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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Obama, Netanyahu, and Iran

Posted by on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 7:59 AM

This is a superb analysis of the Iran/Israel situation as it stands:

Washington, DC - 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 solution?

...[U]nless Obama warns Netanyahu publicly that an attack against US wishes would indeed mean he is on his own, the chances of deterring him and avoiding war with Iran will be sharply reduced.
All well and good, but, really, you'd think the son of a great historian would be able to clearly see Obama's situation, see why he can't go into another war with an Islamic nation. If Bush couldn't do it, how the fuck does he think Obama can?


Comments (20) RSS

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Because Netanyahu is Israel's Newt Gingrich. He is determined to prove he is A Great Man. A Man Who Can Direct the Course of History.

Regardless of the number of lifeless bodies created in the process.
Posted by palamedes on February 14, 2012 at 8:18 AM · Report this
Helix 2
"If Bush couldn't do it, how the fuck does he think Obama can?"

Because he is a zionistic fanatic. Religious nuts are so dangerous to have anywhere near a military.
Posted by Helix on February 14, 2012 at 8:22 AM · Report this
lark 3
Good Morning Charles & Happy Valentine's Day,

I agree with that assessment completely. It must be said publicly by Pres. Obama. I doubt it will avert a war (between Israel & Iran) but he must say they will go at it alone. It's greatly problematic either way for Obama.
Posted by lark on February 14, 2012 at 8:29 AM · Report this
Wow - an idea so bad even W wouldn't go for it!

Posted by Mr. X on February 14, 2012 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 5
Really who cares but the people feeling the blasts.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on February 14, 2012 at 8:50 AM · Report this
Vince 6
The U.S. could supply intel. And keep Iran bottled with our carriers keeping watch. Iran has vulnerable oil depots and facilities so it has more to lose. But a war could go on for decades without our involvement. Unless Iran does something stupid like attack our ships. That would leave Obama with little choice.
Posted by Vince on February 14, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
rob! 7
Current U.S. and British activity around the Strait of Hormuz:…
Posted by rob! on February 14, 2012 at 9:36 AM · Report this
bhowie 8
@6: Oh look, Vince is warmongering again. Have you had a chance to study any history since the last thread?
Posted by bhowie on February 14, 2012 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Americans are some of the geography impaired people on this planet, I swear.

Some basics facts people best consider:

Israel has a population ONLY 8 million.

Iraq has a population around 30 million.

Iran has a population OVER 75 million.

Let that sink in.

The only way Israel is going to start an actual ground war with Iran is if WE support them.

Also. Persians are NOT Arabs. Arabs are much more divided by ethnic and tribal fissures. The Iranians are smart, cohesive, tough mother fuckers.

Saddam Hussein found that out the hard way. He had the largest most modern army in the region, trained by the best military advisors in the Soviet and Western cadre, he even resorted to Chemical warfare. He was fighting a badly depleted Iranian military that had suffered from sanctions and US monkey wrenching. Yet Saddam got his ass kicked for eight years. He mobilized 21 fully out fitted division against Iran's poorly equipped 13 (only 7 at the border). Saddam barely held to a stalemate.

If Iran was the big evil propaganda would have you believe they would have continued to press their offensive into Iraq during that war and taken a quarter of southern Iraq. But they didn't the OBEYED UN ceasefire mandates.

If israel bombs Iran that will completely entrench Iranian hard liners and virtually ensure Iran WILL proceed with getting nuke by hook or by crook. Wouldn't you?

The ONLY guarantee a nation won't get over-run and invaded by the US and Israel is owning a nuke - the world only full-proof stand off weapon. Because we, and the Israeli's are big fucking bullies.

Obama better not get involved. He SHOULD let Israel get it's nose bloody and learn to go to the table rather drop bombs.
Posted by tkc on February 14, 2012 at 11:06 AM · Report this
@8 I think the only history and geography Vince has read is from Tom Clancy novels.
Posted by tkc on February 14, 2012 at 11:09 AM · Report this
SPG 11
One of the things that really worries me about stories like this is that the Israelis, like the US, have this idea firmly planted in their minds that their military is utterly invincible. They figure they could fight any country (including the US) and win if they wanted it badly enough. Add in to the mix that Israel is a nuclear power and it gets really scary.
Posted by SPG on February 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM · Report this
SPG 12
One other thing that makes this situation even more volatile... instability among Israel's neighbors. Syria is turning into a civil war, Egypt is barely functioning at an international level, Libya is still trying to sort out it's affairs and rebuild, so three of the militaries likely to oppose Israel are not in as much of a position to do anything as they normally would be.
Posted by SPG on February 14, 2012 at 11:17 AM · Report this
I somehow doubt the likelihood of an Israeli attack simply depends on whether the US is going to back them up or willing to start a ground war. They may well think they can get away with it and they may well be able to. They attacked Syria's nuclear project with impunity and I don't see much reason why they couldn't do the same with Iran which most likely does not have greatly superior air defenses to Syria. Retaliation may be just a bit more likely there and it may be just a bit less likely that a handful of airstrikes are going to damage Iran's bomb-building capacity.
Posted by Rhizome on February 14, 2012 at 11:18 AM · Report this
bhowie 14
@10: Ha! That may very well be. All I know is that when you call him out or question his logic he dodges then disappears. Again, I'm ok with willful ignorance at his own loss, but the beating along with yet another war drum has to be called out.
Posted by bhowie on February 14, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Report this
@4 Wow - an idea so bad even W wouldn't go for it!

Just because an idea is so bad that even W wouldn't go for it, it doesn't mean it's so bad that Obama won't go for it (see: assassinating U.S. citizens w/out trial, signing into law indefinite detention without a trial, prosecuting whistle blowers more aggressively than any other president).
Posted by LJM on February 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
@13 No. Don't misunderstand.

Israel might still try some sort of bombing or commando operation. But they are not going to provoke an open GROUND war with Iran with out us having their back.

The problem is that while that limited attack might be immediately successful, it will backfire by entrenching the Mullahs in Iran in further. Like it did last time. It will ensure that Iran WILL get a nuke. By purchase or development.

Israel knows this. It's what they WANT. It insures that the gullible and Ass-Broke U.S., which would others wise cut back aid, will still give them all that cash for the foreseeable future. Israel also just wants to influence U.S. elections. A second term for Obama frees him to put more leverage on Israel to make peace with the Palestinians.

Iran won't march across Iraq and Syria to counter attack. Their air force can't go up against Israel's. Iran is no direct threat.

No. Iran will bide their time, double their proxy attacks, and act as a spoiler in the region, particularly in Iraq. And they WILL get a nuke for sure. They MIGHT fuck with the Gulf. But an all out war won't happen unless WE start shooting,
Posted by tkc on February 14, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this
seandr 17
@9: The only way Israel is going to start an actual ground war with Iran is if WE support them.

I hope you are right, and you probably are.

On the other hand, the kind of hubris, hate, and paranoia that Israeli hardliners like to put on display aren't exactly the ingredients of rational decision making.
Posted by seandr on February 14, 2012 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Vince 18
bhowie never heard of the Yom Kippur War or the Seven Days War. Not that good at history himself, it seems. Israeli forces are ten times superior to any persian force. Their air force would crush Irans defenses quickly and destroy their command and control in a fast and furious blow.
Posted by Vince on February 14, 2012 at 3:16 PM · Report this
bhowie 19
@18: You can't be serious Vince. Really? Here is another question you won't answer: What was Iran's role in the Yom Kippur War or the, uhem, SIX Days War?
Posted by bhowie on February 14, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this
@18 Vince - How many divisons of Iranian Infantry or squadrons of Iranian aircraft participated the Yom Kippur War and Seven Days War?

While you chew on that... let me tell you: ZERO

It would be worth your time to learn the difference between Persians and Arabs.

I can't blame you. Forty years of propaganda has done it's job.

Look. Iran is not a completely beneficent state. There is plenty fucked up about it. But they in no way deserve to be bombed. The people of Iran in no way deserve the scourge of war.

We had our opportunity to encourage peaceful cooperation with non-proliferation. And what did we do? We invaded Iraq. Our hostile actions strengthened the position of hardliners in Iran like Ahmadinejad, who were on the way to being marginalized in the late 1990's.

WE fucked this up. Er. George W. Bush fucked it up. Ahmadinejad saw his chance and pounced. And in a sense he was right - the U.S. was weakened by its invasion so he doubled down on going for a nuke, created a proxy state buffer zone of Shia in southern Iraq and nobody could blame him. Iran was and IS under threat from U.S. agression.

Invading Iraq was the bigest strategic blunder in the history of the US. This saber rattling by Israel is a direct effect of that.

Posted by tkc on February 14, 2012 at 5:29 PM · Report this

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