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Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000

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The 1996 Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000 for the Washington, DC/Israel-based think tank Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies "advised Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu 'to work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll back' regional threats, help overthrow [Saddam] Hussein, and strike 'Syrian military targets in Lebanon' and possibly in Syria proper." [1][2]

Study Group Members

The Study Group was comprised of the following members: [3]

Perle, Wurmser, and Feith "helped set the Middle East strategy, including strong support for [Ariel] Sharon's hardline policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the Bush II administration. Perle chaired the DOD's Defense Policy Board, Feith became undersecretary of defense for policy, and Wurmser became Vice President [Dick] Cheney's top Middle East adviser after leaving the State Department where he worked under Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton." [4]

Report

In 1996, the Study Group produced the report "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm".

On Iraq

"Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria's regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signaled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam." (Emphasis added.) [5]

Israeli proxy forces

Commentary on the Report

"This document is remarkable for its very existence because it constitutes a policy manifesto for the Israeli government penned by members of the current US government. From the perspective of a reader of this document and from one who has also watched its program unfold during the course of the Bush administration," William James Martin wrote July 1, 2004, in CounterPunch, "one can best view the confluence and the inseparability of the Israeli and the American governments."

"This document advocates the scrapping of UN Resolutions 242 and 338 - the 'land for peace' formula - in favor of one based on the 'balance of power'. Since Israel possesses the 4th largest army in the world with essentially unlimited weaponry, unrestrictedly provided by the US, and since the Palestinians have no army at all, the 'balance of power' formula application simply means that Israel should respect no constraints of its expansionist aspirations. Indeed, the authors state, 'Only the unconditional acceptance by Arabs of our rights, especially in their territorial dimensions, peace for peace, is a solid basis for the future.' Surely this also means 'the unconditional acceptance of the Israel's unilateral definition of Israel's rights'," Martin wrote.

"The authors go on to affirm the continued commitment of Israel to overthrowing Saddam Hussein in Iraq both because Saddam Hussein poses a direct threat to Israel and in order to exert pressure on Syria whom the authors feel poses an equal threat to Israel. The authors also advocate 'Striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at select targets in Syria proper'," Martin wrote.

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