Monday, January 23, 2012

Post #166 - A Puzzlement...

The following was posted on by co-editor Adam Horowitz. He said that it came from the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv and was translated from the Hebrew by MW contributor Shmuel):
Israel: We Won't Give Advance Notice of Attack on Iran
Sunday Times reports that Israel told Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff it would give only twelve hours' warning, for fear that Obama would try to prevent [an attack].
Maariv NRG, 22/1/12
JCS Chair, Martin Dempsey
Israel informed Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, during his visit over the weekend, that it would not request US authorisation for an attack on Iran, and that it would give only twelve hours warning before launching such an attack, according to this morning's Sunday Times.
According to the report, Netanyahu does not trust Obama and believes the President might do everything [in his power] to prevent an attack if informed in advance, for fear of rising oil prices in an election year.
Recently, Obama called Netanyahu asking for clarifications regarding [a possible] attack [against Iran]. According to the Sunday Times report, the conversation was strained, and the Prime Minister explained his position, insisting that he would refuse to share details with the White House, should such an attack be launched. According to the report, the differences between the two sides increased further in the wake of Dempsey's meeting with Defence Minister Ehud Barak at the weekend.
Times reporter Uzi Mahnaimi adds that outwardly, Israel and the United States are trying to downplay the crisis, but the two countries would appear to be on a collision course.
For example, Dempsey claimed that Israel and the United States had agreed to postpone the scheduled joint military exercise and that the postponement would serve [the interests of] both sides. The fact is however, a defence source told the Sunday Times, that this is false. "We were shocked", said the source. "The exercise had been planned for two years."

Assuming that the piece is based on pretty solid sources, it must beg the question: if the Israelis do not trust the U.S. leadership, what does that actually mean? In other words, what would they be afraid might happen if they consulted their North American ally? It would seem that it must be one of the following:

1. That the U.S. president or secretary of state would attempt to persuade them to desist in their planning.

Would that really be a serious concern? If our track record on settlements is any guide, Israel is perfectly capable of resisting persuasion, cajolement or even arm-twisting by the Americans.

2. That the United States would let it go forward and then denounce it after-the-fact, disclaiming any responsibility for it.

{Map from Infowars}
This seems an unlikely scenario, since the president has made it clear that the military option is "not off the table" and our country has rarely, if ever, publicly opposed any major initiative of Israel (yes, perhaps we have objected to the way the Gaza flotilla was handled, but we did not stick it to Israel when that country attacked the USS Liberty, lodge a protest over incursions into Lebanon or take exception to Operation Cast Lead.  Moreover, wouldn't the lack of advance consultation make this rather more likely, rather than less?  (I still doubt that it would happen.)

3. That the United States would tip off the Iranians as soon as they knew about it -- allowing Iran to be more prepared for the strike?

Again, this would be entirely out-of-character for both President Obama and a long line of presidential predecessors. We would hardly subvert Iran ourselves covertly, encourage punishing sanctions and so forth, and then do it the immense favor of blowing the whistle on an Israeli action (especially since it would result, potentially, in greater Israeli loss-of-life).

So, when the author says that Netanyahu "believes the President might do everything [in his power] to prevent an attack" -- what could that possibly include? Hurried consulations with the UK, Russia or Germany to build out-of-the-spotlight pressure? A speech by the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations? A threat to reduce U.S. aid to Israel?

One wonders...

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