This comes in the nature of an alert, focusing on two related issues of primary significance for the security of Israel, the US, and the western world.
Those two issues are retaining a US presence in Iraq, and taking on Iran militarily before it acquires nuclear capability.
I am well aware of the heated debate going on right now in the US regarding a military pullout from Iraq. I have not addressed this issue before but believe that the time has come. This past week, President Bush gave a lengthy press conference in which he discussed Iraq, and later met with columnists to reinforce his message.
Among the points made by Bush in his press conference are these:
“… It’s my responsibility to provide the American people with a candid assessment on the way forward. There is tough fighting ahead. The road to victory will not be easy. We should not expect a simple solution. The fact that the fighting is tough does not mean our efforts in Iraq are not worth it. To the contrary; the consequences in Iraq will have a decisive impact on the security of our country, because defeating the terrorists in Iraq is essential to turning back the cause of extremism in the Middle East. If we do not defeat the terrorists or extremists in Iraq, they will gain access to vast oil reserves, and use Iraq as a base to overthrow moderate governments across the broader Middle East. They will launch new attacks on America from this new safe haven. They will pursue their goal of a radical Islamic empire that stretches from Spain to Indonesia.
“Our security at home depends on ensuring that Iraq is an ally in the war on terror and does not become a terrorist haven like Afghanistan under the Taliban.
“Our country has faced adversity before during times of war. In past wars, we’ve lost young Americans who gave everything to protect our freedom and way of life. In this war, we’ve lost good men and women who’ve given their lives for a cause that is necessary and it is just. We mourn every loss, and we must gird ourselves for the sacrifices that are yet to come. America’s men and women in uniform are the finest in the world. I’m awed by their strength and their character. As General Casey reported yesterday in Iraq, ‘the men and women of the Armed Forces… have never lost a battle in over three years in the war.’ Every American can take pride in our troops, and the vital work they are doing to protect us.
“Our troops are fighting a war that will set the course for this new century. The outcome will determine the destiny of millions across the world. Defeating the terrorists and extremists is the challenge of our time and the calling of this generation. I’m confident this generation will answer that call and defeat an ideology that is bent on destroying America and all that we stand for.
“… Look, I want to get our troops home as fast as we can. But I do not want to leave before we achieve victory… ” The only way the US can lose this thing, says Bush, is by pulling out and allowing chaos to ensue.
The entire statement can be found at:
Bush is absolutely on the mark when he speaks about moderation in the Middle East being threatened if the US does not prevail in Iraq. This quite clearly impinges on the security of Israel. Israel security experts are concerned with several potential scenarios that could evolve from a US pullout in Iraq:
Dr. Mark Heller, director of research at the Institute for National Security Studies, says that “… anything that harms American credibility or deterrence is bad where Israel is concerned.”
In particular he sees Iran as gaining increased leverage in an unstable Iraq, with disastrous effects: “The influence of Iran in Iraq would have spillover effects in Lebanon and Syria. In addition, radical Sunnis in Iraq could spill over into Jordan.”
As a result, “the terror efforts currently directed against US forces in Iraq would be turned against Israel.”
Cameron Brown, deputy director of global research in international affairs at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, has two major concerns. One is the possibility of regional war as a result of the instability. The second is the emergence of a “trigger-shy” mindset that would foster a reluctance in the US to militarily take on Iran’s nuclear development.
This is the most serious of all. As has been made clear repeatedly, Israel cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran, which has expressed overt intentions of destroying us. If we must act unilaterally, we will have to. But far better if the US will assume the responsibility.
This past Friday, Caroline Glick, in her column in The Jerusalem Post, addressed these issues. She says a great deal that is of value. What I wish to emphasize here are the following points that she made:
— US pullout from Iraq would represent a disaster for Israel.
— Bush knows what he wants to achieve, but is being undercut by the media, the Democrats, and members of his own administration — most notably by Condoleezza Rice. Success is difficult to demonstrate in a situation such as Iraq, and “the enemy gets to define victory by killing people.”
Says Glick: “… rather than explain Iran’s central role in the war, Rice courts the mullahs. Ignoring Iran’s sponsorship of the Palestinians, Rice waxes poetic, comparing the Palestinians — who chose Hamas to lead them — to the American founding fathers and to the civil rights movement….
“… contrary to Bush’s clear view on the matter, State Department officials work around the clock negotiating ceasefires.
“In Iraq, this dangerous penchant for negotiations is what enabled Muqtada al-Sadr’s pro-Iranian… Army to emerge from its April 2004 offensive… intact.”
This is hardly a new story: a government whose elements work against each other. In this instance, however, the situation has a potential for disaster. Glick makes the point that the US can only win the war in Iraq if the American people support it.
This is where my readers in the US come in. If you care about the enormous negative impact withdrawal would have on Israel… if you agree with the need for the US military to sustain its presence in Iraq…
It is imperative that you let the president know you are with him, and that you send this message to others who will do the same.
The message can be simple: Ask him to stay in Iraq and to fight the forces of terror and radicalism. Tell him you are with him.
A letter to the president is most effective, either by snail mail or by fax. Phoning is the second most effective means of communication. E-mail has the least impact. Do what you are able to do, but implore the president to stay strong in Iraq.
As always, numbers count. Getting this message to as many people as possible is helpful.
President George Bush
The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
Comment line: 202-456-1111
TTY/TDD line: 202-456-6213
On other fronts, briefly:
— After all of the squabbling, Labor has voted to stay in a government that includes Lieberman. The Cabinet has now approved his inclusion and this will be brought to the Knesset tonight. If, as can be presumed, this goes through, Lieberman will be Minister for Strategic Affairs and a Deputy Prime Minister. His appointment, however, will not change the “prerogatives” of any other ministers, says Olmert. This means he does not have power to make decisions on security matters, but only to collect data and make recommendations. Meanwhile, Minister of Science, Sports and Culture, Ophir Pines-Paz has submitted his resignation from the gov’t in protest.
— The Israeli paper Maariv reported last Friday that Israel may use laser-guided smart bombs underground to remove tunnels at the Philadelphi Crossing, as a substitute for staying there permanently. Even though 100 tunnels were found, and it is known that many more exist (the 100 were found in a small area of the crossing — the whole region has not been searched), the IDF has pulled out, at least temporarily, for reasons that are most unclear; Olmert claims operations will be expanded soon.
The reports about the bombs were followed by a report by Reuters on Saturday that Egypt is amassing 5,000 troops on its side of the border in response to the information about the possible Israeli use of the bombs. Israeli security officials said the same. But both Olmert and Peretz have since denied that this is so.
Israel says Egypt will be notified before any operation such as bombing is to take place.
— PA President Abbas has given Hamas two weeks to shape up or else. Does this seem like deja vu to you? That’s because it is. How many ultimatums has Abbas given Hamas so far?
One of the things Abbas is thinking of doing is bringing in more PLO forces loyal to him — from the Badr Brigade in Jordan — in anticipation of a showdown with Hamas. Previously Israel has denied entry to such troops, but now Olmert has told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that if this doesn’t affect our security, he would not be opposed. How, I wonder, will he decide that this will not impinge on our security? Is the presence of more armed Palestinians in the area something that can possibly do us any good?
More corruption charges against PM Olmert have emerged — three different cases, actually, the most serious involving the sale of the controlling share of Bank Leumi. This time, predicts Amir Oren of Haaretz, Olmert will actually be indicted. The cases have been transferred from the office of the attorney general to the police.
This is what many of us have been waiting for, should it come to be. It would bring the gov’t down. Both because of extreme incompetency and major corruption, this is a gov’t that certainly ought to be brought down. As soon as possible.
This posting can be found at: http://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/10/30/posted-october-30-2006.html