Saturday, February 03, 2007
Israel's Dual Judicial/Legal System and Road Blocking
If anyone is still not sure that two judicial and legal systems operate in
Israel, one for leftists and the other for the rest of us, then just
First, for many years, any anti-Oslo activist who intentionally blocked
road traffic as a protest was arrested by the police, often beaten, and
prosecuted. While there are many examples, the most famous is that
involving Moshe Feiglin (see
Feiglin headed an anti-Oslo protest group in the
1990s called "Zo Artzeinu", and today heads the Manhigut Yehudit group,
which has tried to challenge the leadership within the Likud. Feiglin was
not only arrested, but he was prosecuted under "sedition" charges by
Israel's politicized Attorney General and he was convicted. That is the
same attorney general who never gets around to prosecuting treasonous
leftists or pro-genocide Arab politicians for "sedition" or "racism".
Those who are not anti-Oslo activists can block intersections all they
want and never get prosecuted. The Histadrut crime family regularly does
so, as do groups of leftists and even college students who object to being
charged annual college tuition of 2500 dollars per year (not per course).
Over the past few days, anti-Israel "anarchists" (who should in fact be
called "anarcho-fascists") have been repeatedly blocking highways and
roads in the Tel Aviv area. They claim they are dumping into the roads
scraps they tore off Israel's security fence near Modi'in. How many of
these hooligans have been arrested and indicted for sedition?
Surely you jest!
In Israel only Zionist activists are prosecuted under
anti-sedition laws, not leftist traitors and pro-terrorists.
About the latest "anarchist" vandalism and hooliganism, see this
web page for the news story: http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/821331.html
"Activists in a left wing group that calls itself the "Anarchists Against
the Fence" blocked a main Tel Aviv road using barbed wire taken from the
West Bank separation fence.
"The activists placed the barbed wire, taken from the section of the fence
near the village of Bil'in, at the corner of Rothschild and Bar Ilan
streets in central Tel Aviv. On the barbed wire, the activists hung signs
also taken from the fence, warning trespassers in Hebrew, English and
Arabic that the fenced area is a closed military compound and anyone who
tries to cross the fence or vandalize it in any way is putting their life
"According to the activists, blocking the traffic on a central road was
designed to symbolize the limiting of motion the fence imposes on the
Palestinian people every day. "The disruption that our roadblock created
is nothing compared to the disruptions caused by the army's checkpoints,
the apartheid roads, the settlements and the separation fence," they
Now in spite of my regular calls for the army to shoot leftists who
sabotage the security fence, the Olmert regime continues to treat these
violent hooligans with kid gloves, as sweet peace-loving scamps in need
of a hug.
2. Yes, Iran Can Be Stopped
The Iranian regime can't live without its oil money.
by Daniel Doron
02/01/2007 11:15:00 AM
IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROJECT can probably be stopped by significantly cutting
its oil income. A meaningful decline in this main source of Iran's income
would force its leadership to choose between butter and guns. This is a
critical choice; the ayatollahs cannot hope to maintain their hold on
power if they cannot feed the tens of millions of destitute citizens now
kept afloat with immense welfare outlays. As long as high oil prices and
exports provide them with enough income to finance both their costly
welfare program and their ambitious, expensive nuclear project, they can
and will do both. If reduced means compel a choice, the survival instinct
will force them to choose rice rather than enriched uranium.
So why has so little been done to reduce Iran's oil income? Military and
diplomatic experts in the West have not yet considered the full extent of
Iran's economic vulnerability. Like the Kremlinologists of yore, whose
chief efforts were directed at avoiding a nuclear conflagration between
the Soviet Union and the West, those dealing with Iran have become totally
enmeshed in diplomatic moves to head off Tehran's nuclear ambitions,
ignoring the less obvious but more crucial economic processes that
underlie Iran's power. Very few Kremlinologist predicted the implosion of
the powerful Soviet empire, an implosion that had far more to do with
economics than with diplomatic efforts at containment. The same may be
happening now with regards to Iran.
THE IRANIAN ECONOMY IS IN SHAMBLES. In an effort to please their
lower-class supporters in the wake of the revolution, the ayatollahs
slapped price controls on agricultural products. Within several years this
resulted in the devastation of what was once a prosperous agricultural
sector. Millions of farmers had to leave their farms and move to shanty
towns near major urban centers. There they were fed by Islamic charities
financed by the confiscated assets of the shah. Charity was allocated by
family size. This encouraged higher birth rates and caused a population
explosion, more than doubling Iran's population and putting further strain
on its welfare system.
Mismanagement and corruption, which are endemic to dictatorial regimes,
further increased inflation and unemployment, leaving millions of those
inhabiting the politically volatile shanty towns barely able to keep their
heads above water. Should a cut in oil income force the government to cut
back on its welfare subsidies, it will risk a massive revolt--this time
not by disgruntled students, who can be marginalized and brutally
suppressed, but by the very Islamic masses that have been supporting the
revolution as long as it secured their livelihood and lifted their morale
with the promises of a victorious jihad.
If not for ever-higher income from oil, Iran's inefficient and corrupt
economy would have collapsed long ago. But with Western complicity, the
Iranians have cleverly managed to increase their income. By inflaming the
Arab-Israeli conflict and supporting terrorism, they also foment tension
that leads to higher oil prices. Their investment in Hezbollah, you might
say, has really paid off.
EVEN A PARTIALLY SUCCESSFUL effort to reduce Iran's income from oil could
have great impact, because there are already signs of breakdown in the
Iranian economy. In a January 10 Jerusalem Post piece, "Ahmadinejad's
Reign Threatened by Soaring Housing Prices," Meir Javedanfar, an
independent analyst, is quoted to the effect that 800,000 new families are
formed in Iran annually but only around 450,000 housing units are
constructed. Prices of apartments in some parts of Tehran have increased
by 3,000 percent since 1990. There were 2 million applicants for 30,000
housing loans offered by the government. "The main reason people voted for
Ahmadinejad," Javedanfar concludes, "was because of internal problems such
as corruption, inflation, housing and unemployment. . . . Unless he
confronts these issues, in the next elections his position would be in
Recently, 150 lawmakers, at the core of the Iranian establishment, signed
a letter criticizing Ahmadinejad "for policies that led to a surge in
inflation." These lawmakers linked their criticism of economic policy to a
misguided nuclear policy that may provoke serious international sanctions.
A group of powerful businessmen, known as the Islamic Coalition Party has
also called for moderation in the country's nuclear policies to prevent
further damage to the economy
A Western-induced cut in oil income can greatly accelerate such political
pressures. How could a cut in Iran's oil income be achieved? The U.S.
government could of course try to use its enormous clout to bring pressure
on firms that trade with Iran or facilitate its financial transactions. It
could also put pressure on the Iranian currency. Admittedly such steps are
complicated and may not be sufficient. But why not try?
Then there is the possibility of sanctions aimed directly at Iran's oil
export industry. Both proponents and opponents of sanctions tend to warn
how difficult and complicated a successful oil embargo would prove, since
it would be resisted by some shippers, notably by the two nations that
constantly strive to undermine Western interests, Russia and China.
But an embargo need not be perfect to achieve its goals, since it is
sufficient to reduce Iran's oil income markedly, not cut it off entirely.
This could be accomplished by blockading the few major Iranian loading
facilities--a much simpler task than blocking ships on the high sea.
IF MORE STRINGENT economic sanctions fail to deter Iran's nuclear
ambitions, one can always consider military steps, but more graduated and
finely honed than are usually suggested. Opponents of military pressure on
Iran claim that it would be futile because no military measures could give
us confidence of successfully neutralizing the entire Iranian nuclear
undertaking. Much of it, they explain, is buried underground and may be so
thoroughly protected as to escape damage even from a nuclear strike.
But it is not really necessary to destroy the Iranian program down to the
last centrifuge in order to effectively stop it. If serious damage can be
inflicted on the electrical grid and on fuel depots and transmission
facilities, such damage could effectively stop nuclear production. Even
where independent electrical generation facilities are housed in
underground silos, their fuel supply will eventually dry up. More
important, plunging Teheran into darkness in a way that will not only
cripple the government and its command and control centers but will make
civilian life unbearable may be more than enough to return the Iranian
leadership to its senses.
Iran seeks a nuclear capability for more reasons than fulfilling its dream
of destroying Israel (they know Israel can retaliate, so even if they
fervently wanted to destroy it, they might just continue to arm Arab
terrorist proxies and have them bear the consequences, as they have done
with Hezbollah). Iran needs an atomic weapon to one day take control of
the flow and the price of oil, a strategic goal it has pursued since the
days of the shah. Once it is in possession of an atomic weapon, it could
control the Straits of Hormuz with impunity and dictate a constant, if
gradual rise in the price of oil. No one will risk an atomic
confrontation, let alone the threat of the Saudi oil fields being
incinerated, to prevent a gradual rise in the price of oil.
The Iranians could then secure all the income they need to preserve--and
even spread--their revolution. See what Arab petrodollars have done to the
immune system of Europe, how they incapacitated it and made it impotent in
dealing with growing Islamic radicalism in its midst. An Iranian-induced
transfer of wealth caused by a steep rise in the price of oil will dwarf
the already dramatic impact that Arab petrodollars have had on European
politics and culture.
Pushing the hated West into economic decline will make it so weak
politically and militarily that it will be in no position to resist when
the time is ripe for the Iranian takeover of Saudi Arabia, its oil fields,
and no less importantly in Tehran's eyes, Islam's holiest places. Shiite
control of these Holy Places and of the Muslim jihad will finally bring
the hated Sunnis, and especially the most hated Wahhabis, under Shiite
domination, and fulfill another dream and strategic goal of the Islamic
Republic of Iran. Shiite jihad will triumph "peacefully."
This is the strategic calculus we must weigh when assessing the risks and
benefits of taking timely action to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear
Daniel Doron is president of the Israel Center for Social and Economic
Progress, an independent pro-market policy think tank.
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