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MidEastTruth Forum Index   Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

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    david barrett

  

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PostThu Aug 05, 2010 1:44 pm     Is a Mideast war in the offing?    


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Earlier this week, Lebanese soldiers ambushed Israeli troops in a deliberate attempt to turn up the heat in the Middle East.
With the UN due to publish a report that will likely implicate senior Hizbullah figures - and by extension Iran and Syria - in the 2005 murder of a former Lebanese prime minister, Teheran and Damascus are seeking to divert the world's attention by provoking a little gunplay with the Jewish state.

As I suggest in the column below from the Jerusalem Post, after more than a year of reaching out to Iran and Syria with the aim of improving relations, it is time for Washington to view this week's incident as a tangible sign of the futility of its efforts.

The Obama administration needs to change course, and to stand firmly behind Israel at this hazardous juncture.

Similarly, Israel must not allow this provocation to go unanswered. Lebanon and its government, as well as Iran and Syria, must be held accountable and made to pay a price for their devious deeds.

When and how - and even if - the next war will start is of course anyone's guess, so the Jewish state and its citizens must be duly prepared.

Israel may not start the fight when it comes. But this time around, our enemies need to know that we will most certainly be the ones to finish it.


Comments and feedback may be sent to: letters@jpost.com or to me directly.

thanks,

Michael Freund



http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/O.....?id=183671



The Jerusalem Post, August 5, 2010



Is War in the Offing?

By Michael Freund



Two days ago, Lebanon deliberately lit a match that threatens to engulf the entire region.

In a wanton act of murder, Lebanese military snipers pointed and aimed their rifles at IDF soldiers on a routine operation to clear away bushes along the fence on the Israeli side of the border.

With their prey in their sights, the gunmen pulled the trigger, killing IDF Lieut. Col. Dov Harari and badly wounding Capt. Ezra Lakia.

Israeli forces quickly returned fire, reportedly killing two Lebanese soldiers and a journalist, in what is perhaps the worst incident between the countries since the 2006 Lebanon war.

Make no mistake – this was not one of those periodic incidents which occasionally take place between countries where it is hard to ascertain the who, how or what that occurred.

As IDF Major General Gadi Eisenkot made clear in remarks to reporters, this was nothing less than a premeditated and belligerent act by our northern neighbors.

Employing unusually blunt language to describe the incident, Eisenkot said that, "It was a planned ambush by a sniper unit…this was a provocation by the Lebanese army".

Indeed it was. And what is particularly worrisome is the peril that it portends for the Middle East as a whole.

This sinister and cynical episode may or may not spiral out of control. Either way, it demonstrates that some nefarious forces are at work, and that conflict may very well be in the offing.

After all, it could hardly have been a coincidence that just four days previously, on Friday of last week, Syrian President Bashar Assad paid a dramatic visit to Beirut, marking the first time he set foot in the Lebanese capital in eight years.

Accompanied by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Assad attended an urgent summit with Lebanese leaders to discuss an upcoming report by a UN inquiry into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The report is said to implicate Hizbullah in Hariri's murder and may even include indictments against senior figures in the terrorist movement, such as its secretary-general, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

Since Hizbullah is closely allied with both Syria and Iran, this will necessarily incriminate Damascus and Teheran, if only by association.

And if the report does tarnish Hizbullah, it will be a blow to the two countries' interests in Lebanon, where both have sought for decades to assert their influence and create some strategic depth.

Undoubtedly, therefore, Nasrallah, Assad and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are all of one mind on how best to deal with this rather sticky situation.

And what better way is there to divert the world's attention than to kindle some bloody gunplay with the Jewish state?

Even if Tuesday's clash proves to be an isolated incident, it nonetheless advances Syrian and Iranian interests.

By demonstrating that they can easily spark a conflagration at will, Damascus and Tehran are sending a timely reminder to Israel and the US that they won't hesitate to turn up the temperature in the region to forestall a possible future military raid against Iranian nuclear installations.

And if the message wasn't clear enough, the dictator of Damascus and the tyrants in Tehran made sure to emphasize their point by getting their Hamas comrades in Gaza to launch a spate of new rocket attacks on southern Israeli towns and cities.

Not surprisingly, the Obama administration's initial reaction was mealy-mouthed and uninspiring. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told a press conference on Tuesday that, "We deeply regret the loss of life; we urge both sides to exercise maximum restraint to avoid an escalation and maintain the ceasefire that is now in place".

That's fine and nice, but wouldn't a condemnation of Lebanon and its allies have been more appropriate?

It is precisely this kind of Obama-style moral relativism and diplomatic naivete that threatens to push the region still closer to anarchy.

Instead of holding the bad guys to account for their actions, Washington seems more inclined to coddle them in the vain hope that this will foster a change in their behavior.

Ironically, rather than reducing the likelihood of war, this unsophisticated approach only serves to boost its chances still further.

After more than a year of reaching out to Iran and Syria with the aim of improving relations, it is time for Washington to view this week's incident as a tangible sign of the futility of its efforts.

The Administration needs to change course, and to stand firmly behind Israel at this hazardous juncture.

The dangers of a regional flare-up are hovering in the air, and they are real. Some observers believe that war may be just around the corner. Hopefully, it won't come to that.

But while Washington fiddles, the arsonists of the Middle East are busy lighting fires, attempting to set the whole neighborhood ablaze.

Now more than ever, strong and determined US leadership is what is needed to forestall the possibility of confrontation, if only because it is difficult to understate the seriousness of the present situation.

Similarly, Israel must not allow this provocation to go unanswered. Lebanon and its government, as well as Iran and Syria, must be held accountable and made to pay a price for their devious deeds.

Weakness on our part will just invite further aggression. The only way to stop the bullies from terrorizing us is to stand up to them rather than slinking away.

When and how - and even if - the next war will start is of course anyone's guess, so the Jewish state and its citizens must be duly prepared.

Israel may not start the fight when it comes. But this time around, our enemies need to know that we will most certainly be the ones to finish it.


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    david barrett

  

MidEastTruth.com - the first 13 yearsMidEastTruth.com
The first 13 years!

 

What is Palestine? Who are the Palestinians?
What is Palestine?
Who are the Palestinians?


See Also:

 


PostThu Aug 05, 2010 1:44 pm        


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State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday that the firing by Lebanese armed forces on Israeli troops near the Israel-Lebanon border on Tuesday, which killed one Israeli officer and seriously wounded another, was "totally unjustified and unwarranted....We don't want to see this happen again."
Israeli officials had expressed disappointment on Tuesday with the initial U.S. response to the shooting incident calling on both sides to show restraint, prompting Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren to hold talks with senior U.S. officials to demand a harsher response.



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