Wednesday, December 05, 2007



DEBKAfile Exclusive: Dispute over Iran’s nuclear program throws Israel-US relations into grave crisis

December 4, 2007, 11:14 AM (GMT+02:00)

A friendship on the rocks

A friendship on the rocks

Senior Israel security and intelligence officials report: Washington is refusing to heed the intelligence Israel has gathered on Iran’s covert military nuclear program which refutes its latest estimate, denies Israel access to authentic US intelligence and has embarked on steps detrimental to Israel in relation to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Lebanon, without informing its government.

Defense minister Ehud Barak challenged the US intelligence estimate on Iran Tuesday, Dec. 4. He said that Iran may have stopped its military program in 2003, but has since apparently restarted it.

Prime minister Ehud Olmert, left in the dark by Israel’s senior ally, is at a loss to arrest the serious deterioration in their relations. At pains to conceal the gaping rift with Washington, the prime minister’s office released word of George W, Bush’s coming visit to Jerusalem, his first as president. However, DEBKAfile’s sources disclose Israel will be only one stop Jan. 9 along an extensive Middle East tour, which will take Bush to Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Ramallah, where he intends to make a big deal of proclaiming his support for forthcoming Palestinian statehood.

He will also visit Beirut, by which time Gen. Michel Suleiman will be installed as president. Bush will hail his administration’s diplomatic success in securing Saudi, Iranian and Syrian approval for the election of a pro-Syrian Hizballah supporter as Lebanese president.

Talking to the media Tuesday, the US president ducked the question of whether the new US Intelligence Estimate had changed Washington’s Iran policy. Next month, our sources report, he will have ample opportunity to demonstrate his abrupt, tidal policy reversals when he tours Middle East capitals.

DEBKAfile’s Jerusalem sources report Olmert, loath to admit the loss of Israel’s most powerful friend, is under mounting pressure by leading political, intelligence and military officials to stand up and articulate an independent Israeli stance in the light of the Bush administration’s actions, especially in response to the true facts of Iran’s nuclear activities. The rift with Washington is not just political, they say, but touches on critical security issues that affect Israel’s very survival.

One immediate proposal is for the establishment of a national emergency government.


Ahmadinejad enters Gulf states summit hall hand in hand with Saudi king Abdullah and Sultan Qaboos of Oman

December 3, 2007, 10:22 PM (GMT+02:00)

Saudi-Iranian idyll at Doha

Saudi-Iranian idyll at Doha

The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leader was invited for the first time to the OCC meeting of six Gulf Cooperation Council leaders which opened in Doha Monday, Dec. 3. DEBKAfile: His warm welcome by the “moderate” Arab rulers further bankrupts Washington’s policy backed by Israel’s Olmert government, which attempts to draw a distinction between “radical” and “moderate” Middle East governments.


Panicked Olmert leaks Bush visit plan in vain attempt to cover deep crisis
By Israel Insider staff December 5, 2007

"Yes, Madame Secretary." Now we know what this was all about....

What a difference a week makes.

The depth of the crisis facing the US and Israel may be difficult to fathom, but the Prime Minister of Israel appears hard-put to confront it or even acknowledge it.

Back in Annapolis, Ehud Olmert enjoyed his fifteen minutes of fame and glory, and the fleeting embrace of George W. Bush.

But after the Joint Understanding was filed away, and the reporters filed their stories, the Israelis began to realize the extent of the bait-and-switch that had been pulled on them, and what a sea-change in relations with the United States they were facing.

The ceremonial discrimination against the Israelis (forced to enter through the service entrance, banned from group photos, Israeli journalists banned from Arab events) and the post-gathering fiasco over the UN resolution was just the beginning. The release of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran was just the outward sign of the dramatic policy shift.

The bottom line is that the United States is fast pulling away from what had long been understood to be a strategic necessity: to deal Iran a military blow that would eliminate or radically reduce the existential threat that the current regime represents, emboldening Israel to make painful concessions that would allow a Palestinian state -- on some but not all of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) conquered by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967.

That was to be the deal, with Israel withdrawing to behind its security barrier, annexing three settlement blocs (Ariel, Etzion and Ma'aleh Adumim), evacuating outlying settlements, and reaching some kind of accomodation in Jerusalem's Holy Basin. In return, the US and Israel would make sure that Iran would no longer be a threat.

Annapolis was to be an assembly of Arab moderates that would isolate Iran. But no sooner was Annapolis over than Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah was jetting to Doha for the GCC Summit, holding hands and shmoozing with Iran's Ahmadinejad, looking for all the world like long-term lovers, even though the Iranian President was a first-time guest at the Summit.

Was it all a sham, then, the pre-Annapolis talk? Were the Israelis suckered into a formal, ceremonial endorsement of a one year plan to create another terror state on their doorstep, without getting any security in return? That's how Israeli leaders appear to be feeling today, as the United States feels suddenly distant and unresponsive, apparently unwilling to consider Israeli intelligence that Iran is racing at high speed to produce nuclear weapons, unwilling too to share real-time intelligence with Israel and even preventing Israel from launching a much-needed spy satellite to monitor developments in Iran.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, for one, is taking a tough and forthright stance, openly challenging the American intelligence reports as being wrong and even intentionally misleading. Yes, he says, the Iranians did halt their nuclear weapons development program in 2003 but claiming that they have since restarted it. The NIE report doesn't rule out such a restart, but the possibility is downplayed as less than a high certainty.

The Israelis apparently have reason to believe that the certainty is very high, just as they believed that the Syrians were operating a nuclear factory -- possibly a proto-reactor but more likely to assemble a bomb from existing plutonium in Syria's possession -- an intelligence estimate that the Americans also were unwilling to endorse, just as they wouldn't sanction an Israeli strike to take out the factory, and thus were only informed of it when the strike was underway. So much for the value of US intelligence.

The question now becomes whether Olmert will continue to prattle about the accomplishments of Annapolis and the painful sacrifices other Israelis will need to make, or whether he will face up to the grim reality that his naivete and misjudgements have contributed to a perhaps unprecedented crisis in US-Israeli relations, in which he was played for a fool and set up to take the fall for the inevitable failure of his "understandings" with Abbas, in which the Americans will be entitled to play the role of "judge" that Olmert has officially sanctioned.

Because if Israeli leaders continue to believe that 2008 is the crucial year to prevent Iran from going nuclear and being in a position to make good on Ahmadinejad's threat to wipe Israel off the map, then the coming year will be one in which Israel -- far from signing a peace treaty -- is forced to go it alone in dealing with that existential threat, even in defiance of American preferences.

On the other hand, it is possible that Israel is being maneuvered into a position where it is compelling to "go it alone" so that the US is positioned to pick up the peace and forge a new order in the Mideast after Iran and Israel bloody each other, or to impose a solution on Israel should a surprise attack against the Iranians prove successful but fuel outrage in the Arab world.

With these kind of daunting prospects outstanding, it is perhaps understandable that Olmert sought to nail down Bush's planned visit by leaking it ahead of the White House announcement. The way things are going, the Israeli Prime Minister may be enroute to a snub, or at least a very cold slap of the reality of his nation's imminent isolation, as the President of the United States makes a barnstorming tour of the Mideast celebrating a new policy that goes directly against the Israeli self-interest.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Gathering of Seventy Wolves

The Annapolis charade has come and gone. Dozens of nations came this week to divide Yerushalayim in two. Along with this they have hope in their hearts to impoverish and make homeless one hundred to two hundred thousand Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria. Gog W. Bush is on a mission. As the leader of this plot to keep the Saudi royal family happy and pumping lots of oil, G-d has allowed him to literally explode Gog UMagog in our faces. The gematriah (numerical value) of Gog UMagog is 70, the total number of national/language spinoffs of Hebrew to span out of the Tower of Bavel. It represents the combined will of Mankind in their vain attempt to defy the Almighty. In their minds and in the mind of Armilus (Olmert) and Armolgus (Peres), Yerushalayim belongs to Mankind to do with it what it wishes. From Zecharia 14 we see that the Creator has other plans. The prophet very specifically says that there will be a plague that will go out against those nations that dare to divide Yerushalayim. This week the trap has been set, and forty or fifty nations have flung themselves after the bait.

You may ask, "Are there not supposed to be seventy nations that gather against Yerushalayim." This is where the math becomes tricky. Apparently there are forty or fifty nations that want to play ball with Gog. There are another twenty or thirty nations that will reject all compromises with the American king of Edom in exchange for economic largess. These nations are in Iran's (Persia's) corner. They cannot be bought. It is with them that Gog will need to fight his final war. According to the prophets and the medrashim, it is precisely that war that begins the process of our redemption.

It is truly history's crowning moment that these nations have gathered in Annapolis to proudly spit at G-d's plan for his treasured nation. Let the plagues begin.