But blocked an Iranian information campaign.2:10 PM, Mar 11, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
If Israel believed that exposing an Iranian arms transfer to terrorists in Gaza was a public relations coup that might make the White House think twice about making a deal with the regime in Tehran over its nuclear weapons program, then Jerusalem has fundamentally misread the Obama administration. Perhaps just as ominously, it shows that the government of Israel doesn’t understand the new media environment.
Last week Israeli naval commandos boarded the Panamanian-flagged Klos C in the Red Sea to interdict the transfer of medium-ranger rockets that may have constituted, in the words of one Israeli journalist, a “tie-breaker.” The weapons, wrote Ron Ben-Yishai, were intended to overload and neutralize Israel’s rocket and missile defense system in the event Iran initiates a “high-trajectory offensive on Israel through its messengers: Hezbollah, Syria and the Gazans.”
In other words, the Klos C affair wasn’t just about moving arms to terrorists. Rather it’s part of the strategic missile campaign that Iran embarked on after Hezbollah’s 2006 war with Israel. In arming its clients on Israel’s borders (Hamas, Hezbollah, the Assad regime), Tehran seeks to change the balance of regional power by deterring Israel from striking its nuclear weapons facilities.
Therefore, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is right to think the seizure is a big deal. But his narrative is wrong. "The goal of seizing the arms ship was to expose Iran's true face," Netanyahu said over the weekend. He called out EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton who was visiting Tehran. "I wish to ask her whether she asked her hosts about the shipment of weapons to terrorist organizations."
Clearly it had no effect on Brussels, or more importantly on the White House. Obama administration officials explained that they’re not happy about the Iranian action, but it’s not changing any minds about engaging Tehran. “It’s entirely appropriate to continue to pursue the possibility of reaching a resolution on the nuclear program,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
In short, the Klos C was not, as former Israeli ambassador to the United States Itamar Rabinovich explained, another “Karine A moment.” Israel’s January 2002 seizure of the Karine A, a ship carrying weapons from Iran to Gaza, showed that Yasser Arafat was directly involved in terrorism, and helped bring George W. Bush closer to Ariel Sharon’s government. But Obama already knows the Iranians arm terrorists. As he told the New Yorker in January, the entire point of engagement with a state sponsor of terror is “to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion—not funding terrorist organizations, not trying to stir up sectarian discontent in other countries, and not developing a nuclear weapon.”
The seizure of the Karine A influenced the Bush White House because the policy aims of Jerusalem and a post-9/11 Washington were almost perfectly aligned—the main issue for both was Arab terrorism. That Israeli operation simply advanced a narrative that was already out there, and that both Bush and American public opinion were inclined to believe in the first place.
Today the policies of the White House and Israel are almost directly opposed. Netanyahu says the Iranians must never be allowed to have nuclear weapons capacity, and Obama says he wants to see Iran normalized and re-integrated into the international community—a goal that cannot possibly be achieved by stomping on the regime’s crown jewel, its nuclear weapons program. Israel’s messaging, the PR campaign that the seizure of Klos C was supposed to buttress, doesn’t track with that of the White House, but runs against it. In this context, Israel’s information operation is hostile to the policies of the host government.
Hosted by Michael Graham4:00 PM, Feb 24, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast, with editor William Kristol on President Obama's influence with foreign leaders and Ted Cruz's role in the GOP.
Forget chess, Turkey is failing at geopolitical checkers. Nov 4, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 08 • By LEE SMITH
A recent spate of newspaper articles suggests a concerted media campaign targeting Turkey’s foreign intelligence service, the MIT, its director, Hakan Fidan, and almost surely his boss as well, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a piece published by the Wall Street Journal and another by the Washington Times, Fidan is said to be supporting al Qaeda affiliates in Syria fighting against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
3:29 PM, Aug 22, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The anti-Christian violence in Egypt is "a modern pogrom," David Brog, the executive director of Christians United for Israel, says in a statement.
"Events in Egypt this week highlight yet again the tragedy facing the Christians of the Middle East. Once again, Christians are being targeted for murder. Once again Christian schools, businesses and churches are being attacked. And once again, the world is largely silent," Brog says.
According to the press, Jerusalem goes against the White House and stands with the Egyptian army.7:02 AM, Aug 21, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
According to the Wall Street Journal, Israel, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is gung-ho for the Egyptian army’s bloody campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood. This, the Journal reports, “has pulled Israel into ever-closer alignment with those Gulf states.” Yes, concurs, the New York Times, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE support “the Egyptian military and sought to push back against Western entreaties that it temper its actions against the Brotherhood and the ousted government of President Mohamed Morsi and his supporters.”
Hosted by Michael Graham.1:23 PM, Aug 20, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith about ongoing crisis in Egypt.
7:11 AM, Aug 19, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The boss joined This Week on Sunday to discuss Egypt, law and order, and politics:
Who is Maurice Bonamigo?4:46 PM, Aug 15, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
Earlier this week, Maurice Bonamigo had strong words for the White House on its Egypt policy. “The Obama administration failed to assess the situation in Egypt,” Bonamigo told Egypt’s flagship English-language media organ, the Egypt Independent. “It did not appreciate the power of the Egyptian people calling for freedom. I am surprised by Obama’s stance.”
Yesterday's confrontation between Egypt's army and the Muslim Brotherhood may only be the beginning.4:01 PM, Aug 15, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
This morning President Obama announced that he is cancelling this year’s joint military exercise with Egypt, Operation Bright Star. It’s a symbolic gesture intended to show that, should the army continue to pursue its present course, the White House may eventually decide to suspend military aid. But cancelling Bright Star also underscores American impotence. The administration reportedly warned Egypt’s military regime against a violent crackdown, an admonition to which, with 638 now confirmed dead after yesterday’s nationwide confrontations with Muslim Brotherhood supporters, the army obviously turned a deaf ear.
11:19 AM, Aug 15, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama delivered about an 8 minute statement on Egypt this morning, then went straight to the links. Via the pool report:
10:42 AM, Aug 15, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama delivered a short audio-only statement on Egypt this morning, from his rented-vacation home on Martha's Vineyard:
In the statement, President Obama cancelled a planned joint U.S.-Egypt military exercise and called for "Egyptian authorities to respect the universal rights of the people. We call on those who protest to do so peacefully."
Obama did not say that U.S. aid to Egypt would change.
The president answered no questions.
12:24 PM, Aug 14, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest released this statement on the ongoing violence in Egypt: