Netanyahu wants Obama to promise war

This is what blackmail looks like.

Israel will start a war with Iran and inevitably drag America into this war — unless President Obama makes a promise. He must promise that the United States will start the war at the time of Israel’s choosing.

Here’s how Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence and now director of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, presents the bargain, based on the premise that Israel’s window of opportunity for attacking Iran will shortly close:

On Monday, Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel are to meet in Washington. Of all their encounters, this could be the most critical. Asking Israel’s leaders to abide by America’s timetable, and hence allowing Israel’s window of opportunity to be closed, is to make Washington a de facto proxy for Israel’s security — a tremendous leap of faith for Israelis faced with a looming Iranian bomb. It doesn’t help when American officials warn Israel against acting without clarifying what America intends to do once its own red lines are crossed.

Mr. Obama will therefore have to shift the Israeli defense establishment’s thinking from a focus on the “zone of immunity” [the point at which Iran’s nuclear program is invulnerable to an Israeli attack] to a “zone of trust.” What is needed is an ironclad American assurance that if Israel refrains from acting in its own window of opportunity — and all other options have failed to halt Tehran’s nuclear quest — Washington will act to prevent a nuclear Iran while it is still within its power to do so.

I hope Mr. Obama will make this clear. If he does not, Israeli leaders may well choose to act while they still can.

So here we approach another war and whether the war comes sooner or later hinges on whether the Israelis have the courage to trust Obama and whether Obama is indeed worthy of such an enormous leap of faith.

In this drama the Israelis cast themselves with the nobility to exercise restraint, the daring to take on a challenge from which others might shrink, and the vision to foresee dangers about which the rest of us are less alert.

Can Obama and can the United States ascend to such moral heights? Tune into to next week’s AIPAC conference to find out.

But wait a minute. The red line that the Israelis want Obama to pledge his commitment is a red line that most observers say Iran has already crossed: acquiring nuclear weapons capability. It already has a stockpile of enriched uranium sufficient to make several weapons by most estimates.

So while Netanyahu badgers Obama to promise war, the question shouldn’t be whether at the appointed time this war kicks off; instead it should be — given that Iran has crossed the red line that Israel set — why has Israel not already launched an attack?

The truth is that is that this war that Israel insists must be fought is a war that Israel would much prefer the United States to fight and pay for on Israel’s behalf.

If Israel’s interests and those of the U.S. were truly the same when it comes to Iran, then neither should need to cajole the other into action. The current tension is instead a reflection of the fact that the two countries interests are not the same.

Indeed, the objective which at this point is still only gradually being wheeled into position is a goal utterly beyond Israel’s much vaunted military capabilities: regime change in Tehran.

And even though that goal has not explicitly been adopted by the Obama administration, Obama’s language already hints at capitulation to Israeli and rightwing pressure. His choice of metaphor for describing pressure on Iran is one which any political leadership would treat as a mortal threat.

A noose is never tightened in preparation for negotiations or compromises.

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5 thoughts on “Netanyahu wants Obama to promise war

  1. delia ruhe

    I think we always have to keep in mind that Obama’s agenda is one he adopted from GWB, which is the neocon PNAC agenda: regime change across the Middle East — except, of course, the petromonarchies. So it won’t be difficult at all for Bibi to get him to commit, and it won’t be hard for Obama to commit.

  2. Goosaar

    I really agree with you Delia. Israeil plays whatever game it wants in America with their politicians. US leaders believe Israel ( the platform of conflict) is the only way they can subjugate Arabs and Mideast countries. Israel has a decesion to what it will do with Iran’s nuclear program but it trays to cajole america into action.

  3. DE Teodoru

    Israel is scared– not of nukes but of Obama’s re-election– and it wants to be reassured. It is so scared that it can only be reassured if Obama jumps out the widow as proof that he believes he’ll go straight up because Netanyahu told him that down is up.

  4. Norman

    We know it wont happen, but the “O” should tell the Bibi to clean up his act at home, and if they-the Israelis- pull off the attach, they are on their own. The U.S. can’t afford to have the M.E. blow up, and contrary to what the neocons think, it will if Israel does bomb Iran. The resultant loss of civilian life is too big a price to pay for the mad fools leading the Israelis today. But then, “O” may think he’ll be reelected if he kowtows to Bibi, who doesn’t care one way or the other.

  5. BillVZ

    “The greatest purveyor of violence on Earth is my own government.” MLK

    I would certainly include Zionist apartheid Israel in that statement.

    The first of the grandest of our modern day Greatest Shows on Earth for the year 2012 is upon us, this year’s AIPAC conference. AIPAC as most know is a lobbying group dedicated to promoting Israeli interests to the American public as well as within the government. It has shown that it can control not merely US foreign policy but also US intelligence policy.
    The President of the United States, members of Congress,political pundits and of course Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak from the heart of the moving decades long love affair between the two countries and will be rewarded with thunderous repetitive peals of applause by the thousands of gathered attendees; perpetuating a myth that these two Nations and their relationship are so because they are both exceptional and the chosen people.
    This goes on year after year, isn’t it time for the everyday people of the United States to express disgust over supporting Israeli aggression, of been captured and manipulated by a theocratic nation of less than 7 million people– and two percent of the American public?
    We need to shock and awe these leaders who speak to AIPAC; how about OCCUPY AIPAC and the White House as Obama and Netanyahu meet.

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