Obama at AIPAC 2012
In two carefully coordinated events, the USA put an end to Israel’s plan to attack Iran. On March 28, 2012, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak publicly praised himself and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: “The decision [to cancel the attack] was the result of contacts between the [Israeli] Defense Ministry and the Pentagon.” At that moment, the poker game between the USA, Israel and Iran came to an abrupt end. There was no winner, but one loser: Israel.
About a week ago, I published Obama Bluffs Netanyahu, just after President Obama’s video appeal to the Iranian people on the occasion of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. He told them that there was “no reason for the United States and Iran to be divided from one another.” This was a sharp deviation from the belligerent Israeli-American discourse in recent months.
Moreover, it was a clear end to Netanyahu’s desire to force the USA into attacking Iran (see Netanyahu Wags the Dog). “Netanyahu needs a war with Iran. The only way Netanyahu could prevent a deal between the USA and Iran is by attacking Iran before an agreement is signed, or by performing a false flag attack on American soil. Obama bluffed Netanyahu,” I summarized the event.
A week later, the American administration hit Israel twice. The first event was private in nature, a war-simulation conducted at the Pentagon. The second was public and brutal: the USA formally disclosed secret information about Israeli plans, which has effectively put an end to any possibility of carrying out an aerial attack on Iran by Israel.
Tuesday 27, Pentagon
This Tuesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak was a special invitee of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon. He was rushed to a secure underground bunker, where stray planes couldn’t cause undesired damage. He was expecting a nice cup of coffee and maybe a piece of chocolate cake; nothing was too shabby for him; he would show the world his nickname “Napo” (for “Half-Napoleon”) was undeserved.
Instead, he found a row of serious looking and carefully shaved American generals handing him a few sheets of paper. They contained the results of an Israel-Iran war simulation conducted by the U.S. Central Command.
The Pentagon concluded that the Iranians could kill 200 Americans with a single missile response to an Israeli attack. This number is conservative considering there are well over ten thousand American soldiers stationed in the immediate vicinity of Iran and that Iran reportedly owns more than one missile.
On the political level, that would mean the subsequent creation of an investigative committee. One clear outcome of such an investigation is that the American victims’ blood would be on Israel’s head. Instead of a green-light on the attack, Israel was offered additional funding for the Iron Dome missile interception system. Minutes later, Barak delivered the words abovementioned, a formal acknowledgment of Israeli warmongering defeat. Barak also thanked the Obama administration “for helping strengthen Israel’s security.” Israel will not attack Iran at least until after November’s Presidential elections.
American F16 | in use by the IDF
Wednesday 28, US Congress
A few days ago, the world got a brutal reminder on the worth of Israel’s word. Israel and Germany signed an agreement for the supply of a sixth Dolphin submarine to Israel. Last November, Germany had conditioned the agreement on Israel’s unfreezing monies of the Palestinian Authority; Israel had complied.
However, while the ink on the new agreement was still drying, Israel announced on March 25 a planned re-freezing of the Palestinian budget. Still shocked, Germany has still not answered the insult. President Obama couldn’t let this treacherous Israeli angle emerge again, especially when his political future is at risk. The day after the war was defused, the USA made sure Israel would be unable to strike Iran.
In two parallel events, the American administration disclosed facts that though not new, were released officially for the first time.
A U.S. Congressional Report on the outcome of an Israeli attack on Iran was prepared by analysts at the Congressional Research Service, and was delivered on Wednesday. The report claims that Israel and the U.S. do not know the exact location of all Iran nuclear facilities.
They are so dispersed that an Israeli attack would not be successful. Moreover, even if destroyed, Iran could rebuild most of its centrifuge workshops within six months after an attack.
Moreover, the report says that it is “unclear what the ultimate effect of a strike would be on the likelihood of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.” This report renders an Israeli attack useless, and mainly just a tool of propagandistic nature. Mocking Israeli Corroboration of Killing practice, the administration made public on the same day secret data on Israel’s preparations.
Foreign Policy—a global magazine on economics and politics —published on the same day that “Azerbaijan granted Israel access to air bases on Iran border.” Mark Perry reports there that a senior U.S. administration official told him “The Israelis have bought an airfield, and the airfield is called Azerbaijan.”
This is not new (see Azerbaijan-Israel: A Shia—Jewish Alliance), but the same sources added factual data. The Azeri military has four abandoned, Soviet-era airfields that could be available to Israel, and four air bases for their own aircraft. One of them (see map above) is close to Tehran. “If Israeli jets want to land in Azerbaijan after an attack, they’d probably be allowed to do so.
Israel is deeply embedded in Azerbaijan, and has been for the last two decades,” the same source added. The article goes on to explain that U.S. officials believe Israel has been granted access to these air bases through a “series of quiet political and military understandings.” Again, this is not new, I described the Israeli-Azeri alliance in detail; however, this now being official, has slammed the door on Israel’s attack.
Thursday 29, Israel
Was this just a “tempest in a teacup,” a little media decoy attempt in the way of a upcoming attack? It doesn’t look like it. The following day, Ron Ben Yishay, a senior security analyst working for Yedihot Aharonot—the largest Hebrew newspaper—published an angry article in which he denounced the “treasure of information flooding [from Washington].”
Beyond the angered tone, there are several instances in which he hints that Washington is not aware of all the options for such an attack, openly claiming that much of what is said in the media is disinformation (and since Hebrew media is controlled to a large extent by the Israeli administration, we have an admission that Israel lies to us).
He goes on to claim that the Congressional Report is inexact, but “that doesn’t matter because the headlines in the Israeli and American media were its target.” Furious, he continues: “the damage is disclosure of secret information and analysis that the Iranians would have needed to invest significant intelligence efforts and monies in order to achieve it.”
“Every Iranian intelligence analyst reading the congressional report and Foreign Policy would find there a treasure of information,” he added. “This is not how a country behaves towards an ally,” he said sputtering in rage.
I want to remind Mr. Ben Yishay of something. Maybe he would even be able to tell me who wrote this. In the aftermath of 9/11, Hebrew media published two striking comments. One was that of comparing the relative population sizes, Israel has suffered more terror than the USA. This is strange coming from a people that claim that “every soul is worth an entire world.”
Then, a senior Israeli analyst said: “This is good for the Jews.” Do you remember this, Mr. Ron Ben Yishay? Let me tell you, that this is not how a country behaves towards an ally.
Following these publications, Iran now has a good idea of what Washington and Tel Aviv know about its nuclear program and understand exactly which are the signs watched by them with respect to this program. Moreover, certain options—like an air strike from Azerbaijan—can now be easily blocked by Iran. Considering this, there is no doubt that Obama slammed Barak.