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The government tries to replace Turkey with Greece as our strategic partner, to which effect we signed yet another set of mutual defense papers. But it would be foolish for Israel to count on Greece, a country with long tradition of anti-Semitism which even spilled into Ukraine a century ago, when Greek traders instigated an anti-Jewish pogrom in Odessa. Anti-Semitism in Greece is as strong today as then, and freely expressed. Contrast that with Turkey, where Jews have always been generally safe from European persecutions.

Greece cooperates with Israel only so far as Turkey threatens Cyprus’ gas field, which is shared by Israel. The moment Turkey accepts Greek exploration rights to the gas field, Greece will have no good reason to associate with the Jewish state.

Greece and Israel defense ministers

Nasrallah rejected the UN Sec-Gen’s call to disarm his organization. Officially, Hezbollah has to disarm for two reasons: because of the UNSC ceasefire terms of 2006, and because it has transformed from a paramilitary organization into a political party. The second reason carries little weight in Lebanon, where every major political group is armed to the teeth because, hey, they are all Arab brothers. But the UNSC resolution is binding.

Israel strives to conform to UN demands to the letter, even when they are clearly detrimental to our national interests, but Lebanese terrorists-cum-politicians have the good sense and courage to dismiss the UN as irrelevant outside New York.

Hassan Nasrallah

In the bizarre context of the Arab Spring events, El Baradei was Egypt’s most moderate presidential candidate, even though as IAEA head he had effectively supported Iran’s nuclear bid. Now Baradei has dropped out of the presidential race, claiming that the election process is not democratic. His real concern, however, was not democracy, but being sidelined by Amr Moussa and the Islamist candidates; some arrangement between them and Baradei was clearly made before he withdrew from the elections.

Baradei’s move leaves two presidential options. So far, Amr Moussa seems the likely candidate. He is vehemently anti-Israel, but relatively secular, and thus probably amenable to US pressure. But Moussa is 75, so he is not likely to live out his presidential term. Thus he will be replaced by an Islamist before the next elections. In any case, lacking his own power base, he will be so weak than the parliament’s Islamist majority will control him. Another leading presidential contender is a top figure in the Muslim Brotherhood.

Such a development may happen even before the presidential elections if, as expected, the junta steps down immediately after convening the parliament, whose speaker will then assume presidential powers.

Amr Moussa

The White House, as is well known, abandoned its loyal Kurdish allies. The US signed a mammoth $11 billion arms deal with Iraq, and turned a blind eye to the fact that the Kurds are Iraq’s only potential enemy. Iraqi preparations for a Saddam-style crackdown on Kurdistan, a highly advanced and moderate Muslim entity, are reportedly well under way.

The American logic is clear: Obama values his air bases in Iraq more than he values Kurdish support. He is certainly wrong, as pro-Iranian Iraq will evict American forces soon. Obama does not want to alienate Maliki by supporting the Kurds, but Maliki has already become an Iranian puppet .

The Kurds have launched a backup influence plan by selling oil concessions to US companies, notably Exxon. Their expectation, naturally, is that the oil giants will lobby the US government on behalf of the Kurds. That won’t happen, however, because Maliki will offer to respect Kurdish concessions to the oil corporations after dismantling the autonomous republic.

January 2012
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