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Monday, January 07, 2013

History never really repeats itself - Except when it threatens to


Spring 1967
Nasser disregarded the counsel of his own intelligence and began massing his troops in the Sinai Peninsula on Israel’s border (May 16), expelled the UNEF force from Gaza and Sinai (May 19), and took up UNEF positions at Sharm el-Sheikh, overlooking the Straits of Tiran. According to Moshe Shemesh, as Egypt and Syria shared a mutual defence pact, Nasser responded to the Israeli threats by beginning to concentrate his troops in the Sinai Peninsula according to the “Qahir” (Conqueror) defence plan. He also decided to prepare the feda’iyyun for carrying out the “Fahd 2 (Leopard) Plan” [murderous attacks] inside Israel and to coordinate military operations with Syria.
Israeli civilians dug fortifications and defenses, and preparations were made for evacuating children to Europe. About 14,000 hospital beds were readied. Antidotes for poison gas victims, expected to arrive in waves of some 200, were stockpiled, and Germany donated some 20,000 gas masks. Some 10,000 graves were dug.Diaspora Jewsplayed a key role in the preparations. Volunteers arrived in great numbers, and preference was given to young and skilled bachelors.
There were massive donations and fund drives from both Jews and sympathetic non-Jews. French Jews expressed their willingness to donate blood, house evacuated Israeli children, and sell artwork to raise money. According to Michael Oren’s account of the war, there was a sense of an approaching catastrophe in Israel, with talk of widespread bombings of Israeli cities and an entire generation of soldiers being wiped out
TODAY SINAI
Muslim Brotherhood lobbying Egypt to remilitarize Sinai
The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies said the Muslim Brotherhood has been pressing Egypt’s first Islamist president to send large amounts of troops and weapons to Sinai.
In a report the center asserted that the Brotherhood regarded neighboring Israel as a strategic threat and wanted to sever the peace treaty with the Jewish state.
The report said the Brotherhood defines Israel as an “enemy state” and supports Hamas in any confrontation. The Brotherhood is said to have preached caution and patience while urging Muslims to join jihad against the Jewish state.
“The Brotherhood sees Israel as a strategic threat and has aggressively lobbied Morsi to strengthen Egyptian military presence in Sinai,” said the report, “The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Its True Intentions Towards Israel.”
GAZA
Hamas Builds Underground Launchers
The Hamas regime has built bunkers to store and launch medium-range rockets toward Israel.
A leading Israeli defense consultant asserted that Hamas and Islamic Jihad adopted methods of the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah. The consultant, Uzi Rubin, said the Hamas regime built underground launchers to fire extended-range BM-21 Grad rockets toward Israeli cities during the latest war in November 2012.
“The Gaza fighting may also be a harbinger of wars to come,” Rubin told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Hamas military doctrine, with its focus on rockets and missiles, is a reflection of Iran’s military doctrine, so any future war in the Gulf will likely unfold along similar lines.”
In an address on Dec. 18, Rubin, who helped found the Israel Missile Defense Organization, asserted that Hamas and Jihad fired Grads from underground launchers located in residential areas of the Gaza Strip. He said the Grads, with a range of more than 40 kilometers, were fired from electronically-raised launchers similar to that employed by Hizbullah in its 2006 war with Israel.
Syria

Israeli premier: frontier fence with Syria needed

Israel’s premier pledged Sunday to build a fortified fence along the frontier with Syria, warning that radical Islamist forces have taken over the area.

Israel to build 43-mile security fence in Golan Heights

Israel is to build a 43-mile security fence along the armistice line of the occupied Golan Heights to prevent incursions by Islamist militants currently fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

Lebanon

Oren: Israel will act if Hezbollah gets Syrian WMDs

Ambassador to the US says Israel has “a very clear red line” on Syrian chemical weapons

“Were those weapons to pass into the wrong hands, into Hezbollah’s hands for example, that would be a game changer for us.” Armed with chemical weapons and a large cache of rockets, Oren said, the terrorist group could kill “thousands of people.”
Syria has one of the world’s largest chemical weapons arsenals, according to Leonard Spector, executive director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies based in Washington. Syria’s arms cache includes “traditional chemical agents, such as mustard, and more modern nerve agents, such as sarin, and possibly persistent nerve agents, such as VX,” he told the BBC on Tuesday.
Iran
Experts dispute roles of Russia and China in Iran’s missile program
WASHINGTON — The Congressional Research Service has reported that analysts continue to disagree over progress in Iranian missile development. The dispute pits those who assess that Teheran, with Russia’s help, have reached missile self-sufficiency. Skeptics deny this to be the case.
“From some of the expert community, at least two slightly different schools of thought exist as to what Russian involvement in Iran’s ballistic missile programs may have consisted of,” CRS said.
In a report, CRS said one school of thought determined that Iran, through North Korea, gained access to Russian-designed missiles. The report cited Robert Schmucker and Markus Schiller, two leading German specialists who argued that Iran procured Russian ballistic missiles and then modified them with help from Moscow and perhaps China.The assessment appeared to differ with recent reports by the U.S. intelligence community. Since 2011, the intelligence community’s annual threat assessments to Congress did not indicate missile cooperation between Iran and Russia.
“In the open-source literature, there are a significant number of reports, articles, news accounts and assessments that touch on Russia’s involvement with Iran’s ballistic missile programs,” the report, dated Dec. 6, said.
“Although this body of literature can be speculative and misinformed, some of it appears well grounded, albeit based on unclassified technical or other assessments.”
Schmucker and Schiller have concluded that Iran’s Shihab-1 and -2 short-range ballistic missiles were identical to North Korea’s Scud B and C.
They said the Shihab-3 was “strongly related” to North Korea’s No-Dong medium-range missile.
“Further Iranian adaptations of these missiles are evident, they argue,” the report said.
Another school of thought assessed that Iran has succeeded to reverse-engineer Soviet-era ballistic missiles with help from Moscow. A leading U.S. specialist, Michael Elleman, has argued that Russia could have helped Iran manufacture the No-Dong.
In contrast, Theodore Postol, a leading missile specialist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said Teheran demonstrated indigenous expertise in ballistic missile programs. Postol, however, asserted that the Shihab-class missiles were North Korean variants.
“Again, neither view may be entirely correct or entirely wrong,” the report said. “Both may have some correspondence with classified technical assessments as to how precisely Iran acquired and developed its ballistic missile capabilities with respect to Russian involvement.”
CRS said Iran continued to seek such major missile components as navigation guidance units, including gyroscopes and accelerometers, testing and satellite navigation equipment. The report said Iran also lacked access to production materials, such as carbon and polymers, to improve the effectiveness and precision of their missiles.
“Is slowing down Iran’s ballistic missile and space launch programs, making them more difficult and expensive, and forcing Iran to find less reliable and capable alternatives an adequate solution for dealing with Iran?” the report asked. “On this point there are significant disagreements and no consensus on how to proceed.” 
Today Barack Obama will nominate Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.
The appointment of Hagel, who, despite strong opposition from the pro-Israel community and gays, is a lock to be confirmed by his former Senate colleagues, illustrates the gap between what Obama’s supporters were told and what is likely to happen over the next four years.
The president’s defenders spent the last year trying to convince others and themselves that Obama is not only a good friend of Israel but that he should be trusted to take action against Iran if diplomacy fails. But placing someone at the head of the Pentagon who has been an opponent of a tough policy on Iran and a stern critic of Israel and its supporters sends a clear signal that Tehran has little to worry about from a second Obama administration.
…the Hagel appointment does illustrate not only his level of comfort with someone who has floated Walt-Mearsheimer-style rhetoric about the “Jewish lobby” but also a man who has been an advocate of taking the use of force against Iran off the table. 
Israel is PRECISELY where it was in the spring of 1967.
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