The spiritual leader of Israel's ultra-orthodox Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has provoked outrage with a sermon calling for the annihilation of Arabs."It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable," he was quoted as saying in a sermon delivered on Monday to mark the Jewish festival of Passover. Rabbi Yosef is one of the most powerful religious figures in Israel, He is known for his outspoken comments and has in the past referred to the Arabs as "vipers".
And while there are apologists attempting to excuse his comments let us not forget that in Israel the law is too stike ones enemies first.
The Iranian nuclear threat is uppermost in the minds of many Israelis and Jews around the world who care for their coreligionists living in . However, it seems that the case for a preemptive strike against has not been properly made. From a Jewish legal standpoint it is clear according to Halacha (Jewish law) one must rise first and strike a person who clearly intends to deliver one a fatal blow.
Even if that threat is only 'percieved' and not a real one. Such was the case of Israels attack in the past on Iraq. An act that was a violation of international law.
And with the ramping up of politics of fear, which is what the War on Terror really is, Israelis are getting an itchy trigger finger.
But Israel may not have to go it alone as the United States has ramped up its rhetorical hysteria over Iran in preparation for a potential attack, either by it or Israel.
Israel’s powerful deterrent is continually being downplayed by those who insist that the Israeli state is essentially as vulnerable as the Jews of Europe were in 1939.
Of the dozens of articles and speeches which express that fear, one stands out. It is by Benny Morris, one of Israel's top historians who made his name by exploring the origins of the Palestinian refugee problem. He is no right-winger (although he has moved rightward lately) which makes his words especially significant.
In an essay in the "Jerusalem Post," called "This Holocaust Will Be Different," Morris offers this prediction.
"One bright morning, in five or 10 years, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day or a year or five years after Iran's acquisition of the Bomb, the mullahs in Qom will convene in secret session, under a portrait of the steely-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini, and give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by then in his second or third term, the go-ahead.
"The orders will go out and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off for Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Haifa and Jerusalem, and probably some military sites, including Israel's half dozen air and (reported) nuclear missile bases….
"With a country the size and shape of Israel (an elongated 20,000 square kilometers), probably four or five hits will suffice: No more Israel. “
The most distressing part of Morris's analysis (or prophecy) is its utter fatalism. “America will do nothing. Iran will get the bomb. Iran will use it on Israel. Israel will be destroyed. It's all inevitable.”
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser in the Carter administration, delivered a scathing critique of the war in Iraq and warned that the Bush administration’s policy was leading inevitably to a war with Iran, with incalculable consequences for US imperialism in the Middle East and internationally.
The United States is planning what will be a catastrophic attack on Iran. For the Bush cabal, the attack will be a way of "buying time" for its disaster in Iraq. In announcing what he called a "surge" of American troops in Iraq, George W. Bush identified Iran as his real target. "We will interrupt the flow of support [to the insurgency in Iraq] from Iran and Syria," he said. "And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."
Like WMD the evidence of Iranian involvement in Iraq is also suspect.
Evidence is still inconclusive on Iran involvement in Iraq
Bush administration officials acknowledged Friday that they had yet to compile evidence strong enough to back up publicly their claims that Iran is fomenting violence against U.S. troops in Iraq.
Administration officials have long complained that Iran was supplying Shiite Muslim militants with lethal explosives and other materiel used to kill U.S. military personnel. But despite several pledges to make the evidence public, the administration has twice postponed the release — most recently, a briefing by military officials scheduled for last Tuesday in Baghdad.
As far as Tehran's involvement in Iraq is concerned, Lionel Beehner of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote Wednesday that " enormous controversy" still swirls around the issue of Iranian influence.
...much of the evidence the United States cites as proof of Iranian involvement remains secret and in some cases is disputed by the Iraqi government, too. This has created an uncomfortable analogy to the period before the Iraq invasion, when secret intelligence ultimately discredited pushed the United States toward war.
With the Real Politick of Fear, evidence does not matter to Israel of the United States, the mere use of pompous rhetoric and inflamatory statements by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is being used as an excuse to prepare for war with Iran by chicken hawks in both countries.
When Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared last week at the Herzliya conference that Israel could not risk another "existential threat" such as the Holocaust, he was repeating what has become the dominant theme in Israel's campaign against Iran – that it cannot tolerate an Iran with the technology that could be used to make nuclear weapons, because Iran is fanatically committed to the physical destruction of Israel. The internal assessment by the Israeli national security apparatus of the Iranian threat, however, is more realistic than the government's public rhetoric would indicate. Since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in August 2005, Israel has effectively exploited his image as someone who is particularly fanatical about destroying Israel to develop the theme of Iran's threat of a "second Holocaust" by using nuclear weapons. But such alarmist statements do not accurately reflect the strategic thinking of the Israeli national security officials. -antiwar
As usual what is forgotten is that the President of Iran does not run Iran, like the President of the United States runs America. He is only one voice which is controled by the Mullahs and their councils.
The Baltimore Sun, in an editorial : "Iran is hardly a monolithic, march-in-step country; everything Iranian is not evil. But that's a hard sell to make in Washington...Iran's interests, in fact, are in some ways parallel to America's. Iran would not benefit from an Iraqi collapse into total anarchy, or from a wider sectarian war. Right now, Iran and the Sunni regime of Saudi Arabia, one of America's traditional allies in the region, have been trying to mediate a settlement in Lebanon.
The fact that this whole issue arose from Irans need to develop nuclear energy, not a bomb, in order to expand its infrastructure is completely lost in the whole chicken little reaction that nuclear energy = nuclear weapon. It is a deliberate obfustication of what Iran wants, which is nuclear power contracts like Pakistan and India have, not weapons, but access to nucelar technology and uranium.
They need an alternative energy source to grow their capitalist infrastructure since their domestic reliance on gas and oil is now restricted because of export demand.
At the meeting with Secretary of the Russian Security Council Igor Ivanov in Tehran over the past weekend, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: "Our countries could set up an OPEC-type organization on gas cooperation."
Judging from the initial response, the majority of analysts think that this proposal is rooted in politics rather than economics.
This is not the first time the idea has been put forward. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered to Russian President Vladimir Putin at their meeting in Shanghai in June 2006 to establish what he described as cooperation "in fixing gas prices, and major flows in the interests of global stability."
Indicatively, the same idea was discussed during the recent Algerian visit of Viktor Khristenko, Minister of Industry and Energy: Algeria and Qatar could join the two countries. The resources of this potential cartel are very impressive - they account for more than 30% of the world's gas production, and their aggregate proven reserves exceed 60% of the total, which is comparable to OPEC's respective share in the global oil reserves - about 68%. The would-be cartel could include other members as well.Malaysia has warned it will drop free trade talks with the US if it is asked to scrap a multi-billion-dollar gas deal with Iran, a news report said yesterday.
US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos has urged the suspension of negotiations to forge a free trade agreement with Malaysia until it halts a US$16 billion deal to develop gas fields in southern Iran.
The proposition of war with Iran is saber rattling by Israel and America, because their very visible military failures in Lebanon and Iraq have given strength to their regional enemies, which have increased not decreased thanks to Bush's War On Terror.
Now they must strike back, at least rhetorially, ramping up the threat that they will take unilateral action. Whether that threat will come to pass is another question. But it bodes ill for any resolution to the crisis of Middle East. Chickens, home, roost.
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