According to a report by Seymour Hersh published in the New Yorker this morning, Israeli agents stationed in Iran have told the White House that Iran has developed and tested a trigger for a nuclear bomb. (Tested the trigger with no bomb.) According to this article, the information was not passed to the CIA. Seems the White House and Pentagon are at odds with the CIA on the question of how far Iran has progressed with its nuclear program, with the CIA insisting they are not as far along as the Pentagon and White House are inclined to believe.
Hersh also wrote about support by the US and Israel for a clandestine Kurdish resistance group that has done forays into Iran. Reportedly Israel is supplying equipment and training (something Israel is denying), and the group has been given "a list of targets inside Iran of interest to the US."
Latest word is that unity talks between Fatah and Hamas have broken down because of disagreements as to portfolios — Hamas wants Interior (which controls security forces) and Finance.
Abbas has now declared himself fed up with Hamas’s "maneuvers and lies" and says he will soon have to take drastic action. Been there, done that. Several times, actually. He is due to deliver another ultimatum.
What did I say about Hamas perhaps saving us from ourselves? No unity gov’t, no chance for Olmert to pursue negotiations. Let this please last. Let them, actually, go at each other again.
Now here’s an interesting twist on ways in which they may "go at each other": Earlier this month, Iraqi al-Qaeda leader Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Muhajir made an anti-Iran statement that has just now been acquired in its entirety. In it he labels Hezbollah’s Nasrallah as a "worshipper of idols, an agent of the anti-Christ," and "charlatan." This reflects Sunni (al-Qaeda) – Shiite (Hezbollah) animosity.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq has declared a Caliphate (Islamic State) there in anticipation of the withdrawal of the US. al-Muhajir accuses Bush of being a supporter of Iran (ironic, to say the least) and threatens to blow up the White House.
This statement was released by al-Qaeda’s al-Furqan Foundation, translated into English by the Al-Boraq Workshop; YNet here in Israel ran it.
The Prime Minister is mighty displeased with the Defense Minister at the moment. Seems Peretz on his own spoke to Abbas, asking him to try to stop the Kassams. This is Peretz’s idea of "diplomatic action" in concert with military action. Olmert, however, says that this is meddling and no such communication should be attempted without consultation with his office, which is attempting its own communication with Abbas.
Several members of the Cabinet called for Peretz’s resignation after this occurred. Seems like an idea past due. Peretz’s diplomatic expertise is on a par with his military expertise.
A sequel to my report yesterday regarding Syrian demands that the US put pressure on us regarding the Golan in return for cooperation in Iraq:
Israel officials are saying they are not greatly worried about US pressure with regard to the Golan, because, in spite of the Sunday Times report claiming that this was Assad’s "top demand," it is not truly the case. Syria’s top concern, they believe, is having the US get the international tribunal investigating the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri (which clearly involves Syria) called off; Syria want to be permitted to maintain involvement in Lebanon. This, say the Israelis, is a price that the US may not be willing to pay.
The New York Times has quoted the Syrian ambassador to the US as saying that Baker, at a meeting in New York in September, asked the Syrian foreign minister, Walid Moallem (who is now in Iraq), "What would it take Syria to help on Iraq?" I find that fairly disgusting. Baker thus set the stage for Syrian demands. Talk about appeasement!
Once again I recommend a column by Barry Rubin, who’s making a whole lot of good sense these days. This time he addresses "The hijacking of political ‘realism.’" Realism does not consist of trying to make of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah something that they are not (Baker’s style, I might add), but rather recognizing what they truly are. The reality: "There is a genuine clash of interests between the Iran-led alliance and those of the West which cannot be bridged by diplomacy because of its goals and methods."
Iran, Syria and Hezbollah must be made to pay a price for attempting to radicalize the Middle East. Unless this is done, "others in the Middle East will copy, join, or surrender to the extremists." Rubin quotes Psalm 12: "On every side the wicked roam when vileness is exalted."
This posting can be found at: https://arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/11/20/posted-november-20-2006.html