God and
    like Olmert ,the majority are tired and so they will fall for the sweet lies of peace in our time again.
    It’s nice of Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz to just give us the warning on the threat from Iran and leave out the growing Pakistani threat,the Russian threat,the failure of Israel’s false god America to save them and on and on.
    Jesus spoke about this generation and those who would look to political sources (themselves) for their security and not God.
    “and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
    Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”
    Luke 21:26
    Those who look to mere men for leadership will be the first to be overwhelmed with stress,fear,heart attacks and insanity with what God is sending upon the earth.
    Your idols McCain,Livni,Netanyahu,Obama will not save you.
    Your terror and fear will grow daily.
    The God of Israel is in control ,not Kadima or Labor or Likud or the U.S. and those who trust in Him have real peace in the midst of this growing hellstorm which will fall on the head of every wicked soul.
    Those who trust in lies are nervous and getting ulcers along with more sleepless night’s and heart problems.
    We haven’t seen anything yet.The talk grows daily about the collpase of America and preperatins for martial law,something unthinkable only a few months ago.
    The pressure of everything being shaken is too much for even the strongest among us to bear.There is only one real answer and it is not the latest huckster politician or perverted, corrupt,bankrupt nation.
    Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding
    In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
    Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
    Proverbs 3

    Reply
  • Saint Michael Traveler 09/25/2008 at 16:41

    Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Iran, USA & Israel
    The whole issue of conflict with Iran is about control of the sources of energy, oil and nuclear fuel. The efforts to monopolize nuclear fuel production started in 1978, when the Nuclear Suppliers Group tried to impose restrictions on the right of developing countries to enrich their own uranium, a right. Since Article IV of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ensures access to peaceful uses of nuclear technology for non-nuclear weapon states, the technology for uranium enrichment must be permitted to all states under the current nonproliferation regime. Countries like Iran therefore, are permitted to develop their own enrichment technology for peaceful nuclear energy production.
    The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) is a USA initiative. GNEP monopolizes nuclear fuel production and waste management infrastructure.
    Global Nuclear Power Infrastructure (GNPI) is a Russian initiative.
    Russia will retain exclusive control of all sensitive enrichment technology.
    Both GNEP and GNPI monopolize production of nuclear fuel. Any nation who would have nuclear reactor but can not control the supplier of nuclear fuel is not an independent nation. The case of Iran and Russia as supplier of the fuel demonstrates my argument. The Iranian problem for receiving from Russia fuel for Bushehr, Iran Nuclear Reactor was co-opted by the USA forcing Iran to initiate her own fuel production.
    Iran has argued for an international nuclear fuel consortium to operate Iranian nuclear enrichment. Iranians assert that this international cooperative arrangement and IAEA oversight together will eliminate USA fear that Iran is attempting to use the technology to develop nuclear weapon.
    Unless we are monopolizing nuclear fuel production and restrict energy-independence of nations such as India and Iran, we should allow an international nuclear fuel consortium to operate Iranian nuclear enrichment.

    Reply
  • Ricky 09/25/2008 at 21:18

    Sanctions could do the job on Iran. The puzzle is that Russia and China are blocking sanctions. Iran is Russia’s proxy. Russia is an oil exporter and China is an oil importer. Yet both support Iran’s nuclear push.
    Until we understand the motives of Russia and China, we don’t understand the situation.

    Reply
  • Bill K. 09/26/2008 at 8:09

    Israel is between a rock and a hard place now. No matter what it does it is in for a really tough time. Such are the rotten fruits of appeasement.
    The last chance Israel had to make things better was in the 2006 Lebanon war where it could have eradicated Hezbollah, Hamas and ended the Syrian regime of Assad. Instead Israel wasted time and men in pointless skirmishes. For example, that raid on an apartment building in Tyre, Lebanon by Israeli commandos to kill some Hezbollah operatives while sparing the other occupants of the building. This was slavish compliance with “just war” dictates that demand that every effort be made to prevent enemy civilian deaths. Obviously this is no way to fight and win a war. Enemy civilians can be as legitimate a target as the enemy soldiers. Never send a man where you can send a bomb should be the guiding policy for the IDF. However, I digress.
    As Ms. Glick has stated Iran is rapidly manufacturing enough material to build a nuclear weapon. The problem for Israel is that it does not have the conventional weaponry to stop Iran now. Only the United States can do this. Any attack on Iran has to be absolutely massive from the outset, on the order of hundreds of bombers and tens of thousands of bombs, to stop the expected Iranian counterattack dead in its tracks.
    This is why the United States does not want Israel to bomb Iran. The U.S. would inevitably be drawn into the war. This is a war we should fight as Iran is responsible for the deaths of thousands of our soldiers and civilians in Iraq and Lebanon but obviously the appeasers also infest the Bush Administration.
    Since Israel can’t stop Iran and the United States won’t stop the Iran, Israel has only one choice left: take its nuclear arsenal out of the closet. Show these weapons to the world and vow that any country that attacks Israel with nuclear weapons will utterly annihilated. Since Israel has not ratified the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, setting off a nuke in a deep hole in the desert would drive the point home to the mullahs in Iran and the wimps in Washington, D.C.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Comprehensive_Nuclear-Test-Ban_Treaty_signatories

    Reply
  • Grumpy Old Man 09/26/2008 at 13:07

    Here is Caroline Glick, an intelligent woman unhinged by Zionist hysteria, advocating a war of aggression, and lamenting that George Bush does not initiate one more war before diving into the Dumpster of history.
    They hanged Nazis after Nuremberg for this sort of thing. Why not Likudniks?
    It’s become academic, anyway. They’re printing money for the bailout, so none will be left for Caroline’s war. Perhaps this economic crisis will be ended by war, as was the Great Depression, but the pumped-up “enemy of democracy” won’t be Iran, but Russia or China.

    Reply
  • Bob 09/26/2008 at 14:21

    I agree 100%..Israel has been pretty much abandoned by all, with the possible exception of the US — But if BO is elected (and it would be with the help the American Jewish community ) Israel will be under the bus with grandmother– his mentors and advisors are anti-Jewish , anti-Israel or ,the majority , both — There will be no peace with Iran, Syria, or the Palestinians until someone is elected who is known to be willing to destroy them militarily — you may have help from McCain but BO will invite you to the under side of the bus without hesitation

    Reply
  • Timothy Kriete FOR ISRAEL FOREVER Genesis 12:1-3,Isaiah 62,Habakkuk 2:1-3 AMEN 09/27/2008 at 10:45

    Caroline Glick STAY STRONG BABY GIRL AND IGNORE
    THE FOOLS AMEN :):):):):):):)

    Reply
  • Timothy Kriete FOR ISRAEL Genesis 12:1-3,Isaiah 11:12 & 62,Jeremiah 31:1-34 AMEN 09/28/2008 at 8:33

    FEAR NOT MY PRECIOUS BROTHERS AND SISTER, TRUST
    IN THE LORD OUR GOD AND LEAN NOT UPON THY OWN
    UNDERSTANDING PROVERBS 3:1-12 PRAISE THE LORD!

    Reply
  • Timothy Kriete FOR ISRAEL Genesis 12:1-3,Isaiah 11:12 & 62,Jeremiah 31:1-34 AMEN 09/28/2008 at 8:33

    FEAR NOT MY PRECIOUS BROTHERS AND SISTER, TRUST
    IN THE LORD OUR GOD AND LEAN NOT UPON THY OWN
    UNDERSTANDING PROVERBS 3:1-12 PRAISE THE LORD!

    Reply

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