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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 7/18/21

Did Netanyahu Try to get Trump to Wag the Dog with Strike on Iran after Biden Won?

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Susan B. Glasser reports at The New Yorker that after it became clear that Joe Biden had won the presidency, from November 7, lame duck Donald Trump desperately wanted to hold on to his office and contemplated a strike on Iran to bolster his position.

Glasser writes that "the subject of Iran was repeatedly raised in White House meetings with the President, and [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark] Milley repeatedly argued against a strike."

She says then Vice President Mike Pence was asked why there was such an insistence on firing missiles at Iran, and he replied "Because they are evil."

Milley, she writes, saw Trump as vulnerable and surrounded by Iran hawks, including then Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu, she says, "was also urging the Administration to act against Iran after it was clear that Trump had lost the election."

This reporting has not gotten the attention it deserves. Glasser is saying that Netanyahu was attempting to manipulate Trump into launching an action that could well have escalated into a full-blown US war against Iran. Since Trump was thinking of strikes on Iran as a way to stay in office, Netanyahu's advice takes on an extremely sinister overtone. Was he colluding with Trump in trying to prevent Biden from taking office, and in destroying the foundations of American democracy?

Netanyahu supported Mitt Romney against Obama in 2012, and had strongly identified with the Republican Party.

Glasser says Milley did not believe Trump wanted a big war, but he appears to have felt that Trump had no appreciation for how military action can spin out of control and escalate unexpectedly, adding that Milley told Trump regarding the missile attack on Iran that Netanyahu was pressing on the lame duck president, "If you do this, you're gonna have a f*cking war."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was also working the phones in the Pentagon insisting that safeguards be put in place to prevent the unhinged Trump from launching a war in his last months in office.

Remember that Netanyahu was in something close to a panic about Biden becoming president, even though Biden throughout his career had been a strong Christian Zionist and was close to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful Israel lobby. Biden, however, backs a two-state solution, contrary to Netanyahu's desire to gobble up the whole Palestinian West Bank. And Biden was committed to resurrecting the Joint Plan of Comprehensive Action, the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which Netanyahu hated the way the devil hates holy water.

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Juan Cole is an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia.  He is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Since 2002, he has written a weblog, Informed Comment (more...)

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