20 thoughts on “Panetta Calls Netanyahu, Barak “Piggish, Ungrateful” for Lack of Appreciation of U.S. Efforts Against Iran – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Israel is attempting to panic/blackmail America into attacking Iran on Israel’s behalf.
    Giving in to this will have far worse consequences for America than if Obama holds his nerve and allows Israel to do what it claims it needs to do, without American support or intervention, with Israel facing (for once) the consequences of its own deeds.

    Unlike some readers of these pages, I do not regard the Iranian regime as being at all innocent in this, and they are quite deliberately playing with fire by their brinkmanship over Uranium enrichment.

    Iran and Israel remind me of the late Linda Smith’s assertion that “Pinner does not have a twin town, but it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham.”

    That’s precisely what the interaction between Israeli and Iranian extremism amounts to in practice, and I think America should enter a damage-limitation process by which it distances itself from Israel and does what it can to assure the security of all the innocent countries all around, from Cyprus to Oman, with which America enjoys friendly relations.

    The best way to stop this madness being contagious, would be to keep Israel out of Cyprus and ensure that whatever new regime emerges in Damascus over the coming months, wields power only within Syria and is not allowed to determine Lebanon’s future in any way.

    It probably is too late to prevent an exchange of WMD between Israel and Iran, but if the USA was seen not to back Israel, and if it gave all the other countries in the region all the military and humanitarian support it could, allowing their governments to hold their nerve when all Hell breaks loose, then it would merely be another bloody disaster in the history of the region and not the end of the world.

    We are well past the point where being pious and liberal and waving flowers is going to help. But a completely ruthless -and completely fair- defence of the non-belligerents ONLY might salvage the lives and livelihoods of the majority of the Middle East’s population.

    A million or so dead sounds dreadful but it’s not as bad as forty or fifty million dead. And if any spare WMD are directed towards Egypt or Turkey, that sort of score is easily achievable.

    If Israel has a deep psychological compulsion to commit a Holocaust of its own, then the Ayatollahs are as near to a consenting party as they will ever find. Let’s just distribute the iodine pills while there’s still time and concentrate on stopping them from annihilating anyone else.

  2. “…Obama has yet to find that out…”

    I respectfully disagree.

    Bibi’s rants can be ignored because he’s shooting his loose mouth off for domestic politics and US allies. Obama and team have to demonstrate a considerable amount of discretion due to the US political landscape, which everyone here to some degree or another understands and believe unfairly chastens Obama for.

    Besides the obvious fact Israel has been warned repeatedly against attacking Iran by US cabinet principles, diplomats, spooks, admirals and generals publicly and privately informs Obama is a lot tougher with Israel than most give him credit. Its also universally known there’s no love lost between Obama & Bibi, that domestic and foreign Zionists are making every effort to insure he’s a one term president. In divining a politicians true intentions its his/her enemies who define them, rarely their friends, though there are exceptions to every rule. And the Israeli media has reported on other occasions a lot of “heat” in those closed door teleconferences and face to face meetings.

    Obama tried to reign in the Israelis, but got burned over the settlement imbroglio and was abandoned wholesale by sunshine supporters who bailed when push came to shove. In fact, every last one of the cowardly vermin sawed off the limb Obama was way out on and hanging from. People conveniently have short memories and in public affairs when Americans go ‘yella to the bone’ and start running, THERE’S NO STOPPING THEM!

    Finding himself in a less than optimal outcome, this Prez proved he’s a quick study and a shrewd politician by engaging in distasteful, political expediency to remove those California, Red Wood Pines inconveniently inserted where the sun doesn’t shine. By and large he has succeeded in ameliorating the damage and my estimation of the man has risen, not fallen. I’ve always believed Israel is a 2nd term priority, that Obama was too ambitious out of the gates in his 1st term in dealing with the Israeli ‘nut’ that needs to be cracked and reigned in. Zionists are dead right in their revulsion’s and fears of an Obama 2nd term.

    1. Israel is NOT a 2nd term priority. It’s NO priority. He will not promote a peace agreement. He will have nothing to show for this in his legacy, which will be very spotty at best even aside from Israel-Palestine.

  3. Israel needs to be stopped and stopped cold from attacking Iran – even if it means a No Fly Zone clamped over the entirety of Israel. Seriously – Israel pretends like it’s all fun and games as it toys with economic annihilation of the US, not to mention war crimes

    It is with American planes, bombs, and intel that Israel will carry out any ‘unilateral attack’ – America must stop Israel either with a No Fly Zone or intelligence relayed to the Iranians of any incoming Israeli attack

    1. You’re quite possibly right.
      However, America’s survival, economic or otherwise, is a secondary concern to the “friends” of Israel in the US Congress and Senate.

      America still faces recession and what may well be a dreadful harvest: a third calamity is best avoided.

      1. Your are right. I misread the Haaretz article.

        Regardless, the sanctions probably will fail anyway. Why?
        Because Iran needs to project strength (deterrence) as much as she needs a bomb.

        If she resists sanctions. She appears strong. If she is bombed, she will resist and appear strong.
        If she develops a nuclear warhead, she appears strong.

        Negotiations will make her appear weak, and Iran cannot afford that.

        1. The same dynamic affects Israel’s posturing: Real negotiations reduce the appearance of strength and its deterrence value.

  4. Not launching an Israeli strike on Iran would delay Iran’s development of nuclear weapons forever… as trust/verified by continuing close IAEA monitoring

    On the other hand, launching an Israeli attack on Iran would cause Iran to immediately start trying to defend itself, as any nation on earth would given the Israeli threats, an actual illegal attack, and continued bellicosity, by STARTING to build nuclear weapons

    Such is the utter ridiculousness of the Israeli position as they try to hoax the US into attacking Iran, just like the Neocons/Israeli Lobby hoaxed the US into attacking Iraq

    Everybody does get it, right? Israel doesn’t attack, no Iranian nukes. Israeli does attack – and Iran is forced to defend itself

    Israeli logic in this regard does not pass the 5th grader-smell test

    I fear Israel is worse than can be imagined – they are trying to force the Iranians into defending themselves so they can launch a nuclear attack against them. I wouldn’t put it past them and the Israelis have already been hinting at using nukes against nuke-less Iran for several yrs now.

    The beauty of this plan from the Israeli perspective is it is just so hard to believe that Israel is as bad as that – that’s how out of the box Israel is in early 21st century

    1. Universal opprobrium would follow Israel’s use of nuclear weapons and perhaps Israel and Zionism could be permanently disarmed. Except for the Iranian casualties, this is not a bad prospect. Except for. I guess I can’t cross my fingers and hope on this one.

      1. Israel knows there will be no ‘universal opprobrium’ if it manages to force Iran into sprinting towards actual nukes in order to protect itself from Iran

        Israel WANTS an Iranian decision and actions towards nukes – that is the only casus belli that will really justify what madmen like Netanyahu wants to do to Iran and Palestine. Iran must be FORCED to try to defend itself so Israel can then get the US to attack. Israel wants Iran destroyed as an oppositional power in the Middle East

        Israel will use it’s time-worn claim of self defense and post attack Mossad will ‘reveal’ that Tel Aviv had been targeted with an nuke capable-ICBM, thus Israel was forced to act in self defense. This strike will be hyped by Israel and her Lobby in the US as the greatest demonstration of Israeli elan and derring-do since their attacks on the Egyptian air force to get in the first crucial strike of the 1967 war.

        I’ll even give you the name for the Isareli nuke – it will be called the ‘6 Minute War’ and will be hyped as the greatest Israeli triumph in her history. Apartheid in Palestine will be a forgotten and lost topic for at least 10 yrs. Win/Win

        It’s called setting them up and knocking them down – Israel will flatten every Iranian city it has to and ALSO have the US run a permanent No Fly/No Nuke Reconstitution program over Iran for the next 100 yrs

        1. Whoops – typo – I meant to say

          Israel knows there will be no ‘universal opprobrium’ if it manages to force Iran into sprinting towards actual nukes in order to protect itself from Israel

  5. Iran not only has every right to continue its development of nuclear energy but can probably only be saved from becoming one more victim of Israeli aggression and being transformed (emasculated) into one more US client state by developing nuclear weapons. Since racist Israel has hundreds of such illegal weapons it seems only just that Iran develop some of its own. In today’s world nothing can keep a country targeted by the US and Israel safe except such weapons. In an election year Obama has to kiss Bibi’s ass as much as Romney does and both imperial political parties have to pretend to love the racist entity that stole the Palestinian homeland. What exactly are Iran’s horrible crimes that America is now on a war footing with that small nation? And of course the American people, brainwashed by the media and its own moronic sense of pride and patriotism, will believe what they are told, once again. What genocidal America is to democracy, proto-fascist Israel is to Judaism.

    1. This is all a failure of American policy. The pacification of Iraq and Afghanistan are notorious failures and nothing short of permanent US presence will keep them from reforming as opposition. I’d like to think that kow towing to Bibi is just political expediency and Obama will abandon it after the election, but probably not. Obama clearly doesn’t make policy — rather policy makers make Obama. I think “breakingthesilence” is right about all of it and that the only proper conclusion is that Americans have failed to formulate any vision of society that isn’t based entirely on one’s own narrow interests (the “ownership society”, remember?). The US has failed miserably in the ME and elsewhere and it is the US that is responsible for the dispossession of Palestinians and Israeli crimes by underwriting Israel. Every day I try to do something to push back on the nightmare unfolding now before our eyes and which we Americans have allowed over decades. Foreign Aid is provided to Israel to buy more military. Why don’t Italian-Americans insist that the same deal is extended to Italy, also an ally? Or German-Americans? Why don’t Norwegian-Americans insist on similar largesse? It is disgusting. That’s what is wrong with American Zionists! Exceptionalism, again and again.

  6. Excellent piece, Richard — I really appreciate your translation talents. How would we have otherwise known these details?

    Obama proved himself entirely capable of a Jekyl and Hyde transformation when he moved from candidate to president. I’m kinda hoping he’ll do that trick in reverse when the election is over. I dare say that many Americans are hoping the same thing.

    But Obama does not like confrontation — especially with a thug like Bibi, who walks all over him the way he walks over Abbas — so what we may see is what Tony Judt warned Israel about so often, i.e., that one day an American president will realize that Israel’s more trouble than it’s worth. And that will be the end of the “special relationship.” It would certainly be the end of any joint attack on Iran.

    He would have a good argument for it. Hope is thinning for getting back some of America’s loss of control of Middle East sources of oil so that the US could control its flow and thus to an appreciable extent control China’s economic growth. Besides, China has just made a deal with the Saudis jointly to build the biggest oil refinery on the planet. Also besides, all the offshore and national park drilling in the US, together with the unending expanse of Alberta tar sands. America has no need of Middle East oil itself.

    And another besides, this Pacific pivot means that Washington will be in a much better position to court the giant enemy it needs, desires, and absolutely must have if it is to recreate its Cold War aura (a futile project, but nevertheless. . .). It certainly doesn’t need Israel’s help with that: creating enemies that truly frighten the American public is Washington’s specialty.

    Having written all that, it occurs to me once again that the end of the “special relationship” would be disastrous for Israel — especially if Israelis continue to prefer right-wing ideologues as their prime ministers. I don’t think about who’s got more fire-power, Israel or the Arabs and Persians. I think about who’s been there longest. Both the Arabs and the Persians have been there since forever, and whatever claims the ruling Ashkenazim make for “their” history in the Middle East, and no matter how many new artefacts that “prove” David and Solomon, they have been there a mere 150 years at most. All those who hold all those hundreds of European and American and Canadian passports will use them. That would be tragic.

  7. The United States has been fomenting violence in the Middle East ever since President Bush invaded Iraq. Israel has been its ally.

    An attack on Iran, like the invasion of Iraq, the assassination of Khadafi, and the ongoing war against Syria, implements the American neo-Conservative doctrine of preemptive preventative war. This means overthrowing every government that is not allied with the United States. In the Middle East, these are the governments of Iran, Syria, and perhaps Lebanon, and Egypt, and previously Iraq. Mr. Netanyahu, like the Neo-cons, pursues the same policy of regime change and has made Israel a partner in redrawing the political map of the Middle East.

    But there is a problem. Iran is not a threat to the United States and never has been. It is therefore against the interests of the United States to attack Iran. This is not only true in political principle but existentially in that it risks chaos in the Middle East and world war. Mr. Panetta has said as much as have other American military and intelligence professionals. As American patriots, they are trying to forestall disaster for their country.

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