Aug 21, 2012
Israel’s Channel 10 suggests, in no uncertain terms, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “determined to attack Iran before the US elections” and that the “time for action is getting closer.” “Israel is now “closer than ever to a strike designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive”.
This timely report suggests that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak firmly believe that President Obama “would have no choice but to give backing for an Israeli attack” were it to be waged before the November presidential elections:
The TV station’s military reporter Alon Ben-David, who earlier this year was given extensive access to the Israel Air Force as it trained for a possible attack, reported that, since upgraded sanctions against Iran have failed to force a suspension of the Iranian nuclear program in the past two months, “from the prime minister’s point of view, the time for action is getting ever closer.”
Asked by the news anchor in the Hebrew-language TV report how close Israel now was to “a decision and perhaps an attack,” Ben-David said: “It appears that we are closer than ever.”
He said it seemed that Netanyahu was not waiting for a much-discussed possible meeting with US President Barack Obama, after the UN General Assembly gathering in New York late next month — indeed, “it’s not clear that there’ll be a meeting.” In any case, said Ben-David,“I doubt Obama could say anything that would convince Netanyahu to delay a possible attack.”
There is considerable opposition to an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the report noted — with President Shimon Peres, the army’s chief of the General Staff and top generals, the intelligence community, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz, “and of course the Americans” all lined up against Israeli action at this stage.
But, noted Ben-David, it is the Israeli government that would have to take the decision, and there Netanyahu is “almost guaranteed” a majority. Other Hebrew media reports on Tuesday also said Netanyahu had despatched a senior official, National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror, to update the elderly spiritual leader of the Shas ultra-Orthodox coalition party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, on the status of the Iranian nuclear program, in order to try to win over Shas government ministers’ support for an attack. (Times of Israel, emphasis added)
In an earlier report, Richard Silverstein provides details of a leaked military document (translated from the Hebrew) which outlines the nature of Netanyahu’s proposed “shock and awe attack” on Iran. This report largely confirms Netanyahu’s political intent, as conveyed in Israel’s Channel 10 report. Richard Silverstein provides an excerpt of the leaked document:
The Israeli attack will open with a coordinated strike, including an unprecedented cyber-attack which will totally paralyze the Iranian regime and its ability to know what is happening within its borders. The internet, telephones, radio and television, communications satellites, and fiber optic cables leading to and from critical installations—including underground missile bases at Khorramabad and Isfahan—will be taken out of action. The electrical grid throughout Iran will be paralyzed and transformer stations will absorb severe damage from carbon fiber munitions which are finer than a human hair, causing electrical short circuits whose repair requires their complete removal. This would be a Sisyphean task in light of cluster munitions which would be dropped, some time-delayed and some remote-activated through the use of a satellite signal.
A barrage of tens of ballistic missiles would be launched from Israel toward Iran. 300km ballistic missiles would be launched from Israeli submarines in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf. The missiles would not be armed with unconventional warheads [WMD], but rather with high-explosive ordnance equipped with reinforced tips designed specially to penetrate hardened targets.
The missiles will strike their targets—some exploding above ground like those striking the nuclear reactor at Arak–which is intended to produce plutonium and tritium—and the nearby heavy water production facility; the nuclear fuel production facilities at Isfahan and facilities for enriching uranium-hexaflouride. Others would explode under-ground, as at the Fordo facility.
A barrage of hundreds of cruise missiles will pound command and control systems, research and development facilities, and the residences of senior personnel in the nuclear and missile development apparatus. Intelligence gathered over years will be utilized to completely decapitate Iran’s professional and command ranks in these fields.
After the first wave of attacks, which will be timed to the second, the “Blue and White” radar satellite, whose systems enable us to perform an evaluation of the level of damage done to the various targets, will pass over Iran. Only after rapidly decrypting the satellite’s data, will the information be transferred directly to war planes making their way covertly toward Iran. These IAF planes will be armed with electronic warfare gear previously unknown to the wider public, not even revealed to our U.S. ally. This equipment will render Israeli aircraft invisible. Those Israeli war planes which participate in the attack will damage a short-list of targets which require further assault.
Among the targets approved for attack—Shihab 3 and Sejil ballistic missile silos, storage tanks for chemical components of rocket fuel, industrial facilities for producing missile control systems, centrifuge production plants and more.
Richard Silverstein underscores the fact that there is considerable opposition to the Netanyahu-Barak plan to bomb Iran.
Will this Israeli opposition prevail were a decision to be taken by Netanyahu and his Defense Minister to carry out an attack plan?
Who is backing Netanyahu? There are powerful economic interests in the US who are in favor of an attack on Iran. Is this an Israeli war project or is Israel’s prime minister a US political proxy, acting on behalf of the Pentagon.
What happens if Netanyahu gives the order to attack? Will this order be carried out by Israel’s high command despite extensive opposition within the Armed Forces?
The issue is not whether Washington will grant a green light to Israel before the US elections as conveyed by the the Israeli media.
The fundamental question is twofold.
1. Who at the political level decides on launching this war? Washington or Tel Aviv?
2. Who ultimately decides– in terms of military command and control– in carrying out a large scale theater war in the Middle East: Washington or Tel Aviv?
Israel is a de facto US military outpost in the Middle East. US and Israeli command structures are integrated, with close consultations between the Pentagon and Israel’s Ministry of Defense. Reported last January, a large number of US troops are to be stationed in Israel. Joint war games between the US and Israel are envisaged.
US-Israel-NATO war plans directed against Iran have been ongoing since 2003 including the deployment and stockpiling of advanced weapons systems.
The Israeli media reports are misleading. Israel cannot under any circumstances wage a war on Iran without the military backing of the US and NATO.
Advanced weapons systems have been deployed. US and allied Special Forces as well as intelligence operatives are already on the ground inside Iran. US military drones are involved in spying and reconnaissance activities.
Bunker buster B61 tactical nuclear weapons are slated to be used against Iran in retaliation for its alleged nuclear weapons program.
Military actions against Iran are coordinated with those pertaining to Syria.
What we are dealing with is a global military agenda, centralized and coordinated by US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) involving complex logistics, liaison with various military and intelligence entities. In 2005, USSTRATCOM was identified as “the lead Combatant Command for integration and synchronization of DoD-wide efforts in combating weapons of mass destruction.” This Combatant Command integration also included coordination with America’s allies including NATO, Israel and a number of frontline Arab states, which are members of NATO’s Mediterranean dialogue.
In this broader context of imperial warfare coordinated out of USSTRATCOM in liaison with US Central Command (USCENTCOM), Netanyahu’s attack plan against Iran, conveys the illusion that Tel Aviv rather than Washington calls the shots on waging a war on Iran.
The Israeli media reports mentioned above convey the impression that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are in a position to act independently of Washington as well as force Obama into supporting Israel’s attack on Iran.
The notion that Israel could act alone and against the interests of the US is part of a subtle disinformation campaign. There is a longstanding foreign policy practice for Washington to encourage its close allies to take the first step in the direction of war, with the Pentagon pulling the military strings in the background.
Let us be under no illusion, the war plans directed against Iran, which have been on the Pentagon’s drawing board since 2003, are established at the highest levels in Washington in consultation and coordination with Tel Aviv and NATO headquarters in Brussels.
While Israel participates in the conduct of war, it does not play an overriding central role in setting the military agenda.
This article was posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 7:39 am