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Archive for April, 2015

THE MOST CORRUPT GOVERNMENT IN PAKISTAN EVER: Private company blocked from importing 20pc cheaper LNG

THE MOST CORRUPT GOVERNMENT IN PAKISTAN EVER

Private company blocked from importing 20pc cheaper LNG

 

 

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ISLAMABAD: Amid legal vacuum surrounding the sale of around 140,000 tonnes of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) to a few bulk consumers, a private company’s bid to arrange import of 20 per cent cheaper commodity is reported to have been blocked.
Informed sources told Dawn the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) did not have an LNG marketing licence but it had not only imported but was selling the product to various consumers, including fertiliser plants, power plants and gas companies.
“This is illegal,” said a former petroleum secretary.
A senior government official said the CNG industry represented by Universal Gas Company had struck a deal with an LNG supplier at less than $7 per million British thermal units (mmbtu) but it was not given clearance by the government and asked to route through PSO. “The final price differential between LNG imported by PSO and the CNG sector amounted to more than $2.5 per mmbtu,” said the official.
The LNG policy was approved in 2011 which has neither been amended nor suspended so far, but the consumers of regasified LNG (RLNG) were under pressure to import LNG through PSO in violation of section 10 of the policy. This strangely results into 45pc price build-up of RLNG in the shape of charges and profits of domestic entities.
An official of a fertiliser company said that even though the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) was providing domestic natural gas to Pak-Arab Fertiliser, which had enabled first LNG cargo by providing letter of credit, the invoices for RLNG to Pak-Arab were issued directly by the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) even though the Multan-based fertiliser plant was not a consumer of SSGC. This is also a legal issue that would need to be covered post-facto by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) or the cabinet.
In fact, the imported RLNG belonged to the Pak-Arab Fertiliser which paid for it but did not get full quantities as it was partially diverted by PSO to other consumers, for some time to Dawood Agritech and some IPPs. This is not allowed under Third Party Access (TPA) rules for LNG.
A petroleum ministry official, who has worked on three major LNG import projects so far, told Dawn that the latest RLNG price at Karachi was comparatively higher than envisaged under the two previous import attempts.
He said that first cargo’s RLNG price at Karachi has worked out at 17.56pc of the Brent crude. The Brent price varied between $57-60 per barrel over the last few days and RLNG price at Karachi has been set at $10.42 per mmbtu and $14.2 per mmbtu at power plant’s gate.
In contrast, the RLNG price of 4Gas, which became a victim to court cases during early days of the PPP government, had averaged 12.5pc of Brent. Another bid that fell victim to competing bidders — Gasport, Global and Engro — and then struck down again by the courts at the fag end of PPP tenure had also priced RLNG at Karachi at 13.9pc of Brent.
The official said the price of light sulphur furnace oil (LSFO) price for Kot Addu Thermal Power Company, according to regulatory approval, has stood at $10.85 per mmbtu against RLNG’s estimated price of $14.3 per mmbtu. This proved that the imported RLNG was costlier than furnace oil.
As if it were not enough, the RLNG price would further go up in view of a surprise decision of the petroleum ministry and PSO to offload Engro’s Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) swiftly and use it as an LNG carrier to go back and bring another LNG cargo. This would result in eight days of capacity payments at the rate of $272,000 per day along with 3-4 times higher transportation cost (compared to LNG ship) to the FSRU even though it would not process LNG to become part of the price.
The sources said that the government was now trying to get out of these legal complexities by allowing a group of private investors to set up a special-purpose vehicle (SPV) to import LNG through spot purchases.
The group comprised a leading industrialist-cum-banker and a broker-turned-industrialist having directorships on the board of directors of gas companies that would have influence over LNG import, its distribution and partly consumption but the higher costs would be shared by all the consumers at the end of the day.
Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2015

 

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US-India-Israel-Iran Sabotage Axis of Evil : Major Challenge to Pak-China Alliance

                                        It is of particular attention, that Indian former Army Chief Gen. VK Singh openly admitted that during his tenure, he supervised special army unit, Tactical Support Division (TSD) on the instructions of the then defence minister to sponsor acts of sabotage in Pakistan, particularly Balochistan.

 

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Major Challenge to Pak-China Alliance

                                                          By 

Sajjad Shaukat

 

It is noteworthy that during his visit to Balochistan, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif on April 15, this year warned foreign forces and spy agencies against destabilizing Pakistan by supporting insurgents in Balochistan. Gen. Raheel elaborated, “Army will continue supporting the Balochistan government till terrorism is wiped out…those found involved in funding and facilitating terrorists will be dealt with iron hands.”

 

During the historical visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan, on April 20, this year, he and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed 51 agreements for cooperation in various fields, related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), energy, infrastructure, agriculture, research, technology, education etc.

 

The establishment of CPEC between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China will connect Gilgit-Baltistan through Khunjerab Pass. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of rest of the country to facilitate transportation of goods.

 

When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan like the Suez Canal which changed the destiny of Egypt when Israel returned it to the former. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans. Gwadar project will not only uplift the impoverished people of Balochistan by providing thousands of employment opportunities and is likely to develop whole the province by redressing their grievances. The resulting prosperity in the province would trickle down to the Baloch people and damp the separatist sentiments, which the hostile elements, supported by anti-Pakistan powers do not want.

 

Recall, when during the Musharraf regime, Islamabad initiated the construction of Gwadar deep-seaport in Balochistan in March 2002 with Chinese assistance, sirens went off in the capitals of foreign countries, especially the US, India and Israel which took it as a threat to their global and regional plans.

 

Located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, Balochistan’s Gwadar seaport is close to the Strait of Hormuz from where more than 17 million barrels of oil passes every day. Its ideal location among three key regions, South Asia, the oil-rich Middle East, and oil and gas-resourced Central Asia has further increased its strategic significance. Its development has shifted the Great Game of Central Asia to Pakistan. Hence, sirens still continue alarming in the foreign countries.

 

Besides, Balochistan’s abundant mineral resources like gas, coal and gold, entailing Pakistan’s close ties with China also pinches the eyes of the US, India, Israel and some western countries which intend to destabilize Pakistan for their collective aims.

 

Therefore, major challenge to Pak-China strategic alliance is that with the tactical support of American CIA and Israeli Mossad, Indian RAW has continuously been assisting the Baloch separatist groups and Baloch Sub Nationalists to conduct subversive acts—and using terrorist elements in Balochistan to threat Pak-Chinese interest in the development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. And, Afghanistan has become a hub from where external secret agencies have been funding and arranging subversive activities in other parts of Pakistan—especially in Balochistan through their affiliated militant groups at the cost of Pakistan, China and Iran. In the past few years, they abducted and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan.

 

It is of particular attention, that Indian former Army Chief Gen. VK Singh openly admitted that during his tenure, he supervised special army unit, Tactical Support Division (TSD) on the instructions of the then defence minister to sponsor acts of sabotage in Pakistan, particularly Balochistan.

 

As regards the deteriorating situation of Balochistan, everyone knows that Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and their affiliated outfits including another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for secession of the province gets logistic support from RAW and other anti-Pakistan spy agencies—these militants kidnapped and killed many innocent people and the security personnel in the province. They also massacred many persons through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings and sectarian violence. Therefore, they are responsible for dumped bodies and extrajudicial killings in the province. On a number of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for their subversive acts. The main aim behind is to create unrest in Balochistan and to discourage Beijing for the development of Gwadar port.

 

While, in May, 2013, a day before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Islamabad; Chinese engineers being driven through Clifton Block-1 in Karachi escaped a major bomb attack. Taking note of the foreign powers’ anti-Pakistan designs, during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Islamabad made extraordinary security arrangements.

 

It is notable that a Gallup survey of the UK official body, DFID, conducted on July 20, 212, had disclosed that the vast majority of the Baloch people oppose the idea of an independent Balochistan.

 

As a result of the general elections 2013, the government led by the nationalist leader Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch was established in Balochistan, while on December 7, 2013; local bodies elections were largely held in a peaceful manner in the province. These elections proved that majority of the Baloch are loyal to the federation, and have rejected the case of separatists, being projected by external forces which are weakening Pakistan by supporting the anti-state elements in Balochistan.

 

It is noteworthy that during his visit to Balochistan, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif on April 15, this year warned foreign forces and spy agencies against destabilizing Pakistan by supporting insurgents in Balochistan. Gen. Raheel elaborated, “Army will continue supporting the Balochistan government till terrorism is wiped out…those found involved in funding and facilitating terrorists will be dealt with iron hands.”

 

In fact, Gen. Raheel Sharif was compelled to expose conspiracy against Pakistan after the gunmen killed 20 laborers in Turbat district of Baluchistan in the deadliest attack on April 11, who were working at a dam construction site.

It is worth-mentioning that during China’s visit, Gen. Raheel Sharif, on January 25, 2015, China’s Vice Chairman of Central Military Commission Gen. Fan has assured that China will assist Pakistan in every challenge.

 

Nevertheless, foreign entities shall pose a major challenge to Pak-China strategic alliance through terror-acts. Hence, the intelligence agencies and security forces of both the countries must be well-prepared to cope with these elements.

 

It is noteworthy that during his visit to Balochistan, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif on April 15, this year warned foreign forces and spy agencies against destabilizing Pakistan by supporting insurgents in Balochistan. Gen. Raheel elaborated, “Army will continue supporting the Balochistan government till terrorism is wiped out…those found involved in funding and facilitating terrorists will be dealt with iron hands.”

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

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Pakistan enters the New Silk Road by Pepe Escobar

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Pakistan enters the New Silk Road

April 24, 2015
By Pepe Escobar

Now how do you top this as a geopolitical entrance? Eight JF-17 Thunder fighter jets escorting Chinese President Xi Jinping on BOARD an Air China Boeing as he enters Pakistani air space. And these JF-17s are built as a China-Pakistan joint project.
Silk Road? Better yet; silk skyway.
Just to drive the point home – and into everyone’s homes – a LITTLE further, Xi penned a column widely distributed to Pakistani media before his first overseas trip in 2015.
He stressed, “We need to form a ‘1+4′ cooperation structure with the Economic Corridor at the CENTER and the Gwadar Port, energy, infrastructure and industrial cooperation being the four key areas to drive development across Pakistan and deliver tangible benefits to its people.”
Quick translation: China is bringing Pakistan into the massive New Silk Road(s) project with a bang.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, also on cue, stressed that Pakistan would be in the frontline to benefit from the $40 billion Silk Road Fund, which will help to finance the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road projects; or, in Chinese jargon, “One Belt, One Road”, that maze of roads, high-speed rail, ports, pipelines and fiber optics networks bound to turbo-charge China’s LINKS to Europe through Russia, Central Asia and the Indian Ocean.
The Silk Road Fund will disburse funds in parallel with the new Asian Infrastructure INVESTMENT BANK (AIIB), which has already enticed no less than 57 countries. China’s assistant foreign minister, Liu Jianchao, has not delved into detailed numbers, but he assures China “stands ready to provide financing.”
So no wonder Pakistani media was elated. A consensus is also fast emerging that China is becoming “Pakistan’s most important ally” from either West or East.
Beijing’s CAREFULLY calibrated commercial offensive mixing Chinese leadership concepts such as harmonious society and Chinese dream with a “win-win” neighborhood policy seduces by the numbers alone: $46 billion in investment in Pakistan ($11 billion in infrastructure, $35 billion in energy), compared to a U.S. Congress’s $7.5 billion program that’s been in place since 2008.
The meat of the matter is that Washington’s “help” to Islamabad is enveloped in outdated weapons systems, while Beijing is investing in stuff that actually benefits people in Pakistan; think of $15.5 billion in coal, wind, solar and hydro energy projects bound to come ONLINE by 2017, or a $44 million optical fiber cable linking China and Pakistan.
According to the Center for Global Development, between 2002 and 2009 no less than 70% of U.S. aid was about “security” – related to the never-ending GWOT (global war on terror). As a Pakistani analyst wrote me, “just compare Xi’s vision for his neighbors and the history of AMERICA in Latin America. It is like the difference between heaven and hell.”
That “X” factor
At the heart of the action is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), whose embryo had already been discussed when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Beijing in the summer of 2013. The economic corridor, across 3,000 km, will LINK the port of Gwadar, in the Arabian Sea, not far from the Iranian border, with China’s Xinjiang.
China is already in Gwadar; China Overseas Port Holding Company is operating it for two years now, after helping to build the first phase. Gwadar formally opens before the end of the month, but a first-class highway and railway linking it to the rest of Pakistan still need to be built (mostly by Chinese companies), not to mention an international airport, SCHEDULED to open by 2017.
All this action implies a frenzy of Chinese workers building roads, railways – and power plants. Their security must be assured. And that means solving the “X” factor; “X” as in Xinjiang, China’s vast far west, home to only 22 million people including plenty of disgruntled Uyghurs.
Beijing-based analyst Gabriele Battaglia has detailed how Xinjiang has been addressed according to the new guiding principle of President Xi’s ethnic policy. The key idea, says Battaglia, is to manage the ethnic conflict between Han Chinese and Uyghurs by applying the so-called three “J”: jiaowang, jiaoliu, jiaorong, that is, “inter-ethnic contact”, “exchange” and “mixage”.
Yet what is essentially a push towards assimilation coupled with some economic incentives is far from assured success; after all the bulk of Xinjiang’s day-to-day policy is conducted by unprepared Han cadres who tend to view most Uyghurs as “terrorists”.
Many of these cadres identify any separatist stirring in Xinjiang as CIA-provoked, which is not totally true. There is an extreme Uyghur minority which actually entered Wahhabi-driven jihadism (I met some of them in Masoud’s prisons in the Panjshir valley before 9/11) and has gone to fight everywhere from Chechnya to Syria. But what the overwhelming majority really wants is an economic shot at the Chinese dream.
The Pakistani counterpart to Xinjiang is Balochistan, inhabited by a little over 6 million people. There have been at least three different separatist factions/movements in Balochistan fighting Islamabad and what they call “Punjabis” with a vengeance. Former provincial minister Jaffar Khan Mandokhel, for instance, is already warning there will be a “strong reaction” across Balochistan to changes in the corridor’s routes, which, he says, “are meant to give maximum benefit to Punjab, which is already considered the privileged province.” Islamabad denies any changes.
The corridor is also bound to bypass most of the key, northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Opposition political star Imran Khan – whose party is on top in Khyber – has already condemned it as an injustice.
Beijing, for its part, has been very explicit to Islamabad; the Pakistani Taliban must be defeated, or at least appeased. That explains why since June 2014 the Pakistani army has been involved in a huge aerial bombing campaign – Zarb-e Azb – againt the Haqqani network and other hardcore tribals. The Pakistani army has already set up a special division to take care of the corridor, including nine battalions and the proverbial paramilitary forces. None of this though is a guarantee of success.
Karakoram or bust
It will be absolutely fascinating to watch how China and Pakistan, simultaneously, may be able to keep the peace in both Xinjiang and Balochistan to assure booming trade along the corridor. Geographicaly though, this all makes perfect sense.
Xinjiang is closer to the Arabian Sea than Shanghai. Shanghai is twice more distant from Urumqi than Karachi. So no wonder Beijing thinks of Pakistan as a sort of Hong Kong West, as I examined in some detail here.
This is also a microcosm of East and South Asia integration, and even Greater Asia integration, if we include China, Iran, Afghanistan, and even Myanmar.
The spectacular Karakoram highway, from Kashgar to Islamabad, a feat of engineering completed by the Chinese working alongside the Pakistan Army Corps of engineers, will be upgraded, and extended all the way to Gwadar. A railway will also be built. And in the near future, yet another key Pipelineistan stretch.
Pipelineistan is linked to the corridor also in the form of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline, which Beijing will help Islamabad to finish to the tune of $2 billion, after successive U.S. administrations relentlessly tried to derail it. The geopolitical dividends of China blessing a steel umbilical cord between Iran and Pakistan are of course priceless.
The end result is that early in the 2020s China will be connected in multiple ways practically with the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Large swathes of massive China-Europe trade will be able to avoid the Strait of Malacca. China will be turbo-charging trade with the Middle East and Africa. China-bound Middle East oil will be offloaded at Gwadar and transported to Xinjiang via Balochistan – before a pipeline is finished. And Pakistan will profit from more energy, infrastructure and transit trade.
Talk about a “win-win”. And that’s not even accounting for China’s thirst for gold. Balochistan is awash with gold, and there have been new discoveries in Punjab.
New Silk Road action is nothing short than frantic. The Bank of China is already channeling $62 billion of its immense foreign exchange reserves to three policy banks supporting New Silk Road(s) projects; $32 billion to China Development Bank (CDB) and $30 billion to Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM). The Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) will also get its share.
And it’s not only Pakistan; the five Central Asian “stans” – rich in oil, gas, coal, agricultural land, gold, copper, uranium – are also targeted.
There’s a new highway from Kashgar to Osh, in Kyrgyzstan, and a new railway between Urumqi and Almaty, in Kazakhstan. We may be a long way away from the new high-speed Silk Rail, but trade between, for instance, the megacities of Chongqing or Chengdu in Sichuan with Germany now moves in only 20 days; that’s 15 days less than the sea route.
So it’s no wonder a “special leading group” was set up by Beijing to oversee everything going on in the One Road, One Belt galaxy. The crucial action plan is here. Those who’re about to go silk, we salute you.

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Israel needs an enemy. Iran has left the stage. By Amir Oren, Haaretz

Excellent article to understand the Israeli mindset, and the way they think and plan with super efficient intelligence system. Their military priorities with aerial strength (fighter/Tanker combination), fast piercing Navy and ground forces reliant on tanks, all these backed by highly efficient American/home produced Nuclear armada of all types with every conceivable delivery system and ranges. They are potent because the Americans allow them that vantage. They will now surely look for a new enemy…..
SAR
 
Israel needs an enemy. Iran has left the stage.
 
By Amir Oren, Haaretz

 

 
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To attack Iran’s nuclear facilities Israel would use its F15 aircraft. They would have to be refuelled by the KC-135 refuelling Stratotanker (the big bulge at the top of the photo) which American  Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, very controversially, included in the 2013 massive arms deal with Israel.
 
 
Israel may be forced to freeze its plans for a pre-emptive strike, allowing the Israeli military to return to its proper dimensions. There may even be room for a strategic move of the diplomatic kind.
 
By Amir Oren, Haaretz
April 10, 2015
 
On October 25, 1956, four days before the Sinai Campaign started and before the Israeli cabinet had given its approval for IDF operations in the Sinai, IDF chief of staff Moshe Dayan gathered the General Staff and justified to them linking up with France and Britain against Egypt. Israel must, said Dayan, “One, carry out our operation in a manner that we will benefit as much as possible from the actions of others. By comparison, we are riding a bicycle and they are riding a motor vehicle, and it is worthwhile for us to grab on. Two, we must be sure not to be run over by that same car.”
Last week, in the Ben-Gurion House in Tel Aviv, where then-prime minister and defence minister David Ben-Gurion lay ill during the Sinai Campaign (and where, as the former authority, in May 1967 he tormented the then-IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin until he had a breakdown), Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel presented a logical structure that complemented Dayan’s from six decades earlier. Eshel is more than just an outstanding Air Force commander. He is a central member of the “cabinet” of Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, who is a year younger than him, alongside deputy chief of staff Yair Golan, one of only two major generals to have held that position since 2008.
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Israeli Air Force Commander Major General Amir Eshel (R) with American ambassador Dan Shapiro,A Zionist, as Eshel becomes the new commander of the Israeli Air Force,  May 14, 2012. Photo by Yossi Zeliger/FLASh90

The question that interested him last week at the conference dedicated to Operation Focus (Moked), the massive airstrikes that opened the Six-Day War in 1967, which were carried out by surprise and with amazing success – with former Air Force commander and Deputy Chief of Staff Ezer Weizmann being the main proponent of its planning and implementation – was whether the Air Force was capable of repeating its achievements and surprise in a new, though not identical, version of the pre-emptive attack.
The summary of Eshel’s doctrine: Yes, the Air Force has incredible capabilities, much greater than those in 1967, to carry out and surprise; and it is important that the decision makers, the political leadership, trust in its existence and its ability to carry out any order – as long as the double price of a pre-emptive strike is clear in advance in order to manage expectations with the cabinet (and the public) beforehand.
The price that will have to be paid
The first part of the price will have to be paid to the powers in the form of relations with Israel. For example, in the wording of the cease-fire resolution, which will be presented to the UN Security Council. If Israel attacks out of the blue, without a specific justification, it will take the risk of global enmity and even sanctions against it. Dayan’s bicycle was French-made, and suffered an embargo from de Gaulle – and now they are American made; in October 1973, after the supply of Phantom jets and air-to-surface missiles was made conditional on the commitment to avoid a preemptive airstrike, it was one of Dayan’s considerations (and of prime minister Golda Meir) against such an attack, alongside the fear of pressure for a withdrawal from the territories is Israel was painted as the aggressor. 
 
And even if these countries will not be enthusiastic about harming Israel, unions and other organizations could very well sabotage the supply chain of weapons and other essential items.
 
The second part of the price to be paid will be handed to the Israeli homefront. The Air Force will hit 1,000 targets a day, 2,000 on the fateful first two days of the campaign, but the home front will suffer thousands of rocket and missile attacks, since the entire offensive forces can’t go after the rocket launchers, and the entire defensive forces won’t be assigned – or will be adequate – to intercept the volleys at the homefront; there will be other high priority missions such as defending airbases and infrastructure targets.
 
As nimble the Air Force will be in its operations, defence will be only partial, also because strengthening these defenses will ruin the surprise and leave signs that will send the enemy (and especially its leaders) into hiding – or ambushes. The IDF realized this too late during the period of the reprisal operations in the 1950s, which ended with the 18 victims of Qalqilya just two weeks before that very same General Staff meeting headed by Dayan: The stimulus (terror attack) provided everyone with a warning of the response (the raid).
 
The Air Force has proved something of its power to operate nimbly and in a crowded airspace, but without any significant opposition, in Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defense, and Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
 
 It was impressive in its coordination between fighter planes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles – and between all these and the ground forces. But we cannot draw a conclusion from this that victory is guaranteed against more determined and better armed enemies; and even if the scales of military force will lean to Israel’s side, it is the diplomatic results that will determine the outcome – the framework of the ceasefire (speedy is very much desirable) and the progress in its wake to an agreement.
 
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Lausanne: surrounded by security men, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif in discussion with Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. He served as head of AEOI from 2009 to 2010 and was appointed to the post for a second time on 16 August 2013. He was also the Iranian representative in the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1998 to 2003.
 
One of the lessons of recent years is that it is worthwhile for Israel to grit its teeth, overcome its desire for revenge and call for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to come out of his bunker, where he has been sheltering since July 2006; because Israel needs an address, for a representative and authorized leadership to talk with and reach an agreement. The supreme consideration is once again not if Nasrallah’s successor will be better or worse for Israel than he is, but whether without Nasrallah, or the present leadership of Hamas, there will be anyone to talk to in order to prevent a continued war of attrition.
 
Dayan, in that same meeting with his small band in on the secrets in the General Staff (and not all of them knew all the secrets), noted that “our plans always included starting the war and fierce bombardments of the Egyptian air force in order to destroy their air power” – in other words, an unripe Operation Focus, over a decade before the Air Force was really read to carry it out; since, as the person who was really the chief planner of the operation, retired brigadier general Rafi Sibron, said last week that the self-knowledge of the pilots and the systems that planned, armed, controlled and trained for the operation was no less important than the intelligence on the enemy.
 
The surprise was not wasted in 1956 and was preserved for 1967, without the Egyptians being prepared for it (for example by building underground hangers for their warplanes or by preparing to rapidly repair the runways), since according to Dayan: “This time, because we believe that some of the work will be done by others – we will not do it. If it turns out that we made a mistake, it could be a mistake we will pay for dearly.”
 
Instead of Egypt then, we can now write Iran; instead of the British and the French – the Americans. 
 
The Lausanne deal, whose completion by June 30 will postpone the attainment of Iranian nuclear weapons until 2025 to 2030, has stolen from the IDF one of its main enemies.
 
 An enemy whose threat is the reference scenario, according to which the forces are built and prepared, and the operations are planned for. When Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties with Israel, it had a clear influence on the IDF’s order of battle (fewer regular armoured divisions) and the equipment budgets, training and active reserve service.
 
 Transferring Iran from a concrete enemy to a more fluid threat on the list of enemies that the IDF is preparing to counter in a greater war, could have a similar influence, especially in the aerial sphere.
 
The Congress, which Israel is so enthusiastic to involve in the process, seems combative today, but it is fickle and could well put on the brakes and not just speed up, mostly for internal reasons relating to the balance of powers and party considerations.
 
 In May 1967, Levi Eshkol’s government was paralyzed and it failed in its efforts to decide on carrying out Operation Focus as the kick off for the campaign in Gaza and Sinai (Dayan, who was appointed defence minister, expanded the plan), because they wanted to let the diplomatic process in Paris run its full course (France was the supplier of the Mirage jets and surface- to-surface missiles) and in Washington, with the mission of Foreign Minister Abba Eban.
 
The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Arthur Goldberg, was a mutual friend of President Lyndon Johnson and Israel. Goldberg later told how Johnson called him after Eban’s visit to the White House and expressed his worries that he went too far in his commitment to military action to break the Egyptian blockade on the sea lanes to Eilat. Goldberg, a former Supreme Court justice, calmed Johnson down: Eban also visited him and heard that the president’s commitment was subject to constitutional processes, in other words to the agreement of the Congress.
 
One of the reasons for Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s complacency on the morning of June 5, 1967, despite his general estimate that an Israeli attack was expected, was the mission of his Vice President Zakaria Mohieddin, who was considered pro-American, to Washington. 
 
Almost fifty years later, when the Iranian leadership is following to a certain extent in the footsteps of Anwar Sadat and adopting the “Infitah” Sadat’s economic policy of “opening the door” to private investment (necessarily to the West, though given the situation in the 21st century not only to them), an Israeli attack during the diplomatic contacts between the six powers and Tehran would be viewed as treachery, similar to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour at the same time Japanese messages continued to arrive at the State Department in Washington; and would lead to a harsh American response.
 
All these considerations against an Israeli attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would not apply to the Israeli-Iranian clashes in the ground floor and basement of the relations between the two countries, whether directly or through proxies; but for that the IDF doesn’t require any reinforcement – not to its means nor to its level of preparation.
 
The Iranian threat will be reduced to the level of the Iraqi threat in the period between the two wars the Americans fought against Saddam Hussein, from 1991 to 2013. During that period, before the withdrawal from Gaza and the increased missile threat from Hezbollah and Hamas, the IDF viewed Syria as its chief enemy. 
 
For its mission in the Iranian sphere, the IDF defined for itself (as usual, the government evaded this responsibility) more or less: The goal is to deter Iran from intervening militarily in a war between Israel and one of its neighbors or the Palestinian Authority. The accomplishment required to achieve this included a significant attack on a small number of specific targets over two days, the destruction of strategic infrastructure (especially nuclear), attacking the surface-to-surface missiles and preventing the sending of troops to reinforce Hezbollah and the countries abutting Israel.
 
With the exception of the nuclear infrastructure targets, which have been taken off the agenda because of the diplomatic constraints, what the Air Force and Navy have been building over the past decade, along with Military Intelligence and the Mossad, is more than enough to deal with the other Iranian challenges. Additional investments will be superfluous – it would be better to put them to other uses, in the IDF (as the General Staff has recommended) or for civilian use.
 
The decade after the Sinai Campaign was quiet, relatively, and was used to raise the standard of living, alongside the building up of the IDF in the air and with tanks, as well as the construction of the nuclear reactor in Dimona. 
 
After the Yom Kippur War Israel wasted two decades – the 1980s, despite the peace with Egypt and the Iran-Iraq War, since it threw itself into Lebanon; and the 1990s, despite the end of the Cold War and the defeat of Saddam Hussein and Iraq, since it did not have the courage to pay the price for peace with Syria.
 
The Lausanne deal, if it is completed and implemented, will provide Israel with an additional opportunity to focus its multi-year plans for the IDF on nearer and more essential priorities, without the craziness of a war with Iran. A reappraisal of the list of military purchases is also necessary. F-35 planes, for example, should be received as late as possible, once they have outgrown their childhood growing pains, and not in any rush.
 
 The best alternative would be a peace initiative, a diplomatic act of prevention instead of a military one. Given the present composition of the Israeli leadership that would be a huge surprise, maybe even for the politicians themselves.

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