Aluf Benn writes in Haaretz today that,
- In political circles the view is that yes, Netanyahu as prime minister brings Israel closer to war with Iran. Politicians in touch with Netanyahu say he has already made up his mind to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations. People close to him wonder how the public would receive a joint decision by Netanyahu and Ehud Barak to attack Iran, and whether the move would boost the two men’s popularity. The basic assumption is that diplomacy and sanctions will not gain a thing, and the only way to stop Iran’s nuclear program will be by force, which only Israel is motivated to apply.
This is also the assessment of the international media, who consider an Israeli strike against Iran a near certainty.
Actually, Benn is wrong to claim that “the international media” have expressed themselves clearly one way or another regarding the probability of an Israeli attack against Iran. Here in the US, the big MSM prefer not to think, or say anything, about this matter, at all.
Because if they did, they would have to come to the same conclusion that I reached long ago– and that I see M.J. Rosenberg expressed yesterday on TPM Cafe, namely that, as he wrote:
- An Israeli attack on Iran would jeopardize a myriad of American interests in the region, starting with 130,000 US troops but Netanyahu talks as if he can call the shots without any regard for our interests.
That’s why the MSM really don’t want to deal with this. They seem completely reluctant to admit that on some extremely important topics, Israel’s interests can diverge radically from those of the US citizenry— and indeed, can put in direct jeopardy the lives of many scores of thousands of our citizens.
MJ also wrote this:
- In this week’s New Yorker, Seymour Hersh reports that, just before leaving office, Dick Cheney told the Israelis that Obama is a wimp and could be ignored.
Netanyahu appears to have bought into the Cheney thesis and is now testing it by insulting the President on the day he is sworn in as Prime Minister. Let’s see if Obama let’s him get away with it. My guess is that Bibi just made the first major blunder of his tenure. [MJ: the eternal optimist, I see. ~HC]
It is also not a coincidence that Netanyahu trash talked Iran while US Special Envoy Holbrooke was holding the Obama administration’s first face-to-face meeting with an Iranian official in The Hague. This is in keeping with the pattern set by President Shimon Peres who sent a nasty greeting to the Iranian people simultaneously with Obama’s friendly overture. The name of the game is to make it impossible for Obama to achieve a breakthrough with Iran by always leaving the impression that America is in thrall to Israel. Clever. And dangerous.
Meanwhile, over in the blog post in which Jeffrey Goldberg wrote up his “exclusive interview” with Netanyahu, he also writes that Moshe Ya’alon, who’s a leading security adviser to Netanyahu, “told me that a nuclear Iran could mean the end of American influence in the Middle East.”
Is Jeff Goldberg extremely stupid (in that he does nothing to distance himself, as the reporter, from this deeply flawed and disingenuous judgment)– or did Ya’alon just successfully play him along as being extremely stupid?
It is an Israeli military strike against Iran that would signal “the end of American influence in the Middle East” more than anything else. A nuclear-capable Iran is something that both the US and Israel could live with (as Efraim Halevy and others have written, with regard to Israel.)
Much better for everyone in the region and all round the world, of course, would be complete, negotiated denuclearization as advocated by Global Zero. But the idea that an Israeli act of war against Iran would be anything other than catastrophic for the US in the region is complete nonsense.
Btw, the often very well-informed Richard Sale also has some interesting tidbits of info about aspects of the covert ops the Israelis and US worked on against Iran’s nuclear program in the George W Bush era, here. (HT: B of Moon of Alabama.)
Among Sales tidbits: that for almost a decade Israel has been trying, often with US help and encouragement, to assassinate “key Iranian assets”.
- But U.S. opposition to the program has intensified as U.S. President Barack Obama makes overtures aimed at thawing 30 years of tension between the two countries.
Part of this is due to the U.S.’s desire to use Iran’s road networks into Afghanistan to help resupply U.S.-NATO forces there.
But Israel’s interests in the region are not the same as those of the United States, several U.S. officials said.
Later, Sale adds these further details:
- Israel’s targeting killing program was done in concert with the [George W.] Bush administration, former U.S. sources said.
A former senior CIA official described several joint U.S.-Mossad operations to derail Iran’s nuclear program as “something out of slapstick.” All had failed miserably, he said.
A new wave of assassination and sabotage programs were launched in spite of the fact that in 2005, the United States had little to no intelligence about the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
According to U.S. sources, in 2004, the CIA had lost its entire agent network in Iran when a CIA headquarters communications officer was about to send instructions to an agent via its Immarsat transmitter/receivers. The CIA officer attempted to download data intended for a single operative, but accidentally hit a button that sent it to the entire U.S. spy network in Iran, these sources said.
The information was received by a double agent who forwarded it to Iranian counterintelligence, which quickly wrapped up the entire network, leaving Washington completely blind.
Ah, the much-feared CIA.