Saturday, August 26, 2006

Kofi Annan

"Kofi Annan": translation from the Hebrew = "Cafe in the Clouds"

iran and Syria fan war tensions

From DEBKAfile, August 24, 2006, 10:22 AM (GMT+02:00) ...

Tehran and Syria jointly fan war tensions to undermine America’s Security Council positions on Iran’s nuclear program and the Lebanese ceasefire

Our Washington and Jerusalem sources report intelligence predictions of an impending revival of the Lebanon war and its spread to the Golan. Tehran and Syria are turning up the heat to obstruct Western moves to curb Iran’s advance on a nuclear weapon and nullify the embargo on arms for Hizballah.

A senior Iranian spokesman announced Wednesday night, Aug. 23 that his government was on the brink of a “dramatic” nuclear development. Some Tehran sources surmise an announcement will be made on significant Iranian advances in uranium enrichment following a breakthrough in activating P-2 centrifuges. This would constitute blatant defiance of the UN and an affront to the six powers and their offer of incentives for halting enrichment.
Already, two days before Iran handed in its response to the offer, a Tehran official announced that the Arak heavy water plant would soon be operational. Iran had thus set its feet squarely on two tracks for achieving the fuel for a nuclear weapon – enriched uranium and plutonium.

[N.B. This Dry Bones cartoon was penned in 1983]

Damascus, for its part, has threatened three times in two days to close the Syrian-Lebanese border if a multinational force is posted there to monitor the arms embargo’s implementation. DEBKAfile’s military sources expect Syria to make good on its threat by staging violent incidents against any peacekeepers posted on the Lebanese border, matching them with skirmishes on the Syrian-Israeli border dividing the Golan. Hizballah will chime in with attacks on the Israeli troops deployed in South Lebanon until an international force can take over - and the UN-brokered ceasefire in Lebanon will come crashing down.

Wednesday night, Damascus and Tehran were shown to be in tight coordination when an Iranian official in Tehran revealed the rise in Syria of a new guerrilla group dedicated to challenging the IDF on the Golan in the same way that Hizballah fights Israel. He made it clear that Tehran was solidly behind Syria’s military initiatives.

Amid deep pessimism in the White House, the UN secretary Kofi Annan is being sent post haste to Israel, Lebanon and possibly Syria and Iran. Part of his mission will be to seek guarantees that Hizballah will refrain from shooting at multinational troops deployed in the south. To hold water, those guarantees must emanate from Syria and Iran. The key to easing the rising war tensions would be a substantial bribe for Tehran, such as a promise from Annan to block American moves for sanctions in the August 31 Security Council meeting on Iran’s non-compliance with the enrichment ban. Since the UN secretary cannot make such a promise, the war tension will continue to escalate and the prospect of a multinational force for Lebanon will remain elusive. No government is prepared to place its soldiers in the line of fire. But rather than blaming the impasse on the saber-rattling and intransigence of Tehran and Damascus, Israel will most probably be held to account for keeping its army in Lebanon and refusing to lift the air and sea embargo curbing the flow of arms to Hizballah.

Friday, August 25, 2006


From The New York Post, August 16, 2006, by ARTHUR HERMAN ...


HISTORIANS will look back at this weekend's cease-fire agreement in Lebanon as a pivotal moment in the war on terror. It is pivotal in the same sense that the Munich agreement between Adolf Hitler and Neville Chamberlain was pivotal in an earlier battle against the enemies of freedom. The accord in October 1938 revealed to the world that the solidarity of the Western allies was a sham, and that the balance of power had shifted to the fascist dictators.

Resolution 1701 shows that, for the time being at least, the balance has likewise shifted to the terrorists and their state sponsors. Like Munich, it marks the triumph of the principle of putting off until tomorrow what needs to be done today. Like Munich, it will mean not peace in our time, but a bigger war in our future.

In that sense, the cease-fire may be even more momentous than Munich, and a greater blunder. In 1938 Chamberlain and other appeasers had the excuse that they were trying to prevent an armed conflict no one wanted. Today, of course, that conflict is already here.

.... Israel has sacrificed lives and treasure, and had its honor dragged through the mud of international opinion, for no purpose. America squandered its political capital at the start of the crisis by getting moderate Arab regimes to condemn Hezbollah instead of Israel. They did so because they thought Hezbollah was about to be annihilated. However, they soon realized their mistake. They now know Tehran and Damascus will set the agenda in the Middle East, not Washington. The Arab League's support for this U.N.-brokered deal is just one more measure of our strategic failure.

The other loser is Lebanon. The price of peace in 1938 was de jure dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, as Germany annexed the Sudetenland. The price of Resolution 1701 is de facto dismemberment of Lebanon. A large, well-armed terrorist army acting at the behest of a foreign power now controls the southern half of Lebanon, and pulls the strings in the other half. The facade of Lebanese self-government has been preserved. As a territorial state, it may even last longer than Czechoslovakia did (Hitler gave the Czechs five months before he annexed the rest of their country).

But other states in the region will have learned their lesson. Faced by an internal terrorist organization, especially one with links with Tehran, they will have to make accommodations. No white knight in the guise of U.S. Marines will ride to their rescue; no Israeli tanks and F-16s will do their dirty work for them. Appeasement will be the order of the day.

That includes Iraq. The disarming of Sunni and Shia militias, the necessary first step to ending sectarian violence there, will be postponed - perhaps for good. On the contrary, this crisis has taught Iraq's Shia minority that extremism pays, particularly the Iranian kind.

.... Iran has emerged as the clear champion of anti-Israeli feeling and radical Islam. The Iranians have their useful puppet in Syria; they have their proxy armies in place with Hezbollah and Hamas. They have been able to install missiles, even Revolutionary Guards, in Lebanon with impunity. Sunni regimes in the region will move to strike their own deals with Iran, just as Eastern European states did with Germany after Czechoslovakia. That includes Iraq; the lesson will not be lost on Russia and China, either. And all the while, the Iranians proceed with their nuclear plans - with the same impunity.

Finally, the other winners are the conventional diplomats at the State Department, especially Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns. In a narrow professional sense, appeasement is their business. They never saw the point to a "war on terror they are delighted to take back the initiative from the hawks at the Pentagon and the White House.

The war in Iraq has clearly sapped the moral strength of the Bush administration. The men of Munich acquiesced to Hitler because another world war like the first seemed unthinkable. The Bush administration clearly feels it cannot face another major confrontation even with a second-rate power like Iran. Yet by calling off the war on terror, it has only postponed that conflict.

"We have passed an awful milestone in our history," Winston Churchill said after the Munich agreement was signed. "Do not suppose this is the end . . . This is only the first sip, the first foretaste, of a bitter cup that will be proffered to us year by year." Despite the failure of appeasement, Churchill still believed the Western democracies would make the "supreme recovery" and take up the banner for freedom again. The United States and the forces of democracy will recover from this debacle - even with a Democratic Congress in 2006 and a Democratic president in 2008. The reason will not be because Bush's opponents have a better strategy, or a clearer vision, or even a Winston Churchill waiting in the wings. It will be because our enemies will give us no choice.

Less than a year after Munich, Nazi panzers rolled into Poland. Instead of fighting a short, limited war over Czechoslovakia, the Western democracies ended up fighting a world war, the most destructive in history. The war with the mullahs of Iran is coming. It is only a question of whether it will be at a time or on a ground of our choosing, or theirs - and whether it is fought within the shadow of a mushroom cloud.

Arthur Herman is the author most recently of "To Rule The Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World." He is completing a book on Churchill and Gandhi.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


From a 52-page report entitled IRAN, ITS NEIGHBOURS AND THE REGIONAL CRISES, sdited by Robert Lowe and Claire Spencer, has just been released by the Middle East Programme at Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs)....

Executive Summary
The Middle East is bedevilled by crises. The war between Hizbullah and Israel, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, the instability in Iraq and the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme create a climate of deep unease. Iran is involved in all these crises, to a greater or lesser degree, and its regional role is significant and growing. In applying pressure on Iran to cease support for Hizbullah, to refrain from hostility towards Israel, to resist meddling in Iraq and to abandon any thoughts of nuclear military capability, the United States hopes for the cooperation of Iran’s regional neighbours. However, Iran has successfully cultivated relations with its neighbours, even those Arab and Sunni states which fear its influence, and is in a position of considerable strength.

Iran is simply too important – for political, economic, cultural, religious and military reasons – to be treated lightly by any state in the Middle East or indeed Asia. The wars and continued weaknesses in Afghanistan and Iraq have further strengthened Iran, their most powerful immediate neighbour, which maintains significant involvement in its ‘near-abroad’. The US-driven agenda for confronting Iran is severely compromised by the confident ease with which Iran sits in its region.

Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology has recently dominated its relations with the Western powers, but not those with its regional neighbours. Understanding the dynamics of Iran’s relations with its neighbours helps explain why Iran feels able to resist Western pressure. While the US and Europeans slowly grind the nuclear issue through the mills of the IAEA and UN Security Council, Iran continues to prevaricate, feeling confident of victory as conditions turn ever more in its favour.

Iran’s domestic power structure is complex and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is only one of a number of players. His dramatic millenarian rhetoric attracts headlines, but the broader governing polity does share his robust conviction that Iran is the linchpin of a wide region and can maintain firm
independent positions.

Iran views Iraq as its own backyard and has now superseded the US as the most influential power there; this affords it a key role in Iraq’s future. Iran is also a prominent presence in its other war-torn neighbour with close social ties, Afghanistan. The Sunni Arab states of Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf are wary of Iran yet feel compelled by its strength to maintain largely cordial relations while Iran embarrasses their Western-leaning governments through its stance against the US.

Syria and Iran enjoy an especially close relationship, as most clearly seen in their alliance against the US and Israel, and support for Hizbullah. Iran’s relationship with Lebanon is long and intricate and the conflict between Israel and Hizbullah in July-August 2006 may be partly seen in the context of the broader struggle between Iran and the US/Israel. Israel certainly views Iran as its greatest threat and the tension between the two has increased.

The relationship between Iran and Turkey pivots between friendship and rivalry but Turkey favours good relations and the avoidance of further regional instability. Russia is a significant economic partner to Iran, is heavily involved in its nuclear programme, and tends to take the role of mediator at the international level.

The recent rapprochement between Iran and Pakistan remains ambiguous while Iran and India have notably improved ties, mostly on the basis of Indian energy needs. Energy security and economic ties also dominate Iran’s relations with China and Japan.

There is little doubt that Iran has been the chief beneficiary of the war on terror in the Middle East. The United States, with Coalition support, has eliminated two of Iran’s regional rival governments – the Taliban in Afghanistan in November 2001 and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in April 2003 – but has failed to replace either with coherent and stable political structures. The outbreak of conflict on two fronts in June–July 2006 between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, and Israel and Hizbullah in Lebanon has added to the regional dimensions of this instability.

Consequently, Iran has moved to fill the regional void with an apparent ease that has disturbed both regional players and the United States and its European allies. Iran is one of the most significant and powerful states in the region and its influence spreads well beyond its critical location at the nexus of the Middle East, Turkey, the Caucasus, Central Asia and South Asia. It is often viewed from a distant Western perspective or as the large and awkward non-Arab country dominating the eastern end of the Middle East. This report places Iran at the centre of its true neighbourhood and analyses its relations with key Asian and Eurasian states as well as with the Middle East. The strength of these relationships is a major factor in Iran’s self-confidence and regional power.....

An article in The Australian, 25/8/06, by Bronwen Maddox (of The Times) analyses the Chatham House report....

[The]... report from Chatham House...argues that the strength and complexity of Iran's links with Russia and its neighbours underpins its new confidence.

The report's most striking observation grabbed headlines yesterday, because of the embarrassment it implies for Britain's Tony Blair and US President George W.Bush.
Iran, it says, has been the "main beneficiary" of the Iraq war. But that is mainly because there is little competition for that title.

Iran has benefited, the authors say, because the US removed Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan, both hostile to Iran, and nothing much has filled the gap. Iran is now more influential in Iraq than the US.

The authors warn the US off conflict with Iran, lest it force the coalition to quit Iraq abruptly. They say the US's predicament in Iraq is why Iran seems so sure-footed in spinning out the nuclear saga to its advantage.

On the surface, Iran's response this week to an offer in June by the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China for talks on Tehran's nuclear program was uncompromising. It gave no hint that it would suspend uranium enrichment, as the US and Britain insist. But it wrapped up its response in a bundle of counter-demands that have stalled the is playing hardball, ahead of the UN deadline of August 31 for it to stop the controversial work.

The ......makes clear how Iran's confidence is rooted in its role as a regional power, and how hard it works at maintaining relations with other countries.

Russia and China are allies of expediency, the authors say. They are shrewd about Iran's complex relations with Turkey, and argue that "should Turkey's accession prospects (to the EU) be derailed, then Turkey is likely to pursue far more independent and nationalistic policies, including with regard to Iran".

The report is too dismissive of US and British accusations Iran is stirring the conflict in Iraq. It avoids judgment on whether Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. It appears sympathetic to Iran but not to Ahmadinejad, in the way writers who call themselves "pro-American" take pains to say they are not pro-Bush.

The Critical Importance of Israeli Public Diplomacy

From Institute for Contemporary Affairs, founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation, JERUSALEM ISSUE BRIEF, Vol. 6, No. 9, 23 August 2006, by Dr. Raanan Gissin...

  • Instead of the war being about Israel's right of self-defense, Hizballah was able to turn it around so that the issue on the international agenda became Israel's destruction of Lebanon. Israel should have been seen as the victim. We were being attacked. We were the ones who fulfilled all of the requirements of the game. We were true to the international border, we restrained ourselves, we held back. Why should it be that once we start attacking, we immediately start to lose in the diplomatic arena? Because Nasrallah and his patrons in Iran successfully integrated the "ABCs" of public diplomacy into their long-term strategic war doctrine.
  • Nasrallah ordered his men to remove their uniforms and blend into the population and continue to fight from within the population. In this way, when Israel attacks Hizballah, the scene is one of Israel moving against what appears to be a civilian population, even though rockets fired from these villages are striking Israel. Attacks on what looks like civilian targets can then be called "crimes against humanity" and "war crimes."
  • Israel now faces the "special forces" of the Iranian military, the best guerilla warfare units, in front-line positions. The whole concept of how they operate on the battlefield and in public diplomacy is directed by Iran. Over the last twenty-five years Iran has gradually created a global network, first forming an axis with Syria and then building up Hizballah, with Lebanon serving as a regional theater, part of Iran's global design in its confrontation with the West.
  • Israel had been operating on the assumption that Hizballah was a terrorist organization like Hamas or the PLO that had to be neutralized in order to bring about stability. But these are not merely terrorist gangs. This is an army - a well-trained, well-organized, and ideologically indoctrinated guerilla army - and Israel did not make that point strongly enough at the beginning of the war, neither to the world, nor to itself.
  • The conflict with Hizballah in Lebanon is a testing ground - like Spain in 1936 - for weapons, tactics, and doctrine of how Iran is going to fight the war when it comes to confront the West. Hizballah in south Lebanon with its 13,000 missiles represents a front-line position of Iran. Not surprisingly, Nasrallah reportedly found refuge in the Iranian embassy in Beirut when his underground headquarters came under Israel Air Force bombardment.
  • From the minute Israel left Lebanon in May 2000, Iran began to implement its initial plan for a takeover of Lebanon by Hizballah. First, it got into the political system and then from within it is trying to take over. Israel struck over two thousand Hizballah targets, and not only in south Lebanon. Hizballah is fully deployed in south Lebanon, Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and on the border with Syria. By looking at the targets that Israel struck, one can see the extent of the Hizballah takeover.

Changing Perceptions: From a Theater of War to a Crime Scene
Public diplomacy for any country, not just Israel, has gone global. While the conflict may be determined in local terms, such as Israel's fight against Hizballah, the ramifications of the action itself are global in nature. Therefore, public diplomacy must be geared toward the global scene.
Ever since 9/11, we have been in a different type of war. We were exposed for the first time to a global network of terrorist organizations, sort of a multi-national corporation of non-state actors.
On the Lebanese scene, through the careful manipulation of evidence, the theater of war has turned into a crime scene. Every action that Israel takes in Lebanon - with its densely populated villages that Israel must operate in because that's the only way that we can uproot the terrorists in them - creates an opportunity for the other side to use public diplomacy with global ramifications. Thus, instead of the war being about Israel's right of self-defense, Hizballah was able to turn it around so that the issue on the international agenda became Israel's destruction of Lebanon and Israel as the cause of world instability. The victim becomes the criminal....

[The article ie too lengthy for this forum. Follow this link for the full text.]


...Hizballah invests $15-20 million a year in its own TV station, Al Manar. That is more than the overall public relations (hasbara) budget of the State of Israel. Its broadcasts are pure propaganda, but they are professional and are carried worldwide via satellite and cable.
We need to recognize that the media is a tool and that it can serve as a weapons system. Hizballah is ten years ahead of Israel in the ability to use and manipulate the media for its strategic purposes. I don't want to underestimate the limitations that a democracy has in instituting a coherent long-term public diplomacy strategy, but thinking has to start about this as a strategic issue.

... From now on.... the role of public diplomacy is much greater. There are only two basic scenarios. Either you fight in densely populated areas on enemy territory, where the enemy is, or the enemy fights on yours. Israel is not a country that can absorb casualties. One of Israel's basic security principles is that it cannot afford to fight wars on its territory.

Israel's existence is based on deterrence. ... messing with Israel is too costly. This is a message that can set in motion the need to come to a political agreement with Israel.

The threat Israel faces is not just Hizballah, it's Iran, and we should alert the rest of the world to that...Tell them what we are facing, and then mobilize the world as well. Military action alone is insufficient.

The globalization of terror under the auspices of Iran is a much more formidable and more clear and present danger than the Iranian nuclear threat. The minute the Iranians get nuclear weapons, they may not immediately send them against Israel on their missiles. But this will give them the kind of protection and deterrence to use the methods that they're using now in Lebanon. For instance, if there was an Iranian terrorist coup in Egypt, the world would have to weigh any reaction differently if Iran had nuclear weapons.

The Iranians are coming, and we better read the writing on the wall. It is not in Arabic; it is in Persian, and it is still not too late to learn.

* * *
Dr. Raanan Gissin, a former senior advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is one of Israel's leading spokesmen to the foreign press and the international community on security and strategic issues.

Weapons deliveries enter Lebanon at an accelerated pace

From DEBKAfile, August 24, 2006, 6:21 PM (GMT+02:00) ...

AMAN chief reports container ships packed with weapons for Hizballah are being unloaded at Syria’s northern port of Latakia

The hardware from Iran is smuggled across the border and onward to South Lebanon, said Maj. General Amos Yadlin in his briefing to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee

Weapons deliveries through Syria are entering Lebanon at an accelerated pace, mostly by convoy through the northern Lebanese border. The Israeli Air Force is no longer impeding the traffic although it has been given an all-clear from Washington.

Israel may 'go it alone' against Iran

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Aug. 24, 2006, by Herb Keinon ...

Israel is carefully watching the world's reaction to Iran's continued refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, with some high-level officials arguing it is now clear that when it comes to stopping Iran, Israel "may have to go it alone," The Jerusalem Post has learned.

One senior source said on Tuesday ...expressed frustration that the Russians and Chinese were already saying that Iran's offer of a "new formula" and willingness to enter "serious negotiations" was an opening to keep on talking.... "This is similar to the world's attempts to appease Hitler in the 1930s - they are trying to feed the beast." He said there was a need to understand that "when push comes to shove," Israel would have to be prepared to "slow down" the Iranian nuclear threat by itself. Having said this, he did not rule out the possibility of US military action....

...Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in a meeting in Paris with French Foreign Minister Phillippe Douste-Blazy Wednesday, said Iran "poses a global threat...Everyday that passes brings the Iranians closer to building a nuclear bomb. The world can't afford a nuclear Iran." She said the Iranian reply to the Western incentives was just an attempt to "gain time."

...Meanwhile, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported Wednesday that the Iranian news service Al-Borz, which it said is known to have access to sources in the Iranian government, predicted that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would announce what the news service called Iran's "nuclear birth" on the first anniversary of his government later this month.
In addition, an article Tuesday on the Teheran Times Web site, considered to be affiliated with the Foreign Ministry, implied that Iran's nuclear technology had already reached the point of no return. "If the West is seeking to impede Iran's nuclear industry, it should realize that Iran has passed this stage," the report read.....

AP contributed to this report.

Tehran and Syria fan war tensions

From DEBKAfile , August 24, 2006, 10:22 AM (GMT+02:00) ...

Our Washington and Jerusalem sources report intelligence predictions of an impending revival of the Lebanon war and its spread to the Golan. Tehran and Syria are turning up the heat to obstruct Western moves to curb Iran’s advance on a nuclear weapon and nullify the embargo on arms for Hizballah.

A senior Iranian spokesman announced Wednesday night, Aug. 23 that his government was on the brink of a “dramatic” nuclear development. Some Tehran sources surmise an announcement will be made on significant Iranian advances in uranium enrichment following a breakthrough in activating P-2 centrifuges. This would constitute blatant defiance of the UN and an affront to the six powers and their offer of incentives for halting enrichment.

Already, two days before Iran handed in its response to the offer, a Tehran official announced that the Arak heavy water plant would soon be operational. Iran had thus set its feet squarely on two tracks for achieving the fuel for a nuclear weapon – enriched uranium and plutonium.
Damascus, for its part, has threatened three times in two days to close the Syrian-Lebanese border if a multinational force is posted there to monitor the arms embargo’s implementation.

DEBKAfile’s military sources expect Syria to make good on its threat by staging violent incidents against any peacekeepers posted on the Lebanese border, matching them with skirmishes on the Syrian-Israeli border dividing the Golan. Hizballah will chime in with attacks on the Israeli troops deployed in South Lebanon until an international force can take over - and the UN-brokered ceasefire in Lebanon will come crashing down.

Wednesday night, Damascus and Tehran were shown to be in tight coordination when an Iranian official in Tehran revealed the rise in Syria of a new guerrilla group dedicated to challenging the IDF on the Golan in the same way that Hizballah fights Israel. He made it clear that Tehran was solidly behind Syria’s military initiatives.

Amid deep pessimism in the White House, the UN secretary Kofi Annan is being sent post haste to Israel, Lebanon and possibly Syria and Iran. Part of his mission will be to seek guarantees that Hizballah will refrain from shooting at multinational troops deployed in the south. To hold water, those guarantees must emanate from Syria and Iran. The key to easing the rising war tensions would be a substantial bribe for Tehran, such as a promise from Annan to block American moves for sanctions in the August 31 Security Council meeting on Iran’s non-compliance with the enrichment ban. Since the UN secretary cannot make such a promise, the war tension will continue to escalate and the prospect of a multinational force for Lebanon will remain elusive. No government is prepared to place its soldiers in the line of fire. But rather than blaming the impasse on the saber-rattling and intransigence of Tehran and Damascus, Israel will most probably be held to account for keeping its army in Lebanon and refusing to lift the air and sea embargo curbing the flow of arms to Hizballah.

Tzipi, you failed

From Ynet news, 24/8/06, by Zvi Mazel ...

While the world was arduously buying Nasralla's lies, you remained in your office. Israel was defeated in the media war primarily because of you

For an entire month Israelis and the rest of the world eagerly waited to hear what Israel had to say about the developments in Lebanon . .... Even the Arab states wanted to hear Jerusalem's version so that they could prepare their arguments. Hizbullah waited in fear and anticipation: Would Israel refute its lies and expose them to Lebanon and the world? But nothing happened. You remained in your office.

... The Arab world took advantage of the media stage by spreading lies and distorted reports that went unheeded: Nasrallah sighed a sigh of relief.

You are Israel's face and voice
... Tzipi, today's war is a combination of a violent clash at the front along with a fierce media struggle, which could prove to be more important than the conflict on the ground. We probably won this war by gaining substantial points in the fighting arena; however, Hizbullah declared victory and its declaration was accepted by the Arab world and by Iran. ....They are saying that Israel is no longer invincible, that its end is near, while at the same time moderate Arab states are apprehensive about the strengthening of radical Islam forces.

Washington's disappointment in Israel
...Washington is already talking about its disappointment in Israel, its loyal ally who was always able to win the battle.

Europe deepened its hatred and anti-Semitism towards Israel to the background of the false and exaggerated images coming out of Lebanon, which went by without an adequate response and without representing our side that could have shown bombed hospitals and senior citizen homes and the harm inflicted on our civilian populations; plus, there's a feeling in the Arab world that the strategic situation in the region has changed for the worse against Israel.

Hizbulla's aggressive media strategy
Hizbulla's media victory, which turned the tables, is the result of aggressive media and propaganda strategies adopted by all the Arab TV stations and which stemmed from its hatred toward Israel.

...However, it wasn't just Aljazeera and the other 500 Arab TV channels, but also the European media who shamelessly surrendered to Nasralla's dictates and pressure from Arab states. It continuously aired dictated or censored reports, so as God forbid, not to offend anyone.

The images aired on TV almost always focused on the destruction, giving an impression that the whole of Beirut was bombed and destroyed. Not a single journalist thought it appropriate to explain things as they were. They all complied. They didn't bother to report on the situation in northern Israel, or they provided minimum coverage to secure an alibi.

The impressions gleaned from a month of daily newscasts, was Hizbulla's victory, with operatives who were never harmed and who always succeeded in hindering the IDF.

Where was Tzipi?
Where was Tzipi when all this was going on? You had the world's broadcasting studios at your disposal. Everyone was eager to hear what Israel had to say about the war, and you? You hid away in your office or in some other place.

You should have been giving interviews day and night to every possible TV channel in an effort to explain our side of the one reproached the international media when it betrayed its profession and distorted the reality in Lebanon and in Israel. No one assured efficient coordination with the IDF so that the written and filmed footage would quickly arrive at the international news desks. Nothing was learned from media defeat during the Intifada.

Foreign Ministry still doesn't recognize media role
How unfortunate it is to discover that the foreign ministry still doesn't recognize the extent of the media's importance; that it has yet to become acquainted with the arena of public diplomacy.

Tzipi, even international policies and UN resolutions are formulated and phrased on the basis of the atmosphere created by the media, along with the political preference of the various countries. You neglected the media and the bi-lateral diplomacy prevalent among the nations who had an influence on the phrasing of the UN Security Council resolution.

Instead of granting interviews again and again, you opted to remain in your office. And yes, you, our biggest hope, have disappointed us by causing severe damage to Israel. Please go back the Justice Ministry.

Zvi Mazel, was the former Israeli ambassador to Egypt and Sweden

Hundreds support protesting reservists

From Ynet news, 24/8/06, by Neta Sela ...

Reservists hold rally outside PM’s Office in Jerusalem, call on Olmert, Peretz to resign. ‘The feeling was that we as soldiers on the ground could have acted but had our hands tied behind our backs,’ protest organizer says; former Etzel member: Now is the new generation’s time – you should be a part of the next government

Hundreds of people arrived Wednesday at the protest tent set up by IDF reserve soldiers opposite the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem and signed a petition calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

Ronny Zvigenbaum, 27, one of the protest’s organizers, said “...we noticed repeated failures: ...the equipment we received was insufficient, as was the training....There was hesitancy all along; it felt as though the IDF brass was not utilizing the power they had in their hands....There was no coordination between the different corps or a defined objective.... The feeling was that we as soldiers on the ground could have acted but had our hands tied behind our backs. ....”

Yaakov Hasdai, who was a member of the Agranat Commission , which was appointed by the Israeli government to investigate the circumstances leading to the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, said at the rally “I support the call for the resignation of the top political echelon and the establishment of an inquiry commission as part of the demand for a culture of accountability in the political system.”

“I came here to tell the younger generation to rise up, protest and learn the lesson of the previous protest generation and call for a wide-scale plan to rehabilitate the country.” However, Zvigenbaum and several others said they are not demanding an inquiry commission.

.... Shlomo Lev Ami, a former Etzel (The Irgun) member, said during the rally in Jerusalem ‘if we do not rise up and prepare an alternative for the rotten regime, then a new regime will be established that will be similar to the one you are toppling. “Now is the new generation’s time – you should be a part of the next government,” he said.

Electronic Warfare setback

From DEBKAfile August 23, 2006, 3:18 PM (GMT+02:00) ....

American electronic warfare experts in Israel to find out how Hizballah’s Iranian systems neutralized Israeli [electronics]

The American EW experts are interested in four areas.

1. The Israeli EW systems’ failure to block Hizballah’s command and communications and the links between the Lebanese command and the Syria-based Iranian headquarters.
2. How Iranian technicians helped Hizballah eavesdrop on Israel’s communications networks and mobile telephones, including Israeli soldiers’ conversations from inside Lebanon.
3. How Iranian EW installed in Lebanese army coastal radar stations blocked the Barak anti-missile missiles aboard Israeli warships, allowing Hizballah to hit the Israeli corvette Hanith.
4. Why Israeli EW was unable to jam the military systems at the Iranian embassy in Beirut, which hosted the underground war room out of which Hassan Nasrallah and his top commanders, including Imad Mughniyeh, functioned.

Until the watershed date of July 12, 2006, when the Hizballah triggered the Lebanon War, Israel was accounted an important world power in the development of electronic warfare systems – so much so that a symbiotic relationship evolved for the research and development of many US and Israeli electronic warfare systems, in which a mix of complementary American and Israeli devices and methods were invested. In combat against Hizballah, both were not only found wanting, but had been actively neutralized, so that none performed the functions for which they were designed. This poses both the US and Israel with a serious problem in a further round of the Lebanon war and any military clash with Iran.

DEBKAfile’s military sources add: Both intelligence services underestimated the tremendous effort Iran invested in state of the art electronic warfare gadgetry designed to disable American military operations in Iraq and IDF functions in Israel and Lebanon. Israel’s electronic warfare units were taken by surprise by the sophisticated protective mechanisms attached to Hizballah’s communications networks, which were discovered to be connected by optical fibers which are not susceptible to electronic jamming. American and Israeli experts realize now that they overlooked the key feature of the naval exercise Iran staged in the Persian Gulf last April: Iran’s leap ahead in electronic warfare. They dismissed most the weapons systems as old-fashioned. But among them were the C-802 cruise missile and several electronic warfare systems, both of which turned up in the Lebanon war with deadly effect. DEBKA-Net-Weekly

Copyright 2000-2006 DEBKAfile. All Rights Reserved.

Flawed evil twins strategy

From Ynet News, 22/8/06, by Dr. Alon Ben-Meir ...

To foster a more peaceful Middle East, Washington must seek to further separate Syria’s interests from those of Iran

The Bush administration’s strategy of treating Syria and Iran as if they are evil twins is fundamentally flawed. Although Damascus and Tehran have many common interests in addition to their grievances against the United States, they differ dramatically in their assessment of their regional roles and strategic objectives.

To foster a more peaceful Middle East, Washington must take these into account and pursue a different strategy, one that seeks to further separate Syria’s interests from those of Iran.

Syria’s and Iran’s long-term alliance is based more on circumstance than common strategic interests. Although both fear the US policy of regime change, Washington’s hostility provides a greater incentive for them to cooperate. While Syria has embraced Iran to avoid isolation, Iran has used Syria as an “assistant” in building Hizbullah into a tool to promote the Islamic revolution.

Their common interest in Lebanon has also led Iran to embrace Syria’s Alawites ruling elite, who are viewed disfavorably by the Sunnis. In addition, both nations, which previously considered Saddam Hussein as a threat, are now concerned that the turmoil in Iraq could spill across their borders.

Finally, whereas Israel is seen as a common enemy, both Tehran and Damascus boast few allies inside and outside the region, making each other’s support critical.

Entirely different agenda
Even a cursory look at what both nations share suggests that their enduring alliance has little to do with strategic objectives. Iran, which espouses revolutionary Islam, finds itself, as a Shiite country, frequently at odds with the Arab world, and in fact criticizes Arab leaders for turning away from Islam. In addition, Iran's nuclear ambitions arise not only from the desire to neutralize Israel's presumed nuclear power, but because it wants to establish regional hegemony, including over Syria.

With the rise of Hamas to power, made possible in no small measure through Iran’s direct support, Tehran is determined to take over the Palestinian agenda from the Arab states. And, with the election of the Shiites in Iraq, Iran sees an historic opportunity to consolidate the Shiite crescent, extending it, under its own leadership, from the Persian Gulf to Lebanon, thereby fulfilling an historic quest to dominate the region.

Finally, Iran’s interest in Western financial incentives has dramatically diminished due to the rise in the price of oil, which has nearly quadrupled Iran’s earnings in the past few years allowing Tehran to amass close to US 100 billion in foreign currency reserves.

In contrast, Syria, in its role of secular Arab nationalist state, has an entirely different agenda. This agenda is based on four main principles or goals. The first is for the United States to abandon its desire to change the regime in Damascus. The second is to ensure that the Golan Heights must be returned to Syrian sovereignty in exchange for peace with Israel. The third is that the United States and Israel must recognize that Syria has a special relationship with Lebanon. The fourth is to normalize relations with the United States because this would bring great benefits to Syria, such as the possibility of critically needed economic development.

Mischievous and dangerous conduct
Certainly the United States has many grievances against Syria, including that it offers refuge to several extreme terrorist groups, mostly Palestinians, sworn to undermine US and Israeli regional interests.

Among the other sticking points are Syria’s alleged support of the insurgency in Iraq, which contributes to the instability and bloodshed there, its being behind the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and its colluding with Iran to provide Hizbullah with arms to stir up trouble for Israel, all of which led to the recent war in Lebanon.

These are obviously serious charges, and Damascus needs to address them in one form or another, but they pale compared to the mischievous and dangerous conduct of Iran toward the West and Israel in particular, which, if unchecked, could precipitate a major regional war involving weapons of mass destruction.

Nothing more will undermine Iran’s strategic interests and bring Tehran down to size than breaking the so-called Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis. Although separating Iran and Syria’s tactical interests is itself important, engaging Syria now could yield many other benefits. These include changing the dynamic of the Arab-Israeli peace process, disarming Hizbullah, stabilizing Lebanon, strengthening the Sunni camp against the growing power of the Shiites, diminishing Iran’s influence in the Mediterranean, weakening Hamas’ resolve and slowing the rising tide of Islamism everywhere.

Vital change
A change in American policy toward Syria is especially vital at this point because just about every initiative of the Bush administration seems to have backfired, creating an unprecedented Arab and Muslim backlash. Promoting democratic reform in the Middle East has failed, Iraq has plunged into civil war, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has worsened, the war in Lebanon has left half the country in ruins, and the anger and hatred of Arabs and Muslims toward the United States has reached new heights.

The future danger to the region will come from Iran, not Syria. Yes, Syria may have played a dangerous game by supporting Hizbullah’s reckless provocation of Israel. No one is saying that Syria is entitled to a special treatment.

Rather, the suggestion is that the growing regional danger demands urgently a new strategy toward Syria that addresses Damascus’s special national requirements and in so doing distancing the Assad government from that of Iran with its own very different agenda.

Such a strategy will call Syria to task while offering Damascus clear incentives to separate from Iran. Bullying Damascus will not lead to submission: it will simply force Syria to seek ever-closer relations with Iran and that is where the greater danger lies.

Alon Ben-Meir is professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches International Negotiation and Middle Eastern Studies. He can be reached at: . Website:

Shin Bet chief slams 'system collapse'

From Ynet News, 23/8/06 ...

Yuval Diskin blasts government over its conduct during Lebanon war, says government systems completely collapsed, northern Israel abandoned by officials

Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin has issued a scathing attack over the government's conduct during the recent war in Lebanon, charging that "during the war, government systems collapsed completely." ... His harsh remarks were reported by Channel 2 news during Wednesday's evening newscast. ..... "This is not the time to cover up and we need to tell the truth," he said. "No doubt, the north was abandoned and someone should provide explanations and take responsibility."

... Earlier this week, Diskin warned government ministers that the strengthening of terror groups in the Gaza Strip is a strategic problem that could result in a Lebanon-like reality in several years. The Shin Bet director warned that the Philadelphi route is breached and that several tons of explosives and hundreds of weapons have been brought into Gaza recently.

Key West Bank terrorist shot

From The Australian network, August 24, 2006. Source: Reuters, correspondents in Jenin ...

...Witnesses said Hosam Jaradat, the leader of the Islamic Jihad [terrorist] group in the northern West Bank town [of Jenin], was shot by Israeli troops from a car [today].

Medics said he was taken to hospital and in critical condition.

An Israeli army spokesman could not confirm troops were involved and said he was checking the report.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hitler, The Mufti Of Jerusalem And Modern Islamo Nazism

The attached video (less than 6 minutes) is a modern German documentary that traces today's Islamic anti-Semitism back to the alliance between Hitler and The Mufti Of Jerusalem.

[thanks to Sion for drawing attention to it]

"Civilian" infrastructure

The following photographs taken in civilian homes in South Lebanese villages, have been released by the IDF spokesman. They depict military command, control and monitoring facilities.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Charge over Perth Jewish Centre hate calls

From, August 22, 2006 11:28am, from: AAP ...

A 41-year-old man has been charged with making hate calls to Jewish groups in Perth during the peak of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel.

The man is expected to appear in Perth Magistrate's Court today charged with using a telephone to make abusive, harassing and anti-Semitic calls to Jewish community groups in Perth. "The hate calls had been received at the Jewish community centres at the height of hostilities in the Middle East between Israel and Lebanon," police said.
His arrest has prompted police to warn others about considering any unlawful religiously-motivated activity.

"All reports received by WA Police that are motivated by unlawful religious or racial behaviour will be treated seriously, and dealt with promptly, to ensure police maintain the trust and strengthen the good relationships that exist with all religious and cultural groups in this state," police said in a statement.

The 41-year-old man's arrest came after police received complaints that several interest and welfare groups associated with the Jewish Centre in WA had received hate calls between June 29 and July 29. He was charged with four counts of using a phone service to harass.

Arab League against Iran

From Ha'aretz, 20/08/2006, by Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent, and AP ...

Arab League official: We can't lose war over Lebanon to Iran

Arab League foreign ministers convened for an emergency meeting in Cairo .... Diplomats said Arabs want to counter the flood of money that is believed to be coming from Iran to Hezbollah to finance reconstruction projects. .... "This is a war over the hearts and mind of the Lebanese, which Arabs should not lose to the Iranians this time," said a senior Arab League official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media....

Syrian FM boycotts meeting
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem boycotted the Arab League meeting, Arab media reported. Some believe that one of the reasons for Moallem's absence is his opposition to the moderate stance taken by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who, when Syria was seeking support for Hezbollah, described the group's actions against Israel, in particular the abduction of the two soldiers, as "adventurism."

Another cause for the inter-Arab tension is a speech last week by Syrian Bashar Assad, in which he accused the Lebanese government of being collaborators with Israel. Lebanese Communications Minister Marwan Hamadeh, a member of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt's party, said in response that Assad's statements were testimony that the Syrian president had "returned to his old habits - murder and threatening murder."

At their last meeting, shortly after the outbreak of war last month, the Arab foreign ministers traded barbs over whether Hezbollah bore any responsibility for the escalation in violence that followed its capture of the two IDF soldiers.The Saudi foreign minister appeared to be leading a camp of ministers criticizing the guerrilla group's actions, calling them "unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts"....."These acts will pull the whole region back to years ago, and we cannot simply accept them," Saudi al-Faisal told his counterparts. Supporting his stance were representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, delegates said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

Iran’s Militia Mayhem

From New York Daily News, August 14, 2006, by David Makovsky ... funneling its oil money to Hezbollah, arming a fierce band of fanatical fighters, Iran has honed a strategy that, if seen to succeed, could replicate itself all across the Arab world.

Today in the Mideast, there are three places where militias operate freely within states: Iraq, Gaza and Lebanon. In all three cases, the militias receive political, economic and military backing from Iran. Iran gives at least $100 million annually, plus an estimated 11,000 missiles, to Hezbollah. It provides Iraq’s Mahdi militia and others with Iranian explosives. It even aids Hamas, which is Sunni and does not share Iran’s Shiism.

If Hezbollah emerges from this conflict emboldened, it is a safe bet that Iran will set out to make still more militia mayhem—strengthening homegrown radical Arab groups with the potential to destabilize governments from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

For these future militias, Hezbollah would be the prototype—because of three key ways in which it has created what, for Iran, is an ideal 21st century militia:
First, it has no return address—freeing it of the burdens of traditional warfare. Its fighters are embedded in the civilian population.....
Second, by importing military hardware from Iran and Syria, Hezbollah has the advantages of an army without any of its responsibilities.
Third and critically, Hezbollah has enmeshed itself within the Lebanese political system..... . After Israel left [in 2000], Hezbollah used its political clout—including two cabinet seats in Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora’s political coalition—to thwart any adherence to UN Security Council resolutions that called for the group’s disarmament....

A perceived victory for Hezbollah today will spawn clones tomorrow. That’s why it is time for the international community to make it crystal-clear.... Radical militias are criminal organizations that aid and abet terrorism—no more and no less.

David Makovsky is a senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute’s Project on the Middle East Peace Process.

Hizballah rearms; Olmert praises Siniora; UN paralysed

From DEBKAfile, August 21, 2006, 9:21 PM (GMT+02:00):

Hizballah is smuggling hundreds of rockets and dozens of launchers into S. Lebanon without interference... Hizballah is also working on the rehabilitation of its short-range rocket “Nasser” Brigade – all under cover of the stream of returning south Lebanese refugees.

Weapons deliveries from Syria to Lebanon are arriving at an accelerated pace in the last 24 hours, mostly through the northern Beqaa Valley. They are then distributed across Lebanon including the south. Israel is no longer impeding the traffic although it has been given an all-clear from Washington.

Monday, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert praised his Lebanese counterpart Fouad Siniora for his courage and predicted if things carry on this way, it may soon be possible to discuss formalizing relations. However, DEBKAfile discloses that, on the quiet, Siniora has instructed his troops to avoid friction with Hizballah and on no account impound its weapons or obstruct its efforts to regroup.

Hassan Nasrallah has reciprocated with orders to his men not to resist if Lebanese soldiers confiscate their weapons because they will be restored through the secret back-door channel conducted by the Lebanese PM. DEBKAfile’s sources add: Siniora has ignored Israel’s complaint through Washington about the arms supplies transiting N. Beqaa. He has made no request to UNIFIL to enforce the UN arms embargo.

....The Lebanese army’s deployment and patrols are described by Israeli military sources in Lebanon as futile; Hizballah tells them which roads and villages they may enter, and which they may not. UNIFIL’s patrols are likewise a charade. The international force has confined itself to clearing mines; it is not spending any time on enforcing Security Council resolution 1701. Even then, the mine-clearing teams make sure of permission from Hizballah and the Lebanese army before they venture on territories under their control.

The mood in Washington over the prospect of getting an effective multinational force deployed in S. Lebanon is downbeat ... Not a single government is willing to contribute a contingent without a clear prescription of permitted dos and don’ts, including the foreign troops’ freedom to defend themselves. UNIFIL has received general authorization to fire in self-defense but it is heavily qualified and still not approved by the Lebanese government.

British kit found in Hezbollah bunkers

Further to our earlier posting on this subject two days ago, The Times posted this today, 22/8/06, by Bob Graham, Michael Evans and Richard Beeston ...

AN URGENT investigation was launched last night after Israel accused Britain of indirectly supplying Hezbollah terrorists with military night-vision equipment that helped them to target Israeli soldiers in Lebanon.

The equipment was found by Israeli troops in Hezbollah command bunkers in southern Lebanon. Each set was stamped “made in Britain”.....Britain had sold 250 night-vision systems to Iran in 2003 for use against drug smugglers. Foreign Office officials said early indications seemed to suggest that the night-vision equipment found by the Israelis was not part of the batch sold in 2003 to Iran. However, thorough checks were being made to compare serial numbers on the equipment found in the Hezbollah bunkers with those on the ones exported legitimately to Iran.

...A Department of Trade and Industry official said night-vision equipment of military specification required an export licence. The investigation will look into whether any British company might have breached export regulations.

The batch of 250 night-vision systems were given a special export licence in 2003 because they were intended to be used by Iranian police trying to stem the flow of heroin and opium from Afghanistan into Iran.....When the export was agreed, Mike O’Brien, then Junior Minister at the Foreign Office, told the Commons: “The goods are for the use on the Iran-Afghanistan border against heroin smugglers.” He said there was “no risk of these goods being diverted for use by the Iranian military”.

If any of the equipment has been diverted to Hezbollah, it would be a serious embarrassment for the [British] Government....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Alone in a Storm

From the Arab Times, 21/8/06, by Ahmed Al-Jarallah - Editor-in-Chief ...

King Abdallah refuses to meet Assad

KUWAIT CITY: The Syrian regime is passing through difficult times after its President Dr Bashar Al-Assad recently called some Arab leaders “fake and decorative leaders,” and “half-men,” say sources.

Of late Syria has had no relations with the international community except some Arab countries which had good ties with Al-Assad’s regime. However, even these ties have gone into a deep decline after the Syrian President’s recent speech where he criticized important Arab leaders using unparliamentary words..... Al-Assad’s ranting against Arab leaders has left Syria a country without any friend.

Realizing his regime was in trouble, the Syrian President sought a meeting with the ....[Saudi] King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz to explain his recent speech. However, the Saudi Monarch quite expectedly declined to meet Al-Assad. Saudi officials have informed Al-Assad that King Abdallah ... will not meet personally Al-Assad either now or in the future.

.... Earlier, Al-Assad had made a solemn pledge to Saudi authorities that he will protect the life of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. However, the assassination of Al-Hariri angered Saudi authorities and forced them to call the Syrian President to tell him that he was not like his father, who used to keep his words.

According to highly placed sources Al-Assad’s regime has been left alone without any Arab or international friend. Al-Assad lost hope of returning to Lebanon when the Lebanese army was deployed in the southern parts of that country. To add to Al-Assad’s woes Syria’s relations with other Arab countries have become more tense than ever because of his speech. The whole world — including Arabs — is agreed Al-Assad has lost his credibility. Sources say currently Dr Bashar Al-Assad is a worried man, fearing the international court may accuse him of assassinating Rafik Hariri.

Also from the Arab Times editorial, 21/8/06, by Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief ...

Cairo deepens Syria isolation

USUALLY high moral principles and prestige help Arab leaders to remain patient and give a measured response. However, the current situation has forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to break the circle of patience and give an angry warning to the President of Syria Dr Bashar Al-Assad advising him to stop making cheap claims and interfering in the affairs of Lebanon.

President Mubarak, who is well-known for remaining calm even under trying situations, has preferred to reply in the name of all wise Arab leaders, who were recently criticized by Al-Assad. The conclusion we can derive from the Egyptian President’s response is that both Damascus and Tehran don’t have any useful objective except causing the destruction of Lebanon and Iraq.

The Iranian regime, which doesn’t respect life and cannot bear the prosperity of anyone, has given the people of Lebanon a paltry $150 million for braving Israeli bombs and missiles for over 30 days. What a cheap price for precious lives and heavy losses?

....President Mubarak has been unable to remain silent because the situation has gone beyond respectable limits, especially as the leadership of Dr Bashar, who inherited the mantle of his father, has been inappropriate and his silly stands can only bring more trouble to Arabs.

By aligning with Tehran, Dr Bashar has enabled the Iranian dragon to enter Iraq and Lebanon. The presence of this dragon and its insatiable greed for revolution will never allow the region to achieve stability and security.

President Mubarak’s stern warning to Syria will further the isolation of Damascus. It will also prepare the ground for shifting the military confrontation to Syria and finally Iran leading to a war where the heads of snakes will be targeted.

Senate ADJOURNMENT Speech on Israel

From the Australian Senate Hansard, 16 August, 2006, Speaker: Sen Mitchell Fifield (LP, Victoria) [Follow the link for the full speech, which is also available from Hansard as a PDF file and was also reported on ICJS Research.] ...

Senator FIFIELD (Victoria) (7.02 p.m.)—I was interested to see an advertisement in the 16 August edition of the Melbourne Weekly Bayside. The advertisement attacked a number of parliamentarians. The advertisement is headed ‘Israeli Terror’ and it reads:

Helen Shardey MP (Liberal, Caulfield) and federal MP’s Michael Danby (ALP) & Sen Mitch Fifield (Lib) all attended pro Israel rallies, in Melbourne in 17 Jul 06, at the same time as Aussies were being bombed in Lebanon. Perhaps they could explain why they attended an Israel rally when terrified Aussies were in mortal danger? Why haven’t there parties expelled them for this appalling conduct?

That advertisement was placed in a Melbourne newspaper. Given that the ad called upon me to explain why I spoke in support of Israel, I am very happy to advise the Senate of why I did. The reason is that Israel is a beacon of hope and liberty in the Middle East. It is a great and robust democracy. At a time when it is being attacked by those who would seek to destroy it, Israel needs its friends. I am proud to say that, with Australia, Israel has a true friend. The Australian people will always stand by the Israeli nation and the citizens of Israel. I attended the rally to support freedom. I attended the rally to support the State of Israel and its citizens. I attended the rally to support Israel’s right to live in peace....

....If we ever doubt that Israel is facing an existential challenge, one only needs to turn to a letter which I received from the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran last week. ... I started to read the following references:

… the bloodthirsty Zionists and their bigheaded … American supporters …

… the resistance of the people of Lebanon and the heroic struggles of Hizbollah … long should the Islamic world tolerate existence of the scheming and evil Zionist regime?

.... This is not a lame attempt at satire. These are the views of a sovereign government. These are the views of a nation which is very well armed. These are the views of a nation which has been supporting and arming Hezbollah, an outlawed terrorist organisation which is a state within a state. If ever anyone questions whether Israel has a right to defend itself strongly and robustly or stand against terrorism and seek to take out terrorist infrastructure, they only need to avail themselves of this kind note from the Iranian embassy in Canberra. I think the Iranian government perhaps needs a better advocate and spokesman in Canberra. If this is what they are peddling around the parliament of Australia, the only thing I can say is: it gives us a true indication of what it is that they stand for.

As if that was not enough, in the Australian today we read under an article headed ‘Iran gets laugh out of holocaust’ that Tehran is holding an exhibition of more than 200 cartoons about the Holocaust—200 satirical, joking, mocking cartoons about the Holocaust, in which six million Jews died.

... Israel is a beacon of hope. It is a beacon of peace. It is a strong, robust democracy. Australia has always stood by Israel. Israel has two great friends in the world: the United States and Australia. I was proud to stand on the steps of the Melbourne GPO in support of Israel and its right to exist, and democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Given the opportunity again, I would do so.

Senator Fifield can be contacted at

Annan jets off for a Nasrallah crowning?

From National Review Online, August 19, 2006, 9:14 a.m., by Claudia Rosett ...

Brace yourself. In the United Nations-brokered farce known as the “cessation of hostilities in Lebanon,” we may now be heading for the moment in which Secretary-General Kofi Annan jets to Beirut to crown as the heirs of Lebanon the hijackers of the Cedar Revolution — the terrorists of Hezbollah......

....” Israeli radio has been reporting that Annan will begin a Middle East tour on Monday in Lebanon, and go from there — in what order is not clear — to Israel, Syria, and Iran.Whatever Annan might be cooking up, let’s take a closer look at why Secretary Condoleezza Rice ought to suggest to Annan in the strongest possible terms that the next time he packs his bags, it should be not to tour the Middle East, but to leave the U.N. ...If Annan before stepping down in December is truly desperate to produce a legacy more edifying than Oil-for-Food and Kojo’s Mercedes, he could better spend his remaining four months in office actually enforcing his “zero-tolerance” policy against child rape by U.N. peacekeepers in Africa. Or, unlikely though this is, he could try genuinely cleaning up the bribery-tainted and still secretive U.N. procurement department (which may soon be awarding fat catering contracts to feed the additional 13,000 or so “peacekeepers” the U.N. plans to add to its so-called called interim force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL).

What Annan should not be allowed to do is invoke as public outcry for his “good offices” such nonsense as the op-ed headlined “Let’s Start Talking to Hezbollah” — published in Friday’s New York Times and written by Lakhdar Brahimi, who is identified at the end of the piece as a “former special adviser” to Annan. Brahimi is also a former minister of Algeria and former official of the Arab League. Some will remember him as well for his endorsement of Saddam Hussein, his denial that Saddam gassed to death tens of thousands of Iraqi Kurds, and his locution in 2004 labeling Israel the big “poison” in the Middle East — a comment that Annan’s office excused on grounds that it was Brahimi’s personal opinion, though at the time Brahimi was enjoying the status of special adviser to Annan.

Now we are again presented with some of Brahimi’s private views, aired publicly in his Times op-ed in context of his “former” U.N. status, urging the “international community” to embrace Hezbollah.... Brahimi in offering his apparently amnesiac notion that we should “start” talking to Hezbollah fails to mention that Annan has already done it. Annan jumped that gun six years ago, by meeting in Beirut on June 20, 2000, with the same Lebanese terrorist satrap of Iran who runs Hezbollah today: Hassan Nasrallah. Against a backdrop of flowers, their handshake and grins were recorded in this (almost certainly undoctored) Reuters photo of the occasion. At the time, as a U.N. press release put it, “They talked of cooperation between Hizbollah and the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Southern Lebanon. The Secretary-General thanked the Sheikh for his restraint shown by Hizbollah during Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon.”

That meeting in Beirut was the follow-on to Annan’s meeting just two days earlier, on June 18, 2000, with Iranian officials in Tehran. On that occasion, as Annan’s office reported, “Their talks focused on the emerging political, economic and social role in Lebanon for Hezbollah,” as well as “the political transition taking place in Syria, peace efforts in Afghanistan,” and so forth.

While Annan, Nasrallah, and the tyrants of Syria and Iran might have considered that round of U.N. diplomacy in 2000 a rip-roaring success, there were no victories there for the Free World. Afghanistan’s Taliban regime went on hosting al Qaeda, which was by then planning the Sept. 11 attacks on America. Syria completed its transition from the tyrannical President Hafez Assad to his despotic son Bashar Assad. Iran, of course, carried on with its totalitarian terrorist-sponsoring ways, as well as its nuclear-bomb program, and has now brought us the messianic Hezbollah-praising President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Kofi Annan got lunch, some photo-ops, and, of course, a Nobel Prize.

And, as we now know, just four months after Annan’s handshake with Nasrallah, Hezbollah in its “emerging political, economic and social role” went on in October, 2000, to kidnap three Israeli soldiers from inside Israel — murdering them all. UNIFIL’s contribution was to hand over at gunpoint to Hezbollah the bloodstained vehicles in which the Israelis were apparently kidnapped, conceal from Israeli authorities for months videotapes of the evidence, and then “observe” for more than five years as Hezbollah trucked in weapons from Iran and Syria, honeycombed southern Lebanon with fortifications and launched the recent bout of ruinous war with the July 12 kidnapping of another two Israeli soldiers, whom Hezbollah has yet to return.

Annan himself may be oblivious to the damage done to the real cause of peace by his favored brand of thug-hugging U.N. “diplomacy,” but the rest of us will be living with it long after he has retired. Right now, Annan has no more business talking with Hezbollah than he would have visiting the Iranian exhibition of holocaust cartoons that opened Monday in Tehran. Or should we brace for that as well?

— Claudia Rosett is a journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

UN military equipment transferred to Hezbollah

From the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, August 20, 2006, by Matthew Kalman ...

Kiryat Shemona, Israel -- Israeli intelligence officials have complained to Britain and the United States that sensitive night-vision equipment recovered from Hezbollah fighters during the war in Lebanon had been exported by Britain to Iran. British officials said the equipment had been intended for use in a U.N. anti-narcotics campaign.

Israeli officials say they believe the state-of-the-art equipment, found in Hezbollah command-and-control headquarters in southern Lebanon during the just-concluded war, was part of a British government-approved shipment of 250 pieces of night-vision equipment sent to Iran in 2003.

Israeli military intelligence confirmed that one of the pieces of equipment is a Thermo-vision 1000 LR tactical night-vision system, serial No. 155010, part No. 193960, manufactured by Agema, a high-tech equipment company with branches in Bedfordshire, England, and San Diego. A spokesman for Agema in San Diego denied all knowledge of the system.

The equipment, which needed special export-license approval from the British government, was passed to the Iranians through a program run and administered by the U.N. Drug Control Program. The equipment uses infrared imaging to provide nighttime surveillance that allows the user to detect people and vehicles moving in the dark at a range of several miles. Use of such equipment would have enabled Hezbollah to detect and record the movements of Israeli forces inside Israel, as well as its military advance into Lebanon.

Britain and Italy both have provided specialized tracking and monitoring equipment over the past decade as part of U.N.-sponsored attempts to stem the flow of heroin and opium into Western Europe from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran is a major route for shipment of narcotics to the West.

A spokesman for the British Foreign Office in London said Saturday..."We've been encouraging the Iranians as part of their anti-narcotics program, and there was an export in 2003 ... as part of the heroin and opium smuggling program. This is an area where we try not to let the nuclear issue prevent cooperation on countering narcotics," he said, referring to Iran's dispute with the United Nations over its nuclear enrichment program.

....The equipment was found by Israeli forces in the southern Lebanese village of Mis-a-Jebel on Aug. 8, in a house belonging to a 60-year-old man whose four sons were all known to be Hezbollah fighters. The discovery was disclosed in a briefing by Lt. Col. Olivier Radowicz, an Israeli army spokesman, and later confirmed in detail by Israeli military intelligence officials, who also provided photographs of the equipment taken in the house where it was discovered.
"These are tactical night-vision systems ... given to Hezbollah by Iran. The Iranians are the 100 percent provider of all the materiel, especially intelligence materiel, to Hezbollah," Radowicz said.

The discovery of the night-vision equipment, together with sophisticated recording and monitoring devices and stashes of antitank missiles and rockets, led the Israelis to believe the five-room house was the command-and-control unit for Hezbollah in the local area, he said.
In the early phases of the Israeli ground advance against Hezbollah positions across the border region, commanders complained to their superiors that nighttime operations had been hampered by the ability of Hezbollah fighters to observe and counter the Israeli moves. In more than six days of bitter fighting around the village of Mis-a-Jebel, the Israeli army lost six soldiers, and more than 20 were injured.

"The night-vision unit was used to observe the movement of troops. It's very close to the border, so it can see Israeli troops. You can also record what you are watching. Then it is connected to computers. You can obtain a perfect intelligence picture in real time about the situation. It is then connected to firing systems or to units that are going to act in accordance with the intelligence they are receiving," Radowicz said during the briefing.
"It is a system that we can find in every serious army in the world. We don't talk here about just a terrorist fantasy. We are talking here about a very serious, high-quality system of a very professional army. We're talking here about hundreds of millions of dollars given by Iran to Hezbollah in the last six years," he said.

"In every village which served as the regional command, you can find the same unit -- intelligence, weapons systems, command and control and connection -- with the units which are firing or using the mobile platforms (for firing rockets) for targeting Israel," he said.
Israeli intelligence officials said they had contacted the British and U.S. embassies in Tel Aviv to pass on information of the discovery of the night-vision equipment, requesting explanations of where the equipment had come from and how it fell into the hands of Hezbollah fighters.

Freelance journalist Bob Graham contributed to this report.

Iranian Arms shipments

From DEBKAfile, August 20, 2006, 11:47 AM (GMT+02:00) ...

Turkey forces one Syrian, 5 Iranian arms planes to land at Diyarbakir military base

Six Iranian ILDT type 4-cargo planes and a Syrian aircraft were forced to land at the southeast Turkish military airport last Thursday after US spy satellites spotted they were loaded with missiles, missile launchers and eight boxes of Chinese made C-802 missiles, dubbed by Iran “Nur.”

DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose: The flights were bound for Damascus and Syrian military air bases just across the Turkish border. The C-802 is the advanced ground-ship missile which crippled the Israeli Navy’s gunship off Beirut, and killed three of its crew on July 14, two days after the outbreak of the Lebanon war. Searches by the Turkish authorities disclosed that one of the planes was carrying crates of Fajer rockets which Hizballah fired at Israeli towns. Two of the Iranian cargo planes have not been permitted to take off from Turkey unless they fly back to Iran.

Four flights, carrying light ammunition including anti-tank weapons, were allowed to complete their journey to Syria after their pilots presented documents proving they were purchased in Iran for the Syrian army.

DEBKAfile adds: This is the first time American military satellites have been openly revealed to have aided in the UN embargo against arms transfers from Syria and Iran to the Hizballah.

DEBKAfile’s military sources also disclose that the Iranian and Syrian cargo flights were bound for three Syrian military airfields, two of which were transferred at the end of July to the control and supervision of the air wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The flight carrying the C-802 missile was destined for the military section of Damascus’ Mezze international airport. The launchers and Fajer rockets would have been unloaded at Syria’s Nasiriya air base, 40 km from the Lebanese border. The anti-tank rockets and ammunition were bound for al Qusayr, north of Damascus and only 25 km from Lebanon’s northern Beqaa Valley.