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Implications Of Latest North Korean Nuclear Test For Israel

Kim Jong Un, Overseeing the missile test (2016)

Jerusalem:

Iranian nuclear scientists have visited North Korea in the past, so they may have also been invited to the latest nuclear bomb test. So North Korea, one crazy state, has supplied nuclear weapons aid to another one, Iran. And note this troubling aspect about the North Korean statement:

      'The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable (North Korea) To produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher striking power... This has definitely put us (North Korea) on a higher level for mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles'.

For Israel, does this raise the possibility of North Korea selling nuclear bombs to Iran in the future? A flush Iran will now have the cash. This is something that Israel must take into account although the International Atomic Energy Agency believes that Tehran is abiding by the nuclear deal forged in July 2015.

Meanwhile, despite American protests, Iran is continuing its development of ICBMs that are capable of already reaching Israel of course as well as many capital cities in Western Europe. There was no official reaction in Jerusalem to the latest successful test by North Korea. However when interviewed by Israel Radio, a top Israeli nuclear expert, Gen.(ret)Yitzak Ben Yisrael did address some technical aspects and implications for Israel.

Gen. Ben Yisrael said it was the biggest nuclear test by North Korea so far and it’s comparable to the A-bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Negasaki - the equivalent of 10,000 kilograms ( 22,000 pounds of explosives). Those nuclear explosions killed some 100,000 people in each city. The two cities were built of wood and bamboo and this magnified the fatalities due to the ensuing fire-storm. On a modern city, built of cement and steel, the North Korean bomb would kill about 10,000 people.

Ben Yisrael noted, according to foreign reports, an Israeli airstrike had demolished a secret Syrian nuclear reactor the North Koreans were building at Deir el Zor in 2007.( Just imagine if the nuclear reactor had started operating and nuclear materials were floating around the Syrian charnel house of today.) In the interview, Gen. Ben Yisrael disclosed that North Korea had dispatched some of its fighter jets to Egypt before the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Some of those North Korean aircraft were subsequently shot down by Israeli jets! This is a new one on me.

Flashback to what former US President Bill Clinton had to say about the nuclear weapons deal he signed with North Korea in 1994:

      'This agreement will help achieve a longstanding and vital American objective - an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Penninsula. It reduces the threat of nuclear proliferation in the region. It's a crucial step forward drawing North Korea into the global community'.

Find the differences between that and President Obama's comments on the Iranian nuclear deal that was also heralded in July, 2015. There are none.

 

Yair Lapid to the fore - but for how long?...

This Sabbath maintenance crews are back again repairing the vital Israel Railway. But Prime Minister Bibi Netanyau was paying the political price for caving into the ultra-orthodox demand to cancel all the work last Sabbath in keeping with their religious beliefs. Opinion polls showed that well over 60% of Israelis felt Bibi had gone way too far. At this week's end, the pollsters also revealed that Yair Lapid had overtaken the PM - Lapid's party would win 24 Knesset seats compared to only 22 for the Likud, if elections were held today. Likudniks played down the numbers arguing that the polls came after an isolated and very unpopular decision taken by Netanyahu. Nonetheless Lapid, a former journalist ( like Britain's Tony Blair) has been slowing gaining not only against the Likud on the Right but also Labor on the Left. Labor (now called the Zionist Camp in Hebrew) is in a free-fall from 24 Knesset seats in the past election to a dismal eleven at present.

Yair Lapid at Herzliya conference (2016)

People and the pundits started asking if Lapid could really pose an alternative to Bibi who has dominated Israeli politics for over seven years. That is easier said than done. There is no direct election of the prime minister; the leader of the party who wins the largest number of knesset seats is almost always picked by the state president to try and form a coalition government of a required sixty- one seat majority in the 120 member Knesset. (In Israel, no one party has ever won a majority on its own). The Right wing Likud is usually ready to pay just about any price to pay off the ultra-orthodox. The fiasco last Saturday is a prime example. So the Likud can always count the ultra-orthodox as being in its pocket from the start. In fact, Shas party leader Aryeh Derri was so exalted over Bibi's controversial decision last Saturday on the railroad work that he declared that his party Shas will also back Bibi after the next election, scheduled for 2019. So the Right-wing Likud always has a head start on the Centre and Left parties. Lapid has been trying to moderate his former tough stand against the Heredeem, but they say they're not buying it. As for his platform, Lapid's 'There is a Future ' party, supports the two state solution with the Palestinians and means it. On Iran, Lapid backs a diplomatic solution to the nuclear threat but says he would be willing to go it alone if necessary to prevent the Ayatollahs from getting their hands on nuclear weapons. Recently he has been spending much of his time abroad and defending Israel against the BDS movement.

The latest polls naturally nurture 'great expectations' for Lapid but then there's that cautious comment of Shimon Peres:

      'Opinion polls are like perfume, good for smelling but not drinking!'

Lapid has his work cut out for him. As things now stand, he has unofficially knocked out Labor's lack-luster Yitzak Herzog as the REAL Opposition Leader to Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Israeli Left and Centre is looking for a viable leader to topple Bibi who either does not or will not make an all-out attempt to break the log-jam with the Palestinians. A majority in his own Likud party would probably topple him if he tried. Lapid has starting making inroads but he has a long way to go in creating a credible persona and agenda.

There are a lot of other potential players out there. Moshe Ya'alon, the former defense minister who was fired by Bibi for political reasons, is popular and highly respected by the Israeli public. He has vowed (like Gen. MacArthur: 'I will return!' and recruiting political support to do so. Another popular Likudnik waiting in the wings is Gidon Saar. Saar has taken a time-out from politics; apparently because he was fed up with Bibi's high-handed tactics and cutting down to size anyone who could pose a future threat to his leadership. Then there's former Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Labor who has been hinting that he is ready if called upon. In Tel Aviv, posters have appeared urging him to run against Bibi: 'Run, Ehud, Run!'

These political animals are waiting and watching on the sidelines. They leave the door to speculation about new amalgamations that could include Lapid and his band. Lapid himself lacks credibility in the field of defense without any military experience. Although party member Yaacov Perri is a former chief of the Shaback Internal Security Service, he may not fill the role of shadow Defense Minister. But what the hell - current Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman served as a clerk in a supply depot of the IDF Quarter-Masters Branch. Bibi's unwarranted firing of Ya'alon, a respected IDF Chief of Staff and replacing him with Corporal Lieberman is another farce that has cost Bibi in popularity. It's not clear if Lieberman ever made Sergeant.

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas-a Soviet spy?

So documents disclosed by a Soviet defector have exposed that Mahmoud Abbas was a Soviet spy. It all began in Moscow in the 1980s where Abbas was busy doing a doctorate with a dual thesis:

1. Holocaust Denial

2. The Secret Relationship between Zionism & Nazism

Great choices for a Palestinian peace partner.

Rafi Eitan, a retired Mossad agent, who led the Israeli team that captured Adolph Eichman in Argentiana, has shed some light on the subject. Eitan said he was not surprised by the news. In the 1980s the KGB would recruit any foreigners they could get their hands on. A Palestinian doctoral candidate would have been a prime candidate. It was in the heydays of the Soviet communist regime and the KGB had expanded into a secret service of no less than 500,000 operatives. The regime was keenly interested in waging the ideological warfare with the West over communism's world domination and therefore it garnered as much data as possible about foreign politics as well as military affairs.

Eitan disclosed that Moscow also sent Jewish immigrants as spies to Israel. In some cases they succeeded in sending top secret material back to the KGB. This the Soviets could relay to their Arab allies. But in some cases, once they got here some Jewish spies immediately told authorties and refused to spy on Israel. In some cases, the Shabak and Mossad decided to turn the would-be spies. They were told to keep playing the role of Russian spies and were fed disinformation by the Israeli authorities. The Russians would then merrily pass on this bogus information to the Arabs who would be fed a false picture.

As an after-thought, Rafi Eitan cracked: 'The fact is I was just as worried about American spies in Israel as I was about the Russian'.

NB: Maybe the full story about what went on, in the highest echelons of Israel, during the run-up to the nuclear deal with Iran has yet to be told. Maybe the story is that Prime Minister Netanyahu and then Defense Minister Ehud Barak had ordered the IDF to get ready to bomb Iran's nuclear sites because the US and the rest of the world were ignoring the threat. However IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Mossad Director Meir Dagan were strongly opposed to such an attack and therefore Netanyahu and Barak had backed off. Maybe Netanyahu and Barak had deliberately created the impression they were very close to giving the green light in order to induce US President Barak Obama to step up the sanctions, threat to Iran. The fact is that until the rumors suddenly surfaced that Netanyahu and Barak were bent on bombing Iran, the US and the international community kept dragging their feet.

 

David Essing

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