Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 29, 2011

Israeli Journos Warn About Netanyahoo Lunacy Towards Iran

The "Israel will bomb Iran" meme has been used so often that it doesn make much sense to take it serious anymore.

So why even discuss when it, as now, comes up again?

The difference is that the old campaign, via IDF jail guard Goldberg in The Atlantic and others in U.S. venues, was supposed to influence the U.S. to do the dirty work.

The new version of the meme is coming through major commentators in the Israeli press and its purpose seems is to publicly warn Israelis about some lunacy Netanyahoo and his defense minister Barak are seemingly committed to.

Alex Fishman wrote about it in an OpEd in Yediot Aharonot/Ynetnews on the 12th, Amin Oren on the 14th in Haaretz, colomnist Sefi Rachlevsky on the 17th also in Haaretz. And now teasered on page one of the weekend edition of of the Hebrew dead tree version of Yediot Aharonot the "the best-connected, most influential journalist in Israel" Nahum Barnea (partly translated here, here and here) issues the same warnings.

All these well know writers revolve their pieces around three issues:

First: The Shalit prisoner deal was done to "clean up" for the next big issue.

Second: Recently former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Shin Bet security service head Yuval Diskin, Mossad head Meir Dagan and former head of the Israeli air force Amos Yadlin were replaced. The new people in these jobs are more willing to defer to the politicians. As Nahim Barnea sets it:

But as far as is known, on the Iranian issue, their view matches that of their predecessors: all four, it seems, rule out a military strike at this time. The difference is in their willingness to fight [for their viewpoint]: the previous directors arrived at meetings after years of success, each in their organization, enjoying strong public standing. Toward the politicians they projected determination and self-confidence. The new ones are less well known, less emphatic, less consolidated.

Third: There are serious signals that Netanyahoo and Barak will go for it shortly without any regard of the consequences.

All these writers warn that this is a dangerous road ahead and ask the new heads of those agencies and the public to interfere.

This all may, like before, come down to nothing. But when four well know Israeli journalists from different political quarters warn the Israeli public of the same issue something is happening beyond the usual rumor mill stuff.

Posted by b on October 29, 2011 at 15:18 UTC | Permalink


There's quite a lot of 1% vs 99% social unrest in Jewish Occupied Palestine right now and Bibi is running out of excuses. This bluster is about scaring them into some kind of temporary unity. The Israeli press is just as subordinate to the local 1% as the (N)ew York Times etc in the US.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 29 2011 16:37 utc | 1

Over the course of the last 6 years of threats it seems clear that all this "bomb Iran" talk exists because everyone has a stake in maintaining it. Simple answer I think lies in the "who benefits?" the answer is everyone involved.

1) Israel: Ever since the Arab Spring showed how precarious Israel's place in the regional order is they have been desperately trying to get the focus back on Iran and it's nuke programme. Now suddenly the bomb Iran talk comes back for the first real time since Bush left office. Additional benefit is Israeli defence spending won't get cut despite the Tel Aviv protests because they still have the boogeyman.

2) US: After the awful handling of Palestine and the shock of the Arab Spring, the US gets to talk again about Iran and scare all the Sunni regimes into toeing the line. At this stage and with the known disagreements between Obama and King Abdullah of Saudi I think that the Iranian threat may be the only thing holding the Saudi-Israel-US axis together. Nothing unites the regional Pro-American players like the Iranian threat. Additional benefit: Obama gets to talk tough to Iran going into the 2012 race.

3) Saudi Arabia: When you have a corrupt aging regime, revolutions breaking out all around you, a tech savy population 50% of which is under 25 how do you hold it all together? Manufacture an external threat of course. Even a King that's illiterate (as Saudi King Abdullah is) can see the writing on the wall. Additional benefit: Talk of War always sends the price of oil higher and Saudi Arabia needs to maintain an oil price of above 80 dollars per barrell to pay for its new social programmes.

4) Defence Industry: Always wins when people are talking about new wars and new threats. America just sold around 160 Billion dollars worth of gear to Saudi Arabia (one of the biggest arms sales in history). Israel gets its Iron Dome. Hezbollah get their new Katyusha rockets. Last month the United Arab Emirates bought some French Rafale fighter jets. And everyone gets a nice Christmas bonus.

Everyone is happy with talk of an Iranian threat so the talk continues like a broken record.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 29 2011 17:06 utc | 2

No, as ever, it's all hot air - the Israelis are not going to bomb Iran, for the simple and brutal reason is that it is well above their pay-grade and their capabilities; the Israelis could try ( although what they might try is unclear ) - but I'm certain that the bulk of their simulations end up in catastrophic failure. That there is a general failure to realise that the whole concept is so utterly nonsensical ( in ways that Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya were/are not ) is quite sad.

Let's make this clear - Iran is a sizeable, coherent, populous, modern nation state, sitting on some of the most vital geostrategic real estate on the planet, with the capacity to defend itself; economically it is a G-20 nation, not a small, a failed or failing state, or an economic/industrial minnow wholly reliant on clientistic relations with larger powers. Iran has genuine sovereign autonomy - and it cannot be arbitrarily subjected to bombing campaigns ( which, despite the enduring certitude that this is just around the corner, always fail to materialise ).

Posted by: dan | Oct 29 2011 17:07 utc | 3

The attack on Iran card is played when the Israelis want to put pressure on the US for some other matter. What does the Israel wants from the US now?

Posted by: Hoss | Oct 29 2011 17:31 utc | 4

what do you expect from a guy with one of the world's WORST combovers ???


Posted by: Vampire Squid | Oct 29 2011 20:48 utc | 5

Israel could bomb Iran....what they couldn't do is invade and occupy Iran. It's not logistically or strategically possible. Remember, Israel has Nukes. I doubt they would use them....but who knows, anything's possible these days. If they used Nukes, Israel would be no would be the end of Israel.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Oct 29 2011 21:57 utc | 6

Well Morocco I think either bombing or an invasion would be the end of Israel.

Your right that Israel could possibly bomb Iran's nuke facilities... it would be an insanely difficult mission but could be done. But Israel would be finished in the aftermath. Iran would retaliate fiercely. Even without an Iranian retaliation the price of oil would spike and crash the global economy leaving Israel friendless.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 30 2011 2:21 utc | 7

The only thing that's insane about bombing Iran is that Israel has to even think of doing it, because it's the job of the U.S., followed by an invasion to dismantle all nuclear capability. This time they should force Iran to pay for the police action then leave without any nation-building, unless/until the Islamic Repub. of Iran falls and a new sane secular democratic regime begs the U.S. to return and allows them to set the conditions.

Read the Historyscoper's Islam Watch Blog.

Posted by: T.L. Winslow (@historyscoper) | Oct 30 2011 2:29 utc | 8

@ T.L Winslow

Respectfuly, I looked quickly at your fascist Christian mound of horse manure that you call a blog and think I speak for everyone here when I say no one cares what you have to say. Go join the kiddies table and let the adults talk.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 30 2011 3:11 utc | 9

Another warning by Amir Oren in Haaretz (in context of the 1956 war):

The parallel is clear. An Israeli operation against Iran's nuclear program is liable to recycle the cons of Operation Kadesh, without its benefits. Such a fear is harbored by those who oppose this possible military adventure; the list of negative effects outweighs whatever diplomatic or military advantages might be accrued by such an action, the critics believe. After all, Barak is no Moshe Dayan, and Bibi is not Ben-Gurion.

Only Peres, who is no mere symbolic President (as Yitzhak Ben Zvi 55 years ago ), remains in power, this time exerting an influence against the military undertaking. The theater of fateful political-military decisions lacks today in Israel a playwright, producer and actor. Meanwhile, trenchant criticism leveled by the main critic in this theater, the public, against any dress rehearsal might ward off the premier performance of this proposed military adventure in Iran. The critic cannot afford to keep mum; it will soon have to raise its voice.

Posted by: b | Oct 30 2011 6:05 utc | 10

When the Israeli press are devoting more headlines, column inches and verbose blather to helping Bibi unite "Israelis" around a Phantom Iran Menace, than to (potentially divisive) social equity issues, then it should be obvious whose side they're on.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 30 2011 7:48 utc | 11

a new sane secular democratic regime begs the U.S. to return and allows them to set the conditions.

Kind of like in Libya, right? Should they drag the Mullah's bodies through the streets to set the tone?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Oct 30 2011 13:03 utc | 12

My view that all the blaster towards with Iran is just that. The war if it happens will be in Syria. Iran which has a defence agreement with Syria will have to get involved. This is where the American, Israel thinking is. Iran has no border with Syria, it will have to supply troops and material to Syria, America and Isral have vast superior air power. The rationale is to give the IRGC a bloody nose and hope the people will attempt to riot when defeat is imminent and so an asymmetrical war by Iran in retaliation would not happen. To directly attack Iran is very costly and not tangible.

Posted by: hans | Oct 30 2011 13:20 utc | 13

The US has plans in place for every military possibility it has envisaged (and that means, pretty much every military eventuality possible).

The US military is obeisant to the US political leadership.

The US political leadership has been bought by Israel.

If the US decides to attack any nation, it will, at a bare minimum, aim for a crippling blow that will eliminate any meaningful capacity to retaliate; so long as that capacity exists, it will continue to attack.

The US plan for attacking Iran -- should it be forced to -- is the use of tactical nuclear weapons, at the very least, and perhaps open nuclear bombing (worst-case scenario). This is the only way for it to guarantee elimination of Iran's capacity to retaliate.

These are all facts.

There are plenty of excuses that the US could come up with, for bombing Iran. One of the most hotly disputed is this: if Israel decides to unilaterally attack Iran, will the US leadership feel that the force of public opinion demands they support and assist the action?

In the right climate of propaganda, that eventuality is not beyond the pale.

The US military leadership understands full well that such an action would isolate the US geopolitically, and spur a great deal of under-the-table animosity towards the US. They have repeatedly warned against the action, but in the end: they follow orders.

Ike and Stimson warned Truman not to drop the bombs, and he ignored them.

No doubt, there are plenty of people in the US and Israeli leadership who have convinced themselves that the current standoff with Iran is an analogue to the US against the Japanese, in WWII. It is an argument of power, and cruelty, and a righteous faith in one's own God-given blessing of good.

"American Exceptionalism". "God's People". Whatever you want to call it, it exists.

Posted by: china_hand | Oct 30 2011 14:29 utc | 14

no, Hans, if Syria is attacked, Iran will not fight, their proxies will. Iran might block the strait of Hormuz. Hezbollah will fight from Syrian soil, or Syrians will fight with Hezbollah knowhow. I am not sure Sinai is safe for Israel. Gaza is not. Israel's safety doctrine has been that they can shock and awe their neighbours so that the fight will never be taken to their own country. Hezbollah reversed that.
The Iron Drome does not really seem to work that well. Egypt's revolution plus Libya meant that a hell of a lot of advanced weapons ended up in Gaza. Their nuclear bombs are useless, they cannot drop them close to their borders.
If you live in a potential war zone you opt for no war, as no matter who is the "winner", it is you who will die.
Basically they are telling their country that Israel cannot afford another war. I am sure Palestinians realize that too. They share the same place.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 30 2011 14:50 utc | 15


and by extension, Israel can use the time to kill and "cleanse" LOTS of Palestinians.

Posted by: china_hand | Oct 30 2011 14:53 utc | 16

I do not think the use of nuclear weapons by the United State on Iran are even remotely possible. By Israel it is as close to zero as possible without actually being zero. The reasons have nothing to do with the US being too nice to employ them. They would if they thought they could get away with it. They would be happy to let their adversaries think they MIGHT use them. But they wont. The key difference between 1945 and today is that back then only the US had nukes or even the capacity to make nukes. Today, a dozen countries have them and likely more than 3 dozen can make them on short notice. That makes a big difference. You will note that the same Truman who ignored Eisenhower's advice NOT to use them on Japan in 1945, also ignored MacArthur's advice *TO* use them against China in 1950 when an entire US army was under threat of annihilation. At that time the USSR had nukes, but certainly not nearly enough to defeat the US in a nuclear war and PROBABLY would have done nothing in the event China was attacked.

Once it becomes clear that the US is prepared to use nukes as an instrument of convenience rather than when national survival is actually at stake, you will quickly see the world change. Brazil and Argentina will develop a nuclear arsenal and point it north. You will see China, now content with a modest deterrent, developing thousands of warheads and missiles to ensure 1st strike survivability. Japan, of course, will follow.

There are of course many other consequences that are largely unpredictable but go well beyond the rest of the world simply being angry with the US.

In short, either the Israel lobby has not yet developed the influence needed to make the US commit suicide in a single stroke. Or they are an advanced parasite that knows better than to kill its host.

PS, are you the China Hand from the China Matters blog?

Posted by: Lysander | Oct 30 2011 15:38 utc | 17

Ike and Stimson warned Truman not to drop the bombs, and he ignored them.

And LeMay begged him to drop them....and so he did, so the military was not united in solidarity on its attitude towards dropping nukes on Japan, afterall. I don't think it's at all clear who was making the decisions then (Truman was at the complete mercy of his closest advisors and they knew how to work him), but it's clear now that even though it appears like it's the President, we know it's not.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Oct 30 2011 16:43 utc | 18

A regional war would be Israel's opportunity to practice some ethnic cleansing, or worse. A final solution of the Palestinian problem.

Or so they may think.

Posted by: lysias | Oct 30 2011 17:05 utc | 19

ratcheting up the bomb iran fear while it looks like they are trying to start another war with gaza right before the UN vote.

i'm so sick of israel i could puke.

Posted by: annie | Oct 30 2011 17:10 utc | 20

Just before any serious conflict against Syria, NATO will ratchet up sanctions against Iran. Sanctions that will really bite the civilians. Russia and China will go along with these sanctions. The attack on Syria will be decisive for the benefit of Israel, Iran will be in chronic shortage that it will quiesce and let down Syria. This will be the end of Theocracy in Iran. I put all this starting on the 11 November 2011.

Iran should already be planning for asymmetrical warfare, heard thru the grapevine that the number of drone crashes(5+) in Somali have to do with Iran and it's electronic warfare. Remember all the aid shipments recently! Just saying.

Posted by: hans | Oct 30 2011 17:49 utc | 21


No. I'm china_hand who got kicked off Col. Lang's blog.

Posted by: china_hand | Oct 31 2011 3:02 utc | 22


Remember back in 2005/6, when Cheney, et al, were contemplating strikes on Iran?

Both Richard Clarke and Phil Giraldi came out and said that any strike on Iran would pretty much require tactical nuclear weapons.

Do you remember that the US shipped a load of those bunker busters to Israel -- when was it? -- last month, or so?

If those bombs get used, then it will be the same as if the US dropped them itself. US military planners doubtlessly know that.


"Any attack on Iran would not end well"
Gwynne Dyer

"The U.S. could "win" by dropping hundreds of nuclear weapons on Iran's military bases, nuclear facilities and industrial centers (i.e. cities) and killing 5 million to 10 million people, but short of that, nothing works. On this, we have the word of Richard Clarke, counterterrorism adviser in the White House under three administrations."
"There's nothing the U.S. can do to Iran, short of nuking the place, that would force Tehran to kneel and beg for mercy. It can bomb Iran's nuclear sites and military installations to its heart's content, but everything it destroys can be rebuilt in a few years."
The Next War
Daniel Ellsberg
U.S. Is Studying Military Strike Options on Iran
By Peter Baker, Dafna Linzer and Thomas E. Ricks

"Pentagon planners are studying how to penetrate eight-foot-deep targets and are contemplating tactical nuclear devices."
The Iran Plans
by Seymour M. Hersh

"One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites....
There is a Cold War precedent for targeting deep underground bunkers with nuclear weapons....
A former high-level Defense Department official told me that, in his view, even limited bombing would allow the U.S. to “go in there and do enough damage to slow down the nuclear infrastructure—it’s feasible.”....
But those who are familiar with the Soviet bunker, according to the former senior intelligence official, “say ‘No way.’ You’ve got to know what’s underneath—to know which ventilator feeds people, or diesel generators, or which are false. And there’s a lot that we don’t know.” The lack of reliable intelligence leaves military planners, given the goal of totally destroying the sites, little choice but to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons. “Every other option, in the view of the nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap,” the former senior intelligence official said. “ ‘Decisive’ is the key word of the Air Force’s planning. It’s a tough decision. But we made it in Japan.”"
Deep Background
In Case of Emergeny, Nuke Iran
By Philip Giraldi

"The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States."

And from the cheerleading side:
Using bombs to stave off war
By Benny Morris
"Israel will almost surely attack Iran's nuclear sites in the next four to seven months - and the leaders in Washington and even Tehran should hope that the attack will be successful enough to cause at least a significant delay in the Iranian production schedule, if not complete destruction, of that country's nuclear program. Because if the attack fails, the Middle East will almost certainly face a nuclear war - either through a subsequent pre-emptive Israeli nuclear strike or a nuclear exchange shortly after Iran gets the bomb.
...should Israel's conventional assault fail to significantly harm or stall the Iranian program, a ratcheting up of the Iranian-Israeli conflict to a nuclear level will most likely follow...."
Options in Dealing with Iran's Nuclear Program
By Anthony H. Cordesman, Abdullah Toukan

"Another scenario is using these warheads as a substitute for conventional weapons to attack deeply buried nuclear facilities in
Iran. Some believe that nuclear weapons are the only weapons that can destroy targets deep underground or in tunnels."
Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper said.

Reuters, Staff Article

Posted by: china_hand | Oct 31 2011 4:12 utc | 23

‘Decisive’ is the key word of the Air Force’s planning. It’s a tough decision. But we made it in Japan.”"

And just about everybody now agrees that the decision to nuke Japan was wrong.

Posted by: lysias | Oct 31 2011 14:40 utc | 24

Another opinion piece in Haaretz on the issue: Israel's radical leaders forcing an attack on Iran

There is a slim chance that the reports raining down from on high about the possibility of an operation before the winter are just spin, aimed at putting the world in a panic. But they also get us accustomed to the idea of an attack. Even worse: It is tempting to get around the military establishment's opposition through an urgent, precipitous and biased deliberation, "at the last moment before the clouds roll in" - like the discussion with Rabbi Yosef. Meanwhile, the U.S. presence in Iraq might tempt the Israeli radical leaders to drag Washington into a war against its will, as the object of an attack. In the face of history, the forces of reason must step on the brakes.

That is quite an unprecedented string of people calling for parental controls on Natanyahoo. Something is up. What? We don't know.

Posted by: b | Oct 31 2011 16:52 utc | 25

China_hand @ 23 said:

"Do you remember that the US shipped a load of those bunker busters to Israel -- when was it? -- last month, or so?"

Am I the only one who DOESN'T think those bombs were pointed at Iran? I've always assumed those bombs were for Hamas and particularly Hezbollah at least as much as Iran. Remember in 2006 Israel tried very hard to kill Nasrallah. It dropped dozens of bombs directly onto his headquarters in Beruit (risking retaliation against Tel Aviv), but failing completely to make a dent. The HQ was simply too well fortified. Likewise, Israel has banned concrete in Gaza for years, but it has largely failed to prevent its important and, presumably, used by Hamas for fortification. Hence, I've always taken those bombs as a message to Nasrallah first and everyone else second that "we can reach you personally now."

Posted by: Bill | Oct 31 2011 19:24 utc | 26


"And just about everybody now agrees that the decision to nuke Japan was wrong."

Maybe just about everyone you talk to.

I know a gawdawful lot of people -- many in high positions in the military, and of course the US gummint is packed w/these sorts -- who think it was the right one.


No weapon is acquired solely for use against one opponent.

Those weapons are as useful against Hamas as they are against Iran.

Were any of those bombs nuclear? Could any of those bombs be fitted out for nuclear? Could any of those bombs serve as a model for a nuclear bunkerbuster?

In any case, the worry is that Israel acts unilaterally and drags the US in.

If the US gets dragged in, it's likely to use nuclear weapons.

Posted by: china_hand | Nov 1 2011 16:56 utc | 27

Netanyahu trying to persuade cabinet to support attack on Iran
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who previously objected to attacking Iran, was recently persuaded by Netanyahu and Barak to support such a move.

Posted by: b | Nov 2 2011 7:30 utc | 28

Israeli Press Tries to Save Iran from Attack
Segments of the Israeli press are mounting a campaign to prevent what they see as an imminent strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Parts of the Israeli press, led by high-circulation newspaper Yediot Acharonot, are trying to sabotage a possible Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities by lifting the veil of secrecy from the matter and turning it into the talk of the town.

Minister Benny Begin blasted "former senior members of the security establishment" who he said are creating the public debate, without naming them. The discussion in the press "is insane anarchy, an evil deed that results from some people's egomania," he said.
Other newspapers and press organizations have followed Yediot Acharonot's lead and have begun hosting a public debate on the possibility of an attack. As a result, the Knesset, too, has started talking about the matter. MK Shelly Yechimovich, head of Labor, is quoted as saying "I am warning against a megalomaniacal adventure in Iran."

Posted by: b | Nov 2 2011 9:51 utc | 29

Meanwhile, Israeli army tests rocket system - a ballistic missile according to the BBC, in a long planned exercise.

Posted by: Philippe | Nov 2 2011 11:40 utc | 30

The Guardian joins the (dis-)information campaign: UK military steps up plans for Iran attack amid fresh nuclear fears

Britain's armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran amid mounting concern about Tehran's nuclear enrichment programme, the Guardian has learned.

The Ministry of Defence believes the US may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities. British officials say that if Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.

In anticipation of a potential attack, British military planners are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles over the coming months as part of what would be an air and sea campaign.

They also believe the US would ask permission to launch attacks from Diego Garcia, the British Indian ocean territory, which the Americans have used previously for conflicts in the Middle East.

But reading further those are just "contingency plans" of which any military has hundreds. So the piece is just planted propaganda.

Larry Derfner - kicked out from the JPost columnist role for being not sufficient right wing: Finally, Iran plan wakes Israel up to “the Israeli threat”

In all the rising volume over Netanyahu and Barak’s plot to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilties, by far the most important sound in the air is silence – the silence of the heads of the IDF, IDF Intelligence, Mossad and Shin Bet. In his Friday column that broke it all open, Nahum Barnea wrote in Yediot Aharonot that the four security/intelligence chiefs – Benny Gantz (IDF), Aviv Cochavi (IDF Intelligence), Tamir Pardo (Mossad) and Yoram Cohen (Shin Bet) were all opposed to an attack. Since then, none of them have denied it, none of them or “sources close to” them have said a word. Which means it’s confirmed – all four leaders of Israel’s professional military-intelligence establishment are against bombing Iran.

Which means it ain’t gonna happen, at least not until further notice. The prime minister and defense minister can’t overrule the unanimous opinion of Israel’s war council – especially when all four of their immediate predecessors, led by ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan, are also against it.

And here’s the latest good news: According to Ha’aretz, Netanyahu and Barak have found a third stooge: Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has changed his mind and now he, too, wants to attack. In the eyes of the world and most of the Israeli mainstream, no further proof is needed that this is an insane idea. Netanyahu and Barak could not have found themselves a worse reference.

Posted by: b | Nov 2 2011 19:35 utc | 31

@b, comment 31- that Guardian piece was not the only hit job on Iran. Julian Borger wrote another one the day before or so: Iran expected to block steps towards regional deal on Afghanistan.

Posted by: Philippe | Nov 3 2011 5:30 utc | 32

I've come to believe that this campaign is nothing new and not serious. I was, at first, a bit worried because so many journos in Israel coming up with warnings was something I hadn't seen before. No it seems like they were scammed.

Tony Karon makes sense (and has a funny headline): You Say You Wanna Bomb Iran? Take a Number and Stand in Line

President Obama's point man on Iran, Dennis Ross, had written before joining the Administration that if governments reluctant to impose harsh measures on Iran believed the alternative was Israel starting a war, they would be more inclined to back new sanctions. And there's certain a new sanctions push in the works, right now. The "intelligence" being cited by the Guardian's sources to suggest a new urgency is hardly new -- it's material collected some time ago by Western agencies that purports to show that Iran has been doing theoretical work on designs for a nuclear warhead. What's new is the fact that the U.S. has been pressing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to include those allegations in its latest report on Iran, scheduled for release later this month. The IAEA has questioned Iran's intent and raised questions about many of is activities, but it has not until now accused Iran of running an active nuclear weapons program. A Western official told the Guardian that revelations about bomb-design work will be a "game-changer" that forces Russia and China to get on board with U.S. sanctions efforts.

It's not clear, though, whether those charges will make it into the IAEA report -- China and Russia are lobbying against what they see as an attempt to enlist the nuclear watchdog in the service of a U.S. agenda -- but even if they're in the report, Moscow and Beijing are unlikely to join the sanctions push. It wouldn't be the first time the U.S. had assumed that some new 'gotcha' piece of intelligence would change the game, only to be disappointed.

Posted by: b | Nov 3 2011 7:41 utc | 33


One of the fun things about the Guardian article is that it neglects to mention that a substantial slice of the UK's cruise missile inventory was expended in operations against Libya - and it's not as if the RN had a substantial supply to begin with ( approx. 60-70). There's no word on when replacements will become available, as presumably the US military will get the re-supplied first.

That key Iranian nuclear facilities are sufficiently robust to be more or less immune to cruise missile attack is also a tad awkward; hell, I'm not even sure that the RN could get their subs sufficiently close to the Iranian coastline to even be within range of some of the "target-set".

The current Iran-bollox reporting cycle is due to the IAEA report being released next week. This is the standard MO - going by previous iterations of this game, the report is going to be yet another nothing-burger, so we're getting the usual pre-release overclaims from anonymous sources.

Posted by: dan | Nov 3 2011 10:37 utc | 34

I will add this to the pile. Make of it what you will.

With Defense Ministry officials saying that they believe the US may soon “fast-forward” plans to attack Iran, Britain’s military is stepping up its own preparations for such an attack under the assumption that they will join in on the war.

The planning is based on expectations that next week’s report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be a “game changer” and will convince President Obama to launch another massive war.

It also comes just a day after reports in the Israeli press that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to convince the rest of his cabinet to launch a unilateral attack on Iran before winter on the argument that an autumn war would be much more convenient.

Though Netanyahu seems to be gaining some ground, there are a number of Israeli cabinet members who say it is their preference to convince the US to start the war instead. Though threats of an impending war against Iran have been coming off and on for over a decade, it seems the Obama Administration’s preference not to see Israel launch a disastrous unilateral war could convince them that the US should start its own disastrous unilateral war instead.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Nov 3 2011 13:30 utc | 35

Very unlikely that action will follow this saber-rattling (unless serious mistakes happen, you need quite some lunacy for triggering such desaster). I guess it targets primarily the Israeli public and the Israeli version of the occupy movement which became a real danger for the Netanyahu camarillia.
Step one: Let the Gilad Shalit release happen. That would have been possible since five years, but when becoming a big public issue, the poor guy morphed into a major asset for Israeli policy. This time they desperately needed good headlines, and some euphoria about the unique value of an Israeli compared to a bulk of Palestine underlings and a sensation of noble mindedness is very likely to be shared. The Israeli and Western media followed suit. This is cynical but works.
Step two: Ensure British cooperation by hinting at some serious dirty secrets - the execution of Ghaddafi and the SAS role in this - via DEBKA, a favorite Israeli intelligence outlet. Good basis for a quid pro quo, and costs their British colleagues not too much. In addition, it retaliates for some unfriendly statements from UK regarding the West Bank occupation and the conquest of these territories by the "only a dead Palestine is a good Palestine" settlers who are replaying the North American holocaust as a farce.
Step three: With British help, build a big Potemkin's village of imminent war with Iran to gather the flock. Fits well with the general Israeli paranoia and allows for denouncing the internal enemy as traitor.
The poor Israeli people have still not realized that this bunch of criminals posing as government is driving Erez Israel full speed against a wall.

Posted by: Martin Hendrich | Nov 3 2011 13:36 utc | 36

I am very worried; if they keep invoking war on Iran, sooner or later we'll have war on Iran, even they didn't really intend to; there's an inexorable and uncontrollable logic in the ideological and propagandistic processes, once set in motion; only open and radical opposition to the "war on terrorism", the "islamic threat" and the "Israel right to security" paradigms can defuse such processes, in the case of Iran; instead, the Us plays along strengthening the aggressive rhetoric

put in another way: we set up a scapegoat, and sooner or later will come the opportunity or the necessity to sacrifice him

also, Israel is hysterical because it's becoming conscious of the fact that the Zionist project substantially failed, and it is becoming extremely dangerous and impredictable

Posted by: claudio | Nov 3 2011 14:05 utc | 37

claudio, you will love this.

All Roads Lead to Iran

All Roads Lead to Iran, Again

Good Leaks and Bad Leaks

Keep in mind, this was penned in 2006, but it still applies today, in fact, even more so. This part is the most chilling, though, because it puts a new face on the withdrawal from Iraq.

Luke Ryland: Let's get back to Iran - why is Iran the Big Prize?

Larisa Alexandrovna: Iran has always been the big prize. I think the Golden Crescent of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, in general has been the Big Prize for various reasons - business interests, geopolitical reasons, etc. There are all sorts of reasons why it's been the crown jewel. There is not one single group, for example the Neoconservatives, who are guiding this ship if you will. There are factions who may have different agendas and ideologies, but they may work together because they have the same goals.

There are, for example, business interests - both legal and illegal. The energy market, for example, wants the oil (legal) and the drug market, for example, wants the routes and supply of the Golden Crescent region (illegal). These two separate interested parties don’t necessarily have the same ideology or the same interests, but their goal is the same because of the larger business market, both legal and illegal.

There are also geopolitical reasons - there are advantages to having a presence there in a very significant region - controlling that region would be like controlling the center of a chess board. An example of this would be to directly address China and Russia, both of whom have vested interests in the region. In any case, there are many reasons why Iran is the big prize and the different factions have come together to act in this direction, either knowingly working together or working independently of one another to capture control of the Golden Crescent region.

Lukery: Quagmire notwithstanding? (note this interview was done prior to the MEK article Larisa just wrote, so she alludes to the MEK relationship with the West, but does not go into details of what she then reports after the interview has taken place.)

LA: Well - we can't invade Iran because the military is bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan - but remember, they don't have to invade because the ultimate goal is control of the region. Hence all the talk of 'regime change' - the key is to overthrow the government and replace it with a government of the Western nations' choosing. A 'grass roots' operation would incite insurgencies in various parts of the region - and create issues and rifts where there were none previously. For example, I'm sure that you're familiar with MEK – so the West can use foreign agents, for example, as mechanisms in that regard to create a grass roots opposition movement. We've seen this sort of thing work all over the place, obviously, South America being the prime example. So this would be one way the West could approach the issue of Iran without the quagmire of Iraq, by using proxies. It is also a good way to avoid Congressional oversight. If that doesn't work they've got this back-up plan of this new strategy of using pre-emptive nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. This new policy is outrageous, frankly, but they're clearly rolling that out for a reason - so one can assume, although I don't know this for sure, that that is probably Plan B, in case the plan of creating a home-grown insurgency fails.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Nov 3 2011 14:31 utc | 38

MB, I'm reading - fascinating stuff; most of it I knew, because I followed the Iraq war really closely, trying to make sense of it - actually, it's that war that precipitated a big change in my views;

skimming through the articles, I noticed Chalabi is only mentioned once; but he is a key figure in the Iraq war, and yet another example of that strange neocons - iranian liason I referred to in another thread

ok, back to the articles ...

Posted by: claudio | Nov 4 2011 23:00 utc | 39

Posted by: Martin Hendrich | Nov 6 2011 17:17 utc | 40

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