Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 06, 2012

Netanyahoo's Willingness Is Irrelevant

Yesterday the NYT reported on a preview of an Israeli TV cast:
An Israeli news channel reported Sunday night that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak asked the Israeli military in 2010 to prepare for an imminent attack on the Iranian nuclear program, but that their efforts were blocked by concerns over whether the military could do so and whether the men had the authority to give such an order.
Further down in the piece we find that the whole discussion that report is about was irrelevant:
“Eventually, at the moment of truth, the answer that was given was that, in fact, the ability did not exist,” Mr. Barak said in the clip that was shown on Sunday.
Israel simply does not have the means (nor the will) to attack Iran.

But despite reporting that fact only yesterday we today find a report by the same author, Jodi Rudoren, on the whole TV cast that is again full of "Israel will bomb Iran" scare lines.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday reiterated his willingness to attack the Iranian nuclear program without support from Washington or the world, returning to an aggressive posture that he had largely abandoned since his United Nations speech in September.

How can that be an "aggressive posture" when it is clear that it is obviously a bluff. Netanyahoo may "reiterated his willingness" to conquer Moscow but that neither gives him the ability nor is it a serious aggressive posture. The whole "Israel will bomb Iran" scare is simply a stupid stunt.

Willingness is irrelevant when one lacks the capability.

Posted by b on November 6, 2012 at 08:36 AM | Permalink


I am curious to know what they mean when they say "the ability did not exist"?

Do they mean that the Israeli bomber jets and missiles can't reach Iran?

Or they can but they will be shot down before delivering their pay-loads?

Or that they can deliver their pay-loads, but it will not be an effective campaign and no meaningful damage will be inflicted on Iran's nuclear program?

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Nov 6, 2012 9:29:09 AM | 1

What he IS capable of doing is a false flag operation against American interests, blamed squarely on Iran. With "irrefutable" evidence being presented to the American media through the efforts of scum like Hannity on the right and Maddow on the left, and the ignorant masses will lap it up just like they did when we were served the 9/11 bowl of shit.

Netanyahoo is cumming in his pants at the prospect of a Romney presidency. But no great loss for him if he ends up with Obama sucking him off for another four years. Its a win-win for Bibi.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Nov 6, 2012 9:38:17 AM | 2

The most interesting part is that Western Journalists kept talking about such an Israeli capability like a fanatic beliver talking about a given biblical "fact" and when Ahmadinejad said that they didnt take the possibility of an Israeli attack seriously they talked asif he were an idiot... So it seems that it was not Ahmadinejad who was crazy for denying the outright reality but rather it was Mr. Bernard Kouchner who was the 'crazy', after all he was the one who said Israelies would "eat" Iran (he meant to say "hit" but did not pronounce the starting 'h' :) )

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Nov 6, 2012 9:42:01 AM | 3

Netanyahu is getting close to being outed as a blowhard bully...which after the toothless performance of 2006 against Hezbollah will surely quicken Israel's demise, as the emigration of talent quickens.

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 6, 2012 10:17:14 AM | 4

Israel's strategy is based upon the idea that any counterattack, after their aggression, will not be tolerated by the US.
In military terms the only way that Israel can prevail against Iran is by employing nuclear weapons. It certainly has the capacity to bomb Tehran but, in normal circumstances, it would be foolish to do so, because Iran has the capacity to strike back, while Israel lacks the capacity to absorb the sort of response Iran would deliver.
But the reality is that Iran is expected to do nothing if Israel bombs its nuclear power plants, just as it is expected to do nothing as Israel murders its citizens, arms guerrilla bands, and blockades it.
In fact Iran has been under attack for some time. And has been presented with one casus belli after another.
The same is true of Syria and Iraq, both of which are being attacked, daily, by terrorists who are clearly the agents of the Saudi-US-Israeli axis.
The question is how Iran can respond without furnishing the empire with the thin shard of an excuse it wants to justify an invasion.
The answer provided by the US,which is a classic case of projection, is that it will employ drunken car salesmen to hire Mexican bandits working for the FBI to blow up restaurants in Washington.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 6, 2012 11:39:07 AM | 5

Yeah, bevin, that is why Iran and practically all the others involved have been working with non state actors. Israel used to have a problem with non state actors on the Lebanon border where they achieved a balance of power by threatening to annihilate the whole population of Lebanon (which did not win any hearts and minds), they now have to deal with non state actors in Egypt/Sinai/Gasza and Syria.
The potential for Iran to strike back without having written "Iran" on it is huge.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2012 11:56:15 AM | 6

In this context - it is official - Hamas has broken with the Syrian government and supports Syrian rebels - so they are "our terrorists" now :-))

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2012 12:03:07 PM | 7

It would be interesting to know what Barak meant by the "ability did not exist". Five years back or so Israel had a big exercise where they flew most of their F15s and F16s down the Mediterranean and back using refueling tankers. The distance they flew was the same as to Tehran and back. At the time this was hailed as a major success. I suspect that the Israelis didn't reveal some important details about this exercise. My guess is that their planes were completely weighted down with extra fuel tanks and probably didn't have any more room for such things as bombs.

Posted by: ToivoS | Nov 6, 2012 1:11:45 PM | 8

“My approach is that if we can have others take care of it, or if we can get to a point where no one has to, that’s fine;

an unusual moment of honesty and something that has been said many times here.

this is the pure shit, not that which has been passed through the politicians and media...right onto our plates.

Posted by: dan of steele | Nov 6, 2012 3:32:12 PM | 9

@ToivoS #8;
There are so many unknowns (at least for me), like how effective are the Iranian air defences? If there is an attack by the Israelies, will they be able to bring any of the Israeli aircrafts down? If yes, then what will be the Israeli loss? I don't think that Israelies can do even a minimal damage to Fordo, but can they damage Natanz?
These may be unknown to me, but I am sure, they are not unknown to Israelies.
By the way, I am not in the opinion that the Iranians would let an Israeli attack go unretaliated, and when I speak of retaliation I don't mean, retaliation by proxy (eg. Hezbollah) but I mean direct retaliation (eg. missile attack on Israel).

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Nov 6, 2012 3:46:49 PM | 10

As Bevin said the US would have to back Israel up to prevent Iran from retaliation. In that case the US would presumably prefer to act on its own if they were interested in attacking Iran. That is Netanyahus problem. Israel is not relevant.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2012 4:07:26 PM | 11

Barak: "Eventually, at the moment of truth, the answer that was given was that, in fact, the ability did not exist,"

Not having seen the doco, of course, but isn't it equally possible that Barak was referring to the "ability" of Israeli Prime Ministers" to order the Chief of Staff to take the IDF to "P-plus" alert status?

As in:
1) Netanyahu gave that order
2) Askenazi insisted that the full cabinet had to give that order
3) Barak sought advice and found out that, indeedie, the authority that allows an Israeli PM to issue that order "did not exist".

After all, that "security gang of seven" that Netanyahu keeps convening is an entirely ad-hoc meeting i.e. it isn't a cabinet committee and its "authority" to make any decision is unrecognized by any Israeli legislation.

Therefore the "ability" under Israeli law of Netanyahu to issue binding orders to anyone during one of those meetings is very likely to be.... non-existent.

Posted by: Johnboy | Nov 6, 2012 6:55:52 PM | 12

How many Russian technicians would be killed if the Nuclear facilities were hit in Iran?
It wont happen unless Russia agrees.
Game over.

Posted by: boindub | Nov 7, 2012 5:19:15 AM | 13

All the posturing between Obama and Netanyahu was pure theater. Obama has promised Israel whatever they demanded of him, or he wouldn't have been re-elected.

Posted by: Cynthia | Nov 7, 2012 11:26:07 AM | 14

In the end it's quite simple.

The usa are bankrupt, their infrastructure is rotten, and their military is tired and by far less capable than their PR would like us to think.

So, their president has to make a decision and, being in his 2nd term, is in a less difficult position.

Either they take care of their country and people and, in the almost unreal optimal case, manage to tigthly escape a breakdown into impotence and insignificance ...


... they continue the "we try it by force" route. Let's look at their chances.

Actually the usa failed both in Iraq and Afghanistan, both countries militarily much weaker than Iran. Considering the rapidly increased power of China and the reestablished power of Russia, the usa would quite simply end up as dead meat if they crossed the line.

To put it bluntly, both, israel and the usa dream of an importance and capabilities they simply don't have anymore.

At the same time more and more americans understand and, more importantly, say that israel is not a friend nor any help but rather a burden and a very expensive one.

In the end there is only one reasonable option for the us president.

To loosen and later cut the ties to israel, getting a little more room and freedom of decision for themselves, to bring his soldiers home and to save what still is to save in the overloaden, rotten usa ship - and to pray that the ship doesn't sink quicker than they can repair the worst leaks.

Frankly, I personally hope that they are stupid enough to take the war road (because a swiftful if brutal solution is better than a painfully slow and expensive one) but probably the couple of americans who are capable of thinking a step further than "Cheeseburger, Coke n' shootin'" will try to avoid war, if only to unnerve, disgust and and molest the world a little longer with their existence.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Nov 7, 2012 5:13:57 PM | 15

I don't see the advantage for the US in attacking Iran, even if pushed by Netanyahu. A prolonged war - the likelihood - is only likely to lead to another US failure.

Of course, we have to take into account the military-industrial complex, for whom war is necessary in order to make profits. For them, intervention on the ground is much better, many more profits to gain, but that is not in prospect for Iran: it's an air war.

Looking at Obama's position post-election, I don't see the advantage for the US in attacking Iran. Obama has a history of withdrawing from problems when he can. Adding a potentially long-term problem doesn't sound like him.

Posted by: alexno | Nov 7, 2012 6:12:57 PM | 16

The comments to this entry are closed.