Israel and Mexico swap notes on abusing rights
Jimmy Johnson, Linda Quiquivix, Electronic Intifada, May 21 2013
Mexico has gone public about military coordination with Israel in Chiapas, home to the Zapatistas liberation movement. Earlier this month, Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca, Mexico’s newly-appointed secretary of public security in Chiapas, announced (Spanish) that discussions had taken place between his office and the Israeli defense ministry. The two countries talked about security coordination at the level of police, prisons and effective use of technology. Chiapas is home to the Zapatistas (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), a mostly indigenous Maya liberation movement that has enjoyed global grassroots support since it rose up against the Mexican government in 1994. The Zapatistas took back large tracts of land on which they have since built subsistence cooperatives, autonomous schools, collectivized clinics and other democratic community structures. In the twenty years since the uprising, the Mexican government has not ceased its counter-insurgency programs in Chiapas. When Llaven Abarca was announced as security head in December, human rights organizations voiced concerns (pdf, Spanish) that the violence would escalate, pointing to his history of arbitrary detentions, use of public force, criminal preventive detentions, death threats and torture. Aptly, his recent contacts with Israeli personnel were “aimed at sharing experiences,” Abarca has claimed. This may be the first time the Mexican government has gone public about military coordination with Israelis in Chiapas. Yet the agreement is only the latest in Israel’s longer history of military exports to the region, an industry spawned from experiences in the conquest and pacification of Palestine. Israeli firms began exporting weapons to Latin America in the 1950s, including to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic under the Somoza and Trujillo dictatorships. Massive government investment in the arms industry followed the 1967 War and the ensuing French arms embargo. Israeli arms, police, military training and equipment have now been sent to at least 140 countries, including to Guatemala in the 1980s under Efraín Ríos Montt, the former dictator recently convicted of genocide against the Maya (The conviction has now been overturned on procedural grounds – RB).
Mexico began receiving Israeli weaponry in 1973 with the sale of five Arava planes from Israel Aerospace Industries. Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, infrequent exports continued to the country in the form of small arms, mortars and electronic fences. Sales escalated in the early 2000s, according to research that we have undertaken. In 2003, Mexico bought helicopters formerly belonging to the Israeli army and Israel Aerospace Industries’ Gabriel missiles. Another Israeli security firm, Magal Security Systems, received one of several contracts for surveillance systems “to protect sensitive installations in Mexico” that same year, the JPost reported. In 2004, Israel Shipyards sold missile boats, and later both Aeronautics Defense Systems and Elbit won contracts from the federal police and armed forces for drones for border and domestic surveillance. Verint Systems, a technology firm founded by former Israeli army personnel, has won several US-sponsored contracts since 2006 for the mass wiretapping of Mexican telecommunications, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly. According to declassified Defense Intelligence Agency documents obtained via a freedom of information request (pdf), Israeli personnel were discreetly sent into Chiapas in response to the 1994 Zapatista uprising for the purpose of “providing training to Mexican military and police forces.” The Mexican government also made use of the Arava aircraft to deploy its Airborne Special Forces Group (Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales, or GAFE). GAFE commandos were themselves trained by USrael (Spanish). Several would later desert the GAFE and go on to create the Zetas, currently Mexico’s most powerful and violent drug cartel. Mexico was surprised by the Zapatistas, who rose up the day NAFTA went into effect. The Mexican government found itself needing to respond to the dictates of foreign investors, as a famously-leaked Chase-Manhattan Bank memo revealed:
While Chiapas, in our opinion, does not pose a fundamental threat to Mexican political stability, it is perceived to be so by many in the investment community. The government will need to eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate their effective control of the national territory and of security policy.
Today, faced with a people in open rebellion against their own annihilation, the perception of stability continues to be an important modus operandi for the Mexican government. For Israel, the Oslo “peace process” and the Palestinian Authority’s neoliberal turn has similarly helped cultivate an illusory perception of peace and stability while the colonization of Palestine continues. Indeed, “creating an atmosphere of stability” was the stated goal of the recent Mexico-Israel contacts, and the desire for at least the perception of it might help explain why an Israeli presence in Chiapas is now going public, or rather, according to journalist Naomi Klein, is being “marketed.” Yet managing perceptions can only remain the short-term goal of governments whose shared ambition is to annihilate. And just as Israel shares with Mexico its military experiences against Palestinians, it is equally likely that Israel could apply some of Mexico’s counter-insurgency tactics to its oppression of the the Palestinian people. The military relationship between Israel and Mexico is how the Zapatistas themselves have long recognized their connection to the Palestinian struggle. This message was underscored by Zapatista spokesman Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos when Israel was bombing Gaza in early 2009. Despite the distance between Chiapas and Gaza, Marcos stressed that their experiences made the people of the two territories feel close to each other. It is worth recalling Marcos’ words:
Not far from here, in a place called Gaza, in Palestine, in the Middle East, right here next to us, the Israeli government’s heavily trained and armed military continues its march of death and destruction.
This seems to have appeared on the Veterans Today site, which I regard as a nest of provocateurs, before appearing anywhere else. From there it was copied to a blog called DarkPolitricks.com, from which Sibel Edmonds copied it onto Boiling Frogs Post, hence the many automated tag links that infest her copy, which I have avoided. Part One of this appeared first on Global Research, which while somewhat retarded is at least sincere. The assertion that an article on ForeignPolicy.com confirmed Sibel’s claim that Gulen’s application for a Green Card was endorsed by Fuller and Abromovitz is incorrect. The claim is made in a comment to the article cited, which is merely quoting her own statements. This is Sibel’s own misrepresentation, incidentally; she is using the technique of circular citation, citing quotes from herself repeated in different places as support for one another – RB
Boston and the CIA ‘Snafu’ Part II: CIA’s Graham Fuller, A Deep State Rogue
William Engdahl, Veterans Today, May 20 2013
The open press statement of denial by senior reportedly former CIA official Graham Fuller in April of a link between the Boston Bombings and the CIA, labeling the reports “absurd,” may go down in history as one of the worst intelligence blunders in the past century. The public admission by Fuller, on a website reportedly tied to the CIA, of his relationship to the uncle of the alleged but never convicted Boston bombers opened a can of worms the CIA might well wish never had been opened. The relationship was first exposed by Daniel Hopsicker. In the first part of this article, we discussed the role of CIA’s Fuller in creating the policy of using angry Jihadis as trained terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere against the Soviet Union. A deeper look into Fuller’s role reveals him to be a key figure in what Sibel Edmonds terms Deep State rogues. Edmonds worked as an FBI translator from Turkish, Azerbaijani and Farsi languages during and after 9/11, when she uncovered damning email and other evidence of criminal networks linking the actors of 911, drug networks out of Turkey and terrorists in and around al-Qaeda together with senior Pentagon and other US Government officials. As later identified, among the people uncovered by Edmonds’ translation efforts at FBI was Anwar Yusuf Turani, a key figure in the anti-Beijing Uygur separatist operations under the name East Turkistan National Freedom Center in Washington. East Turkistan is their name for China’s Xinjiang Province, where Uygur riots took place several years ago. Turani modestly calls himself President-in-exile, East Turkistan (Xinjiang), though it’s by no means clear who if anyone elected him.
In her classified translations Edmonds discovered that a criminal network had penetrated the highest levels of the US Government including Pentagon and FBI, and were engaged in illegal sales of weapons, including nuclear, of drugs and more. Criminal activities were being protected by claims of State Secrets, she asserted. Repeated attempts to call attention inside the FBI to what she was convinced was a conspiracy against the US from within came to no avail. Her gripping account to bring attention to an alarming rogue network inside Washington is the subject of her autobiography. Attorney General John Ashcroft went all the way to the Supreme Court to muzzle her under a little-used Doctrine of State Secrets. Edmonds, suffering under an unprecedented Bush Administration gag order, was banned from revealing the complicity of high-ranking US and Turkish figures uncovered by her and duly reported at FBI before she was fired in 2002 for “blowing the whistle.” She partly got around the Government gag by posting photos with no comment on her website. Others filled in the names. Graham Fuller was one of the 21 US Deep State rogues Edmonds posted. Graham Fuller seems to be in center of every CIA operation involving ‘political Islam’. In 1995, according to Hopsicker, the uncle of the alleged Boston bombers, Ruslan Tsarnaev, “incorporated the Congress of Chechen International Organizations in Maryland, using as the address listed on incorporation documents 11114 Whisperwood Lane, Rockville, Maryland, the home address of his then-father-in-law.” Chechnya, an autonomous province of Russia deeply involved in oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea, has been the scene of Jihadi terrorism since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1995, when Uncle Ruslan founded the Congress of Chechen International Organizations from Graham Fuller’s home, Jihadi terrorism against Moscow was raging full-force in Chechnya. Putin and Russian intelligence have repeatedly claimed the terrorism was being fed from outside. As more is coming out on the role of Fuller, the evidence points to the conclusion that the Chechnya terrorists were also a project bearing the footprints of the “former” CIA political Islam expert, Graham Fuller. By 1988 Fuller had formally moved from a very senior post at CIA to the RAND Corporation, where his professional resume states that he officially worked on the “Middle East, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and problems of ethnicity and religion.” While at RAND Fuller played a key role gaining asylum for Fetullah Gülen, who was forced to flee Turkey in 1999 and seek asylum, and won his US residence permit due to the intervention of two current or former senior CIA men. One was Graham Fuller. Foreign Policy Journal (false attribution, see intro – RB) describes the role of Fuller and the CIA in getting indicted Turkish fugitive Gülen asylum in the USA:
Fethullah Gülen became a green card holder despite serious opposition from FBI and DHS. Former CIA officers (formally and informally) such as Graham Fuller and Morton Abromovitz were some of the prominent references in Gülen’s green card application.
From his new luxurious heavily-guarded estate in Saylorsburg, a remote part of eastern Pennsylvania, Gülen launched a series of Salafi mosques and madrassas, not only in his native Turkey where he was the alleged power behind Erdoğan, himself a product of Gülen’s schools, but across the Islamic regions of Central Asia as they separated from the Soviet Union in the chaos after 1991. According to Edmonds:
US Islamization Operations in Central Asia via Gülen started in late 1997, early 1998. That brings me to Graham Fuller.
Edmonds cites a memoir by former head of Turkish intelligence, Osman Nuri Gundes, which claims that Fethullah Gülen’s worldwide Islamic movement based in Pennsylvania has been providing cover for the CIA since the mid-1990s, and that in the 90s, the movement “sheltered 130 CIA agents” at its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone. She points out that Gülen schools in Russian Chechnya and Dagestan regions, both locations of fanatical Jihadis since 1991, were ultimately banned by Putin. The Russian government has banned all Gülen schools and the activities of the Gülen-linked Nurcu sect in Russia. Over 20 Turkish followers of Gülen were deported from Russia in 2002-2004. In 1999 Uzbekistan closed all Gülen’s madrassas and shortly afterward arrested eight journalists who were graduates of Gülen schools, and found them guilty of setting up an illegal religious group and of involvement in an extremist organization. In Turkmenistan, government authorities placed Gülen’s schools under close scrutiny and have ordered them to scrap the history of religion from curriculums. Responsible Turkish journalists I’ve met with relate that Gülen-loyal police tied to Edrogan’s AKP have infiltrated the Turkish police, intelligence services and other key state institutions, and are systematically arresting, purging or silencing all nationalist military, trade union and other secular figues opposed to creation of a Sharia state in Turkey, uprooting ninety or more years of Kemalist legal foundations. More than one hundred Turkish journalists have been arrested for writing critically about the actions of Gülen’s AKP. Gülen’s public profile is as a humble, deeply spiritual Imam of love and brotherhood. His record in practice is anything but. Gülen once stated:
You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence, until you reach all the power centers, until the conditions are ripe.
Sounds a bit like Lenin in the old days. Certain networks in Washington including people in and around Fuller obviously have no problem with that. Why would the CIA and US agencies want Central Asia? As Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski notes in his now-famous book The Grand Chessboard:
For the US, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia. The global primacy of the US is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.It follows that the US’s primary interest is to help ensure that no single power comes to control this geopolitical space and that the global community has unhindered financial and economic access to it.
Washington has used Turkey and the AKP fundamentalist networks of Gülen to wreak havoc across the post-communist oil and mineral-rich regions of Central Asia. Graham Fuller’s footprints are all over those covert operations, as are Fetullah Gülen’s. In 2008 Fuller published a book titled The New Turkish Republic: Turkey as a Pivotal State in the Muslim World. Edmonds said in an interview that the process involved using Turkey with assistance from ‘actors from Pakistan, and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia’ as a proxy, which in turn used Bin Laden and the Taliban and others as a proxy terrorist army before 9/11. Edmonds notes regarding US operations in Central Asia:
This started more than a decade-long illegal, covert operation in Central Asia by a small group in the US intent on furthering the oil industry and the Military Industrial Complex, using Turkish operatives, Saudi partners and Pakistani allies, furthering this objective in the name of Islam.
What did Uncle Ruslan Tsarnaev, uncle of the Boston alleged bombers do when he was married to Graham Fuller’s daughter? Ruslan worked for companies connected to Halliburton, doing oil deals in the Caucasus and as “consultant” for USAID in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. Russia barred USAID from its soil in late 2012, alleging USAID together with CIA was attempting to influence the internal political processes in the country. Some are beginning to ask whether the Boston bombing might have been a deception operation carried out by the Rogues associated with Graham Fuller and the network within the CIA and Pentagon, to make it appear Putin was behind the ghastly events. In any case, when Graham Fuller went to the press to publicly denounce CIA links to the Tsarnaevs, he made what is likely to go down as one of the greatest snafus in US intelligence history. He lost his cool, and with it, has put the spotlight on the entire CIA-sponsored Jihadi operations run through Fetullah Gülen across Turkey into Central Asia and Russia and China.
And the winner is: Khamenei
Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, May 22 2013
Nothing will be left to chance: even the hint of a green protest wave. In 2009, 475 candidates registered to run for Iran’s presidency. Only four were approved by the Guardian Council, the all-powerful clerical vetting committee. This year, no fewer than 686 registered for the upcoming Jun 14 elections. Eight were approved. Among them, one won’t find the two who are really controversial: former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani aka “The Shark,” essentially a pragmatic conservative, and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, adviser and right-hand man to outgoing President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, are both out. Those who will run are not exactly a stellar bunch: former vice president Mohammad Reza Aref; former national security chief Hassan Rowhani; former telecommunications minister Mohammad Gharazi; secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Said Jalili; Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf; Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s foreign policy adviser Ali Akbar Velayati; secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei; and Parliament Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel. But they do read like a who’s who of ultimate Islamic Republic insiders: the so-called “Principleists”.
According to the Interior Ministry, The Shark is out because of his advanced age (78). Not really. The Shark is out because he was the top moderate running, and was already catalyzing the support of most (excluded) reformists. Mashaei is out because he would represent an Ahmadinejad continuum, supported by quite a few of Ahmadinejad’s cabinet ministers and profiting from a formidable populist political machine that still seduces Iran’s countryside and the urban poor. He would deepen Ahmadinejad’s drive for an independent executive. This may not be a done deal, yet. Rafsanjani and Mashaei cannot appeal, in theory. But the Supreme Leader himself could lend them a hand. That’s unlikely, though. Rafsanjani waited for the last day, May 11, to register as a potential candidate. Former president Khatami, of “dialogue of civilizations” fame, did not register, and announced his support for Rafsanjani the day before. One can imagine alarm bells ringing at the Supreme Leader’s abode. The Shark was recently reconfirmed as chairman of the powerful Expediency Council, which oversees the government. Khamenei had this post while Ayatollah Khomeini was still alive. This may be interpreted as a sort of consolation prize. Ahmadinejad, for his part, had been hinting at blackmail, threatening to spill all the beans on corruption by the Supreme Leader’s family. He will hardly be handed any favors. Assuming the Supreme Leader remains immobile, himself and his subordinates across the conservative political elite do run a serious risk of totally alienating two very significant political factions in the Islamic Republic. By then, arguably the Guardian Council will have cleared the field for an easy victory by the former IRGC Air Force commander and current Mayor of Tehran, Qalibaf. Qalibaf would be the ultimate politically correct vehicle for what I have described since 2009 as the military dictatorship of the mullahtariat; that is, the grip on Iran’s institutional life by the IRGC and conservative clerics under the real decider, Supreme Leader Khamenei. This report alludes to the not exactly gentle side of Qalibaf. That, in itself, is not surprising. Infinitely more crucial is the question of whether Khamenei and the ultra-conservatives can afford to remain ensconced in an ivory tower as the internal economic situation deteriorates further and a vociferous Sunni Arab axis, amply instigated and supported by USrael, is barking at Iran’s doors.
In the coming elections, the Supreme Leader badly needs numbers to boost the system’s legitimacy. Thus municipal and rural elections will be held for the first time on the same day as the presidential poll. For a little while, it seemed that Rafsanjani would be able to catalyze all the opposition. Now the reformist call for a boycott is bound to spread. But there’s a huge problem. Voting in Iran is compulsory; if you don’t vote, your chances of getting a job in government or a semi-official organization is in jeopardy. This means goodbye to a precious steady job, with free housing, no utility bills, decent salaries and benefits. Everyone needs to carry a national ID booklet with stamps corresponding to every election. So a lot of educated urban youth actually go to the polls, but vote blank. In rural Iran, things are much easier for the government. On Dec 2011, it ended plenty of subsidies for household goods and energy. To compensate the rise of inflation, the government started making direct payments to plenty of Iranian families, thus assuring its support in many rural provinces. For the ultra-conservatives, nothing is enough to prevent a repeat of what happened in 2009: the green wave, Ahmadinejad’s victory over Mousavi severely contested, anger in the streets, huge demonstrations, violent repression. Mousavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavard, and former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi, all Green Movement stalwarts, have been under house arrest since the large street protests of Feb 2011. Repression has not abated; on the contrary, see this report in the Guardian. And that also spilled over to the Ahmadinejad camp; even pro-Ahmadinejad clerics have been rounded up or arrested by security services in some provinces, and five websites campaigning for Mashaie were shut down. All VPNs (virtual private networks) have been closed down at myriad of Iranian Internet cafes, and Internet speed has been slowed to a trickle. Even if all this “prevention system” works; and even if the Supreme Leader has his way (and winning candidate, possibly Qalibaf), the outlook is not pleasant. The post-Ahmadinejad incumbent will inherit an ultra-fragmented political landscape; a lot of people blaming the government’s appalling management as well as international sanctions for their plight; and the same hardcore hostility displayed by USrael and the Sunni axis. Hanging on in quiet desperation seems to be the popular Iranian way.
Methinks they should put up their so-called evidence or shut up:
Two AMIA bombing suspects running for Iranian president
JTA, May 22 2013
BUENOS AIRES — Two suspects in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires are candidates in Iran’s presidential election. Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velayati, who are believed to have planned the 1994 attack, were among the eight candidates approved Tuesday for the Jun 14 election by Iran’s Guardian Council to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian constitution bars Ahmadinejad from seeking re-election. Rezai is under an international arrest warrant, or red notice, from the Interpol international police agency. Argentina has accused the Iranian government of directing the bombing, which killed 85 and injured 300, and Hezbollah of carrying it out. No arrests have been made in the case. Six Iranians have been on Interpol ’s most wanted list since 2007 in connection with the bombing, including the current defense minister, Gen Ahmed Vahidi. Meanwhile, the Argentinian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday in a statement that Argentina has received “no formal notification” about Iran’s official approval of an agreement for the two countries to jointly probe the AMIA attack. Iran’s business commissioner to Buenos Aires, Ali Pakdaman, had said a day earlier that Ahmadinejad officially approved the agreement to create a Truth Commission investigating the bombing. The statement issued by the office headed by Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said that only when the formal notification is received by the foreign ministries of Argentina and Iran will “the deal be put into operation.” Iran also is believed to be behind the 1992 car bombing that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring 242.
Egyptian soldiers kidnapped in Sinai released after talks
Nancy Youssef, McClatchy, May 22 2013
CAIRO — Seven soldiers kidnapped last week in the Sinai were freed after a six-hour negotiation between local tribesmen and the kidnappers, the Egyptian government announcement Wednesday. The soldiers, who’d been held since Thursday, were taken to an air force base in Cairo, where they were greeted by Morsi, who kissed each on both cheeks and used the release to call for more efforts to secure the Sinai. Often neglected by Egyptian authorities, the Sinai has increasingly been marked by instability and lawlessness. Morsi, who frequently calls for reconciliation with liberal opponents, used the soldiers’ release to reach out to the Sinai’s tribesmen and rogue militants. The kidnapping gave Morsi, who’s been sharply criticized for his inability to solve the country’s economic problems, an opportunity to appear presidential as he met with the military and gave orders to beef up the military presence in the Sinai. Egyptian helicopters reportedly buzzed, and perhaps bombed, suspected militant encampments. Precisely how the kidnapping was resolved was unclear, however. Local tribesmen and the kidnappers held a six-hour negotiation session that began at midnight Wednesday. The kidnappers reportedly asked for the government to consider releasing suspected militants from Sinai held in government prisons and for the Egyptian army to stop flying helicopters overhead in response to the kidnapping. What the government agreed to was not known, but by midmorning the tribesmen gave the military the location of the kidnapped troops, who were picked up in the desert and flown to Cairo, where Morsi greeted them. The use of Egyptian helicopters to intimidate the kidnappers was rare in the Sinai. The 1979 Camp David Accords require Egypt to obtain permission from Israel before deploying forces to the Sinai. Israeli newspapers reported that the Egyptian actions had been coordinated with Israel. The soldiers were snatched while traveling by minibus to the city of al-Arish. They appeared blindfolded in a two-minute video Saturday in which they pleaded for Morsi’s help and implied they’d been tortured, though they appeared in good health. The latest kidnapping marked the second time in his 11-month presidency that Morsi sent tanks and troops to restore order in Sinai. In August, he sent forces in after 16 Egyptian troops were killed after being snatched by militants.
British guilty of disguised anti-Semitism, says Israeli minister
Robert Tait, Telegraph, May 22 2013
JERUSALEM – In frank comments on the eve of a visit to the Holy Land (sic – RB) by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Israel’s intelligence and strategic affairs minister Yuval Steinitz suggested to the Daily Telegraph that there were growing British “animosities” towards his country, taking the form of hostile media coverage, “incitement” and boycott campaigns, and intimated that a less friendly attitude may be being reflected in official Britsh policy. He also issued a warning to Hague and other Western statesman against lecturing Israel about Jewish settlement building in the West Bank, which the Foreign Secretary has repeatedly condemned. Asked if Britain was still a “friend of Israel”, Steinitz replied:
It’s difficult to say. Traditionally we had good relations with Britain and currently we have good intelligence cooperation with Britain and it’s very successful. We are concerned about the relations, about what we see as some animosities, some incitement in Britain, in the media, made by NGOs against Israel. I hope we will be able to use the visit to improve relations. I didn’t hear that Professor Hawking, or other British academics who are so easily boycotting Israel, are boycotting other Middle East countries, or if they have reservations about the US invading Iraq, they so easily boycott US universities. So some Israelis feel that there is some kind of double standards. The fact that Israel is treated differently, the fact that some people can say so easily, let’s do something against Israel, let’s boycott Israel, let’s boycott Israeli products, this is some kind of disguised anti-Semitism. In past times people said that they are against the Jews. Now, especially after the Holocaust, nobody says that they are against the Jews, but people are against the Jewish state. There should not be much difference between people in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia: the same language, very similar cultures. And still in the US, Canada, in Australia, in opinion polls most citizens support Israel with a very warm feeling. In Britain it is much less. When you think that all four are Anglo-Saxon democracies, why should people in the US, Australia or Canada have different relations to or appreciations of the minuscule Jewish state than the people of Britain? Just recently there was a very general poll in the US. The support for Israel in the US was stronger than ever. I’m not confident that this is the case with Britain as well. Not every kind of criticism is anti-Semitism. I didn’t say that any criticism of Israel was anti-Semitic or unfair even. If somebody has some criticism of Israel, this is one thing. The same person can also have some criticism of his own country. But if somebody is following criticism of Israel and becoming anti-Israeli, saying, I’m ready to cooperate with Israel’s enemies, or boycott Israel or Israelis or Israeli academia or Israeli institutions, this is something different. I think those allegations about the settlements are fundamentally wrong. To come to Israel and say, why are you doing this and this, this is totally wrong.
IAF chief: S-300 en route to Assad
Yoav Zitun, Ynet, May 22 2013
IAF Commander Maj-Gen Amir Eshel told a Herzliya conference on Wednesday:
The S-300 advanced missile defense system will soon land in the hands of the Syrian army. There is a clear understanding that such capabilities will produce confidence and aggressive behavior. Aerial superiority is a condition to win and win quickly, and is of great strategic importance. The other side understands that well, which is why Assad, with his low budget, has invested billions into purchasing anti-aircraft missiles. It’s not just our problem. The challenge that is developing in the north did not start yesterday, and there isn’t a challenge that has no solution. Syria could collapse soon and different forces could get hold of Assad’s armory. This does not mean we will act, but it means we must be ready with our planes and missile defense systems. No one is going to tell us, ‘take two weeks to prepare for the war.’ We will have to be ready for confrontations in Gaza and Lebanon, including long-range ones. Failure to prepare for this would mean a failure to learn the lessons of the 1973 War. Today, a war can develop in many ways, including single incidents that will force us to activate the entire air force within hours. In 2013, a war can be won, but there aren’t any triumphant knockouts anymore. We must avoid over-reliance on technology. Those who think we’ll just press ‘Enter’ and win the war are wrong. There won’t be a recipe for the next war. We’ll have to learn to deal with failures and surprises.
Also Wednesday, IDF CoS Gantz vehemently denied that the IDF jeep hit Tuesday had in fact entered into the Syrian side of the Golan, as Syria had claimed, saying:
The patrol was most definitely traveling along the Syrian border fence, but it did not infiltrate into Syrian territory; that is nonsense. The patrol was fired at once, then a second time and a third time, all of which undoubtedly from the Syrian post.
Talking of IDF jeeps, one turned up in Qusayr:
WaPo Really Thinks US Should Be World’s Policeman
Jim Lobe, LobeLog, May 22 2013
If you want to get some insight into how the WaPo’s editorial board increasingly thinks of the world and the US role in it, editorial page editor Fred Hiatt’s column in Monday’s newspaper provides a good idea. While Hiatt is generally not as ideological as his deputy, Jackson Diehl (although he did hire Jennifer Rubin), his basic belief in US exceptionalism, his rejection of “retrenchment” and “limitations” (on US power), and, above all, his implicit equation of international “engagement” with military intervention demonstrates how his version of liberal internationalism is so easily co-opted by neo-conservatives:
But the dominant impression among foreign officials [read Hiatt himself] is of a policy of retrenchment. They see a steady reduction in the size of US armed forces that will mean less ability to intervene and influence. They watched Obama withdraw all troops from Iraq, failing to negotiate an agreement that would have preserved some US role in that now-unraveling country. They see him preparing to withdraw most troops from Afghanistan, or all, his spokesman has said. The size of any residual force has not been announced.
Consider the logic of this passage. He seems to be saying (through his unnamed “foreign officials”) that US influence in world affairs is directly correlated with the size of its military and the willingness of its commander-in-chief to use it to intervene in foreign countries. In this very Kaganesque view of the world, hard power is really the only power that really counts. The notion that military power must necessarily rest on a strong economic foundation, or even that “soft power” may also play an important role in gaining influence overseas, seems to him or his foreign officials to be secondary at best. He goes on to cite the US intervention in Libya as “a case study in the policy of limitations,” to which Hiatt now strongly objects.
Obama acted only when pressed by French and British allies, and then insisted on withdrawal instead of committing to help a new government establish itself. The predictable result is an unstable country, riven by militias and posing an increasing danger to its neighbors through the spread of arms.
And then, of course, he blames Obama’s failure to intervene decisively in Syria last year for the fact that Syria is “degenerating into something so savage that it’s no longer clear what, if anything, might help.” The question these observations raise, of course, is what would Hiatt have Obama do? Does he seriously believe that the US, at this juncture in its history, has the resources to “nation-build” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria (presumably Mali now, too) all at the same time? And, given what the US has accomplished with the hundreds of billions of dollars it has devoted to “nation-building” in Afghanistan and Iraq, does he really think that Washington, and especially the Pentagon, which has disbursed the great majority of those funds, even knows how to go about “building nations?” Has he read the reports of the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction and his counterpart in Afghanistan? His assumption, of course, is that US intervention, especially military intervention, must automatically make things better for the natives, even if the evidence consistently suggests that the natives may hold a different opinion. Admittedly, Hiatt does insert a qualification:
During the Cold War, too, USAians fought bitterly over the size of the defense budget, the wisdom of interventions and the morality of supporting unsavory but friendly dictators. Over the decades the country made terrible mistakes overseas. But US engagement and influence also helped to gradually open the world to more democracy and more prosperity.
Again, we see in this passage the assumption that big defense budgets, military or covert interventions, and US support for friendly dictators, as controversial and even mistaken as those policies might have been, have all somehow contributed to a better world, that all’s well that ends well. But I think many Vietnamese, Cambodians, Iranians, Central Americans (especially Guatemalans), Brazilians, Chileans, Congolese, Iraqis, Indonesians, and citizens of other countries who have been on the receiving end of the US defense budget, military or covert intervention, and those unsavory dictators may take exception to that conclusion. Certainly even a cursory reading of Shibley Telhami’s new book, The World Through Arab Eyes, which summarizes more than two decades of his work on public opinion in the Arab world, should disabuse him of how US interventions in that part of the world has been perceived by the people there.