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Ed Webb

A campaign for war with Iran begins - War Room - Salon.com - 0 views

  • The most critical assumption that Israeli officials have presented publicly for the past 18 years -- long before the firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stepped on the scene -- is that the Iranian government is irrational and that Iran constitutes an existential threat to Israel.

    These departing points in the Israeli analysis eliminate all options on Iran with the exception of preventive military action. An adversary who isn’t rational cannot be deterred nor contained, because such an actor -- by definition -- does not make decisions based on a cost-benefit analysis. In addition, if the foe is presented as an existential threat, then preventive action is the sole rational response. These Israeli assumptions short-cut the entire policy process and skip all the steps that normally are taken before a state determines that force is necessary.

    Judging by Israel’s rhetoric, it is easy to conclude that these beliefs are genuinely held as undisputable truths by the Israeli security apparatus.

    But if judged by its actions rather than its rhetoric, a very different image emerges -- one that shows an astute Israeli appreciation for the complexity of Iran’s security calculations and decision-making processes, and a recognition that conventional arguments are insufficient to convince Washington to view Iran from an Israeli lens.

  • Goldberg’s lengthy essay fails to recognize that throughout the 1980s, in spite of the Iranian government’s venomous rhetoric against Israel and its anti-Israeli ideology, the Jewish state sought to retain relations with Iran and actively aided Iran in the Iraq-Iran war. Only three days after Iraqi troops entered Iranian territory, Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan interrupted a private visit to Vienna to hold a press conference to urge the United States -- in the middle of the hostage crisis -- to forget the past and help Iran keep up its defenses.
  • it wasn’t new Iranian capabilities or a sudden discovery of Iran’s anti-Israeli rhetoric that prompted the depiction of Iran as an existential threat. Rather, it was the fear that in the new post-Cold War environment in which Israel had lost much of its strategic significance to Washington, improved relations between the US and Iran could come at the expense of Israeli security interests. Iran would become emboldened and the U.S. would no longer seek to contain its growth. The balance of power would shift from Israel towards Iran and the Jewish state would no longer be able rely on Washington to control Tehran. "The Great Satan will make up with Iran and forget about Israel," Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University in Israel told me during a visit to Jerusalem.
  • ...5 more annotations...
  • Goldberg’s article is perhaps better understood as the starting salvo in a long-term campaign to create the necessary conditions for a future war with Iran
  • Even an Iran that doesn't have nuclear weapons but that can build them would damage Israel's ability to deter militant Palestinian and Lebanese organizations. It would damage the image of Israel as the sole nuclear-armed state in the region and undercut the myth of its invincibility. Gone would be the days when Israel's military supremacy would enable it to dictate the parameters of peace and pursue unilateral peace plans.
  • This past summer in Israel, former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevi told me the same thing and pointed out that speaking of Iran as an existential threat exaggerates Iran’s power and leaves the false -- and dangerous -- impression that Israel is helpless and vulnerable.
  • e under the Clinton years -- most importantly with the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 -- serious preparation for selling an Iran war to the American public under a Republican president (Palin?) in 2013 must be undertaken now, both to establish the narrative for that sell and to use the narrative to remove any obstacles in the White House along the way
  • even raising the specter of war undercuts the opposition in Iran
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