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UN'S 'TUNNEL VISION' ON IRAN, LEBANON & GAZA

UN Knows Nothing About Possible Nuclear Weapons Research At Iranian Military Bases

UNIFIL Sees No Signs of Hezbollah Military Build-up in Southern Lebanon

Israel Shows UN Secretary General Guterres Hamas Attack Tunnels Being Built Under Israeli Border From Gaza

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in a BBC interview on Iran

In Iran, the international inspectors have come and gone after giving the Iranians a clean bill of health – they are abiding by the nuclear accord worked out with the Great Powers over two years ago. Only one glaring problem: the Iranians refuse categorically to allow the nuclear watch-dogs to enter their military installations! And where else would the Iranians carry out clandestine nuclear weapons research if not inside bases they have declared to be off limits? In fact, in the past, Israel disclosed that it had intelligence showing that the Iranians had conducted secret research on detonators for A-bombs at the Parchin base. The Iranians denied it, but later the IAEA confirmed the Israeli charges. So who is to say this is not happening again at other Iranian military installations?

Moreover, Yukiya Amano, the IAEA's own director has just declared that his inspectors need access to all 'relevant locations', that is Iranian military bases. Amano told AP:

       'The IAEA has access to all locations without distinction between military and civilian locations'.

Makes sense doesn't it. But that is not how the UN works. Another egregious example is UNIFIL, the UN peace observers in southern Lebanon. Under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006, UNIFIL was mandated to report on Hezbollah forces moving down south again along Lebanon's border with Israel. However, its commander has just issued a report that boils down to: 'I came, I saw but I observed nothing of Hezbollah violations!'

This while Israel has an incontestable video showing Hezbollah forces in control of southern Lebanon where they have stockpiled thousands of rockets and missiles under Lebanese villages. (Recently Hezbollah officers in their guerilla uniforms organized a press along the Lebanese border with Israel, showing who is in charge of south Lebanon. Back in Beirut, Lebanese government leaders denied knowing anything about it.)

In Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Lieberman presented evidence to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (of Portugal) who visited the region. The embarrassed UN leader promised something like he would look into it.

During his visit to Gaza, that is governed by Hamas, Sr. Guterres did speak more forcefully about the need to relieve the humanitarian plight of the Palestinian civilians living there. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon evacuated all IDF troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005. But rather than taking advantage of this and the subsequent economic aid that poured into Gaza – Hamas started launching rockets across the border into Israel. This escalation led to Israel's continuance of the naval-blockade to prevent more rockets being smuggled into Gaza from the Mediterranean. Moreover, Hamas has been exploiting huge quantities of cement and other material to dig tunnels under the border for attacking civilians inside Israel. To this very day, Hamas carries on this costly project at the expense of its civilian population. Naturally, Guterres heard nothing about this from Hamas officials in Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel has launched a huge engineering project to block the Hamas tunneling into Israel. The question is whether Hamas may decide to use their existing tunnels for raids under the border before Israel completes the billion dollar project.

And this final thought: Once there was no security fence along the Israeli border with Gaza. Therefore Hamas simply infiltrated suicide terrorists among workers entering Israel going to their jobs. After the terrorists started blowing up Israelis, the IDF constructed a security fence with electronic checkpoints.

Stymied by this tactic, Hamas built Qassam home-made rockets they fired over the security fence aimed at Israeli towns and villages. Rather than demolish Gaza, Israeli planners went back to the drawing board. They planned, produced, and stationed in the field the Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor the first of its kind, and all within three years. It proved an almost instant success with the capability to identify the trajectory of incoming rockets and intercept them with a success rate of over 90% if they are headed for populations sites.

So unable to go over the border to kill Israelis, Hamas then decided to go under it, mainly in the last Gaza War in 2014. They did have some limited success killing, wounding, and abducting IDF soldiers. So now, the IDF is constructing a super-secret defense network to neutralize this new threat.

Pardon the pun, but these are all example of the UN's 'tunnel vision' when it comes to Israel and the Palestinian-Lebanese issues.

Then there's the new emerging Syria – run by Russia…

President Bashaar Assad, the 'Butcher of Damascus' has survived with the massive aid of Russian air power and the battalions of Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah guerrillas from neighboring Lebanon. The rebels have been routed after the rest of the world stood by. In the bloodbath, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed and wounded and millions more displaced.

Israel stayed out of the inferno, except for warning off any attackers on Druze villages along the frontier. Israel's alarmed Druze citizens, who serve in the IDF, warned loud and clear that they would cross the border from Israel into Syria and go to the aid of their Druze kinsmen if any side in the civil war threatened them. In addition, the IDF set up an emergency medical operation secretly transporting seriously wounded Syrian victims across the border into Israel for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. Later after they had recovered, the patients, many of them children, were sent back to their homes in Syria.

On the ground, foreign Iranian and Hezbollah forces, bitter foes of Israel, have military footholds in Syria. Tehran is closer than ever to extending its Shiite Muslim crescent from Iran and Iraq through Syria on to Lebanon and the Mediterranean Coast. This is not what Israel was hoping for. A week before taking off for Russia, Bibi sent a high-level Israeli delegation to Washington to ascertain what plans, if any, the Trump administration might have for Syria. It reported back, that Trump had washed his hands of the emerging situation. And that is why Bibi flew on an urgent mission to the Russian resort of Sochi to consult with President Vladimir Putin.

This is currently the outcome of the devastating civil war that winds up with the Alawites (a recognized branch of Shiite Islam) minority, only a bare 12% of Syria's population, still in control. The opposition Sunni rebels and Da'esh could not, on their own, match the Russian-Iranian juggernaut that went to the aid of President Bashar Assad. Israel had expected that Syria would break-up into various cantons consisting of Alawite-Shiite Christian enclaves as well as Sunni- Kurdish run regions. This would have been a truncated Syria that would not pose a future threat to the Jewish state. Now Jerusalem must consider the possibility of Iranian forces being stationed permanently in Syria in addition to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Bibi made clear that Israel would view any movement of Iranian forces in Syria down to the Golan Heights as a clear and present danger that would spark an Israeli reaction. And after the ceasefire has gone into effect, what if Iran continues to ship 'game-changing' weapons through Syria to its Hezbullah ally in Lebanon? Israel's policy has been to attack and destroy these shipments while they are en route. After Russian aircraft came to the aid of Assad, Bibi and Putin worked out a modus operandi that enabled Israel to continue attacking arms shipment through Syria to southern Lebanon while preventing any aerial clash between Israeli and Russian jets over Syria. So far, Netanyahu has kept mum over what was concluded.

And this final comment: At home, Bibi has come out slugging against the massive media coverage of four police investigations into possible fraud. The PM held a second mass demonstration of Likud supporters charging that the media is out to oust him at any cost. All the allegations were part of a political witch-hunt to topple his Likud coalition. There has been one very important Likud Knesset Member who had refused to attend the pep rallies for Bibi – he is Benny Begin the son of the late revered Likud leader Menachem Begin. In a radio interview, Benny Begin criticized Bibi for trying to form a personality cult saying this was foreign to the tradition of the party and he would have nothing to do with it. This has triggered hundreds of talkback responses – the vast majority supported Benny Begin's position. In any case, Bibi's investigations are a long way from over. The Prime Minister and President Donald Trump may not see eye to eye on Syria, but they most certainly agree that their respective media are out to topple them.



 

David Essing

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