Thursday, March 21, 2013

Obama unveils credible threat against Iran: Israel

From the Jerusalem Post:


The US president's visit is not meant to hold Israel back.

On the surface, the words seem almost banal: Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.
Upon first hearing, one could be excused for thinking this is merely stating the obvious, that all independent, sovereign states possess that inalienable right to self defense. Isn't that what sovereignty is all about.
This was a line former prime minister Ariel Sharon made sure was included in the famous letter from then-president George W. Bush that preceded the disengagement from Gaza, and it is a line that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu repeated time and time again on Wednesday at the his public appearances with US President Barack Obama.
"Thank you for unequivocally affirming Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself by itself against any threat," Netanyahu said at the airport following Obama's speech upon landing, where he said "today the sons of Abraham and the daughters of Sara are fulfilling the dream of the ages – to be masters of their own fate in their own sovereign state."
He said it again at the start of his press conference with Obama following the first round of their meetings. In fact, Netanyahu mentioned Israel's right to independently defend itself during the press conference no less than three times, with the most significant reference at the beginning.
"Notwithstanding our joint efforts and your great success in mobilizing the international community, diplomacy and sanctions so far have not stopped Iran's nuclear program," he said. "And as you know, my view is that in order to stop Iran's nuclear programs peacefully, diplomacy and sanctions must be augmented by a clear and credible threat of military action. In this regard, Mr. President, I want to thank you once again for always making clear that Israel must be able to defend itself by itself against any threat."
For months, in fact even years going back to at least January 2011, Netanyahu has said that sanctions on Iran will only work if coupled with a "credible military option."  The reasoning was that only if Iran had a dagger over its head would it use the sanctions and political isolation to back down. In recent weeks he stepped up the drumbeat of that mantra, saying this line almost every time he made public comments on Iran, although never spelling out exactly what he considered to be that credible military threat.
Over the first two days of Obama’s visit that threat emerged: it is Israel itself.
Speculation has been rife for years that the US is holding Israel back when it comes to Iran. Indeed, prior to Obama's trip there was speculation that one of the main purposes of his journey was to hold a bright red stop light up to Netanyahu.
No one -- including the Iranians -- knows what Obama and Netanyahu said to each other privately on Wednesday. Publicly, however, restraining Israel has not been Obama’s message. Indeed, the opposite is true -- and these are the words the Iranians are hearing as well.
"I think that what Bibi alluded to, which is absolutely correct, is each country has to make its own decisions when it comes to the awesome decision to engage in any kind of military action, and Israel is differently situated than the United States," Obama said at Wednesday’s press conference. "And I would not expect that the prime minister would make a decision about his country's security and defer that to any other country, any more than the United States would defer our decisions about what was important for our national security."
The most solemn responsibility of a leader, he said, is the security of his people."That’s job number one. My job as president of the United States, first and foremost, is to keep the American people safe. Bibi, as prime minister, your first task is to keep the people of Israel safe. And Israel’s security needs are truly unique, as I’ve seen myself.”
During the last four years, Netanyahu's efforts regarding Iran were two fold: raising the issue to the top of the international agenda, and creating a credible Israeli military option. Actually, these two efforts were interconnected, because the world put the issue on the agenda, and significantly ratcheted up sanctions on Iran precisely because it felt that Israel posed a serious military threat.
And now Obama comes to town and instead of sheathing that threat, instead of openly warning Israel not to take action, he makes it clear publicly that he recognizes Israel's right to defend itself by itself against all possible threats. Obama hopes it will not come to that on Iran, he hopes the Iranians will back down. But if they don’t, the credible military threat Netanyahu wants to see waved along with the economic, political and diplomatic pressure already being applied against Iran is no less than Israel itself.
Iran, and the international community, have been warned.

It is a bit strange that the most powerful nation on Earth with a population of 330 million is delegating the leadership of the free word to a country of 7.7 million. But this is definitely progress.  If the reports about the newly revealed Iranian site, 14 miles long and miles 7 .5 wide are true, events seems be coming to a head.
The mutually assured destruction  doctrine (MAD)  does not work with Iran and  according to some apocalyptic hadiths  the Twelvers would start a nuclear war in order to kill 2/3 of humanity and trigger the return of the Mahdi who is in “occultation”.
Iran is led by a group of irrational men who believe they can hurry the arrival of the Mahdi – the 12th Imam who, according to Shi’ite Islamic tradition, went missing in 874 CE and will return under conditions of global chaos. The Iranian leadership appears willing to sacrifice the population of its own country to achieve this goal.
In his book The Rise of Nuclear Iran, former Israeli ambassador to the UN Dore Gold writes, “Mahdi Khaliji, an Iranian Shi’ite scholar... has noted that there are apocalyptic hadiths [received Shi’ite traditions] that the Mahdi will not return unless one-third of the world population is killed and another third die. But Ahmadinejad and his followers believe man can actively create the conditions for the Mahdi’s arrival in the here and now...”
This means that the US and everyone else on this planet is in the same boat and if the US expects Israel to be the one to act first then it is delegating its defense to Israel.