Israel is in big trouble these days from a growing Iranian menace, to the election of an anti Israeli President in the US, to its own leadership vacuum in the wake of the Olmert scandal. Syria is lock step with Iran and preparing moves on Lebanon, while the strings are pulled in Tehran and the Iranian nuclear program continues unabated. Hizballah is an extension of the Iranian Syrian axis and Israel is seeing Russian relations deteriorate due to the Georgia War and Russian ambitions to control the Georgia Oil Pipeline. Between the tender ministrations of both Iran and Russia the Israeli position in the Middle East is eroding at an alarming rate. Russia and Iran are thick as thieves and the Russians have reasserted themselves into Middle East Politics in a big way as the US reels from the financial crash. The Debka File had a rather grim string of articles lately but here are some highlights:
In the past few weeks, Hizballah at the behest of Iran and Syria has commandeered the 7,800-foot Mt. Sannine, a strategic asset capable of determining the outcome of the next war, as DEBKA-Net-Weekly 356 revealed.
Radar-guided missile positions and an early warning station have since been deployed on its summit, which are capable of monitoring and threatening US Sixth Fleet movements in the eastern Mediterranean and Israel Air Force flights.
Mt. Sannine, which dominates the roads connecting Beirut and Damascus, is one of the most prized strategic assets in the region. It was fought over for years by Syria and Israel, both seeking to control this ideal vantage point for an early warning station to command the eastern Mediterranean, the northern half of Israel and the Damascus region.
DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal that military movements carried out in the last two weeks by Hizballah in conjunction with Tehran and Damascus can only be interpreted as preparations for war. Lebanese sources have been saying openly that Syria, Iran and Hizballah are now in position for a new Middle East confrontation.
As if the Iranians and the Syrians and their client terrorist organizations were not enough the Israelis must contend with an out of control Putin Regime in the Russian Federation. The Israelis made diplomatic overtures to the Georgians and the relations between the two nations have been flourishing while the Kremlin has been seething about US encroachments in its “sphere of influence”. More importantly the oil crisis that recently ignited the financial crisis in the US, and now the global financial crisis, has given the Russians the perfect tool to reign in the Americans: Oil. Control of oil is the best possible check on American power in the world and the Russians are determined to control as many petroleum recourses as possible. The Georgia Oil Pipeline is highly coveted by the Russians and Israeli and American aid and support of Georgia has proved to be an annoyance to Russian Strongman Vladimir Putin. The Georgia fiasco arguably reignighted a cold war between Russia and the US, badly damaged the Russian Economy, and the worlds, and served notice to the world that Russia would reclaim the lost Soviet Empire. It also exposed glaring weaknesses in the world financial market, NATO’s resolve as a military alience and American vulnerablility to petroleum dependence and economic warfare. Consider the following also from the Debka File:
DEBKAfile’s geopolitical experts note that on the surface level, the Russians are backing the separatists of S. Ossetia and neighboring Abkhazia as payback for the strengthening of American influence in tiny Georgia and its 4.5 million inhabitants. However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region.
The Russians may just bear with the pro-US Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili’s ambition to bring his country into NATO. But they draw a heavy line against his plans and those of Western oil companies, including Israeli firms, to route the oil routes from Azerbaijan and the gas lines from Turkmenistan, which transit Georgia, through Turkey instead of hooking them up to Russian pipelines.
Saakashvili need only back away from this plan for Moscow to ditch the two provinces’ revolt against Tbilisi. As long as he sticks to his guns, South Ossetia and Abkhazia will wage separatist wars.
DEBKAfile discloses Israel’s interest in the conflict from its exclusive military sources:
Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network. Intense negotiations are afoot between Israel Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azarbaijan for pipelines to reach Turkey and thence to Israel’s oil terminal at Ashkelon and on to its Red Sea port of Eilat. From there, supertankers can carry the gas and oil to the Far East through the Indian Ocean.
Aware of Moscow’s sensitivity on the oil question, Israel offered Russia a stake in the project but was rejected.
As if all this weren’t sufficient cause to give Israeli leaders, (if they had any) a loss of sleep, the Iranians and Syrians and Hizballah has morphed into a weird transnational terroristic Muslim thug-ocracy that becomes more dangerous by the day. What neither Syria nor Iran nor Hizballah could do on their own; the destruction of the Jewish State may be possible with the new hybrid blending of two states and their affiliated terror organizations. Ahmadinejad has given birth to a new creature whose only unifying goal is the destruction of Israel and the hastening of the Mahdi’s arrival. Again, consider this from the Debka file:
DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps have created a separate missile command, in which Syria’s missile force is to be integrated. The joint command was formalized in a new mutual defense treaty signed by the Syrian defense minister, Gen. Hassan Turkmani in Tehran last week.
Israeli military sources judge the operational merger of Iranian and Syrian missile corps to be a major strategic hazard to the Jewish state.
Western and Israeli military experts connect it with other indications that Iran’s program for developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear payloads has gone into high gear and reached an advanced stage. They believe the Iranians have beaten most of the technical difficulties holding it up.
In the interim, Hizballah’s rise to power in Beirut has brought Lebanon into the shared Syrian-Iranian orbit. This development has enabled Tehran to line up a row of missiles deployments of varying strengths from Iran, Syria and Lebanon and up to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip – a missile array never before seen in the Middle East and a strategic menace most of Israel’s security leaders rate unacceptable.
Military experts comment that Tehran’s centralized control of four hostile missile fronts will virtually neutralize the American and Israeli anti-missile defense systems in the region; the Arrow and the Patriot missile interceptors could handle incoming missiles from one or maybe two directions – but not four
…Reverses are piling up against the United States and Israel at the worst time possible: both governments are hobbled – Washington in the dying days of the Bush administration, and Israel, by the grave corruption allegations against prime minister Ehud Olmert which have placed him and the other two senior policy-makers, the defense and foreign ministers, at loggerheads.
Then you have the report from the UN weapons inspector David Albright this summer who concluded that the A. Q. Kahn network from Pakistan has likely passed on the blueprints to Iran that would enable the Shehab-3 missile to deliver a nuclear warhead. It’s suspected that not only does Iran have this information but so do terrorist organizations like al Qaida. This not only threatens the Israelis but also Europe and the United States as well. Again from the Debka file consider this:
Some Western military and intelligence were shocked to learn that Iran had the blueprints for making a nuclear warhead that could fit onto its Shehab-3 missiles. The discovery was released by the former UN weapons inspector, David Albright, Sunday, June 16, ahead of the report on his investigation of the nuclear smuggling ring run by the father of the Pakistan nuclear bomb Abdul Qadeer Khan. He alleged that the nuclear blueprints passed to Libya, Iran and North Korea included “previously undisclosed designs for a compact warhead that could fit on Iran’s medium-range ballistic missiles.”
It is now evident that not only North Korea and Iran have known for some time how to build and deliver a nuclear warhead, but unknown recipients of A.Q. Khan’s merchandise, including terrorist organizations, may also command hazardous nuclear knowledge.
The three Swiss engineers, members of the Tinner family, are the father, Friedrich, whose ties with Khan went back decades, and his sons, Urs and Marco.
The one constant that Israel has been able to count on since 1948 has been the support and friendship of the United States and even that may be in danger if the election polls are to be believed. Barak Obama is poised to become the nest President of the United States and while he has assiduously courted the Jewish vote there is cause to doubt his commitment to honor the alliance with Israel. From the New York Post, I leave you with a final tidbit from the Reverend Jessie Jackson who recently speculated about the nature and tenor of relation between Israel and an Obama Administration:
PREPARE for a new America: That’s the message that the Rev. Jesse Jackson conveyed to participants in the first World Policy Forum, held at this French lakeside resort last week.
He promised “fundamental changes” in US foreign policy – saying America must “heal wounds” it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the “arrogance of the Bush administration.”
The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where “decades of putting Israel’s interests first” would end.
Jackson believes that, although “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” remain strong, they’ll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.
“Obama is about change,” Jackson told me in a wide-ranging conversation. “And the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it.”
Jackson is especially critical of President Bush’s approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
“Bush was so afraid of a snafu and of upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing a miss,” Jackson says. “Barack will change that,” because, as long as the Palestinians haven’t seen justice, the Middle East will “remain a source of danger to us all.”
“Barack is determined to repair our relations with the world of Islam and Muslims,” Jackson says. “Thanks to his background and ecumenical approach, he knows how Muslims feel while remaining committed to his own faith.”