The latest incident in the Golan’s Quneitra border illustrates the security challenges Israel faces in the year ahead. Last week six Hezbollah operatives were killed, including an Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG), General Muhammad Ali Allah-Dadi. The presence of an Iranian IRG general and top Hezbollah operatives on the Golan points to an Iranian attempt to build a missile base on the border of Israel.
Israel’s northern border is expected to heat up in the coming months and years, both in the Golan Heights facing Syria, and on the Lebanese border where Hezbollah is in control. The real existential challenge to Israel however remains Iran. The question of whether to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is bound to rise again, especially around July, 2015, when P5+1 negotiations with Iran are expected to end following two extensions.
Iran can be counted on violating the interim agreement which called on the Iranians to freeze their nuclear project in exchange for western powers easing sanctions on Iran. The Obama administration is eager for further extensions despite Iranian history of cheating in its nuclear program.
“The interim agreement enabled Iran to dangerously move forward on R&D, into more advanced generations of centrifuges, which offset the significance of the dilution and oxidization of Iran’s stockpile of 20% enriched uranium, the centerpiece of the interim deal. Both activities relate to the speed in which Iran could breakout with weapons-grade uranium – one route was stopped by the deal, but a second route was enabled and granted legitimacy.”
Landau and Stein asserted that “The terms of the deal did not touch upon Iran’s vast stockpile of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU), already enough for six or seven nuclear devices if enriched to weapons-grade, or its work on long-range-ballistic-missile delivery systems, which continue unhindered.” Iran has protected its breakout ability while the P5+1 continue to grant Iran economic relief to the tune of $700 million a month. Iran’s weaponization work, under investigation by the IAEA for cheating, has not paid a price either by the UN or the P5+1.
Regardless of who will be Prime Minister of Israel following the March 17, 2015 elections, dealing with Iran’s nuclear program will be a top priority.
Since the second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah has built a huge arsenal of long, medium and short range rockets with a GPS guidance system that could hit all strategic points in Israel, including the Hedera power station, and Tel Aviv. Israel’s Iron-Dome will be able to intercept and destroy most of the Hezbollah rockets, but not all. It is more than likely that Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport and the seaports of Haifa and Ashdod would be out of action for several days. Hezbollah will also seek to infiltrate through underground tunnels, into Israeli towns and villages.
The growing presence of al-Qaeda (al-Nusra Front) and other jihadist forces, including the Islamic State in the Golan area, guarantees that a serious confrontation with the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will occur. At the moment these forces are preoccupied with combatting the Assad regime and battling each other. But, as soon as they can stabilize their hold on territory, one can be sure of their terror attacks against Israel.
In the final analysis, Israel is well prepared to defend itself against the tactical threat from Hamas and the Jihadi groups, and even from the strategic threat Hezbollah presents. The one scary threat to the Israelis remains a nuclear Iran, run by fanatical Ayatollahs.
Although Labor/Hatnuah and Yesh Atid also harp on the theme of Israel’s high housing and food prices, so far they’ve been long on populist complaints and short on coherent proposals for remedies. Public discourse on economic issues in Israel rarely goes beyond slogans—in part because, in the end, almost invariably, security issues take precedence.
This time, too, security issues are paramount, and the latest poll shows that Israelis are not buying the left’s claim that a world of brotherly love awaits Israel if only Netanyahu’s policies can be replaced by kinder and gentler ones. The poll shows Netanyahu’s right-of-center Likud leading Labor/Hatnuah 25-23 (out of a 120-member Knesset). More significantly, it shows Likud along with its “natural” right-wing, religious, and ultra-Orthodox coalition partners gaining well over half of the electoral pie.
“We want to be able to understand this technology before big corporates and big government come to us and say everyone should get chipped – the tax authority chip, the Google or Facebook chip.”
These are the words of Hannes Sjoblad who believes he is preparing us for the day when the government wants everyone to be chipped. He believes that starting a voluntary program now will allow much greater knowledge later, when we have little choice about it.
From the BBC:
Want to gain entry to your office, get on a bus, or perhaps buy a sandwich? We’re all getting used to swiping a card to do all these things. But at Epicenter, a new hi-tech office block in Sweden, they are trying a different approach – a chip under the skin.
Felicio de Costa, whose company is one of the tenants, arrives at the front door and holds his hand against it to gain entry. Inside he does the same thing to get into the office space he rents, and he can also wave his hand to operate the photocopier.
That’s all because he has a tiny RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip, about the size of a grain of rice, implanted in his hand. Soon, others among the 700 people expected to occupy the complex will also be offered the chance to be chipped. Along with access to doors and photocopiers, they’re promised further services in the longer run, including the ability to pay in the cafe with a touch of a hand.