Can Obama avert war with Iran?

Gareth Porter writes: President Barack Obama has finally begun in recent months to signal to Israel that the United States would not get involved in a war started by Binyamin Netanyahu without US approval. If it is pursued firmly and consistently through 2012, the approach stands a very good chance of averting war altogether. If Obama falters, however, the temptation for Netanyahu to launch an attack on Iran, indulging in what one close Israeli observer calls his “messianism” toward the issue of Iran.

Netanyahu, like every previous Israeli prime minister, understands that an Israeli strike against Iran depends not only on US tolerance, but direct involvement against Iran, at least after the initial attack. In May 2008, his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, had requested the approval of George W Bush for an air attack on Iran, only to be refused by Bush.

Netanyahu apparently feels, however, that he can manipulate right-wing Israeli influence on American politics to make it impossible for Obama to stay out of an Israeli war on Iran. He has defied the Obama administration by refusing to assure Washington that he would consult them before making any decision on war with Iran.

The Obama administration’s warning signal on the danger of an Israeli attack began flashing red after Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta came back empty-handed from a trip to Israel in September.

US officials then came up with a new strategy for pulling Israel back from the precipice of war by letting Netanyahu know that, if the US were denied a full role in coordinating military policy toward Iran, it would not come to Israel’s aid in such a war.

The first step in the strategy came when Panetta was answering questions after a talk at the Saban Centre of Brookings Institution on December 2. He not only expressed clear disapproval of an Israeli attack as counter-productive – something the administration had avoided in 2009 and 2010 – but went on to indicate that the US was concerned that it “could possibly be the target of retaliation from Iran, striking our ships, striking our military bases”.

Without saying so directly, that remark hinted that the US would take steps to avoid that situation, if necessary. It was evidently aimed at planting the seed of doubt in Netanyahu’s mind that Obama would be willing to respond to Iranian retaliation against Israel in the event of an Israeli strike.

Print Friendly
facebooktwittermail

Comments

  1. delia ruhe says:

    I think Panetta was right when he said that Israel would probably attack in the spring or summer, because I think that Bibi will dare Obama to refuse to follow him into war before the election: “Hey, Obama, who would you rather piss off, the Lobby or your electorate?”

  2. DE Tedooru says:

    What we are all missing is the essence of the HOLOCAUST PSYCHOSIS as it now manifests over the Iran issue:

    The more you disagree and try to reason with the Likudnik leaders of Israel today about war with Iran, the more you dig yourself into the “anti-Semite” denunciation. The essential FIRST PRINCIPE is: ISRAEL IS BORN OF VICTIM-HOOD AND THUS DESERVES DOMINATION OF THE MIDDLE EAST, AS HISTORY HAD GIVEN IT IN OBEDIENCE OF GOD’S WILL. From that principle THAT SO WILLS IT GOD THROUGH HIS MASTERY OF HISTORY, FOR HIS *CHOSEN PEOPLE*, the ISRAELIS IN THE NAME OF JEWS EVERYWHERE FEEL DUTY BOUND TO AMPUTATE ALL LIMBS OF ALL STATES IN THE REGION SO THAT THESE MAY BE HELPLESS IN THEIR DEVIL-BORN WISH TO VIOLATE THE WILL OF GOD THROUGH HISTORY BY DENYING ISRAEL DOMINATION OF THE MIDDLE EAST.

    How Israel gets to its ultimate goal matters not for anything that IN-GATHERS World Jewry is *GOD’S WILL* to them. In the face of this, the Iranian desire to obtain nuclear power, as has Israel, is proof of its DEVIL WORSHIP, for it schemes to violate the will of God. Israel knows the purpose of the nuclear arm put in its hand by God himself. That power requires that Israel alone have it so it can be free to use it in fulfilling the WILL OF GOD!

    Iran’s attempt to get a nuclear sword like Israel’s can only be seen as a challenge to Israel’s historic mission and the fulfillment of God’s will through history. To want what God hath given to it “Chosen” proves unequivocally that Iran is a servant of the Devil; for Satan wants the power of God; that is, to choose who shall rule the Holy Soil of God. Consequently, anyone who might question or seek to impede the smiting of Iran, the servant of the Devil, by Israel, the Chosen of God, is himself A SERVANT OF THE DEVIL and is due no mercy, no consideration for he is one with Iran as disciple of Satan. Obama, therefore, is not just an anti-Semite but a servant of Satan in that he seeks to reproach or refrain the WILL OF GOD: THE SMITING OF IRAN BY ISRAEL….hence the call for Mossad to assassinate Obama.

    Most might dismiss this as an imbecilic analysis, attributing to Israel insanity of this kind, for Israel would never be so crazy as to think that it can thus bite the hand that literally feeds it….particularly given the secularism of the great majority of Israelis for whom this whole reasoning seems laughable. But it is not, for the “Revisionist Zionists” have seized upon this logic EXACTLY to distinguish themselves and their historic mission as RULERS OF THE JEWS. Even collaboration with the Nazis while the latter were dooming Jews was acceptable, for it is the mission’s goals, not the means that count. The same logic that made so easy collaboration with the Nazis made easy terrorism in Palestine after the war. FOR IT IS THE HOLOCAUST THAT, TO THEM, ESTABLISHES THE LEGITIMACY OF *EVERYTHING* THEY DO AS GOOD AND EVERYONE WHO OPPOSES OR IMPEDES OR EVEN QUESTIONS THEM AS AGENT OF SATAN!

    In seeking absolution for his deviancy from this line by thinking just a few years ago of an economically driven peace between Israelis & Palestinians, Netanyahu is now using the word “Holocaust” so often in making the case for Israel’s smiting its foes with its mighty sword as he pleads for redemption, reciting the incantation: “Holocaust, Holocaust, Holocaust….” over and over again as justification for consideration of absolutely none of the concerns of others. THAT is the Holocaust Psychosis, an enchanted state from which one might deviate but to which can return only with repeated incantation of this sacred term of total license. This kind of Israel in its flowered madness WE CREATED; for we fully subsidized it and armed it to the teeth despite its massive illegal nuclear arsenal and bellicosity, not even reproaching Israel, just following its guidance into war against all of Islam, even as the case of the cheering Mossadists on the other side of the Hudson when the World Trade Center went down is still a serious question mark as to how much of an ally is Israel really?

    There is nothing we can do but make clear to Israel that should it chose to attack Iran it is TOTALLY on its own, responsible for the very Holocaust to which its Holocaust Psychosis will drive it. Whatever happens then, I can only pray that the rest of the world remembers that the Jews of every nation are patriots first and foremost to the nations of their birth and for that reason never relented in remaining there and contributing their talents to their homelands, though denigrated as “parasite Jews” by the Zionists.

    In conclusion, the Iran Issue may have put before us a psychotic end to Israel or, hoping for a miracle, a coming back to their senses, reasonable as Jews have always proven to be. That would require an end to the Holocaust Psychosis and a return to Jewish brilliance to deal with that problem.

  3. Tom Hall says:

    It would be comforting to conclude that the US at least has a veto over Israeli plans to kick off this war. But the entrenchment of neo-con elements at the heart of American government is arguably even more decisive for a nominally liberal Democratic administration than for a conservative Republican one. Bush was able to reject an Israeli attack on Iran and get away with doing so precisely because his reputation and support as a genuine reactionary was immune to criticism from the right. In Obama’s case, he seems always engaged in trying to prove his militancy to the headbangers. In any event, Netanyahu knows that Obama will have no choice but to back the attack when it comes- Zionism is simply too strong a force in American life and leadership circles. The spectacle of an American President during an election campaign, standing aloof while Israel endures retaliation from Iran is frankly inconceivable.

    On the other hand, the current process of almost mystical analysis- the search for signs that the administration is sending Israel delicate, all but inscrutable messages to desist- is an exercise in wishful thinking. If the US wants to forestall this war, only one step is necessary: a direct, unambiguous, face-to-face refusal by Obama to Netanyahu. As things stand, Bibi knows this won’t- and can’t- happen. He will proceed on his own schedule, with the full and certain knowledge that the gigantic US naval task force now situated in the Persian Gulf has not been dispatched there as an observer force.

  4. DE Teodoru says:

    Ton, Neocons work behind crazed CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS who want Israeli domination of Mideast only so the day when the world ends and THEY ALONE go to Heaven comes closer. Despite all their hasbara, neocons are not mostly out of the loop of power now. But they guide, like an eminence grise, the crazies for whom the world started only 6000 years ago and can’t end too soon. These Bible nuts will turn against our Jewish fellow Americans as soon as they see what crap is their Bible-babble.