Saturday, October 6, 2007

Report: U.S. doubts stalled Israel strike on Syria

It should be borne in mind that certain sources claim that U.S. provided some active military backup and some equipment in this strike. It is hard to believe that this is so, if Israel carried out the strike without US approval.
Story follows below.
Ami Isseroff

U.S. Was Concerned Over Intelligence, Stability to Region, Officials Tell
ABC News
ABC News Oct. 5, 2007

The September Israeli airstrike on a suspected nuclear site in Syria had been in the works for months, ABC News has learned, and was delayed only at the strong urging of the United States.

In early July the Israelis presented the United States with satellite imagery that they said showed a nuclear facility in Syria. They had additional evidence that they said showed that some of the technology was supplied by North Korea.

One U.S. official told ABC's Martha Raddatz the material was "jaw dropping" because it raised questions as to why U.S. intelligence had not previously picked up on the acility.

Officials said that the facility had likely been there for months if not years.

"Israel tends to be very thorough about its intelligence coverage, particularly when it takes a major military step, so they would not have acted without data from several sources," said ABC military consultant Tony

U.S. Cautious After Flawed Iraq Intelligence

A senior U.S. official said the Israelis planned to strike during the week of July 14 and in secret high-level meetings American officials argued over how to respond to the intelligence.

Some in the administration supported the Israeli action, but others, notably Sect. of State Condoleeza Rice did not. One senior official said the U.S. convinced the Israelis to "confront Syria before attacking."

Officials said they were concerned about the impact an attack on Syria would have on the region. And given the profound consequences of the flawed intelligence in Iraq, the U.S. wanted to be absolutely certain the intelligence was accurate.

Initially, administration officials convinced the Israelis to call off the July strike. But in September the Israelis feared that news of the site was about to leak and went ahead with the strike despite U.S. concerns.

The airstrike was so highly classified, President Bush refused to acknowledge it publicly even after the bombs fell.

ABC's Martha Raddatz filed this report for "World News With Charles Gibson."

USA State Dept. Attacks Israel through Chicago Tribune

When the Arabist U.S. State Department goes into full attack mode against Israel and thus American Jews, one must look a little deeper for motive. Generally, when Israel is being set up to be manipulated within the next month or two, the propaganda machine in the bowels of the State Department starts calling in its IOUs from certain flagship journals to do a black bag job on Israel. Newspapers are the main venue and such papers as the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, LA Times, among others are the selected leakers.
Tuesday, October 2nd, the Chicago Tribune went way out of the way to bash Israel on an event that occurred 40 years ago on June 8, 1967 when Israel was fighting for her life against Egypt, Syria, Jordan and other attacking Muslim Arab armies who swore to annihilate the Jewish State. This incident was called the "Liberty Affair".
I was puzzled for a few minutes as to why the Chicago Tribune had devoted a front page with picture, headline, above-the-fold story, plus a full two page spread inside to an event that occurred 40 years ago. The title of the article was "New Revelation in Attack on American Spy Ship". As I read it, there were no new "revelations" but another dredging up of all the emotional interchanges of the time as if it happened yesterday.
The story was replete with carefully selected, provocative photos that the Trib is famous for which are selected to indict and convince the readers that what follows in loaded words must be true.
But, Why Now? Why was the Trib selected as first point media source to anger the American public and Congress against Israel?
The Motive: Lynching Conference "Middle East Summit" set for November 15th
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

Friday, October 5, 2007

IAF versus Russian Radar in Syria: Facts and Rumors

A few recent reports have Iran, Russia and Syria worried over Israel's ability to penetrate Syrian (that is, Russian) air defenses, as shown in the recent raid on Syria, by jamming missile radar (see Aviation Week, Haaretz, and Times Online).  Supposedly, this raid was a "test" of "new" technology that would be used to jam Iranian air defenses in an Israeli raid.
There are some problems with this thesis. One is that Israel would hardly give away the secret of mission-critical technology essential for a raid on Iran, by announcing that it has it in a minor raid on Syria. If Israel is indeed planning a raid on Iran, it will not rely on that technology.
A second is that in principle, Israel has been developing electronic solutions for Russian radar-guided missiles at least since 1982, so this ability is not so new,  though the particular system used here may have used advanced technology.  Syrian radar operators are well aware of this fact.  At any given time, Israel either has the solution for the particular system that is deployed, or is working on one. The electronic solution apparently depends on having an aircraft, perhaps unmanned, that is either out of range of the radar or not easily detectable, and that can latch on to the missile-guiding radar and jam it. Another solution may be to know the precise location of the system and to fire a missile at it from a distance, out of range of the system.
The Aviation week article suggests that a particular technology was used:

U.S. aerospace industry and retired military officials indicated today that a technology like the U.S.-developed "Suter" airborne network attack system developed by BAE Systems and integrated into U.S. unmanned aircraft by L-3 Communications was used by the Israelis. The system has been used or at least tested operationally in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last year.

The technology allows users to invade communications networks, see what enemy sensors see and even take over as systems administrator so sensors can be manipulated into positions so that approaching aircraft can't be seen, they say. The process involves locating enemy emitters with great precision and then directing data streams into them that can include false targets and misleading messages algorithms that allow a number of activities including control.

The professed Iranian alarm that appears in some reports is apparently much less immediate and urgent than some reports claim:


A Kuwaiti newspaper wrote that "Russian experts are studying why the two state-of-the art Russian-built radar systems in Syria did not detect the Israeli jets entering Syrian territory. Iran reportedly has asked the same question, since it is buying the same systems and might have paid for the Syrian acquisitions."


Of course, if they bought the systems, the Iranians would be worried about why they didn't work, regardless of whether or not they are expecting anyone to attack them. Iran should however, take it for granted in its planning, that whatever system they have bought, if the US or Israel ever attack Iran, they will have found a solution for that system.

The biggest problem with the idea that the incursion into Syria was a rehearsal for an attack on Iran is that there is currently no credible Iran attack scenario. Aside from the general aversion to violent solutions and the political repercussions, there are specific problems that would have to be solved, and specific threats that would have to be neutralized before either US or Israel would be able to attack Iran. It is not clear that all of these have been solved or can be solved:

Threat of Iranian rocket retaliation on Iraqi and Israeli targets. This includes not only rockets launched by Iran, but Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon.

Chaos in Lebanon exacerbated by Hezbollah in retaliation for an attack.

Precise and verifiable intelligence about the location of nuclear facilities and other vital installations. An attack that hits decoys or misses the most important centers would be a disaster.

Getting there - As regards Israel, there is no real indication that it has aircraft or other systems that are capable of reaching Iran. Imaginative reports of F15i with 1700 km range without refueling should not be trusted, and still less credibility can be given to confabulaions about Israeli cruise missiles with tactical nuclear warheads.

Technical ability to destroy deep underground protected installations in reinforced concrete bunkers. The experience of the second Lebanon War proved that it is very difficult to locate and destroy even relatively "easy" targets like Hezbollah bunkers from the air. This is one of the lessons that Iran learned as well as Israel.

It is also clear that if they have not been solved, people are probably working on solutions. The media chatter about attacks on Iran is used as psychological warfare by both sides, and the release of various leaks is intended either as a deterrent or to demonize internal political opponents in the United States. While United States security is possibly very  lax, it is unlikely that the IAF would reveal operational plans for an attack to provide entertainment for the readers of the Sunday Times or the Sunday Telegraph. The only thing that we can learn from such leaks is probably how the attack will not be carried out.

Ami Isseroff

Thursday, October 4, 2007

U.S. military: Al Qaeda bag man smuggles $100 million into Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An al Qaeda bag man smuggled $100 million into Iraq during the past few months to finance terrorist operations, according to the U.S. military.


U.S. troops inspect vehicles destroyed in a bombing Wednesday that wounded the Polish ambassador.

 The unidentified man, arrested Tuesday near Baghdad, allegedly employs 40 to 50 extremists at $3,000 per job for bomb attacks against coalition forces, using money from supporters outside Iraq, the military said.

"The extremist financier is suspected of traveling to foreign countries to acquire financial support for terrorist activities and is suspected of supplying more than $50,000 to al Qaeda each month," the military said.

The suspect, captured during a coalition raid in Kindi, operates a network of financing cells across Iraq , the military said.

"He is believed to have received $100 million this summer from terrorist supporters who cross the Iraq border illegally or fly into Iraq from Italy, Syria and Egypt," a Pentagon release said.
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

Your tax dollars at work: US Taxpayer-funded Madrassahs?

The questions are whether and when the schools in question violate the constitutional need for separation of church (or mosque) and state, and whether and when the students are actually learning "extremism." It is really difficult to argue that eating Halal (Muslim "Kosher") food will make little kiddies into suicide bombers, any more than one can argue that eating bagels and lox will turn Jewish kids into Baruch Goldstein or Yigal Amir. Likewise there is no constitutional law that mandates the serving of ham, seafood or alcohol in school cafeterias. Some of the other concerns may be legitimate, but it is easy to make the case that this article has more than a whiff of religious intolerance. Will all those who think that there is not enough religious intolerance in the world please raise their hands? Thank you.

However, it should be noted that in Florida, teaching of Hebrew at a charter school was suspended because of the mere suspicion that students were being taught religion. Teaching of Hebrew was reinstated after it was concluded that the classes were not teaching religion. In these cases, it is not suspicion. It is fact. It is sufficient to demand that all schools be judged by the same standards. It is not necessary to make claims about "terrorism."

Ami Isseroff 


Teach Arabic or Recruit Extremists?

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
September 5, 2007

[Title and text differ from the NY Sun version]

New York City's Arabic-language public school, the Khalil Gibran International Academy, opens its doors this week, with special security, for 11- and 12-year-old students. One hopes that the prolonged public debate over the school's Islamist proclivities will prompt it not to promote any political or religious agendas.

Count me as skeptical, however, and for two main reasons. First is the school's genesis and personnel, about which others and I have written extensively. Second, and my topic here, is the worrisome record of taxpayer-funded Arabic-language programs from sea to shining sea.

The trend is clear: pre-collegiate Arabic-language instruction, even when taxpayer funded, tends to bring along indoctrination in pan-Arab nationalism, radical Islam, or both. Note some examples:

  • Amana Academy, Alpharetta, Georgia, near Atlanta: A charter school that requires Arabic-language learning, Amana boasts of its "institutional partnership" with the Arabic Language Institute Foundation (ALIF). But ALIF forwards the learning of Arabic as a means "to convey the message of Qur'an in North America and Europe" and thus to "help the Western countries recover from the present moral decay."

  • Carver Elementary School, San Diego: A teacher, Mary-Frances Stephens, informed the school board that she taught a "segregated class" of Muslim girls and that each day she was required to release them from class for an hour of prayer, led by a Muslim teacher's aide. Ms. Stephens deemed this arrangement "clearly a violation of administrative, legislative and judicial guidelines." The school's principal, Kimberlee Kidd, replied that the teacher's aide merely prayed alongside the students and the session lasted only 15 minutes. The San Diego Unified School District investigated Ms. Stephens's allegations and rejected them, but it nonetheless changed practices at Carver, implicitly substantiating her critique. Superintendent Carl Cohn eliminated single-gender classes and reconfigured the schedule so that students can pray during lunch.

  • Charlestown High School, Massachusetts: The school's summer Arabic-language program took students on a trip to the Islamic Society of Boston, where, the Boston Globe reports, students "sat in a circle on the carpet and learned about Islam from two mosque members." One student, Peberlyn Moreta, 16, fearing that the gold cross around her neck would offend the hosts, tucked it under her T-shirt. Anti-Zionism also appeared, with the showing of the 2002 film Divine Intervention, which a critic, Jordan Hiller, has termed an "irresponsible film," "frighteningly dangerous," and containing "pure hatred" toward Israel.

  • Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.: Islamic Relief Worldwide, an organization that allegedly has links to jihadism and terrorism, sponsored this charter school, which requires Arabic as a second language. The academy's name openly celebrates Islamic imperialism, as Tarek ibn Ziyad led Muslim troops in their conquest of Spain in 711 A.D. Local journalists report that "a visitor might well mistake Tarek ibn Ziyad [Academy] for an Islamic school" because of the women wearing hijabs, the carpeted prayer area, the school closing down for Islamic holidays, everyone keeping the Ramadan fast, the cafeteria serving halal food, classes breaking for prayer, almost all the children praying, and the constant use of "Brother" and "Sister" when adults at the school address each other.

Only in the case of the Iris Becker Elementary School in Dearborn, Michigan, is the Arabic-language program not obviously pursuing a political and religious agenda. Its program may actually be clean; or perhaps the minimal information about it explains the lack of known problems.

The above examples (and see my Web log entry "Other Taxpayer-Funded American Madrassas" for yet more) are all American, but similar problems predictably exist in other Western countries.

This troubling pattern points to the need for special scrutiny of publicly funded Arabic-language programs. That scrutiny should take the form of robust supervisory boards whose members are immersed in the threat of radical Islam and who have the power to shut down anything they might find objectionable.

Arabic-language instruction at the pre-collegiate level is needed, and the U.S. government rightly promotes it (for example, via the "National Security Language Initiative" on the national level or the "Foreign Language in Elementary Schools" program on a local one). As it does so, getting the instruction right becomes ever more important. Citizens, parents, and taxpayers have the right to ensure that children attending these publicly funded institutions are taught a language skill—and are not being recruited to anti-Zionism or Islamism.




Wednesday, October 3, 2007

France urges EU to widen Iran sanctions

France is beginning to get serious about Iran...
France urges EU to widen Iran sanctions

3 October 2007

BRUSSELS - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has urged European Union counterparts to study widening existing sanctions on Iran's banking sector over its nuclear programme before any new UN resolution against Teheran.

'These new measures, coming from its most important commercial partner, should have the aim of increasing the pressure on Iran, in particular in the financial and economic area,' Kouchner wrote in a letter to fellow EU ministers, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.
'Initially, we could add new entities, in particular in the banking sector, and new individuals to the existing European lists of asset freezes and visa bans,' he added, urging a debate on such measures at an Oct. 15 meeting of EU foreign ministers. 

Deciphering Ahmadinejad's Holocaust Revisionism

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went beyond previous rhetorical attacks on the United States and Israel when, on December 14, 2005, he suggested that the Holocaust was a myth. Many European officials, among Iran's most lucrative trading partners, were outraged. The German government, for example, condemned his remarks and defended Israel's right to exist. [1] Then, on December 11 and 12, 2006, the Iranian foreign ministry's Institute for Political and International Studies convened a conference promoting Holocaust denial, attended by sixty-seven participants from thirty countries. [2] The fact that a head of state would endorse such a contrarian movement may seem remarkable but, for the Islamic Republic's leadership, it is a deliberate, strategic decision. Not only does the Iranian regime believe that Holocaust denial can propel it into a position of leadership among Islamic countries, but the Iranian regime and Holocaust revisionists have found their relationship to be symbiotic. Each believes a Jewish cabal controls Washington decision-making. [3] Holocaust denial further binds disparate groups who share a critique of Jews and Zionism.
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

Sunday, September 30, 2007

UCU boycott demise - credit where credit is due

Being happy about the ignominious demise of the UCU boycott "enterprise", we cannot fail to notice that some people and organizations are trying to jump on the bandwagon to get some of the glory. To quote (in translation) that article in NRG-Maariv:

The decision to rescind the boycott is a result of the effort by Jewish organizations and academicians and the Israeli embassy in London.... The Israeli Ambassador, Zvi Heifetz, expressed his satisfaction by this decision, after working a lot during the recent months to defeat this threat. He met with Sally Hunt, the UCU president, heads of universities in England, Scotland and even [sic!] in Northern Ireland to recruit their support.
And more of the same. With all due respect to the unnamed Jewish organizations, academicians and the (named) Israeli embassy, who indeed invested some effort into the fight, all that effort and all that fight would have been in vain but for the Engage team, lead by David Hirsh, Jon Pike and Jane Ashworth (and so many others I commit a crime by not mentioning).

So, ladies and gentlemen - let's not jump on that bandwagon, please - it is carrying only the people who belong there by rights. In short - cut the bullshit, OK?

Cross-posted on SimplyJews.


UN: We have criticized Israel unfairly

The United Nations Human Rights Council has not managed to deal fairly with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the council's president Doru-Romulus Costea told a Spanish newspaper on Saturday, according to Israel Radio.

Doru admitted that he was dissatisfied with the fact the council had overly focused on the degree of human rights violations by Israel.

"The body which I head must examine the actions of both sides equally, and we have not done that," said Costea. "Clearly, from now on things need to change."

Israel Radio reported that earlier this week, US President George Bush criticized the UN Human Rights Council, saying that it had put too great an emphasis on Israeli actions.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1189411508040&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull