The Syrian Threat
June 4, 2012: The Arab Spring of 2011 is turning into a long-term problem for Israel. While the protests quickly overthrew the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, Mubarak's many allies managed to save themselves by quickly siding with the rebellion. This means that many of the corrupt businessmen and officials that kept Mubarak in power are still operating. This resulted in a successful resistance to meaningful change. An example of this was the recent trial of Hosni Mubarak, who was convicted last week of failing to stop the fatal attacks on demonstrators. Yesterday he (and his son) was cleared of corruption charges and, most alarming to Egyptians; no one was found responsible for ordering police to kill over 800 demonstrators. This led to large anti-government demonstrations, which continue. As long as Mubarak's cronies are still in power, the corrupt misrule is still in play and the revolution is not over. Israel is hoping that the rebels use their majority in parliament to enact reforms, and force out the corrupt Mubarak supporters. Success is not assured, as the Mubarak forces are wealthy and threatened with heavy losses (including jail) if the reform politicians succeed in cleaning things up. So the reformers will be subject to bribes and threats. The military is one of the most corrupt institutions, and could attempt using violence to stop reformers. This is unlikely, because most of the troops are conscripts, who identify more with their civilian family and friends. It's the officers and career soldiers who owe their wealth to corruption. But desperate men will do desperate things.
Syria and Lebanon, both dominated by Iranian backed factions (the Assad family in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon) are slipping out of Iranian control. Iran is desperate to hold on; because a loss in Syria would weaken Hezbollah (perhaps fatally) and destroy a vital toehold Iran has obtained in the Arab world. Iran is ruled by a religious dictatorship that has visions of making Shia Islam (about ten percent of Moslems) the dominant form, along with Iran becoming the leader of the Moslem world. Most Moslems (80 percent are Sunni, dominated by Arab countries) see this as mad fantasy. But Iran is powerful, persistent and developing nuclear weapons. Iran also makes no secret of the fact that another of its goals is to destroy Israel. So far, Israel has not gotten involved in Syria. But there is talk of opening their Syrian border to move humanitarian supplies. Iran responded to this with threats of military retaliation. The Syrian government is slowly losing its grip, but Iranian security and terrorism specialists are assisting the Assads in getting the population back under control. This involves more mass killings of civilians, which Iran blames on Israel. It's not over yet in Syria. Pessimistic Israelis believe Syria will degenerate into chaos, providing a sanctuary for terrorists and a source of more weapons for Hezbollah and other terror groups. Syria has lots of ballistic missiles and chemical weapons.
Israeli firms have discovered another oil and gas field off the cost. This one contains $60 billion worth of oil and $30 billion worth of natural gas. Israel had already discovered $100 billion worth of natural gas off shore, near the Lebanese border, last year. Since Israel and Lebanon do not have diplomatic relations, and the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist organization constantly calls for war with Israel, the negotiations must be made through the UN. Israel is determined to start pumping the natural gas by next year, and use these finds to achieve energy independence within three years. A special military force is being established to protect the offshore facilities from attack.
Over the last week American and Israeli officials have confirmed that the industrial grade Cyber War weapons (Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame) used against Iran in the last few years were indeed joint U.S.-Israel operations. No other details were released.
Israel is building closer relations with China by sharing information and techniques about dealing Islamic terrorism and civil disorder. The two countries will also increase trade and the exchange of technology.
|"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.