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Netanyahu's pretext for war - Islamic Jihad missiles

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has his pretext for an attack on Iran. He left Washington disappointed by President Obama's reluctance to saddle up for Armageddon. Now he's got the formula.

Haaretz (daily news), one of Israel's few liberal media voices, linked Gaza based missile attacks on Israel to the presence of Iranian military experts. This fits nicely into the Netanyahu strategy. Here's how Haaretz reported events:

"Iran pressured Islamic Jihad and popular resistance groups in Gaza to continue firing rockets into Israel despite cease-fire, says high-ranking Jerusalem official.

"Iranian military experts are active in the Gaza Strip and in Sinai, according to a high-ranking official in Jerusalem. The official said the Iranians entered the areas via Sudan and Egypt, and added that some of the rocket-launching systems in Gaza were manufactured under Iranian supervision." Haaretz.com, March 19

The paper went on to say how shocked members of the Israeli left were with the overall theme of the article announcing a unified Israel in support of an attack on Iran.

Of course, any attack is so crazy on so many levels, it is exhausting to comprehend. Aside from the potential collapse of the world economy and the pervasive suffering, let's focus on a sure fired reason that the United States won't green light such a move.

It's the quadrennial festival of democracy in the United States, also known as the presidential election. President Obama should be on his way to retirement based on his record of indifference to the public and preference for the financial elite. He has a second chance thanks to the sorry state of the Republican candidates.

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The last thing he'll do is infuriate the pubic with another useless foreign adventure. Big majorities want the troops out of Afghanistan immediately and oppose military intervention in Syria. The message is clear. An attack on Iran is far too risky to Obama's future to allow.

However, presuming rational decision making by the political and financial elite is risky business. In the case that cooler heads lose this struggle, here is the rationale for war from Israel's ruling faction.

The pretext - Iran talent and hardware targets Israel

Haaretz tells us that Iranian engineers are on the ground in Gaza helping a small Salafist group called Islamic Jihad and other unnamed groups. The engineers allegedly brought special missiles which compounds Israel's problems. The claimed increased level of attacks reflects Iran's frustration with tighter sanctions, including a cutoff from international currency transfers, and Iran's desire to thwart reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

The analysis leaves out a few key facts. Islamic Jihad (Palestine) is a very small organization. Summaries of past terrorist activities focus on bombings, suicide and others. There is no mention or rocket attacks in articles published by the Council on Foreign Relations and a Wikipedia article. There are no rocket attacks listed.

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The PIJ [Palestine Islamic Jihad] often carries out suicide bombings that target civilians and military personnel, although the frequency of attacks inside Israeli territory has decreased since the construction of security barriers around Gaza. Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008

Islamic Jihad doesn't have the resume for rocket attacks against Israel but it does meet the essential criterion: it is closely identified with Iran.

Who are the other "popular groups"?

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