Assad, Ahmadinejad and Mofaz
Kadima has nothing to worry about. It has no political platform for elections, but it has two winning candidates.
Kadima has nothing to worry about. It has no political platform for elections, but it has two winning candidates. One of them is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the other is Bashar Assad, and they already have the kind of backing that no other candidate has yet to receive: Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz. One may be leading Iran into trouble and the other - how did Mofaz put it? - "is not ready," but when they fall in line with Mofaz, then there's a winning political mix.
Now that transportation problems are behind us, and traffic accidents have become a minor issue; all the problematic roads have been upgraded and the light rail and intercity railroads to Jerusalem, Sderot and Afula are running smoothly, Mofaz has found time to look into the situation on the Golan Heights. There, it seems, the problem is double. Mofaz believes the Syrian president is still not ready for a peace process and is involved, up to his neck, in terrorism. Therefore, if Israel withdraws from the Golan Heights, this would allow Iran to set up a large armed presence there.
It is impressive how Mofaz has managed to turn the threat of Iran and Syria into his, and Kadima's, domestic policy. An attack on Iran, rejecting Assad, and delaying the tahadiyeh (truce) with Hamas are the pillars of this policy, and this way Mofaz feels he does not need to offer any real solutions. "Just say no" used to be the slogan for countering drug use in the United States. Mofaz, it appears, has adopted this slogan with fervor. Take away Ahmadinejad and Assad from Mofaz, and he has nothing. "What has Livni done? She spoke with a few foreign ministers," said Mofaz; after all, every one knows that "most of the work here is defense-related."
He is casting his shadow like that of a defense minister. And when confronted with major threats, not only is Livni not suitable, but Ehud Olmert, Avi Dichter and Meir Sheetrit are also not relevant. What is necessary is a general who knows how to say "no." But is this not the same general who came to understand - albeit slowly - following a long and painful lesson, that there is no point in staying in Lebanon? That war against the Palestinians is not exactly a walk in the park? That the second intifada, in which he was chief of staff and also defense minister, did not show his methods to be particularly impressive?
It is not the military record of Mofaz that is at issue here, even though this is the background he has on offer. Whoever is willing to take Mofaz seriously cannot make do with a policy that is entirely a listing of threats, or a stance that ridicules diplomacy. How, for example, does Mofaz intend to overcome the Syrian threat, the ties between Syria and Hezbollah, the Iranian threat and the attacks from the Gaza Strip?
No, not with those empty slogans of "we need to wait" and "we need to drive out" and "we need to target." We want details, please! Details and explanations of the type that he would offer, for example, to a committee of inquiry that would want to know why he failed to allow a peace process between Israel and Syria to advance. Why did he think that Assad is not ready for negotiations when the Syrian president has managed so successfully a maneuver that put him in remote control of Lebanese politics? What were Mofaz' sources of information, when he failed to recognize that Assad is now carrying out a reconciliation with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which is enjoying French support, and even the United States understands it was mistaken when it sought to veto Syrian-Israeli talks?
That same committee will ask him about the practical alternatives that he is offering in place of a tahadiyeh, and the number of casualties that he anticipated as a result of his alternative. How did he think that his proposal, as transportation minister, would succeed after all the actions he undertook in the territories as chief of staff and defense minister failed?
But for Mofaz, voicing the threat, emphasizing it and presenting it in eye-catching colors, is policy. He does not need to meet with "a few foreign ministers," and this does not stem from his belief that there can be only a military solution. The threat also has political solutions, even versus Iran. But on the narrow path to the post of prime minister, there are two generals, one from Kadima and one from Labor, and when the right is right behind them, it is not diplomatic solutions that are required, but threats. It is not understanding or political savvy that is needed, but someone who knows how to shout "booooooo." Someone who knows how to turn even the chances for peace into a genuine threat. It is a real pleasure to see how Mofaz, Assad and Ahmadinejad go so well together. When one of them threatens, the other benefits - and Mofaz's Kadima has a political platform.
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