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U.S. Leaks War-Plan for Iran Attack

shiffer u.s. attack on iran

Yediot’s lead story on U.S. war plans against Iran
‘America’s goal: to neutralize the Iranian nuclear program
Date of mission : another year and a half’

I’ve written regularly here about Israel’s manipulation of U.S. media and public opinion in favor of military intervention against Iran. This perception management campaign has gone on for years. But recent days have proven that two can play at this. The U.S. too has a horse in this race. It doesn’t want Israel to strike. So it too is using various methods to massage Israeli perception of such an attack.

As I wrote yesterday, some of the most senior Obama administration officials have come to Israel over the past two weeks including Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, and Tom Donilon. They offered a mix of encouragement and tongue-lashing, all to remind Israel’s leaders that they should be grateful for the protective layer we’ve offered Israel from Iran’s nuclear threat.

Various Israeli officials have come forward too, espousing the message that an Israeli assault on Iran would be foolish. Those include no less a figure than IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, who was quoted in an Israeli news report that was censored at the demand of Ehud Barak.

The latest to join the chorus is former IDF intelligence chief Aharon Farkash, who offered his views to no less a hawkish forum than the Jerusalem Post and its military reporter Yaakov Katz, who’s known as a stenographer for the brass. You can tell that if the Post and Katz are offering a venue to those against an attack, that this is not an issue about which Israel is at all unified.

Here is how Katz characterizes his subject’s views:

Farkash [said] that from what he is reading and hearing a decision is not far off. But, he warns, a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities now would be wrong.

“The timing is not now since, even if it is successful, it will ruin the legitimacy that is needed,” he said, suggesting instead that Israel wait six to eight months or even until spring 2013 before deciding on such an attack.

One word that repeats itself throughout the interview with Farkash is “legitimacy,” a reference to the required diplomatic support Israel will need after a strike to ensure that the Iranians are not allowed to rebuild their facilities and race toward the bomb – something he believes they will definitely and immediately do.

“An attack is not a single strike and once it happens we are in a whole other world,” he said. “Iran will pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei and [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad will reunite and it will be clear that they need a bomb now so that we cannot attack them again.

“Let the [diplomatic and sanctions] process run its course and don’t break the legitimacy,” he said…Right now, he adds, European and Asian countries are paying a heavy price for agreeing to the sanctions and stopping to do business with Iran.

“If Israel attacks, we will find ourselves being asked why we attacked when the world was imposing tough economic sanctions and was paying for this and was hurting as a result,” he said.

…Farkash does not accept the “immunity zone” argument [of Ehud Barak] – he is not alone; the Pentagon has also dismissed it – but ultimately says that when the immunity zone is up against the question of legitimacy, legitimacy should take precedence…Israel without legitimacy will not be able to – over time – maintain the results of a successful attack.”

I am not saying that statements by Gantz or Farkash are instigated by the U.S. (though they might be). They each have institutional reasons of their own for speaking out. But the U.S. will have done whatever it could within the constraints permitted by diplomatic protocol to make its friends within the Israeli power élite know that it would welcome such public statements.

We also appear to be leaking like crazy to trusted sources within the Israeli media. After Donilon’s visit, someone leaked to Haaretz’s Barak Ravid that the former had shared with Bibi and Barak the U.S. war-plan against Iran. Similarly, both Shimon Shiffer, Yediot’s political correspondent, and Ben Caspit, Maariv columnist, have published what are presumably portions of the plan.

After reading them in Hebrew, all I can say is that they’re the biggest pile of elephant dung I’ve read in some time. If an American official actually conveyed this information to the reporters and believes half the nonsense in it, then Don Rumsfeld’s ghost from the days of the Iraq invasion must still be haunting the halls of the Pentagon.

Here’s a rough summary (via Caspit in Hebrew) of the U.S. plan. Despite the fact that many of you may find some of the views expressed here ironic or downright bizarre, I assure you I’ve done as little editorializing as possible except for the occasional [!] accompanying especially outrageous passages:

The attack begins with scores, perhaps hundreds of Tomahawk missiles attacking Iran’s defensive concentrations, command and control facilities, and intelligence capabilities. We will attack from everywhere in the globe from which we can field such weapons including bases in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and ships in the Mediterranean. The weapons will be precise and highly lethal. Casualties among bystanders would be “minimal [!]”

We attack Iran over the course of anywhere from a few days to two months, of course using extreme caution not to harm Iranian civilians. We then wait to see the Iranian response. If it’s “reasonable,” follows the “rules of the game,” and only involves attacking U.S. warplanes or ships which are attacking it, and doesn’t escalate into attacks on Saudi Arabia or far-flung terror attacks using Iran’s proxies, then the U.S. can ratchet down the military pressure. But if the Iranians decide to up the ante, then we come in with all guns blazing. We attack IRG installations, the symbols of the regime, and strike mortal blows against the country’s military forces. In short, we’ll threaten to burn down the house and take the entire regime with it. We even send the fleet to the shores of Lebanon–warplanes, aircraft carriers and all–to make Nasrallah think twice about supporting his Iranian patrons.

After the first U.S. attack comes the ultimatum. Pres. Obama will speak from the White House and offer the Iranian leadership a choice of immediately stopping its nuclear program, the evacuation of enriched uranium from the country, and closing of uranium enrichment sites (especially Fordo). In return, the west will offer Iran civilian nuclear reactors. The Iranians will take a few days to respond to this offer (which they’ll find impossible to refuse). There will no new negotiations. No give and take. No further delays. It will be take-it-or-leave-it. If they refuse, the Tomahawks will rain down on them and all hell will break loose. Shock and Awe II.

Strategic weapons will be next: the recently upgraded 30,000 pound GBU 57 bunker buster (including 5,000 pounds of explosive) that can, presumably, penetrate 300 feet down to take out the Fordo enrichment plant. This weapon involved $300-million in research and development and is produced by Boeing. It’s also known by its acronym: MOB (“Mother of all bombs”). You don’t want to be around when this baby hits the ground. Not much will remain of these nuclear sites afterward.

Unlike Iraq, the U.S. doesn’t plan any significant ground campaign in Iran. It will learn the lesson of Iraq. There will not be hundreds and thousands of coffins returning home from the field. There will be no Iranian quagmire.

The American goal will be to confine the attack to Iran’s nuclear facilities and not turn this into a regional war [!] The ayatollahs can be expected to be pragmatic, according to this American “wisdom,” to batten down the hatches, lower their heads, and take the blows we rain down. We don’t expect them to go wild and don’t believe they’d be willing absorb the murderous blows that would follow a full-scale Iranian counter-attack.

Such an American attack won’t wipe out Iran’s nuclear program, but it will set it back five to ten years [!]

Shimon Shiffer’s Yediot article likely comes from either the same or similar source. In fact, he offers a hint to decipher this “secret.” He notes that Israeli code for the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv is “HaYarkon Street.” He further notes he spoke with a senior official in the U.S. political-security echelon. Putting these two hints together, it appears the leaker is none other than Ambassador Dan Shapiro, who has previously made hawkish statements about the possibility of war with Iran.

Shapiro told Yediot that the Americans aren’t prepared to launch this attack for another year and a half. The paper’s Washington correspondent says that U.S. sources told him they’re quite aware of the opposition voiced by IDF chief Gantz to an Iran attack. He adds a few new details not offered in Caspit’s “exclusive.” Included as targets in the first wave of attacks will be Iranian infrastructure including power generation and water supply. The oil industry will also be a primary target. The destruction of Iran’s infrastructure will somehow lead to the fall of the regime.

One thing you’ve got to hand it to ‘em: whoever sold this bill of goods really put on a good show. But that’s all it was: a show. Like a used car salesman offering the few attractive qualities of his product and leaving out the flood of flaws. Frankly, I think the American pitch was a load of bull. If left to the Americans, there will be no attack on Iran. No doubt Bibi and Barak knew that when they heard it from Donilon and Panetta, who left Israel yesterday.

If any American general really believed the load of crap that was peddled in these stories, he should not only have his head examined, he should be busted down to private. Aircraft carriers in Beirut harbor? Regime change? Shock and Awe II? An offer the Iranians can’t refuse? Whoever wrote this script has seen The Godfather too many times and confuses cinema for reality. How about some “ocean-front” property in the Everglades or a bridge in New York? Any takers?

But I find myself in the unlikely position of saying, if that’s what it takes to persuade Israel not to take leave of its senses and launch a new regional war against Iran, then more power to ‘em. Whatever it takes, even if it’s based on fantasy and delusion. My problem is that I don’t believe any Israel will be fooled by this. You’re not and I’m not. Why would they?

To those who believe the Israelis won’t attack either, all I can say is that Aharon Farkash isn’t a Hollywood celebrity and doesn’t need media exposure. He doesn’t shoot his mouth off. If he speaks, like the old John Houseman commercial, everybody listens. If he thought Bibi was bluffing he wouldn’t waste his time. He believes an attack is likely, as do I. If I were a betting man (I’m not), I’d put the odds at 70-30.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Daniel F. August 3, 2012, 3:15 AM

    As much as coexisting with a nuclear Iran is untenable in Bibi’s eyes,selling an effective Israeli attack on Iran, with it’s resultant fallout, is equally untenable in the Israel of today.

  • Chris Cook August 3, 2012, 3:55 AM

    I do not believe a word of this US/Israeli dialogue and sabre rattling conducted in public: it’s pure Kabuki.

    In my view there is zero chance that Israel will attack Iran without material US support, and zero chance that the US will give the OK without China’s agreement, because the world is now economically bipolar and China has as much interest in energy security as the US. ie it’ a ‘red-line’ issue for them.

    Furthermore, when – not if – Iran backs off (and it will be soon, in my judgement), Israel and the US have painted themselves into a corner. I think that the superficially smart US/Israeli ‘economic warfare’ sanctions policy will come to be recognised as one of the greatest strategic blunders in history.

    The US is militarily supreme, but with a completely moribund financial system. There are alternatives to the current dollar economics and the US and Israel between them have made it inevitable that these will now be implemented.

    • Davey August 3, 2012, 10:30 PM

      I’d be interested in these “alternatives.” Can you fill this out a bit more?

      • Fred Plester August 3, 2012, 11:40 PM

        Some idiot reporters have started to refer to Sterling as a “global reserve currency”. It isn’t and the last thing British industry needs or wants is a currency that prices their products according to the performance of the global commodities market rather than their own economy.

        This is what America has and Germany nearly had, and something which the Swiss government is grimly determined to avoid, by buying Euros anytime Swiss Francs start to attract too much idle money or there are major signs of Francs being used to set commodity prices.

        The creation of the Euro got German industry out of the looming “global reserve currency trap” and ensured great prosperity in Germany for eight years, at the cost of completely wrecking all the ballast economies that were roped to it. Now see it sink.

        Some states in the US need the currency to behave in completely different ways from others: this is not a new discovery and the Civil War was more about this than it ever was about slavery and human rights.

        The dollar’s current behaviour suits Alaska and Texas, basically. Other states can live with it, sort of, but some states, such as Kentucky, have been nailed to the economic floor by the dollar for more than a century and it’s beginning to show. All Kentucky has needed in all that time is its own “dollar” that could have floated a few cents either side of the Federal Dollar. Until it gets something like that, it will be America’s “Greece”.

        If you have a union, and you keep parts of it poor on purpose, which is what it amounts to, sooner or later the stress builds up and either the whole mechanism jams, or it flies apart.

        (This is why English taxpayers do subsidise Scotland, despite what Mr Salmond claims, and why it’s actually in their interests to do so. We can’t let Scotland be Kentucky or Greece and that’s why the Union was created in the first place: to allow England to pour money in. It is sustainable if we keep doing it.)

        You can’t get America as a whole out of the trap the dollar creates, but you could lever bits of America far enough out of the trap to thrive rather than fester, and you have to do that with local floating currencies because it’s politically impossible for America to countenance the sort of money pipe that’s been running across the Tweed for the past three centuries.

        California is America’s most technologically and economically important state, but it’s also bankrupt and will start to look like Kentucky unless something is done. The Californian economy runs on innovation and manufacture and the Dollar is run by commodity speculators, for commodity speculators the world over. If California had its own currency, separately valued on global markets, it would rapidly cease to be bankrupt and would then steadily forge ahead.

        There’s no replacing the Dollar as a global reserve currency, (I’d be willing to set the Vanguard class boats on anyone who wanted to put Sterling there!) but it might be possible to decouple a state at a time from the dollar, and gradually get them all working to their own local potential, at their own achievable pace, again.

      • Dana August 4, 2012, 12:58 PM

        Davey – you should follow the rush of bilateral trade agreements that have become as common as declarations that the US “has pulled out of the recession” (it never has. It was just “papered over”). In particular, I’d suggest looking at the last 2-3 year history of bilateral agreements entered into by China (but not only them). This includes India, Japan, Russia, Iran, Bric countries etc. The way China is proceeding is, actually, masterful, whether one likes or doesn’t it’s mercantilist mindframe. each of these agreements sets a ceiling wherein the countries involved trade in each other currencies and/or in goods measured by their own currencies. The total amounts involved in each case are not so high as to trigger a US-generated hyper-ventillation and alarmist bell ringing. About $30. B here and another $100. B there. But I added it up (all 12 of the recent agreements I found and it comes to well over a Trillion already).

        That’s how the “alternatives’ will come about – not by trumpets but more like crampets – until one day we’ll be wading in crumbs. On that one day – which I estimate to be about 2-3 years from now- people wake up to find the dollar will have been effectively knocked off its perch as global currency to become one of several regional/western sphere currencies – on par with a “basket” of alternative currencies, led from behind by the Renbimi.

        China is indeed sitting pretty enjoying the fist waving at Iran, which is already forcing the oil trade to become more “flexible” – even as people are learning to live – and even prosper – through a bilateral barter system. That system – soon to be upon us (where “soon” is measured by a couple of decades ) is one the Chinese have a decided head-start on. They have discovered the virtue hidden in all that’s fungible, made suddenly manifest as those who know how to navigate in the murkeir financial world to come leave the dodgy, unstable old financial systems behind.

        Obviously the scenario I’m painting here is over-simplified but for those who enjoy weaving through helter-skelter data to discover underlying patterns, the first outlines of some such are becoming clear.

        • Davey August 4, 2012, 1:54 PM

          [I'm no economist but I think you are saying something to the effect that goods and services are the medium for the exchange of currencies and, the way it is shaping up, the trading will be dominated by other countries (manufacturers etc.) and the currencies will reflect this and the dollar will no longer measure the value of everything. I probably have it garbled a bit. (It is a stimulating provocative concept for me to consider, for example, the American Civil War, in terms of currencies and not ideas per SE! I will certainly pursue this.)]

          More on point (sort of), I have not been taken in by pronouncements about how things are getting better etc. I believe America is in deep depression and will remain so until some miracle fills the hole in valuations created by a few for the benefit of the few. It would be a miracle if we can get the rich to pay a truly progressive tax!

  • bluto August 3, 2012, 4:38 AM

    The US and Israel are USING the IAEA to militarily FIX Iran in place so when and if they decide to attack they can attack with the greatest degree of devastation they can.

    Just like they did with Iraq

    Are there sensors on the IAEA camera that can help US and Israeli military to conduct battle damage assessment – for instance, in the crudest terms, if the IAEA cameras are destroyed and go offline then that can be construed as a destroyed facility?

    Watch Israel claim that Iran has withdrawn from inspection after the cameras are destroyed – these guys have a sense of humor alright

    Israel is playing the US like a cheap banjo, and it is the Israel Lobby that has made the US a banjo

  • bluto August 3, 2012, 6:03 AM

    There’s a brilliant article in today’s Haaretz of the psychodynamics of Netanyahu and Israel and the determination to ‘do Iran’ – I’ve never really heard it summed up so well

    “We will not be a party to this megalomaniacal vision, to this messianic-catastrophic worldview”
    David Grossman on Iran crisis

    As Netanyahu pushes Israel closer to war with Iran, Israelis cannot keep silent
    Why aren’t ministers and defense officials standing up right now, when it is still possible, and saying: We will not be a party to this megalomaniacal vision, to this messianic-catastrophic worldview?

    … Netanyahu has a historical mind-set and a historical outlook under which, basically, Israel is “the eternal nation” and the United States, with all due respect, is just the Assyria or the Babylonia, the Greece or the Rome, of our age. Meaning: We are everlasting, we are an eternal people, and they, despite all their strength and power, are merely temporary and ephemeral.

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/as-netanyahu-pushes-israel-closer-to-war-with-iran-israelis-cannot-keep-silent.premium-1.455672

    • William Burns August 3, 2012, 6:23 AM

      The Jews can be the eternal nation without Israel being the eternal state, a distinction Bibi seems to miss.

    • Davey August 3, 2012, 10:43 PM

      Isn’t this messianic-catastrophic view central to right wing yahoo Israeli politics? The more enemies that Israel kills and silences, the more enemies emerge. Should the EU get serious about BDS regarding the WB, member states could become targets of this maniacal, disturbed Israel. After all, BDS is anti-semitic, isn’t it? An “eternal” nation? An “infernal” nation.

  • Fred Plester August 3, 2012, 7:32 AM

    GBU 57; 5,000lb not 5,000 tons.
    Less than the explosive force of a WW2 Tallboy, and less than half that of a Grandslam.

    However, the message in the leak is that the plan involves about a hundred times more firepower than Israel has -and even then success looks a little bit uncertain, to say the least.

    Meanwhile, Israel’s capacity to confuse black and white continues:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/03/israel-losing-international-support-british-ambassador

    Apparently, as a member of the British public, my support for and relations with, the current Israeli government has never been warmer or stronger.

    Ambassador Gould is wrong: it’s not going to take anything like ten years before Israel wakes up to find itself utterly friendless and alone in a hostile world.

    Unlike Mrs Thatcher’s government, the British public has never been as enthusiastic about Israel as the American public (booby-trapping the corpses of murdered British soldiers with explosives and the annual celebration of the King David Hotel bombing saw to that). This means that the British public will never feel betrayed and never become completely hostile to Israel, either.

    American public support for Israel has been so unconditional and so trusting, that the reaction when they start to realize they are being treated as fools and have been royally shafted, will be just as extreme in the opposite direction. There is great danger here. If the American public suddenly feels real pain, whether economic or military, because of some scheme of the Israeli government’s, the political environment will change overnight and the outlook will be very dark.

    When Joe Soap finally wakes up and realizes that “Hasbarist” means “durn liar”, Israel will be lucky to survive the ensuring blast of rage.

  • Fred Plester August 3, 2012, 12:45 PM

    The ludicrous thing about this plan, is that it STARTS by attacking the least mobile targets, the nuclear industrial bunkers, first, and will only start to target the Revolutionary Guard (and hopefully their non-uniformed urban militia counterparts: does the Pentagon even know they exist?) after the main onslaught and a decent pause to allow the regime to decide how brutal it is going to be about keeping power.

    Then the empty offices, barracks and armouries will all be bombed, futilely.

    A five-acre underground bunker full of heavy and mildly radioactive precision machinery will not move anywhere in a hurry.
    The Guard will move into inhabited suburbs or the mountains within an hour or less of knowing the attack is on.

    If either Israel or the US was serious about success, they would leave the bunkers, which are hard to destroy and important, but not split-second urgent, and hammer the Guard and all the other regime moped-borne militias (less well known outside Iran but the key to the Ayatollahs controlling the urban populations) to extinction in the first hour.

    Strip them of their ability to impose their edicts and vanities on their own population, and the Ayatollahs might agree to dismantle the nuclear programme, or they would probably be swiftly and bloodily replaced by someone else who will, which would be well deserved and possibly quite helpful.

    But to commence against the bunkers means radiological problems from hour one, and there’s a danger that they would absorb all of America’s firepower without actually stopping the Iranian WMD programme. I’ve always maintained that the enrichment programme was theatrical, and I can’t believe that the Iranian regime hasn’t planned for it to be bombed when they finally succeed in provoking Ragnorak.

    The Guard can be decimated without any radioactivity being released.
    If, at the same time, the regular military (still under government, rather than theological, control) is not bombed except where needed to ensure the safety of the attackers, then something far more useful would have been achieved than a net reduction in Iran’s military power: the balance of power WITHIN Iran would have changed. You might even get a resolution out of that!

    It may be all about WMD, but cutting the puppet’s strings is the only military strategy which can be implemented with a realistic chance of success.

    • Dana August 4, 2012, 1:23 PM

      You speak as if it’s somehow OK to commit murder on a grand scale simply because israel doesn’t like Iranians. That is the mind frame in israel all right, and yes, it has unfortunately infected the Americaqn militarized mind frame – where it, luckily rests somewhat uneasily.

      Israel, we should remember has never succeeded in enacting a constitution that enshrines the universal right to liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness. had it such a constitution 9which it does, effectively) it will first be limited to strictly jewish people (which it is already, effectively again), and then start chipping at what “jewish” means. Enough jewish to escape being cannon fodder or not/ that’s the eternal question.

      When America wakes up – and it will – israel will see to that – the people of the country (forget their interchangeable lobbies-impregnated governments) will realize that they have embraced an entity that is far far from the great vision of the founders. It is an entity that will come to resemble a priest-warrior state, one that has it’s constitution rooted in medieval codes of ethics and behavior to follow. And these codes harken to much darker days of civilization. yes, these will echoe in the simplistic tea party type apprehensions and apocalyptic visions of the endtimers, but this is not the majority. When that day of awakening comes – who knows perhaps after a million Iranian men, women and children have been reduced to rabble – a not so silent new majority will emerge in the US, one that will perhaps – finally know that it is their constitution that was the better essence of humanity, not the dusty old scrolls of antiquity.

      On that day – the great people of America, including those of jewish ancestry will have an important decisions to make: forward or backward? I trust that ultimately the truly American instincts will prevail – I have to – because otherwise it’ll be downhill for all.

      • Davey August 4, 2012, 1:57 PM

        It is comforting to dream of a Great Awakening. In the interim, we just do what we can to spread a little light, help those who need it and try to keep ever worsening things from happening.

  • chet380 August 3, 2012, 1:28 PM

    In the past months, some US military analysts (I wish I’d kept track of the websites) have expressed concern about the attacks that US shipping would sustain from Iranian anti-ship missiles that they possess in the thousands – is the potential substantial loss of USN lives taken into account in the RS scenario?

    • lifelong August 3, 2012, 4:22 PM

      An attack would never happen with the 5th fleet still stationed in the Gulf; a sure sign of an upcoming war would be when most of the fleet moves into the Indian ocean out of range of Iran’s anti-ship missiles.

      • Richard Silverstein August 3, 2012, 8:37 PM

        i neglected to mention that part of the U.S. plan was to attack Iran from points outside the Strait probably for just the reason you mention. Plus, attacking from so close would be even more of a territorial aggression against Iran than attacking from farther away.

    • Richard Silverstein August 3, 2012, 8:41 PM

      Yes. According to Shapiro’s plan the U.S. would expect the loss of some planes & ships directly involved in the attack. But Iranian attack on U.S. forces not in the direct war zone would be grounds for further U.S. escalation.

  • Anonymous August 3, 2012, 2:39 PM

    Great article – Thanks.

  • Ahad Haadam August 3, 2012, 8:09 PM

    Although I am not a betting man either, I tend to agree with one of the wisest Israeli commentators, Uri Avnery, who stated last year that Israel will not attack – period.

    A dog that barks doesn’t bite. We have precedents. Israel bombed both Iraq and Syria’s nuclear facilities. Not only it did not announce it in advance, it even denied it. The constant talk about attacking Iran is meant to put pressure. Not on Iran but on the US. It’s an extortion on a grand scale (the “hold me back” strategy) that already netted Israel draconian sanctions against Iran, an extra $1 billion courtesy of US taxpayers and an endless list of other perks from the US while all the while Israel accelerates its ethnic cleansing of Area C and expands settlements without even the customary wink-and-nod critical statements from the US administration. It’s a strategy that works – why would they ruin it with an attack that will do nothing to stop Iran’s nuclear program?

    • Richard Silverstein August 3, 2012, 8:32 PM

      Despite my immense admiration for Avnery, I think he’s likely to be wrong on this one.

      • Ahad Haadam August 4, 2012, 2:56 AM

        The future will tell but let’s give credit where credit is due: Avnery made this bold statement last year at a time when it seemed certain that an Israeli attack was imminent. He’s right so far. He also gave the reason: stopping Iran’s nuclear program would require a US invasion and occupation of a country 4 times as large as Iraq and 4 times as populous with a much stronger military, a cohesive society (unlike Iraq which was expected to splinter along Sunni/Shiite/Kurd lines) and run by a religious figure equivalent to the Pope. Just try to imagine capturing Khameini and putting him on trial like they did to Saddam. It’s hard to even fathom such a scenario and what it would do to 80 million shiites.

        Without an invasion of Iran, although it can be argued that a sustained bombing campaign in Iran can damage and delay its nuclear program, the fallout would be disastrous – we’re talking about $8 /gallon at the pump for months, perhaps years. We’re also talking about nuclear radiation fallout as Iran has operational nuclear power plants already (for all I know).

        And all that is even ignoring China and Russia, who would not be too happy see the last independent major oil reserve in the Middle East fall into American hands as they watched Iraq fall under the US hegemony umbrella.

        In short, since the US would have to do the work and bear the costs, the US calls the shots and it’s clear that the costs of such an adventure would be way too high – and that is for a country which is not at its best, to say the least. That’s what Obama told Netanyahu in no uncertain terms during Netanyahu’s latest visit. So Netanyahu can keep barking, but he won’t do anything. That’s my interpretation at least.

    • Davey August 3, 2012, 10:48 PM

      I like to think it’s just extortion as well. Only RS leads me to reconsider this conclusion.

      • Fred Plester August 3, 2012, 11:59 PM

        It is extortion, but they will attack if their bluff is called:

        London and Belfast used to be under the heel of Jewish organised crime gangs who’d got a toehold in both cities on the back of late 19th century British trade with Eastern Europe via the Baltic States (which was as important as British trade with the Empire and Argentina.) During the 1930s, Jewish organised crime began to disappear and then between 1945 and 1948, it left the UK entirely, taking with it only a lot of money and a bizarre respect for the animal rights fanatic, Anna Kingsford.

        In the same period, the foundations of Israel’s political establishment appeared.

        The ecological niche vacated by Jewish organised crime in London was filled by the Kray Twins and the Belfast niche was filled by the IRA, both Provisional (street crime, prostitution, protection rackets, drugs, robbery, blackmail) and “Official” who took over the more sophisticated currency crime, plus their UDF counterparts doing precisely the same things.

        The Krays and the branches of the IRA adapted to the behaviour patterns of the entity they were replacing, and if you want a clue as to what Bibi will do in a given situation, just imagine what Reggie Kray would do in the same situation.

        The Krays threatened and then they bit, rabidly.

  • Aikido August 4, 2012, 9:43 PM

    It’s time to stop appeasing the madman of Israel and his snake-lisped cohort.

    Who wrote that “military plan”? Definitely not actual military personnel. Run it by anyone savvy, Richard, they will let you know it’s clearly a laymen’s creative dream.

    • Fred Plester August 5, 2012, 1:35 PM

      I think you’re right:
      The first things to be hit are the political stumbling blocks.

      It’s also very telling that the actual instruments of oppression would be hit only as a very last resort, after a pause to give the Ayatollahs time for reflection!

      The plan was written by what, in the Blair Regime, would have been called a “Special Advisor”: that is a young person of completely political outlook with all the most powerful lobbyists on speed dial.

      If this is being imposed on IDF generals by political spotty Herberts, you can see why they are not keen. Apart from not wanting to do it, they certainly wouldn’t want to do it this way.

  • Tom Baxter August 4, 2012, 11:39 PM

    “If it’s “reasonable,” follows the “rules of the game,” and only involves attacking U.S. warplanes or ships which are attacking it.” Of the dozens of US ships in the Persian Gulf, will the non-combatants be plainly marked so the Iranians will know? What will the US do, if a 1000 or so sailors die in the first few hours of combat and the Hormuz is closed?

  • Carl Jones August 5, 2012, 3:03 AM

    Sorry, but I don`t agree with this analysis. The US needs big wars…the US military is A1 ready and even getting to A1+. In contrast, the US economy and propects are dire!!

    This idea that Amerika doesn`t want an Israeli strike on Iran, is a joke on the interested world. It will allow the US to respond to Israeli actions and the day of military need.

    Its almost like a high school fight where the cocky little guy has organised a fight and then fragged his big mate along. The whole school knows about the fight, but then the realise that Russia and Chine are turning up!!

    Its not so much about who will win or lose, but will it be worth winning a broken world? Or maybe that is the plan.

  • David August 5, 2012, 10:23 AM

    REALITY: The last thing Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states want is a war in the Gulf.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/08/201285112432709886.html

    Ahmadinejad ‘invited’ to Mecca summit

    “The Saudi monarch has invited the Iranian president to an extraordinary summit of Muslim leaders to be held this month in the city of Mecca, according to the state news agency SPA.

    “King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud “sent a written letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inviting him to attend the extraordinary Islamic solidarity meeting which will be held in Mecca” in mid-August, SPA reported on Sunday.

    “Saudi Arabia called last month for the summit in an effort at “unifying the ranks” of Muslims.”