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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

October 14 , 2007 New Police Probe of Olmert, More on Syria

The Ministry of Justice announced that Attorney General Meni Mazuz has ordered the police to begin a criminal probe into a number of actions that Prime Minister Olmert carried out while Minister of Trade and Industry. Mazuz has ordered that the three main complaints against Olmert for that period be combined into one probe of his activities. The charges include giving special treatment to requests for investments in projects represented by his friend Uri Messer, giving special appointments to Likud members and keeping a special list on what he has done for members of the Likud central committee. Sources say that Mazuz would have been inclined to dismiss any one of the charges alone, but the weight of all of them and additional evidence that seems to have been collected, forced him to open an additional criminal probe. The decision vindicates the State Comptroller’s investigations into Olmert’s affairs have now turned into criminal probes.

The lead story in today’s New York Times was again about the Israeli attack in Syria last month. I guess that since there is not a great deal of news in the world an attack that took place a month ago, which much is still not known, received two front page lead articles in the Times in the last week.

It is quite impressive that neither of the articles have had any new hard confirmable facts. The first one was about the disagreements within the Bush administration on whether to support the attack or not. Today’s article claims that the attack was on a nuclear reactor under construction that was in the early stages. The question was whether it was too soon to attack or not. Maybe the article is correct; although, why it was first page material I do not understand, but I question the accuracy. Clearly, the government felt there was a ticking clock that needed to be dealt with quickly. But since when does an early stage building of plant does meet that criteria? Also, that claim does not tie together with the earlier stories.

Secretary of State Rice is in Israel. She seems to have decided to become involved in Israeli politics by meeting with representative of the religious party Shas and the right wing Israel Beitenu, in a bid to secure their support for the upcoming summit and discussions on issues at the “heart of the matter”. Good luck to her! So far the meeting with Shas is said to have not accomplished much. Prime Minister Olmert has decided to appoint Minister of Foreign Affairs Livni to lead the delegation to the Annapolis Senate. As usual Olmert has made the smart political move, stopping Livni’s criticism and her slowing budding relationship with Ehud Barak.

One of our readers has sent a great insight (mostly in the form of joke) as to why the Congress has taken up the Armenian issue. The reason- failing to stop the Iraq War by taking it on directly anger the Turks and the US loses its bases and is forced to withdraw from Iraq. Who knows, maybe that scenario is true.