Archive for February 2nd, 2012

Dempsey Told Israelis U.S. Won’t Join Their War on Iran

Dempsey Told Israelis U.S. Won’t Join Their War on Iran

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=106621

By Gareth Porter

February 02, 2012 “IPS” —  WASHINGTON, Feb 1, 2012 (IPS) – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told Israeli leaders Jan. 20 that the United States would not participate in a war against Iran begun by Israel without prior agreement from Washington, according to accounts from well-placed senior military officers.

Dempsey’s warning, conveyed to both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, represents the strongest move yet by President Barack Obama to deter an Israeli attack and ensure that the United States is not caught up in a regional conflagration with Iran.

But the Israeli government remains defiant about maintaining its freedom of action to make war on Iran, and it is counting on the influence of right-wing extremist views in U.S. politics to bring pressure to bear on Obama to fall into line with a possible Israeli attack during the election campaign this fall.

Obama still appears reluctant to break publicly and explicitly with Israel over its threat of military aggression against Iran, even in the absence of evidence Iran has decided to build a nuclear weapon.

Dempsey’s trip was highly unusual, in that there was neither a press conference by the chairman nor any public statement by either side about the substance of his meetings with Israeli leaders. Even more remarkable, no leak about what he said to the Israelis has appeared in either U.S. or Israeli news media, indicating that both sides have regarded what Dempsey said as extremely sensitive.

The substance of Dempsey’s warning to the Israelis has become known, however, to active and retired senior flag officers with connections to the JCS, according to a military source who got it from those officers.

A spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Commander Patrick McNally, offered no comment Wednesday when IPS asked him about the above account of Dempsey’s warning to the Israelis.

The message carried by Dempsey was the first explicit statement to the Netanyahu government that the United States would not defend Israel if it attacked Iran unilaterally. But Defence Secretary Leon Panetta had given a clear hint in an interview on “Face the Nation” Jan. 8 that the Obama administration would not help defend Israel in a war against Iran that Israel had initiated.

Asked how the United States would react if Israel were to launch a unilateral attack on Iran, Panetta first emphasised the need for a coordinated policy toward Iran with Israel. But when host Bob Schieffer repeated the question, Panetta said, “If the Israelis made that decision, we would have to be prepared to protect our forces in that situation. And that’s what we’d be concerned about.”

Defence Minister Barak had sought to dampen media speculation before Dempsey’s arrival that the chairman was coming to put pressure on Israel over its threat to attack Iran, but then proceeded to reiterate the Netanyahu-Barak position that they cannot give up their responsibility for the security of Israel “for anyone, including our American friends”.

There has been no evidence since the Dempsey visit of any change in the Netanyahu government’s insistence on maintaining its freedom of action to attack Iran.

Dempsey’s meetings with Netanyahu and Barak also failed to resolve the issue of the joint U.S.-Israeli military exercise geared to a missile attack, “Austere Challenge ’12”, which had been scheduled for April 2012 but had been postponed abruptly a few days before his arrival in Israel.

More than two weeks after Dempsey’s meeting with Barak, the spokesman for the Pentagon, John Kirby, told IPS, “All I can say is that the exercise will be held later this year.” That indicated that there has been no major change in the status of U.S.-Israeli discussions of the issue since the postponement of the exercise was leaked Jan. 15.

The postponement has been the subject of conflicting and unconvincing explanations from the Israeli side, suggesting disarray in the Netanyahu government over how to handle the issue.

To add to the confusion, Israeli and U.S. statements left it unclear whether the decision had been unilateral or joint as well as the reasons for the decision.

Panetta asserted in a news conference Jan. 18 that Barak himself had asked him to postpone the exercise.

It now clear that both sides had an interest in postponing the exercise and very possibly letting it expire by failing to reach a decision on it.

The Israelis appear to have two distinct reasons for putting the exercise off, which reflect differences between the interests of Netanyahu and his defence minister.

Netanyahu’s primary interest in relation to the exercise was evidently to give the Republican candidate ammunition to fire at Obama during the fall campaign by insinuating that the postponement was decided at the behest of Obama to reduce tensions with Iran.

Thus Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesman, explained it as a “joint” decision with the United States, adding, “The thinking was it was not the right timing now to conduct such an exercise.”

Barak, however, had an entirely different concern, which was related to the Israeli Defence Forces’ readiness to carry out an operation that would involve both attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities and minimising the Iranian retaliatory response.

A former U.S. intelligence analyst who followed the Israeli military closely told IPS he strongly suspects that the IDF has pressed Barak to insist that the Israeli force be at the peak of readiness if and when they are asked to attack Iran.

The analyst, who insisted on anonymity because of his continuing contacts with U.S. military and intelligence personnel, said the 2006 Lebanon War debacle continues to haunt the thinking of IDF leaders. In that war, it became clear that the IDF had not been ready to handle Hezbollah rocket attacks adequately, and the prestige of the Israeli military suffered a serious blow.

The insistence of IDF leaders that they never go to war before being fully prepared is a primary consideration for Barak, according to the analyst. “Austere Challenge ’12” would inevitably involve a major consumption of military resources, he observes, which would reduce Israeli readiness for war in the short run.

The concern about a major military exercise actually reducing the IDF’s readiness for war against Iran would explain why senior Israeli military officials were reported to have suggested that the reasons for the postponement were mostly “technical and logistical”.

The Israeli military concern about expending scarce resources on the exercise would apply, of course, regardless of whether the exercise was planned for April or late 2012. That fact would help explain why the exercise has not been rescheduled, despite statements from the U.S. side that it will be.

The U.S. military, however, has its own reasons for being unenthusiastic about the exercise. IPS has learned from a knowledgeable source that, well before the Obama administration began distancing itself from Israel’s Iran policy, U.S. Central Command chief James N. Mattis had expressed concern about the implications of an exercise so obviously based on a scenario involving Iranian retaliation for an Israeli attack.

U.S. officials have been quoted as suspecting that the Israeli request for a postponement of the exercise indicated that Israel wanted to leave its options open for conducting a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in the spring. But a postponement to the fall would not change that problem.

For that reason, the former U.S. intelligence analyst told IPS he doubts that “Austere Challenge ’12” will ever be carried out.

But the White House has an obvious political interest in using the military exercise to demonstrate that the Obama administration has increased military cooperation with Israel to an unprecedented level.

The Defence Department wants the exercise to be held in October, according to the military source in touch with senior flag officers connected to the Joint Chiefs.

Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, “Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam”, was published in 2006.

Israel to start WW3 this spring?

Growing concern Israel may strike Iran this spring
 
 
 
Panetta won’t dispute report Israel may attack Iran
 
 
Israel Ramps Up Push for Attack on Iran
Officials claim Iran has missiles that could strike US
 
 
ISRAEL TEAMS WITH TERROR GROUPS TO KILL IRAN’S NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS,
U.S. OFFICIALS TELL NBC NEWS
By Richard Engel and Robert WindremNBC News
February 9, 2012http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/08/10354553-israel-teams-with-terror-group-to-kill-irans-nuclear-scientists-us-officials-tell-nbc-newsIsrael’s Assassinations Intended to Provoke US-Iranian War(by Dr. Stephen Sniegoski)http://america-hijacked.com/2012/01/13/israels-assassinations-intended-to-provoke-us-iranian-war/

http://tinyurl.com/provokingIranWar

 
Iran threatens to hit any country used to attack its soil
 
 
Iran poses no ‘existential threat’ to Israel – ex-Mossad chief
 
 
War in Iran will mean WW3!
 
 

Evan Thomas: ‘Excellent chance’ Israel attacks Iran and US drawn in this year [VIDEO]

http://news.yahoo.com/evan-thomas-excellent-chance-israel-attacks-iran-us-171715820.html

Robert Fisk: An attack on Tehran would be madness. So don’t rule it outAfter invading Iraq over weapons of mass destruction, we plan to clap as Israel bombs Iran

 http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-an-attack-on-tehran-would-be-madness-so-dont-rule-it-out-6358872.html

James Morris and FBI Whistleblower Coleen Rowley about coming war with Iran 

 
Warning! Neocon Push For War with Iran! (MORE ILLEGAL & UNNECESSARY WARS):
 
 
 
Ron Paul is America’s last hope to prevent a Zionist driven war vs. Iran (and Syria) for Israel in the Middle East which could draw in Russia and China and result in the next world war!: http://tinyurl.com/ronpaulvsneocons & http://tinyurl.com/RonPaulandIran 
 
Israel pushing Iran war:
 

Watch Ron Paul’s Speech After Florida Primary: ‘We’ve Only Gotten Started’

Watch Ron Paul’s Speech After Florida Primary: ‘We’ve Only Gotten Started’
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crxTbyVA77o

Ron Paul is Top Tier – Gaining A Ton of Delegates

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUACr082p5I

Ron Paul backer: “You would never hear of a ‘former’ Ron Paul supporter”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wptqeup5EBw&list=UUczrL-2b-gYK3l4yDld4XlQ&index=5&feature=plcp

Ron Paul vs the Israel 1st Neocon Toadies: http://tinyurl.com/RonPaul911

Ron Paul Spot on with 911 Motivation: http://tinyurl.com/ronpaulspotonwith911motivation

Neocon Warmongers: http://tinyurl.com/NeoconWarmongers

Another War (for Israel) on the Cheap

Another War on the Cheap

http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2012/02/01/another-war-on-the-cheap/

Posted By Philip Giraldi On February 1, 2012 @ 11:00 pm In Uncategorized | 7 Comments

There has been altogether too much stuff in the media lately about how Iran is not really a threat to anyone and how even some prominent Israelis don’t really believe that they have to go to war (or have Washington go to war on their behalf). It was perhaps inevitable that there would be some pushback to again stoke the fires and make the case that Iran is indeed evil incarnate and on the verge of obtaining an apocalyptic weapon.

Not surprisingly, some of the latest pushback comes from the redoubtable Ethan Bronner of The New York Times in his article “Israel Senses Bluffing in Iran’s Threats of Retaliation,” which appeared on the paper’s front page on Jan. 26. Bronner, whose son has served in the Israeli Defense Forces, is the Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief and covers much of the Middle East. He lives in Israel, and his objectivity has often been questioned, but the self-proclaimed newspaper of record has refused to consider replacing him with someone less openly tied to Israel and its interests.

As a former intelligence officer, I am acutely aware of how easy it is to create and spread disinformation. Journalists are frail creatures with big egos who want to get an important story that no one else has. What could be better than to get something fresh from a well-placed, unnamed government source? Who cares if it is phony? Bronner, who has been in Israel for four years, is no doubt a confidant of a number of Israeli officials who perceive value in the careful cultivation of a New York Times journalist willing to hew closely to the Netanyahu government’s line. When Mossad sees Bronner walking their way, it’s like Hanukkah coming early.

All of that said, Bronner’s current agenda is clear right from the get-go, as reflected in his apparent endorsement of the view that Iran “has called for Israel’s destruction and … finances and arms militant groups on Israel’s borders.” He reports that “Israeli intelligence estimates, backed by academic studies, have cast doubt on the widespread assumption that a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would set off a catastrophic set of events like a regional conflagration, widespread acts of terrorism, and sky-high oil prices.” Thanks to Bronner’s report, the whole world can no doubt breathe a sigh of relief. Attacking Iran will produce few or no consequences. And who is telling us that? No less than Israel and The New York Times, one an interested party in minimizing concern over the damage that such a war would cause and the other a newspaper that prints all the news that fits its point of view.

Bronner actually cites one source by name to make his case. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a November speech that “the retaliation [from Iran] would be bearable.” And then Bronner is off to the races with “eight current and recent top Israeli security officials” who are, alas, unnamed. One opines, “Take every scenario of confrontation and attack by Iran…” before delivering his judgment that Tehran having a nuclear weapon would greatly complicate Israel’s possible responses. Excuse me, but even Bronner and his Israeli friend should realize that Iran has not been talking about attacking anyone — the threats to attack have all been coming from the Israeli side for the past five years and more recently from a gaggle of American presidential wannabes. Any “confrontation and attack” by Iran would be retaliation.

And then there is the support provided by the article about to be published by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. An advance copy was graciously given to Bronner. The piece argues that the Iranian threat to close the Strait of Hormuz is a bluff. Bronner does not mention that Tel Aviv University is state-run, and the Institute he cites advertises itself on its own website as having “a strong association with the political and military establishment.” The paper is the work of the former head of military intelligence and the ex-Iran expert from Israel’s National Security Council. So we have government and still more government confirming what the Israeli government itself apparently wants everyone to believe.

Why would Iran not retaliate in the strait? To avoid a confrontation with the U.S. Navy, according to Bronner’s Israeli experts. But what if Iran did not agree with that assessment? Bronner does not go there, but he does cite another think tank, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. Begin-Sadat is government-funded and is based at state-supported Bar-Ilan University. The Center conducts “policy-relevant research on strategic subjects, particularly as they relate to the national security and foreign policy of Israel.” Its non-nonpartisanship is reflected in its current promotion of a “recent important new study by Prof. Haim Gvirtzman, based on previously classified data, [that] refutes Palestinian claims that Israel is denying West Bank Palestinians water rights.” It has also published an article titled “Palestinians: Invented People” by Professor Michael Curtis.

The Begin-Sadat Center obligingly argues that “The threat to Israel of missile warfare is somewhat exaggerated, and public discourse on this issue should reflect realistic assessments. At this stage, missile attacks would be able to inflict only limited physical damage on Israel.” Bronner quotes an anonymous retired official who adds that Iran’s reaction “will be nothing like London during World War II.” That was the German blitz that killed 20,000 Londoners, so it is perhaps reassuring to believe that it will not be like that, but the analysis is based on what Saddam Hussein did in 1991 and the effectiveness of the 4,000 primitive Katyusha rockets fired by Hezbollah in 2006. The United States and Israel have both been claiming that Hezbollah now has nearly 40,000 rockets and missiles, including sophisticated Grads, that can reach any target in Israel with considerable accuracy, so who is fooling whom?

To be fair to Bronner, he does note here and there along the way in his article that some officials and “experts” disagree with the conclusions he is reporting, but the piece overall seems intended to promote yet another war that can be fought on the cheap. The underlying premises are that Iran can be attacked, that its nuclear program can be seriously damaged, and that Tehran will either not opt to or be unable to retaliate in any meaningful way. And even if it does retaliate, it will not be too bad for Israel, and the United States would be impacted even less.

To say that this is very dangerous thinking would be to understate the case, particularly as Bronner demonstrates that it appears to be what is driving the Netanyahu government. Fear-mongering is the name of the game when citing the underlying concern that Iran might be about to obtain a nuclear weapon and might then be tempted to use it, a “what if” piled on a “maybe” to justify a preemptive war. It is not merely coincidental that Bronner cites Netanyahu’s apparent belief that the so-called Iranian threat is equivalent to “the Nazis who tried to eliminate the Jews.” And the piece concludes with the Israeli prime minister speaking on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, saying, “I want to mention the main lesson of the Holocaust when it comes to our fate. We can only rely on ourselves.”

Someone should remind Bronner that while he is promoting an Israeli viewpoint he is writing for an American newspaper and audience and should address the serious question of what Washington’s options might be if Netanyahu does take action. Israeli self-reliance is a wonderful thing, if only it were true. The United States has been tied hand and foot to Israeli policies and would be drawn inexorably into anything that Tel Aviv starts. The confident assertion that Iran would be unable to retaliate effectively might prove as reliable as the claims made in 2002 that there would be a “cakewalk” in Iraq.

Read more by Philip Giraldi

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Robert Fisk: We’ve been here before – and it suits Israel that we never forget ‘Nuclear Iran’

http://america-hijacked.com/2012/01/29/robert-fisk-weve-been-here-before-and-it-suits-israel-that-we-never-forget-nuclear-iran/

EU Gets Its Own Pro-Israel Lobby

http://www.nogw.com/download/2006_eu_pro-il_lobby.pdf

Iran, perceiving threat from West, willing to attack on U.S. soil, U.S. intelligence report finds

http://america-hijacked.com/2012/01/31/iran-perceiving-threat-from-west-willing-to-attack-on-u-s-soil-u-s-intelligence-report-finds/

Israel Pushing Iran War: http://tinyurl.com/IsraelPushingIranWar

The Ongoing War on Iran

The Ongoing War on Iran

by PATRICK COCKBURN
 
 
The way in which the growing confrontation with Iran is being sold by the US, Israel and West European leaders is deeply dishonest. The manipulation of the media and public opinion through systematic threat exaggeration is similar to the drum beat of propaganda and disinformation about Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction that preceded the invasion in 2003.
The supposed aim of imposing sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and central bank, measures officially joined by the EU, is to force Iran to abandon its nuclear program before it reaches the point where it could theoretically build a nuclear bomb. Even Israel now agrees that Iran has not yet decided to do so, but the Iranian nuclear program is still being presented as a danger to Israel and the rest of the world.
There are two other menacing parallels between the run-up to the Iraq war and what is happening now. The purported issue is the future of the Iranian nuclear program, but, for part of the coalition mustering against Iran, the real purpose is the overthrow of the Iranian government. The origin of the present crisis was the moves last November and December by the neoconservatives in the US, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and the Israel lobby in Washington to impose sanctions on Iranian oil exports and Iran’s central bank. These are very much the same people who targeted Iraq in the 1990s. They have been able to force the White House to adopt their program and it is now, in turn, being implemented by a European Union that naively sees sanctions as an alternative to military conflict.
In reality, sanctions are likely to intensify the crisis, impoverish ordinary Iranians and psychologically prepare the ground for war because of the demonization of Iran. The problem is that Israel and its right-wing American allies are more interested in regime change than Tehran’s nuclear program. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz succinctly stated the differences between the Israeli government and Washington. It said that “while the Americans are actively seeking a way to start a dialogue, Israel is preaching confrontation and the toppling of the government in Tehran”.
It is this latter policy that has triumphed. Israel, its congressional allies and the neoconservatives have successfully bamboozled the Obama administration into a set of policies that make sense only if the aim is overthrow of the regime in Tehran. The Iranian government has been given no diplomatic way to climb down without humiliation. Its nuclear program has been turned into a symbol of resistance to foreign diktats. This makes it impossible for anybody in the fractious Iranian leadership to compromise without being denounced as a traitor by political opponents.
Whatever the intentions of Barack Obama when he was elected, the covert offensive initiated by President Bush against Iran has continued. He signed a secret “presidential finding” in 2008 [as Andrew Cockburn reported on the CounterPunch website in a world exclusive on May 2, 20008] under which $400m was allocated to fund Iranian government opponents. The US’s new allies included unsavoury groups such as the Sunni sectarian killers of Jundullah operating in Iranian Baluchistan. The US may have intended to limit the degree of co-operation but, according to Foreign Policy magazine, Mossad agents simply posed as CIA members in dealing with Jundullah. What was the point of these pinprick attacks? A few bombs in Iranian Baluchistan are not going to pose much of a threat to the Iranian leadership in Tehran. The motive was most probably to provoke the Iranians into retaliation against the US which would bring a US-Iranian military conflict closer.
The same may well be true of the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. A little-noticed aspect of these is that the scientists were easy to kill because they were driving themselves around Tehran in their own cars. But any country that has evidence its top scientists are at risk provides them with security. The lack of the simplest security measures argues that these scientists were never at the centre of Iran’s nuclear program. A more likely explanation for the attacks, assuming that Israel was behind them, was to provoke Iran into a retaliation against the US or Israel that would be a casus belli.
It is difficult not to admire the skill with which  Netanyahu has maneuvered the White House and European leaders into the very confrontation with Iran they wanted to avoid. He has been helped by the Iranian President’s anti-Semitic outbursts and the apparent fixing of the 2009 presidential election. But Netanyahu’s most effective weapon has been the threat that Israel would unilaterally launch air strikes unless the White House did something. This has always been less likely than it looked. Israel has seldom gone to war without a “green light” from the US.
A more rational explanation of Israeli threats to act alone is that they were wholly designed to scare the White House and its European allies. The Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, made blood-curdling speeches about the imminence of the Iranian threat leaving Israel with no option but to launch a pre-emptive strike (until he quite recently said the opposite). The former head of Mossad gave credibility to unilateral Israeli action by warning that it would be a self-inflicted disaster for his country.
These maneuvers succeeded. Serious sanctions are being imposed. Iran will have difficulty selling its oil. Its status as a regional power in the Middle East is weakening as the long-term survival of Bashar al-Assad, its most important ally, looks dubious.
Here again there is an uncomfortable parallel with Iraq. Sanctions against Iraq from 1990 to 2003 impoverished Iraqis and criminalized much of its administration. Unicef said half a million children died because of sanctions. To the White House and European leaders, sanctions may appear preferable to armed conflict. Unfortunately, history shows that long embargoes kill more people than brief wars.
 
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Israel’s Assassinations Intended to Provoke US-Iranian War
 
 
Iran, perceiving threat from West, willing to attack on U.S. soil, U.S. intelligence report finds
 
 

War on an ‘If': ‘Iran threat a tool of regime change’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVkY5ePLlDY

 
 

Ron Paul vs the Israel 1st Neocon Toadies: http://tinyurl.com/RonPaul911

Ahmadinejad DID NOT threaten to “wipe Israel off the map.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mScWWtRfGQ

Flynt Leverett says Ahmadinejad won actually won the Iranian election:
 
(Iran’s) Ahmadinejad won. Get over it:
 

Israel Pushing Iran War: http://tinyurl.com/IsraelPushingIranWar

Robert Fisk: We’ve been here before – and it suits Israel that we never forget ‘Nuclear Iran’

http://america-hijacked.com/2012/01/29/robert-fisk-weve-been-here-before-and-it-suits-israel-that-we-never-forget-nuclear-iran/

EU Gets Its Own Pro-Israel Lobby

http://www.nogw.com/download/2006_eu_pro-il_lobby.pdf