Thursday, April 30, 2009

Israeli intel warns Netanyahu on Obama policy: 'We have become an obstacle'

from The World Tribune
April 30, 2009

TEL AVIV — A classified assessment relayed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Obama and his senior advisers would incrementally diminish U.S. strategic cooperation with Israel developed over the last 20 years.

"Obama wants to make friends with our worst enemies and until now the worst enemies of the United States," an Israeli source familiar with the intelligence assessment said.

"Under this policy, we are more than irrelevant. We have become an obstacle."

[On April 21, Obama said he would meet Netanyahu in Washington as part of revived U.S.-led peace efforts in the Middle East, Middle East Newsline reported. The president said the summit would take place over the next few weeks.]

Israeli sources said the administration would reject Israel intelligence on such threats as Iran and Syria while advancing the Obama agenda to reconcile with the two states, both listed as state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Dept.

On April 20, Israeli military intelligence commander Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin warned the Cabinet that Obama was prepared to allow Iran to retain its capability to assemble nuclear weapons and support Hamas and Hizbullah.

"Obama wants to advance the peace process in the direction of realistic discussions with extremist elements," Yadlin said.

The Israeli intelligence assessment envisioned that Obama would maintain his reconciliation policy with Iran and Syria through at least 2010. The sources said the assessment determined that Obama was convinced that such a policy would enable a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Obama will want to show Iran, Syria and radical Muslims that the United States could pressure Israel on a strategic level," the source said. "The pressure has already begun and will intensify throughout the next year or two."

The military intelligence chief said Obama was also courting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Yadlin said both Damascus and Teheran have not significantly reduced their support for insurgency groups throughout the region.

"President Bashar Assad hopes to turn over a new leaf with U.S. President Barack Obama," Yadlin said. "However, while Western powers are being hosted at the palace in Damascus, Syria is continuing to be used as the back yard of the axis of evil. Assad is letting Hizbullah and Iranian forces freely conduct their affairs in Syria and use its territory for Hizbullah deployment."

Yadlin said Obama's policies have generated dismay among Arab allies of the United States. He said Arab countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia were concerned that U.S. reconciliation efforts would merely encourage Teheran and its proxies to intensify destabilization efforts. In April 2009, Egypt reported a Hizbullah network that operated in Cairo and the Sinai Peninsula.
"The Arab world is starting to understand that Iranian proxies are a threat to the region," Yadlin said. "The Hizbullah activity in Egypt is not an isolated incident. Iran has infrastructures across the world seeking to perpetrate terror attacks against Israel."

At the same time, the Obama administration was expected to restrict U.S. arms exports to Israel in an effort to deny systems that could be used in any attack against Iran or Syria. The intelligence sources said this policy was implemented during the last year of the Bush administration and would intensify under Obama.
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