Thursday, January 18, 2007

TODAY's News Summaries

The Real Obstacle to Peace

Michael, January 18, 2007

...Last year at Oscar time, Hollywood handed nominations to Spielberg's melodrama "Munich," with its sympathetic treatment of Palestinian terror, and to a Palestinian film about suicide bombers, "Paradise Now."

This year, the contenders are far less political and controversial.

Meanwhile, more than a dozen staff members at the Carter center have resigned to protest lies in Jimmy Carter's scurrilous, critically reviled screed, "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.

"Many have begun to recognize that the real problem in the Middle East isn't a need for a Palestinian state, which the UN offered more than 60 years ago, and Israeli leaders have endorsed for 14 years.Since the recent election of Hamas the conclusion has become inescapable that the one insurmountable obstacle to peace is the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel in any form, within any borders.

Michael Medved is the host of The Michael Medved Show. Michael Medved is the author of Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life.

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Calls for Olmert to quit over war failure

Harry de Quetteville in, January 18, 2007

..."The decision of the chief of staff officially establishes the failure of the war in Lebanon," said Right-wing opposition politician Yisrael Katz. "

This obligates the prime minister and the defense minister to stop hanging on by the skin of their teeth and resign from their positions."

Mr Olmert refused to respond to the growing crisis yesterday. But his position has undoubtedly been imperilled by what many in Israel view as the catastrophic mishandling of the country's most important portfolio: national security.

His approval ratings have fallen to a mere 14 percent, while polls suggest his centrist Kadima party – founded by Israel's stricken military leader Ariel Sharon to unite the country just 18 months ago – would hold just a third of its seats in any election....

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Syrian, Israeli backdoor talks now emerging

Ilene R. PrusherThe Christian Science Monitor, January 18, 2007

...Reports of a resurrection of the Israeli-Syrian track, which broke off officially around the same time Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations collapsed in the summer of 2000, conjure deeply different reactions – and come at a volatile, precarious time in the region.

Proponents of talking see Damascus as holding the key to reining in Hizbullah, stopping the flow of arms from Iran into Lebanon, and sizing down the tactical might of Hamas, whose most powerful Palestinian figure, Khaled Mashal, resides in the Syrian capital.

And ever since the end of the brutal war last summer in Lebanon, opinion-makers here have been trying to point the nation's compass for compromise in the direction of Syria. Only a deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, some analysts say, can prevent Israel from finding itself in another war with Hizbullah.

On the other end of this viewpoint are skeptics, both Israeli and Arab, who say that the powerbrokers are as far away from coming to terms as they were before. Israeli officials, as well as many in the Bush administration, various sources here say, view Syria as a country continuing to sponsor terrorist activities. Therefore, they say, it's a country that should be isolated, not engaged....

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Israel warns Russia on Iran arms sale

Yaakov Katz and Herb KeinonThe Jerusalem Post, January 16, 2007

Tor M1 Air Defense System.

Voicing extreme concern over Russia's recent sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, senior diplomatic and defense officials warned Moscow Tuesday that the deal could have serious security implications that would even "get back to Russia." Senior officials in Jerusalem said they "were not pleased" with the sale of the anti-aircraft missiles, but that Russia was a sovereign country and they could not intervene. They did, however, issue a warning: "We hope they understand that this is a threat that could come back to them as well."...

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Is the road map still relevant?

Daniel Pipes, January 17, 2007

Question asked of Jerusalem Post columnists: "Do you believe the road map is still relevant? Is there a need for a new plan?" For all replies, see "Burning Issues #21 Is the road map still relevant?"

The question implies that once upon a time, the "concrete, three-phase implementation road map" (as it is more fully known) was relevant. That, however, never was the case. As Yitschak Ben-Gad succinctly summed up the problem in the title of his 2004 book, it was always the "roadmap to nowhere."

Or as I counseled in a February 2003 article, Israelis and Americans should hold firm against "road maps that lead exactly in the wrong direction."

The plan was born a bureaucratic monstrosity; of its myriad faults, grown perhaps the most fundamental was its assumption that if only the Palestinians were given just a tad more of this or that, they would finally recognize the benefits of harmonious co-existence with a Jewish state of Israel. Not to have learned by now that Palestinians have larger and more aggressive ambitions than to live side-by-side with Israel implies living in a state of denial....

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The Little-Bit-Pregnant Policy

Michael Ledeen
The National Review Online, January 18, 2007

...Yet it is war, the real regional war we have not been willing to acknowledge. Surge or no surge, it is not possible to win this war by playing defense in Iraq alone, unless we find a way to either hermetically seal Iraq from Iranian and Syrian depredations, or convince the mullahs and the Assads to stop trying to drive us out.

The hermetic seal is not in the cards, and why should our self-proclaimed enemies stop waging war on us when we pointedly leave them free to train terrorists and ship money, guidance and weapons into the battle zone?

That is why some of us have advocated support for the tens of millions of Syrians and Iranians who wish to change the regimes in Tehran and Damascus, but democratic revolution has precious little support in Washington these days.

Common sense seems to dictate that we are obliged to do everything possible to protect our troops and advance the security of Iraq, but the "little bit pregnant" policy isn’t enough, as our leaders surely know.

Iran has been waging war on us since 1979; will the mullahs call it off because some of their agents are arrested or killed outside Iranian borders?

No doubt the Bush administration worries about political fallout if the terrorist training camps or the IED assembly facilities are attacked.

We all heard Senators Biden and Lugar, Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha demand assurances that we would not cross Iraq’s borders, even in hot pursuit of Iranian and Syrian killers. In other words, it’s quite all right for Iranians, Syrians, and jihadis to invade Iraq and kill Americans, but Americans are not permitted to respond in like manner.

The administration should say that, but hasn’t.

The president would do well to remember Machiavelli’s advice to the prince: If you must inflict pain, it is best to do it all at once, and not try to mitigate it or do it bit by bit. The latter method always makes things worse, and ultimately requires greater violence, and more pain. Or, worse still, your defeat.—

Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. He is resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Iraq's Maliki to U.S.: Keep Troops, Send Guns

The Media Line, January 18, 2007

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said on Wednesday that if the United States made good on unfulfilled promises to provide Iraq with additional arms and equipment it would not be necessary to commit more troops to Iraq.

In fact, Maliki suggested that forces could be reduced in three to six months.

Speaking to The Times (U.K.), Maliki said, "If we succeed in implementing the agreement between us to speed up the equipping and providing weapons to our military forces, I think that within three to six months our need for American troops will dramatically go down."

Maliki blamed a shortage of weapons and equipment for what he termed "prolonged and bloody" fighting. The United States fears that weapons issued to Iraqi troops will end up in the hands of the anti-coalition fighters.

Maliki's statement comes as President Bush remains the target of intense criticism for his plan to insert another 21,500 troops into Iraq. The Iraqi prime minister has been openly critical of President Bush and Secretary of State Rice.

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