Jan 19, 2020

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Lessons from Soleimani's Death

A Guest Post by Dr Harold Goldmeier


The neutralization of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani comes as no surprise for readers of Shadow Strike: Inside Israel’s Secret Mission to Eliminate Syrian Nuclear Power (Yaacov Katz, St. Martin’s Press, 2019). Soleimani’s fate mirrors that of Israel’s decade-ago targeted assassination of Hezbollah’s chief of operations, Imad Mughniyeh. He was, according to Katz, “Iran’s primary terror emissary in the Middle East.” A joint CIA-Mossad intelligence-sharing operation eliminated him. And now unconfirmed reports are emerging the two agencies cooperated in targeting Soleimani. 

There are some important lessons to about the balance of terror on the international scene in the fast-read engrossing book. Katz effectively uses stories and conversations to highlight his lessons. 

Katz uncovers the details of why and how Mughniyeh was killed. First, there is the lesson of patience. It took patience, persistence and verifiable espionage to get the target at the right time in the right location to get the point across. Eventually, a bomb was planted in the trunk of his car on the streets of Syria’s capital by Israel’s super-secret Kidon unit. 

Mughniyeh was Iran’s liaison to the Syrians, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. He met with Soleimani who was responsible then for Iran’s “overseas activities.” Israel’s message was clear to its enemies. “No one and nothing (the Syrian reactor) was (sic) out of reach. If the Mossad could get its hands on Mughniyeh in the heart of Damascus, they could get their hands on anyone.”

Soleimani grew to be a nuclear actor. Soleimani boasted in 2008 to U S General Petraeus: “You must know that I, Qassem Soleimani, am in charge of the Iranian policies concerning Iraq, Gaza, and Afghanistan.” He shipped arms, IEDs, and bombs from Iran to kill allied troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Spy agencies and national leaders from Canada to Japan, across Europe and the Middle East, even the UN, labeled Soleimani a terrorist and placed sanctions against him.

Another lesson learned has to do with national self-interest. Nothing tops it. Israel has a long reach and willingness to do almost anything to survive its hostile neighbors. Self-interests override friendships and redefine international rules.

The strike on the nuclear reactor was a time-consuming espionage enterprise. Verifications of information were necessary as new facts emerged. How might the capricious leader of North Korea react after his substantial investment explodes and to the possible death of his nationals helping build the reactor? What about Turkey and Erdogan’s desire to lead the Islamic world? Might the neutralization of Soleimani push Iran into a shooting war that media predicted can trigger World War III?

Now it seems unlikely Russia and China are going to war to avenge Soleimani just as we learn from Shadow Strike that the Bush administration made it abundantly clear to the North Koreans Israel’s airstrike was in its existential self-interest. After the strike on the reactor, “interactions” between North Korea and Syria were “no longer at the level that it had been before the Israeli airstrike.” 


Another lesson the West poo-poos but dominates the Middle East is that the future depends on the memory keepers. The influence of history directs current events. For instance, Jews in Israel no longer view themselves in victim mode. The Holocaust is past but remembered. Israel is the means “Not to forget. To rely only on ourselves.” 

“What most people don’t know is that Israel is the only country in the world to have attacked and destroyed two nuclear reactors in two different countries…(and) Israel will always use military force to prevent its enemies from obtaining nuclear weapons,” Katz reminds.

Allies have to respect each other’s self-interests. Bush had reasons not to attack the Syrian nuclear reactor. Israel allegedly wanted to neutralize the Iranian general three years earlier according to emerging news reports but the Obama administration thwarted Israel’s plans. With Soleimani posing no existential threat to Israel her leaders deferred to President Obama’s purported self-interests. Patience won out in this case when the Trump administration took action. It leaves Israel publicly blameless thus avoiding an all-out shooting confrontation with Iran. 

ABC.net News labels Soleimani’s neutralization as “a watershed moment in the Middle East conflict.” Soleimani was more a traditional warlord than a modern general. Let’s not aggrandize his memory but learn the lessons of dealing with a terrorist state.
     
          

Dr. Harold Goldmeier writes about business, social and political issues, public speaker, and Manager of an investment firm. Harold.goldmeier@gmail.com



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Headlines Podcast: 1/18/20 - Show 255 - Is it Mutar to go to Secular College (audio)







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Heartwarming & Emotional Video of Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway Honoring Lifelong Security Guard (video)







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Matt Dubb - Olam Chesed (Official Video)







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Jan 16, 2020

musical chairs on the Right upset the voters


People are very angry at the new united party of the right wing religious sector, though I am not sure I understand what happened that was so bad.

Habayit Hayehudi led by Rav Rafi Peretz made a deal with Otzma Yehudit to run together. Smotritch and Ichud Leumi then went to Bennett and Yamina to try to make a deal to run together, and they figured it out. So, there were then two parties, each made up of a union of two parties, and all was good. It seemed like both would easily pass the threshold and no votes would be wasted.

Somehow that was not good enough and people were pushing the two to unite, putting all four together. I am not sure why this was necessary. Bennett refused to consider bringing Otzma Yehudit into his party, so he began talking to Peretz but only about Habayit Hayehudi joining Yamina, leaving Otzma behind. Other people got involved and put a lot of pressure on Peretz, and int he end he decided to make a deal with Bennett, joining Habayit Hayehudi with Yamina, leaving tzma out. So now there is one party made up of 3 parties together, and another party by itself that likely does not have enough to pass the threshold on its own.

This entire exercise seems like a bad idea to me, but the pressure was on front he start and that's what the parties decided the people wanted.

So now many are upset at Peretz for going back on his word and abandoning his deal with Otzma. I don't see it as such a big deal, sorry as it is to have happened, but many are saying this is the end of Peretz's political career and he can no longer be trusted. Others are upset at Bennett, though I have no idea for what. He did not do anything except join with other parties to ensure votes are not wasted. Bennett did not break any deals, Peretz did.

If anybody can explain to me what each party did wrong that was so bad, so bad that it makes these parties not worth voting for, I would appreciate it.



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Quote of the Day

We are going to continue to compete in the elections..Netanyahu should not preach morality to us - if he would have abandoned his seat, we would have had a right wing government a long time ago..

  -- Itamar Ben Gvir, after the Yamina deal with Habayit Hayehudi that left Otzma Yehudit on its own and Netanyahu then called on Ben Gvir to drop out so as nto to harm the ability of the right wing to form a government





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Israelis: Do you see non Jews as equal to you? (video)







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Israel Is My Playground - Fabio Wibmer (video)







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Underdos: Excuse me, but are you treif? (video)







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Synagogues of South Africa (video)







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Sruli & Netanel \\ Hashem Elokeinu - Official Music Video (Tzvaim Productions) (video)







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Jan 15, 2020

Picture of the Day

The Pirates submit their party list to the electoral board for the March 2 elections



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Quote of the Day

Because the fate of the nation and of the land is balanced on a scale, I announce that for the sake of unity and for the victory of the Right I will remove the picture [of Baruch Goldstein] from my living room..

  -- Itamar Ben Gvir, after Naftali Bennett said he won't include Ben Gvir in his party list because Ben Gvir has a picture of Goldstein hanging in his living room..



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unloyal Yavarkin tossed from Kachol Lavan

MK Gadi Yavarkin just tried to play dirty. Yavarkin is an MK in Kachol Lavan. I should say "was", not "is". The Likud has been courting him because they are trying to solidify the Ethiopian vote.

The Likud offered Yavarkin the 20th spot on the Likud list. Yavarkin, #33 in Kachol Lavan, went back to his bosses and tried to negotiate a higher spot in Kacho Lavan in exchange for staying, or else he'll take the Likud offer.

Gantz and Yaalon conferred (Yavarkin was a member of Yaalon's faction) and threw him out of the list for talking with the Likud about switching allegiances. Good move on their part. Nobody needs a disloyal member.

Now the Likud just approved inserting Yavarkin at slot #20 on the list.

I wonder who will lose out because of it, though possibly nobody because Moshe Kachlon has said he won't be running so abandoning his spot should balance out against Yavarkin taking a spot.


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Harav Elya Brudny On Going to the Super Bowl (video)

I did not realize that so many people in Lakewood are going to the Superbowl that this is an issue... he's talking about going to the stadium, as he says specifically, not even just watching the game on the computer or television..





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