While we struggle without own war related issues Israel seems to have the same concerns, only much more immediate. Following are reports direct from Israel via a relative living there:
THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 30, 2007
Despite the significant increase in US military aid to Israel,
defense officials warned Sunday that the sale of satellite-guided
missiles to Saudi Arabia had the potential to constitute a strategic
threat to the state of Israel.
According to the proposed arms deal, Saudi Arabia will receive
thousands of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) - a low-cost
guidance kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into
accurately guided "smart" weapons. The package also proposes a 25
percent increase in US military aid to Israel, from an annual $2.4
billion to $3b. a year.
Senior defense officials praised the decision to increase military
aid but said that the JDAM sale to Saudi Arabia was still enough to
destabilize the strategic military balance in the Middle East. The
advanced weapon, these officials said, would grant Saudi Arabia the
capability to accurately fire missiles at strategic sites and
installations in southern Israel.
"We do not have a way to defend ourselves against this weapon," a
senior Defense Ministry official said, warning that the Saudi regime
could be toppled and the advanced American weaponry fall into the
hands of Islamic extremists.
Last month, Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Military Bureau head Amos
Gilad and Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan, head of the IDF Planning
Directorate, met with senior Pentagon officials in Washington to
discuss the proposed deal and to see if it could be changed in
According to senior officials, the Israeli delegation walked away
from the talks disappointed and dissatisfied. An Israeli request to
acquire the F-22 stealth bomber - a plane that can avoid radar
detection - in order to retain its qualitative edge was also turned
down, the officials said.
"We were told that the plane's sale was currently off the table,"
another official said. "It does not look like that will change under
The use to which the significant increase in military aid will be put
is scheduled to be discussed by the General Staff when it convenes in
August to determine the IDF's multi-year budget plan.
In addition to the F-22, the IDF has expressed interest in several
other advanced military platforms manufactured in the US, including
the new C-130 J model, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and additional
more advanced laser-guided JDAM.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert opened Sunday's cabinet meeting relating
to the proposed massive US arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf
States, and the concomitant increase in the military aid package to
"A detailed and explicit commitment was given to ensure our
qualitative military edge over the Arab states," he said of the US
aid package, which will amount to more than $30b. over the next
decade. Olmert confirmed that it was agreed during his meeting with
US President George W. Bush last month
that Washington would substantially increase its military aid to Israel.
"It is an increase of more than 25% starting next year," said Olmert.
He added that the US remained committed to ensuring Israel's military
supremacy over the Arab countries.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
Palestinian Salaam Fayad: Resistance to Israel is legitimate
JPost.com Staff, THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 30, 2007
Palestinians have a legitimate right to resist the Israeli "occupation",
even if the term "resistance" does not appear in the new Palestinian
Authority platform , PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad said during a press
conference in Cairo on Monday.
Fayad, who is representing the Palestinian Authority during an Arab League
conference in Egypt, explained that the term "resistance" was excluded from
the platform because it was too often associated with "armed struggle."
"What is the essence of resistance, especially in light of the current
occupation?" Fayad asked. "Does it not begin with all possible efforts to
permanence of the Palestinian citizens on their land? That is precisely the
Fayad's government came under heavy criticism over the weekend from Hamas
and other radical groups for failing to mention the "armed resistance" in
One group threatened to kill the "traitor" Fayad and his colleagues in
Ramallah, while another said it would step up its efforts to bring down his
The threats against Fayad were the worst since he was appointed prime
minister last month.
PA security officials in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that they were
taking the threats very seriously and that measures had already been
implemented to protect Fayad and other top figures.
On Friday, Fayad's government published its platform, which does not include
any reference to the "mukawama" (a term generally associated with armed
struggle) against Israel.
Instead, the government reiterated its commitment to PA Chairman Mahmoud
Abbas's call for a "popular resistance against the Israeli occupation."
The new manifesto stated that any peace agreement with Israel must be
designed along the pre-1967 borders and that Jerusalem should be the capital
of both Israel and any future Palestinian state.
Iran to buy jets from Russia
,THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 30, 2007
Israel is looking into reports that Russia plans to sell 250 advanced
long-range Sukhoi-30 fighter jets to Iran in an unprecedented billion-dollar
According to reports, in addition to the fighter jets, Teheran also plans to
purchase a number of aerial fuel tankers that are compatible with the Sukhoi
and capable of extending its range by thousands of kilometers. Defense
officials said the Sukhoi sale would grant Iran long-range offensive
Government officials voiced concern over the reports. They said Russia could
be trying to compete with the United States, which announced over the
weekend a billion-dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
Despite Israeli and US opposition, Russia recently supplied Iran with
advanced antiaircraft systems used to protect Teheran's nuclear
installations. At the time, Moscow said it reserved the right to sell Iran
weapons, such as the antiaircraft system, that were of a defensive nature.
The Sukhoi-30 is a two-seat multi-role fighter jet and bomber capable of
operating at significant distances from home base and in poor weather
conditions. The aircraft enjoys a wide range of combat capabilities and is
used for air patrol, air defense, ground attacks, enemy air defense
suppression and air-to-air combat.
After years of negotiations, the Indian Air Force in 1996 purchased 40
Sukhoi-30s and in 2000 acquired the license from the company to manufacture
an additional 140 aircraft.
Olmert May Allow Jordanian Army in Yesha
(IsraelNN.com) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is considering allowing
Jordanian troops to patrol in Judea and Samaria , the Jerusalem Post
reported. Deploying the soldiers would represent another step in a
continuing policy of abandoning Israeli influence and control in the
area. The government recently has made several statements in favor of
handing over most of the area to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and
expelling tens of thousands of Jewish residents a part of a
bi-lateral agreement with the PA.
Prime Minister Olmert has spoken with Jordanian King Abdullah II
about the idea of allowing the Jordanian army to help fight
terrorism, which until now has been kept under control by the IDF.
Using Jordanian regular soldiers would effectively ditch the proposal
by Likud chairman Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu that the government allow
the deployment of the Badr Brigade, made up of soldiers in Jordan but
from Judea and Samaria.
Prime Minister recently has suggested an international force patrol
in Judea and Samaria but apparently meant the Jordanian army. One
participant at a recent meeting quoted the Prime Minister, "Perhaps
when we leave territories in the West Bank, an international force
could be one to think about, perhaps an Arab army in the West Syrian
President Bashar Assad."
U.S. DEFENSE NEWS is one of the leading journals on military matters
and is respected world-wide for its reportage and commentary. The
following Letter to the Editor by Kenneth S. Brower is especially
poignant at a time when Iran continues it nuclear program and Syria
moves up troops toward Quneitra on the Golan Heights.
U.S. DEFENSE NEWS Commentary: Letters to the Editor July 16, 2007
Israel Ill-Prepared by Kenneth S. Brower, Middle East defense
analyst, Delray Beach, Fla.
To state that recent Israeli budget cuts did not affect the combat
readiness of Israeli forces or the quality of their equipment and
quantities of supplies ("Israeli Experts Debunk Lebanon War Claims,"
June 18) is preposterous.
Training in conventional force-on-force vs. low-intensity combat had
been progressively reduced over the decade prior to 2006. Investment
in new Israel-produced armored fighting vehicles, artillery and other
combat arms and supplies had also been dramatically reduced. The
Israeli public paid an unnecessary blood tax for severely under
funding the military. They sent their sons into combat ill-prepared
and under equipped.
Over 30 days, Hizbollah fired fewer rockets than the number of shells
that a single artillery brigade could fire in 45 minutes. Most
Hizbollah rockets were of the small, man-portable 107mm variety and
three-quarters of the rockets that landed in Israel hit no civilian
or military target.
The Israeli campaign was marked by inept political-military
leadership and utterly amateurish government, making decisions based
on plans generated by a careerist General Staff.
It should have been obvious to Israel's leadership that Hizbollah's
stupid crossborder act of war presented them with a golden strategic
opportunity to wedge Syria from Iran by driving a corps up the Bekaa
Valley towards Balbek.
This would have been a decisive strategic turning movement, except
that no one in the Israeli General Staff could seemingly remember the
art of warfare above platoon-level low-intensity combat.
Uzi Rubin's hypothesis that airpower alone could, somehow, totally
neutralize the short-term rocket threat is ridiculous, given that
Hizbollah was willing to employ one-time-use mobile launchers or
numerous, pre-registered fixed, hardened, near-zero-signature
Israel has yet to decide if the conflicts in Gaza or South Lebanon
are asymmetrical, low-intensity combat or real war. Asymmetrical war
is only feasible if the stronger side voluntarily decides to follow
politically correct rules that constrain its military response to
acts of aggression, thereby ensuring that victory is unachievable.
The theory of asymmetrical warfare will collapse the first time the
politically correct illusion of self-restraint is shattered.
Virtually every Israeli serves or has served in the military, yet
virtually no one understands defense. Fifty years of propaganda and
disinformation have had more impact on the Israelis than their
enemies. Israel cannot survive a nuclear-armed Iran.
Yet within Israel, there is no urgency to address this existential
threat or the near certainty of war with Hamas, Hizbollah and Syria
if Iran is pre-empted. Training and re-armament proceed minimally
based on long-term plans when the threat has to be faced in the near
Kenneth S. Brower, Middle East defense analyst, Delray Beach, Fla.
Report: Net closing in on top Nazi criminal Aribert Heim
93-year-old known as "Dr
Death" at the Mauthausen concentration camp.
By Reuters and Haaretz Service
Investigators are closing in on one of the last living top Nazi
war criminals, Germany's Der Spiegel magazine reported on
Spiegel magazine said investigators were focusing on Spain and
Austria in their hunt for 93-year-old Aribert Heim, known as "Dr
Death" at the Mauthausen concentration camp.
The magazine quoted investigators saying that they had their
sights on friends and relations of Heim, but did not name its
Germany has for decades been searching for Heim, an SS doctor
accused of having killed hundreds of concentration camp inmates
with heart injections.
Earlier this month, Austria said it was offering a 50,000 euro
(e68,260) reward for information leading to the arrest of Heim
and Alois Brunner, an aide to Adolf Eichmann who helped organise
the deportation of Jews to death camps.
The 93-year-old is presumed to be living in Spain or Latin
America, according to the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
Germany had offered a 130,000 euro reward for Heim a few years
ago but Austria's move was the first offer it has made for Nazi
The Alpine country has been accused for decades of dragging its
feet over prosecuting Nazis and for being lenient when they are
brought to court.
French prime minister urges youth to remember wartime
deportation of Jews about 75,000 Jews were deported from France to Nazi
concentration camps during the war. Fewer than 3,000 survived.
By The Associated Press
PARIS - Prime Minister Francois Fillon urged France's young
people to remember the horrors of the Holocaust during a speech
yesterday to mark the 65th anniversary of a World War II roundup
Speaking at the former site of the Velodrome d'Hiver bicycle
stadium - which was used as a transit camp for thousands of Jews
on July 16-17, 1942 - Fillon said the French must not shrink
from the memory of those hours of shame.
On those July 1942 days, 13,152 Jews were rounded up in the
Paris region, and 8,160 - mostly children - were held at the
stadium before being sent to Nazi death camps.
"It is by recognizing fully the lights and shadows of the past
that the nation learns and grows," Fillon told an audience of
In all, about 75,000 Jews were deported from France to Nazi
concentration camps during the war. Fewer than 3,000 survived.
Leon Fellmann, 83, was one of the survivors who attended
Sunday's ceremony. He said he was 17 when he and his 36-year-old
mother were sent to the Velodrome d'Hiver. "I knew that we were
done for," he said.
Fellmann said his mother urged him to try to escape. As they
were being moved from the stadium to the first in a series of
vehicles that would take the deportees to the death camps,
Fellmann said he broke through a police cordon and ran to
Fellmann was active in the French Resistance through the end of
the war. He never saw his mother again.
Patricia Anisten, the daughter of a survivor, said it was
crucial to continue to mark the anniversary of the deportations
"to show every year what happened at the site to make everyone
aware that what happened here 65 years ago was very serious; it
must not happen again."
U.S. DEFENSE NEWS: Israel Ill-Prepared by Kenneth S. Brower, Middle East defense analyst + Manny Winston: Planned elimination of Israel?
WINSTON MID EAST ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY July 25, 2007
PLANNED ELIMINATION OF ISRAEL? by Emanuel A. Winston, Mid East
Analyst & Commentator
Perhaps you thought that Iran's Muslim Hitler, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
was the only one planning the Genocide of all Israelis. Think again!
As in WWII, the many nations of the world are gathering - again, each
in their own way and purpose, to participate in liquidating the Jews
and their State. For some time Intelligence reports and analysts in
various military journals have brought great clarity to the fact that
Israel is to be the target to solve the uprising of Islamic Jihadists
The leaders of these nations already know that Islam is on a march
toward world domination by violent conquest and nothing will appease
them nor modify what they believe is their destiny as commanded by
Allah through Mohammed.
Regrettably, a coalition of Jews in control of Israel believe that
they can buy off the "Jihadists" (holy warriors for Islam) by
surrendering to them defensible territory and then the Muslims will
cease their attacks. Regrettably, these un-Jews put no value on the
Land given to the Jewish people in perpetuity by a G-d none of them
Specifically, I speak of Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, her new
President Shimon Peres, her new Defense Minister Ehud Barak and her
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. The words of "betrayal" and "treason"
fall far short of what they and the rest of the Left have done and
continue to plan for the demise of their own nation. All have pledged
to re-partition Israel, regardless of the consequences as now
displayed in Gaza and Lebanon.
If you read Intelligence reports and opinions of military analysts,
you could see the growing confluence of pro-Arab nations, acting in
unison with Israel's weak, corrupt leadership to set the stage for a
massive attack on Israel's population centers, her infrastructure
such as Ben Gurion International Airport, Dimona and her coastal
plain where 70% of the nation's population live.
Olmert, Peres, Barak and Livni give every indication that they are
willing to engage in treason, in coordination with Muslim Arab
terrorist organizations and foreign governments in order to achieve
their goals of re-partitioning the country. They will claim what they
are doing is best for the country but, there is enough 'prima facie'
evidence to prove that they are knowingly engaged in betrayal,
treason and crimes against their own Jewish people. Clearly,
so-called Jewish Leftist leadership is planning to lose the next war
so they can transfer much of Israel's heartland to the Arab Muslim
under the terms of compromise.
A Peoples' Court would have every reason to find them guilty and
sentence them with capital punishment for their culpability in the
murders and maiming of thousands of their people that have already
been murdered - with more to come IF their failed policies continue.
The evidence of malfeasance and misfeasance in office was confirmed
first by the investigation of the Knesset State Controller Micha
Lindenstrauss into the incompetence of Olmert, then Defense Minister
Amir Peretz and Dan Halutz, Chief of Staff during the Lebanon debacle
of summer 2006.
On April 30, 2007 the Winograd Commission (reluctantly appointed by
Olmert to investigate the Lebanon debacle) released its preliminary
report, confirming Lindenstrauss' conclusions and harshly criticizing
key decision-makers but, the Chair, Eliahu Winograd, delayed his
final report until August 2007, despite having concluded his Inquiry
That Eliahu Winograd is a friend of Olmert and that he was appointed
by Olmert, casts doubt on his objectivity, especially when he refused
to issue a final (and damning) report which would force Olmert from
his Prime Ministry before he could do greater harm to the nation's
security and sovereignty.
There is little doubt that the Leftist political leadership worked
with PC (Politically Correct) Generals to cut budgets for the
replacement of aging war materials, using the money instead for
enhancing political projects instead.
Training the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) for War was put aside and
instead what training the soldiers received was for brutally violent
police actions against settlers in Gaza and protestors against
government policy anywhere they lived in Israel, including Mea
Shearim where the people "en masse" protested the gay march that
desecrated Jerusalem. Instead of training for war, defense funds were
spent on Yassam, i.e., special troops, first profiling them for
violent characteristics and then training them for future evacuations
planned for Judea and Samaria. Olmert has publically proclaimed that
these are his intentions.
The Leftist government has indicated that this will later be extended
to include the Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley and all those parts
of Jerusalem which were occupied and desecrated by Jordan from 1948
The lack of command and equipment preparedness was strikingly clear
during the Lebanon/Hezb'Allah fiasco a year ago. Out-of-date stores
in water, food, protective vests, ammunition and other equipment
quickly became apparent. Lack of adequate bomb shelters for residents
in the North and poor attention to their health and safety needs was
criminally irresponsible. The Israeli leadership knew of these
shortages and deliberately chose to ignore them.
If this shoddy behavior happened in Russia, I would dare to say that
some Generals and politicians would have faced a prompt firing squad.
One is reminded of Israel's Yom Kippur 1973 debacle where Israeli and
American Intel showed the mobilization of the Egyptian and Syrian
forces on Israel's borders but because of the arrogance of the elect,
some Generals and politicians believed that Egypt wouldn't dare
attack the so-called powerful Israel forces.
The following commentary from U.S. Defense News speaks about the
deliberate failure, at worst, or negligence of the politicians to
prepare to combat the observed six-year build-up of Hezb'Allah on
Israel's Lebanon border. Last summer Hezb'Allah launched 4,000
Katyusha Missiles out of the 15,000 which they had stockpiled
undeterred for 6 years. Today they have reportedly more than 20,000 -
despite the International troops and Lebanon troops supposedly
preventing their shipping in of weapons from Iran through Syria.
Abandoning the settlers and "ethnically cleansing" them from the G-d
given Land had a higher priority for this government than deterring
enemies and defending the country in case of war. That "conceptzia"
(concept of invincibility) and mind-set continues today, further
endangering the Jewish State because the weapons of today are more
lethal even than in 1973 or 2006.
Add to that the Sharon/Olmert blunder to virtually turning Gaza over
to Hamas who is now equipped with Long Range Katyusha MLRs (Multiple
Launch Rockets), ready to hit the heartland of Israel in the next
confrontation. Olmert continues to restrain the IDF from cleaning out
In what appears to be a plan to launch a multi-front war against
Israel, it would be beneficial for Israel's survival to put her
so-called leaders in detention when the missiles are launched. They
cannot be allowed to lose the next war as they did the Summer of 2006
COMMENTARY OF EMANUEL A. WINSTON
Giuliani Stacks Campaign Staff With a Who's Who Of Mideast Hawks
Neoconservative Leader Podhoretz Picked as a Foreign Policy Adviser
Jennifer Siegel | Wed. Jul 18, 2007
As the roster of Republican presidential hopefuls grapples with the
seeming implosion of one-time front-runner John McCain's candidacy,
Rudolph Giuliani is taking steps to claim his place as the field's
The former New York City mayor announced last week that he had
assembled a team of foreign policy advisers featuring several
prominent neoconservatives, including one of the movement's founders,
Norman Podhoretz. In addition to being an unwavering supporter of the
war against Iraq, Podhoretz, a former editor of Commentary magazine,
has grabbed headlines in recent months as one of most vocal proponents
of American military action against Iran.
The eight-member advisory panel also includes several figures with
experience in Israeli affairs. Giuliani's chief foreign policy
adviser, Charles Hill, served as a top aide to Secretary of State
George Shultz in the Reagan administration and once served as
political counselor to the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. The team also
includes Martin Kramer, who is an expert on Islam at Harvard
University and a fellow with both the pro-Israel Washington Institute
for Near East Policy and the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center.
These selections show Giuliani is "very serious about his approach to
ensuring the security and safety of Israel," said Ben Chouake, head of
the pro-Israel political action committee Norpac.
The July 10 announcement of Giuliani's foreign policy team comes amid
a period of uncertainty for the Republican presidential field. In
recent weeks, Arizona Senator John McCain has seen an exodus of staff
in the wake of disappointing second-quarter fundraising, while the
buzz surrounding a near-certain bid by former Tennessee senator Fred
Thompson continues to build.
Both McCain and Giuliani have turned to Republican heavy-hitters for
foreign policy advice. While McCain does not have an official team, he
has said publicly that he consults with Henry Kissinger, Brent
Scowcroft, Robert Kagan, George Schultz, Lawrence Eagleburger, William
Kristol and Robert Zoellick.
In recent months, Podhoretz has written and spoken out forcefully
against the Iranian regime, and argued that ultimately, military
confrontation will prove necessary.
"I believe," Podhoretz told the Israeli broadcasting authority May 21,
"contrary to what many people assume, that [Bush] will [attack Iran]
before he leaves office."
He added, "I think he agrees with the analysis that I offer that there
is no alternative to military action."
The Giuliani campaign did not respond to an inquiry from the Forward
about whether the former mayor believes that military action against
Tehran is necessary.
Giuliani is hanging on as the leading candidate among Republicans
nationwide, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released this
week. He has the support of 21% to Fred Thompson's 19%. Another AP
poll showed one of Giuliani's main Republican rivals, former
Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, leading the Republican field in
New Hampshire, with 27% of the vote to Giuliani's 20%.
As the socially moderate former mayor works to cement his bona fides
as a foreign policy hawk, some of Giuliani's Republican opponents say
his choice of advisers could provide more ballast than boost.
One Republican operative who is not yet committed to a candidate said
he viewed Giuliani's advisers as "red-meat types" chosen to camouflage
what he perceives as the former mayor's foreign policy
vulnerabilities, including a lack of firsthand experience and the fact
that he left the Iraq Study Group, a ten-person bipartisan panel
appointed by Congress to assess the situation in Iraq. Giuliani
resigned citing previous scheduling commitments, but later said he did
not believe an active presidential candidate should take part in an
"They are extraordinarily capable people 'Äî that's the upside," said
Washington attorney Mark Lezell, who is backing Thompson. "The concern
with that particular team is that they have been at the forefront of
policies that have yet to succeed and could well qualify as political
While praising Giuliani's foreign advisers as a "very impressive"
group whose service would be most welcome in the Thompson campaign,
Lezell stressed that Thompson is focused not on a wholesale
re-imagining of the Middle East, as the neoconservatives were, but on
an approach to the region "designed with implementation in mind."
Romney too has indicated he plans to consider a variety of viewpoints.
"We need new thinking on foreign policy and an overarching strategy
that can unite the United States and its allies 'Äî not around a
particular political camp or foreign policy school, but around a
shared understanding of how to meet a new generation of challenges,"
Romney wrote in an article that appears in the July/August issue of
the journal Foreign Affairs. In 2005, Romney's policy director, former
Minnesota representative Vin Weber, co-authored a bipartisan report on
the Middle East with former secretary of state Madeleine Albright for
the Council on Foreign Relations.
One Giuliani supporter said the mayor's choices were not going to
translate into potential vulnerabilities. Jason Epstein, a policy
consultant backing Giuliani, said he viewed the selections as very
consistent with Giuliani's longstanding activism on foreign policy,
and cautioned against lumping together all neoconservatives.
Epstein cited Martin Kramer's June address at the Prague Conference on
Democracy and Security 'Äî in which Kramer disagreed with the
administration's push for democratization in the Middle East 'Äî as
evidence of the diversity that exists even within the neoconservative
"Even if you accept the premise that neoconservativism is not
currently in vogue, many individual neoconservatives are still
relevant," Epstein said.
HITLER'S FORGOTTEN CASTLE
Finishing School for Nazis to Become Museum
By David Crossland in Vogelsang, western Germany
A forgotten monument to Hitler's ideology has emerged from a 70-year
time warp -- a castle built in the 1930s to train a new Nazi elite.
Vacated by the Belgian army last year, it sheds light on the systematic
brainwashing that churned out a generation of fanatics. Now it's being
spruced up to teach visitors about the perils of indoctrination.
Deep in the Eifel region of western Germany, a stone-clad reminder of
Hitler's racist ideology towers above the surrounding wooded hills --
the remains of a training college for aspiring Nazi leaders that was
built in the style of a medieval castle.
"NS-Ordensburg Vogelsang" (Vogelsang National Socialist Castle) is a
dour arrangement of barracks, community halls and sports arenas hugging
a steep slope down to a scenic reservoir. It was built between 1934 and
1936 to give selected Nazi party members aged between 25 and 30 a solid
grounding in the superiority of the German race and its need for"Lebensraum" in the east.
Vogelsang, which means "Birdsong," was off limits to the public until
last year when it was handed back to the German government by the
Belgian army, which had used it as a barracks and training area for
almost 50 years after World War II.
The handover has confronted the German government with the difficult
question of how to handle a sprawling 50,000 square meter site filled
with an embarrassing wealth of more or less intact Nazi symbols, murals
and statues including a monstrous five-meter high Germanic "Torch Bearer."
The whole place is Nazi ideology hewn into stone. It shows how the Nazis
stole from ancient Greek and Roman styles, Christian symbols and
Germanic legends and mixed them up with modern functional designs. The
result was an architetural mishmash that was as ludicrous as the
pseudo-religious philosophy it was supposed to represent.
Swastika, Germanic Horsemen
A large brick swastika is laid into the floor of a tall, narrow "Cult
Chamber" inside the tall medieval-style tower of the college. Two
entrance towers on either side of an oversized four-lane driveway into
the college each bear a mural of a Germanic knight -- a medieval one
coming from the east and a modern one heading there.
Vast enlargements were planned, including a "House of Knowledge" with a
giant cathedral-like "Hall of Honor," but the war stopped all building
work. The college shut down with the outbreak of war in 1939 and became
a German army barracks and hospital. The British army took it over after
the war and passed it on to the Belgians in 1950.
It survived in a kind of time warp because the generations of soldiers
that used it after the war didn't change it much. They didn't need to,
because its layout is so militaristic. Alterations were largely cosmetic
-- a sports mat was placed on the floor swastika, some of the more
strident Nazi slogans were plastered over and the Torch Bearer had his
genitals shot off.
An amphitheater was roofed over and turned into a cinema; walls were
added here and there to make the place more comfortable. Apart from
that, it has survived intact. Swimmers still use the pool under the
watchful eyes of giant Germanic athletes staring down from a mural.
Locals complain that regional and federal authorities have been slow to
decide Vogelsang's future, and six years after the Belgians first
announced they were leaving, no final agreement has been reached on the
financing of a EUR20 million ($27.5 million) plan to refurbish the area.
Last of the Nazi Monuments
Despite the delay, Germany can draw comfort from the knowledge that this
is likely to be the last major Nazi monument it will have to deal with.
After years of debate, successful formats were found for exhibiting
other locations such as Hitler's mountain retreat on the Obersalzberg in
Bavaria, the site of his party rallies in Nï¿½rnberg, and Gestapo secret
police headquarters in Berlin.
Calls by Germany's Central Council of Jews and some regional politicians
to let Vogelsang fall into ruin have been rejected, as have a variety of
suggestions ranging from turning it into an old folk's home, a luxury
hotel or a even a leisure park with a go-cart race track.
Most of the buildings have been placed under monument protection. The
public company overseeing Vogelsang last month pledged to deal with its
history responsibly under a plan that includes a museum about the site
and about the Nazi system of education and indoctrination, a subject
historians say hasn't been sufficiently researched. The SS organization
had its own network of schools, as did the Hitler Youth.
Klaus Ring, a historian involved in planning the regeneration of
Vogelsang, said maintaining some key Nazi locations was as important as
keeping up the sites dedicated to their victims such as memorials and
"We're the nation that perpetrated the Holocaust and as the real
eyewitnesses are dying out, it's increasingly important that we have
museums in places where the Nazis were active," Ring told SPIEGEL ONLINE.
"In places like this we can analyze and explain the Nazi dictatorship
more rationally than in, say, concentration camps where respect for the
dead requires one to focus on the suffering of the victims. We do not
ignore the victims here. We are saying that what was taught here led to
the ramp at Auschwitz."
Volker Dahm, who designed the Obersalzberg museum and heads a board of
advisors on the Vogelsang project, said: "Many people are afraid to
visit concentration camps but are less afraid to go to a place like
Obersalzberg, and are prepared to be informed when they're there."
"You need a mix of victims' and perpetrators' sites to be able to build
a historically accurate culture of remembrance."
Surprisingly little is known about the students who attended Vogelsang
because records were lost or destroyed after the war. They were called
"Junker," a medieval term best translated as "squires" which was
intended to evoke their elite position and supposedly ancient heritage.
They were male, aged between 25 and 30, and had been nominated to attend
the college by local Nazi party organizations. They had to be athletic
-- people with glasses weren't taken -- and able to prove their pure
"Many of them came from lower-middle class backgrounds, sons of
low-ranking white-collar workers, men who had no proper job training and
who had been uprooted by the depression of the late 1920s," Ring said.
Academic qualifications weren't necessary, and were deliberately
ignored. Married applicants were preferred. Robert Ley, Hitler's head of
organization in the Nazi party who set up Vogelsang and two other such
colleges, judged that a man who wasn't married by 25 was too indecisive
to become a top Nazi official.
The final selection came at a ceremony at which Ley looked each
candidate in the eye to judge whether he was what he called a "real man."
Some 400 "real men" were picked for the three-year degree program and
the first course started in 1937. The aim of Vogelsang and the two other "castles" -- one in Bavaria and the other in what is now Poland, both
still used as army barracks to this day -- was to overcome a severe
shortage of Nazi party staff for top government and administrative jobs.
So it may seem surprising that they spent much of their time learning
fencing, riding and even flying airplanes. They were meant to feel like
a chosen elite, and were treated to bus tours to the opera in nearby
Cologne and trips to the North Sea coast. The communal halls were feudal
and elaborately decorated while the barrack-like sleeping quarters were
spartan -- all part of the Nazis' emphasis of the communal over the
But there were classes, too. Lectures in the morning and smaller
tutorials in the afternoon, with the emphasis on geopolitics and race
"We Want to Free Ourselves of Compassion"
In one lecture, one of four recorded in 1937, the later headmaster of
the school, Hans Dietel, conveyed Nazi thinking on the need for racial
purity and the survival of the fittest:
"We have to confront the sick with the healthy ... We have to stamp
out compassion with the force of self-assertion. We have to replace
servility with lordship and push aside anyone who stands in our
way," said Dietel.
"God did not create man to wither and become servile, but to do what
every plant and every animal does constantly, to strive for harmony
and completeness ... in this striving we want to free ourselves of
compassion ... we know God is with us in this struggle ... With us
and with our struggle truly lies the eternal creative force of the
universe. With us and with our struggle lies God. Heil Hitler!"
The Holocaust, the euthanasia program, even the invasion of Eastern
Europe and Russia ring out in those words. The lecturers were drafted in
from universities, high schools and from within the Nazi party.
Although the college had a huge library filled with respected scientific
works that refuted all the ideology the students were being taught, no
one seems to have read them. Many of the students didn't even have
enough education to follow the classes.
New Lessons from Hitler
"An internal party review found that the education standards of these
students were far too low for these lectures," said Ring. "There are
records of complaints that many students couldn't understand the
lectures and questions were asked about whether the course made any sense."
In the end, it was irrelevant. None of the students finished the degree
and only two course years were completed. At the outbreak of war in
1939, most of them left to join the army and some are believed to have
committed war crimes. Some 70 percent of Vogelsang's students are
thought to have died in the war, said Ring.
Some 140,000 people visited Vogelsang last year, of which 50,000 joined
guided tours explaining its history, and Ring expects a similar number
in 2007. It already has a small visitor center which offers basic
information on the site and the surrounding Eifel national park.
It will take several more years before the museum, or "documentation
center" is built. Architects are being invited to submit designs. There
are also vague plans for a youth hostel and a separate academy to
encourage broader debate on the lessons of the Nazi period.
"It can't be enough to just inform people about the past, we want to
show that racism didn't die out in 1945, and that it remains a global
phenomenon," said Ring.
Keeping out Neo-Nazis
Having a museum on the site should also help keep out neo-Nazis, of whom
around 100 visited Vogelsang last year in four groups. Vogelsang's
management reserves the right to evict anyone wearing far-right clothing
or symbols and banned one of the groups last year, said Ring.
"If you want to attract Nazis to a site, put barbed wire around it and
board it up, then they'll get interested and think they can find secrets
there," said Dahm.
"You have to open it, make it transparent, return modern and normal life
there and reflect its history with a serious museum, then the place
becomes uninteresting to neo-Nazis because it desecrates it in their eyes."
On the Obersalzberg, for example, the number of neo-Nazi visitors has
gone down drastically since the museum opened in 1999, Dahm said.
But anonymous worshippers still occasionally place candles around the
few remaining ruins of Hitler's nearby chalet, the "Berghof," especially
around his birthday on April 20.
Saudis undermining efforts in Iraq: US envoy
Agence France-Presse - 30 July, 2007
The US ambassador to the United Nations accused Saudi Arabia and
other US allies in the Middle East Sunday of undermining efforts to
curb violence in Iraq.
UN envoy Zalmay Khalilzad acknowledged on CNN that he was also
referring to Saudi Arabia when he wrote in an opinion piece in the
New York Times last week that "Several of Iraq's neighbors -- not
only Syria and Iran but also some friends of the United States -- are
pursuing destabilizing policies."
"Yes, well, there is no question that ... Saudi Arabia and a number
of other countries are not doing all they can to help us in Iraq,"
Khalilzad, the former US ambassador to Iraq, told the US news network.
"I mean, they are great allies of ours in that region. And the future
of Iraq is the most important issue now affecting the region," he
"And therefore, we would expect and want them to help us on this
strategic issue more than they are doing. And at times, some of them
are not only not helping, (they) are doing things that is undermining
the effort to make progress."
The envoy lamented that some of Iraq's neighbors were not engaging
the government or the Shiite majority and had no diplomatic
representation in Baghdad.
"The level of positive effort that they are making compared to the
stakes involved for the region is minimal," he said.
His comments came one day before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are to depart to the Middle East
to seek Arab support to bolster Iraq and to discuss weapons sales
Rice and Gates will make rare joint visits to Egypt and Saudi Arabia
before separate trips to other parts of the region.
Ahead of the trip, the US government was expected to announce Monday
arms deals worth at least 20 billion dollars with Saudi Arabia and
the five other Gulf states, US media reported.
US Accuses Saudis of Telling Lies About Iraq
By Ewen MacAskill
The Guardian UK
Saturday 28 July 2007
First time administration has made concern public. Claims royal
family is financing Sunni groups.
The extent of the deterioration in US-Saudi relations was exposed for
the first time yesterday when Washington accused Riyadh of working to
undermine the Iraqi government.
The Bush administration warned Saudi Arabia, until this year one of
its closest allies, to stop undermining the Iraqi prime minister,
The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and the defence
secretary, Robert Gates, are scheduled to visit Jeddah next week.
Reflecting the deteriorating relationship, the US made public claims
that the Saudis have been distributing fake documents lying about Mr
The Bush administration, as well as the British government, is
telling the Saudis, so far without success, that establishing a
stable government in Iraq is in their interest and that they stand to
suffer if it collapses.
Relations have been strained since King Abdullah unexpectedly
criticised the US, describing the Iraq invasion as "an illegal
That was the first sign of a rift between the two, who have enjoyed a
solid relationship for decades, based on Saudi's vast oil reserves.
At a briefing, the state department spokesman, Sean McCormack, did
not refer directly to US frustration with Saudi, beyond saying that
Ms Rice and Mr Gates, on their trip to the region, "will be wanting
more active, positive support for Iraq and the Iraqi people".
The British government, which retains a close relationship with the
Saudis, shares many of the US's concerns about Riyadh's role in Iraq
but, unlike Washington, is unwilling to go public.
A Foreign Office spokesman said yesterday: "We have always encouraged
the Saudis to participate in the political process in Iraq. Saudi
Arabia has a crucial role to play and the Saudis recognise the
success of the whole project for the region's stability."
The US claims the Saudi royal family is offering financial support to
coreligionist Sunni groups in Iraq opposed to Mr Maliki's Shia-led
In a graphic example of the tension, Zalmay Khalilzad, until recently
the US ambassador to Baghdad, protested to the Saudis over fake
documents distributed in Baghdad which claimed Mr Maliki was an
Iranian agent and had tipped off the radical Shia cleric, Moqtada
al-Sadr, about a US crackdown on his Madhi army militia.
Mr Khalilzad, who is now US ambassador to the UN, wrote in the New
York Times last week: "Several of Iraq's neighbours - not only Syria
and Iran but also some friends of the United States - are pursuing
The Bush administration is also expressing its unhappiness with the
Saudis for failing to stem the flow of Saudi jihadists across its
border to fight in Iraq, often as suicide bombers. The US estimates
that about 40% of the 60 to 80 foreign fighters entering Iraq each
month are from Saudi Arabia.
The administration, like Britain, is still dependent on oil from
Saudi and until now has been reluctant to go public about the
increasing differences with the kingdom. Other causes of tension
include Saudi support for Hamas in Gaza and lack of support for a US
Israel-Palestinian peace plan.
Haaretz article on massive arms US arms sale to Saudis Dr. Aaron Lener - IMRA: From the Hebrew edition article:
"In talks carried out by the chief of the Israeli defense ministry's
political-military bureau, Amos Gilad, and the head of Planning
Branch - Major General Ido Nechushtan, the Americans agreed to
"delete" part of the ability of the smart bombs, such that they could
not hurt Israel, and to demand that the Saudis do not deploy them at
the Tabuk air force base next to Eilat" report that under the plan Egypt would get $13 billion in arms over 10 years
Robin Wright Washington Post Staff Writer - Saturday, July 28, 2007; A01
It should be noted that Egypt already is heavily armed with advanced
American weapons which it trains to use against "an enemy to the East
of the Suez Canal" = Israel. Egypt has invested many billions of
dollars of American aid on American weapons systems that would enable
it to quickly move its forces under the cover of mobile anti-aircraft
missile systems in an invasion of the Jewish State.
Egyptian and Saudi forces already carry out joint exercises.
No one can predict who or what will control the Egyptian and Saudi
forces in the years to come.
By the same token, it remains unclear to what extent it is possible
to rely on the assumed inability of the Saudis to find a way (read:
bribe someone) to circumvent a software patch in the JDAMs that would
prevent them from accepting location points inside Israel. ]
U.S. pledges to increase its military aid to Israel
By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent Last update - 04:10 29/07/2007
The U.S. is prepared to increase military aid to Israel in order to
ease the defense establishment's concerns over a proposed American
weapons sale to Saudi Arabia, diplomatic sources in Jerusalem told
Haaretz over the weekend, thereby confirming reports in the U.S.
According to the New York Times and the Washington Post, the proposed
package of advanced weaponry for Saudi Arabia is expected to
eventually total $20 billion. It eportedly includes advanced
satellite-guided bombs, upgrades to its fighter jets and new naval
vessels. It has reportedly raised concerns in Israel and among its
supporters in Congress.
Senior officials who described the package on Friday said they
believed the administration had resolved those concerns, in part by
promising Israel $30.4 billion in military aid over the next decade,
a significant increase over what Israel has received in the past 10
In addition to promising an increase in military aid, the Pentagon is
also asking the Saudis to accept restrictions on the range, size and
location of the satellite-guided bombs, including a commitment not to
store the weapons at air bases located nearby Israeli territory, the
The package and the possible steps to allay Israel's concerns were
described to Congress this week, as the administration aimed to test
the reaction on Capitol Hill before entering into final negotiations
with Saudi officials. The Saudis had requested that Congress be told
about the planned sale, the officials said, in an effort to avoid the
kind of bruising fight that occurred on Capitol Hill in the 1980s
over proposed arms sales to the kingdom.
Security officials in Jerusalem called the increase in military aid
"an unusual achievement." They added that the increase was the
primary objective during Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's most recent
visit to the U.S. last month. "In Olmert's meeting with President
Bush in Washington, the president agreed to increase military aid by
25 percent to $3 billion per annum for the next 10 years," one
diplomatic source reported.
The final details about the new aid package to Israel will be worked
out during the visit by U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political
Affairs Nicholas Burns to the region, diplomatic sources said, adding
that his visit is slated for mid-August. They said Egypt is also
expected to receive additional military aid.
Israel and the U.S. still need to determine how much of the military
aid Israel will be allowed to change into shekels, in order to
purchase locally manufactured defense systems. Currently, Israel is
permitted to funnel 26.75 percent of U.S. military aid toward
internal weapons deals.
A senior official in the Bush administration said the sizable
increase was a result of Israel's need to replace equipment expended
during the Second Lebanon War last summer, as well as to maintain its
advantage in advanced weaponry in the face of other regional
countries' modernizing their forces.
Israeli officials have made specific requests aimed at eliminating
concerns that satellite-guided bombs sold to the Saudis could be used
against its territory, administration officials said.
Their major concern is not a full-scale Saudi attack, but the
possibility that a rogue pilot armed with one of the bombs could
attack on his own or that the Saudi government could one day be
overthrown and the weapons could fall into the hands of a more
radical regime, U.S. officials explained
Washington Times: U.S. Plans New Arms Sales to Gulf Allies - includes weapons for Saudis that make successful attack on Israel considerably easier
[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) are hardly
a defensive weapon. They put the Saudis in the position that a mediocre
pilot who might not have either skill or the will to approach a target and
hit it can carry out a precision bombing against any fixed target.
Even if you think the current regime is fantastic, who will rule Saudi
Arabia in 5 years?
Hamas today has all kinds of weapons that Washington supplied to "moderate"
Abbas in the Gaza Strip.
It should also be kept in mind that previous promises not to deploy weapons
near Israel were not honored by the Saudis - for example F-15's in Tabuk.]
U.S. Plans New Arms Sales to Gulf Allies
$20 Billion Deal Includes Weapons For Saudi Arabia
By Robin Wright Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 28, 2007; A01
The Bush administration will announce next week a series of arms deals worth
at least $20 billion to Saudi Arabia and five other oil-rich Persian Gulf
states as well as new 10-year military aid packages to Israel and Egypt, a
move to shore up allies in the Middle East and counter Iran's rising
influence, U.S. officials said yesterday.
The arms deals, which include the sales of a variety of sophisticated
weaponry, would be the largest negotiated by this administration. The
military assistance agreements would provide $30 billion in new U.S. aid to
Israel and $13 billion to Egypt over 10 years, the officials said. Both
figures represent significant increases in military support.
U.S. officials said the arms sales to Saudi Arabia are expected to include
air-to-air missiles as well as Joint Direct Attack Munitions, which turn
standard bombs into "smart" precision-guided bombs. Most, but not all, of
the arms sals to the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries -- Saudi
Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman -- will be
defensive, the officials said.
U.S. officials said the common goal of the military aid packages and arms
sales is to strengthen pro-Western countries against Iran at a time when the
hard-line regime seeks to extend its power in the region.
"This is a big development, because it's part of a larger regional strategy
and the maintenance of a strong U.S. presence in the region. We're paying
attention to the needs of our allies and what everyone in the region
believes is a flexing of muscles by a more aggressive Iran. One way to deal
with that is to make our allies and friends strong," said a senior
administration official involved in the negotiations.
The arms deals have quietly been under discussion for months despite U.S.
disappointment over Saudi Arabia's failure to support the Iraqi government
and to bring that country's Sunni Muslims into the reconciliation process.
The administration's plans will be announced Monday in advance of trips next
week to the Middle East by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense
Secretary Robert M. Gates, and are expected to be on their agenda in Egypt
and Saudi Arabia. The administration has a notional list of arms to sell to
the Gulf states, but there are no final agreements on quantities and
specific models, U.S. officials said.
State Department and Pentagon officials started briefing key members of
Congress about their intentions over the past week, U.S. officials said. The
initial reception has been positive, said officials involved in those
briefings. They acknowledged, however, that some parts of the deal are
supported more than others. Arms sales to Gulf countries have often been
The administration hopes to provide a full rundown this fall for
"We want to convince Congress to continue our tradition of military sales to
all six" states, the senior administration official said. "We've been
helping Gulf Arabs for years, and that needs to continue."
Sunni regimes in the Gulf region have felt particularly vulnerable since the
election of a pro-Iranian Shiite government in neighboring Iraq last year."There's a sense here and in the region of the need to build up defenses
against Iranian encroachment," said a U.S. official familiar with the deals.
The aid packages to Israel and Egypt are further along. A U.S.-Israel
agreement, to replace a 10-year arrangement that expires this year, has been
under discussion since February, U.S. officials said. The new U.S. package
will include strictly military aid and would expand the U.S. contribution 25
percent over the current $2.4 billion per year; economic assistance has been
discontinued now that Israel is considered a developed economy, U.S.
President Bush said last month, after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert, that he was strongly committed to a new 10-year agreement that
would increase U.S. assistance "to meet the new threats and challenges
[Israel] faces." Washington has long promised to help Israel sustain a
so-called "qualitative military edge" over other major powers in the region.
Rice is expected to announce Monday that, after her Middle East trip,
Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns will finalize the agreements with
Israel and Egypt.