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Iran in the Crosshairs

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By Gareth Porter and Ray McGovern


photo by Shahram Sharif
  

Last year, the Middle East dodged the danger of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and the inevitable spread of hostilities.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen was sent to tell the Israelis that the United States would not support such an attack, and after the fiasco in Georgia, the Russians too sent stern warnings to Tel Aviv.

But now the specter of an Israeli strike has reappeared. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s incoming prime minister, is far more committed to an attack on Iran than his predecessors.

Remember when Joe Biden told supporters of Barack Obama last October that Obama would be tested in his first six months in office?

There is good reason to believe he was referring to the likelihood that Netanyahu would become prime minister after the February 2009 Israeli election, and that he would waste little time finding a pretext to attack Iran. 

Netanyahu has been laying the groundwork for such an attack for years, constantly repeating that Tehran is “preparing another Holocaust” a la Germany in the Thirties.

He keeps hammering home the “existential” threat that would be posed to Israel (with its 200-300 nuclear weapons) if Iran had just one.

Netanyahu has made no bones about the fact that his preferred solution to the problem is a massive air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities and other military targets, and that he would not wait for any evidence that Iran had actually manufactured a weapon before doing so.

It would be, you see, a Bush-type "preventive" war. Netanyahu would fully expect Iranian retaliation of some kind and knee-jerk U.S. intervention on Israel's side. 

If such adventurism were to prevail, it would be a tragedy not only for Iran and the United States but for Israel as well. And it would bring to Israel more serious risk than at any time since its implantation in Palestine. 

It is also completely unnecessary. There has never been a shred of evidence that Iran has any intention of committing suicide by attacking Israel.

Nor is it clear that Iran has irrevocably decided to seek nuclear weapons.

The U.S. intelligence community determined unanimously in its most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, completed in November 2007, that Iran had abandoned the nuclear weaponization part of its nuclear development program in 2003 and had not resumed such work. 

Largely forgotten is the fact that this estimate also concluded that Iran would extend the halt to its nuclear weapons program if the United States were to offer "credible" opportunities for Iran to achieve its "security, prestige and goals for regional influence." 

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 

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Israel has never conducted an American-style preem... by Jason Paz on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 2:56:58 AM
and most likely others........that Israel's de... by Ernest on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 3:39:43 AM
Do you proclaim to speak for all Jewish people and... by Mr M on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 8:51:06 AM
The 1967 war was a "pre-emptive" war by ... by Elizabeth Molchany on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 3:51:11 PM
just when did Iraq attack Israel, that forced it t... by Stanimal on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 3:28:23 AM
and goes ahead with an attack on Iran because that... by aberamsay on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 4:20:44 AM
What kind of person hopes for an attack by Israel ... by Steven Leser on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 4:59:58 PM
He's tired of the saber-rattling and is saying... by eric dynamic on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 5:28:40 PM
"Obama should encourage his diplomats to purs... by GLloyd Rowsey on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 7:46:46 AM
and will do what is told. If our  administrat... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 8:23:37 AM
for Israel. The US has said many times that Israe... by Elizabeth Molchany on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 3:30:31 PM
While Israel may "live or die" based on ... by eric dynamic on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 5:02:34 PM
I think in particular when Israel is in the hands ... by Steven Leser on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 5:03:17 PM
historically the Europeans coming to Israel in the... by shadow dancer on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 8:39:05 AM
Let me try a second method:andandConsider des... by GLloyd Rowsey on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 8:50:16 AM
The United Nations was rendered irrelevant by John... by aberamsay on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 8:57:23 AM
Yesterday is dead and gone.  Look at the futu... by GLloyd Rowsey on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 9:43:38 AM
Didn't I say that there was a lot of crazies i... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 10:06:23 AM
there now.... by Steven Leser on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 5:05:26 PM
When did it ever happen that striking first is cal... by Donna Malone on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 12:53:32 PM
A "pre-emptive war" is one in which one ... by Elizabeth Molchany on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 4:00:27 PM
actually, i think you are each discussing two sepa... by Cheryl Biren on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 6:12:32 PM
Cheryl,Thanks for the distinctions. I have read t... by Elizabeth Molchany on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 7:41:28 PM
elizabeth, not sure why you responded so strongly,... by Cheryl Biren on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 7:56:45 PM
if I came on strong against you. I'm really j... by Elizabeth Molchany on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 9:34:29 PM
The war in Iraq was pre-emptive because the bush a... by jersey girl on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 6:44:15 PM
It seems that Hillary Clinton has just picked up t... by eric dynamic on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 4:13:05 PM
Israelis have learned how to forget that Israel ha... by eric dynamic on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 4:40:38 PM
"Wake up, Ramey. Yesterday is dead and gone.&... by eric dynamic on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 5:51:29 PM
passion for peace and justice and your depth of kn... by Elizabeth Molchany on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 9:43:49 PM
Here we go ... It's deja vu all over again.&nb... by jersey girl on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 6:38:32 PM
Some General was quoted broadly a few days ago wit... by eric dynamic on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 5:22:49 AM
When general Liar tells the public that Iran "... by eric dynamic on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 5:53:59 AM
Sorry to keep feeding back, more comes to me.Yes: ... by eric dynamic on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 7:51:20 AM
The financial-military elites want wars and destab... by eric dynamic on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 8:10:56 AM
the fact that Samantha Powers is in the White Hous... by GLloyd Rowsey on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 9:39:13 PM
... and it is sad no one else did either, but not ... by Steven Leser on Friday, Mar 6, 2009 at 10:10:53 PM
I see you post a picture of a person. Did I read h... by eric dynamic on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 4:40:41 AM
Go to the Peace and Freedom Global Future of Feb 1... by GLloyd Rowsey on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 10:59:31 AM
 Obama also picked Rahm as his chief of staff... by jersey girl on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 6:27:11 PM
 Obama also picked Rahm as his chief of staff... by jersey girl on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 6:36:31 PM
My intuition may be wrong, but what I said to you ... by eric dynamic on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 8:30:51 PM
But what's your recommendation vis-a-vis Israe... by GLloyd Rowsey on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 7:47:05 PM
"But what's your recommendation vis-a-vis... by eric dynamic on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 3:41:29 AM
Write Letters to the Editor to All our various pap... by eric dynamic on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 4:15:36 AM
Thank you  eric dynamic  for your b... by aberamsay on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 8:40:53 AM
Khamenei did say nukes were prohibited, but Iran&#... by eric dynamic on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 8:43:05 PM
"You guys" could use a good P.R. firm. I... by eric dynamic on Saturday, Mar 7, 2009 at 9:13:34 PM
The nuclear non-proliferation treaty?  Maybe ... by GLloyd Rowsey on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 9:08:03 PM
"The nuclear non-proliferation treaty?  ... by eric dynamic on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 2:50:35 AM
I think you are arguing that Iran has the right to... by eric dynamic on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 3:17:19 AM
eric dynamic,It was in March 2008 in th city Of Is... by aberamsay on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 6:14:44 AM
Sounds like a Bush-type law, doesn't it? Here&... by eric dynamic on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 4:31:11 PM
Dis Gusting (from whatiwanttoknow.org, November 7t... by eric dynamic on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 4:46:43 PM
And "without hope....there is no hope."... by GLloyd Rowsey on Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 at 9:29:52 PM

 

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