The notion that Iran is a threat to Israel springs up from a Dadaist manifesto. Israel is an actual -- undeclared -- nuclear power (it never subscribed to the NPT); Iran (which subscribes to the NPT) is not. As John Glaser at Antiwar.com succinctly summarized, "the US has Iran militarily surrounded, has conducted covert ops along with Israel, constantly threatens Iran with preemptive military strike, and is heaping harsh economic sanctions." Threat? Who's threatening who here?
Yet what is extraordinary is how Tel Aviv manages to strike one fabulous PR coup after another -- at least in terms of brainwashing American public opinion -- by just changing the red line.
Just read carefully this Barak interview with CNN.
It's all here. There is no Iranian nuclear weapons program. Iran is not a threat -- immediate or otherwise. What we have here is the defense minister of a country saying that another country should not be allowed to enter a "zone of immunity" beyond which it cannot be harassed, attacked, bombed, invaded.
Imagine if this were a Chinese or Russian defense minister nonchalantly proclaiming it out loud on American TV.
Back to the Great Game
The whole convoluted premise for an Israeli attack on Iran turns out to be bogus.
A number of countries -- such as Japan, South Korea and Brazil -- have the breakout capability in terms of assembling a nuclear weapon; the technology is decades old. This does not mean that they will do it.
The fact that Tehran allows immensely intrusive IAEA inspections and has offered concessions over the years that go way beyond its obligations under the NPT proves it does not want to build a bomb tomorrow (or yesterday, according to Israel). And even if it did, that would be detected just-in-time.
As it stands, Obama seems to bet that poker player Bibi won't have the guts to order an attack on Iran while he's in the Oval office. This is a plausible enough argument for why Obama might be tempted to launch an October surprise; but ultra-cautious, pragmatist Obama might only go for it in absolute desperation. As for Bibi, he would love Washington to do the dirty work for him (Israel, technically, can't do it, and Benny Gantz knows it). So Bibi is already on "Waiting for Mitt" mode.
In terms of the Big Picture -- the New Great Game in Eurasia -- the Iranian nuclear program is just an excuse; the only one in the market, actually. This goes way beyond Israel and its own regional fever.
Cutting through the fog enveloping the 33-year-long wall of mistrust between Washington and Tehran, Washington's fever remains the same, from Clinton I and II to Bush I and II to Obama and beyond; we need regime change, we need a Persian satrapy like we had before, we need all that oil and gas in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea for the West, and not for the East, we need to control this vital strategic node in Eurasia. For this fever, there seems to be no cure.
1. See here
2. 'Bibi Can't OK Iran Strike As Defense Chiefs Demur', Jewish Daily Forward, July 31, 2012
3. See here
4. US, Israel arranging roles in Iran war theater?, Russia Today, August 6, 2012
5. U.S. War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran, New York Times, March 16, 2012
6. Ehud Barak Admits Iran Has Defensive Posture, No Weapons Program, Antiwar.blog, August 03, 2012
7. Can We Still Tell if Iran Decides to Build a Nuclear Bomb?, The Atlantic, Aug 6
8. CNN THE SITUATION ROOM, July 30, 2012
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