Posted on: January 18, 2012 Posted by: Mitchell Plitnick Comments: 2

In my latest piece for Souciant, I explore the ways in which the Netanyahu government, along with their allies in Washington, are working to push for war with Iran, preferably with the United States doing the shooting. A host of recent events point in this direction. I’ve preached for a long time that a war with Iran is not going to happen. I still believe it, but that belief is being pushed hard these days by Bibi and his pals.

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  1. I was just beginning to make sense of the cancellation of the big Israeli-US wargames when I read an article in Ha’aretz last night entitled “Barak: Israel ‘very far off’ from decision on Iran attack.”

    In other words, suddenly it’s not an “imminent second holocaust” but rather a “very far off” possibility (not probability) of an Iranian bomb.

    What’s happening behind closed doors?

    1. Well, Delia, I’m not sure what you were thinking about the cancellation. It’s very unclear what it was really all about, but the likeliest explanation is that the US didn’t want to risk inflaming the situation further, and Israel had little choice but to comply. I don’t think it was punitive on the US’ part, but strategic.

      The fact is, on the leadership level, even Bibi is well aware that there is no “imminent second Holocaust.” That is rhetorical stuff designed to scare people, Jews as well as non-Jewish Americans, and to mobilize the lobbying forces with tools for the ignorant. When Israelis need to sit down with US leaders, that stuff is all out the window. Always was.

      That doesn’t change the fact that, from the US and Israeli governments’ points of view, a nuclear Iran is a very real strategic threat. That is simply true, and denying it does not do peace activists any good at all. We must recognize that strategic threat and take it into account in our advocacy.

      What’s happening behind closed doors, from all indications (both public and from a small amount of inside stuff I’ve heard), is a lot of uncomfortable maneuvering between two staunch allies whose current heads of state intensely dislike each other and who have very different strategic approaches to this issue. The trouble is that the Israelis can influence matters in the US, and the Obama Administration (in sharp contrast to, for example, Bill Clinton) cannot do the same in Israel. So, there’s a lot of polite talk, and there is an effort to coordinate and come together on strategy. But Bibi wants a war, and the US does not want to give it to him. That’s the overall context. Within that, Bibi is obviously more in tune with Republicans and especially neocons, but also has to recognize that chances are that Obama will be around for a second term.

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