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Friday, July 31, 2009

July 2009 JINSA Newsletter

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  July 2009
In This Issue
Amb. of Honduras addresses JINSA
Berman authors new book
Proceedings from Conference on Emerging Security Issues
Detroit Jewish News on Michael Ledeen
Global Briefing: India
Neumann op-ed

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Ambassador Roberto Flores of Honduras in Conference Call, Listen to Audio

JINSA members participated Tuesday July 21, 2009 in a conference call with Ambassador Roberto Flores of Honduras who discussed the antecedents to the June ouster of then-President Zelaya, including Zelaya's determination to hold a referendum declared illegal by the Honduran Supreme Court. Click on the link below to listen to the conference call with Amb. Flores.

Click here to listen to the conference call

Journal of International Security Affairs Editor Authors New Book

Ilan Berman, vice president for policy at the American Foreign Policy Council and editor of JINSA's Journal of International Security Affairs recently published Winning the Long War: Retaking the Offensive against Radical Islam.

Click here to read the review in the Washington Times

Click here to purchase Winning the Long War

Conference on Emerging Security Issues

The Conference on Emerging Security Issues covered some of the most critical problems confronting the Obama Administration. Download the proceedings by clicking the link below.

Click here to download the proceedings

Detroit Jewish News on
Michael Ledeen event

Communications Director Jim Colbert and Research Associate Sophie Allweis cover an appearance by Michael Ledeen near Detroit, MI.  His discussion at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills focused on dealing with the issue of Iran.

Click here to download the article

India Falling Behind China in South
Asian Diplomacy

M.D. Nalapat, Professor of Geopolitics at India's Manipal University, explains that India's capable diplomatic service is being stymied by a wall of ambivalence erected by the New Delhi's top policy makers, both within the political crust as well as the bureaucracy. Meanwhile, Beijing's dynamic and decisive foreign policy is winning China countries deemed important to India's security.

Click here to read the article

Might The Riots Trip Iran's Leaders?

In this July 2 op-ed, JINSA Executive Director Tom Neumann questions whether the protests over the recent presidential election in Iran may have evolved into a power struggle at the highest levels of government.

Click here to read the op-ed

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

JINSA Report #912 Americans in Gaza Meet with John Ging

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JINSA Report #912
July 30, 2009
Americans in Gaza Meet
with John Ging

According to Xinhua, the Chinese news agency:

A group of eight U.S. congressmen arrived in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip Monday in a low-profile visit, well-informed Palestinian sources said. After crossing from Israel into Gaza, the eight legislators headed for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)'s headquarters in the city and started a meeting with John Ging, the UNRWA operations director, the sources said. UNRWA officials refused to comment on the visit.

Neither Xinhua nor interested bloggers could identify the Congressmen and we would point out that Ging is the man who accused Israel of deliberately targeting an UNRWA school in Gaza in January.  Israel didn't hit the school. From JINSA Report #854:

"I never said anyone was killed in the school. Our officials never made any such allegation. (This is patently untrue; an official UN report three days after the attack said, "Israeli shelling directly hit two UNRWA schools.") I know no one was killed in the school," Ging told The Jerusalem Post. "But 41 innocent people were killed in the street outside the school. Many of those people had taken refuge in the school and wandered out onto the street. The State of Israel still has to answer for that. What did they know and what care did they take?"

What did Israel know? Is Ging suggesting that Israel deliberately dropped a bomb on a street full of civilians? Israel warned Palestinians in Arabic before they attacked, urged them to take shelter or leave the area. Oh, right, they DID take shelter - in the school - according to Ging. The school Israel DIDN'T hit. Question for Ging: why were they "wandering" on the street and how does he know they were "innocent"? Maybe they weren't and maybe they weren't civilians, either. See the outstanding report by Steven Stotsky for CAMERA, analyzing casualty figures from Palestinian sources to conclude that males, aged 15-40 (prime combatant age for Hamas, but violating the Geneva Convention on Child Soldiers), were heavily overrepresented on casualty lists.

What care did Israel take? Israel didn't hit the school.

UNRWA operates in Gaza hand-in-glove with radical Palestinian forces, and in March, slipped a letter from Hamas to President Obama into a packet of materials for Sen. John Kerry. [He returned it unopened and UNRWA apologized.] So was Mr. Ging asking the U.S. Congressional delegation for more American aid for Gaza - beyond the $80 million President Bush announced in December and the additional $900+ million President Obama announced in January?  

Or something else? UNRWA has come under attack in Gaza from Hamas for its summer camp activities. A Hamas official told Al-Arabiya TV the UNRWA summer camps were "part of a plan to corrupt the younger generation and prepare it for normalization with Israel." [At Hamas summer camps, children reenact the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit and have military training with plastic weapons.] UNRWA was forced to respond this week to rumors that Hamas had threatened Mr. Ging's life.

So, what did the Congressmen learn?  Is Mr. Ging looking for American help for UNRWA against intrusion by Hamas?  Or is he still trying to figure out how to blame Israel for the depredations of Hamas against the people of Gaza, as well as against Israelis?

And who were those Congressmen, anyhow?
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JINSA - Save the Date for 2009 Henry M. Jackson Award Dinner

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

JINSA Report #911 Southern Lebanon Developments – Housing and Otherwise

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JINSA Report #911
July 28, 2009
Southern Lebanon Developments - Housing and Otherwise

The Obama Administration has clear opinions about Israeli housing developments, but is missing interesting developments in southern Lebanon.

Two weeks ago there was a large explosion in the Hezbollah-controlled village of Khirbet Slim, nine miles from the Israeli border. Kuwait's A-Siyassa newspaper reported it was a "secret military outpost," and said the explosion killed a number of Hezbollah members.  As cited in The Jerusalem Post, A-Siyassa reported, "'The geographical layout of the area where the outpost was situated, as well as its relative proximity to the border proves that it could not be an arms depot, but rather an outpost on the front lines,' a military source defined as 'credible' told the paper."

Shortly thereafter, UNIFIL personnel attempted to enter the nearby village of Bir e-Salasel to investigate the possibility of additional weapons. They were surrounded by dozens of men and ordered to leave. But when they tried, the road was blocked with burning tires and more than 100 residents threw rocks at the vehicles, injuring 14 UNIFIL soldiers. When they called for backup, the villagers fired at the reinforcements.

According to Ha'aretz, "Senior IDF officers believe that Hezbollah has completely rebuilt its network of bunkers and arms stockpiles in south Lebanon, but has located them almost entirely inside Shi'ite villages rather than in open areas, as it did sometimes in the past. The warehouse explosion [in Khirbet Slim] revealed this fact, and has prompted Hezbollah to worry that Israeli intelligence may know where its new bases are located."

Hezbollah has always operated on the assumption that Israel would hesitate to attack inside villages for fear of causing civilian casualties, and couldn't have helped noticing the international castigation of the IDF after Hamas used Palestinian human shields in Gaza while it was shelling Israeli civilians with ever longer-range and more precise rockets and missiles.

Three days after the munitions explosion, a group of 15 Lebanese civilians crossed the Blue Line into Israel, planting Hezbollah and Lebanese flags before crossing back. The IDF watched, but seeing there were children in the group, declined to stop them. Israel contented itself with a protest to the UN - which, for a change was coincident with a UNIFIL protest of Hezbollah's behavior.

Hezbollah rhetoric is heating up as well. Hasan Nasrallah called Israel "a racist state... placed at the heart" of the Middle East by the rest of the world, and he demanded the release of a terrorist named Yahya Skaff, killed in the 1978 Coastal Road massacre in Israel. Israel returned the body, but Nasrallah claims he is still alive in Israel.

The impossibility of meeting the demand suggests that Hezbollah is simply trying to boost its sagging fortunes (including an apparent inability to recruit foot soldiers on an acceptable scale) after its electoral losses in June. It may be escalating tensions with UNIFIL and Israel in hopes of ousting the former and goading the latter into retaliatory action that will bring down the wrath of the international community on Israel yet again.

Don't be surprised.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

From Susan Kone

From Susan Kone

My Dearest One,

It is my pleasure to write you after much consideration since I can not be
able to see you face to face at first. I am Susan Kone, Being the only
daughter and child of my late father, Dr. Koffi Kone. My late father was a
limited liability Cocoa and Gold in my country Cote D'Ivoire before his
untimely death.

On his trip back from South Africa where he went to nagotiate for a new
branch of his business , he was assassinated with my mother by his enemies
(business colleages). My mother died, instantly, but my father died after
five days in the hospital, on that faithful afternoon. I didn't know that
my father was going to leave me after loosing my mother. But before he gave
up the ghost, it was as if he knew he was going to die, my father(may his
soul rest in perfect peace) he disclose to me that he deposited the sum of
$7.5 million US dollars in one of the prime bank here in Abidjan Cote

That the money was meant for his Cocoa and Gold business he wanted to
invest in South Africa. he disclosed to me where he kept the documents
issued to him by the bank and instructed me to seek for a life time
investment abroad.
I have succeeded in locating the bank and confirmed the existence with most
honest and confidentiality .

Now I'm asking for your assistance to help me transfer this money out from
Abidjan to your account abroad so that we should invest it in any lucrative
business in your country because this is my only hope in life. Your
handsome reward is negotiable and I promise to compensate you greatly.

Awaiting anxiously to hear from you so that we can discuss the modalities
of this transaction. If this proposal is acceptable, please this requires
urgent attention so i want you to kindly reply me without delay.

Best Regards,

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

JINSA Report #910 International Cooperation on the Big Threats

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JINSA Report #910
July 22, 2009
International Cooperation on
the Big Threats

Iran is building a nuclear capability and threatens the destruction of Israel while it funds, arms and trains Hamas and Hezbollah - enemies of Israel, the Gulf States, Egypt and large parts of Lebanon. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told a forum in Chicago, "Iran is the one that concerns me the most because there don't seem to be good options [or a scenario] where one can have any optimism that good options will be found. [Part of the problem is the] inability of the international community to affect their determination to do that." Gates, according to Agence France Presse, said he has struggled to convince other nations, particularly Russia, that the situation does not only threaten the United States.

Not to mention electoral fraud or the treatment of citizens by the local constabulary.

Yet Secretary of State Clinton said of Iran this week, "We will still hold the door open" to talks, although "we also have made it clear that we will take action, as I've said time and time again, crippling action..."

This does not appear to mean military action and apparently does not mean that Iran has to actually stop doing anything. To avoid what Mrs. Clinton called "crippling action" (probably more sanctions, watered down to the lowest common denominator, i.e., Russia), President Obama said as he left the G-8 meeting, "We will re-evaluate Iran's posture toward negotiating the cessation of a nuclear weapons policy."

So Iran has only to change its posture toward "negotiating the cessation" of its 30-year quest for nuclear weapons? And not now - it will come up for discussion when the G-8 meets again in September. Move along, folks, nothing to watch here.

North Korea has nuclear capability, proliferates nuclear-related equipment and technology to Syria, Iran and who-knows-where-else, and is shooting multi-stage missiles over Japan and toward Hawaii. Its citizens are dying by the hundreds and thousands in North Korean gulags. Mrs. Clinton said of North Korea this week, "What we've seen is this constant demand for attention... Maybe it's the mother in me, the experience I've had with small children and teen-agers and people who are demanding attention: Don't give it to them."

No big deal folks, just adolescent angst.

On the other hand, Mrs. Clinton called Honduran President Micheletti this week to say there would be "serious consequences" if his government did not accept the return of Manuel Zelaya who was ousted as president on the 1st of July for thwarting his country's supreme court and legislature. The EU suspended $93.1 million in aid to Honduras and the White House suspended $16.5 million in military aid. U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens told Honduran business leaders they could face "tough sanctions" following the hold that has been already placed on about $180 million in development aid. Still in the U.S. pocket is the threat to cut off trade and remittances. Talk about "crippling action."

All of this concerted effort to punish Honduras. It's amazing how fast the United States and our European friends can move against a small, poor country trying to maintain rule of law and uphold its constitution in the face of aggressive radical populism funded by Hugo Chávez. Less than three weeks and Honduras faces ruin for not jumping through the hoops set by the Obama Administration and the EU at the behest of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

At least we know where they think the big threats are.
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Ambassador Roberto Flores of Honduras in Conference Call, Listen to Audio

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Monday, July 20, 2009

JINSA Report #909 Catching Up, Part I

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JINSA Report #909
July 20, 2009
Catching Up, Part I

JINSA Report #903 suggested consumers be told of corporate involvement in Iran to allow them to make decisions about doing business with those companies. We noted a Nokia-Siemens joint venture that sold the Iranian government the ability to monitor mobile phone calls and alter their SMS message contents. We asked, "Do Americans REALLY want Nokia phones under the circumstances?"

According to Eli Lake in The Washington Times, the city of Los Angeles is asking itself the same question about Siemens, which has bid on a multi-million dollar contract to supply rail cars to the LA transit agency. Lake cited a member of the transit board, "At a time when the city and the board of supervisors are urging divestment from Iran, it would be hypocritical of our board to make a deal with Siemens or anyone else who is doing business in Iran." A spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the mayor would take into account the business Siemens does with Iran. "Particularly because he has been working to make sure that LA's investments steer clear of companies that do business with Iran."

JINSA Reports #902 and #905 on Honduras received support from readers inside Honduras, but a local member thought the issue was outside our purview. "JINSA is supposed to support a strong United States because that is Israel's greatest weapon... Honduras has no direct or even indirect connection to Israel's security. JINSA is a great organization but it seems to be wandering away from its original goals."

JINSA's mandate is to educate the American Jewish community about the requirements of a strong U.S. defense capability and to inform the American defense and security community of the key role Israel can and does play as a security asset in the Middle East. JINSA is concerned with American security not just as it relates to threats to Israel, but also as it relates to our own security interests.  

American government criticism of Honduras was stronger than our criticism of the Iranian government, which was full-blast cheating its people and beating them in the streets. Small countries - particularly democracies - must have confidence that the U.S. will, a) treat them with respect, and b) give them the presumption that their government is acting within the law. If Honduras can't presume that, how long will Israel - another small democracy - be able to presume that?

And finally, JINSA Report #907, "The President met with 'The Jews'..." may have received more feedback than any other this year, including a challenge to broaden our thinking:  

Let your think tank discuss this proposition. Your opinions are delightfully conservative and strongly emphasize the independence of Israel. However, let it consider a broader frame of reference. There is a small island in the Mediterranean split between Greeks and Turks. I read their respective newsletters as I do yours. Have your specialized readers check them out for the past year - simple assignment to take a day or so; thinking is more difficult and lengthy. Then introduce an expanded vision of the complexities of the Eastern Mediterranean. Take the pressure off the flushing of every political statement and red herring balloon of our leaders - local and national. Such discussion pro and con only exacerbates conflicting opinions. Soften this tension by a little comparative thinking. We want Israel to survive, indeed need it to survive for our own survival, otherwise there will be only remnants scattered throughout the world and we'll need another few millennia before we can have the opportunity to reunite as a people.

That is a sobering thought, but one we appreciate as we ponder the relationship between U.S. policy on Honduras (or Iran or North Korea or Indonesia or Ukraine) and our concern for a stable Middle East in which a secure Israel can flourish.

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