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Forum Post: Iran is building a Death Star - warns Netanyahu

Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 21, 2012, 1:42 p.m. EST by gmxusa (274)
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A Question of Sovereignty By Philip Giraldi, PhD

Executive Director, Council for the National Interest

It is perhaps inevitable that Israel, given its access to the US media and the inside-the-beltway crowd as well as its powerful lobby, would attempt to steer America’s foreign policy in a direction that it would find congenial. This has been nowhere more evident than in the sustained campaign to move the United States in the direction of war with Iran, a war that serves no American interest unless one actually believes that Tehran is willing to spend billions of dollars to develop a nuclear weapon and is considering handing the result off to a terrorist group for use. Be that as it may, Israel has unique access to the media in the United States and has been working assiduously to make its case.

There has been some commentary on the frequent appearance of op-eds by senior Israeli officials, some retired some not, on the editorial pages of American newspapers. Where there has been criticism it has focused on the mechanics of what is being suggested. The most recent overtures1 by the Israeli government have pushed the United States into making a declaration that negotiations with Iran have failed and will not be continued. For Israel, this is a necessary first step towards an American military intervention as failed negotiations mean there is no way out of the conflict but war if the Iranians do not unilaterally concede on every disputed point.

Some recent op-eds have elaborated the argument, promoting the necessity of convincing the Israelis that the United States is absolutely serious about using military force against Iran if the Iranians seek to retain any capacity to enrich uranium. One might note in passing that the new red line, sometimes also called the “capability” to create a nuclear weapon, has been achieved by moving the goal posts back considerably. At one time Iran was threatened with a military response if it actually acquires a nuclear weapon (which is still the official position of the Obama Administration), but the earlier benchmarks within that policy that enrichment should not exceed 20 percent or that the enrichment should not take place on Iranian soil have been abandoned in favor of what amounts to zero tolerance. Those who note that Iran, which is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is under IAEA inspection, has a clear legal right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes have been ignored in favor of those who believe that Iran is somehow a special case.

On August 17th, the Washington Post and The New York Times featured op-eds explaining why the United States must do much more to convince Israel that it should not initiate an attack on Iran. Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israel’s military intelligence who is believed to be close to the country’s political leadership, argued in the Post2 that Obama must basically convince the Israelis that he will use force against Iran if sanctions do not convince the country’s leadership to abandon enrichment of nuclear fuel. Over at The Times,3 Dennis Ross, a former US senior diplomat who has been described as Israel’s lawyer, made pretty much the same arguments. Both advocated giving Israel refueling tankers and special munitions that would enable an attack on Iran to be more effective, thereby stretching the window of opportunity for sanctions to work in light of Israeli arguments that hardened Iranian sites might soon be invulnerable to attack. Ross advocates giving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu effectively a blank check, asking him what he will need to attack Iran and urging firm commitments to the Israeli government for a full range of US military support. Both Yadlin and Ross argue that it is necessary to create the conditions to buy more time for Israel to delay a possible attack until 2013, so that, as Yadlin puts it, “Israelis must know that they will not be left high and dry if these options fail.” Assuming that both Ross and Yadlin are speaking for the Israeli government, which is almost certainly the case, Tel Aviv is essentially demanding a commitment from Washington to attack Iran unless the issue of Iran’s ability to enrich uranium is resolved through negotiation or through Iranian surrender of that right. In return, Israel will not attack Iran before the American election, so in effect Washington would be promising to fight a war later if Israel does not start one now.

Israel knows it cannot successfully attack Iran unilaterally and must have the United States along for the ride to do the heavy lifting. It also knows that the threat to attack Iran before the election is a powerful weapon, with neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama welcoming such a potentially game changing diversion from their never ending debate on the economy and jobs. Critics like Arnaud de Borchgrave4 have correctly noted that many former generals and intelligence officers in both the United States and Israel have, in fact, decided that the basic premise is wrong. Iran does not pose a threat that could not be contained even if it does some day make the political decision to obtain a crude nuclear device. The alternative, a new war in the Middle East, would create “mayhem” throughout the region, guarantee Egypt’s breaking relations with Israel, and develop a perfect breeding ground for the civil war in Syria to spill out and lead to turmoil among all of its neighbors. US ships in the Persian Gulf would be attacked, unrest in Bahrain would turn to revolution, and the Palestinians would stage a new intifada. Israel would be bombarded from Lebanon and from Iran and would retaliate. Gas prices would soar, economic recovery would stall worldwide, and the European nations now struggling to deal with unprecedented unemployment levels would watch the Euro-zone collapse before the rage of hundreds of thousands protesters in the streets. Americans would again become the targets of international terrorism.

And there is another serious objection to going along with the Israeli government’s thinking. Israel is by its own volition not an ally of the United States in any technical sense because alliances are troublesome things that require rules of engagement and reciprocity, limiting the partners’ ability to act independently. If Israel obtains a virtual commitment from the United States to go to war in 2013 it would mean that it would enjoy the benefits of having a powerful patron do your fighting for you without any obligation in return beyond delaying possible unilateral military action until a more suitable time. A guarantee from Washington for Israel’s security, which still permits unilateral action by Tel Aviv, is all too reminiscent of the entangling arrangements that led to World War I and World War II. That the murder of an Austrian Archduke in the Balkans should have led to a world war that killed tens of millions was due to guarantees not unlike what Israel is demanding. Likewise with the start of the Second World War following upon Britain and France’s guarantees to Poland, the commitment to go to war basically closed the book on negotiations and insured rather than deterred that armed conflict.

If the United States commits to unconditional support for Israel and bases it on a red line that already has been crossed, even if it is all carefully wrapped in what are presumed to be American interests, it will be a surrender of one of the major attributes of national sovereignty—the power to go to war or not. Amos Yadlin suggests at one point that President Obama go to congress and get approval in advance to take military action “to prevent Iran’s acquisition of a military nuclear capability.” Well, such a pre-approval for war certainly raises constitutional issues, but it also creates a virtual casus belli because Iran already has that capability. It closes the door on any consideration that the United States might actually have an overriding national interest that would be to avoid a war. It denies that the United States should be able to exercise complete sovereignty over the issue of Iran and it also freezes the status quo in some kind of time warp, as if there cannot be new ways of looking at the problem of the Iranian nuclear program that might evolve over the next few months. In short, Washington should make no commitment to anyone about what it will do vis-à-vis Iran in 2013 no matter what inducements are offered. As nineteenth century British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston put it referring to his own country, “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” Let America’s actual demonstrated interests dictate US foreign policy. Given the ebb and flow of the past eleven years, it might prove a novel experience.

Philip Giraldi is a recognized authority on international security and counter-terrorism issues. He is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served 18 years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Mr. Giraldi was awarded an MA and PhD from the University of London in European History and holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Chicago. He speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and Turkish.



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[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

the US is the one gunning for War what with those congress bills and all

to keep a market open foe our weapons companies

[-] 1 points by gmxusa (274) 10 years ago

and to help the oil industry.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 10 years ago

Netanyahu looks like Colin Powell pleading to UN about Iraq WMD.



[-] 1 points by stevebol (1269) from Milwaukee, WI 10 years ago

Things would have been settled between Iran and the US if Carter had been re-elected. It was incredibly stupid for Iran to take hundreds of people hostage and then release them the second Reagan took office (or won the election, dont remember how it went). This led to the Iran-Iraq war and many people died as a result. This issue doesn't seem to be of any concern to republicans in the US or Isreal and it's why I DON'T support their insistance that we take military action against Iran at this time.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 10 years ago

I prefer to learn about a serious subject from an

[-] 1 points by gmxusa (274) 10 years ago

And Iran never said it would attack anyone.

[-] -1 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

There were hostages because of carter, he was to naive to be re-elected

[-] 1 points by stevebol (1269) from Milwaukee, WI 10 years ago

Maybe he was too naive to be re-elected. I don't support anyone's re-election. Problem solved.

[-] 1 points by stevebol (1269) from Milwaukee, WI 10 years ago

There are 3 groups that have an interest in a confrontation with Iran. Group1 wants to control Iran's resources, group2 wants to eliminate Iran's possible nuclear weapons program, group3 wants payback for the hostage taking about 30 years. These 3 groups aren't exactly on the same page.

[-] 1 points by gmxusa (274) 10 years ago

Iran is a big obstacle for Israel expansion over nearby countries.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 10 years ago

Israel obviously wants to expand its borders so Israel will include more Arabs. Obviously.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

group 4 wants a paycheck for the military industrial complex strong

one of those let's accuse religion posts




building bombs 'til bunkers boil

getting paid for shell filled toil

if I am to work tomorrow

lobe the load on foreign soil

yep US only pays 41% of the total world military budget

World Military budget in Billions (percent total) by Nation

  • 1,630 World Total
  • 711 United States 41%
  • 143 China 8.2%
  • 71.9 Russia 4.1%
  • 62.7 United Kingdom 3.6 %
  • 62.5 France 3.6%
  • 54.5 Japan 3.3&
  • 48.2 Saudi Arabia 2.8%
  • 46.8 India 2.5%
  • 46.7 Germany 2.8%
  • 37.0 Italy 2.3%


Global Arms Sales By Supplier Nations

39% United States

18% Russia

8% France

7% United Kingdom

5% Germany

3% China

3% Italy

11% Other European

5% Others


TOP 10 Arms Produces

Notes: An S denotes a subsidiary company. A dash (–) indicates that the company did not rank among the SIPRI Top 100 for 2009

  • Lockheed Martin USA 35,730 33,430 78
  • BAE Systems UK 32,880 32,540 95
  • Boeing USA 31,360 32,300 49
  • Northrop Grumman USA 28,150 27,000 81
  • General Dynamics USA 23,940 23,380 74
  • Raytheon USA 22,980 23,080 91
  • BAE Systems Inc. (BAE Systems, UK) USA 17,900 19,280 100
  • EADS Trans-European 16,360 15,930 27
  • Finmeccanica Italy 14,410 13,280 58 +L-3 Communications USA 13,070 13,010 83
  • United Technologies USA


Widow Winchester's riffle wealth warped her house.

Stairs to ceilings. Windows to walls.

Always slept in a new room,

hiding from shot souls

[-] 1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 10 years ago

None dare call it treason.

[-] 0 points by bensdad (8977) 10 years ago

........................Who is CNI ?

On March 28, 2000, Pete McCloskey, the chairman of CNI at the time, gave the keynote address at the Thirteenth Conference of the Institute for Historical Review, a Hollocaust denial organization. His speech was about the Anti-Defamation League and free speech. When McCloskey ran in the 2006 Republican Party primary for congress, there was a public controversy over exactly what he said about the Hollocaust at the event. McCloskey was endorsed by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times despite the controversy,

According to a 2001 article in Salon.com Abdurahman Alamoudi, a member of the CNI Board of Directors, said at a November 2000 rally against Israel in Lafayette Park, across from the White House: "'Hear that, Bill Clinton! We are all supporters of Hamass. I wish they add that I am also a supporter of Hizbalah." In 2004, Alamoudi pled guilty to financial and conspiracy charges and was subsequently sentenced to 23 years in prison. Eugene Bird explained that at the time he joined CNI Alamoudi was a highly regarded Muslim spokesperson who worked with the United States Department of State.

On May 4, 2004 Eugene Bird appeared on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's ("CBC") National News and commented ""We know that the Israeli intelligence was operating in Baghdad after the war was over...The question should be: Were there any foreign interrogators among those that were recommending very, very bad treatment for the prisoners?" CBC issued a clarification that there was "no evidence for Bird's claims."[ Two month's later former Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who had been in charge of the Abu Graib prison, claimed that she had met an Israeli who worked as an interrogator at a secret intelligence centre in Baghdad. She also stated that no Israelis worked at Abu Graib itself. Israel subsequently denied her claims, stating that there was "no basis whatsoever to the reports."

[-] 1 points by gmxusa (274) 10 years ago

Who is CNI?

Alison Weir - CNI President

Like everyone, I'm many things. For example, I'm the author of a children's book, now out of print. But these days I'm most known as the founder of If Americans Knew, an organization that provides information on topics of importance that are substantially misreported or unreported in the US media; our primary focus is on Israel-Palestine. In particular, we analyze media coverage of this issue, and have conducted a number of statistical studies.

Alternate Focus, which produces videos for Public Access television stations, has produced an excellent 30-minute video about our studies.

(I also speak for about a minute near the beginning of this short video I just stumbled across.)

In every one of our studies we discovered extremely troubling distortion. For example, we found that network prime time news programs covered Israeli children's deaths at rates up to fourteen times greater than they reported on Palestinian children's deaths.

I've written about this subject in depth for Project Censored and The Link among other places and frequently give presentations on our findings at campuses around the country.

I feel these studies are just the tip of the iceberg on the distortion in US reporting on this issue. I have no doubt that if we had tabulated the amount of personal information attached to these reports, we would find the disparity even far greater. Because of this consistent media bias, very few Americans have any idea of the scope and depth of Palestinian suffering. Moreoever, most Americans think that Israeli actions are defensive. Chronology shows the reverse.


[-] -2 points by alva (-442) 10 years ago

the council for the national interet is an anti israel group.

[-] 0 points by gmxusa (274) 10 years ago

"Israel is our best friend and ally, the only light of democracy in the Middle East. We must protect it no matter how many lives it costs." Do you agree with this?

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

Jill does not

Instead of allying with the courageous proponents of peace within Israel and Palestine, our government has rewarded consistent abusers of human rights. There is no peace or justice or democracy at the end of such a path. We must reset U.S. policy regarding Israel and Palestine, as part of a broader revision of U.S. policy towards the Middle East.


[-] 1 points by gmxusa (274) 10 years ago

I want to vote for Jill.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

I'm not against nuclear power

[-] 1 points by gmxusa (274) 10 years ago

There is a small risk that Iran could prepare a small nuclear bomb and give it to a rogue terrorist group that would use it against the US.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

much greater risk a rogue terrorist group would get anthrax from a US lab

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 10 years ago

Where would you get that information from?

Iran has the second-largest Jewish population in the ME.

All the bullshit you're reading about Iran is war propaganda.

You've been conned. Get used to it.

[-] 1 points by gmxusa (274) 10 years ago

Iran supports Hezbollah. What do you think that group would do if they had access to a nuclear bomb?

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 10 years ago

The IAEA is allowed to view Iran's nuclear facilities. The same inspectors were told by the former US admin to leave Iraq, or be bombed along with everyone else there.

You've been conned into endless war that has destroyed your country financially, and ruined its credibilty with many nations.

The current admin is beating the same drum again. And you're falling for it?

[-] 1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 10 years ago

Israel is run by a military government maintaining a fake democracy.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 10 years ago

Did you read the article?

[quote]Israel is by its own volition not an ally of the United States in any technical sense because alliances are troublesome things that require rules of engagement and reciprocity, limiting the partners’ ability to act independently.[/quote]

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 10 years ago

Wow, Im going to assume this is sarcasm

[-] -1 points by alva (-442) 10 years ago

go to http://israel21c.org/ read and learn about the inovations and discoveries . then go to http://thereligionofpeace.com/ take note of who is doing what.