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September 25, 2013

US-IRAN NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS

 What is the essence of true negotiations? Obviously it is the readiness of both sides to compromise. For the negotiations to succeed, each side must give up something in return for something else that values more. But just think about it: is this the case between the US and Iran? Did America simply wake up one morning and decide to lead a campaign of crippling sanctions against the Islamic Republic for no good reason. So maybe it will be about America's meddling in Iran's internal affairs and the Iranians taking American diplomats in Tehran hostage in 1971? Not really. It's all about Iran's nuclear weapons program and America's subsequent sanctions action at the UN. Reading between the lines, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has told the UN General Assembly that 'constructive engagement' should result in the lifting of those sanctions. But flying in the face of the evidence, perish the thought that Iran has been advancing toward its first A-bomb! Rouhani told the General Assembly that, contrary to the US state Department's branding Iran as the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism, his country is anything but. Back home in Tehran, what might Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guards, who really call the shots, be ready to concede? Here are some IsraCast suggestions: 

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September 22, 2013

ISRAEL'S 'LANTERN ON THE STERN'

 Forget the current rhetoric coming out of Washington and Tehran. Both sides are playing each other as they prepare to kick off yet another round of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue, the most critical crisis facing the world today. Iran's newly elected President Hassan Rouhani is the new smiling face of the tyrannical Islamist regime that supports Syria's use of chemical weapons. On the other hand, US President Barack Obama is trying to regain some of the credibility he lost to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although he will not be taking part, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu will be a key absent partner, and he has left no doubt about where he stands on a nuclear Iran. On the basis of past experience, there is little chance that Iran will really back down from its nuclear weapons drive. On the other hand, Obama's erratic handling of the Syrian chemical weapons atrocity has raised questions about his staying the course. If Iran does eventually make a dash for the A-bomb and Obama choses to procrastinate, what will Israel do? Analyst David Essing refers to historian Barbara Tuchman's analogy of ‘the lantern on the stern' to illuminate how past history can aid in foretelling a future course of action.

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June 17, 2013

IRAN & SYRIA - ISRAEL PLAYS IT COOL

Israel has reacted coolly to two new developments in the Middle East - the surprise victory of 'moderate' cleric Hassan Rohani in Iran's presidential election, and the U.S. decision to supply weapons to Syria's rebels. It's still early days and it remains to be seen how the situations will play out. 

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May 07, 2013

U.S.- ISRAELI PACKAGE DEAL ON SYRIA & IRAN

 Are Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu & U.S. President Barack Obama Collaborating On New Strategy For Taking On Syria and Iran? Analyst David Essing sees signs the two new-found allies have agreed that Israel will tackle the clear and present threat of the barbaric Assad while the U.S. will continue to pressure Iran. 

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April 26, 2013

AL QAEDA COMES TO CANADA

 Add Canada to the list of countries where Iran is flexing its muscles while continuing its relentless drive to acquire nuclear weapons. Just look at the list: Kathmandu (Nepal), New Delhi (India), Tbilisi (Georgia), and Bangkok (Thailand) are all sites of planned terror attacks against Israel instigated by Iran. But not only Iran; American authorities are now investigating how they fouled up by not catching the two Tsarnaev brothers suspected of the Boston Marathon bombing after being warned by the Russians in 2011. 

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November 10, 2012

Isracast Weekend Report: Now to Israel's Election Campaign!

 Will Barack Obama now retaliate against Israel for Bibi Netanyahu's betting on Mitt Romney? Netanyahu's rivals are attacking the Prime Minister for acting irresponsibly by showing his preference for the defeated Republican candidate. Although Netanyahu bet and he bet wrong, the issue is unlikely to be a game-changer in Israel's election campaign that has yet to move into top gear for January 22. First Likud and labor must hold their primaries for the party list of candidates and Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni must decide once and for all whether to throw their hats into the ring. Meanwhile Netanyahu is trying vigorously to repair some of his damaged bridges with Obama with statements like: "I will continue to work with President Obama to protect the security interests of Israeli citizens". And the PM stressed:"The strategic alliance between Israel and the U.S. is stronger than ever'. (In all fairness it should be said that the much maligned Defense Minister Ehud Barak deserves most of the credit for the 'unprecedented' military collaboration between the two countries. Netanyahu often dispatched Barak on special missions to Washington to smooth over the not infrequent tiffs with the White House and keep relations on the rails with the Pentagon. But the overbearing Barak is often his own worst enemy when it comes to Israeli politics and his Independence party might not win even one seat in the election).

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September 18, 2012

More 'Dirty Tricks' For Iran

 If a new round of clandestine operations are in the works for Iran's nuclear weapons facilities they will have to be more severe than they have been until now. The obvious fact is the Iranian centrifuges are still spinning out enriched uranium and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has warned the Iranians could be ready to break out for 90% weapons grade in another six or seven months. U.S. Defense Secretary estimates another year or so, unless Iran is operating more secret installations such as Fordo.

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August 29, 2012

Israel's Landscape of Strategic Threats

 With Iran closing in on nuclear weapons and the 'Arab Spring' in high gear, the stark IDF intelligence estimate comes as no surprise. The outlook for 2013 is for a more unstable and Islamist Middle East and a higher security threat to Israel. IDF Intelligence Commander, Maj.Gen. Aviv Kochavi has briefed the IDF high command and will also present it to the full cabinet. The Yisrael Hayom newspaper has disclosed some details of the classified document that will serve as as Israel's security assessment for 2013.

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August 22, 2012

Israel's Iranian Dilemma

 By chance or design, President Barack Obama has bowed out of the war of rhetoric with Israel on when, if at all, to bomb Iran. So with Obama on the hustings Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joints of Staff, has stepped in as Obama's point-man. Arriving on a trip to Afghanistan, Dempsey said he consulted bi-weekly with his Israeli counter-part Gen. Benny Gantz: 'We compare intelligence, we discuss regional implications and we've admitted that our clocks are turning at different rates. And Dempsey admitted candidly: 'They (the Israelis) are living with an existential concern that we are not living with'. Analyst David Essing says this is the crux of the controversy between Jerusalem and Washington over what to do about Iran's relentless drive for nuclear weapons, in spite of the latest international sanctions.

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August 16, 2012

Israel Replies to U.S Gen. Martin Dempsey

 Israel's unofficial reply to U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey was not long in coming - the IDF did have the capability to severely damage Iran's nuclear sites. But IDF Gen. (res.) Yitzak Ben Yisrael added: 'I think Gen. Dempsey was referring to continuous follow-up action to prevent Iran from again trying to produce nuclear weapons'. Ben Yisrael, who masterminded IDF weapons development for many years, is now a highly respected professor of strategic affairs. In two separate interviews, with Yediot Ahronot newspaper and Channel 10 TV, Gen. Ben Yisrael sized up the present situation.

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July 31, 2012

Israel, Turkey & Syria's Chemical Weapons

The menace of President Bashar Assad's arsenal of chemical weapons overshadows the current chaos in Syria. In a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz addressed the volatile situation that has pitted the Syrian Army and the rebels exchanging fire near the Israeli border on the Golan Heights. Analyst David Essing says there are differing accounts on whether the Chief of Staff warned that an Israeli strike against Syria's chemical weapons could start a regional flareup.

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July 23, 2012

Israel Will Bar Syria's Chemical Weapons From Hezbollah

Israel will act militarily to prevent Hezbollah from transporting Syria's chemical weapons across the border to Lebanon - that was the message from Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Interviewed on July 20th, Barak told Channel 1 TV that Israel was 'very concerned' about terror groups exploiting the current chaos to take control of Syria's chemical weapons. The New York Times had reported that Israel has raised such a contingency with the U.S. On the Hezbollah bus bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis and injured more than 30 others, Israel would find out 'exactly' who had sent the lone terrorist to Burgas Airport. Analyst David Essing is of the view that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will order the Mossad to track down and execute the perpetrators, as did Golda Meir after Palestinian terrorists massacred eleven Israeli athletes at the Much Olympics in 1972.

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February 19, 2012

Israel Issues Global Terror Alert

Israel is bracing for a new round of Iranian and Hizbollah terror attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets world-wide. That was the message from the Counter-Terror Headquarters in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's bureau in Jerusalem. The global alert was issued after the flurry of Iranian terror attacks against Israeli diplomats in Georgia, Thailand and India. Analyst David Essing is of the view that while Tehran is retaliating for the international pressure on its nuclear weapons program, its spree of terror could trigger an even more dangerous escalation between Israel on one side and Iran and its Hizballah proxy on the other.

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October 19, 2011

SGT. Gilad Shalit - The Day After

 Israel has welcomed Sgt. Gilad Shalit with a massive outpouring of love and relief while also bracing for a new wave of Hamas terror attacks. In the Palestinian camp, the return of 1027 terrorists for one Israeli soldier is being viewed as a 'glorious victory' and a precedent for gaining the release of some 5,000 other terrorists now serving time in Israeli prisons. Prime Minister Netanyahu's government will likely consider a different, more tougher, approach that could not be adopted while Shalit was being held in a Hamas dungeon.

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September 18, 2011

Israeli-Palestinian Uncharted Territory

West Bank Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniya, the Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza, have again crossed swords - this time over the attempt by Abbas to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state, based on the lines of June 4th,1967. This implies Abbas's recognition of Israel in the remaining territory. However in Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, who represents at least half of the Palestinian population has categorically rejected the Abbas move declaring: 'The Palestinians will never recognize Israel or give up an inch of their land!' Hamas, an ally of Iran, also subscribes to Tehran's vow to wipe Israel 'off the map'. In effect, Mahmoud Abbas will be calling on the UN to recognize a Palestinian state that also declares its intention to annihilate another UN member state.

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September 11, 2011

Egypt, Turkey and Israel

 The 'Arab Spring' erupted against the Jewish state in Cairo where a mob, protesting against the Supreme Military Council in Freedom Square, turned its rage against the Israeli embassy. They smashed through a security wall, recently constructed by the Egyptian authorities, broke into the embassy and threatened the six Israeli guards. The lives of the guards hand in the balance before they were rescued by Egyptian commandos at the last moment. The Egyptian incident came within days of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's threat to send his warships to break Israel's legal blockade of Gaza. Analyst David Essing is of the view the two incidents have illustrated the differing approaches by the Egyptian and Turkish leaderships to Israel amid the current chaos in the region.

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March 31, 2011

Middle East Snapshot of Arab Upheavals

Israel's political and security leaderships have been trying to forecast the outcome of the historic events now sweeping through the Arab states of the Middle East. In the Knesset, the Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, has convened 'a brain storming session' with some top Israeli experts to discuss the Arab 'democratic movement' to force regime changes in the neighboring states, the Gulf and North Africa. At the same time Daniel Pipes, a prominent American Arabist, has also presented his snapshot of the Middle East upheavals. Analyst David Essing sums up some of the assessments presented by the experts.

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January 09, 2011

Mossad's 'Superman' Retires

 At the latest Israeli cabinet meeting, when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu personally thanked outgoing Mossad chief Meir Dagan, all the ministers rose to applaud. Although Mossad operations are never confirmed or denied, Dagan mounted a daring an effective campaign against Iran's nuclear weapons program during his unprecedented eight year tenure. Mossad operations have set back Iran's plans to acquire nuclear weapons for years, although there is still no sign the regime of ayatollahs are ready to halt the project, in spite of the economic sanctions that are hurting the country's economy. David Essing has this assessment of the man the Egyptian newspaper Al Aharam once called Israel's 'Superman'.

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September 19, 2010

Yom Kippur War & Palestinian Negotiations

 Israelis and Jews around the world have marked the Yom Kippur Day of Atonement. Thirty-seven years ago, the Egyptian and Syrian armies exploited the holiest day in the Jewish calendar to launch a massive surprise attack that nearly succeeded in defeating the IDF and possibly wiping Israel off the map. What are the ramifications today when it comes to Israeli territorial concessions to the Palestinians and Syria? This assessment by IsraCast analyst David Essing deals with some of the issues.

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August 15, 2010

Russia To 'Launch' Iran's Nuclear Reactor

 It's now official - 'Rosatom', Russia's Atomic Energy Agency has announced that on August 21st, Russian technicians will load Iran's Bushehr reactor with nuclear fuel. Spokesman Sergei Navikov was quoted as saying: 'From then on the rector will be qualified as a nuclear plant'. A Russian delegation headed by Rosatom director Sergei Kiriyenko is due to attend the ceremony. The news came just before the Sabbath when Israeli officialdom closes down until Sunday. However, IsraCast analyst David Essing has some unofficial comments.

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