Obama Administration: U.S. Would ‘Come to Israel’s Defense’ If Iran Attacked It
David Ignatius published an alarming story in today’s Washington Post, in which he quotes Leon Panetta predicting an Israeli attack on Iran in “April, May or June.” Buried deeper within the article is an even more chilling passage:
Administration officials caution that Tehran shouldn’t misunderstand: The United States has a 60-year commitment to Israeli security, and if Israel’s population centers were hit, the United States could feel obligated to come to Israel’s defense.
In the context of the article, which portrays an Israeli first strike against Iran, we can only explain this statement as announcing to Iran that if it counter-strikes against Israel that the U.S. will join in the war against it. That would help explain why the U.S. is amassing a massive amount of firepower in the Gulf including perhaps a record three carrier task forces preparing for God knows what mischief.
I can’t say clearly enough that what the U.S. has signaled in Ignatius’ report is that if Iran is attacked, it may not strike back against its attacker. If it does, the U.S. will rain down hellfire and damnation on it. This is frightening beyond measure. I’ve never known the U.S. to lay down such a principle which virtually assures our joining in a war against Iran. Israeli policymakers will be delighted to read these words. Hawks like Bibi, Barak and Bogie Yaalon (from whom, more later) will be sharpening their spears and pruning hooks, not to mention their Jericho IIs and U.S.-supplied bunker busters.
Of course, there’s always a chance that Panetta is bluffing, using psy ops to spook the Iranians into believing they will face two implacable foes in war if they don’t abandon their nuclear ambitions. If we are bluffing, I’m afraid it won’t work. Iran’s leaders are hardened, seasoned veterans of a 1979 Revolution and eight year war with Iraq in which they lost 1-million citizens. They are inured to suffering of the sort we can inflict on them.
All of this means that Iran’s leaders are liable to shrug all this off as the price of doing business in a nuclear-weaponized world. So what happens when Iran stands tall against such threats and says: “Is that all you’ve got?” At that point, we’ve got nothing left but war. And we’ve talked ourselves halfway into war through the belligerency of our rhetoric and threats.
Ignatius regurgitates more Israeli propaganda already disseminated in the New York Times that predicts Iran will mount at best a faint reply to an Israeli “surgical attack” on its nuclear facilities. At most a few Hezbollah missiles and 500 Israeli deaths (to quote an infamous Barak prediction). All the while ignoring the hundreds of Iranian missiles that could attack Israel and likely would if Israel attacked. The idea that Israelis believe they have the right to launch a first strike against Iran, while Iran has either no right or no will to reply is so far-fetched as to be almost delusional given the nature of Iran, its leaders, and its military.
Here’s some more Israeli delusion:
“You stay to the side, and let us do it,” one Israeli official is said to have advised the United States. A “short-war” scenario assumes five days or so of limited Israeli strikes, followed by a U.N.-brokered cease-fire.
I can’t tell if this is certifiably delusional or merely a typically Israeli macho bluff. But whatever it is it’s incredibly dangerous if any policymakers takes this remotely seriously.
Bronner quotes another typically narcissistic Israeli interpretation of the security threats it faces:
General Kochavi [IDF Aman intelligence chief] also estimated that Israel faced 200,000 missiles and rockets aimed at it from its enemies.
For the life of me, I don’t know where he gets such figures. Hezbollah may have somewhere in the range of 10,000-20,000. Gaza militants may have several thousand. Iran has perhaps in the hundreds of missiles capable of reaching Israel. That’s it. Is he including Turkey’s missile capabilities in that number? Even if so, would Turkey have 150,000 missiles in its inventory? I doubt it. In addition, including Turkey in that count means the IDF has now declared the former as a formal military enemy, when I hadn’t heard of any outright hostilities between the two that would justify such an evaluation.
Even more strange is Kochavi’s neglecting to mention the 200-400 Israeli nukes pointing at those same enemies along with a massive missile inventory of Jericho and other missile types capable of sending them anywhere in the Middle East. Isn’t it convenient whenever Israel wishes the world to shed tears on its behalf, it omits the offensive threat that it poses to its neighbors.
Annually, the Herzliya conference features the creme de la creme of Israel’s political-military-intelligence echelons boasting about Israel’s achievements on the world stage. It’s Israel’s version of Davos minus any discussion of issues having even a faintly progressive aspect. That means leaving out social and economic justice, peace, environment, civil rights, etc.
Israeli minister Bogie Yaalon, one of Israel’s leading hawks on the question of Iran war, dropped a bombshell into the political debate by claiming, during his conference presentation, that the Iranian missile base destroyed by a massive explosion several weeks ago was testing a new intercontinental missile prototype with a 6,000 mile range. For those who are geographically-challenged, that’s long enough to hit the U.S.
Yaalon and his faithful scribe, Ethan “Eytan” Bronner, made sure American readers understood the “threat” this personified:
The Israeli, Moshe Yaalon, a deputy prime minister and minister for strategic affairs, said the blast at a missile base of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps hit a system “getting ready to produce a missile with a range of 10,000 kilometers.”
“That’s the Great Satan,” he said, invoking a name Iran has used for the United States. “It was aimed at America, not at us.”
Mr. Yaalon was trying to make the point that the Iranian nuclear program is a threat not only to Israel but to other nations, creating “a nightmare for the free world.” He said that it was a concern to Arab states as well as to the United States and Israel.
You can say something on Bronner’s behalf: at least he includes this passage, which in effect reveals that some U.S. officials believe Yaalon is a liar (though they use language far more diplomatic than that):
American officials said they believed that Mr. Yaalon’s assertions were at best premature, and at worst badly exaggerated.
Though one Iranian-American expert on Iran’s military programs does deride Yaalon’s claims. It should be pointed out that this source, USC engineering professor Muhammad Sahimi (Wikipedia article), is by no means a friend of the Iranian regime:
This is total nonsense. Iran has said many, many times that it is not developing, and has no interest in developing an intercontinental missile. This is another bit of lies and propaganda by Yaalon to present Iran as a worldwide threat…
My high-level Israeli source also called Yaalon’s claims “exaggerated” and said they were “probably meant to frighten the American public.”
24 thoughts on “Obama Administration: U.S. Would ‘Come to Israel’s Defense’ If Iran Attacked It – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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This is an eye-opener, and no mistake: “A ‘short-war’ scenario assumes five days or so of limited Israeli strikes, followed by a U.N.-brokered cease-fire.”
That is taking the Israeli “best-case scenario” way beyond anything resembling objective reality.
Consider this: Israel collapses, exhausted, on Day Six and asks the USA to negotiate a ceasefire in the UN Security Council. At that particular moment Iran will say “Hell, no, I’m just getting started!”
The odds of any draft resolution getting passed by the Security Council is then absolutely zero.
Because the odds of Russia voting for a UNSC-mediated ceasefire when Iran wants to fight on is about the same the USA voting for one that Israel objects to i.e. zero.
Israel better have more than five days worth of ammo (doubtful), because Iran can keep shooting indefinitely.
I think arguing that either side is going to get out of this without both suffering hugely bloodied noses is infinitesimal. And Iran is not invulnerable nor does it have infinite resources. IT will be as much a tragedy for Iran as for Israel.
“And Iran is not invulnerable nor does it have infinite resources.”
Agreed, Iran’s resources are not infinite.
But if you compare Iran against Israel you’ll see that the resources of the former has much greater depth i.e. Iran *makes* a much wider variety of military hardware that does Israel, which means in a long fight Iran can keep fighting long after Israel has used up its arsenal.
It’s not just the big stuff (Iran, for example, makes its own jets and helicopters, while Israel doesn’t).
It’s the little things as well: wheels, tires, engine oil, etc., which Iran makes but Israel doesn’t.
Israel simply isn’t geared up to fight a long war, and never has been.
Iran, on the other hand….
Thats not totally true,Israel has instigated this entire situation .They will be the guilty party if hostility are initiated by them. Inspect Dimona and unmask the hypocrisy !
The question everybody should ask themselves:
If Iran is currently an unprovoked existential threat to Israel, in the name of what logic is an attack, which can only be construed as an immense provocation, meant to reduce the threat?
Lifelong, you are not meant to mention that.
After all, n.o.b.o.d.y. is supposed to think beyond the five days it will take Israel to get that ceasefire resolution passed by the UNSC.
It’s like the reset switch in Star Trek i.e. 60 minutes after the Thrillin’ Episode has started to air everything resets itself, ready for next week’s Thillin’ Episode….
Acute analysis of latest Isramerican threats against Iran. I really do not object to Zionists colonizing Palestine; it’s their control of America’s rulers, via big money and big media, that is so terminally dangerous.
I am really having great difficulty in understanding your statement “I really do not object to Zionist colonizing Palestine”.
Would that not be the same thing as you agreeing to the enslavement of Palestinians by Israelis?
I think he just has a dislike for Semites, be they Palestinian or Jewish.
“Would that not be the same thing as you agreeing to the enslavement of Palestinians by Israelis?”
In a real world, sure.
But in a Gingrichian World there are no Palestinian people to be enslaved, merely a bunch of nomadic Saudi’s who need to be shooed off the Land of Israel and sent back from whence they came.
Crazy, I know, but oh-so-Gingrich.
Even if Iran has/will get nuclear weapons they are not likely to strike first on Israel/EU/US. If they did, Israel/US would turn Persia into a parkinglot in 24 hours.
Unfortunately some of our leaders are hungry for blood and the international bankers are interested in new markets to rip off people.
To be honest, Persian culture is to weave carpets that require lots of patience and a host of other qualities that coincidentally are the traits needed for war. Israel, having amazing fire power, however will NOT only be facing Iran alone but a host of enemies. The chances of an “quick” war or no retaliation from a first strike is unthinkable. I think what we are seeing now is hawkish political rhetoric and a all out propaganda campaign for the hearts and minds of Iran, Israel, USA and cohorts.
Lets hope this can be averted….ciao, ciao
“Administration officials caution that Tehran shouldn’t misunderstand: The United States has a 60-year commitment to Israeli security, and if Israel’s population centers were hit, the United States could feel obligated to come to Israel’s defense”.
Had it been made sufficiently clear to Saddam Hussein that the United States would come to Kuwait’s defense he probably would not have invaded……Clearly stated and unambiguous declarations are the best deterrents.
Nonsense. Such unqualified statements land you In a world of trouble when you’re bound by your words to do something disastrous. Just ask those countries who maneuvered themselves into the contagion that was WWI.
Saddam was a dictator who ruled alone & could be swayed by thoughts of self preservation. Iran is a different animal. Power is diffused. It has many more resources. It’s leaders are fighting for far more than self preservation. They’re fighting for an idea & for their country. A very dangerous combination.
Your analyses of the 10K issues
Falls extremely short on light of yesterday’s Iranian satellite launch.
if anyone would ever like to commit suicide all he needs to do is to jump from your analysis to reality – the huge fall would kill anyone. 🙂
No one has ever harmed themselves from reading this blog, which is more than I can say for those like yrself who blindly follow the leader (& yr leaders) into the maw of death.
not Blindly, i just happen to think a bit different then you on most issues.
I evaluate things on my own, i don’t fall for Bibi’s stories on one end nor i fall for yours.
May i suggest you’ll watch CNN/ FOX / MSNBC today ? Iran’s ayatollah gave a great speech calling for up-rooting the Zionist cancer out of the region. i am sure he means that metaphorically right ? after all the long range missiles and the sea launch scuds experiments are meant to attack the US not Israel, to attack us they simply do not need all of that.
I am sure, you can re-word the statements made by the Ayatollah, telling all of us how wrong / paranoid / was mongering group of people we are.
All of these articles and insights in to the current affairs and I don’t see anyone actually think that Iran wants and needs this war. With the domestic woes such as an economy in crisis, the elections looming, a youth culture putting increasing pressure on Iran’s government for reforms, the Mullah’s need to unite their base and the country while eliminating any dissent. That’s why they need this war.
They want it because the timing could have not been better for them. Because of the Arab spring around the region and Islamists taking control in elections, Israel has lost some traditional support it has had in the past. Jordan, will not get involved in fear of its own Arab spring. Egypt will not back Israel. An unprovoked attack on Iran, will turn already tense relationship with its neighbors to a whole new degree. The Muslims will demand retribution from their governments or their governments will fall. Iran is in a very good position. If it can show that Israel attacked Iran without provocation, there is a lot of support it can gain from all across the globe, and not just southwest Asia and North Africa! Russia is already declared that any attack on Iran which is their back yard will not be looked upon kindly. It also needs to show the world that it is still the counter balance to US power.
Anyone who thinks that this would be a 5 days worth of aerial attacks and then it would be over, it is clearly got their heads in the sand, pun fully intended! Iran is counting the days till Israel would attack it. They couldn’t have written a better scenario. To think these bearded men are some idiots in a reactionary mode is simplistic and self indulgent to say the least. Iran will not attack the US, but concentrate all of its energy on Israel. If US joins the war, then US has more to worry about than just Iran.
Clearly Obama doesn’t expect Iran to attack Israel. Nobody does, not even Israel. So the headline: “U.S. Would ‘Come to Israel’s Defense’ If Iran Attacked It” should read “U.S. Would ‘Come to Israel’s Defense’ if Iran (dared to) respond to an attack by Israel.”
RE: “Haaretz, this week, featured a profile of Mohammed Bakri, perhaps Israel’s most famous Palestinian actor. After directing the documentary, Jenin Jenin he was blackballed…” ~ R.S.
FROM NETFLIX: Jenin Jenin 2003 NR 54 minutes
Mohammed Bakri helms this gritty documentary about Jenin, a Palestinian refugee camp that came under Israeli fire in April 2002. During the Israeli army’s “Defensive Wall” operation, the camp and its surrounding area fell subject to intense fighting. The confrontation resulted in the deaths of countless Palestinian civilians, and many watch groups later regarded the incident as an Israeli war crime.
Language: Arabic (English subtitles)
Netflix Availability: DVD
NETFLIX LISTING – http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/Jenin_Jenin/70003432
ALSO ON YouTube (53:56) – http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/Jenin_Jenin/70003432
It has occurred to me that Israel’s voluble threats against Iran also serve as a convenient smokescreen to hide from the gullible among the nations that Israel is in the process of permanently annexing all of the so-called West Bank with tacit approval from Washington. Herzl would be immensely pleased.
Lot of Israel haters on this blog…nothing new there I suppose.
Who among us really wants to see Iran having a nuclear bomb? Anyone? Is there one single country in the world that in the past 40+ years now has done more to encourage terrorism than Iran? I think not.
Is there really anyone here naive enough to believe the Iranians only want nuclear power for electricity? Please!
George Bush was perfectly aware of this huge problem, and he just passed the buck on to the next president. Time is running out now & someone has to stop Iran…and soon.
“Is there one single country in the world that in the past 40+ years now has done more to encourage terrorism than Iran?”
Yep , Israel ,even before 1948 and still committing act of terrorism .
Your on shaky ground when you start supporting Bush’s “intelligence”.
What about Israel opens its Nuclear facilities to the IAEA for inspections ? Its not about hate ,its about intellectual honesty .
Don’t you think ?
I am no Israeli hater and I certainly is no supporter of the Islamic Republic as they proclaim that Israel is the cancer of the region. However I do not think it is wise for Israeli politicians to be so hawkish and public about an Israeli first strike and not conveying the facts about a prolonged Iranian response and the very real possibility of a far wider regional conflict- Al Assad will be handed a golden goose of redemption. As for Iranian nuclear bomb it will be “un-Islamic” for them to have such a bomb to use the Great Leader’s own words but the world will be a safer place if they do NOT pursue that path. I don’t want to see a US strike on Iran and hope they will have rather diplomatic recourse. Israel is in a slightly peculiar position and need to navigate it with their unique position in mind and have very, very limited options available to them. I can only say NO to nuclear arms and something must happen somewhere to remove that threat. Pakistan will not navigate this seas of the Israeli attack as they have a counter of India to consider. South-Africa is still the only country to abandon nuclear arms.