By Jim Fletcher
Beirut, Lebanon—a spring night in 1973. The streets are teeming with people in what was once considered a jewel of the Middle East. That was before the PLO moved in.
The story goes that Ehud Barak was wearing a dress, strolling arm-in-arm down the street with “her date.” The future prime minister of Israel also had an Uzi tied around his waist, and dangling between his legs, if I may say it that way.
Barak, commander of the famed and elite counter-terrorism unit, Sayeret Matkal, was about to spring a surprise on key PLO leaders, this in retaliation for the ghastly Munich Olympics murders of 1972. Israeli premier Golda Meir approved the operation, dubbed “Operation Spring of Youth.”
The Munich killers were relaxing. Their minds were far from danger.
Members of the unit, which included Yoni Netanyahu, older brother of another future prime minister, landed onshore that evening, where they were met by Mossad agents, who drove them to and from the apartment building where the operation took place.
In the ensuing firefight, three PLO operatives were killed, and other Israeli commandos engaged in a savage battle nearby with members of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine).
I was reminded of that legendary story this week—as were other writers—when Barak (now Israel’s defense minister) gave the order for security forces to remove “settlers” in Hebron who have not proven their ownership of property to the government’s satisfaction. The Jewish families were removed while preparing for Passover—a swift and stunning surprise just when it appeared they had won the day via public opinion.
With news that Barack Obama has cowardly sent secret messages to the Iranians, via Turkey, that he will accept the terror state’s “civilian” nuclear ambitions, the stakes are ramped-up even higher regarding the mullah’s deadly intentions toward the Jewish state.
This is relevant to the story of the Hebron settlers, and how Barak dealt with it.
It is perhaps here that we are seeing clues to how the Israelis will deal with this existential threat. I have said before that I am quite sure they are not going to Auschwitz again, and will never again allow themselves to be vulnerable. The only way Jews will remain safe in our world today is if they have guns and sundry other weapons.
Barak’s handling of both the ’73 operation, and the recent one in Hebron are good indications that the man plans strikes that occur without any kind of warning. Such is what I expect regarding Iran and its nuclear threats. Everyone is scanning the skies for an Israeli airstrike; I expect something quite different.
Remember too the incredible Entebbe raid, which Barak helped plan, and which Yoni Netanyahu led as commander of the rescue force. So sudden was their appearance in the dark African night at Entebbe Airport that the lead commando told me once the terrorists holding 105 men, women, and children did not know what was happening until he was in the doorway.
Something tells me that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is going to get a bomb dropped down his shorts while he brushes his teeth one night in the not-too-distant-future.
When the smoke clears, there won’t be so much as Israeli fingerprints left behind.
Obama’s pitiful overture to the Iranians comes on the heels of news that SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) was cutting off dozens of Iranian banks and financial institutions from its systems. Naturally, the Iranian people heard little about this, but officials, such as former Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian and Mahmoud Ahmadi, director of the Central Bank both threatened the West and claimed they had already taken measures to overcome the SWIFT decision.
(By the way, another issue not directly tied to Iran’s race for nuclear weapons opens a fascinating window into just how interconnected global financial transactions really are, and one can see clearly how close we are to a system in which a single charismatic person will “solve” our problems. In a note from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center , we read:
“Mohammad-Reza Behzadian, former chairman of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, warned about the possible repercussions of Iran’s disconnection from the international clearing house. In an interview given to the Iranian Diplomacy website, Behzadian said that, with Iranian banks cut off, even smaller banks that do not depend on the United States and were so far willing to continue cooperating with Iran will be unable to perform transactions with it. Behzadian estimated that it will be impossible for Iran to continue doing business securely using old-fashioned telecommunications systems, and that the country’s disconnection from SWIFT will lead to an increase in the costs involved in conducting international banking transactions.”
Sound like an antichrist system in development to you? Me too.)
Further, Iran’s economy is highly dependent on raw material and capital import for the agricultural and industrial sectors; it is not hard to imagine the very real economic sanctions causing Iranian currency to implode.
However...one must remember that the old Soviet Union was well on its way to economic meltdown and bankruptcy at the same time it developed nuclear weapons and built up its military infrastructure to menace the entire world.
I do not believe sanctions will prevent the Iranian regime from developing and potentially using nuclear weapons.
That will leave the one-time gun-toting “girl” on a Beirut street—and “her” military and diplomatic team of former fellow elite commandos to make the most momentous decision of their lives.
US: Time limited for diplomatic solution to Iranian threat • Jerusalem Post
Barak: Sanctions Won't Halt Iran's Nuclear Bid • Arutz Sheva
Big US-Arab Gulf air force exercise draws Iranian warning to stop at once • DEBKAfile
US: Iran must halt nuclear program • YnetNews
U.S Navy deploys 2nd aircraft to Gulf amid rising nuclear tensions with Iran • Daily Mail