Bibi Netanyahus assumption of power in Israel sets the stage for a huge campaign by the Israeli government, and its well-oiled lobby groups in Washington, to push us into a war with Iran.
Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, according to U.S. and European intelligence agencies. But reality rarely impedes on politics. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, along with Netanyahu, all talk as if Iran is on the brink of dropping the big one on the Jewish state.
Netanyahu on Friday named Iran as Israels main threat after he was called to form a new government following the Feb. 20 elections.
Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of independence, Netanyahu said at a ceremony at President Shimon Peres official residence. The terrorist forces of Iran threaten us from the north, the presumptive prime minister said in reference to Lebanon and Syria, where Israel says Tehran supplies arms to Hezbollah and Hamas. For decades, Israel has not faced such formidable challenges.
Netanyahu, whose arrogance is as outsized as his bellicosity, knows that for all his threats and chest thumping, Israel is incapable of attacking Iranian targets alone. Israel cannot fly its attack aircraft over Iraqi air space into Iran without U.S. permission, something George W. Bush refused to grant, fearing massive retaliatory strikes by Iran on American bases in Iraq. Israels air force is not big enough to neutralize the multiple targets, from radar stations to missile batteries to Revolutionary Guard units to bunkers housing Irans Soviet- and Chinese-made fighter jets and bombers, and also hit suspected nuclear targets. The only route to a war with Tehran for the Israeli military is through Washington.
Netanyahus resolve to strike Iran means that we will soon hear a lot about the danger posed by Iranfull-page ads in American newspapers from Israel lobby groups have appeared in the past few days. Allowing this rhetoric to cloud reality, as we did during the buildup to the war with Iraq, would shut down the best chance for stability in the Middle Easta negotiated settlement with Iran. This may not finally stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, but a stable relationship with Iran would do more to protect Israel and our interests in the Middle East than massive airstrikes and a war that would bleed into Iraq and Lebanon and see Iranian missiles launched against Israeli cities…
There is a lot riding on whom President Obama names as his special envoy to Iran. If, as expected, it is Dennis Ross, a former official of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, we will be in deep trouble. Ross, who is expected to be placed in charge of the Iranian portfolio this week, is a vocal supporter of Israels call for increased pressure on Iran. He is distrusted, even despised, in the Muslim world and especially in Tehran. With good reason, he is not viewed as an impartial broker…
Obama has an opportunity to radically alter the course we have charted in the Middle East. The key will be his administrations relationship with Iran. If he gives in to the Israel lobby, if he empowers Ross, if he defines Iran as the enemy before he begins to attempt a negotiated peace, he could ignite a fuse that will see our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan evolve into a regional conflagration. This may be the most important decision of his presidency. Lets pray he does not blow it.
The White House names controversial Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross as its special foreign policy adviser for Persian Gulf affairs.
In the heat of the presidential race, Ross co-chaired a group called United Against Nuclear Iran — an organization working to "stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons".
Ross, as a member of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, also put his signature on a September report saying that "the Europeans make war more likely if they do not strengthen sanctions against Iran and effectively end all commercial relations."
The report by think tanks believed to be an integral part of the so-called Israel Lobby in the US described Iran’s nuclear program as "one of the most critical national security challenges facing the United States".
"Only if Israeli policymakers believe that US and European policymakers will ensure that the Islamic Republic does not gain nuclear weapons will the Israelis be unlikely to strike Iran independently," added the report.