A story I’ve not seen reported anywhere outside of this Yediot article (English version) : Joint Chiefs Chair Martin Dempsey will make his second trip to Israel in a few months time. His mission will be to soothe the waters that have been roiled by anti-Iran rhetoric from Israel’s political and military leadership.
Bibi Netanyahu told his last cabinet meeting:
The intent of Iran is to develop a nuclear weapon that will destroy Israel. This is a danger to the entire world and we are all obligated to prevent it from happening.
…Iran is galloping toward a nuclear bomb and rushing to a military nuclear capability.
He also said that Iran had “renewed a threat to obliterate Israel.” Needless to say, virtually everything in the two above passages is patently false. But that won’t stop Netanyahu.
Iran’s foreign ministry replied that Israel’s leadership was hell-bent on war.
These Israeli histrionics coincided with Bibi’s sulfurous reaction to mistranslated tweets from Iran’s newly inaugurated President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani’s statements were originally translated as calling for the ‘removal’ of the ‘wound’ that is Israel from the Middle East. In reality, Rouhani did call Israel a “wound,” but never called for its removal. Even after discovering the error, Netanyahu wouldn’t admit the error or moderate his bellicose tone.
In truth, you can find equally disturbing rhetoric about Iran within the Israeli political discourse. There isn’t a member of the current cabinet that doesn’t believe Iran is a wound within the region and that it would be far better off were it removed. That’s precisely why the Iranian regime believes Israel’s goal has nothing to do with averting its nuclearization, but rather with regime change.
The Obama administration decided to dispatch Dempsey to Israel after the Israeli PM delivered an especially threatening interview on a U.S. Sunday politics show concerning the Iranian “threat.” The U.S. is aware that regional tensions are at a height over a series of violent civil disturbances in a number of nations including Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon; not to mention the ongoing war threats between Israel and Iran. A real war between the two could have disastrous consequences and drag any number of other players into the conflict. Obama, not particularly known as a man of action or bold vision regarding the Middle East, has to at least be aware of this.
So many defense secretaries and generals have made this trip for similar reasons that Israel could be likened to an unruly Rottweiler who the U.S. is trying to keep on a short leash, while sitting in front of him is a big beefsteak named Iran. If I had artistic skills I’d draw the cartoon myself.
Dempsey will also discuss U.S. and Israeli military strategy regarding the Syrian civil war. Among the subjects up for discussion may be Israel’s sneak attack on Assad’s missile depot in Latakia, whose mission was to destroy the Yakhont anti-ship missiles. Credible media reports say that government forces were forewarned about the attack by a mole inside the FSA and that Israel’s assault was largely or wholly a failure.
Dempsey and his IDF counterpart, Benny Gantz may discuss the levels of military support and CIA training being planned for the FSA by this country. They may discuss ways to coordinate this effort, though the involvement of Israel in the toppling of an Arab leader would be an exceedingly delicate subject.