It is a truth universally acknowledged that a general in want of a Knesset seat will rant bellicosely about some Israeli enemy or another in order to score points with the electorate and thus guarantee himself election. So Boogie Yaalon, retired IDF chief of staff has told the Sydney Morning Herald that Israel must considering assassinating Iranian president Ahmedinejad:
General Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon…is preparing the political groundwork for a military attack on Iran’s key nuclear facilities. “We have to confront the Iranian revolution immediately,” he told me. “There is no way to stabilise the Middle East today without defeating the Iranian regime. The Iranian nuclear program must be stopped…All tools, all options, should be considered.”
Could “all options” include decapitating the Iranian leadership by military strikes, including on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel’s destruction? “We have to consider killing him,” Ya’alon replied. “All options must be considered.”
Yaalon is, of course, not the first Israeli leader to make such a threat against the Iranian nor will he be the last. And it should be remembered that Israelis are known for both threatening the lives, and taking them (through assassination), of other Arab leaders. The current prime minister, when he was Ariel Sharon’s top street fightin’ man, threatened Arafat publicly with assassination. In fact, Israeli journalist and Sharon confidant Uri Dan, claims Sharon told him that he had orchestrated Arafat’s death. Thus, political assassination (and I’m not talking merely of targeted assassination of Palestinian militants, bad enough as it is) is an accepted policy of state despite the fact that it violates all international norms.
But one must ask: what would assassinating Ahmadinejad accomplish–even if it was part of a larger “package” that included massive Israeli strikes against Iran? There are 1,000, if not 1,000,000, who would gladly take his place in Israel’s gunsights. In fact, this would play into Ahmadinejad’s hand and that of the extremists in the Iranian leadership. He would become the national shahid and his face would adorn the home of every Iranian for decades and exemplify a national will for revenge against Israel; revenge that would undoubtedly be quenched over and over with blood before the thirst would be slaked.
Yaalon’s ideas are a recipe for implacable enmity for generations between these two countries. So if we want a Middle East even more dangerous and even closer to a tinder box than what we have now, then Boogie is definitely yer man. He’s the guy Israelis should vote for come November. If Bibi wins Boogie becomes defense minister and gets to carry out his harebrained scheme. Next stop, regional conflagration.
I found Yaalon’s prediction of a quiet Arab love-fest to be laughable in a Strangelovian sort of way:
Any military strike in Iran will be quietly applauded by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf states…
Just like Iraqis are now applauding us in the streets of Bagdhad and every major Iraqi city as their liberators.
I note that Boogie’s current perch is at the Likudist neocon-like think tank, the Shalem Center, which is heavily funded by Jewish rightist, Sheldon Adelson. Here the retired general speaks like a seasoned neocon:
It is a misconception to think that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the most important in the Middle-East…The Persian-Arab divide is bigger, the struggle between national regimes and jihadism is much bigger. And I can’t imagine the US will want to share power in the Middle East with a nuclear-armed Iran.”
Any reasonable observer will freely concede that while there may be many fault lines in the Middle East, far the largest and most dangerous is the Israeli-Arab conflict. Only pro-Israeli apologists say otherwise. Notice in the above passage how Yaalon insinuates the U.S. into the Israeli rightist cause of destroying Iran, when Barack Obama has shown no indication whatsoever that he is willing to initiate or condone such an adventure.
When I’ve reported prior similar ugly Israeli political grandstanding, some readers have responding that this is typical Israeli electioneering rhetoric–full of sound and fury signifying very little in terms of how the ranter would govern. I’m not so sure.
But I am sure that if Israel carries out such attacks or assassinations that it will become persona non grata in the world community. If Israel’s militant supporters think Israel is disliked and criticized now by all the world–just wait for what’s in store.
Yaalon has an unnamed flunky deny the comments quoted above in today’s Israeli news reports:
An associate of…Ya’alon said [his] comments on the necessity of considering the assassination of Iran’s president were taken out of context.
…”He said that any other quotes on this matter are incorrect and have been taken out of context,” the associate said.
That’s called the non-denial denial, an art practiced by Israel’s bare-knuckled politicians and military operatives. It’s hardly convincing.