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Roger L. Simon

Mr. Netanyahu’s Dilemma

August 24th, 2013 - 12:06 am


Despite the intense efforts of John Kerry, I doubt very much that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is focused, like a laser or otherwise, on the umpity-ump peace talks with the Palestinians. If past performance is any indication, the Palestinians aren’t much interested in a two-state solution anyway. And, miraculously, if they are this time, let’s hear the details.

But given Netanyahu’s responsibilities and the realities of the world, his concentration must be on Syria — and, most especially, through that, Iran.

Toward that end, he has a serious problem — and that is the president of the United States.

Mr. Obama has promised the prime minister — who knows how many times — that he (Obama) will make sure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, the president also, the world well knows, warned the combatants in the Syrian civil war that the employment of chemical weapons was a “red line” he wouldn’t allow to be crossed.

He fudged on that one, mumbling the words “a whole bunch” or some such. But whatever his equivocation, it is long since erased by the recent mass murder in the Damascus suburb of roughly a thousand people, including many children. That carnage clearly passes the “whole bunch” test.

At this point, too, many nations have already concluded that the gassing was done by the Assad regime. (Vogue magazine take note.)

Nevertheless, Obama has yet to act. He is allegedly trying to build consensus (remember that?) at the United Nations — the “progressive” institution that gave us Oil-for-Food, Iran as head of its human rights commission, etc.

In fact, in the face of the Nazi-like behavior of the Assad regime, Obama is, as is his wont, calling in “absent.” The lede from the normally administration-friendly Reuters reads:

President Barack Obama called the apparent gassing of hundreds of Syrian civilians a “big event of grave concern” but stressed on Friday he was in no rush to embroil Americans in a costly new war.

One wonders how “grave” his concern would have to be for Obama to act. Would he, unlike Franklin Roosevelt, have bombed the train tracks to Auschwitz? It’s easy to be skeptical.

This is the kind of question Benjamin Netanyahu must be asking himself and, if Obama continues in the same waffling direction, the Israeli prime minister has his answer.

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Top Rated Comments   
Obama has only two passions: get whites; get the Jews. At the very least Israel must not assist him in his scheme to hand Syria over to the Shiite fanatics who are, from Israel's standpoint, even worse than Assad. Obama's scheme to surround Israel with Islamists has been thwarted in Egypt. As to Iran, Israel must strike and knows it must. Hard as it will be there must be no leaks that American intelligence can pick up prior to the strike. Let Obama go to the UN and rail against the Jews AFTER the strike on Iran.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
More and more the Ottoman phrase "Glass Pasha" comes to mind when I think of Obama.
All glitter and shine but Inflexible and when he falls, he will shatter.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"A big event of grave concern." But not enough to interrupt golf, helicopter trips, or the christening ('allah-ing'?) of a new puppy while Holder seeks Justice for Trayvon and Obama is silent about the rash of black-on-white killings.

Great article. Ben-Gurion said, with some merit, 'it matters not what the Gentiles say but what the Jews do.' This is one of those times, apparently.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (48)
All Comments   (48)
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He can't wait and he won't, I expect.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Israel waiting on Obama?

There's an old saying, "The wheels of justice grind slowly but they do grind."

The wait has been 5000 years. That's how old Damascus has been a continually inhabited city. It's the oldest in the world.

But the bible predicts that this 5000 year old city will become a 'ruinous heap.'

Today we see Syria's existing government run by Assad pitted up against hard core Islamists funded and fortified by the Obama administration.

Currently Damascus is home to virtually every terrorist organization on earth so you might ask how it can get worse than that.

Answer: If the hard core Islamists get hold of the huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction including vast amounts of nerve gas.

The recent deaths from Sarin nerve gas were either from the hands of Assad's government or from Islamist rebels trying to frame Assad.

If from the Islamist rebels, it was likely to gain world sympathy from all the pictures of dead women and children. But there is one thing we know for sure: There is a whole lot of nerve gas in Syria, and Israel is more than a little bit concerned about it going from bad hands into worse hands.

So will Israel strike Damascus, leaving it a 'ruinous heap' as prophesied in the biblical book of Ezekiel chapter 17, verse 1?

Time will tell. Here's Ezekiel 17:1 in its entirety. You prayerfully can contemplate the details:

"The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap."

So, we know that the bible is true and what it says will come to pass. We may not always know the exact when and where but we do know the general characters and overall details.

Let's examine the possible nations that might utterly destroy Damascus.

First we have Russia who is certainly powerful enough to do the dirty deed except for one thing:

They are allies with Syria and unlikely to invade.

Next it could be an Obama-led invasion, perhaps joined by Great Britain.

This could be in response to the Assad government of Syria supposedly crossing the so-called 'red line' by allegedly using chemical weapons.

We know for sure that someone in Damascus used chemical weapons. The question is: Who?

But since when did the Obama administration need any proof of anything in their quest to install hard core Islamists throughout the Middle East?

And if Obama gives sufficient additional support to the hard core Islamist rebels, they might finish off Damascus by themselves.

And finally, going back to Israel, lets contrast and compare their ancient enemies with the current geo-political landscape.

When we do, we find something remarkable:

The ancient enemies of Israel are still there and living in Arab nations all around them.

The most ardent enemies of Israel named in Psalm 83 are: Hamas residing in Gaza.

Then there are the Palestinians in Jordan and the West Bank.

And Hezbollah is in Lebanon.

And in Syria itself, particularly in Damascus, you have a whose of haters of Israel and Jewish people.

And again, that can go from bad to worse if the hard core Islamists overthrow a more secular regime led by Assad.

So there you have it:

Israel has its multi-millennial mortal enemies armed to the teeth with more money and arms pouring in from the Obama administration.

Will Israel act pro-actively to make its move to see Ezekiel 17:1 come to pass?

Or will one or more of its enemies make a move, forcing Israel to take quick and decisive defensive action?

I don't claim to be a prophet but one way or another I predict that the utter destruction of Damascus is imminent. And once that happens, the accelerated timetable of Armageddon begins, leading to the war of God and Magog.

And following that is the war of Armageddon that will be finished and won by Messiah Himself, Who will rule and reign for 1000 years of true peace.


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good old Aram Damesek.

Interestingly, it is an open question whether the borders of Israel promised in the Torah include Damascus. (They certainly include Lebanon, yet Israel has never tried to annex it even when occupying part of it. So much for the idiotic charge of messianic fanaticism. They have always included Northern Jordan, not just de Jure but de Facto, from the Kingdom of Israel to Hasmonean Judea. As for the "West Bank", that IS the core of the Land of Israel.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama's got your back Israel..... He knows just where to stick the knife.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is truly disturbing that this president (Obama) sees Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Republicans as being a greater threat to the world, than any other thing. The people of Israel must surely be terrified!

If those WMD's get into even MORE dangerous hands, after Assad is removed, they will likely be used on Israel. That CANNOT be allowed to happen.

I believe Obama's "inaction" on the various "Middle-East" conflicts stems from George W. Bush. That is, Bush made DECISIONS and stood by them.
His critics attacked him savagely for doing the wrong thing. Obama desperately does NOT want to be in the same boat as the dreaded Bush.

Therefore, he plays it "safe" and does nothing, but issue "words of concern".
He is NOT a leader. Hey America, how's that "HOPE and CHANGE" working?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Red lines are childish, especially from childish weenies like Obama. What are we going to do, invade Syria? Get a lot of US soldiers killed or crippled so Obama can look tough? The Israelis will do what they must when the time comes. They just have to have their friends put the squeeze on Washington to make sure they get the ammo and bombs they need. And scream bloody murder if they don't.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Israelis are thoroughly screwed. If they decide to strike the Iranians alone, the Band=X radar will pick it up and Obama will likely betray the strike team to the Mullahs. Given the international shrugging of the shoulders in response to Arab chemical massacre of other arabs, the Israelis should have even less confidence in the world stopping the Iranians.
Crossing into conspiracy theory time, perhaps these international shows of indifference and the strongarming of Israel by Kerry and the EU are to set the stage for the Israelis to lack any faith in the international guarantees that will be given to them and reject whatever lopsided treaty is imposed upon them when it is brought before a national referendum. Thus, making the BDS movement kosher and the EU and Obama's desire to throw Israel under the bus (or into the ovens) a mandate
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Netanyahu has a couple of serious problems with the "go it alone" approach re: Iran.

Israel has limited reach with its air power, compared to the US, and limited endurance. It has to fly over nominally hostile territory to reach Iran (except for it's submarine launched cruise missiles). There is the possibility that it does not have the capability to seriously damage Iran's nuclear program. The strike also faces the possibility of an escalating missile war, with high explosive Iranian missiles raining down on Israeli cities (along with Hezbollah's vast arsenal).

The other problem is Muslim reaction. There are many players in the region who would love to be able to focus Muslim rage on Israel. Obviously, Assad comes out ahead. Hezbollah, currently in a precarious position because of its support for Assad, immediately returns to the forefront of the Jew-killing pack, greatly improving its deteriorating situation in Syria and Lebanon.

Islamists in Egypt gain, as the Egyptian army/regime is seen as having sided with the hated Jews. Islamist in Jordan might gain the support needed to topple the one truly friendly Arab regime left. Al Qaeda would gain recruits throughout the region.

Netanyahu wants the US to join in on any attack on Iran. We have the capability to finish whatever job Israel starts. But do we have the will? The vacuum in the CIC position suggest not.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>> The other problem is Muslim reaction. There are many players in the region who would love to be able to focus Muslim rage on Israel.

Like Saudi Arabia? Nope. You're raising the spector of the dreaded "Muslim street". So 90's dude.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Jerusalem's deep problems are not Iran... They are the consequences that must follow when Israel does what must be done.

Can Israel carry on if she is embargoed by America and Europe?

Until the psychological battlespace is prepared, even the most logical successful campaign would blow up in Bibi's face.

There are some favorable trends: the IRGC is being blooded in Syria. Iran is being taken down a peg -- or two -- economically by oil industry events. From time to time, Iran is losing high quality talent -- due to kinetic lead poisoning.

At this very moment, the ISAF is scaling back down from Afghanistan. In one year forces committed will be at token levels. Even now, active combat operations are almost at a halt.

Turkey, Pakistan and Iran are all entering states of pre-revolutionary condition.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your points are well taken, but beg the issue. We can "what if" this and "Muslim reaction" that until the cows come home. Paralysis by analysis is the old saw.

DELAY is our worst enemy. All other is adiaphoric.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If this a gambling proposition, my money is on Netanyahu and Israel. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts they have a workable plan.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would place the same bet. The world underestimates Israel's ability to do what must be done. When the Jews said " Never again " , they meant/ mean it. When you think of what they've been through since biblical times and the enmity of most of the world that they endure, it's amazing they're still here and prospering. I think Bibi has a big fat ace up his sleeve somewhere. We will only find out what it is when the time comes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“Every man carries in his eye the exact indication of his rank.” Emerson

Netanyahu knew what Obama was the moment he set eyes on him. He will do whatever is necessary to serve and protect Israel. Would that America had a guy like him at the helm right now!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let's get practical for a minute.

Conventional bombs, even the 15,000 lb MOAB (Mother of all Bombs) can only dig so deep.

Nuclear Ordinance can dig deeper, but even that reaches a limit.

Both require precision, the deeper/ harder the target the more precise the hit needed, assuming target isn't too deep regardless, and that we are hitting something real and not a decoy.

That level of precision is only achievable by a 'target designating' person on the ground, shining a laser etc. Which does not get the ordinance any deeper.

We have diddled around long enough for Iran to have everything that matters both widely dispersed and deeply buried. (It is worth remembering Albert Sheer, Hitler's manufacturing genius; dispersed production into small shops and hardened what couldn't be dispersed. German war production was actually higher in 1944 than 1942.)

Thus there are only two options. Raids on the sites, with real people going into the rat holes and cleaning them out or heavy strikes on everything else in order to let them know we mean (maybe, this time) business. Option one is hard, as mentioned in the last post, option two is iffy.. and assumes sanity in Iran. (Yeah, I know, sanity!). Option two is also hard, for the strikes will have to be sustained and somewhat indiscriminate, i.e. Anti-terrorism terrorism. The west hasn't the stomach.

We now face hard choices, let Persia nuke up and take the world to the next crisis, or man up ourselves (or woman up, if you prefer) and do something now. Doing nothing is also a decision, a decision to descend further down the path to surrender to Islam.

have fun with that, y'all. I for one ain't going.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ilegante irse a casa/Michel Hoskins

I did not have the opportunity to, as promised, reply fully to your proposal for a “reconnaissance in force” of apx. 15 heavy US BCTs/RCTs to seize ports and airfields in Iran and spend six months clearing out suspect nuclear weapons sites. Here are some additional “bullet point” observations:

• As I wrote, it is a “dashing” plan (but, IMHO, not feasible). I think another commenter indicated that it recalled the 19th century, and that is spot on. I view these descriptions as compliments. You suggested that the plan calls for a WT Sherman to execute. I could also see the Jackson, Stuart and Patton signing up, along with “Chinese” Gordon, James Hope Grant and Robert Napier for the Brits (and Harry Flashman shirking his duty).
• Problems:
o Total lack of US home-front fortitude to execute the campaign. We are no longer the nation that marched with Sherman and Jackson. Even if, somehow, there was initial enthusiasm this would melt away in the face of massive casualties to Iranian civilians and very high gas prices. You mentioned “sector threats” to U.S. forces. In practice these would be insurgent cells directed by underground IRGC elements (armed by Russia and China?) with women and children used as pawns and shields as often as possible and camera phones, etc. to convey gruesome pictures to the world and US media. Iranian allies might make it easier to target bad guys, but why would any Iranian work with us if we indicate we will just be around for 6 mos. and bug out?
o China – China has major energy interests in Iran and has opposed effective sanctions. What might they do to put a spoke in this US effort via support to insurgents, undermining the US economy, military initiatives elsewhere?
o Logistics –
 I question the ability to seize and use Iranian ports and airfields and build up small regional supply bases in Iran to supply far-flung operations w/in a 6 mos. time frame. It took us about that long to do the equivalent in friendly countries from Gulf bases in prior to GW I and II.
 Unlike Sherman’s troopers, your armored flying columns will require lots of support (for example, the new fuel efficient M1 engine (LV100-5) burns roughly 40 gallons of fuel per hour). I would expect a network of convoys and forward bases would be required to supply such columns … more troops drawn from your 12 to 15 BCTs to hold convoys and protect bases via holding perimeters and local patrols … fewer troops to conduct multi-week “reconnaissance in force” operations.
 Modern armored vehicles are a lot more durable than WWII’s but your plan still involves moving them around Iran in tactical mode on treads, not tank transporters. The implied maintenance issues seem daunting, although this is far from my area of competence.
o HUMINT goes dark – your express intent is to smash up the nuclear weapons program in Iran for 6 mos. and then bug out, w/out regard to future local political arrangements. Why would local Iranians want to help your forces w/HUMINT? What’s in it for them except the IRGC cutting their throats at 6 mos. plus one day?

As indicated, I think your plan is not feasible. I would also say that an objective of seizing or destroying almost every centrifuge, etc. in Iran misses the mark. IMHO, it is more practical to attempt to shock the system by destroying key nodes and attacking the powerbase of the mullah-IRGC establishment. Ultimately, we are safest if we do away with Khomeini-ism. The best way to do that is by working with the Iranian people. Here’s an imperfect but perhaps useful analogy: when 18th century France wanted to put a spoke in the British North American empire they didn’t invade and burn ports from Maine to Georgia. Instead, they crafted a combined political-military strategy and allied with American colonists to achieve their objectives.

I think your proposal would be a great addition to the current debate if written up for a professional publication such as Parameters (Proceedings, if you prefer). Also, if this crazy plan was actually being spun up, I’d raise my hand and struggle once more into my old IBA. I think a lot of retired and former types are itching for a shot at the Iranians.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I vaguely remember a story from a few years ago in which Iranians were bragging that no one would find the mountain their centrifuges were under, and even if it were found, no bomb could touch them.

We could make a pretty mess of things so that they have no good access to those sites anymore, even if they are untouched.

Waiting is the same as permission. It wouldn't surprise me if Obama says one thing to the American people, says something entirely different to Netanyahu, and in his heart has something else in mind. Why be two-faced when you can be three-faced?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I meant to say "I for one ain't going to surrender"
I would find my uniform and show up in heart beat!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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