Obama Promises Israel Use of U.S. Bases for Iran Attack If It Will Wait
There have been endless recent visits to Israel from high-ranking U.S. officials regarding the Iran issue, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and most recently National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. The AP reports that during the last set of meetings the Israelis defiantly told the U.S. that if they attacked Iran, they would leave the U.S. in the dark. Here’s how Mike Rogers, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee put it:
Rogers told CNN on Monday: “I got the sense that Israel is incredibly serious about a strike on their nuclear weapons program. It’s their calculus that the administration … is not serious about a real military consequence to Iran moving forward.
“They believe they’re going to have to make a decision on their own, given the current posture of the United States,” he added.
Now, Israel’s two top leaders head to Washington for separate sets of talks in the coming days. Bibi comes for his annual triumphal curtain call before the Aipac national conference. There he will certainly repeat his baleful predictions of what a world with Iranian nukes would be like. It could be his last speech in this country before an Israeli attack.
It’s uncertain what he will discuss with Pres. Obama, with whom he will meet. The president seems more the supplicant than the officiant in this relationship. He doesn’t want Israel to attack. But both he and Bibi know that he doesn’t have the will to stop him. It feels to me like possibly the final stop on the way to war.
Obama is so desperate, if this account is to be believed, that he’s offered Israel use of our Middle East bases from which to launch its attack at a later date:
U.S. intelligence and special operations officials have tried to keep a dialogue going with Israel despite the high-level impasse, offering options such as allowing Israel to use U.S. bases in the region to launch such a strike, as a way to make sure the Israelis give the Americans a heads-up, according to the U.S. official and a former U.S. official with knowledge of the communications.
The idea that Israel would use U.S. bases or that we would consider allowing the Israelis to do so seems wild and far-fetched. But if true, it indicates just how far and how harebrained we’ve grown in latching on to something, anything to stop the Israelis.
From the tone of this Wall Street Journal article, it appears that Bibi is coming to Washington seeking a virtual guarantee that the U.S. will attack Iran if Israel does not do so. Israel’s chief Congressional water carriers (in this case Sen. Lindsay Graham) also appear to think that such a promise is the least Obama can offer our ever faithful ally:
“The president needs to be reassuring to the Israelis that the policy of the United States is etched in stone: we will do everything, including military action, to stop a nuclear-armed Iran. I hope the administration when they talk about ‘all options’ will better define what those options are. We’re getting too far into the game to be overly nuanced now.”
I’m beginning to feel like a character in a movie watching a train barreling down the track. He knows there will be a crash, and a disaster to follow. There’s nothing he can do to stop it. He can only watch and wait for the crunch of steel and the screeching of brakes that cannot stop it in time.
In a related matter, an Israeli publication, Inyan Merkazi, writes (based on a Russian media report) that Avigdor Lieberman, who is known to have an exceedingly close relationship with the Kremlin, was told by Vladimir Putin to oppose an Israeli attack on Iran. There are those within Israel who believe the current foreign minister is a Russian intelligence asset, not just a close Russian political ally, though these are so far rumors rather than proven fact.
One way to test the theory is to watch which way Lieberman votes in the ministerial meeting at which an Israeli attack much be approved. If Lieberman votes No, you’ll have a pretty decent indication of where his bread is buttered. If he votes Yes, then at least according to this report, he’ll be biting the Russian hand that feeds him, indicating he is much more of an independent figure than many believe.
29 thoughts on “Obama Promises Israel Use of U.S. Bases for Iran Attack If It Will Wait – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Far be it from me to defend anything Lieberman does, but in your formulation it sounds as if an Israeli attach in Iran is in Israel’s interest, a matter still under debate.
Ministers may vote against an attach for many reasons, probably few of them will be the welfare of Israeli citizens, but still, the possibility exists.
Whatever his motives, if Lieberman will strongly oppose an attach in Iran, it would be a big service to both Israelis and Iranians.
Don’t forget Lieberman’s selling pitch is being consistently in favour of the most aggressive option available (and if there’s none – make one up).
If Israel after all shall pull the suicidal trick– this period might be remembered as a repetition of Sarjevo 1914, when the European powers blindly and enthusiastically dived into the patriotic frenzy which subsequently manifested as an orgy of butchery and turned out to become a black hole for all humanity.
If so, it could be said that “humanity” failed to learn the lessons of WWI And WWII.
Obama puzzles me- If Israel (led in this issue by the erratic & egomaniac Barak) shall ruin the ME and itself, and possibly create a global major economic downfall affecting billions – this will surely inflict the USA gravely. So, is Obama as a US president encouraging a sure disaster to his own country?
And what will the Russians do? Are they going to stick to their seats in the coliseum and cheer Israel while it pulverizes the ME and possibly drags down the larger economies as well as its own?
I find it difficult to believe both powers shall remain impassive. But as a disillusioned Israeli regarding my country’s moral constraints as well as the logical soundness of it’s leadership, I find it quite probable that Israel shall try to fool everybody and attack Iran.
I must add that there could be another side to all this – i.e. that possibility that the primary target is not de-nuking Iran but the it’s Palestinians themselves (most Israelis prefer to wake up one morning and wonder to where all the Palestinians disappeared). I know this may appear as too conspirational ……but this is Israel!
This issue may be elucidated in Sharon’s biography “Sharon does not stop at the red light”.
“They believe they’re going to have to make a decision on their own, given the current posture of the United States”
Political blackmail at its finest
So now during this election cycle we are beginning to see ever more clearly what has been foreseen; namely, various kinds of pressure from our outlaw ally to embarrass the hated President Obama, he who dared mutter that obscene phrase “1967” while actually visiting Israel, and to increase daily the neocon desire for war against Iran. Being neither supremely courageous nor politically suicidal, the President will of course play along. However, the all-too-obvious stuff about the U.S. lending its bases to Israel sounds like so much bull crap, at least at this stage of a tragic farce in progress. Down the road a piece, now that’s a different matter. Even with a creepy verbalizer like Ahmadinejad in the scene, though, we are out of our f—–g minds by placing and maintaining our 5th Fleet fleet in the Persian Gulf – an expensive and provocative exercise, to state the obvious. Useful of course to the GOP if such insanity helps increase the price of oil and the further decay of our economy as well as Obama’s reputation. Then again, one could point out that it’s all part of finishing the job we began in 1953 when, in the name of cheap oil and private profits, we replaced Iranian democracy with a royal dictatorship. I wonder, will the GOP, in its continuing treachery to the U.S. and its obeisance to Israel and Aipac, again see to the deification of Netanyahu and its celebration with multiple rising ovations in the halls of Congress? Now that Afghanistan is proving to be a continuing and increasing mess, perhaps it’s time to seek elsewhere to commit military action, and certainly our sturdy little ally will do its all to encourage such. I wouldn’t be surprised that if the “USS Liberty” scenario were to occur today we awarded the attacking pilots with medals.
US basing maybe moot. A Forbes business blogger is reporting that an arms-dealer contact is reporting that the Saudis have agreed to Israeli use of one of their bases and that a June date for the Israeli strike has been set
There is an air base at King Khalid Military City which is good to go and which supported B-52’s and KC-135’s in the 1991 Gulf War. If the IAF has use of that as a staging and recovery facility, then the F-15’s and F-16’s can repeatedly strike the Iran target set at will. The base at King Khalid is in the desert and offers air-tight op-sec, if the Saudis close it off and lock it down. There aren’t any civilians around; the place is exclusively military.
No question the House of Saud would welcome the Israeli attack-force using their AFB to attack Iran. Iran has already threatened to blow Saudi Arabia to smithereens if Iran is attacked.
And as you say that base is quite isolated as far as land access. But it’s only 500 km from the closest Iranian AFB at Bushehar. So it’s a sitting duck for Iran’s missiles.
The King Khalid Military City is truly spooky-looking from space. Octagonal, futuristic, foreboding.
Here’s the coordinates for a GE look-a-see.
The AFB w/ bunkered hangers is 10 km south of the city, and what looks to be covered missile bunkers is about 15 km south of the AFB, a tad to the west.
I’d expect the IAF planes to operate from Israel and to use the Saudi base to for refueling coming and going. I’ve no idea about Iranian missles but I’d bet that both the Saudis and the Israelis could put up SAMs. If the Iranians do get a missile barrage through, that would hinder recovery of the returning IAF planes but the Iranians might not even know that the place was being used if the Israelis used ECM or Special Ops to blind the Iranian radar. That’s pretty much SOP for both the IAF and the US. By the time the 1st wave recovers to Israel, all hell breaks loose and it very rapidly becomes a US problem.
Feb 27, 2012. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview on Wednesday that Israel will not bow to U.S. and Russian pressure in deciding whether to attack Iran.
Speaking on Channel 2 news, Avigdor Lieberman rebuffed suggestions that American and Russian warnings against striking Iran would affect Israeli decision making, saying the decision “is not their business.”
The idea of giving Israel access to American bases to launch the attack seems quite moronic. It has all disadvantages of USA committing the attack with rather few advantages. Basically, this would be American attack and wide spectrum war with Iran with USA being the aggressor party. This is a favorite scenario in war games for the beginning of WWIII, as Russia and China could/would take sides.
At the very least, it would make a fair target of any American military asset in the vicinity of Iran, be it Herat or Kuwait. Traffic through Hormuz would legitimately be a target. “Legitimately” means that in UN both Russia and China press to “resolve the issue with mutual concessions”, or supplying Iran with better gear. The use of Central Asia as conduit to Afghanistan will be gone, and quite possibly the use of Pakistan.
Denis, I do not think that retaliatory missile attacks would focus on abandoned military bases. Why not port facilities? They are big, easy to hit, and important. When the smoke clears, there would be quite a few less functional ports. Also, if missiles can reach abandoned sites in the Saudi kingdom, they can reach Bahrain and Qatar bases. I suspect that the sites of “prepositioned arsenal” in Kuwait would be top target.
It really depends what would be attacked in Iran. If it will be a number of key industrial facilities with a lot of casualties, hells is loose. If not, the attack is rather pointless, because it will just drive the program deep underground, North Korean style.
Pitor, I don’t think that air base at King Khalid is abandoned. But I agree with your premise. Iran would have plenty on their plate.
But John had suggested that would be an excellent base for the Israelis to use to re-fuel and I was responding.
Come to think, which I try not to do, given the Saudis’ public support of an Israeli attack, they may well be opening themselves up to a preemptive strike from Iran.
Iran has one military satellite in the sky now, just launched this month. It will last for 18 months, and the next two are already planned for launch. So if 100 fighters take off from Tel Nof AFB, it won’t be a secret and Iran should have time to deal with re-fueling sites in Saudi.
Sometimes I think all this attack Iran yada yada isn’t just a smoke screen to cover the Israelis snatching more land and beating up on the Palestinians.
Yeah, I also think something else is happening here. Maybe war — or even heavy threat of attack — will be used by Israel to somehow formally annex the West Bank as a “defensive zone” or some other nonsense. This whole Israeli bloodlust just doesn’t hang together right and true. Israel may be hiding some other purpose in all this.
Iran jumped to the front of the line with the same sort of urgency and just-invested freshness as Iraq did in the US way back when. And there is this same attitude also, the notion that the good guys can do whatever they want whenever they want and it is self-evidently justified in advance. It doesn’t matter that in the end Iraq failed to reshape into a credible western style democracy, the fantasy of the neo-cons. Apparently, it was satisfying merely to reduce that country to ruin. Here, it just doesn’t seem to matter that Iraq can actually strike back and that the world as a whole will suffer immensely with rising energy costs now. Americans are out of work and war with Iran will slow down an already painfully slow recovery. These consequences just don’t matter to our “special friend” Israel or its US based fellow travelers, many of them in the Congress. The same sorts of lies and distortions used for Iraq are being used to create this war only this time they emanate more from Israel directly not the US Executive. One way or another, the crisis heading toward war is mostly a product of Israel’s uniquely sociopathic geopolitics. Without the nudging of Israel, some solutions could be found with Iran without war.
Richard’s post today regarding Yossi Melman has excerpts from leaked Stratfor Emails. This line from a Stratfor “Israeli source” caught my eye:
“With the revealed of the new UN report the Israelis have green light to take care of the Iranian proxies in Gaza and Lebanon now with the entire world watching Iran. I think that we should expect escalations on these fronts rather than an Israeli attack on Iran.”
I am not going to call out the game here, but all I have to say is that BB is playing with fire trying to force regime change in both Iran and the US.
Israel’s greatest weakness is its inability to understand that its victims are not just sitting ducks. One clue for any Israeli official reading this: 1973 – tanks, Sadat, TOWs.
If you love your country, you will make sure Iran really has an intention to strike you before doing something stupid on behalf of Bibi Netanyahu’s political career. The truth is, they do not. They have even offered to compromise over Hamas and Hezbollah way back in the day. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/showdown/themes/grandbargain.html Read that.
Simple but great line: “BB is playing with fire trying to force regime change in both Iran and the US”.
This is off immediate subject, but I believe worth referencing and ultimately very much on-subject. The latest and double edition of The Nation (March 5/12) has a most interesting article, “Israel’s New Left Goes Online”, by Sarah Wildman, which discusses in some detail the new webzine +972. The link to the article is http://www.thenation.com/article/166264/israels-new-left-goes-onlin while http://972mag.com/ is the link to the webzine itself.
After reading one of its pieces, I was interested to encounter reactive posts, pretty much the usual right-wing propaganda, often quite articulate, by the way, but from the drumbeat of those responses I was inclined to believe webzine +972 must be saying something right, and I don’t mean the Hasbarist right.
This reply to myself is really an apology for a misstatement. Those “reactive posts” were in response to Sarah Wildman’s Nation article, not to anything written in +972. Sorry. To err is damned human and all too easy an accomplishment.
This is all theatre. The IAF lacks the ability to shut down the Iranian nuclear program. There is only one air force with that ability: the USAF.
The Israeli’s and their supporters are acting the way they are in order to convince the Americans to do it instead.
So far, the JCS and the presidency has resisted. Thus the hysterics.
A kind of maniacal theater Israelis act out whenever they petulantly can’t get their way.
These “mad dog” antics may backfire since the “price tag” Israelis expect the US and the global community to bear will be sky high should the fools act.
Nor does the US have the capability “to shut down the Iranian nuclear program.” We can break the doors down, we can start it, but as Afghanistan and Iraq have plainly shown we can’t finish it.
And meanwhile, on the REAL diplomatic front, Iran for the first time (more than a week ago) publicly agreed to negotiations on NPT issues without any preconditions. If I am not mistaken, that is exactly what the pressure of sanctions and other peaceful actions was supposed to do.
Iran has still not allowed IAEA inspectors to go where they want to go and talk to people they want to talk to… but one assumes that these are the issues up for discussion.
The Persians invented diplomacy, but are not particularly good at it. Our record isn’t all that good either. But talking beats bombing any day, and it looks like they are about to talk. everything else is rank speculation.
The American people do not want another war in the ME, not after the shambles of Iraq and Afghanistan. They do not want it, period. But where are they? Nobody hears about anti-war organizing, anti-war demonstrations, marching in front of the White House. Why?
Also, I don’t understand what the Israelis hope to accomplish by attacking Iran. At best, they bring the US in but not happily and maybe the US would not go for the kind of devastation in would take to stop the nuclear enrichment program. So, it’s very iffy. Why do the Israelis risk so much for uncertain results? Is it timed for the AIPAC revival or what?
Richard, Do you really think that Obama would be so stupid as to even covertly support Israel in conducting military strikes against Iran? It would be so stupid of him to do this, considering that there is a fragile economic recovery taking place. If Obama in any way allows Israel to attack Iran, gas prices will go through the roof setting back the recovery and that will effect Obama’s re-election chances. I would think that Obama and his advisers understand this and would do whatever it takes to stop Bibi from doing this, but maybe you’re right. This article says that Obama will not either covertly or overtly support Israeli strikes against Iran http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/266-32/10162-focus-why-obama-wont-back-a-strike-on-iran.
Excepting the last sentence in the last paragraph, I concur 100% with Andrew Bast’s article.
As for Israel the “special relationship” with the US was doomed the moment the USSR fell, and been a downhill racer since the serial blunders of the Bush administration.
Should the lunatics in Tel Aviv attack Iran unilaterally and without provocation, a stupidity of several orders of magnitude would be nothing less than the final death blow to the so called “U.S.-Israel alliance.”
And that minor result would be the least problem of the many self inflicted, real existential threats the Israelis will have created for themselves.
For peace in the ME and prevention of entanglements in Israeli-induced local, regional, or global war or wars:
For breakfast take out Israel’s non-nuclear offensive capabilities, leaving enough in credible conventional defensive assets.
For lunch offer them the opportunity to incapacitate military nuclear capabilities.
For dinner, and as an inducement to take advantage of the foregoing, destroy selected settlements.
Given results on the ground, consider further options and tally the immediate and future savings in U.S treasure and blood.
Accomplishing all or part of the above may remove Israel from international outlaw status. Send Israel the bill for accomplishing or showing it the way to do that, though it may take awhile to be recognized as such and be welcomed into the bosom of civilization.
Yes. Sit down and have a long and serious discussion with the Tooth fairy.
But, Weindeb, it’s a good plan!
So is the one with the Tooth fairy.
I am surprised to hear that the Tooth Fairy cares about human rights and international law. But, good! What’s the email?
No need to bother.
Israel is doing a handsome job of liquidating itself.
American bases in the region are all, without exception, on someone else’s territory. Those national governments can definitely exercise a veto, or even allow the use of bases if America demurs.
The Saudis actually have two sets of military bases: ones where Western equipment is based and where Western engineers have access, and ones where Chinese equipment, notably ballistic missiles, are sited, where the only non-Saudis are Chinese.
The West doesn’t see what the Chinese have supplied, though I wouldn’t like to bet on whether the Chinese are completely barred from examining Western equipment in Saudi Arabia.
If you understand about orbits, you will know that a single Iranian satellite will only see the Saudi and other bases every so often, at fiarly predictible times. (Unless it’s in a geostationary orbit, which translates as too far away to see anything much smaller than a weather pattern.)
To keep eyes on an airbase round the clock, you really need something approaching twelve satellites.