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by Bernice Lipkin



(photo: Getty Images)

I read many emails urging George Bush to hear this important piece of information or Sec-of-State Rice to be given that fact to munch on. Me? I take it for granted that if I know the fact, the upper echelons of government do. If not directly from their CIA and FBI and NSA and State Dep't ... then just from reading the newspaper, plus applying some corrective to the wrong spin imparted by the news media plus factoring in some private information. After all, the news people aren't privy to all the information available to a head of state. So when the Iraq Study Group (ISG) Report is touted as fact-based -- but it isn't -- and it ends up suggesting we can turn Iran and Syria -- when we can't -- I have to ask: what's going on?

Maybe because that isn't all the report says. It wants to change how we do business in Iraq -- and we definitely should -- but its suggestions are ludicrous. One of them, however, is to throw Israel to the wolves. And that's not funny.

That may be the entire purpose of the report -- the rest being window dressing. In the larger picture this means the USA is getting ready to cut and run. It won't let the Army do its job -- which is to pacify Iraq - and America no longer thinks our soldiers should die trying to bring democracy to another country that practices the "religion of peace." So we are ready to cut and run, using Israel to pay for peaceful transit, to give us enough time to get the hell out of Iraq gracefully. It sure looks like the Baker report is inviting Iran and Syria in, and when the pieties have been chanted and the action is complete, Iran will be in a position to take over Iraq and Syria takes Lebanon. The "Palestinians" Arabs will have Israel. And Queen Baker goes back into retirement.

The ISG Report calls on the U.S. to "actively engage Iran and Syria" in "diplomatic dialogue, without preconditions." Which isn't quite true. Syria is to get the Golan Heights, just for showing up. Even the Report doesn't see this as a contribution to peace -- it recommends putting an international force on the border -- should both sides agree. What a great idea! Maybe they can borrow these soldiers from the International Force that has done so much to help Hezbollah regain control of southern Lebanon.

There is a General principle: If you list a bunch of things of which only one is implementable, that may be what you expect to be able to accomplish. The rest is just glittery packing material, gold-sheeted apples intended as a distraction.

Right now we are at the point that we were in Vietnam where all we wanted for Christmas, Easter and the Fourth of July was to get out without looking like complete bozos. And we will get out. But I don't think anyone seriously thinks that is going to happen easily.

So maybe Israel is where the action is to be. Maybe what Baker expects to get is curled up in some tiny recommendations tucked in with all the biggies: Syria gets the Golan in return for cutting itself out of the equation we need to solve -- and make no mistake: it is one of the baddies and will stay that way as long as it can. And if all goes well, Iran gets to continue its nuclear bomb program for killing Jews wholesale. And the Palestinian refugees go "home" to Israel.

This hypothesis is certainly in accordance with setting up a Palestinian State, vigorously promoted by Baker's protegé, Miz Rice of the State Dep't. They still need to figure out how to get the warring factions to promise not to kill the head of state the day he is inaugurated. As long as the different terror gang leaders wait to start fighting over the loot until after the next U.S.A. elections, that will be fine.

So here is a compilation of quotes about Baker and Israel taken from various columns written in the last few weeks. (Note: A [...] indicates the following quote is not connected to the previous paragraph.)


Yoram Ettinger
"America Be Wary, Baker-The-Deal-Maker is Back"
December 7, 2006
Also available in Think-Israel by clicking here.

Doesn't realism mean learning from previous experience with the guys you want to invite to your party? Yoram Ettinger provides us with a litany of diplomatic errors with long-term disastrous consequences that were made by following Jim Baker's advice. Talking about wooing Syria in 1990, Yoram Ettinger writes:

"In 1990, the Texan Deal Maker [Baker] lured Assad into the anti-Saddam Coalition, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. He overlooked Assad's leadership role in international terrorism, showered the Butcher of Hama with international legitimacy, alluded to potential US assistance to Syria, and gave Assad a free hand in Lebanon. In response to Baker's "Pragmatism", Assad refrained from assisting the US war on Saddam, but completed Syrian occupation of Lebanon, massacred thousands of Lebanese and violently replaced an anti-Syrian Christian Administration with a pro-Syrian puppet Administration in Beirut. The ripple effects of Baker's "Pragmatism" still reverberate in crumbling Lebanon."


"Baker's failures have been the result of a series of refuted assumptions: That rogue regimes prefer a tempting deal over their own ideology, that the Palestinian issue is the crux of Mideast violence and anti-US terrorism, that one can achieve peaceful-coexistence with determined rogue regimes, that the Arab-Israeli conflict evolve around Israel's size rather than Israel's existence, and that the US could pay with an 'Israeli Currency' (of sweeping concessions) for improved ties with the Arab and Muslim world."

Lisa Beyer
"The Big Lie About The Middle East:
Tell James Baker: Arab nations don't care about the Palestinian"
Dec. 10, 2006,9171,1568466-2,00.html

Lisa Beyer is assistant managing editor of Time Magazine

No sensible person is against peacemaking in the Holy Land. [But] ...In lumping the Iraq mess in with the Palestinian problem--and suggesting the first could not be fixed unless the second was too--the Baker-Hamilton commission lent credibility to a corrosive myth: that the fundamental problem in the Arab world is the plight of the Palestinians.

It is a falsehood perpetuated not just by the likes of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, who came late to the slogan after their actual beefs--Saddam with his neighbors; bin Laden with the Saudi royals--gained insufficient traction in the Arab world. The mantra is also repeated like an axiom in the U.S.--in parts of the State Department, in various think tanks, by editorial writers and Sunday talk-show hosts.

Yes, it was a great disturbance in the Arab world in the 1940s when a Jewish state was born through a U.N. vote and a war that made refugees of many Palestinians. Then the 1967 war left Israel in control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and thus the Palestinians who lived there. But the pan-Arabism that once made the Palestinian cause the region's cause is long dead, and the Arab countries have their own worries aplenty. In a decade of reporting in the region, I found it rarely took more than the arching of an eyebrow to get the most candid of Arab thinkers to acknowledge that the tears shed for the Palestinians today outside the West Bank and Gaza are of the crocodile variety. Palestinians know this best of all.

To promote the canard that the troubles of the Arab world are rooted in the Palestinians' misfortune does great harm. It encourages the Arabs to continue to avoid addressing their colossal societal and political ills by hiding behind their Great Excuse: it's all Israel's fault. Certainly, Israel has at times been an obnoxious neighbor, but God help the Arab leaders, propagandists and apologists if a day ever comes when the Arab-Israeli mess is unraveled. One wonders how they would then explain why in Egypt 4 of every 10 people are illiterate; Saudi Arabian Shi'ites (not to mention women) are second-class citizens; 11% of Syrians live below subsistence level; and Jordan's King can unilaterally dissolve Parliament, as he did in 2001. Or why no Middle Eastern government but Israel's and to some extent Lebanon's tolerates freedom of assembly or speech, or democratic institutions like a robust press or civic organizations with independence and clout--let alone unfettered competitive elections.

Yoav Fromer
"Bad News Baker"
The New Republic

Yoav Fromer is the political correspondent in New York for the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv.

"For a report dubbed by The Washington Post as 'the Realist Manifesto,' it's daunting how those parts concerning Israel can actually seem so unrealistic. Whether due to wishful thinking, selective memory, or both, the proposal for an 'unconditional calling and holding of meetings' in a Madrid-like style, between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and the Syrians (a polite way of saying let's get Israel to the table by any means necessary) disregards a fairly major point: At this point at time, Israelis simply don't have anyone to talk to.

"By admitting parenthetically--alongside the suggestions for a renewed dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians--that Israel can negotiate with only those 'who acknowledge Israel's right to exist,' the report defeates its own purpose. Hamas's refusal to accept Israel's existence is not some bump in the road dealt with by parentheses. It's the heart of the problem. The democratically elected Hamas government is in charge--not the moderate Mahmoud Abbas--and, as long as that is the case, this premature call for negotiations would leave Israelis talking to a handful of people who, in any case, lack a public mandate to implement potential agreements.

"The suggestions about negotiating with Syria are just as confusing. Even if the Syrians accepted the criteria Baker-Hamilton lays out (cutting off support for Hezbollah and sealing its borders with Iraq), it is presumptuous to declare that, in return, 'Israel should return the Golan Heights.' It's true that, from Yitzhak Rabin through Ehud Barak, many Israeli prime ministers have agreed to settle the Syrian conflict by trading land for peace; but solidifying this as the result of any future dialogue kind of defeats the whole purpose of negotiations. After all, without any quid pro quo, what exactly are Israelis supposed to hold as leverage--falafel? Even Olmert was dumbfounded by this point, and he admitted over the weekend that 'the question of what Israel can offer Syria has been raised before. The question is, What can we get from the Syrians if [we] enter negotiations?'"

"The broader message from the Iraq Study Group is that a linkage exists between the Israeli-Arab conflict and the chaos engulfing Iraq. And it is this connection that Israelis find most alarming, disappointing, and, ultimately, deleterious. Not only because it aims to place Israel at the center of a war it really does not have nor want any part in, but, more importantly, because it just isn't true.

"And, if anyone believes that the Shia and Sunnis are blowing themselves up to free Palestine or avenge the Arab defeat of 1967, they are conveniently forgetting the fact that they had been at it well before Zionism ever came into being. One needs only to breeze the pages of Bernard Lewis's What Went Wrong? to remember that the plagues of the Middle East derive from age-old socioeconomic, political, military, and religious circumstances. Any attempt to get Israel to shoulder the blame creates a completely false sense of hope."

Barry Rubin
"Baker's Stale Ideas"
Dec. 12, 2006
Global Research in International Afairs Center

Barry Rubin is director of Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center.

The Report concludes that:

1. The Arab-Israeli conflict is inextricably linked to Iraq.

Really? I can't think of a single issue in the region it is less linked to. Iraq is about an internal struggle for power. The radicals are not extremists because of the conflict. By regional standards, nobody in Iraq even talks much about the conflict. This is repeating a mantra, not looking at the facts.

2. The most important thing right now is for everyone to negotiate since it was the breakdown in talks that led to violence.

Wrong again. It was the refusal to make an agreement that led to the breakdown in talks, and to violence. The extremists don't want serious talks because they want victory, not compromise; or, to put it another way, the kind of gains they want are not those achieved by bargaining (West Bank/Gaza Palestinian state, return of the Golan Heights) but by fighting (demagoguery, holding onto power, destroying Israel).

In this context, negotiations lead to violence because the extremists want to ensure the talks don't succeed. Unfortunately, those radicals include both the Palestinian and Syrian leaderships. Like it or not, there can be no diplomatic progress until the radicals are defeated.

3. A negotiated peace would strengthen Mahmoud Abbas.

Do these people pay any attention to the Middle East? To obtain peace, Abbas would have to make concessions. Making the needed concessions would destroy him. To make peace, Abbas would have to enforce law and order as well as stopping terrorism.

He is incapable of doing that. To get a peace treaty, Abbas would need to suppress Hamas, which he can neither do nor even try to do. [As Rubin said in another essay, "Abbas couldn't organize a bake sale."] Is that so hard to understand?

4. It is good to have a Palestinian national unity government.

Get it? Have Hamas in power, have Fatah and Hamas competing to show which can be the more militant and successful in terrorism, and on top of that have successful peace talks. No wonder this kind of policy recommendation gains a consensus. It promises everything, and leaves out all the problems.

5. The key to moderating Syrian policy in Lebanon is getting Syria the Golan Heights.

If Syria had wanted the Golan Heights, it could have had them long ago. Syria wants Lebanon, which is far more valuable than the Golan.

And since the Baker-Hamilton reporters are pushing for US niceness toward Syria, Damascus knows it does not have to fear American pressure if it continues its aggressive subversion in trying to take over Lebanon.

ANY COLLEGE undergraduate who has taken a couple of courses on the Middle East should understand the points above. (They probably don't because of the way the region is taught in universities, but you get my point.)

What is really needed is a policy that would effectively fight the radicals and help either real moderates or those states whose interests coincide with those of the United States and the West. Instead, the report suggests that what is most important is to get everybody talking.

The only way this kind of thinking is going to damage the radical forces is if they fall down and hurt themselves from laughing so hard.

This was a comment to Rubin's article when it appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

81. "It's Baker's ideas that are laughable"
12/13/2006 20:57

Advocating feeding Israel to the hungry wolves to solve Iraq's troubles is the same warped reasoning that Baker's first term as Sec'y was famous for. It's the same type of stability fetish thinking that led to 16 saudis crashing into landmarks in the USA. No rational person can accept that the whole Islamic world is mired in corruption and dictatorships and strife on account of six million jews living on a strip of land b/w Morocco and Indonesia. This is the unreality of Baker's realism.

Gerald Steinberg
"Israel Sees Diplomatic Proposals in Baker-Hamilton Report a Rerun of 'Failed' Policies of Past"
Council on Foreign Relations website
December 12, 2006

Gerald Steinberg is a consultant to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Security Council, who specializes in Middle East diplomatic and security issues.

"And you have to question why the report talks about Israel and Syria when the big problem is in Iraq. I say this as an Israeli academic: The diplomatic aspects of the report are as if they were taken from the early nineteenth century, when there existed the Concert of Europe [when the major European powers agreed on a formula to keep the peace]. The idea taken from that period is that the Iranians, the Syrians, and all the others involved have a common interest in stability and have some sort of basic role to play to create a calm and peaceful Middle East.

But the reality in the Middle East today says that there's none of that, that this is an area in which there is a lot of violence, extremism and the governments that are involved -- and they are not the only actors -- are revolutionary governments. Iran is not trying to find a means to preserve its interests in a stable Middle East but is trying to expand its sphere of influence and particularly the radical Shiite ideology of the Iranian Revolution."


"It's not clear why the Baker-Hamilton commission stuck in this package -- in many ways a mythical package of a stable Israeli-Syrian peace treaty -- in an Iraq study report. To look at the details of what's going on now there has been a very problematic Syrian government clearly involved in the assassinations of Lebanese leaders. It's not at all clear how the regime of President Bashar Assad would be able to deliver on any kind of agreement or promises. This is not the time and the conditions are certainly not ripe. They were not ripe for an agreement after so many secret and not so secret meetings that took place in the 1990s between Israel and Syria when Bashar's father, Hafez, was president, and who was much more powerful and had some concept of realpolitik that he tried to implement. He couldn't reach peace then, and certainly now with the conditions much less stable, they are much less favorable for Israelis taking a tremendous risk giving up assets [such as the Golan Heights] to a government that's extremely hostile and extremely radical. It just doesn't make any sense."

The interviewer, Bernard Gwirzman pointed out that "[I]n the Arab world, the leaders of the various Arab countries friendly to the United States always put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict up high. if there was a settlement ... would it end all the problems in the Middle East?" Steinberg answered:

"It wouldn't end the Iraq war, it wouldn't end the wider Sunni-Shiite confrontation, and it wouldn't prevent Iran from seeking to export its ideology."

Ralph Peters
"Why they got it wrong"
December 12, 2006

Ralph Peters is a retired Army intelligence officer and a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors. His most recent book is Never Quit the Fight.

"The ISG report, which appears to reflect Baker's world view, resurrects our fateful Cold War-era mistakes with proposals that would reward police states that have promoted chaos in Iraq: By turning to them hat in hand, Baker would further inflate the ambitions of Iran's radical regime while rewarding the cynical -- and murderous -- behavior of Syria's government. A policy of calculated confrontation would offer more hope -- appeasement doesn't work anywhere, but it's especially counterproductive in the Middle East."


Astonishingly, the report seeks to tie the future of Iraq to a resolution of the Palestinian issue, thus wedding a terribly difficult problem to an intractable one. With Syria once again implicated in the assassination of Lebanon's democratic leadership, Baker would reward the Damascus government by pressuring Israel to hand over the Golan Heights (with his longstanding ties to Saudi Arabia, Baker appears to accept Riyadh's line that all of the region's problems are Israel's fault).


"Much of the report reads as if it had been written in 1976, not 2006. It's not a prescription for success, but an attempted revival of yesteryear's failed policies ... The Middle East has changed profoundly since Baker's years in government. Instead of the limited political terrorism of the Palestine Liberation Organization, we face fanatics with global ambitions convinced they're doing their god's will by killing. The past 15 years also saw the return of genocidal ethnic thugs out to avenge ancient wrongs, real or imagined. And though you might persuade a human being to change his political beliefs, you will not change his religion and he cannot change his ethnicity.

"The geopolitical challenges of Baker's heyday were straightforward compared with those confronting us. Yet his generation's solutions didn't work then, either."


"Even the report's insistence on the centrality of diplomatic negotiations betrays an obsolete understanding of the world. Diplomacy is uncritically accepted as the answer to all of the Middle East's problems, yet we've been trying it for six decades and the region is arguably worse off today than ever in our lifetimes. You cannot negotiate effectively with interlocutors who either have no interest in talking to you -- because they're convinced they're winning -- or who view the world as a zero-sum game. Our style of diplomacy presupposes a commonality of interests that simply does not exist in the Middle East."

Professor Eugene Narrett
"The Butcher, the Baker and the Joker"
December 21, 2006

Professor Eugene Narrett teaches writing and Literature at Boston University. He writes on politics, American culture and on subjects relating to Israel and Judaism.

"Adopting Baker's proposals would be like opening a meat locker to a pack of starving wolves.

"The main joker in this deck is its proposal that America engage the jihadist regime in Iran in a dialog that, according to Baker's "blue ribbon panel" would help us disengage painlessly from Mesopotamia and bring peace to the region. Closing our eyes to Shiite apocalyptic dogmas and the imperatives of jihad, Baker proposes giving the Butchers of Middle East virtually everything they want, -- at Israel's expense: the Golan Heights to Syria; a "Palestinian" terror state carved forthwith from Israel's heartland; millions of Arabs "return" to their ostensible homes in Israel. Israel ceases to exist, America faces un-buffered jihad.

"The Saudis and Mahdi, Sunnis and Shiites, rejoice. America loses its truest and most valuable ally and the region loses its economic engine and oasis of civilization. Peace and prosperity strike again."

Special to
"Some in Congress underwhelmed by Baker report"
December 8, 2006

[Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina] also disputed ISG recommendations for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights as part of an effort to woo Syria. ISG asserted that the war in Iraq was linked to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"Solving the Israeli-Palestinian problem would help us in the region and the world," Graham said. "But the people who attacked us on 9/11 had -- they didn't attack us because of the Palestinian problem, they attacked us because they have a religious view that has no place for anybody else other than them."

A former ISG member, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, resigned from the panel after he was said to have determined that its recommendations would be politicized. Giuliani, regarded as a likely candidate for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2008, said he opposed the link between Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"Israel and Palestine is an important issue. Sometimes it's used as an excuse to deal with underlying issues. But the reality here is that the Islamo-fundamentalist terrorists are at war with our way of life, with our modern world, with rights for women, religious freedom, societies that have religious freedom. And all of that would still exist, no matter what happens in Israel and Palestine."



Stan Goodenough
"Olmert: Baker report internal US matter -- ignore it"
Jerusalem Newswire
December 2006 Stan Goodenough is a journalist and editor of Jerusalem Newswire. He is also a Christian Zionist, a South African national, a Mayflower descendant; and an 18-year resident of the State of Israel.

Stan Goodenough writes that Prime Minister Olmert believes that Bush will not "alter his approach to the terrorist-supporting states of Syria and Iran." Goodenough writes:

"Baker's report has concluded that, trapped in Iraq, without the political resolve to stay the course and achieve the aims for which it sent its fighting forces into the country, the United States should make Israel pay the price that will enable America to extricate itself from that mess. This, at least, is the growing perception in Israel as the ramifications of the ISG report sink in.

"The report, which has not been welcomed in Jerusalem, argues that the US needs both Iran and Syria to be involved in discussions that will shore up the Iraqi government and enable American men and women in uniform to finally go home.

"The bribe to be dangled before Damascus is the Golan Heights, the hills and high plateau overlooking the Upper Galilee which were annexed by Israel in 1981.

"Syria insist the Golan is its territory, despite the fact that the League of Nations designated it to be part of the Jewish national home, or that Israel took it from the Syrians after they had used it for 19 years to launch attacks against Jews in the Galilee.

"Israel has controlled the Heights for more than twice the length of time Syria did. And unlike the Syrians, who did nothing to develop them, Israel has turned the Golan into fertile farms and cattle ranches, and has built a city on its slopes."

"Instead of being ostracized Iran, the nation whose leadership has repeatedly vowed to obliterate Israel, and who are pursuing the weapons wherewith to make good on their threat, is to be offered the carrot of US recognition that will enable it to continue building its nuclear program unhindered.

"Alarmed observers believe that instead of standing up to this double betrayal from Israel's American ally, Olmert has chosen to put his head into the sand in the hope the issues will sort themselves out."


And This Doesn't Mean The Return of the Jews To The Arab Countries They Fled
"Baker panel's mention of Palestinian "right of return" raises eyebrows"
December 6, 2006

Returning the 4-6 million Arabs that claim to have left Israel (or be descendants from those Arabs) when the Arab States invaded Israel in 1948 would swamp Israel. And even the Baker crew must know this. The Breitbart article:

A reference to Palestinians' 'right of return' in the report issued by the high-level Iraq Study Group broke a diplomatic taboo which sparked immediate concern in Israel and surprise among Middle East policy experts.

The reference was buried deep inside a 160-page report [see the last line in the APPENDIX below] that urged US President George W. Bush to renew efforts to revive Israel-Palestinian peace talks as part of a region-wide bid to end the chaos in Iraq.

"It's hard to know whether that language got in there because of carelessness -- I know there were many revisions up to the very last minute -- or whether it was a deliberate attempt to fuse something to the Bush rhetoric which wasn't there before," the analyst said.

"The 1993 Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians calls for a resolution of the issue of Israeli and Palestinian 'refugees' as part of a final status agreement that would include the creation of a Palestinian state.

"But they do not use the term 'right of return', which is a long-standing Palestinian demand -- rejected by Israel -- that Palestinians who fled or were driven out of what was to become the Jewish state in 1948, as well as their descendants, be allowed to return home.

[...] "'Right of return is not in Oslo I or Oslo II, it's not in the Bush Rose Garden speech, it's not even in UN 181, the original partition resolution -- it's part of the Palestinian discourse,' said the US analyst."



Caroline Glick
"Jews Wake Up!"
December 10, 2006
The Jerusalem Post 1164881847667&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Caroline Glick is deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post and a syndicated columnist.

In this column, Caroline Glick points out that Israel isn't the only loser should we try to appease Iran as the ISG recommends and not stop her nuclear program.

"Although Baker - and incoming Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who served on his commission until Bush announced his appointment last month - believes that there is a deal to be done that will end Iranian and Syrian aggression against the US, its vital interests and its allies, the fact of the matter is that there is no such deal. Contrary to what the Baker report argues and what Gates said in his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, Iran is not analogous to the Soviet Union and the war against the global jihad is not a new cold war.

"Even if the US were to somehow get them to agree to certain understandings about Iraq, there is no reason to believe that the Iranians and Syrians would keep their word. Not only would the US be approaching them as a supplicant and so emboldening them, but to date the US has never credibly threatened anything either Syria or Iran value. Indeed, through supporting negotiations between the EU and Iran, empowering the UN to deal with Iran's nuclear program, and forcing Israel to accept a cease-fire with Hizbullah last summer that effectively gave victory to the Syrian and Iranian proxy, the US has consistently rewarded the two countries' aggression.

"Worse than that, from a US perspective, although Gates admitted Tuesday that he cannot guarantee that Iran will not attack Israel with nuclear weapons, he ignored the fact that Iran - whose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad daily calls for the destruction of the US - may also attack the US with nuclear weapons.

"Gates admitted in his Senate hearing that Iran is producing many bombs - not just one. Since it is possible to destroy Israel with just one bomb, the Americans should be asking themselves what Iran needs all those other bombs for. There are senior military sources in the US who have been warning the administration to take into consideration that the day that Iran attacks Israel with a nuclear bomb, 10 cities in the US and Europe are liable to also be attacked with nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, no one is listening to these voices today.

"IT IS particularly upsetting that Washington has chosen now of all times to turn its back on the war. Ahmadinejad hinted Monday that Iran has completed the nuclear fuel cycle and so has passed the point of no return on its nuclear program. He also made a statement indicating that Iran will have its nuclear arsenal up and running by March - just four months away."


"WHAT MUST Israel do? First, it must plan an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities and regime command and control centers. To pave the way for such an attack, the IDF must move now to neutralize second order threats like the Palestinian rocket squads and the Syrian ballistic missile arsenals in order to limit the public's exposure to attack during the course of or in the aftermath of an Israeli attack on Iran.

"Second, Israel must work to topple the Iranian regime. As the Defense Minister's advisor Uri Lubrani told Ha'aretz last week, the regime in Iran is far from stable today and ripe for overthrow.

"The overwhelming majority of Iranians despise the regime. There are rebellious groups in every ethnic group and province in the country - Azeris, Kurds, Ahwazi Arabs, Baluchis, Turkmen and even Persians - that are actively working to destabilize the regime. ... Westerners who recently visited Iran claim that Israel operating alone could overthrow the regime by extending its assistance to these people.

"Thirdly, in his testimony in the Senate on Tuesday, Gates casually mentioned that Israel has nuclear weapons. In so doing, he unceremoniously removed four decades of ambiguity over Israel's nuclear status. While his statement caused dismay in Jerusalem, perhaps Israel should see this as an opportunity.

"With the threat of nuclear destruction hanging over us, it makes sense to conduct a debate about an Israeli second strike. While such a discussion will not dissuade Iran's fanatical leaders from attacking Israel with nuclear weapons, it could influence the Iranian nation to rise up against their leaders.

"Moreover, such a debate could influence other regimes in the region like Saudi Arabia which today behave as if Israel's annihilation will have no adverse impact on them. Americans like Baker, Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and their European friends need to understand that as goes Israel so go the Persian Gulf's oil fields. Such an understanding may influence their willingness to enable Iran to acquire nuclear weapons."

The Bottom Line? This video says it. It's called "David Zucker Takes On The Iraq Study Group And James Baker." See it at

APPENDIX -- the relevent portions of the Baker Report

4. The Wider Regional Context

The United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon, Syria, and President Bush's June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. This commitment must include direct talks with, by, and between Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians (those who accept Israel's s right to exist), and particularly Syria -- which is the principal transit point for shipments of weapons to Hezbollah, and which supports radical Palestinian groups.

The United States does its ally Israel no favors in avoiding direct involvement to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. For several reasons, we should act boldly:

This effort would strongly support moderate Arab governments in the region, especially the democratically elected government of Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas.

RECOMMENDATION 13: There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon and Syria, and President Bush's June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

RECOMMENDATION 14: This effort should include -- as soon as possible -- the unconditional calling and holding of meetings, under the auspices of the United States or the Quartet (i.e., the United States, Russia, European Union, and the United Nations), between Israel and Lebanon and Syria on the one hand, and Israel and Palestinians (who acknowledge Israel's right to exist) on the other. The purpose of these meetings would be to negotiate peace as was done at the Madrid Conference in 1991, and on two separate tracks -- one Syrian/Lebanese, and the other Palestinian.

RECOMMENDATION 15: Concerning Syria, some elements of that negotiated peace should be:

RECOMMENDATION 16: In exchange for these actions and in the context of a full and secure peace agreement, the Israelis should return the Golan Heights, with a U.S. security guarantee for Israel that could include an international force on the border, including U.S. troops if requested by both parties.

RECOMMENDATION 17: Concerning the Palestinian issue, elements of that negotiated peace should include:

Bernice Lipkin is editor of Think-Israel.


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