Israeli intelligence sets deadline for strikes on Iran

The best-case scenario for the Bush administration in Iraq now is a modicum of stability under a Shi’ite-dominated regime more loyal to Tehran than Washington. In the January 2005 elections, voters trounced the US proxies, the secular Shi’ites of Iyad Allawi’s CIA-groomed Iraqi National Accord, in favor of the Tehran-backed radical Shi’ites of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. So “regime change” in Iran is now necessary for the US to maintain effective control over Iraq as well. But how, given that Bush has already got his hands more than full with an increasingly unpopular quagmire? The answer is obvious: US imperialism’s regional pit-bull, Israel. From the Jerusalem Post, Nov. 30:

Military Intelligence Chief Aharon Ze’evi Farkash said [Nov. 30] that after March, Israel must be prepared to use means other than diplomacy to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program…

Farkash would not detail other options, but sources on the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which Farkash was addressing Wednesday said it was clear that Israel would have to consider taking military action against Iran.

“In my years here, seeing the data I have seen, I feel it is clear that Iran has passed the point of no return,” said committee chairman Yuval Steinitz (Likud). “It is accurate to say that unless Iran encounters a major interference, it will have a functioning nuclear arsenal within one or two years.”

Iran has produced 45 tons of UF- 6 gas that is used in the centrifuge process for producing enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, said Steinitz.

“If by the end of March 2006 the international community will have failed to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program, diplomatic efforts will be pointless,” said Farkash. “Iran has the upper hand in negotiations with the international community.

In order to deflect international attention from its weapons program, Iran has been encouraging Hizbullah to step up attacks on Israel, said Farkash, noting that the recent Hizbullah attacks along Israel’s northern border were instigated by Syria and Iran.

“The latest flare up in the north was a strategic plan by Hizbullah,” Farkash said.

The story also notes that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz denied that Israel was considering attacking Iran. He seems to (whether wittingly or not) be playing a game of good-cop/bad-cop with the bellicose Farkash.

There are several such games going on here. Israel itself is playing Bad Cop for Washington. Bush is restrained by politics from openly threatening aggression against Iran right now, so good thing Farkash is so obliging. And as veteran journalist Doug Ireland recently noted on his blog, at least some of the Iran intelligence Israel is relying on here originated in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. This is the leak which resulted in the indictment of two AIPAC staffers (whose busts garnered much more media coverage than the actual content of what was leaked). So the Justice Department played Bad Cop with Israel (mostly for US domestic consumption) even while elements of the Pentagon were throwing the Israelis a wink.

The function of a system is what it does. None of this is to imply that Farkash does not really want to bomb Iran, or that the prosecutors in the AIPAC scandal didn’t really want to bring indictments. Israel is not a US puppet—it is a proxy, which performs its work with ostensible independence. Which makes the strategem all the more effective.

Of course, if Israel takes the bait and once again does Uncle Sam’s dirty work, the worst of the backlash will be conveniently deflected from the US—not only to Israel, but to Jews all over the world. Will the Jews ever wake up?

See our last post on Iran.

  1. It gets worse
    In these times of unrivalled neo-conocracy, pro-Israel lobbyists themselves seem to have bought the wag-the-dog thesis and think they can bend the Empire to their will. Of course, they are the ones who are being played. If the most bellicose Israelis get their way and prompt the US into military action against Iran, they have set themselves up to bear the brunt if it goes awry (as surely it will) in two different ways:

    1.) The US can “cut and run” back across the Atlantic, while Israel will have to sink or swim in a destabilized and enraged Middle East.

    2.) US elites can deflect the blame for the whole debacle by pointing to the pressure and manipulation of those wily, arrogant Jews.

    And again, it will be Jews all over the world who will have to pay for this crime—not just Israel.

    So once again, these self-appointed protectors of “world Jewry” in AIPAC are arrogant all right, but they are more deluded than wily. Won’t they ever learn?

    More from the Jerusalem Post, Dec. 2:

    As the US administration is calling on the world to increase pressure on Iran, the pro-Israeli lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is voicing rare criticism against the administration’s dealing with Iran’s nuclear problem.

    In a statement published in Washington Wednesday, AIPAC slammed the US administration for agreeing not to refer the Iranian nuclear issue to the UN Security Council during last week’s meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors.

    “We disagree with these decisions and are concerned that these efforts will facilitate Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, hampering the diplomatic effort to stop Iran before it is too late. This poses a severe danger to the United States and our allies, and puts America and our interests at risk,” AIPAC’s statement said.

    It is extremely unusual for the pro-Israel lobby to openly confront the administration’s policy, though it is not uncommon for the organization to lobby behind the scenes in an attempt to change US policy on issues concerning Israel.

    The reason behind the public announcement is the frustration in the pro-Israel camp in the US from the administration’s willingness to allow another round of diplomatic Russian negotiations with Iran before bringing the referral to the UN to a vote at the IAEA.

    “Last week’s decision allowed Iran to win a critical round in its game of cat and mouse with the international community,” the AIPAC statement added.

    The lobby claims that the US was wrong in not using the majority it has in the IAEA to push for a UN referral and that the administration’s agreement to back the Russian proposal was a mistake.

    The Russians have suggested that Iran is allowed to convert uranium, but insist that the process be done outside Iran and under supervision. This is seen in the pro-Israeli circles in the US as an unnecessary concession to Iran and as a prize given to Teheran after breaking the Paris agreement.