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Showing Results 181-200 of 442 for Syria
January 11, 2014

ARIEL SHARON (1928-2014)

 'I know best' this characterized Arik Sharon, both as a vaunted military commander and an unpredictable politician. He is destined to be remembered as the most controversial of all Israeli public figures. To friend and foe he became known as the 'bulldozer'- his driving determination could overcome most obstacles in his way whether his superiors or political supporters agreed or not. Some military commentators have rated him as the best field commander and strategist in the annals of the IDF, while in his subsequent career in politics he was a formidable opponent.

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December 12, 2013

ISRAELI-SAUDI ALLIANCE AGAINST IRAN?

 In this day and age of the looming Iranian threat, what do Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf States have to fear from Israel? Absolutely nothing. And what does Israel have to fear from them? Again, absolutely nothing. Bu what do the Gulf States and Israel have to fear from Iran? Possibly their very survival! This joint interest, against the backdrop of America’s disengagement from the Middle East could be “the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

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December 02, 2013

GENEVA – BETWEEN MUNICH AND NORTH KOREA?

 Will U.S. president Barack Obama prefer a nuclear Iran, rather than launching preventative military strike if need be?

 This is the question being asked in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and around the Middle East. In light of the Geneva nuclear deal, grave doubts are being voiced throughout the region. What about Obama’s mantra of ‘all options are on the table’? Some Israeli cynics are worried this may also included the selling out of Israel. What worries Israel is that president Obama, apparently in the midst of disengaging from the Middle East, will seek another diplomatic exit in six months or so when the final agreement is to be concluded; or say, when the Iranians break out for their firs a-bomb after their economy has got a shot in the arm, provided by the easing of the sanctions.

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November 29, 2013

NOVEMBER 29th - ISRAEL & PALESTINIANS: WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

 NOV. 29th is one of the most monumental dates in the history of the Jewish people. On this day in 1947, the UN General Assembly approved the Partition Plan for Palestine that was to be implemented after the termination of the British mandate. It called for the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and heralded the rebirth of a Jewish state in its ancient homeland of over three thousand years. Similarly, it granted for the first time a Palestinian state. Designated Resolution 181, it was immediately accepted by the Jews but categorically rejected by the Arabs who later launched an all out war to literally drive the Jews into the Sea! If the Arab states had also accepted the partition there would have been no refugee problem - Palestinian or Jewish. An estimated 650,000 Palestinian refugees fled their homes while at least that number of Jewish refugees were driven out of the neighboring Arab countries. The resolution was carried by a vote of 33 in favor, 13 opposed, 10 abstentions and one member was absent. On the anniversary of that vote, you are invited to listen to this background report by David Essing that includes authentic recordings of the events as they unfolded: 

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November 24, 2013

THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR DEAL - A HISTORIC MISTAKE

 November 24, 2013 for Israel is a day that will live in infamy.  This is the unanimous reaction of Israeli leaders from Prime Minister Netanyahu on down.  Israelis awakened to a new day that has brought the spectre of a nuclear-armed Iran much closer.  Only a few days ago, in the midst of the Geneva negotiations, Iran’s all-powerful leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Israelis rabid dogs who are destined for destruction; but this failed to register in Washington. It was a Hitlerian diatribe in every sense of the word, and like Munich, 1938, today it is U.S. president Barack Obama, the Free World’s leader, who is praising The Peace in Our Time Agreement.  In his view, it is a victory for diplomacy over war.  Although the Iranian economy was gasping on the ropes of sanctions, for some reason Obama did not see sanctions as the solution, ‘Better to appease Tehran and hope for the best’.  As for the Iranians, it is a monumental victory: all their nuclear weapons capability remains in place, they preserve their right to uranium enrichment, and not one of their 19,000 centrifuges will be dismantled.  Secondly, the new Iran heavy water reactor will eventually produce plutonium for A-bombs once it goes on stream.

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November 14, 2013

NEITHER ARE ISRAELIS BLIND OR STUPID OVER IRAN

 'A fool's game' is how French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius described the nuclear deal cooked up by EU rep Catharine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Geneva. So it was not only Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu who expressed 'hysterical opposition' (New York Times) to the failed proposal that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rushed to try and wrap up. After investing so much of his time and personal effort, Kerry is beginning to show signs of the mediator's syndrome - striving to achieve an agreement at any price...

 

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October 27, 2013

HOW AND WHEN ISRAEL SHOULD BOMB IRAN

 How and when might Israel launch a military strike against Iran's nuclear weapons sites? For the first time, a retired Israeli general has disclosed military details that have remained under wraps. In an interview with the New Republic magazine, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin told correspondent Ben Birnbaum that Israel should give a chance for the current nuclear talks between the 5P+1, but if President Hassan Rouhani starts stalling again, he supports Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's position that Israel should go it alone without the U.S. Yadlin has served as the former head of IDF Intelligence and was one of the eight Israeli pilots who bombed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor, before it went 'hot' in 1981. (At the time, the Reagan Administration joined the rest of the world in condemning Israel but later lauded Israel for preventing the Iraqi tyrant from getting his hands on an A-bomb.) But the former fighter pilot is no super hawk. On the contrary. In the public debate, Yadlin bucked Netanyahu and former Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who were reportedly in favor of not waiting any longer. (It is still uncertain whether this was really the two leaders' position or whether they were really trying to ramp up international sanctions on Iran.)

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October 07, 2013

PM Netanyahu's speech at Bar Ilan University

 I recently read a hundred-page book by a wonderful American historian who passed away nearly 50 years ago. His name was Will Durant and he wrote many books. He wrote an eleven volume history of civilization, but at the end of his life, he wrote a hundred-page book, The Lessons of History. You should read it. Every line is carved from the stone of truth, and I will give you the bad news and the good news. 

 The bad news is that when you finish reading this book, you understand that in history, greater numbers rule. They matter. But here is the good news. On page 17, if I am not mistaken, he mentions that there may be exceptions to this rule and that through the unification of a cultural force, that's what he called it, the odds could be overcome. He gives the State of Israel as an example of such an exception. 

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September 25, 2013

US-IRAN NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS

 What is the essence of true negotiations? Obviously it is the readiness of both sides to compromise. For the negotiations to succeed, each side must give up something in return for something else that values more. But just think about it: is this the case between the US and Iran? Did America simply wake up one morning and decide to lead a campaign of crippling sanctions against the Islamic Republic for no good reason. So maybe it will be about America's meddling in Iran's internal affairs and the Iranians taking American diplomats in Tehran hostage in 1971? Not really. It's all about Iran's nuclear weapons program and America's subsequent sanctions action at the UN. Reading between the lines, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has told the UN General Assembly that 'constructive engagement' should result in the lifting of those sanctions. But flying in the face of the evidence, perish the thought that Iran has been advancing toward its first A-bomb! Rouhani told the General Assembly that, contrary to the US state Department's branding Iran as the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism, his country is anything but. Back home in Tehran, what might Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guards, who really call the shots, be ready to concede? Here are some IsraCast suggestions: 

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September 22, 2013

ISRAEL'S 'LANTERN ON THE STERN'

 Forget the current rhetoric coming out of Washington and Tehran. Both sides are playing each other as they prepare to kick off yet another round of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue, the most critical crisis facing the world today. Iran's newly elected President Hassan Rouhani is the new smiling face of the tyrannical Islamist regime that supports Syria's use of chemical weapons. On the other hand, US President Barack Obama is trying to regain some of the credibility he lost to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although he will not be taking part, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu will be a key absent partner, and he has left no doubt about where he stands on a nuclear Iran. On the basis of past experience, there is little chance that Iran will really back down from its nuclear weapons drive. On the other hand, Obama's erratic handling of the Syrian chemical weapons atrocity has raised questions about his staying the course. If Iran does eventually make a dash for the A-bomb and Obama choses to procrastinate, what will Israel do? Analyst David Essing refers to historian Barbara Tuchman's analogy of ‘the lantern on the stern' to illuminate how past history can aid in foretelling a future course of action.

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September 12, 2013

NETANYAHU CONNECTS SYRIA WITH IRAN

 "The message that emerges on Syria will be grasped in Iran" - Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has indicated that the Iranian nuclear project is still Israel's major concern. Addressing a graduation ceremony for Israeli Navy cadets, Netanyahu hinted that Israel would not be dependent on the U.S. for its security: ‘In these days, probably more than ever, this is the rule that guides me mainly in my actions - 'If I am not for myself, who will be for me’. And he followed this Talmudic saying by adding that Israel would always be prepared to defend itself. Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have steered clear of commenting on what course President Barack Obama should navigate on Syria. Netanyahu did say that an agreement must guarantee the Syrian regime will be disarmed of its chemical weapons and the world must make certain that whoever uses weapons of mass destruction will pay the price. 

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September 08, 2013

OBAMA - CHURCHILL OR CHAMBERLAIN?

Will U.S. President Barack Obama turn out to be a Winston Churchill or a Neville Chamberlain? Whatever the outcome, Obama's statecraft is being viewed as puzzling, to say the least, by the vast majority of Israelis. The sudden silence of Israeli officials, from Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu on down, speaks for the gravity with which they view the situation. One noticeable exception was President Shimon Peres who praised Obama 'for examining all the options to respond to Assad who had lost all legitimacy as Syria's president'. Shimon Peres, the media, and the Israeli 'in the street' found it hard to accept that the U.S. and the rest of the Free World were so prevaricating in standing up to a barbaric dictator's gassing of his own children and women. As for Russia and China, that's par for the course, realpolitik is their name of the game. In fact, it recalls Stalin's pact with Adolph Hitler when they okayed the Molotov- Ribbentrop treaty to carve up Poland and forestall Germany from invading the Soviet Union. 

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August 31, 2013

OBAMA'S DECISION TO DELAY STARTLES ISRAEL

 Total astonishment - that's been the reaction in Israel to US President Barack Obama's surprise announcement that he is delaying any possible attack on Syria at least until after September 9th. The question being asked is whether Obama was trying to buy time by seeking Congressional approval, although he said he didn't need it. Could Obama be backing out of his pledge to confront the Assad regime in Syria for the chemical weapons attack that killed an estimated 1429 civilians on August 21? After Assad had again crossed Obama's red line on chemical weapons, politicians and pundits were certain that Obama had no choice but to react with a swift, punitive strike on Syria. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu immediately ordered an official blackout so as to prevent Israel bashers in the U.S. from accusing Israel of influencing the Obama administration to launch a military strike. But nearly all media commentators were of the view that Assad had gone too far and the signals from Washington were that it was not a matter of if, but when Obama would give the order. 


 

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August 25, 2013

WHY U.S. SHOULD BOMB SYRIA

 The signs are that U.S. President Barack Obama is taking the Syrian Army's latest chemical weapons attack very seriously. Obama has consulted with his top national security advisors, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered several U.S. Navy destroyers, armed with Cruise missiles, to sail closer to the Syrian coast, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is returning to the Middle East. Meanwhile, a senior Syrian official has warned that an attack on Syria will not be 'a walk in the park'.

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July 28, 2013

WILL BIBI NETANYAHU BE ISRAEL'S CHARLES DE GAULLE?

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is known to be a great admirer of Winston Churchill, who led Britain's battle for survival against Nazi Germany. However on the eve of the negotiations with the Palestinians in Washington, Netanyahu may be signaling that he may be about to follow in the footsteps of France's Charles de Gaulle, who against all the expectations, decided to relinquish French control of Algeria in order to end an extremely bloody war. Apparently, Netanyahu has crossed another milestone on his way to seeking a territorial compromise on the Land of Israel with the Palestinians.

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July 20, 2013

HOW DID KERRY FINALLY DO IT?

There is more than meets the eye - that is the only explanation for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's success in cajoling the Palestinians and Israel back to the table. After failing five times previously, Kerry with the Arab League's support, apparently made Abbas and Netanyahu an offer that neither leader could refuse. This despite the fact that both antagonists face bitter opposition among their respective supporters to the two-state solution.

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July 14, 2013

U.S. - CANADA IN IRAN'S NUCLEAR CROSSHAIRS?

 Thousands of Israelis along the Mediterranean Coast were startled by a resounding boom that was heard far and wide on the morning of July 12th -  it was far greater than an Israeli jet breaking the sound barrier. Defense officials were quick to announce the testing of a 'navigational rocket system' at the Palmahim launch site.  The Israeli media promptly reported, that according to foreign  sources, it was Israel's Jericho ballistic missile that purportedly has a range of over 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles). Jericho, like its biblical namesake, can bring 'the walls tumbling down' with its  warhead of one ton of explosives. It obviously provides another arrow in Israel's quiver for coping with Iran's nuclear weapons sites. Moreover the Jericho test served as a message to America and the West; Israel will not be lulled by the election of Iran's new President-elect ,Hassan Rouhani, who talks about 'interaction with the West through moderation' while supporting Iran's nuclear weapons program. 

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July 06, 2013

EGYPT- ISLAM IS NOT THE SOLUTION!

Is Egypt now teetering on the brink of civil war after the army's overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi? Al Qaeda leader Ayman Mohammed al-Zawahiri says 'Yes', and has declared, 'The campaign for Egypt is not over, it has just begun!'. Now hiding in exile, the Egyptian born al-Zawahiri has sounded this battle cry to his fellow Egyptians: 'The revolution in Egypt must continue, and the (Sunni) Islamic nation must be prepared to make sacrifices'. Egypt has become the focal point of the drive for power by radical Islamist movements in the current Arab Spring. The outcome of the confrontation in Egypt could have far reaching consequences, not only for Israel, but throughout the entire Islamic world. 

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June 30, 2013

WHAT DO THE PALESTINIANS REALLY WANT?

 Do the Palestinians hate the Jewish state more than they love their dream of a Palestinian homeland? That is the question amid the latest peace effort by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The fact is, the Palestinians could have had their own state years ago, if they were only willing to accept the Jewish state in return. 

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June 17, 2013

IRAN & SYRIA - ISRAEL PLAYS IT COOL

Israel has reacted coolly to two new developments in the Middle East - the surprise victory of 'moderate' cleric Hassan Rohani in Iran's presidential election, and the U.S. decision to supply weapons to Syria's rebels. It's still early days and it remains to be seen how the situations will play out. 

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