Israel push on Iran included a steady dose of media leaks
By Sheera Frenkel
"Nestled deep in the halls of Israel's defense headquarters, a man known as Agent 83 fingered with care his model of what a potential Iranian nuclear bomb might look like.
The agent, who had become an expert on the Iranian nuclear program, was showing off the model to a group of foreign reporters
Within days, accounts of Agent 83's story appeared in articles across the U.S. and Europe — Iran had advanced technological understanding of the workings of a nuclear weapon. It was one of dozens of "exclusives" on Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, the majority of which had originated with Israeli sources.
Israeli officials also said it was no coincidence that a flurry of reports on Israel's imminent strike on Iran filled the press last fall just ahead of a report from the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Guzansky said the possible Israeli strike leaks to the media were "an important tool" for the government.
"It is psychological warfare. You leak to get the enemy or your friend to think X or Y," he said.
The official had recently returned from a trip to Washington and marveled at how the topic has become a major one in the United States.
"Israel doesn't want it to look like it is pushing the West toward a war with Iran. There are those that said Israel pushed the U.S. towards a war with Iraq, which is untrue," said Guzansky. "Today regarding Iran, Israel is not telling the U.S. to attack. They are saying something more nuanced: Present a credible threat, carry a big stick. Everyone's preference is to solve this diplomatically."
Reasons to Attack Iran
By Gwynne Dyer
"If Prime Minister Netanyahu and his fellow hawks truly believed that Iranian nuclear weapons would mean the extinction of the Jewish state, then their wish to attack Iran would be defensible, but they don’t. That’s just for public consumption. What’s actually at stake here is not the survival of Israel, just the preservation of the huge strategic advantage Israel enjoys as the sole nuclear weapons state in the Middle East.
Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister, let the cat out of the bag in a recent interview with Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman for the New York Times Magazine. “From our point of view, a nuclear state offers an entirely different kind of protection to its proxies. Imagine if we enter another military confrontation with Hezbollah, (and a) nuclear Iran announces that an attack on Hezbollah is tantamount to an attack on Iran. We would not necessarily give up on it, but it would definitely restrict our range of operations.”
Big deal. Israel lost its last military confrontation with Hezbollah in 2006 even WITH a monopoly of nuclear weapons, but it suffered no lasting harm as a result. If Israel is not facing an existential threat, but just the potential loss of some strategic leverage, then launching an illegal war of aggression against Iran makes no sense at all.
But there is also a deeper motive. Netanyahu and his allies really think that an attack on Iran would bring the Islamic regime down. As Barak told Bergman: “An Iranian bomb would ensure the survival of the current regime, which otherwise would not make it to its 40th anniversary in light of the admiration that the young generation in Iran has displayed for the West. With a bomb, it would be very hard to budge the administration.”
So what Barak and his fellow hawk Netanyahu are actually demanding is American support for an attack whose real aim is to bring down the Iranian regime. The thinking is delusional: the notion that the Iranian regime will collapse unless it gets the bomb is held by both Israeli and American hawks, but there is no concrete reason to believe it.
As Meir Dagan said in a lecture at Tel Aviv University recently, “The fact that someone has been elected doesn’t mean that he is smart.”
Imperial Death Mongers
by JOE GIAMBRONE
"We should be clear about the real reasons Washington goes to war and overthrows governments: because those governments aren’t taking orders from Washington. It has nothing to do with nuclear weapons, biological or chemical weapons. It has nothing to do with terrorism. It has nothing to do with democracy (laughable). Nothing to do with “freedom” (more laughable). It has nothing to do with women’s rights, the children, the aspirations of the blah blah blah. No educated person could fall for that claptrap. It has everything to do with raw power projection and the securing of resources and the profits and the control of those resources.
Some have noticed that Iran is selling oil in currencies other than the dollar, thereby setting a bad example. A threat to dollar hegemony is a threat to a fundamental core principle, which the US will not tolerate. When Iraq began selling its oil in Euros it was swiftly attacked and overthrown. Libya similarly sought to empower other currencies and move away from the dollar. It was attacked by a NATO air assault and a foreign-sponsored and trained guerrilla army of Jihadis, now war criminals. The “responsibility to protect” was actually the protection of the dollar as reserve currency and had nothing to do with civilians on the ground in Libya.
I was in the street on February 15th 2003, the “focus group” to stop the illegal and immoral onslaught against Iraq. That war crime has since killed over 1 million human beings by several credible estimates and another million in the decade preceding it due to medieval-styled “sanctions,” all courtesy of Washington policy. And now I’ve signed the petition at Stop War on Iran (stopwaroniran.org), which I expect to have as much of an effect on foreign policy.
The MEK’s Useful Idiots
By Philip Giraldi
"The MEK has been on the State Department roster of foreign terrorist organizations since the list was established in 1997. Its inclusion derives from its having killed six Americans in the 1970s and from its record of violence both inside and outside Iran since that time. The group was driven out of Iran, denied refuge in France, and eventually armed and given a military base by Saddam Hussein. Saddam used the group to carry out terrorist acts inside Iran. The MEK is widely regarded as a cult and is headed by spouses Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. Its members are required to be celibate, and there are reports that they are subjected to extensive brainwashing, physical torture, severe beatings even unto death, and prolonged solitary confinement if they question the leadership.
The U.S. military and the CIA have in the past recruited MEK agents to enter Iran and report on nuclear facilities. Other MEK agents, recruited and trained by Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, have recently killed a number of Iranian nuclear scientists and officials. The group appears to have ample financial resources, and it is generally believed that at least some of the money comes from Mossad.
Because the MEK is a resource being used by Israel in its clandestine war against Iran, it is perhaps inevitable that many friends of Israel in the United States are campaigning vigorously to have the group removed from the terrorism list.
The well-connected friends of the MEK include well-known neocons like John Bolton and James Woolsey. And there is also the paid supporting cast including former head of the Democratic Party Howard Dean; former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani; ex-CIA director Michael Hayden; former generals Anthony Zinni, Peter Pace, and Hugh Shelton; former congressman Lee Hamilton; ex–attorney general Michael Mukasey; former Homeland Security director Tom Ridge; former national security adviser Jim Jones; ex-senator Robert Torricelli; former FBI director Louis Freeh; and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. Current representatives Dana Rohrabacher and Brad Sherman also openly support the MEK and joined 96 other congressmen in calling for the lifting of the terrorism label.
Given the history of the MEK as a terrorist organization and the deliberately broad wording of the relevant U.S. statute, it would seem that speaking on behalf of the group amounts to material support of terrorism."
To avoid war with Iran, Obama must change his tone and strike a deal
By Prof. Hooshang Amirahmadi and Shahir Shahidsaless
If the US wants to avoid military strikes on Iran and still wants a diplomatic settlement for the nuclear dispute with the Islamic Republic, Washington must stop talking out of both sides of its mouth.
Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran have frequently condemned the tone of American officials as disrespectful and derogatory. They are particularly annoyed by the terms “carrot and stick” as they are applied to the “donkey” in Iran. This sense of national pride is reinforced by the Iranian Islamic culture of resistance to outside pressure.
Khamenei hails Obama "window of opportunity" on Iran
"Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has welcomed comments by U.S. President Obama about the need to dampen the drumbeat of war as a diplomatic "window of opportunity", the Iranian state news agency IRNA said on Thursday.
"We heard two days ago that the U.S. president said that (they) are not thinking about war with Iran. These words are good words and an exit from delusion," Khamenei was quoted by IRNA as saying.
But Khamenei said Obama had also spoken about bringing "the Iranian people to their knees through sanctions. This part of his comments shows that the illusion continues".
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