The American people have wisely defeated Pres. Obama’s ill-fated plan to attack Syria. They’ve prevented him from being his own worst enemy and sinking into a quagmire of his own making. Polls released today showed anywhere from 60-70% of Americans opposed intervention. It appears most improbable that the U.S. will attack. However, if Assad and his butchers make another similar mistake, all bets are off: Obama will attack and not bother to ask for Congress’ support.
But leaving all that aside, let’s consider perhaps an even more important question: where does this leave Iran? Jodi Rudoren quoted Abe Foxman today confessing that the main reason to bomb Syria was to send a warning to Iran:
Israel’s interest is with the United States taking military action because it’s a message to Iran.
So what does Obama’s defeat say about the possibility we might join Israel in attacking Iran?
Before answering, I should admit that Americans dislike Iran even more than Syria. There’ve been buckets and buckets of bad blood between us. Past polls have shown a willingness to attack Iran that was never evident regarding Syria. But what about now?
Personally, I think a U.S. attack on Iran was unlikely, now I think it’s almost impossible. A NY Times poll which explored U.S. attitudes toward military intervention in general (not just Syria) found Americans are even less favorably inclined now than they were in the past (and they were never very enthusiastic about the notion). Obama, with all his faults, is not a stupid politician. I think he recognizes the systemic limitations he faces. I simply don’t believe the lesson he’ll learn from this failure will be that he needs to gin up a new intervention.
Further, Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani holds out the best chance for rapprochement in a decade. Obama, again not a stupid man, has to see that he now has an interlocutor he never had in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If he wanted one, Obama can make a deal with this man. The problem will be, of course, that once we’ve invested so much energy in demonizing Iran, it will be politically difficult to convince the American people and a harsh, unforgiving GOP majority in the House that we should make any deals with the ‘devil’ (Iran, that is).
Where does that leave Israel? Bibi Netanyahu wants a war with Iran (or at least a big, bad bloody nose for the ayatollahs). He’s been doing his damndest to drag the U.S. into one. Obama has rightly resisted the siren call. So, as a Christian evangelist might ask: what would Bibi do? I think it’s even more likely that Israel will attack Iran than previously. I don’t know when. But I would say there’s a better than 50% chance of this happening.
Bibi is a deeply stubborn man who holds a grudge. Regardless of the possible truth (which is questionable) of any Israeli claims about Iran’s nuclear ambition, now Bibi will be out to show Obama the error of his ways. One of his sacral memes is the betrayal of Israel by other nations. With Obama’s defeat, the Israeli PM has further proof that no goy can be trusted when the fate of the Jewish people hangs in the balance. Bibi will want to attack Iran l’hach’is (“out of spite”). If he does, it will be an utter disaster for Iran, Israel and the region.
On a related matter: one of our delightful hasbarist Israeli friends brought up in a comment thread here, an article from the Daily Mail (the UK version of the National Enquirer). It claimed that an Iranian ex-official threatened that Iran would rape Pres. Obama’s daughter. The article didn’t even pass the smell test before I knew it’s real origin. But just now I discovered that the origin of this smelly piece of dreck was none other than the Daily Caller, which had the misfortune of being duped (yet again) by serial Iranian fraudster, Reza Khalilli. It actually published the article.
For the uninitiated, the Daily Caller is the demon seed of Tucker Carlson and a former Cheney operative. It’s a cross between Politico and the National Enquirer. Need I say more?