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Brzezinski on US policy on Iran

January 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote an op-ed article in the Washington Post, titled “Iran should be key topic at hearings,” in which he basically said that the US should just continue to stick with a policy of sanctions and more sanction, until (maybe, hopefully) Iran caves in.

Brzezinski’s policy on Iran, however, is that of containment.  Obama himself specifically said that containment is not his policy.

Secondly, the outcome of Brzezinski’s policy is that it is ok for Iran to gain influence and even acquire nukes in order to destabilize the region and our alies therein.

Thirdly, his position does not address the dangerous and real possibility that economic sanctions on Iran will have little or no effect in stopping Iran’s ability and objective to acquire nuclear weapons.  From what we’ve seen so far, and in view of the IAEA reports that have been coming out during the last year or two, Iran’s nuclear program has been progressing and progressing in spite of severe sanctions. (Brzezinski never addressed this point.) So the sanctions are hurting Iran but there are many loopholes that Iran can and has exploited.

Fourthly, the doomsday scenarios he’s cooking up hardly happened even with US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Plus, he conveniently ignores doomsday scenarios resulting from his policy. (How about Iran’s inciting genocide against Israel as a doomsday scenario?) He never cared about that.

In sum, his position is untenable and is just the kind of policy that further endangers the region, our allies and our interests. It is a policy that promotes and aids the proliferation of dangerous rogue regimes like Iran.

Understanding Israel

December 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Israel’s decision to make plans on the E-1 region (not yet building, however, just planning at this stage) after the United Nations General Assembly vote on the Palestinian nonmember observer state has been much criticized.  In this post, I express my opinion on the Israeli response by contextualizing the many growing dangers in the region to Israel so as to understand where it is coming from.

My theory is that, yes, Israel has made its E-1 response to the UN vote but that this was idea was at the back of their minds only to be used as the last nail on the coffin amidst a serious growing regional threat. (I am aware of the US position, from back in the 1980s I think, that Israel should not build in E-1.)

Let us enumerate all these dangers that Israel faces to better appreciate its position and response.

1) There is the Iran nuclear threat to wipe Israel off the map. This is probably Israel’s biggest security concern right now – which only serves to justify Israel’s hardening position.

2) There are the regular Hamas rockets and missiles fired at Israel. These have increased in range and danger — e.g., the Fajr-5 rockets supplied by Iran to Hamas in Gaza.

3) There is the Hizbullah threat in Lebanon with 1000s of rockets and missiles aimed at Israel – and which are more deadly and with longer reach. (They can now reach Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other Israeli population centers.) Notice: the UN has done nothing about these.

4) There is the Islamist threat in the region, and especially in Egypt. Egypt is lead by the Muslim Brotherhood whose primary foreign policy is to establish an Islamist Caliphate empire with Jerusalem as its capital. There’s a trend to scrap the Peace Treaty. So that Treaty is only hanging by a hair.

5) Syria is quite unstable with its 2-year civil war. The danger exists, and is more probable, for Islamists to take it over the way they have in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, etc.

6) Turkey is an Islamist state though somewhat more ‘moderate’ but still quite hostile to Israel — and pretty thin-skinned about the flotilla fiasco which was their fault for not restraining the IHH. They have been confrontational with Israel and sympathetic to Hamas’ firing rockets at Israel. Being a NATO state, that does not bode well for Turkey and is certainly a danger to Israel.

7) Jordan looks to be quiet so far, but it can be affected by these regional trends – 40% of its population are Palestinian. Jordan could be in the news at any moment.

8) Sudan is a major arms depot/route for Iran to transfer and supply weapons to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Islamists who want to infiltrate Israel from both Gaza and the Sinai. (Iran also supplies weapons to Hizbullah.)

You have all these dangers facing Israel and in addition you now have the Palestinians threatening Israel with the diplomatic vote at the United Nations.  All these threats put together from all around do a lot to undermine a two-state solution for a Palestinian state and a Jewish state living side by side in peace. These can only harden Israel’s position.

As a matter of fact, Palestinian collusion with all these regional players who threaten Israel have contributed to making the two-state solution much less viable. (It may in fact be dead.)  What is Israel going to do? Support a hostile Palestinian state right on its border in addition to the already existing threatening Islamist states? Accede to a Palestinian state that looks to become an Islamist Palestinian state?  Not in your life. Look at Gaza! Is that the kind of Palestinian state they’re hoping for? (One that is inspired by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood?)  In any case, we have two Palestinian visions and there’s no way for Israel to make peace with both of them if those two Palestinian camps can’t live together in peace.

Therefore, the way to fight the UN Palestinian vote, and to fight these many regional dangers, is to threaten the contiguous geography for the Palestinians. So in sum: no Palestinian state so long as they collude with those who want to wipe Israel off the map, fire rockets at Israel, and threaten Israel diplomatically. Actions not aimed at contributing to peace will not lead to a Palestinian state. Israel will build where it wishes. That, in my view, is a much better response than bloodshed.

The UN can make all the laws it wishes, but so long as it makes these laws without regard to Israel’s security given the all-round dangers, these laws will be one-sided, naive, futile, and they will be opposed and fought. Israel’s laws will take precedence over laws cooked up by an antisemitic body (comprising many nations some of whom are already ruled by thugs).  It will also mean that the UN has yet again failed to be the institution that it was designed to for. After all, the UN already failed several times before; e.g., in Congo, in Darfur, Sudan, in Syria.

Comparison between UN resolutions: Israel and Turkey

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSfz0GdPOBLzJmRw0_icoWQoxTEqR9N_mYQ-KlBN5JhXlXbFyObWwAs I was browsing through some of these UN resolutions related to Israel and comparing them with those on Turkey’s invasion and occupation of Cyprus, I noted a distinct difference in tone in the way the two states are addressed and treated.

For example, in UN Security Council Resolution 497 — which is related to Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights from Syria following the 1967 Six Day War — it derides Israel for imposing “its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights” and says that they are “null and void and without international legal effect.”  It demands that “Israel, the occupying Power, should rescind forthwith its decision.”

In a UN General Assembly resolution on the Golan, it patronizes Israel with harsh language such as: “illegal settlements”; “Israel has failed”; “Israel law null and void and has no validity”; referring to Golan as “occupied by Israel”; “Demands once more that Israel withdraw”; etc.

By stark contrast, when you look at the resolutions regarding Turkey’s invasion and occupation of another legal state, Cyprus — and which is still ongoing since 1974 — you don’t read that kind of patronizing language.  For example, in UN Security Council resolution 367 (1975), it instead “calls upon all States to respect sovereignty … of the Republic of Cyprus” — with no mention of Turkey by name. In paragraph 2 of this resolution it says that it “Regrets unilateral decision” declaring a part of Cyprus would be a “Federated Turkish State” (by Turkey, which is again not mentioned explicitly).

Turkey is hardly criticized in its occupation of Cyprus compared with how Israel has been prejudicially treated by the United Nations.  In fact, Turkey is only mentioned once in Resolution 367, even obliquely – and with the generous verb: ‘regret’. You don’t see the kind of mean language used against Israel in the Turkey resolution on Cyprus.

Clearly, there is distinct discrimination (by the so-called “international law”) against Israel. Nothing new, of course, since that has been known for a long time, but it is interesting to see it where it may not be obvious to look.

IAEA recent report: Iran enriched U-235 to 27%

The IAEA has just released its report on Iran’s nuclear program. (PDF file.)

On page 6 of this report it says:

“The results of analysis of environmental samples taken at FFEP on 15 February 2012 showed the presence of particles with enrichment levels of up to 27% U-235, which are higher than the level stated in the DIQ.”

(FFEP = Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant; DIQ = Design Information Questionnaire.)

The report also says that Iran installed 100s more centrifuges (in Production Hall A).

This has been happening even while the Ayatollah said it was a sin to develop a nuclear weapon and while they denied working for that goal.  If this does not stop, I expect a war soon.

Iran enriching uranium to over 20%

The IAEA has just recently reported that samples from their visit to Iran in February 2012 show that Iran has enriched uranium to more than 20% and may even be as high as 27%.  BBC reportJPost report.

Update: the second day meeting of the P5+1 and Iran failed to reach agreement on key issues, as expected. They’re planning a second meeting in Moscow in mid June. More play for time.

EU-Iran nuclear meeting goes for 2nd day

The description of the P5+1 meeting with Iran (Wed May 23 2012) on its nuclear program as “atmosphere was businesslike” is actually the diplomatic jargon used for a rather tense scene — seeing that discussions failed to yield agreement (contrary to Mr Amano’s premature optimism the day before that agreement was expected “quite soon”).

That’s why they’ve made an unscheduled 2nd day meeting on Thursday. Of course, in the meantime, between the last time they met, over a month ago, and now, Iran gained lots more time to install and spin its centrifuges and continue to enrich uranium further. The West now looks like the idiots who would be fooled twice, thrice, as many times as Iran dictates. Of course, Israel is the only nation that knows Iran better than the other (bleeding heart) wimps. Israel’s suspicions are in my view quite valid. This farce has been going on for 9 years and the West is still falling for it. Outrageous.

Netanyahu-Obama meeting

I’d rather be cautiously pessimistic about Bibi’s (Netanyahu) meeting with Obama. Although the Palestinian issue is dead and off the table this time around — as pointed out by today’s Jerusalem Post article — their priorities and timelines regarding Iran are quite different. First, Obama seems to be willing to wait until Iran enriches uranium to 90% before taking military action, while Bibi would hardly support waiting that long – the zone of immunity being much earlier than Iran’s reaching 90% enrichment. Secondly, Obama wants to wait for the sanctions to ‘work’ while Bibi and Ehud Barak are not convinced that it is affecting Iran’s nuclear progress. On both counts Bibi is quite correct — as the November 2011 and February 2012 IAEA reports showed. Obama has to understand where Bibi is coming from. My prayers to Bibi. G-d speed.

IAEA report on Iran nukes

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The IAEA report (pdf, 11 pages) on their recent (Feb. 2012) failed trip to Iran has just been leaked. The news media have reported on its finding:

Guardian reportCNN reportBBC reportReuters reportJerusalem report.

For the record, here is the November 2011 IAEA report on Iran (pdf file, 25 pages), for comparison.

Bombing Iran – response to Economist essay

February 24, 2012 3 comments

My response to some points in a recent Economist essay on Iran.  Some I agree with, except a few major ones — including the case that Iran’s nuke sites should not be bombed. The position of the author(s) of this article that Iran should not have nuclear weapons and at the same time taking off the table the threat of force, the author does not give a viable solution to the stand off. Indeed, that position is exactly what Iran has been banking on and investing on to reach its current advancement in its nuclear program — after 9 years of negotiations and diplomacy (since 2003). As you know, the IAEA has failed again and again to get Iran to cooperate (even in their second recent visit, where they were denied access to the Parchin military site). (Blue boldfaced comments are quotes from the Economist article which I wish to address.)

 
If Iran is intent on getting a bomb, an attack would delay but not stop it.

But an attack could deter it, and severely weaken its ability and delay it. That is a much better option than allowing Iran to be dangerous nuclear state akin to North Korea in the Middle East.

Indeed, using Western bombs as a tool to prevent nuclear proliferation risks making Iran only more determined to build a weapon—and more dangerous when it gets one.

And conversely, Israel & the US too would be even more determined to stop Iran (esp. if Obama loses the election and the US inaugurates a Republican president) – and Israel even more so determined because of Iran’s nuclear annihilation threat. As a matter of fact, the Palestinian issue would be ignored and further placed in the back burner seeing that now Israel has to invest more of its focus and resources to defending itself against an existential threat. Thus the Iran threat is worsening the Palestinian issue than it currently is, just as the Arab states before have managed to do.

The danger is keenly felt by Israel, surrounded by threats and especially vulnerable to a nuclear bomb because it is such a small land.

The vulnerability to Israel that you speak of here is exactly why Israel — if not the United States — has the greatest stake in dealing with Iran militarily to deter it from developing nukes (an action that you oppose). Also, it is hardly new for Israel to deal with several enemies at once, and I don’t have to give you a history lesson on that front.

It could retaliate, including with rocket attacks on Israel from its client groups in Lebanon and Gaza. Terror cells around the world might strike Jewish and American targets.

They have already been doing that and still are. So that is not new. Further, Hizbullah is more constrained nowadays from acting because of its gov’t position in Lebanon after it learned its lesson back in 2006. If they do react with rockets, Lebanon could descend into ashes and it has much more to lose. Nasrallah’s recent statement that they will make their own decision independently of Iran may be an indication that they will not retaliate. But if they do, then know to expect a much worse outcome than what occurred back in the 2006 war.

The article raises a number of ‘dooms-like’ scenarios as a means to weaken the argument for war — thereby honoring Iran with nuclear weapons. They are guesses at best, but what Israel will not hedge its bets on is allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon while threatening its very existence. There is no clearer logic than this. Those scenarios you paint should be placed right at Iran’s door step, not anyone else. Iran denies the Holocaust but aims to create the conditions for it. The author of the article is not faced with the imminent danger that his/her people/nation will be annihilated by Iran, so he/she can afford the academic position advocated by the article. But when you are a nation of people who suffered horrible deaths in a Holocaust just 70 years ago and you witness yet another such threat, you would soon learn that you can not afford academic exercises – and that you MUST act. Never again. And never will Israel allow Iran to achieve its dangerous ambitions. I pray that the US will regain its conscience and either take to the fight and/or join Israel to fight this good fight against this dangerous evil in the Middle East.

Anyway, short of Iran giving up its nukes completely, you can be sure that Israel (and/or the US) will attack Iran to save itself. This is a matter of paramount importance for any state: to protect its people and to protect its very existence. Iran made a huge mistake for threatening another powerful nation as it did, and it alone bears the responsibility for the consequences of its threats and actions.

In Iran crisis, who will be the leader?

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

If Israel attacks Iran’s nuke facilities before the US does, then it would show that the US is not leading the effort to stop Iran’s nuclear program. The US has not been playing any leadership role in the Mideast under Obama (in the Libya bombing, it played a secondary role under NATO). And the Iran crisis, a high profile issue in that part of the world, would further show, and affirm, that it is Israel that will take that leadership role to address world fears concerning Iran.

In fact, Israel has an opportunity to form alliances in the region to form a front against Iran, Syria, Hizbullah. With such an alliance can come leadership.

Obama could, if he wanted to, take over the leadership role by dealing with Iran before Israel does. And this could be where the two are in friction: the timing. So now … who’s going to be the leader?

James Clapper on Iran’s nuclear path

February 1, 2012 2 comments

https://i0.wp.com/israelinsight.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/iran-nuclear-facilities.jpgThere is an issue I have with the position James Clapper (director of National Intelligence) had stated at the Senate Intelligence Committee — at least as reported by VOA, and the paragraph that reads:

Iran has denied taking part in assassination plots [against Saudi Ambassador to US] and insisted it has no intention of building nuclear weapons. On that second point, Clapper told senators Iran could be telling the truth, at least for now. “They are certainly moving on that path, but we do not believe they have made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon,” said Clapper, adding that the extent to which Iran enriches uranium will be a key signal of its intentions.

If, as he says, Iran is moving on that path — namely, toward building nuclear weapons — then it is absurd or meaningless to say that Iran has not made “the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon.”  If Iran is moving on a path, it already decided! Secondly, the IAEA report made more clear Iran’s decisions regarding nuclear weapons.

What I do find interesting is Clapper’s other comment that “Iran is increasingly willing to conduct attacks in the United States or against U.S. interests overseas.” That could be signaling raising the rhetoric against Iran to get it to do the wrong thing.

Canadian PM Harper more concerned with Iran

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

https://i0.wp.com/l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/WsXeSBJWl0oX1jr7C0hcBQ--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MjY7cT04NTt3PTYzMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en_ca/News/Capress/SKP11696389_high.jpgA few days ago I cited CBC article quoting Canadian PM Harper as saying that “Iran is a very serious threat to international peace and security. ”  More recently he made stronger comments that he has no doubt that Iran is both lying about its nuclear ambitions and that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

If only Obama would express similar sentiments instead of bowing to the Islamist regime of Iran (the way he bowed to the Saudi King, and not to the Queen) — the regime that snubbed and patronized him even when he told them that he would extend a “hand of friendship” if Iran “unclenched its fist”.  The feeble Obama still has, after 3 years in office, an Iran with an even tighter fist and more intransigent in it’s nuclear efforts (as reflected by the recent IAEA report). Has Obama learned the lesson that being nice to these Islamists does not really work? Has he learned that it was wrong of him to clench his fist against our longtime trusted friend Israel? That’s most shameful and un-American, for even Democrat Presidents Carter and Clinton (both of whom made steps to make peace between Israel and Arabs) have not treated their friend in that manner.

But Canadian PM Harper knows and keeps his friends and stands by them. Thank you, Mr Harper.

Categories: Canada, Iran, Israel, News, Politics

Iran’s crimes

January 12, 2012 Leave a comment

A list of crimes committed by the terrorist regime of Iran:
– Iran’s terrorist attacks on the Jewish Community Center in Argentina.
– Iran’s assassinations of Arab leaders (and attempt in US soil).
– Iran’s crime of supporting Assad in his massacring of Syrians.
– Iran’s Shia crime in assassinating Labanese PM Hariri via Hizbullah.
– Iran’s crimes of discrimination against Jews and Christians in Iran – and certainly Bahais.
– Iran’s genocidal crime for declaring annihilation of another UN member state.
– Iran’s crime of violating IAEA on nuclear enrichment – for several years now.

Iran’s time will come to pay for all these and many other atrocities against the international community.

Harper says Iran greatest threat to world peace

January 6, 2012 1 comment

PM Stephen Harper

I was very pleased to hear Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper come out with this clear statement:

Iran is a very serious threat to international peace and security. In my judgment, it is the world’s most serious threat to international peace and security, … This is a regime that wants to acquire nuclear weapons … and has indicated some desire to actually use nuclear weapons.

This man has been quite high in my book since he became PM. Canada is lucky to have him.

Categories: Israel, News, Politics

Which way for Egypt?

January 1, 2012 Leave a comment

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR1bPbmvO0rxe5b5FDwX51pmZjcutQQYIdi7EacnFkkUpM4EKyFAs has been suspected, the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt said that his party will not recognize Israel nor the Peace Treaty. (Reported by Jerusalem Post.)

This was expected earlier on even when the Brotherhood had toned down it’s policy on Israel publicly before the elections in Egypt.  But now after their election victory (they and the Salafists have won nearly 65% of the seats in Parliament) they’re emboldened to behave with greater ferocity and overconfidence.

Having said this, the one wildcard here is the Egyptian military, SCAF.  It could use this and similar policy statements by the Muslim Brotherhood as the reason for preventing them from taking power, and it would be perfectly understandable to the world stage: “we cannot let the Islamists destroy our nation, so we must take action.”  That would be the smartest strategy for the military. (Is it any wonder why there was a Mubarak and military rule in Egypt — as well as autocratic regimes in Arab states?  The reason for their existence is the much more dangerous alternatives like these bellicose Islamist regimes.)

The alternative, if the Egyptian military lets the Islamists to have their way, is that Egypt will descend further into savagery, and Israel will have the right — if the Peace Treaty is abrogated — to retake the Sinai Peninsula, being as it is strategically essential to its security, to cordon off Hamas in Gaza, and show Egyptians what a dumb mistake they made choosing such a belligerent entity to rule over their nation — an entity that seeks not to rebuild their nation but cause it to descend into war.  In fact, Israel could rightly proceed to do this preemptively without waiting until the matter gets worse. Such a threat by Israel could push SCAF to do the right thing. But the question is what is SCAF going to do? What, if anything, will or can the US do about it? We’ll see what path nature takes.

The problem is further exacerbated by the threat that Iran poses to Israel. The boundary of danger is growing for Israel: Iran, Hamas, Lebanon, and now Egypt. These must prompt some decision making and a strategy for action — perhaps even a preemptive one if necessary.

The Refugee Problem in the Muslim World

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

There is an obsession in the media about the Palestinian refugee problem at the expense of several other refugee problems in that part of the world that are only given casual cursory interest.  Let’s briefly cite some of these other ones.

  • Saddam’s Al-Anfal Campaign in the 1980s led to a million Kurdish refugees. A clear case of ethnic cleansing.
  • Human Rights Watch says that “By the mid-1990s, more than 3,000 villages had been virtually wiped from the map, and, according to official figures, 378,335 Kurdish villagers had been displaced and left homeless.
  • Assyrian Christians have constantly been leaving Iraq over the last few 100 years (unlike Muslims who have grown in number). Now their number is only a small fraction.
  • The Lebanese civil war caused around 900,000 Lebanese to be displaced.
  • The 1974 Cyprus Crisis led to around 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees and 65,000 Turkish Cypriot refugees (UN figures). These are near half the populations of both groups.
  • Nearly 800,000 Jews have been made refugees by Muslim states that they lived in for generations, thru persecution and intimidation. Most of them were sheltered and given a home in Israel; others fled to Western nations.
  • There are also many refugees from among the minorities living in Muslim states, such as the Bahais in Iran, who sought refuge in Western nations, in Israel, Turkey and others.
  • 100,000s Algerians have fled and taken refuge in Europe during the Algerian War of Independence.
  • The current Syrian civil war has led to the creation of 19,000 Syrian refugees near Turkey’s border; some 8,000 refugees fled to Lebanon, 1500 to Jordan, and 6,000 to Libya.
  • The Armenian refugees under the Turks, as well as the genocide against the Armenians.
Categories: History, Israel, News, Politics, Religion

France’s Armenian genocide law

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

The French National Assembly passed a bill criminalizing public denial of the Armenian genocide committed by the Ottoman Turks in WWI (~1915) — to which Turkey is set to retaliate. I take the view that it was a genocide since the Armenians were singled out for destruction.

I support this bill just as I do the analogous German law criminalizing Holocaust denial. My reason is that by making them into law people are not to forget those atrocities that man has committed against man. Secondly, the vast majority of people who deny genocides tend to be the ones who support — albeit quite obliquely — doing them and want to repeat them (witness Nazis, radical/Islamists, Ahmadinejad and the like).  These laws are then saying that we’re not going to repeat them nor the likes of WWII and other genocides.

Iraq & Tunisia seek Israel’s help on desertification

December 18, 2011 Leave a comment

From Israel Today Magazine:

” at the recent Conference on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa, representatives from Iraq and Tunisia approached staffers from the Jewish National Fund at the latter’s booth. Their goal: to seek Israel’s help in fighting “desertification” in their countries, reports Yediot Ahronot.”

There’s also some suggestion that Afghanistan too may be interested.

Categories: Israel, Life, News, Politics, Science

Hamas considering pre-1967 borders

December 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Hamas considering a deal based on pre-1967 borders? Well, it’s too little too late for that, now that the geodemographics have changed quite dramatically since 1967.  Further, given the growing hostility toward Israel from a rise in Islamist states from the ongoing Arab revolt — Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, etc — there is no way Israel is going to go out of its way to place itself in greater danger.

Some people seem not to understand that the Palestinian issue has changed considerably in light of the Arab revolt and Islamist surge. That problem changed because its context has changed.

Categories: History, Israel, News, Politics

US drones working on Iran?

December 4, 2011 Leave a comment

It appears that the US has been quietly using drones to target Iranian military and nuclear installations.  Iran reported that it shot down a US drone. This approach makes sense since the US has used drones before over Pakistan and Yemen quite regularly. (So why not Iran.) But I do not believe the US is alone in this, as I think other states, including Israel & Arab states, have an interest in seeing Iran’s nuclear sites attacked — in view of the ominous report from the IAEA. This may be the next best thing to an all out war.

Update: CS Monitor reports “Is the West waging a covert war against Iran?”

Categories: Israel, News, Politics