by Caroline Glick
Unbeknownst to most Israelis, this week marked a critical shift for the worse in the regional balance of power. While IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi was busy demanding that the government pay a ransom of more than a thousand terrorists for captive soldier Gilad Schalit, few paid attention to
Over the past week
Less than five years after former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated by
On Wednesday, Hizbullah forces deployed openly to the border with
While Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his media echo chamber insist that
This Turkish-Syrian rapprochement is not limited to economic issues. It is a strategic realignment. As Assad's spokeswoman Buthaina Shaaban explained to Iran's Arabic-language al-Alam television channel, "We are working to establish close ties between Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq so these countries can act as one regional bloc in order to promote peace, security and stability in the Middle East, while keeping the West's dictates and lust for the region's natural and oil resources at bay."
Yet on Sunday, Mubarak hosted Ali Larijani,
Many IDF commanders are happy to leave the issue of
First Obama and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry blocked discussion of sanctions in the Senate. And now - with full White House backing - Kerry is trying again to appease the Iranians by begging them to let him visit Teheran. Clearly appeasement is the only play in Obama's book.
Furthermore, China's refusal to back sanctions in the UN Security Council coupled with Lebanon's and Brazil's ascension to the council next month obviate any possibility that a harsh international sanctions regime will be instituted against Iran any time soon.
For the past week, the government's security cabinet and the IDF's top commanders have devoted themselves entirely to discussing how many terrorists
On Monday, Channel 2 reported that National Security Adviser Uzi Arad accused Ashkenazi of acting like the president of the IDF's parents' association rather than the chief of General Staff.
The media pounced on the Arad-Ashkenazi story like hungry wolves. The national debate was dominated for two days by the burning questions of whether or not
Conspicuously absent from the media's coverage of the spat was any discussion of the reasonableness of
The fact is that
A year ago, Ashkenazi sent the IDF's best combat units into
Following the publication of
This is untrue. It is not the professional duty of IDF commanders to opine on ransom demands. They have no professional qualifications to determine the reasonableness of ransom demands. In Jewish history, the role of ransoming captives has traditionally been the writ of rabbis, not military men. The writ of military men was to rescue them.
The professional responsibility of the IDF is to provide the government with military options for achieving its strategic objectives - including rescuing Schalit. By failing to provide such options, the IDF - with Ashkenazi at its helm - has failed to uphold its professional responsibilities. Worse still, by demanding that the government endanger the country to ransom Schalit, Ashkenazi and his generals are telling us something distressing about how they define their role as military commanders.
The IDF's apparent confusion about its role is not new. It was this confusion that led the army to fail to present the government with options for defeating Hizbullah in
Whereas former prime minister Ehud Olmert properly received most of the blame for
In 2006, then-chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz rejected a ground invasion of south
For his part, Ashkenazi sat on his hands for months as southern
While refusing to fight
When Defense Minister Ehud Barak severed the IDF's ties with the Har Bracha Yeshiva last week, he was acting on Ashkenazi's advice. Ashkenazi has promoted anti-settler commanders like Col. Yitzhak Barr. As a brigade commander in
EVERY DAY the dangers to
This situation is unacceptable. Either Ashkenazi and his generals should prove they are capable of performing their jobs, or they should be replaced.
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