Follow Up:Once More, The Specter of a US and/or Israeli Military Strike Against Iran Loom (2)
The following is lifted from Just Foreign Policy‘s August 12, 2010 newsletter. It discusses an article that appears
in Atlantic on-line by Jeffrey Goldberg, arguing for an Israeli strike on Iran within the next year whether or not the US goes along with the project. It gives new information, especially that Admiral Mullen, Joint Chiefs of Staff head, has, as he did in the Bush years, once again gone to Israel to warn the Israeli’s not to strike Iran without US permission. The discussion here does not fundamentally contradict our arguments of yesterday, except that Goldberg seems to support such a strike while we are against it, and the time line he suggests for a proposed strike is extended beyond the elections to sometime next year, but before the end of next summer. If this is the case, it would give those of us who are against such a strike a bit more time to organize, here and abroad. Finally, these remarks note that Goldberg was active before the US invasion of Iraq, arguing for a U.S. invasion based in part on what the world now knows to be a lie – an Osama bin Laden-Saddam Hussein link. ie which gives a good sense of where he is coming from. Cheers. RJP
8) In an important and controversial piece in the Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg argues that next spring, if there has not been significant progress in addressing Iran’s nuclear program, and if the Obama Administration will not attack Iran, it is likely that Israel will try to do so even without U.S. permission. Goldberg claims that based on many interviews with Israeli, American, and Arab leaders, that “a consensus emerged that there is a better than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike by next July.” Goldberg acknowledges that such an attack “stand[s] a good chance” of “sparking lethal reprisals, and even a full-blown regional war that could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians, and possibly Arabs and Americans as well…of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington…of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of placing communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger…and of accelerating Israel’s conversion…into a leper among nations.” But he argues that Israeli leaders would see it as justified nonetheless. But Goldberg also notes that Admiral Mullen recently made a stop in Israel that had one main purpose, according to an Israeli source: “to make sure we didn’t do anything in Iran before they thought we might do something in Iran”; that the US would be blamed for an Israeli attack, even if the US did not explicitly approve it; and that Israeli officials acknowledge that if the US learned of Israeli plans to attack Iran and ordered them to stop, they might have to stop. “A decision has been made that we can’t lie to the Americans about our plans,” one official said.
9) Responding to Goldberg’s piece, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett write for Foreign Policy, the campaign for war against Iran is now arguing that the US should attack so Israel won’t have to. Goldberg’s reporting reveals that the case for attacking Iran – especially for America to attack so Israel won’t – is even flimsier than the case Goldberg helped make for invading Iraq in 2002, in a New Yorker article alleging that “the relationship between Saddam’s regime and Al Qaeda is far closer than previously thought.” Goldberg’s reporting makes clear that those at the top of Israel’s political order understand Iran’s nuclear program is not an “existential threat.” His interlocutors recognize Iran is unlikely to invite its own destruction by attacking Israel directly. Israeli elites want to preserve a regional balance of power strongly tilted in Israel’s favor and what an Israeli general described to Goldberg as “freedom of action” – the freedom to use force unilaterally, anytime, for whatever purpose Israel wants. The problem with Iranian nuclear capability – not just weapons, but capability – is that it might begin constraining Israel’s currently unconstrained “freedom of action.” In May, retired Israeli military officers, diplomats, and intelligence officials conducted a war game that assumed Iran had acquired “nuclear weapons capability.” Participants subsequently told Reuters that such capability does not pose an “existential threat” to Israel – but “would blunt Israel’s military autonomy.” Maximizing Israel’s freedom of unilateral military initiative is not a valid rationale for the US to start a war with Iran. Just imagine how Obama would explain such reasoning to the American people.