A military analyst at Israel’s busiest newspaper says that Israel will strike Iran in the Spring of 2012. But more specifically – for Israel…the Netanyahu administration and other like minded souls are clearly trying to force President Obama into supporting Israel and an implicit defense from a retaliatory strike from Iran. The political calculation is that President Obama will have no choice but to support and defend Israel in an election year if Iran strikes back.
Fareed Zakaria: You have a window until November. Until the elections are over in the United States. It would be very difficult for an American president to criticize Israel or to do anything but support it unconditionally.
Do you think that that is a factor, that people know that, until November, you have the guaranteed support of the American president?
Ronen Bergman: Yes, Fareed, I think this is the U.S.-Israeli relation, the complex, the strategic alliance between these countries, and especially when it comes to the Iranian issue, are a central factor in the Israeli decision-making process.
And as you said, the coming U.S. election is also a factor. You can look at from one side, a guaranteed U.S. support. And you can look at from the other, because the current U.S. president, maybe the next U.S. president, President Obama, has asked Israel not to strike in Iran.
And therefore, an Israeli strike before the election, a strike that can complicate things for President Obama, might be interpreted by President Obama as sort of a defiance to his request.
Source: Fareed Zakaria
So in the interview above – the reason that timing matters is that domestically – President Obama has to be very cognizant of American views of Israel and Iran…and that’s why the Netanyahu administration is trying to box him now:
Meanwhile….Daniel Levy explains the game behind the scenes:
The intensity of background spin emanating from Washington and Jerusalem threatens to leave very little to the imagination in advance of the March 5 meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Various U.S. officials, current and former, named and anonymous, have shared their skepticism regarding Israel’s ability to inflict decisive damage on Iran’s nuclear-enrichment program, as well as their trepidation at the costs, consequences, and retaliatory attacks that might follow from an Israeli strike.These same officials have intelligence-driven doubts as to whether Iran even has any intention of crossing a nuclear threshold to weaponization.
Their Israeli counterparts, meanwhile, push home the need for the United States to draw red lines beyond which there will be an American commitment to military action (with former Israeli intel chief Amos Yadlin taking the case to the New York Times‘ op-ed pages) and suggest that Obama would be to blame in the event of an Israeli strike. Subtle it isn’t.
Source: Foreign Policy
It’s interesting to watch the behind the scenes actions for this tug of war between Israel and the Obama administration. When it comes to Netanyahu and his Israeli allies – Obama very much has a Frenemy problem. They smile together, shake each other’s hands and speak publicly about how committed they are to each other etc. Meanwhile – Israel is busy preparing it’s own rogue agenda and the Obama administration is trying to fend off any potential conflicts that would drag America into yet another full scale war. So – coincidentally – the Obama administration is on an onslaught of it’s own…on one hand – President Obama gives a huge interview to one of Israel’s biggest American defenders to Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic where he balances his support for Israel with a non-military (overt anyway) approach:
Though he struck a consistently pro-Israel posture during the interview, Obama went to great lengths to caution Israel that a premature strike might inadvertently help Iran: “At a time when there is not a lot of sympathy for Iran and its only real ally, [Syria,] is on the ropes, do we want a distraction in which suddenly Iran can portray itself as a victim?”
He also said he would try to convince Netanyahu that the only way to bring about a permanent end to a country’s nuclear program is to convince the country in question that nuclear weapons are not in its best interest. “Our argument is going to be that it is important for us to see if we can solve this thing permanently, as opposed to temporarily,” he said, “and the only way historically that a country has ultimately decided not to get nuclear weapons without constant military intervention has been when they themselves take [nuclear weapons] off the table. That’s what happened in Libya, that’s what happened in South Africa.”
And though broadly sympathetic to Netanyahu’s often-stated fear that Iran’s nuclear program represents a Holocaust-scale threat to the Jewish state, and the Jewish people, Obama suggested strongly that historical fears cannot be the sole basis for precipitous action: “The prime minister is head of a modern state that is mindful of the profound costs of any military action, and in our consultations with the Israeli government, I think they take those costs, and potential unintended consequences, very seriously.”
Source: The Atlantic
Coincidentally – right around the same time…the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta makes big news when he tells a reporter at the Washington Post that Israel is likely to strike Iran in the spring.
Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June — before Iran enters what Israelis described as a “zone of immunity” to commence building a nuclear bomb.
President Obama and Panetta are said to have cautioned the Israelis that the United States opposes an attack, believing that it would derail an increasingly successful international economic sanctions program and other non-military efforts to stop Iran from crossing the threshold. But the White House hasn’t yet decided precisely how the United States would respond if the Israelis do attack.
Source: Washington Post
This conversation has reverberated around news organizations EVERYWHERE today. One has to wonder how much pressure this puts on the Israeli government and pro-hawk individuals to defend their position…because – they’re definitely on the defensive now. My interpretation of this is that President Obama and his administration are pushing back on those who would support America being drawn into war by Israel’s military strikes on Iran…putting us back into a scenario actually quite more politically unstable than either Iraq or Vietnam. This statement by the Defense Secretary is HUGE, HUGE news and you really need to think about why he said it. It’s not unintentional.
Here is CNN reporting on the story from the Washington Post:
Fox News reports their version on the same:
NBC reports on the issue:
CBS News reports on potential terrorist attacks from Iran…while possible – it’s more than likely propaganda considering how loud the drum beats are to go to war with Iran:
The Iranians have been preparing themselves for war with America or via some sort of proxy war with Israel. They’re under no allusions…they are on high alert preparing for an onslaught of American psychological and conventional warfare. What the military officer on the video is engaging in is in fact psyops…mentally preparing his people for war and framing any potential war as America – the aggressors and Iran – the defenders (which is true):
Of course – this discussion of pre-emptive military strikes on Iran is creating tensions with the Russians and Chinese. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wrote a lengthy op-ed that was wide ranging in foreign policy speaking openly about American geo-politics and imperialism (while of course neglecting to comment on his own domestic manipulations). But – when I read his op-ed…I see a lot of truth regarding what America actually IS and IS NOT DOING in the world. And it’s not what you’ll see or hear in the media…but one must also understand that it’s coming from a former KGB agent who is both cunning and in keeping with his own self-interest in mind. Regardless – I think everyone should read it and understand what’s at stake relative to Russia:
Needless to say, Russia is worried about the growing threat of a military strike against Iran. If this happens, the consequences will be disastrous. It is impossible to imagine the true scope of this turn of events.
I am convinced that this issue must be settled exclusively by peaceful means. We propose recognizing Iran’s right to develop a civilian nuclear program, including the right to enrich uranium. But this must be done in exchange for putting all Iranian nuclear activity under reliable and comprehensive IAEA safeguards. If this is done, the sanctions against Iran, including the unilateral ones, must be rescinded. The West has shown too much willingness to “punish” certain countries. At any minor development it reaches for sanctions if not armed force. Let me remind you that we are not in the 19thcentury or even the 20th century now.
The following map highlights the Russian perspective of “Bloc states” and American geopolitical interests. Make no mistake…there’s a lot of truth in the Russian interpretation of this map. But also make no mistake – Vladimir Putin is perhaps most upset about the fact that America’s plan to break up the Soviet Union worked in a semi or very permanent way. Putin’s main goal would most likely be to see the resumption of the Soviet Union empire that covers all of these newly created countries after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Larger image of this map HERE
A major general in the Chinese military says “China will not hesitate to protect Iran even with a third World War”. Now – there does not seem to be a consensus in China as to how to handle America relative to the Iran issue. China trades with Iran quite a bit, and Iran is crucial to China’s domestic energy supply and thus economic growth. China is a question mark as to how they would specifically address a war with Iran; however – there is a growing voice within China that believes China should stand with Iran to protect it’s economic interests and halt the threat of American imperialism/hegemony in the middle east and world. Video below:
Meanwhile – in Iran…they just had elections that were much more subdued than in the past. The Iranian government made sure that those running for office were “approved” by government essentially continuing to limit real democracy and strengthening their grip on power.
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