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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Israel to China: Sanctions or Else

There is plenty of speculation that the Chinese will agree to, or at least not block, new sanctions on Iran. The Obama administration stands ready to claim the credit, but if China comes around, it may be the threat of unilateral Israeli action which made the case.

The U.S. has no diplomatic leverage because the military option is all but off the table. From all accounts, the Obama administration has dropped the "or else" alternative from its advocacy of sanctions, and is prepared to live with a nuclear Iran. Greg Sheridan from The Australian has an excellent piece on the subject:

US President Barack Obama has decided to abandon any serious effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He is determined instead to live with a nuclear Iran, by containment and, if possible, negotiation.

This is the shifting tectonic plate in the Middle East.

This is the giant story of the past few weeks which the world has largely missed, distracted by the theatre of the absurd of Obama's contrived and mock confrontation with Israel over 1600 apartments to be built in three years' time in a Jewish suburb in East Jerusalem.

Iran is the only semi-intelligible explanation for Obama's bizarre over-reaction against the Israelis.

So Israel has assumed the role of bad guy, and has taken the case directly to the Chinese that the choice is not between sanctions and no sanctions, but between sanctions and an Israeli attack. As reported by the Times of London:

Israel will send its most senior military strategist to China this week to convince Beijing that it is serious about plans to bomb nuclear facilities in Iran if international sanctions fail to curb Tehran’s development of atomic weapons.

The visit, part of an intense round of diplomacy between China and Israel, follows signs that Beijing will shortly back tougher economic sanctions against Iran at the United Nations security council....

Diplomatic observers have been astonished by the pace of Israeli diplomacy in China.

Major-General Amir Eshel, who heads the Israeli army’s planning directorate, will fly to Beijing this week. Eshel, an air force pilot, will warn China of the international consequences of military action, particularly the potential disruption to oil supplies on which much of China’s manufacturing and international trade depend. Tougher sanctions, he will argue, are the lesser of two evils.

Last month Major-General Amos Yadlin, the head of Israeli military intelligence, was dispatched to Beijing with the latest information about Iran’s progress towards making a nuclear device, which some experts believe could be achieved later this year.

“Yadlin was given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal permission to release Mossad’s latest evidence about Iran’s progress towards testing nuclear warheads, enriching uranium and adopting their Shahab missiles to carry nuclear warheads,” said a source.

In a move described as “incredibly rare”, China sent a general to Tel Aviv last week to inspect the Israeli air force’s strike capabilities. Military relations between the two countries have been strained since a deal to export Israeli-built early warning aircraft to China collapsed under American pressure in 2000.

Israel is not prepared to live with a nuclear Iran, unlike the Obama administration.

Given that Israel, at a minimum, would need for the U.S. to look the other way as Israeli planes flew towards Iran, I'm not so sure the Israeli threat remains credible after the events of the past few weeks.

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  1. So Israel needs to assume the role of leader of the free world because we have an inept anti-semite as President who is advised by virulent anti-semites (Samantha Powers et al) or Jews who are too caught up in their own self-importance and actively engage in aiding and abetting their own demise. And yet again Jewish Democrats at-large hide their heads in the sand, afraid someone will take away their mercedesbenz.(Yes I know irony sometimes knows no bounds)
    Israel will do what she needs to do with or without Obama's blessing. In reality Israel has always really stood alone through every war, Entebbe and Osirak. Then again after Israel once again,risks the lives of her finest young men and women in derailing Iran, the loosers who run this world and have no backbone, will condemn Israel yet breath a collective sigh of relief that the Iranian threat has been neutralized and everyone will sleep easier at night.

  2. "Israel is not prepared to live with a nuclear Iran, unlike the Obama administration."

    Israel will no longer exist if Iran acquires nuclear weapons.

  3. Last county I know of, Israel has about a hundred and fifty nukes of all types. This is the only reason there have been no serious land attacks from other nations surrounding Israel. I hear rumor of dolphin subs and cruise missiles in the Israeli navy.

    What the Chinese fear is the interruption of oil. My econ buddy thinks he has the gas price issue figured out. There is no way in a global recession that the prices froze at 2.75 a gallon and are now inching their way to 3.50 a gallon. He thinks China is sucking up the excessive oil by subsiding the cost for their citizens. It is all part of the latest drive to "middle class" China's population ASAP.

    It may or may not work, but it will keep the oil prices inflated. If Israel sends anything over to Iran to disrupt the flow of oil, China is screwed, and then again, so are we.

  4. Oh, I think Israel's threats are VERY credible. I have thought for a long time that the bad relations with the US and Israel have been overplayed - perhaps even set up as a smoke screen to get things off center.

    If it's not a cover for Israeli action, then the US is being left with egg all over it's face that it could not bring Iran to the table sooner. It also points to the import of China in the region.

  5. No, no cover, Obama is a spoiled child in a man's body. He's been nurtured and protected since his late teens and really knows no better. If you'll notice the two things he couldn't have fixed because of their size was the credit cards and the student loans. The first thing he did was attack and change one and then he seized the other. That is the acts of a dictator. So when it comes to him wanting Israel to jump and they don't. Obama will spend a lot of time getting even.

    Read the book "REVOLT" (www.revoltthebook.com) The character of the President is far too much like the man we see today. Which means as Mel Gibson said in We were soldiers, it's going to get a little sporty.