Friday, February 03, 2012

News round-up

The deaths of 74 Egyptians and the wounding of ca. 1,000 in a riot at the end of a soccer match between a Port Said team and a visiting Cairo team has stunned Egypt. The cause of this catastrophe is not clearly known, among the causes could be the lack of security and of police action before, during and after the riot. Or unidentified instigators who have not been named. Also, there is lack of concern by the people of Egypt for state organizations because there is a political vacuum in Egypt. The absence of any strong Government allows crowds to behave without limitations and the security forces and police avoid tackling crowd violence for fear of being labelled anti-revolution or pro-Mubarak. A subsequent march and demonstration in Cairo showed the political dimensions of every event now in Egypt. So far noone has blamed Israel for the loss of life, but you can be sure that will come!

In Israel for the annual Herzliya Conference former CIA Director James Woolsey was unusually blunt in his analysis of the Iranian drive to achieve nuclear weapons. He said that the US, not only Israel, cannot allow Iran to develop such weapons and the ability to deliver them. He said that if it is necessary to attack Iran to stop this, the first thing the US should do is target Iranian National Guard locations, including barracks and security facilties around the country. He said this would put out of operation the dictatorial security control of Iran by the Mullahs and allow the Iranian people to bring about regime change. While some argue that an attack on Iran would solidify the control of the regime in a nationalistic reaction, he argued that the opposite would be the case if the hold the IRG has over the population is broken. After that the US should target the airfields and radar facilites, and only then the nuclear sites, that would be mostly unprotected.

In the primaries for the Likud Party that were just concluded, PM Netanyahu as expected won a large majority of 75%. This time the voting was a bit higher with 50% of eligible voters participating. The only rival candidate, Moshe Feiglin, obtained the remaining 25% of the vote. He is to the right of Netanyahu and supports a full Israeli take-over of the West Bank. His Manhigut (Management) faction of the Likud has remained a constant minority for the past few years. After the vote Netanyahu announced that there would not be a national election for some time. His may be the only Israeli Government for years to end its total four years in office. Meanwhile the struggle for control of the Kadima Party is continuing, with its leader Tzipi Livni under attack by her chief rival Shaul Mofaz, a former IDF C-in-C, with their primary due at the end of March.

The visiting Canadian FM John Baird here for a the Herzliya Conference has announced that Canada is Israel's best friend in the world and that he will stand beside Israel, not behind it, in opposing Iran's development of nuclear weapons. He said that "delegitimization of Israel is the new anti-Semitism" and stated that Canada will oppose such delegitimization world-wide. He repeated Canada's support for the two-state solution to the Palestinian problem, and supported continuing talks, but without pre-conditions.

Meanwhile the Republicans have been out-doing each other in stating their support for Israel and opposition to Iran. Mitt Romney won the Florida primary comfortably with a large margin over his rival Newt Gingrich, and it looks as if Romney will be the Republican nominee to challenge Democratic Pres. Obama. To what extent the Republicans can steal Jewish American support from their traditional Democratic Party allegience will to some degree determine the outcome of the US Presidential election.


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