There is a gradual process underway within Israeli military, intelligence and political circles which will lead to war with Iran. The war will either be Israeli or American in origin. I say war, because I believe that a series of attacks against Iran will set the stage for a long conflict between various sets of players in the west and Arab world. In effect, this will become a war.
Such hostilities will not break out tomorrow or next week. The groundwork has not yet been laid for such an attack. That is why it is important to read the hasbara planted (and I mean this term deliberately) in Israeli and U.S. newspapers about the Iranian threat; why it is important to follow Congressional legislation introduced that would punish Iran just as the Bush administration instituted sanctions against Iraq before it invaded that country; why it is important to note the bellicose threats, rants and sloganeering coming from Israeli politicians, generals and their U.S. counterparts. This is how war begins.
A few examples of how the Israeli government is waging a perception management campaign in this country leading up to an attack: several Israeli consular officials are urging Jewish communities locally to introduce Iran divestment initiatives. What is especially ironic and pernicious about this notion is that the Israeli diplomats are deliberately attempting to turn on its head the international campaign to divest from U.S. companies aiding and abetting the Israeli Occupation. It’s a classic diversionary campaign to deflect criticism of Israel’s illegal and unconscionable Occupation by raising a red herring of Iranian nuclear threat.
The Israeli consulate in at least one region is co-opting an only too wiling local Jewish community into hosting a conference featuring Israeli hawks arguing that Iran is THE most dangerous threat to world peace. We’ve been down this road before. We all know how this story ends–or at least how the Israeli war party wants it to end. Which is why we are obliged say “No.” We will not permit this to happen.
Today, Haaretz features two articles which perfectly reflect this hasbara campaign. The articles aren’t necessarily correct analyses of current political reality. But they are still important because they reflect what the Israeli sources for these articles WISH the reality would be:
The talks held in Israel this week by senior Obama Administration officials, which focused to a large extent on blocking Iran’s nuclear program, indicate that the Americans – influenced by the Iranian regime’s conduct toward the post-election unrest that began in early June – are for the first time showing more understanding for Israel’s view of events. The United States is more skeptical than before about the likelihood that a diplomatic dialogue, or even harsh sanctions should that option fail, will dissuade the Iranians from their goal.
Here is yet more speculative hasbara:
The U.S. is well aware that Iran is progressing, and that by mid-2010, it may pass another critical milestone, that of being able to detonate a nuclear device for the first time.
Note the critical “may” in this sentence which could mean anything or nothing. The road to war is filled with such empty phrases. When you read this propaganda, just remember all the lies and wishful thinking that accompanied Bush administration bellowing about Iraqi WMD. It happened once, it could happen again.
WINEP, the Mossad’s unofficial U.S. think tank, is playing its proper role as water-carrier for war:
As noted this week by Michael Singh, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, America’s message on this matter is still unfocused and confused. A senior American official comments on the Iranian nuclear threat and a possible preemptive Israeli strike almost every week, but all those statements provide no clear line on either Israel or Iran.
Isn’t it interesting that your political opponent’s policies are always unfocused, weak, confused, vacillating when they don’t agree with your own. But as soon as Obama gets on board the good ship War, his policies will become miraculously clear, sharp and focused.
This Haaretz article furnishes further proof that Israel simply has no clue what impact it has within the Arab world. It seems to believe it and the U.S. can play good cop-bad cop and somehow attain their goals:
Though it seems the red light on an Israeli attack still stands, the recurrent warnings by Israel’s prime and defense ministers about all options being on the table actually serve American interests: They allow Obama to wave the Israeli stick at the Iranians as part of his effort to get the Iranians to agree to a dialogue, and possibly even to concessions.
These numbskulls actually believe that seeing Israel wave the threat of nuclear warheads and F-16s at Ayatollah Khameini will create the proper setting for “dialogue and even concessions.” What are they smokin’? Getting Israel anywhere near this issue is like waving a red flag in front of a mean, ornery bull. Doing so will get a matador gored but good.
The second Haaretz article outlines the Ross approach to ratcheting up the war rhetoric:
U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones, who is now in Israel to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, indicated that Tehran has until the UN General Assembly in the last week of September to respond. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates delivered a similar message during his visit here earlier this week. If no satisfactory answer is received, the Americans said, they would work to form an international coalition to impose harsh sanctions on Iran…New sanctions would mainly aim to significantly curb Tehran’s ability to import refined petroleum products.
…Jones and his team reported that a bill by Senator Joe Lieberman to curb sales of refined oil products to Iran is almost complete, and 67 senators have already signed it.
The Americans are proposing financial sanctions such as banning insurance on trade deals with Tehran, which would make it difficult for Iran to trade with other countries. They also want to impose sanctions on any company that trades with Iran and use this to pressure other countries, mainly in Asia, to resist making deals with Iran.
In the next stage, the Americans will consider even harsher sanctions, such as banning Iranian ships from docking in Western ports and, as a next step, banning Iranian airplanes from landing in Western airports.
The article closes with the rather startling announcement that National security advisor Jim Jones told the Israelis that Pres. Obama will personally travel to China in an attempt to persuade that country to end its opposition to a sanctions regime. Frankly, I’m astonished that an American president would act as an errand boy on Israel’s behalf. Not to mention, that he hasn’t a ghost of a chance of persuading China that it should dump Iran and facilitate a possible Middle East war.
So the next stage in Israel’s campaign is to decimate (at least it is hoped by advocates) the country’s economy and either cause the Iranian leadership to say “uncle” and give up its nuclear program; or cause the overthrow of the clerical regime.
Let’s leave aside the sheer lunacy of the thinking behind this plan and state in no uncertain terms that all progressives must unalterably oppose sanctions against Iran. Even if we believe that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, we must oppose sanctions because it is Israel’s road to war. We must not allow Israel to hijack the west on behalf of this insane military adventure. We must say “No.” We’ve tried eight years of military adventurism in the Middle East and it didn’t work.
If there is any truth to the implications (and we have no idea of knowing that there is) in these articles that the U.S. is coming closer to the Israeli position, then we must tell the Obama administration that it is wrong. We may be Obama’s allies on many issues. But we cannot be on this one. We cannot be accomplices to war.