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With two weeks left until the election of the Likud central committee, Netanyahu changed the allocation of seats to increase the power of the cities against the settlements in Judea and Samaria.

His move is theoretically correct because the allocation is indeed skewed if Likud wants proportional representation of its voters on the committee. But that misallocation has stood for twenty years, and every other Likud leader has preserved it in order to keep the party distinctly conservative. Netanyahu’s idea is to weaken opposition to the eventual withdrawal from the West Bank.

He may be mistaken, though. With all the support the withdrawal would enjoy from leftists and Arabs, he should be more concerned with maintaining a shred of support for his more conservative policies in the central committee.

Russian Navy in SyriaThe three ships the Russians have posted off the Syrian port of Tartus are obviously meant to deter a NATO invasion. They won’t.

In any such operation, NATO jets would mostly provide air cover for rebel forces. Under no circumstance would the Russians shoot NATO planes. Three ships are woefully insufficient for even the smallest combat operation, but the main reasons are political and financial: the corrupt Russian government, whose leaders depend on the West’s turning a blind  eye to their financial dealings, cannot afford a major confrontation with NATO.

Both sides are bluffing. Even if the Russians were to shoot down NATO planes over Syria, there would be no Western sanctions on Russia. But our bet is that the Russians won’t dare to intercept NATO jets because, in the end, an EU attack on Syria is no good reason for Russia to clash with NATO.

There is similarly no way that Russia would destroy NATO C&C centers in Central European countries to disable NATO’s ability to intercept Iranian missiles in the event of Israeli attack on Iran. While NATO would probably shrink from retaliating against Russian installations, such a daring provocation is beyond Russia’s current regime.

Three days ago, Lieberman promised to his party to leave the coalition if the government releases tax funds to the PA.

Well, the government did just that today.

November 2011
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