Monday, January 17, 2011

Events In Israel - Updated 1/18/11

Some long time ago, which I can't easily find in the Phronesisaical archives, I suggested that President Obama is playing a long game with Israel, whose outlines will necessarily not be made public.

It looks to me like some of that may be playing out. The New York Times tells us about how Stuxnet was developed, although Jeffrey Carr casts some doubt on the accuracy of that account. Either way, and even if Stuxnet had nothing to do with Iran's centrifuge problems, Obama's urging the Israelis to hold off their attack on Iran has bought the requisite time.

And something else is going on in Israel, of which Ehud Barak's resignation as defense minister may be only the tip of the iceberg. This was not expected. It's hard to see how this will be as good a thing for Binyamin Netanyahu as he is painting it, but internal Israeli politics frequently surprise me.

From Israel's far right, there have been various comments about the ill portents of the revolution in Tunisia. Radical islamists might just seize power, and the dictator we know appears to be better for this Israeli faction than the democracy we don't know. Of course, it's not at all clear how things will settle out in Tunisia.

The Palestinian flag will be raised in Washington for the first time tomorrow, in an upgrading of Washington's recognition of the Palestine mission to the US.

It's still not possible to see the full outline of the administration's strategy, and, obviously, not all of these events can be credited to the administration. But a smart strategy will allow them to take advantage of events as they occur.

Update (1/18/11): Daniel Levy does a much better job than the NYT of explaining the politics of Barak's leaving the Labor Party.

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