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In the Media

article imageOp-Ed: Mideast crisis heats up as Obama seeks to delay likely war

article:325887:7::0
By Eliot Elwar
Jun 1, 2012 in World
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Lately, new super-virus hits Mideast computers, Israel said negotiations with Iran are not working, expert says striking Iran is better, Obama needs Iran for reelection, officials identify thugs in Houla massacre, and US ends Mideast military drills.
According to Israel Today, a newly developed computer virus, described as the most advanced cyber-weapon system in history, has been successfully attacking Mideast government computers and other electronic communication systems operating in Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian-controlled regions. Named "Flame," this new virus has been equipped with more coding than the Stuxnet virus that infected Iran's nuclear program in 2010. Stuxnet became famous for its incredible ability to adapt and alter its attacks. Mideast analyst assessed that only a national government would have the technological resources to develop such a sophisticated computer program. Flame has taken large volumes of sensitive data from different Mideast government agencies and it has disrupted Iran’s petroleum exports by shutting down petroleum terminals. Analysts believe that Flame has deleted data from computer hard disks in Iran and elsewhere in the Mideast. Moshe Yaalon would not confirm or deny whether or not Israel was behind Flame, but he did say “Israel has been blessed with a prolific hi-tech sector that opens possibilities in both the business and security fields.”
As reported by Jerusalem Post, the negotiations between the Western powers and Iran is simply not working, and after two meetings, there appears to be no evidence indicating the Iranians are serious about ending their nuclear weapons program, according to Israeli officials. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that nothing short of Iran stopping uranium enrichment activities, removing what it has already produced and disassembling the means of making nuclear weapons, would be the only Iranian action to satisfy him. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the Iranian nuclear threat "a sword on the neck" of the Israeli state. Israel must not wait until Iran acquires nuclear weapons deployment capability because by then any action is too late, Israel must act soon. Israelis cannot sleep quietly when the Iranians are reaching the point when Israel’s defense forces are unable to do anything; therefore, Israel doesn't have any other option, according to Ehud Barak.
According to Israel National News, former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin said military action in Iran would be less perilous to the Jewish state than if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon. “Attacking Iran would be less dangerous for Israel than a nuclear Iran, but we need to work out a strategic plan not only for the attack itself but also for the day after the attack,” said Yadlin. Prime Minister Netanyahu continue expressing his disappointment over the way the negotiations between Western powers and Iran, concerning Iran’s disputed nuclear enrichment program, were going.
According to Israel National News, President Barack Obama wants Western powers to keep talking with Iran to keep the price of oil from rising and destroying his reelection opportunities, says a former European Union adviser. The U.S. motivation for negotiation is keeping the situation under control to prevent Israel's unilateral moves, which could upset the electoral process in America, according to Alastair Crooke, former adviser to EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana. Crooke believes that the US policy of continued diplomacy with Iran is aimed at preventing increased tensions in the Mideast that could result in warfare and escalation in oil prices. The Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, is running neck-and-neck with President Obama in pre-election polls. A high-ranking member of the Iranian Parliament was heard saying President Obama needs an agreement with Iran to get reelected, according to Israel National News.
Israel National News reported that UN human rights officials said many of the 108 victims of the massacre in Syria were shot at close range “execution style.” The massacre in Houla, which included 34 women, 49 children, and entire families, generated new international outrage following 14 months of bloodshed in Syria. France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and the US all took action against Syrian diplomats in protest against the massacre. In many cases, Damascus' envoys were given 48 hours to depart their host nations. Russia has largely stood by Damascus and shielded it from international action. Despite reports of another massacre that left 41 people dead, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blamed various nations of attempting to use the Houla murders as an excuse for taking military action. Lavrov's comments appeared to indicate that officials in Washington are now considering whether to begin arming the Free Syrian Army rebels fighting Assad's regime. Western European nations have been lobbying for the West to equip and train the poorly organized rebels, but few Western leaders want to publically say the UN-backed Annan plan is unsuccessful.
Israel National News reported that the massive joint military drill sponsored by the US with several Mideast nations has suddenly been canceled. Roughly 12,000 soldiers were participating in the war games, representing 19 nations, including Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Australia. The participants included 6,500 U.S. soldiers, 3,500 Jordanian soldiers, and 2000 soldiers from 17 countries. The drill focused on training Jordanian and Saudi service personnel in refugee treatment, and naval interception of smuggling vessels. Although it began on time, the exercise was stopped suddenly. A likely explanation could be Assad’s irritation over the drill. Syrian newspapers claimed the “Exercise Eager Lion 12” was named after the Arabic surname of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a message that foreign forces are about to enter Syria. Assad’s name means “lion” in Arabic.
Analysis
Israel could be attacked from all sides during the next Mideast war. The deepening crisis in Syria as the government massacre of civilians escalates is heightening the threat against Israel in several crucial ways. The potential for a Syrian led diversionary raid or attack on Israel to unify the people behind the Syrian regime is very possible. However, a greater threat to the Jewish state is the influx of terrorists from around the world. At the moment there are believed to be hundreds of Al Qaeda fighters in Syria from Libya. This large group sharpened their skills and training during the revolution against Gadhafi and could have brought advanced weapons looted from the Libyan government during the civil war there. They oppose the Assad regime because it follows a different branch of Islam, and they are on the ground fighting against forces still loyal to the government.
Groups connected to the Muslim Brotherhood are active in Syria. It appears they are following the same path they have used successfully in Egypt. They appeal to the legitimate desires of the people for freedom from an oppressive regime before they later take power and install an Islamist government hostile to Israel and the West. These recent developments in Syria follow the failure of the nuclear discussions between the Western powers and Iran to produce any meaningful progress toward ending Iran’s nuclear program. In fact the latest U.N. report indicates that Iran has dramatically increased both their capacity and output for enriching uranium to the highest level since its nuclear weapons development program began.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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