Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Logic of a Peanut Farmer

Apologies in advance to my peanut farmer readers out there for the generalisation.

Ex-President Jimmy Carter weighs in on the Iran threat to Israel, via this AP article posted on Google News:

Former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday that it was almost inconceivable that Iran would "commit suicide" by launching missiles at Israel.
Like they would not attack their next-door neighbour Iraq during the 1980s.

Recall that this is the country that had keys made in Taiwan during the Iran-Iraq war for their own children to wear around their necks to open the gates of heaven as they marched across minefields to clear the way. (Read more about it here.)

Speaking at Emory University, Carter, who brokered the 1979 Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt, said Israel's superior military power and distance from Iran likely are enough to discourage an actual attack.

"Iran is quite distant from Israel," said Carter, 83. "I think it would be almost inconceivable that Iran would commit suicide by launching one or two missiles of any kind against the nation of Israel."

I was going to respond with this, but the Iranian deputy air force commander handled it for me.

Iran's deputy air force commander said Wednesday that Israel is within range of Iran's medium-range missiles and bombers and that Tehran would strike back if Israel "makes a silly mistake."

Need I say more. Err, yes, since Carter hasn't stopped digging:

Carter did not dismiss the idea that Iran might want to attack Israel, noting Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment production despite two United Nations resolutions imposing sanctions on the country. Tehran insists its nuclear program is aimed at producing energy for civilian use but the U.S., its European allies and many others fear the program's real aim is to produce nuclear weapons.

"Obviously, we all hope we can do whatever we can to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power," Carter said.

That is, do anything except that which involves a spine.

Carter said unease between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank is a far greater threat to Israel's security than Iran.

In a game of Middle East scissors-paper-rock, I think a nuke beats a suicide vest, Jimmeny.

He criticized the Bush administration for not doing enough to broker peace in the region.

"Doing enough" here translates to "doing appeasement".

Perhaps Carter suggests Bush take a leaf out of Clinton's songsheet with an Oslo reprise and offer up Israel on a plate to Arafat's terror successors, Hamas?

This Is How You Do It, Hans Blix

This from Jerusalem Post:

Soldiers from an elite Israeli unit captured nuclear material originating in North Korea from a secret Syrian military installation before IAF jets bombed it, a report by Britain's Sunday Times wrote Saturday night, quoting "informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem."

According to the sources quoted by the report, the alleged IAF attack was sanctioned by the US on September 6, after the Americans were given proof that the material was indeed nuclear related.

The sources confirmed that the materials were tested after they were taken from Syria and were found to be of North Korean origin, which raised concerns that Syria may have been trying to come into possession of nuclear arms.

The report said that the commandos, from the legendary General Staff's Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal), may have been disguised in Syrian army uniforms. It also stated that Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who used to head the unit, personally oversaw the operation.

Israeli sources admitted that special forces had been accruing intelligence in Syria for several months, the report said, adding that evidence that North Koreans were at the site was presented to President George Bush during the summer.

Somewhat more effective than waiting at the front gate, while they drive the material out the back gate.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Credit Where Credit is Due

Readers of this blog know well that the ABC is monitored closely for its coverage of Israel and the conflicts in which it is embroiled.

So credit should go to David Hardaker - ABC's Middle East Correspondent. Hardaker has written an article called The art of Middle Eastern conspiracy theories.

It begins:

The reporter's job is to get the facts. Sounds simple enough, but try doing that in the Middle East.
It sounds like the start of an apologist's refrain for all the inaccuracies - inaccuracies that coincidentally appear in ABC's articles, but not in those of Jerusalem Post or Ha'aretz.

However, the article soon reveals a more honest streak:

Recently there has been a re-run of an old theory that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died not because he was a naturally ailing 75-year-old, but because he was poisoned.

The claims come from no less an authority that Mr Arafat's personal physician of 18 years, Dr Ashraf Kurdi.

The trouble is, the doctor has brought forth not an ounce of proof. All he has is a heap of suspicion about why he was not allowed to see Mr Arafat when the old leader was on his deathbed in Paris three years ago.

But Dr Kurdi is far from alone. Most Palestinians simply assume the poisoning story to be indisputably the truth, and that of course it is Israel's secret service, Mossad, that did the job.

The "Arafat was poisoned" story is but the latest in a long line of lurid conspiracy theories in the Middle East. In some ways, it is its own art form.

The editor must have been asleep at the wheel. How else to explain how this one got through?