Israel Behind the News [Dec 27, 2015]

Israel strikes Hezbollah targets in Syria

The deconfliction mechanism seems to be in effect as Israel continues to be aloud to attack Hezbollah with impunity. As we have noted before, this serves Russia’s interests by keeping Iran and its client groups in check. The question remains though, at what juncture does this sort of thing get in the way of Putin’s Syria strategy or what happens if the deconfliction mechanism fails?

ISIS Leader directly threatens Israel

Although Russia is destroying ISIS throughout Syria, the leader of the Caliphate El-Baghdadi saw the need to reassert himself into the geopolitical situation by threatening Israel.  Don’t expect direct attacks yet, but using Israel to rally Jihadists from around the world is a clever strategy.  It also means that those who oppose El-Baghdadi are in support of Israel.

Yehuda Glick Next in Line for Likud in Knesset

Yehuda Glick, one of the leading Temple Mount activists is surprisingly set yo enter the Knesset if one more Likud member leaves or is forced to resign.  This will put Jewish prayer rights on the mount center stage in the Knesset, something the Prime Minister fears, but can do very little about.


Turkey and Israel, Friends Again?

We live in a strange world.  As the American uni-polar world collapses, alliances are born and others fall away. Partnerships are formed based on near term survival, without consideration for the long view.  Turkey, by all estimates was heading into the dustbin.  Surrounded by Russia to the North East, Iran to the South East, and a resurgent Assad to the South with Russia behind him, Erdogan, the Sultan not to be was cornered. Russia supplies most of Turkey’s gas. Without Russia’s gas, Turkey would collapse due to a lack of energy.

Israel an Energy Leader

Israel rushed through the gas deal this week, not only because of the new energy alliance with Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt, but because of the secret deal now reveled to the World. Turkey would be given a life line and pulled out of its corner and Israel would act as the senior partner in the relationship.

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Leadership requires making decisions even if they are unpopular. Erdogan is not a nice guy.  He slaughters Kurds and denies his country’s role in the Armenian genocide, but Israel is in a different place now and chose to offer Turkey the lifeline it needed.

Two Viewpoints

There have been two pervading viewpoints int he defense establishment in Israel.  One is to work with Russia and embrace Assad in order to return stability to the Middle East. The other is to build relationships that will counteract Iran no matter the cost of stability and Russian tactical considerations.  The Turkey move, means the latter won out.

What of Greece and Cyprus?

Greece and Cyprus need Israel far more than it needs them.  The returning to ties with Turkey is a cold one, brought on by Jerusalem’s concern about Iran and Syria coming out of this war in a clearly unstoppable manner. Strengthening Turkey in a non-emotional way provides a push back to the Shiites. None of the maneuvers we are seeing are the products of long term strategic planning.  The post USA Middle East is too new to learn where the lines will be drawn.

Out of Putin’s own Playbook

Israel agreed to the return of relations with Turkey only because of the gas pipeline Turkey is willing to lay for Israel. By becoming the major gas provider to Turkey Israel holds the upper hand in the relationship. Mess with Israel and Turkey loses its gas. This has been Putin’s strategy with Europe for years.

A Dangerous Path

With Russia preparing for a possible war with Turkey and their tactical partnership with Iran, throwing a way out to Erdogan puts us in an uncomfortable situation. Putin clearly views Erdogan as enemy number one.  Israel helping him does not bode well for our relationship with Russia.  It could be there was never anything to talk about with Putin and that Jerusalem decided to move forward before Putin and company decided to put the Jewish Nation into a more uncomfortable spot. Whatever the reason, the new gas partnership puts Israel on the side of those counties Putin dislikes. In the coming weeks Israel will have to go out of its way to play down the deal or potentially face the wrath of Putin and his forces.

Cornering Israel…

With Kerry getting Obama to back off insistence on Assad’s ouster, the world continues its slide into geopolitical chaos.  Of course at first glance, Assad offers the kind of stability Syria needs and it was precisely trying to oust him which caused so many problems.

For the USA who is on a not so slow retreat, allowing Russia, Iran, and Syria to provide stability to the region seems logical.  The problem with this sort of stability is that Israel’s arch enemies will maneuver themselves into strategic positions along side the Jewish state.  Assad might bring stability, but that means Israel will be under serious threat.

Can Russia be Trusted?

I have written extensively on the fact that Russia does not want to upset the stability in the countries that are in fact most stable. It is clear Putin is not trying to put us into a tight spot, but he has some conflicting partnerships: Assad, Iran, and Israel. It is true the deconfliction mechanism lets us destroy heavy arms bound for Hezbollah, but the idea that Assad’s permanence means Iran gets to stick around is not something any of us want to see.

The prevailing thought is that Putin will hold the Ayatollahs on a short leash.  There is something to this, but the prospects of an emboldened Iran are not good.

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We Are Expendable

At the end of the day, the world is search of some sort of order. It is true we are light in a dark region, but nations can be erratic in times of chaos. Right now the transition is only beginning and Israel is doing its best to hedge its bets on who will come out on top.  It is clear Russia makes a great case on why we should move into their orbit, but if they cannot reign in Iran then it may be far more dangerous than going it alone.

Some Positive Developments

Despite many of the troubling signs flowing from the chaos in the Middle East, Israel’s ability to have a working relationship with Russia and covertly helping the Kurds to move their oil show we have some versatility in grappling with the complex challenge we find ourselves in.  By rolling with the changes and making partnerships based on strategic value, Israel can make it through one of the most chaotic times the Middle East has seen.

Israel Behind the News [Dec 2, 2015]

BDS-backing Jewish horse expert stands by ‘fair’ snub of Israeli schoolgirl

What can one say when our people have such a skewed and misunderstood view of the world. Unfortunately more and more of these sorts of people exist.  The idea that the Jewish State is anything remotely close to the Nazi regime is a viewpoint that is just completely detached from reality.

Assad: Peace only when West ends support for ‘terrorists’

The problem is that the West is giving plenty of verbal ammunition by venturing into a proxy war by first funding the nascent ISIS over two years ago and it is known the State Department was also helping to organize and fund Al Nusra. The facts here are on the side of Assad, yet of course he is a huge sponsor of terrorist entities himself.

Young Arab Women Joining the War Against Israel

It’s all about culture. For the Arab Jihadists all members of the citizenry are part of the struggle and in return all members of Israel’s society are fair game.

Jihad and the Darkside

Shai and I discuss the current security changes in Judea and Samaria.  At the heart of the security situation is the fact that the government is not ready to fight Jihad at its core and that is with expelling those who are pushing violence.

We also cover the growing clash between Turkey and Russia and its broader context within the global arena and the conflict’s spiritual roots.

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The Last War

In today’s podcast we cover what I call the Last War.  Yesterday’s and today’s news headlines are rife with speculation that Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet changed the nature of the Syrian conflict.  It brings the regional and factional struggle to a new phase and will begin to destabilize not only Syria to a far more dangerous situation, but has ramifications for Israel and the entire world. This war has the potential to clear the deck so to speak.

We also interview David Ha’Ivri about his take on the security situation and what he feels needs to be done with many of the violent Arab terrorists and their supporters.