Friday, March 27, 2015

Muslim Civilization in Civil War

The author of the article below, Vladimir Dorta, was a Colonel (R) of the Venezuelan Air Force, and for thirty years or more US citizen. Israel's place in this region is fraught with danger, this is why it cannot afford to give up territory at this time to a "peace" partner who is not prepared to prepare his people for peace. 
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Iran? Shiite militias? After months of focusing on our new and exclusive enemy ISIS, the Western leadership and media are shocked, yes “shocked”! to discover that the conflict in Iraq and Syria has allowed an Iranian advance almost to the borders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel.

The front lines of the Muslim religious and civil war have dramatically changed, but our surprise is entirely self inflicted.

Robert W. Merry, a “longtime Washington political reporter and publishing executive” writes:

Back in October 2006, the National Security Editor at Congressional Quarterly, Jeff Stein, took to asking national security officials and members of Congress if they knew the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the Middle East. He wasn’t looking for arcane doctrinal disquisitions, merely if they could say who was on which side and what each wanted. He discovered a sump of ignorance in Washington officialdom on the subject, hardly one of only limited significance to the country at the time.

Our “expert” Merry goes on to clobber Senator Marco Rubio for his supposed ignorance regarding the Middle East; he then talks about “the Shiite nations of Iran, Iraq and Syria” (notwithstanding the fact that the latter is about 60% Sunni and 13% Shia), and ends up saying that we should help Iran against ISIS. This is what passes for knowledge of the Middle East in America and the West, where we project our ideas on the Middle East and see conflict there either as lack of democracy (nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan), or dictator versus people (Saddam Hussein vs the Iraqi people, Bashar Assad vs the Syrian people), or we only see one enemy, a “terrorist,” jihadist or radical group (then Al-Qaeda, now ISIS).

It is funnily absurd that when religion has practically disappeared in the West, our atheist leaders have suddenly become theologians and purport to know what Islam is, who are real Muslims, and who have hijacked what they call “the religion of peace.” These self-anointed Islamic experts have the gall to define as “not Islamic” someone like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s Caliph, who apparently has a PhD in Islamic Studies. Talk about hijacking, or about Disney cartoons.

Topping off this wholesale stupidity, some of our pundits believe they have discovered a correct definition: radical Islam, the reason being that if Obama and Kerry don’t want to mention it, then it should be the correct name. But this discovery is nearly worthless as a basis for strategy. What should be clear is that there is Sunni Islamism and there is Shia Islamism, that they are fighting each other to the death in the entire Middle East, and that both of them see the West as their enemy.

Talking about a foggy “radical Islam” and focusing on ISIS and forgetting Iran is not only erroneous but dangerous. Besides the extreme complexity of the Middle East, its cast of medieval culture and characters, of Islam as a political religion that has no limiting principle, and the constantly changing alliances and enmities, one more factor complicates the explosive mix: our postmodern reluctance to confront reality. Therefore our desperation for a semantic escape: “war on terror,” “contingency overseas operations,” “violent extremism,” “radical Islam.”

The underlying reality is: the Muslim civilization is in a state of religious and civil war that we in the West haven’t seen for almost four hundred years, a war similar to the Thirty Years’ War, between two religious sects and two groups of countries led by Saudi Arabia and Iran. The only difference is, the main forces on both sides are waging war against the West in a way that will increasingly include Muslims who live in the West.

If we don’t recognize this, we can’t understand why Muslims are killing each other from Egypt to Pakistan, or the rise of Iran together with its Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist proxies, or Iran’s quest for domination of Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria, or Saudi Arabia’s historical support of the most extreme forms of Sunni Islam such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS, or the confluence of thousands of young American and European Sunni Muslims in Syria to fight for ISIS or, especially, the reluctance of the Sunni monarchies and Turkey to confront ISIS because in doing so they would be helping Iran, their main Shia enemy, when it already has its eyes on Jordan!

At this very moment, the battle for the territorial division of the artificial states of Iraq and Syria is entering its final phases:

In Iraq, on one side is the Sunni Islamic State (ISIS) and on the other are the Iraqi Shia army, the Iraqi Shia militia, and the Iranian Shia military contingent, all led by the Iranian hero General Qasem Soleimani.

In Syria, hundreds of thousands of fanatical Iranian Shia Revolutionary Guards and Shia-Alawite fighters led by Bashar Al-Assad face equally fanatical Sunnis of the Islamic State. If Iran wins the battle for Iraq and Syria, it will not only have a common border with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel,

it will also be the hegemonic power in the Middle East. This unprecedented fact can only get much worse: Obama is making a deal with Iran so that this new Middle-Eastern hegemon, the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism, will also be a nuclear power.

Obama is telling Israel and the Sunni monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Bahrein, Qatar, and Kuwait: you are on your own. ISIS is not a terrorist entity, and neither are the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Iraqi Shia militias or the Yemeni Houthi Shia militias. Or, if you prefer, they are all terrorists because in a civil war every fighter is a terrorist. ISIS is just the most radical expression of Sunni warmaking, and the same applies to Shia warriors on the other side. They all see themselves as jihadis or holy warriors.

But what if radicals are a tiny minority within Islam? What if Islam is really a “religion of peace”? That is not the case either. The Muslim world is in social and political disintegration. There have been more than 25,000 Islamic attacks in the world since 9/11. Just in the month of January 2015, there were 266 Muslim attacks in 28 countries, from Afghanistan to Algeria, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Dagestan, France, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, and Yemen. There are now more than 18 million Muslim refugees in the Middle East, and there could be up to 10,000 European Muslims fighting in Syria and Iraq by the end of the year.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I'm a Palestinian Girl

The author of the article below is a Palestinian woman living in the West Bank. I am sure her sentiments are shared by many on both sides of the conflict.

I'm a Palestinian girl and that got fed up of everything around me. I’m sick of hearing the bad news, the bloodshed and the spreading of hatred all over.

I’m always sitting on my own thinking, when is this going to come to an end? When are we going to have the life we want? When are we going to have the peaceful life that we’ve heard of but never seen? Whenever I think about simple things like people loving each other and working together to have peace among them it makes me smile and gives me a little hope. Sometimes I think to myself, “Would I ever get the chance to meet with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and talk to him on person”? This idea has been in my mind for a long time and I’m so serious about wanting to meet him and talk.

Some people would think I’m stupid for having this idea or thinking that meeting him would change anything about the conflict. Why do I want to meet him? Because he only hears from the politicians and people who work in the government; he never talked to an ordinary Palestinian person.

What I would want to tell him that we Palestinians are ready to recognize the State of Israel, and it’s not only us, but also most of the Arab countries. We never want you to get out of this land. If you read history you will know that Jews have the right to exist here just like us. We Palestinians and myself personally, want peace. When I look to the other countries around the world and see most of them living a peaceful life it makes me sad and puts tears into my eyes and makes me think, “Why can’t we have such a life?”

I have been living under the occupation for 22 years and really I’m not willing for more. All I want is to have a normal life, have fun and enjoy my life while I’m still young. Is it really hard for the Palestinian and the Israeli governments to solve it and get two states, one for each? I bet they are not happy seeing their people in pain and suffering all the time. Let’s make this dream come true and seek peace, for it’s the best solution for all. Let’s at least love each other and live this life we were given in the right way, because life is way too short – if you don’t look around once you might lose it. We all know that life is too short to live it hating each other.

We really can love each other and live in harmony together, just like we used to do.

HOWEVER !!!!

In a joint IDF and ISA operation, in cooperation with Israeli police, a terror cell affiliated with the Hamas terror organization, was arrested in Qalqilya, in the West Bank. The perpetrators, confessed to plotting a series of terror attacks against Israelis, as well as revealing dozens of kilograms of chemical substances used to manufacture explosive devices.

During the investigation, members of the terror cell conveyed detailed information on a weaponry lab, located in an apartment in central Nablus, in which the perpetrators manufactured the explosive devices indented to be detonated against Israeli civilians. The Hamas operatives admitted to be recruited to the military branch of the terror organization while residing in Jordan. They were then trained by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and transferred to Judea and Samaria for further terrorist and recruitment activities. In addition, the terror squad was instructed by Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip to carry out attacks in Judea and Samaria during Operation Protective Edge.

Now who is stopping the Palestinian girl from leading a normal life???

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What France Really Thinks of U.S. Iran Policy

 International opinion condemned Israel over its attacks on the Iraqi and Syrian reactors only for those opinions to be reversed when it became clear the danger to world peace these reactors represented. Whilst many are deligitimising Netanyahu's warnings over Iran, it now appears that France (not a reputed friend of Israel), is seeing a lot of sense in Netanyahu's warnings to the American Congress - see below

Anne-Elisabeth Moutet March 17, 2015
French leaders think the U.S. president is dangerously naïve on Iran's ambitions, and that his notion of making Iran an "objective ally" in the war against ISIS, or even a partner, together with Putin's Russia, to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis, is both far-fetched and "amateurish."
When Claude Angéli says that both France's Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, and its President, François Hollande, have told friends that they rely on "the support of the US Congress" to prevent Obama from giving in to Iran's nuclear ambitions, it is the kind of quote you can take to the bank.
French diplomats worry that if Iran gets nuclear weapons, every other local Middle East power will want them. Among their worst nightmares is a situation in which Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia join the Dr. Strangelove club.
French diplomats may not like Israel, but they do not believe that the Israelis would use a nuclear device except in a truly Armageddon situation for Israel. As for Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Turkey going nuclear, however, they see terrifying possibilities: irresponsible leaders, or some ISIS-type terrorist outfit, could actually use them. In other words, even if they would never express it as clearly as that, they see Israelis as "like us," but others potentially as madmen.

The Quai d'Orsay (the French Foreign Ministry) may loathe, on principle, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: any briefing by French diplomats will, as a matter of course, explain how very wrong Israel is to alienate its "American ally." All the same, France's political stance on the projected U.S.-Iran deal is astonishingly close to that of the Israeli PM, as he outlined to the U.S. Congress on March 3.

Laurent Fabius -- once François Mitterrand's youngest Prime Minister; today's François Hollande's seasoned Foreign Minister -- is "fed up with Barack Obama's nuclear laxity" regarding Iran, a Quai senior diplomat told Le Canard Enchaîné's usually well-informed Claude Angéli, who can be relied on to give the unvarnished French view on matters foreign. "Just as in 2013, France will oppose any agreement too favorable to Iran if this turns out to be necessary. Fabius made this very clear to John Kerry when they met on Saturday March 7th."

This, Angéli points out, is far from the "soothing communiqué" issued at the end of the Kerry-Fabius meeting in which both men supposedly "shared" the same view of the Iran negotiations. The communiqué itself may have come as a surprise to a number of French MPs and Senators from their respective Foreign Affairs Committees. Fabius himself, in a meeting last week, made extremely clear his deep distrust ("contempt, really," one MP says) of both John Kerry and Barack Obama. Another of the group quotes Fabius as saying: "The United States was really ready to sign just about anything with the Iranians," before explaining that he himself had sent out, mid-February, a number of French 'counter-proposals' to the State Department and White House, in order to prevent an agreement too imbalanced in favor of Iran.

Le Canard Enchaîné ("The Manacled Mallard") is France's best-informed political gossip weekly. Long before the rest of the French press, away from General de Gaulle's paralyzing shadow, started investigative reports of their own, Le Canard, using a contact network second to none, used to break scoops only rarely picked up by the rest of a servile media pack.

We owe it the story of conservative President Giscard d'Estaing's ill-gotten gifts of diamonds (from Central Africa's self-styled Emperor Bokassa). An equal-opportunity hitter, Le Canardalso broke the story of the Socialist Mitterrand's wiretaps of some 5,000 journalists and 
personalities, only stopping short of explaining why: Mitterrand wanted to hide from the public the existence of his mistress and their daughter Mazarine. Newer brash French tabloids have only very recently started to examine the private lives of politicians, and Le Canard still doesn't care to do so. More recently, it revealed that the head of France's Communist union CGT had his new luxury apartment entirely refurbished at the ailing union's expense, complete with a home cinema: this cost him his job after an undignified couple of weeks of useless stonewalling.

So when Claude Angéli says that both Fabius and President François Hollande have told friends that they rely on "the support of the US Congress" to prevent Obama from giving in to Iran's nuclear ambitions, it's the kind of quote you can take to the bank. French leaders think the U.S. president is dangerously "naïve" on Iran's ambitions, and that his notion of making Iran an "objective ally" in the war against ISIS, or even a partner, together with Putin's Russia, to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis, is both far-fetched and amateurish.

The French are still smarting from the last-minute reprieve Obama granted Syria, as the French air force was about to bomb the Assad regime's military positions back in 2013, because the U.S. President had been convinced by Russia that they had succeeded in making Syrian President Bashar al-Assad give up on the use of his chemical weapons. "Our Rafale fighters were about to scramble," a French air force officer is quoted as saying; "Hollande was furious."

When Laurent Fabius briefed members of the French parliament last week, he was, according to Angéli, quite precise, mentioning as conditions necessary in any agreement a "reconfiguration" of the Arak nuclear site, where Iran enriches the heavy water necessary to produce plutonium bombs, as well as a sharp limit to the number of Iranian centrifuges, and complete access to all nuclear sites for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections.
French diplomats are no angels, and they haven't suddenly turned 180 degrees from their usual attitude of reflexive dislike toward Israel. They worry, however, that if Iran gets nuclear weapons, every other local Middle East power will want them. Among their worst nightmares is a situation in which Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia join the Dr. Strangelove club. French diplomats may not like Israel, but they do not believe Israelis would use a nuclear device except in a truly Armageddon situation.for Israel. As for Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Turkey going nuclear, however, they see terrifying possibilities: irresponsible leaders, or some ISIS-type terrorist outfit, could actually use them. In other words, even if they would never express it as clearly as that, they see Israelis as "like us," but others potentially as madmen.

Israelis prepare to vote; Palestinians prepare to fight

Khaled Abu Toameh March 16, 2015

For some Palestinians, the election is not about removing Netanyahu from power. Rather, it is about removing Israel from the face of the earth and replacing it with an Islamist empire.
Kerry's statement about the revival of the peace process shows that he remains oblivious to the reality in the Middle East, particularly with regards to the Palestinians.
Kerry is ignoring the fact that the Palestinians are today divided into two camps; one that wants to destroy Israel through terrorism and jihad and another that is working hard to delegitimize and isolate Israel with the hope of forcing it to its knees.
As Kerry was talking about the revival of the peace process, Hamas announced that it has completed preparations for the next confrontation with Israel.
Abbas will come to the talks with the same demands he and his predecessor have made over the past two decades, namely a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. And when Israel does not accept all his demands, he will again walk out and demand international intervention to impose a solution on Israel.
Talk about the resumption of the peace process is nothing but a silly joke.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Palestinians Want... Peace?

 Khaled Abu Toameh March 9, 2015
      The latest PLO and Fatah campaign is not directed only against settlement products.             Rather, it is targeting anything made in Israel, as a part of an "anti-normalization"                   movement, whose goal is to thwart any encounters between Israelis and Palestinians,           including peace conferences.
While some Israelis, Americans and Europeans are talking about the need to revive the peace process after the March 17 elections in Israel, the Palestinians are clearly moving in a different direction.

"We are headed for confrontation with Israel." — Mahmoud Aloul, senior Fatah official.
The Palestinian Authority's strategy now is to intensify its campaign to isolate and delegitimize Israel in the international community, and promote all forms of boycotts of Israelis and Israeli goods; to force Israel to make concessions through international pressure and through campaigns of boycott and divestment.

These campaigns are further radicalizing Palestinians, driving many of them into the open arms of radical groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

If Abbas is interested in returning to the negotiating table (as he sometimes declares he is), then he needs to prepare his people for that and not incite them even more against Israel.

Those who are opposed to the presence of Israeli products in their villages and cities will be the first to oppose the resumption of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis.

One of the reasons why it would be very difficult for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to return to the negotiating table with Israel is the massive campaign the Palestinians have launched to promote boycotts of Israel.

This campaign is being waged by PA President Abbas's loyalists in Fatah and the PLO.
Those who are today calling for a boycott of Israeli products, such as milk and dairy products, will be the first to stand against any attempt to resume the peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel in the future.

Although Abbas himself has publicly spoken against the international movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel, now he seems to have given his tacit support for the current campaign in the West Bank.

During a visit to South Africa in late 2013, Abbas told reporters, "No, we don't support the boycott of Israel. But we ask everyone to boycott the products of the settlements."

But the latest PLO and Fatah campaign is not directed only against settlement products. Rather, it is targeting anything that is made in Israel, including milk, biscuits and chocolate.

The campaign against Israeli products is the latest in a series of anti-Israel and anti-peace measures that PLO and Fatah activists have taken in recent years. These measures include the establishment of an "anti-normalization" movement whose goal is to thwart any encounters between Israelis and Palestinians, including sports matches and peace conferences.

In January last year, scores of Palestinians attacked a hotel in Ramallah where Israelis and Palestinians were holding a meeting to talk peace. The Israelis were evacuated under Palestinian police protection and handed over to Israeli authorities.

It is worth noting that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership never denounced the attack on the peace gathering, which occurred less than three miles away from the PA president's office and private residence.

Because of the "anti-normalization" campaign, it has become impossible and even unsafe to organize any public meeting between Israelis and Palestinians, not only in the West Bank, but also in other parts of the world.

A number of Palestinian journalists who participated in a conference attended by Israeli colleagues in a European capital were punished by being expelled from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. Palestinian children who participated in a soccer match with Israelis reported that they had received threats from "anti-normalization" activists in the West Bank. A more recent attempt to organize a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian peace activists in Bethlehem was called off after organizers said they received death threats from Palestinians.

Now that the "anti-normalization" movement has succeeded in putting an end to public meetings between Israelis and Palestinians, the PLO and Fatah are moving on to the next stage, namely promoting boycotts of Israeli products. After preventing Israelis from entering Palestinian communities, now they are working toward blocking the entry of any goods made in Israel.

Mahmoud Aloul, a senior Fatah official who is closely associated with Abbas, defended the destruction of the dairy products and called for stepping up boycott campaigns against Israel.

"Fatah is working toward consolidating the culture of boycotting Israeli products in Palestinian society by all means so that it would become an essential part of the upbringing and education of Palestinian generations," Aloul explained. "We are headed toward confrontation with Israel."

Following the confiscation of the truck in Ramallah, Palestinian merchants in another West Bank city, Jenin, complained that Fatah activists have demanded they stop selling Israeli products, accompanied by threats. The merchants were told that they had one week to get rid of eight Israeli products or else they would face punishment.

When Aloul and other Palestinian officials talk about preparations for another "confrontation" with Israel, they are referring to the Palestinian Authority's efforts to promote boycotts of Israel in the local and international arenas, as well as filing "war crimes" charges against Israelis at the International Criminal Court.

So while some Israelis, Americans and Europeans are talking about the need to revive the peace process after the March 17 elections in Israel, the Palestinians are clearly moving in a different direction.

The PA's strategy now is to intensify its campaign to isolate and delegitimize Israel in the international community and promote all forms of boycotts of Israelis and Israeli goods. The PA is now convinced that the only way to force Israel to make concessions is through international pressure and the promotion of campaigns of boycott and divestment.

This strategy was reflected in this week's resolution by the PLO Central Council in Ramallah. After a two-day meeting, the Council decided to suspend all forms of security coordination with Israel and called for boycotting Israeli goods.

"The PLO's Central Council reaffirms the continuation of boycotting Israeli goods as a form of popular resistance," the Council said. "It calls on the free people of the world and the committees of solidarity with the Palestinian people to boycott Israeli goods and withdraw investments."

Campaigns calling for the boycott of Israelis and Israeli products are further radicalizing Palestinians, driving many of them into the open arms of radical groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. If Abbas is interested in returning to the negotiating table with Israel (as he sometimes declares he is), then he needs to prepare his people for that and not incite them even more against Israel.

Those who destroy milk and dairy products in the center of Ramallah will also lynch any Israeli Jew they see in their city. This has happened before and could happen once again if the Fatah and PLO campaign of incitement against Israel continues.


And those who are opposed to the presence of Israeli products in their villages and cities will be the first to oppose the resumption of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gaza’s Islamic Jihad Ready for Next Round With Israel, Using Hamas’ Tunnel Strategy

Of  course world sympathy is with the poor Gazan's suffering. Homes destroyed in the war with Israel and, in spite of promises by the world at large to rebuild their homes, nothing is progressing. But what is the world doing about Gaza? Where is the money that was promised? 

What is Hamas doing to help their own people? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. What money is available in Gaza us being diverted to rebuilding the terrorists war machine at the expense of the citizens. Below is a BBC report (not usually supportive of Israsel) that shows how the various terror groups in Gaza are doing evcrything for the next war and nothing to help the poor citizens

David Duoud  MARCH 3, 2015  http://tinyurl.com/kjqpxws
Terrorist organizations in Gaza are busy rearming, Israel’s NRG reported on Tuesday. In the six months since last summer’s Operation Protective Edge – and with Gaza’s restoration in sight – armed Islamist groups in the coastal enclave have been preparing for their next fight. Gaza’s ruling Hamas has already declared that it is ready for the next war with Israel, and now Palestinian Islamic Jihad has joined them.
The fighters in PIJ’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigade, told a BBC reporter that they also intend to follow Hamas’ lead in digging tunnels and using them against Israel. They’ve decided to adopt this tactic because of the effectiveness of the tunnels against Israel in last summer’s conflict, according to the report.
Quentin Somerville of the BBC, who conducted the interviews, described PIJ as a well-trained, disciplined fighting force which is working on preparing and developing attack tunnels. The fighters told Somerville that, “during the last war, we realized that we are risking whatever remains above ground. The tunnels are our hiding places, that shield us from the Zionist enemy…we will use them to launch missiles.”
The BBC reporter then asked the PIJ fighters what they had achieved from their war with Israel last summer besides a high level of Palestinian casualties. They responded that their greatest achievement was “successfully challenging the infidel enemy, and that we can still say no to them. No to the occupation, and that we can resist them.”
During his tour of the Gaza Strip, Somerville was blindfolded on multiple occasions to hide the tunnel entrances from him. He said the tunnels were dug at a depth of twenty feet, and were built to allow the firing of mortars, rockets and anti-tank missiles.
When it comes to the Gaza Strip’s relations with Egypt – which recently listed Hamas as a terrorist organization – the fighters told the BBC that “Egypt plays a very important role in the Palestinian issue,” but they didn’t hide their frustration with Cairo’s positions either. When they were asked when they anticipated the next conflict to arise, one responded half-jokingly, “with Israel or with Egypt?”
Marwan Issa, considered slain terror chief Ahmad Jaabari’s replacement as the head of the military wing of Hamas – the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades – said last week that the terrorist organization is producing rockets, arming and building up towards a future conflict with Israel, but was not seeking a renewal of fighting immediately.



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

India and Israel: A Demonstrative Love Affair

India and Israel have a budding relationship based on security and foreign policy concerns.
By Ronald Meinardus, February 22, 2015

·       -   Narendra Modi has been rightly termed the most pro-Israel prime minister in Indian history.

·      -    India considers Islamist propaganda in the Internet a major security threat. 
·       The new India-Israel dynamic is driven by similar perspectives of external threats - and common enemies. 

·       -    For the Israelis, the Arab states are the archenemies. For the Indians, Pakistan falls into the same category.

·       -   Security and foreign policy considerations are the main driving force of the Indian-Israeli love affair.

·       -   Modi has proven he can win elections without considering the Muslim minority. Does this make him Israel’s man?

In his nearly one year in office, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has moved very methodically about setting new priorities in foreign affairs. That move surprised many observers who had anticipated that Modi would mostly focus on the domestic economy.
The rapprochement with the United States, celebrated during the recent visit of President Obama in New Delhi, was a highlight, as was the improvement in relations with Sri Lanka.
Buddying up with Israel
Now, India’s new government is executing a demonstrative closing of ranks with Israel. Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, just became the first holder of that office to visit India since the inception of diplomatic relations more than two decades ago.
Both sides spoke of it as a historic event. The significance of the visit fits in neatly with Narendra Modi’s broadbased efforts to readjust India’s foreign policy priorities in an evolving international environment. India is in the market for more defense goods and Israel is an important supplier.
The South Indian metropolis of Bengaluru was the first stop for Ya’alon and his entourage, which consisted of numerous Israeli representatives of companies involved in weapons manufacturing. The visitors attended Aero India, the most important arms show in South Asia –- and a marketplace for gigantic deals.
As was to be expected, the keenest buyers were the hosts themselves. India’s government wants to modernize the country’s armed forces and has earmarked no less than $150 billion for new fighter jets, anti-tank missiles, submarines, helicopters and other hardware.
Israel’s expansive and highly successful arms industry would like to secure a major piece of that cake. Chances for that are good. They have become even better with Narendra Modi in power, rightly termed the most pro-Israel prime minister in Indian history.
The end of Russian dominance
Traditionally, it has been Russia – and before that, the Soviet Union – that served as the biggest supplier of military equipment to the Indians. But the days of Russian domination are coming to an end.
Indian officials complain the Russians are not sharing technological know-how. The Israelis are seen as far more generous when it comes to military technology transfer. India is now the largest buyer of military hardware “Made in Israel.” At the same time, Israel is India’s largest customer after Russia.
Unlike its predecessor, the Modi government has given up any effort to conceal the massive defense cooperation with Israel. “We used to have our defense relationship behind the scene,” but they no longer need to do this, Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s defense minister, said in a talk at a political think tank in New Delhi.
This novel transparency in a highly sensitive policy field goes hand in hand with a broad-based upgrading of bilateral relations.
When Narendra Modi met Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last September, the two agreed to expand their relations. During that meeting, Netanyahu told Modi “the sky is the limit” for their cooperation.
Only a few weeks later, India’s Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, visited Israel to discuss cooperation in the fight against terrorism and other security issues. India is particularly keen to learn about Israel’s cyber-defense systems as it considers Islamist propaganda in the Internet a major security threat.
Delhi is concerned that Islamist groups are out to radicalize members of the 180 million people strong Muslim minority in India or recruit Indian Muslims for “holy war” in the Middle East.
India and Israel have also expanded their cooperation in other fields, such as agriculture and commerce. The two countries have even embarked on negotiations for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement.
However, all this is of secondary importance. The military relationship is clearly the dominant factor. The new India-Israel dynamic is driven by similar perspectives of external threats – and common enemies.
Domestic politics also plays a crucial role. “The previous Congress-led government kept ties with Israel quiet, partly over concerns it would antagonize Muslim voters the party relied on for support,” explain NC Bipindra and Nataliee Obiko Pearson in a Bloomberg report.

Narendra Modi and his Hindu Nationalist BJP do not need to take into account such domestic considerations. India’s Muslims have never been — and probably never will be — a strategic target group of their electoral campaigns.

Modi has proven on more than one occasion that he is in the position to win elections without considering the Muslim minority. This is good news for Israel.