Israeli News: A Daily Analysis
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

August 18, 2008- Iran Launches Satelite, Israel to Release Fatah and Russia May Have Overstepped in Georgia

Iran seems to have launched its first satellite into orbit today. As of writing this article, its not clear if the test was a complete success, but it has raised additional concerns in Israel. Both the launch vehicle and the satellite were produced in Iran. Steve Forbes wrote in this week's Forbes about the impending decision on what to do about Iran. He says that after four years of intense but ineffective diplomacy, Israel and the U. S. will soon decide whether or not the murderous mullahs of Iran will get the bomb. Steps short of war are still possible, but time is running out. The step short of war he suggests is a blockade of Iran to cut off it supply of gas. (Read the article) http://www.forbes.com/business/forbes/2008/0901/021.html 

Today Israel agreed to release 200 members of Fatah, including two who have blood on their hands. The goal is to strengthen Fatah at the expense of Hamas, who so far has seen none of its members released. Minister of Foreign Relations Livni supported the decision. Her major rival for the leadership of Kadima, Minister of Transportations and former Minister of Defense and Commander-in-Chief, Shaul Mofaz, opposed it. So far Livini seems to be winning race for the leadership of Kadima, garnering the most endorsements from party leaders. Mofaz has also crated a situation which will make it very difficult for Livni to remain in Kadima should he win. He has stated that he would cease all permanent status negotiations with the Palestinians, and he himself would take over any negotiations. There is reason he is not considered to have been either the best Chief-of-Staff or Minister of Defense in Israel's history, but why promote mediocrecy? Israel certainly has a recent history of doing that. 

The Russians may have truly over played their hand in Georgia. German President Andrea Merkel announced from Tbilisi today that Georgia would become a member of NATO. This is the same Merkel who was one of the main opponents of their inclusion. When she visited Israel recently, Israelis from Georgia begged her in vain to change her position. If the results of the attack are Georgia and Ukraine in NATO and American missiles in Poland, it will have been a major strategic misstep for the Kremlin. Today's threats by the deputy Russian Defense Minister threatening the Poles with nuclear weapons are likely to have the opposite of their desired effect. Another factor not mentioned at all in the western press, but shared to me by a Japanese friend, is how mistaken the Russians were in attacking during the Olympics. This friend said that the Chinese will never forgive the Russians for attacking during their Olympics, and taking the shine off their moment in the sun.