Bloody scramble for Congo’s resources: smells like Imperialism

The current wars waged by Washington and the European powers for control over markets and resources across the entire globe increasingly resemble the conflicts brought on by the crisis of capitalism which beset the world powers in the last century, leading to two devastating world wars. The expansion of military operations across Africa make clear the ruling class is prepared to violently crush any such opposition to US dominance.

By Eddie Haywood
27 April 2017

Last week, a team with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights together with personnel from the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) discovered scores of mass graves in Kasai Province, a south central region of the Congo currently wracked by bloody conflict between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and Kamuina Nsapu, a local tribal militia.

According to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 17 mass graves were discovered in early April, which had been the location of recent clashes between the militia and FARDC. These discoveries follow the unearthing of several mass graves found in March.

Speaking to the media, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said, “The discovery of yet more mass graves and the reports of continued violations and abuses highlight the horror that has been unfolding in the Kasai [Province] over the last nine months.”

The UN High Commission has declared that the human rights violations could be referred to the International Criminal Court for further investigation.

“Should there be no effective national investigation, I will not hesitate to urge the international community to support an investigation by an international mechanism, including the International Criminal Court,” the High Commissioner said.

The conflict has resulted in a mass internal displacement in the Kasai Province, with millions fleeing the region for Angola and other areas of the Congo. Thousands have been tortured, killed and injured, and incidents of rape of women and children on the part of the FARDC have been reported.

In a report by the BBC, a visibly traumatized local villager recounted the horror: “They killed people and raped women. Then, the next day we saw a general. He said ‘Come out of your house; we’re not going to kill any more.’

“He told us to bury the people—even members of my family, even people I knew.”

Another resident of Kananga told the BBC of indiscriminate killings carried out by the FARDC. “When the shooting began, my children ran and hid in a neighbor’s house. But the government soldiers got into that house—three people were killed and one of my children was injured.”

Another Kananga resident told of the extortion carried out by government forces: “Soldiers are coming into neighborhoods and harassing people for money. If you don’t have money, they threaten to kill you.”

Kamuina Nsapu, the militia named after its slain leader, is made up largely of the Luba tribe, the main tribal grouping in the Kasai Province. The militia claims to have the ‘power of voodoo,’ and its leaders claim that they can be protected from death by wearing specific leaves from the heavily forested Kasai region.

Underscoring the militia’s rise is the overwhelming perception within the population of Kasai that the Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila, is illegitimate; in the election of 2011, Kabila claimed to win the province, a stronghold of the late opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi. There were reports of impossibly high voter turnout and vote rigging, and intimidation at polling stations throughout the country.

MONUSCO, the UN force charged with peacekeeping and protecting civilians in the Congo, is in reality a force which seeks to maintain the exploitation of the country’s vast economic resources. MONUSCO has little popular support after incidences in which the so-called peacekeeping force has taken the sidelines during massacres of civilians, such as occurred in Goma in Eastern Congo during the M23 rebellion in 2012.

The Kasai Province is rich in diamonds, and is among the world’s leading sources of the precious gems, making clear the capitalist interests that underlay the conflict.

Robert Mugabe has been steadfast in defending his nation from Western aggression and Jewish exploitation.

The armed conflict embroiling the Kasai Province traces back to last August when government forces killed the leader of Kamuina Nsapu after the government refused to give official recognition to the tribal leader, and appointed cronies instead, which has been widely perceived in the province as an insult.

Beginning in July, Kabila deployed government forces into the Kasai Province to neutralize the group. Since Kabila’s refusal to step down and hold elections last December, there has been a sharp increase in lawlessness and the rise of armed conflict across the country. With a subsequent sharp decline in support for Kabila the government is desperate to maintain the legitimacy of its rule.

The armed insurgency inflaming Kasai is just one of several bloody conflicts currently wracking the country, mostly located in the Eastern region of the country, where several foreign rebel groups use the Congo as a rear base for operations, such as M23, a rebel militia of former Rwandan Hutu rebels involved in that countries’ genocide in the 1990s, and the Ugandan militia opposed to the government of Yoweri Museveni in Kampala, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

The ongoing simmering conflicts hark back to the Congo War of 1996–2006, which involved the armed forces of eleven African nations and resulted in the deaths of millions.

At stake in the Congo War were the outcome of claims to Congo’s rich and vast mineral wealth, which include gold, diamonds, and cobalt, as well as other rare earth minerals used in the manufacture of electronics for the world market, such as mobile phones and laptop computers.

Similar stakes overshadow the conflict in the Congo today—the scramble to plunder economic resources, and Western capitalist interests attempting to influence the outcome.

There are clear indications that the Kabila government has fallen out of favor with Washington. The former military commander has been in power for more than 16 years, and refused to step down in December 2016 when his term ended as mandated by the Congolese constitution.

In response, the US and European Union laid economic sanctions against Kabila and several top officials in his cabinet last year, sharply condemning Kabila’s refusal to leave office and accusing him of “undermining democracy.”

The appeals on the part of the US and EU to democracy are a cynical fraud, given Washington and Europe’s history of covert warfare in the country, their complicity in the assassination of its first elected president, Patrice Lumumba, and their support for the brutal Mobutu dictatorship. What Washington would like to see in Kinshasa is a government more subservient to its economic interests.

Last November, US Congressional members wrote to then President Obama asking for expanded economic sanctions against the Kabila regime, citing evidence that “significant funds have been diverted from RDC’s treasury to enrich members of the ruling elite,” and asking the administration to freeze Congolese officials’ assets, and to order investigations of the Kabila government.

Figuring into Washington’s objectives of sanctioning government officials is the palpable fear that the Congo’s vast economic resources and its profits will not benefit American corporations and banks.

Weighing heavily on Washington is the fear of China’s economic influence and investment in the Congo. China in recent years has increased its investment in the Congo and across the African continent, an encroachment the US elite regard as intolerable.

In 2013, Chinese construction firm Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group secured a contract with the Congolese government to construct an electrical power plant in Mbuji Mayi, the capital city of Kasai province. The 4.6 megawatt electrical power generation facility is used in the production of the region’s diamonds. Also, China secured a deal with the government to invest $100 million in Mbuji Mayi’s infrastructure.

Washington is actively working to neutralize the roadblock to its domination of African economies represented by Beijing, and has sharply increased its military presence across the continent in response.

Coinciding with the expanded US military presence on the continent is an increasingly restive African population who in the coming period will become ever more deeply opposed to the capitalist policies of the ruling class.

The expansion of military operations across Africa make clear the ruling class is prepared to violently crush any such opposition to US dominance.

That the Congo, with trillions of dollars in natural resources under the control of a few elites, is also home to the most impoverished mass of people on earth is a devastating indictment of the capitalist system. While the Congolese elite enrich themselves, it is at the expense of the Congolese masses, of which more than half live on $2 a day or less.

The current wars waged by Washington and the European powers for control over markets and resources across the entire globe increasingly resemble the conflicts brought on by the crisis of capitalism which beset the world powers in the last century, leading to two devastating world wars.

The acute crisis of capitalism gripping the world today makes a mockery of the claims made by US officialdom of a “new era of peace, prosperity and democracy” after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The period since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 has been marked by unending and ever-expanding war conducted by th

 

Q: Why is no action being taken against the Zionist regime’s state terrorism?

Image result for israel axis of evil

All pissing in the same pot

Answers by Andrew Korybko Nov 6, 2016

The first thing to remember is that the Zionists’ military-industrial complex is interlinked with that of the US and Western Europe, and that the political-lobbyist bodies active in those areas are very strong and influential.

Moreover, establishment voices in those states reflexively accuse anyone of “anti-Semitism” the moment that they try to raise awareness about ‘Israel’s’ crimes , hoping that this will succeed in defaming and silencing all opposition. Journalists and politicians alike who dare to exercise their rights to free speech and critical thinking stand to lose their careers and thus be unable to sustain their livelihoods, which is especially threatening if they have a family to take care of.

These factors combine in such a way as to self-censor many political and media activists who would otherwise do the right thing by talking about this issue. Sometimes, though, those who speak up are part of the ‘controlled opposition’ that works to discredit this cause, so this further complicates the whole state of affairs and is responsible for why social justice has yet to be served.

How similar are the Zionist and American officials’ mindset about state terrorism?

There is no difference between the two because they are one and the same entity. The interlinked military-industrial complexes between the two are supported by political-lobbyist ties that seal them together. ‘Israel’ is the 51st state of the US just as much as the US is the godfather of ‘Israel’. They are inseparable and thus have the same grand strategic outlook as one another.

In pertinence to the question, this means that they both support state terrorism and actively practice it whenever it suits their interests. A perfect example of these actors working together can be seen through the decades-long oppression of the Palestinians and the War of Terror on Syria, both of which are tragedies that would never have taken place had it not been for the complicity of these two entities in working hand-in-hand with one another.

Zionist intelligence service confirmed its role in killing Iranian nuclear scientists, over the last few years. The occupying forces of Palestine also have committed the most heinous crimes and atrocities against Palestinians during past decades. Is it safe to say the Zionist entity is the flagrant instance of state terrorism?

Absolutely. The creation of the Zionist entity itself is due to a combination of state terrorism and what Harvard scholar Kelly M. Greenhill termed as “Weapons of Mass Migration” in her 2010 publication of the same name. Everyone needs to “Acknowledge Weapons of Mass Migration Or ‘Legitimize’ “Israel””, but the main point is that European governments encouraged the post-World War II mass migration of their Jewish citizens to Palestine for the purpose of colonizing it on the grounds that this is some sort of geopolitical “reparation” for everything that this demographic suffered during the war.

 This ‘normative’ pretext is exposed for the shallow falsehood that it always has been when one considers that the Palestinians have been forced to undergo similarly torturous hardships as the Jews did during World War II, except this time it’s ironically one of the victimized classes of that global conflict inflicting this on a people that had absolutely nothing at all to do with their wartime suffering.

Which of the running US presidential candidates would serve more to the idea of state terrorism?

The differences between the Bush and Obama Presidencies in regards to their support and defense of state terrorism are only stylistic and superficial. Both Presidents unwaveringly pursue this policy in their own country’s actions, they just carried it out in different ways.

Bush was brash and unashamedly told the whole world what he was doing, whereas Obama is much craftier and cunningly disguises his actions behind the rhetoric of “human rights” and “democracy”, taking care to also exploit the fact that he’s the US’ first black president in order to infer that all of his critics are “racists”. In my opinion, this makes Obama infinitely more dangerous that Bush ever was, because at least no one in the world was fooled by Bush, though so many people have fallen under Obama’s spell.

 Concerning the Zionist occupation of Palestine, Bush was a loud defender of the state terrorism being committed against the original inhabitants, although Obama has sought a more publicly nuanced approach. The personal animosity that defines relations between the sitting US President and Netanyahu is well known, but this hasn’t had any negative effects whatsoever on ties between the two polities.

This is attributable to the fact that both of their “deep states” (the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies) are in coordinated alignment as to their shared grand strategic goals, so public drama between their two leaders is of no tangible consequence to the essence of their deeper relationship. It’s important at this point to mention that Obama’s actions in this regard are just posturing intended to mislead Muslim audiences and disarm the suspicions of their gullible audiences into falsely thinking that the US supports them.

MORE

Who are the members of the American Deep State?

I went into the State Department, Near East section and found there was NOT ONE SINGLE Palestinian, NOT ONE SINGLE Moslem, religious … Saudi… you know, Jordanian, NOT ONE Christian protestant… NOT ONE Roman Catholic… NOT ONE PLAIN OL’ AMERICAN whatever from cornpo
EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN ALL OF THOSE OFFICES were either Zionist,
Israeli’s, whatever…  They had pictures ALL OVER THE WALL, Israel, Israel, Israel.  They had magazines, “Israel Today.”  I was given a copy of one.  And, there were yarmulkes and Israeli writing, in other words…. And I asked one of the women after having gone through about four or five of these offices…. I said, as I was pretending like I really wanted…. I was just wanting to know where the Palestinian office was….and she said, ‘well we handle all of that.’  ‘We handle all of that’ [Kay Griggs]*

2014

“We have since worked with a broad coalition of Jewish and non-Jewish groups as well as with United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) to support legislative and regulatory actions requiring divestment from companies that do business with Iran, as well other sanctions.

‘Florida has been a leader in adopting strong measures to isolate the Iranian regime in the areas of procurement, divestment and banking. We encourage local communities across the U.S to join Florida to pass similar measures” said Tara Laxer, Florida Director of United Against a Nuclear Iran.

The Jewish Federation and the Jewish United Fund are two of the donors to UANI. These nonprofit organizations are part of the wider US-based, pro-Israel juggernaut that shapes American national security strategy for Israel. Through connections, money, position and power they seek to immunize Israel from criticism for its mendacious, militaristic policies.

They have succeeded in marginalizing discussion of America’s dangerously pro-Israel policies to the extent that the subject is taboo: Criticize Israel and automatically receive the badge of anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile US warfighters have an additional cross to bear in the world of Islam as they are seen as pawns of Israel. More’s the pity American foes are energized by America’s blind support of a tiny nation, strategically insignificant but with a stranglehold over American national security interests.

Matt Apuzzo writing for the New York Times recently reported that the US Department of Justice has asked that United Against a Nuclear Iran’s donor lists and dollar amounts not be turned over in litigation involving a defamation lawsuit.

Jewish Agency Payments to the American Zionist Council “Quarterly payment to [AIPAC Founder] Mr. I.L. Kenen for public relations services…”

“The Justice Department has temporarily blocked the group from having to reveal its donor list and other internal documents in a defamation lawsuit filed by a Greek shipping magnate the group accused of doing business with Iran.

Government lawyers said they had a “good faith basis to believe that certain information” would jeopardize law enforcement investigations, reveal investigative techniques or identify confidential sources if released.”

Alex Kane of Mondoweiss wrote a piece titled “‘New York Times’ profile of group bent on sanctioning Iran fails to mention Israel connections,” back in June 2013. With a bit of effort he was able to find a number of UNAI’s contributors.

Many of UNAI’s donors can easily be found by doing some research on the World Wide Web. And what one finds, of course, is a superbly networked Jewish community, most on message advocating for the interests of the Israeli government.

These pro-Israel nonprofits serve as the eyes and ears for Israel in the USA and as fundraisers/donors for groups like UNAI, who themselves take guidance from the Israeli government.

Jewish Agency for Israel, Jewish United Fund of Israel

Americans know about the American Israel Political Action Committee and the influence they can bring to bear on American politicians and, through JINSA, American military commanders.

But fewer know about organizations like the Jewish Agency for Israel. Its annual report lists the 156 groups that make up the Jewish Federations of North America. They are located in nearly every major city in the USA.

The Jewish Agency for Israel had $478 million in revenue for 2013, according to its annual report. In that reports trends section it indicates that the Jewish Agency will work with the government of Israeli to enhance the identity of young Jews around the world. Its donor list must be the envy of every nonprofit in America.


Dennis Ross dodges question about illegality of US aid to Israel Former AIPAC/Washington Institute/Jewish Agency for Israel operative dodging questions on C-SPAN


The list includes the Tisch Foundation (movies), IKEA (furniture), Rothschild Foundation (banking),  Charles E. Smith (construction in Washington, DC),  Larry Ellison (Cisco Systems), John Hagee (Christian evangelical), and Siemens (telecommunications).

UANI received $25,000 in funding from the Jewish United Fund of Chicago (JUF), a powerhouse fundraising organization connecting those of the Jewish community in Chicago. According to the organization’s board meeting minutes from early 2013 (readily available online), JUF has revenues of $206 million dollars.

Of interest in those meeting minutes is a quote by Colonel Danny Tirza, the designer of the Security Fence that splits Israelis and Palestinians: “Not a single Palestinian home was damaged by the process [of building the fence].”

JUF allocated $30 million for Israel and Overseas Operations according to the board minutes.

JUF was one of the founders of the Israeli Action Network—along with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Jewish Federations of North America–whose mission is to fight against the boycott, divestiture and sanctions movement in the United States.

JUF indicated in its board meeting minutes that although the American Studies Association (ASA) passed a resolution in 2013 in favor of boycotting Israeli academic institutions, the Israeli Action Network made a number of non-Jewish contacts and were able to convince a number of American university presidents to condemn the ASA resolution.


FBI investigates the ADL for Espionage 
Like San Francisco District Attorney Arlo Smith who failed to prosecute the ADL for invasion of privacy, tax evasion; or indict Tom Gerard and Roy Bullock as unregistered agents of a foreign government, the FBI investigation was suddenly stopped in its tracks.  David Lehrer, though later fired by ADL National Director Abraham Foxman, was apparently never interviewed about the classified FBI files.  The FBI’s LA field office abruptly closed the espionage investigation on March 22, 1994.  By April, the uncomfortable FBI – ADL liaison, first ordered by J Edgar Hoover and later renewed by William Webster, was back in full swing as AG Janet Reno graciously accepted ADL reports on militia groups and civil suits  the FBI internally categorized as “low value.”  See report “FBI Investigated ADL for Espionage


 The ASA described the outcome of the vote for the resolution thus:  “The members of the American Studies Association have endorsed the Association’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

In an election that attracted 1252 voters, the largest number of participants in the organization’s history, 66.05% of voters endorsed the resolution, while 30.5% of voters voted no and 3.43% abstained.

The election was a response to the ASA National Council’s announcement on December 4 that it supported the academic boycott and, in an unprecedented action to ensure a democratic process, asked its membership for their approval.”

What’s UANI got that Obama’s justice department does not want released?

Ask the FBI and other American counterintelligence agencies two questions: How deep have Israeli operatives penetrated into America’s critical infrastructure sectors, American intelligence agencies, and the US military? Who are the members  of the American Deep State?

As MC Hammer once said, “Can’t touch this.”

John Stanton is a writer from Virginia. His latest book is Media Trolls, Technology ShamansRead other articles by John.

Ultimately the top Jewish bankers are the rulers of the world.

 

US terrorism against the country of Laos

 “The numbers give a sense of the scope. From 1964 to 1973, the United States dropped some 2 million tons of ordnance on Laos, the equivalent of one planeload every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years.
It made Laos, per capita, the most bombed country in human history. In 1969 alone, the United States dropped more bombs on Laos than it did on Japan during all of World War II.
All told, some 200,000 Laotians were killed in the war—about a tenth of the country’s population. Most were civilians. Nor did the end of the fighting in 1975 stop the killing; over the next four decades, unexploded cluster bombs would kill 20,000 Laotians and maim additional thousands.”

February 2

The struggle for Indochina lasted three decades and caused massive bloodshed and physical destruction in three countries: Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam was always the heart of the conflict, the site of the heaviest fighting and dying, the place where first French and then American planners invested the bulk of their resources.

So it stands to reason that it’s the fighting in Vietnam that has received the lion’s share of attention from scholars and other authors over the years. That literature is enormous and growing. Still, the disparity is jarring: Next to the mountain of books on Vietnam, there’s barely a molehill on the war as waged in Laos and Cambodia.

All the more welcome, then, to see the appearance of Joshua Kurlantzick’s “A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA.” Here we get an informative and well-researched overview of the covert war the United States waged in Laos between 1960 and 1975, one that involved both the recruitment and training of a local anti-communist fighting force led by Hmong tribesmen and the launching of a bombing campaign of awesome size.

The U.S. purpose: to tie down the forces of North Vietnam and their Laotian allies the Pathet Lao, and to destroy communist supply lines that moved men and material along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in eastern Laos en route to South Vietnam.

The numbers give a sense of the scope. From 1964 to 1973, the United States dropped some 2 million tons of ordnance on Laos, the equivalent of one planeload every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years. It made Laos, per capita, the most bombed country in human history. In 1969 alone, the United States dropped more bombs on Laos than it did on Japan during all of World War II.

All told, some 200,000 Laotians were killed in the war—about a tenth of the country’s population. Most were civilians. Nor did the end of the fighting in 1975 stop the killing; over the next four decades, unexploded cluster bombs would kill 20,000 Laotians and maim additional thousands.

North Korea May Reach the US, but Not With Nukes

The United Nations passed so-called sanctions again on North Korea, and they’ve said they ‘will exercise their preemptive right to a nuclear attack.’ I don’t think this ought to be taken kindly. -Oliver North

Image result for US lies about N Korea

 Where’s the evidence they have them?

thedailybell

The terrifying truth about North Korea’s nuclear weapons …”North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the US,” President-elect Donald Trump tweeted on January 2. “It won’t happen!”

  However, the terrifying truth is that North Korea, the only country to have tested nuclear weapons in the 21st century, has just as much of a say in whether its potential nuclear arms can or will reach the US as Trump and the US do.

According to people who make their living assessing threats, North Korea has nuclear weapons and is quickly making more of them. But our research shows quite clearly that TNT can be substituted easily for atomic material and that, in any case, using nuclear material may be a good deal more difficult than is commonly made out.

Do we believe North Korea has nuclear material. Possibly. Is their program moving along the way they claim it is. Probably not. But nonetheless, according to professional watchers, North Korea is making rapid progress toward inter-continental missiles.

“It can be difficult to make assessments about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities given that we have very little access to North Korea’s missile facilities,” Kelsey Davenport, the director of nonproliferation policy and a North Korea expert at the Arms Control Association, told Business Insider.  “But it’s clear that North Korea has made significant advances both with nuclear warheads and with ballistic missiles,” Davenport said.

North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is still in its early phases, but Kim Jong Un, the country’s leader, commands about 100 missile launchers with several missiles for each, according to Jeffrey Lewis, the founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk.  While there’s some debate about North Korea’s stockpile of nuclear materials, “you’re looking at a few tens of warheads, but that number’s going to keep going up every year,” Lewis told Business Insider.

In comparison, the US has 1,796 nuclear missiles deployed, another 4,500 stockpiled, and 2,800 retired and waiting to be dismantled, according to the Arms Control Association.  Furthermore, North Korea presently has no way of reaching any part of the US with a missile of any sort, but Pyongyang is “likely at the point now where it could mount a nuclear warhead on a medium-range missile, and that would put South Korea, Japan, and US military installations in range of the North Korean nuclear threat,” Davenport said.

The article sounds suitably terrifying until one begins to examine the underlying evidence. Then it all begins to fall apart. According to the article, experts have “every reason to believe Kim regarding his missiles.” Really? Why is this?

We were told that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wiped out by nuclear bombs, but this evidently isn’t true. Perhaps a nuke was dropped on these two cities, or perhaps not. But they certainly were bombed using standard incendiary devices. See here.

Nor is it true that a video of even a single nuclear test was released to the public without significant alteration. See here.

According to the article, North Korea’s nuclear threat can’t easily be halted. It will only get stronger over time. All three participants, the United States, North Korea, and South Korea, all plan to go first. ”It’s a dangerous situation people haven’t thought through,” Jeffrey Lewis said.

But surely a lot of it is simply exaggerated. Here’s our thought: There won’t be an actual nuclear confrontation with North Korea, or if there is one, it won’t involve nuclear weapons.

It’s easy to build up the Korean threat, but there’s little to no proof for any of it.   Just like there’s very little proof for previous nuclear threats, by North Korea or other countries.

Trump wants enemies and North Korea is a convenient enemy. But that doesn’t mean it’s a real one. There’s no real evidence for the nukes that North Korea says it has.

It’s mostly rhetoric just as it has been for years. Saying that North Korea has been building super mini-nukes or other kind of special nuclear weapons is just so much talk.

The idea  has been to demonize North Korea to make its “nuclear threat” more real. People need to fear other nuclear powers, especially because the Pentagon has just asked for a trillion dollars to overhaul its nuclear  program.

But chances are the Pentagon has exaggerated its nuclear  program just as North Korea has. Just because the Pentagon says it has dramatic numbers of nuclear weapons doesn’t mean they actually exist.

Conclusion: So much of what our leaders tell us isn’t true. What should nuclear weapons be any different.

How David Became Goliath: The Secret of Israel’s Military Success

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Gaza ‘military success’ all done by Israel with US money. Just being a Palestinian is a threat to Israel since they own the land the squatter Jews stand on.

“How did Israel do it?” Katz and Bohbot ask. “What was the secret to Israel’s success?” Their answer: brains, pluck and the bracing prospect of imminent annihilation.

nytimes book review

If “The Weapon Wizards” were a novel, it would be one written by Horatio Alger; if it were a biblical allegory, it would be the story of David and Goliath. Katz and Bohbot highlight several interconnected cultural drivers of Israel’s military innovations.

Surrounded by enemies at its inception, Israel came to view itself as a nation that could, as Arieh Herzog, a former head of Israel’s missile defense agency, put it, “either innovate or disappear.” Meanwhile, “the Jewish tradition of education and scholarship” led Israel to place a high value on investments in research and development.

Today, Israel devotes a higher percentage of its G.D.P. to research and development than any other country, and Katz and Bohbot note that roughly 30 percent of Israeli R&D goes toward military technologies.

Israel also invests in its human resources, with numerous specialized educational programs designed to bring top talent into the military and to send soldiers back to school. (Katz and Bohbot quote Shimon Peres: “We need to invest in soldiers’ brains, not just their muscles.”)

Israel’s small size, combined with its tradition of universal military service, also helps, by ensuring that there’s rarely more than one degree of separation between military officials, scientists and entrepreneurs; as a result, military needs and challenges are quickly and easily communicated to policy makers, academics and financiers.

“The Weapon Wizards” offers plenty of good stories about fascinating people. There’s the young Shimon Peres, negotiating weapons deals in Havana nightclubs. There’s Danny Shapira, the legendary Israeli pilot testing French Mirages.

There’s the Israeli official who helps start Israel’s drone program in the late 1960s by buying remote-control airplanes at a Manhattan toy store and sending them back to Israel in the embassy’s diplomatic pouch.

What “The Weapon Wizards” doesn’t offer is any meditation on the political context or implications of Israel’s rise to military superpower status. Katz and Bohbot are cheerleaders, not critics, and there’s little room for introspection in this breathless tale of triumph over adversity. Left largely unmentioned, for instance, is the role of the United States.

American security guarantees over the last few decades have kept Israel’s neighbors relatively docile, if not precisely friendly, and nearly a quarter of Israel’s annual defense budget is effectively paid for by the United States.

Israel receives more American military aid than every other country in the world combined. A more complete answer to “How did Israel do it?” might be: pluck, brains and billions of dollars of American aid each year.

“The Weapon Wizards” is also largely silent on how Israel uses its military might. Absent is any reflection on the role of the Israeli armed forces in paving the way for the contentious expansion of Jewish settlements into Palestinian territory, for instance, or the Israeli practice of destroying homes occupied by the families of suspected militants, though both have been condemned by the international community.

Katz and Bohbot are similarly uninterested in the brave new world Israel is helping to create. Israel, they note with pride, has “become the first country to master the art of targeted killings,” which have now become “the global standard in the war on terror.”

Some might consider this a dubious honor. To Katz and Bohbot, however, targeted killings are interesting only because they showcase the combination of “cutting-edge technology, high quality intelligence, and Israel’s best and brightest minds.”

Israel, Katz and Bohbot note, is “changing the way wars are being fought around the globe.” Readers will have to decide for themselves if this is something to cheer or mourn.

 

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