Friday, June 08, 2007

Welcome Back!!

I'd like to welcome everyone back to Security Dilemmas. I've been gone for almost 2 weeks, which in the blogosphere is tantamount to a death sentence, so I hope that everyone's still around.

The trip to Israel was very interesting, and I'll be blogging about it in the days to come. First, I wanted to provide the schedule.

The Phenomenon of Modern Terrorism: Strategy, Operations, and Psychological Warfare, Yoni Fighel

Radical Islams Virtual Community: Propaganda, Recruitment and the Internet, Yoni Fighel

Southeast Asian Terrorism, Shaul Shay

Religious Sources of Islamist Terrorism, Shmuel Bar

The Radical Palestinian Islamist Movements and the P.A., Meir Litvak

Hezbollah and Lebanon, Eyal Zisser

Iran: Domestic Challenges and Regional Implications, David Menashri

Global and Middle Eastern NBC Terrorism, Ely Karmon

Police Special Operations Forces, Dubi Yung

Financing Terrorism, Eytan Azani

Defending India's Democracy from Islamist Terror, Indian Ambassador to Israel Arun Singh

Interrogation and the Failed Logic of Torture, Yohai Kitron

Meeting with the Special Forces of the Israeli Police

Meeting with Taufik Karaman, City Manager of Um El Fahem (an Arab village in Israel)

Visit to Maximum Security Prison and discussion with convicted terrorists

Visit to Beit El (Israeli settlement in the West Bank) and meeting with Yoel Zur (victim of terror attack and former commander of Israeli forces in the Yehuda district).

Visit to the Israeli bomb disposal unit.

Visit to the Israeli Nachson (prisoner escort and transfer) Unit

Meeting with Lt. Col. David Benjamin, Legal Advisor to the Israel Defense Forces

Visit to Ashdod Naval Base.

Visit to the Yahalom (explosive ordnance engineers) Unit.
All in all, it was a very interesting trip. In the next few days, I'll be blogging about some of the more interesting things I learned. But for now, I'll just mention a few of the overarching points:

First, Israel is obsessed with Iran right now. Almost all of the speakers mentioned that Iran is Israel's #1 threat, and that it's the responsibility of the US to deal with Iran, and especially to ensure that Iran is not able to obtain nuclear weapons. One or two of the people we met with did not agree with this assessment, but they were a distinct minority.

Two, Israel has responded to its own terror threat in a much more measured and reasonable manner than has the US. Security measures are serious and tight, but are focused much more on efficacy than public reassurance. No taking off of shoes, ridiculous limits on liquids carried on planes, or inane disbursements of counter-terror funds. Furthermore, Israel, while it's had it's problems, has much more reasonable laws concerning the detention of suspected terrorists; no indefinite detentions or suspension of habeas corpus.

Three, the near-civil war between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza, along with the continued rocketing of the Israeli town of Sderot by Hamas has all but killed the peace process. Meanwhile, the continued construction of the security fence threatens to create a fait accompli on the ground. Both of these things together will make it very difficult to solve the Palestinian problem in the near future.

I'll blog more about these lessons, and other things from the trip, in the next few days. If there's anything from the schedule that you'd like to know more about in particular, let me know and I'll be happy to focus on it.



Matthew said...

I'd be exceptionally interested in knowing if the Israeli academics and officials you met with regarded Iran as seeking a nuclear weapons capability for power balancing and security self-assurance purposes or if they regarded them as more of an impending existential threat and regional expansionist/revolutionary power.


Matthew said...

In other words, what are they anticipating the regional behavior of a nuclear-capable Iran to be like?

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