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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Israel rejects the US National Intelligence Estimate

If Seymour Hersh is correct in the interview below - that President Bush briefed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on that new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) before the Annapolis gang rape started - the real question is why didn't the Israeli delegation just walk out? From Israel's standpoint, the only real logic in going to Annapolis was to create joint action against Iran, which apparently completely failed to happen. That it wasn't going to happen should have been obvious to Olmert the moment he heard the 'new' NIE.

The big moment is between 1:40 and 1:50 of the video below:

Think Progress places Bush briefing Olmert on Monday November 26, the day before the actual gang rape took place. If anything, that strengthens the question: Why didn't Olmert just turn around and come home?

In the meantime, Israel has rejected the US National Intelligence Estimate. Yesterday, defense minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio:
“It’s apparently true that in 2003 Iran stopped its military nuclear program for a time. But in our opinion, since then, it has apparently continued that program. We cannot afford to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the globe, even if it is from our greatest friend.”
DEBKA reports that is only the tip of the iceberg in what has become a massive dispute between the US and Israel:
Senior Israel security and intelligence officials report: Washington is refusing to heed the intelligence Israel has gathered on Iran’s covert military nuclear program which refutes its latest estimate, denies Israel access to authentic US intelligence and has embarked on steps detrimental to Israel in relation to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Lebanon, without informing its government.


Prime minister Ehud Olmert, left in the dark by Israel’s senior ally, is at a loss to arrest the serious deterioration in their relations. At pains to conceal the gaping rift with Washington, the prime minister’s office released word of George W, Bush’s coming visit to Jerusalem, his first as president. However, DEBKAfile’s sources disclose Israel will be only one stop along an extensive Middle East tour, which will take Bush to Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Ramallah, where he intends to make a big deal of proclaiming his support for forthcoming Palestinian statehood.

He will also visit Beirut, by which time Gen. Michel Suleiman will be installed as president. Bush will hail his administration’s diplomatic success in securing Saudi, Iranian and Syrian approval for the election of a pro-Syrian Hizballah supporter as Lebanese president.

Talking to the media Tuesday, the US president ducked the question of whether the new US Intelligence Estimate had changed Washington’s Iran policy. Next month, our sources report, he will have ample opportunity to demonstrate his abrupt, tidal policy reversals when he tours Middle East capitals.

DEBKAfile’s Jerusalem sources report Olmert, loath to admit the loss of Israel’s most powerful friend, is under mounting pressure by leading political, intelligence and military officials to stand up and articulate an independent Israeli stance in the light of the Bush administration’s actions, especially in response to the true facts of Iran’s nuclear activities. The rift with Washington is not just political, they say, but touches on critical security issues that affect Israel’s very survival.

One immediate proposal is for the establishment of a national emergency government.
I don't see a national emergency government happening unless Olmert backs off Annapolis completely. And I don't see that happening because he doesn't want to go to jail. But the rift between Israel and the US has been staring us in the face since the aftermath of the 2006 war with Hezbullah. It's only now that it's come home to roost. We have to restore our position as an important American ally. That position was severely undermined by the Hezbullah fiasco in 2006.

In my view, the only way to stop the Baker-Scowcroft-Rice State Department from pushing President Bush to walk all over us is to replace the buffoonish Olmert-Barak-Livni government with a strong government that will stand up to the State Department and its Arab allies instead of cowering to them like a group of dhimmis. The sooner the better.


At 4:36 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

"We have to restore our position as an important American ally. That position was severely undermined by the Hezbullah fiasco in 2006."

1. The main objective is to be fully on HaShem's side. Then the rest, including relations with "allies", will fall into place.

2. Don't discount the possibility that the Lebanese fiasco was made worse through interventions behind the scenes by Condoleeza Rice and others.


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