Sunday, November 04, 2007

The 'O' in SWOT regarding the 3 'I'-s in the ME

The current lead-up to the US presidential election in 2008, and consequentially the Democratic Party’s and Republican Party’s presidential campaigns, have seen the emergence of Iran as an significant issue.

We have read recently in Malaysiakini a host of letters arguing over the Iranian President’s comments about wiping Israel out from the map, or whether did he?

I am not into international conspiracy, but at the same time I am aware that every nation strives, campaigns, fights for its national interest, whether through diplomacy, trade, war, alliances, quiet persuasion, influence, etc. There’s no hiding this universal truth.

It is a fact that Israel is continuously threatened by its neighbours, whether the threats are latent, subtle or overt. Examples of the first would come from Egypt and Jordan, while example of the second would be from Saudi Arabia, some Gulf countries, Libya, etc. Need I list those which are overtly hostile?

Prior to the Gulf War II, the two most significant threats had been Iraq and Iran. Both certainly had the intention to crush Israel.

Iraq under Saddam Hussein had the money, megalomaniac (in Saddam) and motivation to do Israel in; however its armed forces were laughable by comparison to regional superpower Israel. Suffice to say that Iran has been far more formidable than Saddam’s Iraq, and most certainly is more so than before when compared to a current US-leashed, disorganized and near disintegrating Iraq.

It’s Persian and not Arabic, if that counts for anything, but it had shown in the Iran-Iraq war, despite severe logistical and intelligence disadvantages against a US backed and supplied Saddam’s Iraq, it almost routed Iraq.

In short, Iran is far more dangerous to Israel than Iraq under Saddam ever was.

Most of you have learnt or at least have heard about the SWOT exercise which the military had developed eons ago (albeit in another guise) before degrees like the MBA came on the scene.

If you were an Israeli, what would the ‘O’ stand for when you contemplate how to neutralize the two most dangerous Arab States [outside of latent Egypt] with names starting with an ‘I’.

I would imagine that nothing much happens in the oil-rich Middle East without the USA, thirsty for cheap fuel, agreeing to anything. I would also imagine a fundamentalist Christian President like Bush with an Administration packed with Zionist or pro Zionists would constitute an item under the ‘Opportunity’ of SWOT to the Israel strategic planners.

I have often blogged on the invasion and destruction of Saddam Hussein’s regime as cleverly managed by the pro-Israeli people in the Bush Administration. OK, OK, I suddenly hear pooh-poohings of conspiracy theories - be that as they may be, let me continue ;-)

Recall Paul Wolfowitz, the mastermind of the Project for the New American Century Project, who then became the mastermind for the Defence Department’s plan to invade Iraq when he joined the Bush administration?

The US 9/11 Report clearly spelt out Paul Wolfowitz’s urgings that Iraq be attacked for the 9/11 incident when no such evidence of Iraqi involvement existed. Hmmm!

Furthermore the Report stated that there was 'no credible evidence' supporting Wolfowitz’s argument that Iraq was involved in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre. You have to admit he must have been trying his best!

Wolfowitz's boss, Rumsfeld had also urged the President to consider that Iraq might have harboured the 9/11 attackers. But the report put short shift to this most incongruous allegation by showing that al Qaeda considered Saddam Hussein as an American stooge. It also brought out evidence to dismiss the allegation that Mohamed Atta, one of the 9/11 attackers, had met with an Iraqi intelligence officer.

Now let’s discuss what or who is JINSA, which US VP Dick Cheney is a member of, just to show you how strong the Zionist and pro Zionist presence in the Bush Administration, especially the first one, had been.

Wiki tells us that JINSA is – [words/comments in parentheses are mine]:

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs … is a Washington based non-profit think-tank [supposedly] focusing on issues of US national security. JINSA's stated aim is threefold: to ensure a strong and effective U.S. national security policy; to educate American leaders on what it views as the vital strategic relationship between the United States and [aha!] Israel ……

JINSA's advisory board includes such notable figures as Michael Ledeen, Richard Perle, and James Woolsey, while Vice President Dick Cheney, former U.S. Representative to the United Nations John, and former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith were all on JINSA's Board of Advisors before they entered the Bush administration. JINSA is [purportedly] officially a non-partisan organization.

Do google to find out who these guys are – btw, Douglas Feith earned the notoriety of being rebuked by Condoleeza Rice. According to the long-running Washington newsletter, The Nelson Report, quoting an anonymous source, Feith was standing in for Rumsfeld at a 2003 interagency 'Principals' Meeting' debating the Middle East, and ended his remarks on behalf of the Pentagon. Then Rice said, "Thanks Doug, but when we want the Israeli position we'll invite the [Israeli] ambassador."

Then there was this too:

In 2005, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff, stated his assessments on Feith and his colleague, David Wurmser [another Bush administrator]:

"A lot of these guys, including Wurmser, I looked at as card-carrying members of the Likud party, as I did with Feith. You wouldn’t open their wallet and find a card, but I often wondered if their primary allegiance was to their own country or to Israel. That was the thing that troubled me, because there was so much that they said and did that looked like it was more reflective of Israel’s interest than our own."

Wiki said that among JINSA's policy recommendations for the U.S. government were/are:

(i) Increased defense cooperation with Israel [should we be surprised?].

(ii) Support for joint U.S.-Israeli training and weapons development programs.

(iii) A rejection of any peace process with the Palestinians that includes the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state [again, should we be surprised?]

(iv) Regime change in rogue nation-states known to provide support or knowingly harbor terrorist groups, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Libya, and supports a re-evaluation of the U.S. defense relationships with Egypt and Saudi Arabia [at the risk of sounding like a stuck gramophone record, ;-) .....].

But don't laugh because JINSA is packed with powerful US officials who can make things happen for what Israel wants.

It seems that each year, according to Wiki, that JINSA presents an annual Distinguished Service Award to US government leaders (generally a Senator or two members of the US House of Reps) for their career dedication to so-called US [but of course with a pro-Israeli) national security.

Past honorees have included: Deputy Secretary of Defense Pual Wolfowitz (2002), Senator Joe Lieberman (1997) (Bush’s favourite Democrat and a pro-war against Iraq), then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney (1991) - ;-) OK I won't repeat that phrase.

Oh, where were we?

Yes, the best way to persuade the US to attack Iraq would be to overlay Israel's requirement with something to motivate the Americans' greed, like oil? 

Consider, why should the US attack someone who’s already selling oil to the US? The logic didn't matter much when 9/11 occurred. Toss in some lies on non-existent WMD and Bob’s Barak's your uncle

Iran would have been next, except the war in Iraq didn't end as Bush had so arrogantly proclaimed on a USN carrier. More than 3000 young Americans could have told you that if they were still alive.

But as I mentioned about the US party presidential campaign, the Democrats, especially front runner Hilary Clinton is now so worried at being seen as unpatriotic (as I've said before, ‘patriotic’ is one of the most dangerous word there is).

She is worried by the campaign and progress of Rudy Giuliani the Republican candidate. Giuliani has been generally liberal but of late has adopted a new hardline stance on terrorism, Iraq and Iran. Some political observers believe that Hilary Clinton may be under pressure to even adopt a macho action against Iran just to show she can wear pants in the White House as well.

I read a report by Professor Paul Rogers in OpenDemocracy which states that Guiliani's move to the right reflects the recruitment to his campaign team or circle of advisers of some of the most hawkish of the United States's analysts and opinion-formers on the middle east; they include Norman Podhoretz (a fervent advocate of military action against Iran and frighteningly related to Elliot Abrams), Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute, and Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum.

I hope you know what the American Enterprise Institute is, and who these people are, especially Daniel Pipes. But no prize if you do because the most hawkish Americans against Iran are ........ surely you don't need me to spell it out!

Wiki said a 1983 Washington Post book review by Thomas W. Lippman stated that Pipes displays "a disturbing hostility to contemporary Muslims ... he professes respect for Muslims but is frequently contemptuous of them"

It said his book "is marred by exaggerations, inconsistencies, and evidence of hostility to the subject" while admitting that "few other writers have explained so lucidly such complex developments in Muslim history" and that his "book is a valuable contribution to our understanding."

The intellectual Jew! ... proving again 'the Jewish pen is mightier than the Arab sword'.

When in 2003 Pipes was nominated to the board of the United States Institute of Peace, the British historian and commentator Christopher Hitchens, himself an ardent critic of militant Islamism, published a scathing critique of Pipes in Slate Magazine entitled 'Pipes the Propagandist'.

In this article, Hitchens accused Pipes of being "so consumed by dislike that he will not recognize good news from the Islamic world even when it arrives," and concluded that he "confuses scholarship with propaganda and [...] pursues petty vendettas with scant regard for objectivity."

There was also an accusation that Pipes had discussions with Flemming Rose, cultural editor of a Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the bloke who published the Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) caricatures, which sorry incident eventually ended with the Palestinians losing some 600 million Euros in annual aid because the Europeans were pissed off by the riots against Europeans, both in Europe and the Middle East.

No doubt the intemperate Arabs had been their own greatest enemy. Do you recall in 2000 how Ariel Sharon quietly strolled up to Temple Mount, provoked the Arabs into their usual idiotic frenzy which frightened the Israeli voters and which was precisely what Sharon wanted, and which allowed Sharon to win the Israeli election?

Pipes pooh-pooh-ed the alleged conspiracy (between him and Flemming Rose) as nothing more than Flemming Rose requesting an in-person interview on radical Islam during his American trip, to which he agreed, but do read this!

Who knows, Iran may yet be bombed. I heard the USAF is finalizing its development of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), just the ideal Mother of all bunker busters for the subterranean Iranian nuclear plants. USAF's B-2's stealth bombers have been configured two months ago to carry and drop the MOP. Northrop Grumman announced an undisclosed number of the stealth bombers will each be capable of carrying one MOP in March 2008.

Perhaps a farewell gift by Bush on the prompting of his ‘advisers’? Indeed, why not exploit that 'O' in SWOT to its fullest while it's still there.


  1. (1) Read, ‘America's pro-Israel lobby Powerful, but not that powerful’ Sep 27th 2007 here:

    Where it says in a nutshell: “But it was not Israel that invaded Iraq.”

    (2) And the latest from The Economist on Iran 'Tightening a loose noose' Nov 1st 2007 here:

    “But public opinion is distinctly dovish: three-quarters of Americans think Iran is building a bomb [my note: it’s capable of running 3,000 centrifuges, Ahmadinejad has admitted) but two-thirds nonetheless oppose military strikes.”

    (3) The mag’s latest leader: 'The new wars of religion' Nov 1st 2007 here + special report:

    “Faith will unsettle politics everywhere this century; it will do so least when it is separated from the state” … “but these days religion is an inescapable part of politics”.

    Kaytee deserves a dose of his own medicine of conspiracy theories: He writes to please public appetite. He writes what his M'sian audience are eager to hear. He writes to win popularity contest.

    No, I don't really believe in any of the suggestions above. That says it all for conspiracy theories.

  2. The bottom line US policy on Israel's security has changed little except for details in "flavour" between many different Presidents - Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2. Likely going to be Clinton 2 next.

    The Iran nuclear affair is one of my favourite mental sparring subjects with some of my Muslim friends, in the process I've been accussed of being an American lackey....heheheh...

    Never mind the labels. I have a few questions which those who support Iran have never been able to answer satisfactorily.

    1. What does a country with the world's 4th largest petroleum reserves want with a nuclear program ? Nuclear reactors are very expensive to build and potentially extremely dangerous to operate (remeber Chernobyl ?)

    2. Why does Iran refuse to allow IAEA inspectors into its nuclear facilities ?
    3.Why is Iran developing uranium enrichment facilities ? Enriched uranium for power generation can be commercially purchased on the international market, but normally subject to Condition (2) Agreeing to IAEA controls.

    4. Why is Iran building such a low power nuclear reactor ? BTW, low power reactors with large cores are ideal for creating plutonium for bomb making. All reactors produce plutonium as a by-product but the big, high-power commercial reactors in developed countries are configured for power generation, and not very efficient at producing plutonium.

    One sticky question I get asked in return, which I don't have the answer.
    1. If Israel can have nuclear bombs, why can't Iran ?

  3. > "I have a few questions which those who support Iran have never been able to answer satisfactorily.

    1. What does a country with the world's 4th largest petroleum reserves want with a nuclear program ? Nuclear reactors are very expensive to build and potentially extremely dangerous to operate (remember Chernobyl ?)"

    Answer: Balance of payments plus wasting asset: Unlike the U.S., most other countries who want to import something, they can't pay in their own currency (because nobody wants it), they must pay in dollars, euros, and such "hard currencies". Exporting oil and gas (instead of sending it up the smokestack), Iran can gain foreign currency. And, like everybody else, their oil and gas won't last forever.

    2. Why does Iran refuse to allow IAEA inspectors into its nuclear facilities ?

    Answer: The IAEA has full access to all Iran's nuclear facilities. Ask yourself this question: Why do you believe otherwise? Who is it you trust, who is lying to you?

    3. Why is Iran developing uranium enrichment facilities ? Enriched uranium for power generation can be commercially purchased on the international market, but normally subject to Condition (2) Agreeing to IAEA controls.

    Answer: Enriched uranium for power generation can NOT be commercially purchased on the international market by Iran. Because the U.S. won't permit it. There is a 20-year history of the U.S. violating the NPT treaty by blocking all manner of efforts by Iran to build a commercial power reactor (Bushehr), a long sordid history, proving Iran cannot trust anybody to be there when it needs to replace its fuel rods. It can only trust itself, and you can't run a country when a basic service like electricity is dependent on powerful foreign psychopaths (the U.S.).

    4. Why is Iran building such a low power nuclear reactor ? BTW, low power reactors with large cores are ideal for creating plutonium for bomb making. All reactors produce plutonium as a by-product but the big, high-power commercial reactors in developed countries are configured for power generation, and not very efficient at producing plutonium.

    Answer: Here, I don't know what you're talking about (and I wonder if you do). Bushehr is a light-water reactor. In the history of the world, nobody has ever harvested plutonium from spent fuel rods from such a reactor, which anyway is IAEA safeguarded, meaning the IAEA would blow the whistle, with a long lead time, if Iran sought to do so.

  4. Sweet Nem suggested I read
    (1) Read, ‘America's pro-Israel lobby Powerful, but not that powerful’ Sep 27th 2007 here:

    Where it says in a nutshell: “But it was not Israel that invaded Iraq.”

    I did, and found it to be a critic (critic name unstated - why?) of the book by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, which incidentally I blogged on in May last year

    The unnamed (why?) critic gave his or her opinions but has been rather 'judicious' in the process. Just one example (& there are several), he/she stated: "Mr Lewis, a Jewish historian of Islam, may have enjoyed the odd meeting with Mr Bush, but it can be assumed that his vote did not outweigh that of Vice-President Cheney, a hard-headed realist" but failed questionably to add that so-called 'hard-headed realist' Cheney, before he became VP, was in fact a board member of JINSA.

    Jason Vest's 2002 article 'The men from Jinsa & CSP' showed that "JINSA's board of advisers included such heavy hitters as Dick Cheney, John Bolton (now Under Secretary of State for Arms Control) and Douglas Feith, the third-highest-ranking executive in the Pentagon. Both Perle and former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey, two of the loudest voices in the attack-Iraq chorus, are still on the board, as are such Reagan-era relics as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Eugene Rostow and Ledeen -- Oliver North's Iran/contra liaison with the Israelis."

    If I were suspicious I would say the Economist book critic seemed to be biased, but I'll be kind and say the critic lacked substance and adequate research.

    Be that as it may, indeed "it was not Israel that invaded Iraq" - for a start it would have been beyond the Israelite State, regional superpower as it may be, but then, why would it need to when they have Americans to die for its strategic requirements.

  5. CJ Harwood,

    "The IAEA has full access to all Iran's nuclear facilities." No it doesn't.

    In the IAEA's own reports, Iran still resuses to divulge key elements of its uranium enrichment program, especially enrichment records at its Natanz uranium enrichment plant

    Countries which are signatories to the NPT undertake to provide detailed accounting of any enrichment facilities, the books are open to audit. Not so Iran.

    "Here, I don't know what you're talking about (and I wonder if you do)".

    Please don't patronise me.

    The international community's (and this isn't just the madman Bush) concern on the subject of plutonium is not so much the 1200 MW Bushehr plant but the 40 MW heavy water reactor at Arak.

    I repeat what I pointed out earlier. The 1200 MW LWR plant isn't very efficient at producing plutonium, but the 40 MW Heavy Water Reactor (pipsqueak power output as far as nuclear power plants are concerned) is a lot better for producing plutonium.

    My last real contact with nuclear engineering was during my student days, but the basics do not change.
    I could write you a post on reactor physics if you are interested in delving deeper into the subject.

  6. Kaytee,

    There’s no ‘conspiracy theory’ (big sigh & big smile, both) to why the book reviewer was unnamed -- a fact you felt you had to allude to not once but twice. It’s The Economist mag’s quaint house-style not to give bylines. You will find that even their big stories don’t carry a reporter’s name.

    Next, you say “the critic lacked substance”. What he or she actually lacked was column inches. Unlike you & me now scribbling online, a book review in the mag’s print edition is space constrained. There’s also the matter of hierarchy, columns on the arts/literature are light dessert, not the heavy main course.

    BRIEFLY & quickly on 2 points that screamed out (I’m sure there are others but I’m not doing a … err, house-by-house mop up)

    (1) You declare” “…why would it [Israel] need to [invade Iraq] when they have Americans to die for its strategic requirements”. Isn’t this the pro-forma line from ‘theorists’ of the Mearsheimer & Walt school? You’re saying: “American soldiers in Iraq are dying for the sake of Israel” (urm, missing links in your chain of logic, doncha think?)

    (2) You accuse Israel supporters of invoking the magic word “anti-Semitism” as a talisman to ward off the evil eye. I’d say that “pro-Zionist” name-calling is the obverse side of the coin and the same sort of deflector shield that pro-Palestinians -- e.g. the Kaytee who “do dislike Zionists; in fact despise some Israelis” -- use against the contrary school of thought.

    Since I’m really too tired tonite to write a rebuttal to your two lengthy posts, and we are after all observing an armistice (I intend to honour the temporary ceasefire) … this is what I propose.

    As a early X’mas present to me & other readers sympathetic (if any, this group being a rare & endangered specie in M'sia) to Israeli Jews, please do us a post on the Zionist ideology, i.e. how & why it had to come to be formed (for which you’ll have to trace Jewish diaspora history, ha ha) & then tell us why Zionism is to you a four-letter word.

    For quid pro quo, I shall stitch you a white X’mas sweater with the words “Be Nice (to Jooos)” in lovely David blue.

    btw, ADL’s Abe Foxman has written a book reply to the (opportunistic?) M & W book. You might wanna read it ;) by it I mean the former of course but you being Kaytee may probably decide to place an order for the latter simply 'Because'.

  7. "urm, missing links in your chain of logic,".

    don't think so - recheck Dick Cheney on JINSA's board (you haven't refuted that - can't lah, too damningly proven); recall who or rather how many Zionists were in Bush Administration, especially the 1st one which led to Gulf War II; recall AEI and the Project for the New American Century and its original letter to Bill Clinton to invade Iraq, etc etc etc

    OTOH, the book critic has nothing much to offer except the silly comment of JINSA-tainted Cheney as a "hard headed realist" which condemned the critic into a worthless piece of bias.

    But OK, I'll do Zionism and the Diaspora ;-)

  8. Hokay, I'll rephrase: "missing links in your chain of illogic" ;)

    & for a spot of Bollywood: “I spy with my little eye” … Zionists hiding behind every pillar of the White House to lead colourfully-costumed white house (or oval office) inhabitants in a merry hip-swaying dance.

    Thanks for agreeing to do the Zionism post & pls approach the diaspora with (deep, calming breath now) “Nice Thoughts” X3 when you research.

    Ship of Fools is one of the stories to tug at your heartstrings (if you have any). The Holocaust Museum in Berlin celebrated life (not death) & their life-affirming approach brought tears to my eyes ... embarrassingly so, to sniffle in public & not a Jewish visitor at that.

    I shall have to keep up my end of the bargain & learn how to knit. Will attempt to stitch a chubby 6-pointed star badge on the sweater as value-add.

  9. About Professor John J. Mearsheimer please read :