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Israel Reserves Right to Attack Iran Regardless of Nuke Talks’ Progress

bibi netanyahu

Guess who's looking to spoil the party for tomorrow's nuclear negotiations with Iran? (AP)

Derisive comments from Israel’s leadership about reported progress leading up to the May 23rd second round of nuclear talks with Iran, signal that Israel wants, even needs the talks to fail:

…Benjamin Netanyahu…warned the world powers against letting Iran “push them around,” toughening his stance in a last-ditch effort to head off a nuclear agreement between the world powers and Iran at talks slated to start Wednesday in Baghdad.

…”The West is already caving in to Iran,” said one official.   The prime minister’s comments reflect a fear…that the talks…will result in an intermediate agreement that would not satisfy Israel on the one hand, and lead to the talks’ continuation for many months on the other. In that event, an Israeli military option against Iranian nuclear facilities would be off the table.

There can be only one reason for this: that Bibi Netanyahu wants a crack at Iran and to launch the F-16s, he needs a failure of the diplomatic track.

Israel fears that the western powers are prepared to sell it out in return for a watered down agreement that delays, but does not end the Iranian nuclear threat.  Israel wants Armageddon now, a final showdown in which Iran is beaten to a pulp and shown who’s boss.  The only problem is that Israel can’t deliver such a knockout blow and even an attack will only delay Iran’s nuclear program.

Maariv’s report goes even farther and has Israeli officials predicting that the talks will fail and that Iran will continue enriching uranium on its path toward nuclear capability.  And whatever the outcome of the talks, Israel arrogates to itself freedom of action to determine what is best for its security interests, which may include an attack.

Israeli leaders believe Iran is dissembling, appearing to show good faith in order to evade the burden of crippling sanctions threatened by the west; all the while intending to offer nothing of substance in return.  Paranoia seems a prerequisite for Israeli leadership.  Thus Maariv says the Israelis believe the western negotiating parties also want to draw out the talks, believing that as long as they continue Israel will have a more difficult time bucking the international consensus to allow diplomacy to run its course.

Another Israeli rejected this claim.  Bibi, according to this source, won’t allow negotiations to deter him from his own independent course.  The Israeli newspaper says that senior Israeli sources have already noted that Israel’s air force would attack “before fall.”

The Iranians, according to official Israeli thinking, believe that if they draw the talks out beyond the November presidential election, that it will strengthen Obama’s hand (presuming he wins) and weaken Israel’s, since Obama supposedly prefers the diplomatic track to an attack.

As I’ve pointed out, the irony of the entire P5+1 negotiations is that these same world powers could’ve had essentially the same deal in 2010 when Brazil and Turkey persuaded Iran to stop enriching uranium beyond 20% and to transfer its existing enriched stocks to Turkey.  Those with a sharp memory will remember that it was the U.S. which put the kibosh on that deal.  What was it the man said about “never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity?”

UPDATE: AP reports that on his return from Tehran that IAEA chief, Yukio Amano announced that he’d reached an agreement with Iran giving inspectors access to previously off-limits nuclear facilities.  One hopes it also augurs well for tomorrow’s start to the P5+1 talks with Iran.  This will cause no end of grief in Tel Aviv.

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  • Steve May 22, 2012, 12:49 AM

    Exactly, the 2010 proposal (or some close variant of it) was worth enacting, and it was stupid to just dismiss it. There is little harm in allowing a closely monitored and contained civil program to function, and it’s far better than the sort of underground and unknowable revenge program that war would provoke, (apart from the other effects), barring a full blown invasion and occupation of the country which would be practically impossible (and horrendously costly) to attempt. The young and educated middle class in Iran want change and openness to the world, and they are the future if they get a chance, which strikes followed by savage internal clampdown would sabotage. The current leadership is getting old and won’t last too much longer, let things take their natural course, rather than rolling the dice of war when the stakes are global, in more ways than one.

    An attack on Iran now would be criminal madness, and Russian and China a have made clear they won’t stand by and accept it – they know the stakes for themselves also. Aside from which are the major economic ramifications, and probable massive damage and loss of life, running conceivably into the millions, with ongoing effects. Whoever brings that off will go down in the history books as one of the madmen of the millennium. Assuming any books (or people) survive the possible WW3 that is.

  • I wonder May 22, 2012, 1:43 AM

    Haaretz is reporting that Amano has just announced a deal between the IAEA and Iran on how to address “outstanding issues” between the two of them.

    It now remains for the P5+1 to come up with some face-saving formula for easing the sanctions against Iran.

    Netanyahu is too late, and if he attacks NOW then he moves Israel from its current position of being on the “far right of the west” to being “in opposition to the west”.

    The former is unwise, but the latter is simply suicidal for a small country like Israel.

    Still, hubris does funny things to those it infects.

  • shmuel May 22, 2012, 3:25 AM

    Bibi talks about the Iranian Chief of Staff who specifically called for the destruction of Israel, even claiming that this time there can be no hiding behind a “mis-translation” from farsi.

    Does any farsi speaker know to translate this?

    Should we be scared of a direct existential threat from a general or is this just “army-speak”?

    • Eliyahu May 22, 2012, 5:40 AM

      Are you referring to this: ?

      http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9102112759

      Top Commander Reiterates Iran’s Commitment to Full Annihilation of Israel
      TEHRAN (FNA)- Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi said threats and pressures cannot deter Iran from its revolutionary causes and ideals, and stressed that the Iranian nation will remain committed to the full annihilation of the Zionist regime of Israel to the end.

      I wasn’t able to find a corresponding Farsi news release. But since this is the semi-official news agency of the regime, it’s prudent to trust their translation until the original, untraslated remarks can be found.

      • Daniel May 22, 2012, 6:50 AM

        “…committed to the full annihilation of the Zionist regime of Israel to the end.”

        Substitute “Theocratic” for “Zionist” and you pretty much sum up the belief of most Neo Cons concerning Iran. Neo Cons will claim they merely hate the government of Iran, not it’s people, and no doubt Iranian government officials will use the same language concerning the Jewish people in contrast to the Israeli government.

        Not that I really believe either one.

      • Steve May 22, 2012, 8:44 AM

        I must admit seeing that and one or two other things like it makes me wonder if they are ‘rational’ after all – what a nuts thing to say, above all now. Still a purely civil program within monitored limits is in theory allowable. But they had better can the belligerent rhetoric or Bibi will have a field day.

      • Deïr Yassin May 22, 2012, 9:48 AM

        Well, I don’t know Farsi but only Zionists with blinders persist in stating that “annihilation of the Zionist regime of Israel” is the same as “the destruction of Israel”.
        It’s like saying “the annihilation of Apartheid South Africa” is “the destruction of South Africa”. Well, it maybe was the destruction of the South Africa that White supemacist Afrikaaners loved.

        • Liron May 22, 2012, 10:00 AM

          If you’ll ever be out of work, you can try money laundering, you are doing a great job laundering the Iranian statements.

          “As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel….The sole method we shall apply against Israel is a total war which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence”
          http://www.sixdaywar.co.uk/crucial_quotes.htm

          as you can see above Nasser always referred to Israel as the Zionist regime, you really want to argue over his intentions ?

        • Liron May 22, 2012, 10:03 AM

          Nasser wasn’t the only one of course, the Arab leaders always refer to Israel as the Zionist regime, as the statement below quoted from Hafez Assad shows:

          “Our forces are now entirely ready not only to repulse any aggression, but to initiate the act ourselves, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland of Palestine. The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united. I believe that the time has come to begin a battle of anihilation.”- Syria’s Defence Minister Hafez Assad (later to be Syria’s President)

          • Deïr Yassin May 22, 2012, 10:57 AM

            That’s a typical Hasbara-trick: the topic here wasn’t neither Nasser not Assad but the Iranians, and you can spin all you want: ‘annihilation of the Zionist regime’ and ‘the destruction of Israel’ is NOT the same thing, and this comment was about a specific declaration.
            But then again, the Israelis have been trying to destroy the Palestinian people for the least 64 years without ever saying so directly and in public, so I guess you know what you’re talking about. Isn’t there something about “in the eyes of the beholder” ?

          • Liron May 22, 2012, 11:32 AM

            Great demonstration of logic on your part
            for the last 64 years, the Arab leaders always referred to the Zionist state, the Zionist regime etc, the main reason behind it was their unwillingness to recognize the state of Israel.
            But you want us to believe that the Iranians are doing the same but for different reasons.

            you should get new instructions from the PPM, doesn’t work.

          • Deïr Yassin May 22, 2012, 11:57 AM

            I don’t know who the PPM is, the only people I eventually would take instructions from are in solitary confinement in your democracy…. and it still hasn’t anything to do with the statement by the Iranians, so why don’t you stick to the topic.

          • Liron May 22, 2012, 12:28 PM

            @ DY
            PPM = http://www.mtit.gov.ps/

            You work there as mach as i work for Hasbara central.

          • Deïr Yassin May 22, 2012, 1:10 PM

            @ Liron
            You’re one big joke. To me, these people are collaborators, quislings, and should be put on a popular trial. Whereas you’ve already published enough spin for me to judge that you’re a right-winger and sticking to classic Zionist mythology (cf. one of your first comment here on ‘the Arabs who refused the Partition blahblah…’), you clearly have no clue to where I belong politically, so don’t make a fool out of youself.

          • Liron May 22, 2012, 1:21 PM

            @ DY
            Other then your personal attacks, I am a joke work for Hasbara central etc. do you have anything of substance to add ? can you refute the facts that for political and cultural reasons Israel was always referred to by the neighboring countries as the Zionist regime ?
            I guess you can’t, that’s why you resort to all the personal BS.
            send an application to SNL, i have been told they are looking for a new lead comedian.

          • Richard Silverstein May 22, 2012, 6:17 PM

            This is off topic and duplicates other comments you’ve already published. Your future comments will be moderated and published if they adhere to comment rules.

        • Bob Mann May 22, 2012, 12:13 PM

          You are seriously arguing that calling for “the full annihilation of the Zionist regime of Israel” is not the same as calling for “the destruction of Israel”?

          • Liron May 22, 2012, 12:26 PM

            I can argue on her behalf… the Iranians are calling for the annihilation of the regime not the state.
            The fact that all the surrounding states of Israel always referred to the state of Israel as the Zionist regime, will not confuse her for a second.

          • fiddler May 22, 2012, 2:34 PM

            By way of comparison, would it be too much of a stretch to observe that the Republicans are calling, and working for “the full annihilation of the Democratic regime in the White House”, if not with precisely these words? Sure, the GOP doesn’t have an army. Neither does Iran have a military capable of conquering (and occupying, and all the rest) Israel – look at Iraq or Afghanistan, where even that worked like a charm. Yes, the Iranian chief of staff’s sabre rattling is silly and counter-productive – but no more than that. Israel is increasingly setting itself up as a much more existential threat to Iran than has ever been the case the other way ’round.

            And why does everyone get so upset with the phrase “Zionist regime”? Isn’t that an accurate description, if there ever was one, for Israel’s very raison d’etre, including all its governments, from day one? If the Israeli government one happy day ceases to be Zionist, do not count me in with the mourners. Same goes for the Iranian govt and theocracy. Neither is the same as destruction of either country.

          • Richard Silverstein May 22, 2012, 6:21 PM

            I agree with Deir Yassin. They are not the same. I am not justifying an attack on Israel by anyone, but Israeli leaders conducting a policy of regime change is no different than saying the “Zionist regime in Jerusalem will disappear from the pages of time.”. In fact, that statement is even less threatening than Israel’s explicit policy of provoking regime change through serial acts of terror.

          • Bob Mann May 23, 2012, 3:54 AM

            This is the headline from the Fars News Agency:

            Top Commander Reiterates Iran’s Commitment to Full Annihilation of Israel

            http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9102112759

            This is an Iranian news source.

          • I Wonder.... May 24, 2012, 3:41 AM

            I’ll just point out that the entire paragraph at Fars is this:
            “He reiterated the Iranian nation and Supreme Leader’s emphasis on the necessity of support for the oppressed Palestinian nation and its causes, and noted, ‘The Iranian nation is standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel.’ ”

            The c.o.n.t.e.x.t. of that quote is therefore crystal-clear i.e. he is saying that Iran supports the “Palestinian cause”, and his quote is simply a florid way of signalling Iran’s support for the one-state solution.

            After all, is there **anyone** here that doubts that the adoptation of a one-state solution would inevitably result in the end of “Israel”?

            Certainly it would mean the end of “Israel as we now know it”, which is why so many of the Israeli leaders past and present have warned that the status quo is untenable.

      • Richard Silverstein May 22, 2012, 6:14 PM

        Israel’s senior leadership, including Netanyahu, Barak, Dagan, etc is & has been committed to toppling the Iranian regime. Regime change is no different than what this warmongering general is proposing.

        I’m rather shocked that you’d be so naive as to think there are only war mongers on one side.

    • Richard Silverstein May 22, 2012, 5:44 PM

      Even more than the Israeli system, in which the military is quite powerful, in Iran generals don’t decide to go to war. That decision is made by the Supreme Ayatollah & no one else.

  • I Wonder.... May 22, 2012, 4:24 AM

    The significance of the deal that Amano has struck can not be over-emphasized. It will certainly include an undertaking by Amano that
    *if* the IAEA visits all those sites and finds nothing
    *then* the IAEA Board of Directors will close the book.

    And once the IAEA does that then the board will have no choice but to report to the UN Security Council that all “outstanding issues” have been resolved to the IAEA’s satisfaction.

    At that point the UNSC will no longer be “seized of the matter”, and any existing UNSC sanctions against Iran will become moot.

    There will then remain only the unilateral sanctions imposed by the USA and the EU, and if I was “the west” then I’d be looking for the P5+1 to find me a way of backing out of this whole mess.

    Rest assured: that upcoming P5+1 meeting will be **all** about saving face, because without the IAEA Board of Directors then the P5+1 really has nothing to complain about.

    After all, this argument will be unassailable: The IAEA has no problem with Iran’s nuclear program, so why do you guys have a problem with it?

  • pabelmont May 22, 2012, 5:00 AM

    I am at a loss to understand the “new speak” phrase “existential threat” (“ET”), tossed around so freely and so seemingly dangerously bv Israeli politicians.

    If I were to say it was my plan to wipe Israel off the map by my own direct military action, would this be an “ET”? (BTW, I have no arms, no army, no air force, etc.). Well, such a statenment would have the form of a threat. It would have, in fact, the form of an ET. But it would have no substance! So would it qualify as an ET?

    How do Israelis understand this phrase, “ET”? Does Iran, today, have the means to wipe Israel off the map (assuming a desire to do so despite the presence of the Haram ash-Sharif in the target area)? And despite Israel’s huge (presumed) nuclear arsenal?

    Just asking.

    • shmuel May 22, 2012, 5:31 AM

      It’s really not that hard to understand.

      If someone (a chief of staff) who may be sitting on an arsenal of nukes in a year or two states that he plans the destruction of Israel that is an “ET” to Israel.

      Likewise if Bibi or Gantz were to say that Iran ought to be obliterated that would be an “ET” to Iran.

      So far it only went in one direction and Israel is the one to be afraid. Iran has never stated that it is faced by any “ET” nor does it claim to be afraid.

      The question is only whether the Iranian regime can be convinced by diplomatic means not to reach the level of becoming an immediate rather than potential “ET”.

      • fiddler May 22, 2012, 1:57 PM

        “an arsenal of nukes in a year or two” – that surely surpasses the wettest dreams of any Iranian general. Where do you get such an estimate from?

      • Richard Silverstein May 22, 2012, 6:11 PM

        If you think Iran’s leaders aren’t afraid of Israel you’re simply unattuned. Unlike Israel, Iran is not going to scream bloody murder & talk about the Israeli threat in the same theological/existential terms used by Israel. It’s a different culture.

        I simply can’t believe you would deny Iranians the same fear & dread that Israelis feel when they think of their enemy.

        • Bob Mann May 23, 2012, 7:00 AM

          Zionist regime is weaker than being able to fulfill its threats against Islamic Republic, visiting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Press Advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr said on Wednesday.

          He made the remark in a meeting with local officials in South Lebanon during a visit to Iran’s park in Maran al-Ras border region.

          “Iran is not afraid of any enemy, including the occupying force of Zionist regime,” the official added.

          http://www.irna.ir/News/Politic/Zionist-regime-not-able-to-fulfill-its-threats,-President,s-Advisor/80040923

          • Elisabeth May 23, 2012, 10:42 AM

            My kid says he is not afraid of the dark, but he want a bedside lamp anyway.

          • Richard Silverstein May 23, 2012, 2:15 PM

            Just in case the ghouls & zombies drop the Big One on him, right?

  • The Rahnameh May 22, 2012, 7:56 AM

    1- Israel doesn’t have the technical ability to follow through on even the gravest of its threats against Iran;

    2- Israel is irrelevant to nuclear issues so long as it circumvents the NPT and refuses inspections itself;

    3- Israel is now acting like a lap dog, barking orders to a crowd that just rolls its eyes at the Chihuahua. Good little dog. That’s right, you’re big! You’re a big, girl! Good, doggy, good!

    I hope they re-elect the furniture salesman. He’s been working out swimmingly for those who implanted him.

  • dickerson3870 May 22, 2012, 7:10 PM

    RE: “Israel wants Armageddon now, a final showdown in which Iran is beaten to a pulp and shown who’s boss.” ~ R.S.

    MY COMMENT: “The Dissociative State of Israel™” is a mortal danger to both itself and to others. Consequently, it should be involuntarily committed for intensive psychiatric care!

    Dissociation (psychology) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociation_(psychology)

  • Ellipser May 22, 2012, 11:24 PM

    Every government in oil rich lands (including Canada) has been caving to Israeli/American demands.

    It’s about time Neta shuts his little bitching mouth, he should simply go away for awhile and let cooler heads take over.
    Any terrorist , government programmed patsy can do it.
    Who benefits? That’s the first thing people will ask, false flags or not.

  • bezoar May 23, 2012, 4:42 AM

    Suggested by his increasingly belligerent and intractable public statements concerning the “threat” of Iran, Netanyahu and his adherents (and the Iranian leadershjp) should be regarded as fundamentalist, discriminatory and exclusionary religionists; by definition people who negotiate when terms fit their religious ideology and maybe or maybe not, national interest. On these grounds they justify going to war (and violate international law following such wars with illegal occupation and human rights violations, at least).

    In Israel’s case, this behavior, in the absence of threatening or actual military belligerence, becomes more obvious. Simply put, with all the reaching for peaceful, or at least non-military solutions by the international community, the community’s suggestions and concerns regarding the present crisis, are irrelevant to Netanyahu and his like in the present Israeli government.

    Lacking credible evidence of sufficient and effective resolve to thwart the Israeli political hierarchy on this issue, the outlook appears grim for everyone concerned.

  • Piotr Berman May 23, 2012, 8:36 AM

    Iranian nuclear program is not structured to pursue nuclear weapons in some clear way. I think it is specifically designed to be a target that is simultaneously provocative, diffuse and elusive, which is easy if it does not have a concrete material goal.

    What is this dreaded “nuclear capability”? Mere existence of centrifuges? Existence of factories that make them? Existence of labs? Existence of scientists? Existence of facilities where they MAY be installed? The latter is the role of Fordow underground facility: not many centrifuges there, but more COULD be installed after an attack.

    So how Israel can prevent Iran from declaring victory in the aftermath of an attack? A victory, any victory, is the elixir of power. Olmert attacked Hezbollah and Hamas, the adversaries declared victory, and victors became loosers, quite importantly for them, electoral loosers. To paraphrase Clausewitz, war is the internal politics by other means. Tough talk, once started, cannot be interrupted without loosing the face and the precious votes. But an actual attack on not-so-actual existential threat? How will they measure the remaining “existentiality” of the threat?

  • hass May 23, 2012, 12:13 PM

    A “Right” to attack? When did such a thing come into existence?

  • bezoar May 23, 2012, 5:13 PM

    Hass;

    After being attacked: It’s called defence.