Archive for the ‘Ehud Barak’ Category


This article was published at Alternet.

The former head of Israel’s General Security Service, commonly known as the Shin Bet, has caused quite a stir with an interview that roasts Prime Minister Benjamin

Former Shin Bet chief, Yuval Diskin

Former Shin Bet chief, Yuval Diskin

Netanyahu alive. Yuval Diskin paints a disturbing picture of Netanyahu as a leader who, far more than most, is motivated by personal political gain rather than by strategy. Cynically, and one might even say appropriately, most of us routinely ascribe such motives to most politicians, but Diskin’s point is that Netanyahu leans much more toward this motivation than most.

When one considers the amount of power an Israeli Prime Minister holds, and the impact Israeli actions have on world events, having someone like the man Diskin describes in that office is alarming even while it explains much about why, even for Middle East affairs, the current status quo is so bleak. But here in the United States, it should also give us pause as we consider who this man is that our Congress, led by the Israel Lobby, is so enthralled with.

Diskin describes all the other Prime Ministers he worked under since Menachem Begin as ultimately being driven by their view of Israel’s best interests. He does not suggest they were immune to personal interest, but that when it came to the really crucial security decisions, it was not their primary motivation. But Netanyahu, and Ehud Barak, are different, says Diskin: “Unfortunately the feeling that I have, and that many senior security officials have, is that when we talk about Netanyahu and Barak, that with them the personal, opportunistic and current interests, are the thing that take precedence over anything else.  And I emphasize that I am reflecting here something that not only I feel, but also many of the colleagues at my level with whom I spoke.” Whether Diskin’s assessment of historical Israeli leadership is on target, the fact remains that he obviously sees a huge difference in the extent to which personal gain motivates the current government’s top decision-makers. (more…)

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Ok, maybe not forever, but in this week’s piece at Souciant, I examine Bibi’s strategies in his latest political shenanigans. His goal is the same as always, to strengthen his position and hold on to the Prime Minister’s office as long as possible. But it is troubling that so many factors are lining up to enable to do just that for a long time…

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I’m not convinced that this is the end of the story by any means, but it does seem that the tide has turned sharply against Bibi’s and Barak’s efforts to either unilaterally attack Iran or use the threat of such to blackmail the US into doing it for them. My report for Inter Press Service.

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My piece in Souciant this week understandably has generated some questions. The sort of thing in that piece is precisely the kind of thinking I often try to counter. And, under the current circumstances, where whatever the goals and motivations, Netanyahu and Barak are obviously trying to stir up fear and pressure through the media, it is a level head that is called for. It doesn’t help that the article came out around the same time as another blogger was embroiled in controversy, and opened to questions of having been manipulated by Israel’s hasbara efforts, over an obviously bogus document he presented as an Israeli plan for an attack.

“Come, Ehud, sit and we’ll figure out how to get this done…”

Of course, I strongly considered the idea that I was falling victim to some sort of hasbara scheme. It’s possible that’s just what this was, though I don’t think so. Of course, if I thought so, we wouldn’t have this discussion in the first place, would we?

I don’t buy what my source told me whole cloth, in any case. As I stated repeatedly in the piece, I still don’t think Israel is going to attack Iran unilaterally. But where I was once 95% sure of that, now I’d say I’m 85% sure, because I do give some weight to what I was told. So why is that?

A reasonable question. Obviously, since I remain 85% sure, as I said numerous times in the piece, that the attack will not come off, I remain dubious. On the other hand, it did cause me to doubt my assessment more than I have in the past, and this is the case for a number of reasons.

1. The Source. Although I don’t know who the inside source is on this, the person I got it from is an someone I’ve known for a decade and who I trust very much. I also know, first-hand, that this person has genuine inside sources in the Israeli governmental and military establishment, and they have proven themselves sound to me numerous times over the years. Thus, even though the view I presented in my piece doesn’t line up well with my thinking, and I have serious questions about it, I can’t dismiss it out of hand. (more…)

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This week at Souciant, I got a different view from a well-placed source on the potential of an Israeli attack on Iran. I haven’t changed my view–I don’t think it will happen. But I still thought it sufficiently important to explore what this source told me, even if it didn’t sway me to his view. You might find it interesting…

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