October 24, 2006

Clear & Present Danger

In response to the appointment of new coalition partner, Avigdor Lieberman, to focus on the Iranian threat, Uzi Arad, says that Iran policy "in all its details" must be kept under Olmert's control.

Arad is director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, and was Binyamin Netanyahu's foreign policy adviser when the latter was prime minister.

"If indeed the Iranian issue is the most profoundly threatening strategic issue for Israel, it is the prime minister who should be in charge of this," he says.

I agree with the recommendation, but not the reasoning.

The clear and present danger facing Israel today is Lebanon II. This will be the resumption of the missile attacks which Hizbulla will commence just as soon as Teheran fires the starting pistol. (In case you are thinking the UN will prevent this, read the history of their flight from Sinai on the orders of President Nasser in 1967.)

Lebanon II will be supported on two other fronts.

The second front will be Gaza, where Hamas have stockpiled hundreds of the same Iranian missiles, imported in full view of Egyptian troops who control the Philadelphi route; a vital interception zone abandoned by Sharon and Mofaz to appease the US state department.

As missiles rain down from the North and South, a third front will activate in the West Bank in random acts of roadside bombing, insurgency and sniper attacks designed to sap IDF resources already strained on the main war fronts.

Compare this scenario to the war of words with Teheran over a future nuclear threat and you can see where the clear and present danger lies. There is a frightening possibility that Olmert is failing to see the wood for the trees. Could all these pronouncements from Teheran be a deliberate ploy by Ahmadinejad as a diversionary tactic?

When it comes to a war of words, there is no question that Olmert has at least some competence. That is why I agree with Uzi Arad’s conclusion that the Teheran issue should be left in the PM’s hands.

This would leave the tougher Mr Lieberman free to focus on the immediate threat, which he is infinitely better capable of addressing in his usual no-nonsense way.

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