Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Middle East Media Sampler 6/6/2012: Commemorating The Six Day War

From DG:
1) 6 days 45 years ago

Five years ago an English interdisciplinary group put together a website Six Day War.

There are a lot of resources at the website, but what ought to be of particular interest would be the sections devoted to Historical Documents and Recollections from Arab Countries. I believe that these two sections, especially, give context that is so often missing from modern reporting and analysis.

The IDF Blog has the recollections of Hillel Erman, who fought in the Sinai. (h/t Daled Amos)

2) Fully informed

During the past year (or more) the New York Times has published articles about criticisms coming from former Israeli intelligence officials such as Meir Dagan and Yuval Diskin, criticizing Israel's political leaders (specifically PM Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak) for being too anxious to attack Iran. These stories have a breathless quality to them, as if they are revealing a major schism in Israeli leadership.

Current Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, though, put a damper on the importance of the statements of the former officials (h/t Israel Matzav):

While discussing Israel's current security situation at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Gantz said that in regard to a potential attack on Iran, "Only a very few people know what is and is not possible. Many people claim to know, but don't really know, and there are those that knew at one time, but don't know today."  
The chief of staff's comments appeared to be directed at former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and Former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin, who have publicly questioned Israel's current leadership for threatening an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities and suggested that such an attack would not be effective in seriously curbing Iran's nuclear program.
This is important. While the New York Times has (and other news organizations have) an interest in sensationalizing a story, especially one that pits "sober" former officials speaking out against "reckless" current government officials, intelligence changes fast. The former officials may once have been correct and may have once been fully informed. But the situation isn't static. Their knowledge is now outdated.

Last month's coalition agreement that brought Shaul Mofaz into the government is probably more important than the statements of Dagan and Diskin. Mofaz was known to be skeptical of an attack on Iran, so his agreement suggests that Netanyahu was able to convince him that he wasn't about to launch a reckless raid on Iran.

3) Free and open debate

I had seen a few of these news stories and thought of putting them together, but I see that Elder of Ziyon has seen many more stories and combined them into a single post, Muslims suppressing freedom of expression worldwide.
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