Etiket arşivi: israel

Can the War Israel Wants With Iran Be Averted?


by Danny Schechter

For more than a year now, the drums of war emanating from Israel have become louder and louder with weekly news leaks, and threats including the disclosure of alleged attack plans. The whole exercise seems designed to create a sense of alarm and inevitability.

These warnings have been amplified by statements by American politicians that seem to be occurring with greater frequency.

The escalation of the war on and in Syria, with some spread into Lebanon, only makes the scenarios for regional conflict seem more scary and realistic.

For the most part, in the media at least, Iran has appeared isolated and even crippled by US sanctions while being targeted by noisey statements from Western countries orchestrated by Israel’s backers.

Nations faced with agression often seek alliances, support and solidarity, and Iran is no exception. The meeting of the non-aligned nations in Tehran, and the decision by UN Secretary General Ban Moon to attend, is raising hackles among western warriors and propagandists.

He is defying the wishes of those nations who insist that his presence will give comfort to the Islamic Republic Israel and the US are furious with his decision to “legitimate” Iran, even though you can expect him to speak critically of the government there to appear “balanced.”

Foreign Policy notes, “U.S. and Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, objected to Ban’s attendance on the grounds that it frustrates their efforts to isolate Tehran. "Your visit will grant legitimacy to a regime that is the greatest threat to world peace and security," Netanyahu was quoted as saying.”

The UN is an institution was designed to using its good offices to stop war. Its failure to do so effectively at the time of the US invasion of Iraq on the pretext of curbing non-existent WMDs tarnished its own credibility. It must try to avert a conflict likely to be disastrous, while at the same time, using its diplomatic influence to press Iran to stop any threatening behavior on its part.

Instead of imagining how war with Iran can be contained or avoided, we have websites and TV networks inventing excited scenarios to sell war, not avert it. Armchair generals at think tanks and policy wonks can’t see to wait for the bombs to fly.

Here’s one example: Rense.com speculating on what a war would look like:

“The war began as planned. The Israeli pilots took off well before dawn and streaked across Lebanon and northern Iraq, high above Kirkuk. Flying US-made F-15 and F-16s, the Israelis separated over the mountains of western Iran, the pilots gesturing a last minute show of confidence in their mission, maintaining radio silence.

Just before the sun rose over Tehran, moments before the Muslim call to prayer, the missiles struck their targets. While US Air Force AWACS planes circled overhead–listening, watching, recording–heavy US bombers followed minutes later. Bunker-busters and mini-nukes fell on dozens of targets while Iranian anti-aircraft missiles sped skyward.

The ironically named Bushehr nuclear power plant crumbled to dust. Russian technicians and foreign nationals scurried for safety. Most did not make it.”

This is the latest form of dramatized saber rattling that sounds like some alarmist reality TV show, videogame or a Fox News wet dream. These scenarios always make it seem as if a war will be swift and surgical, with no retaliation, and no consequences.

It brings you back to the Neocon fantasies about the “cakewalk” they expected in Iraq, the war that never went as planned, and took a decade to lose before the US was, in effect, tossed out. (Today there are reports that Iraq is actually defying the financial and oil sanctions imposed on its neighbor.)

This doesn’t stop those who seem to be looking forward to the fight they believe is coming. Here’s another site: Polcymic.com

“In recent weeks, all indications have pointed to an increasingly imminent Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Whether it be the account of the reporter who was granted access to observe the Israeli Air Force prepare for a strike and subsequently recounted his belief that Israel is now “closer than ever” to mounting an attack, or the former prime minister warning, “If I were Iranian, I would be very fearful of the next 12 weeks,” Israel has made no attempt to hide the contents of its short-term agenda.”

At least this site is not salivating, also noting: “The fatal flaw of an Israeli assault is that some of the facilities lie underground and out of reach. Worse, many, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, fear the “unintended consequences” an Israeli strike could sow. The American Security Project, among others, points out that an attack — which would only amount to a flesh wound — would unite Iranians around hardliners and would not only guarantee further nuclear production, but also legitimize it even in the opinion of Iranians previously opposed to the nuclear program.”

Former CIA Station Chief Robert Greniew has another take. He believes that Iran and the US are calling Israel’s bluff. He says so on AlJazeera:

“Israeli President Shimon Peres, reflecting the concerns of many, said a few days ago that "It is clear to us now that we cannot do this alone. It is clear to us we need to work together with America." That view, we are told, is widely shared within the Israeli defense and intelligence establishments. The military people charged with conducting a preemptive strike on Iran are the most likely to resist starting something that they know they cannot finish on their own. They are the ones who realize, despite the uninformed and wishful thinking of some civilians, that long-range air attacks on Iran are unlikely to have more than a marginal impact on its nuclear program unless they are sustained. Israel cannot sustain these attacks. Only the US can. 



“But the Americans have made clear that they want to wait. It is at least part of Netanyahu’s calculation that credible threats of an Israeli strike during the US presidential campaign season and the Bema administration’s desperate desire to avoid it will motivate the US to trade Israeli assurances of near-term forbearance for a more credible and irrevocable US commitment to employ military force if and when evidences of the failure of economic sanctions and the imminence of a hardened Iranian nuclear weapons capability converge. 


…That is more than understandable, because the only really effective military action to be taken would have to be taken by the US, and the main point of an Israeli attack would be to precipitate it. Though it may not have been their conscious intent, the Americans have in effect called Netanyahu’s bluff. If he doesn’t realize it, he soon will.”

Let’s not forget that American airpower, while deadly, is not always effective. Remember “shock and awe” over Baghdad or the bombings of Hanoi? They were devastating, but did not achieve their militarily goals. All of this is war-gaming has to be predicated on the assumption that rationality will prevail on all sides. But as the American political campaign heats up, inflated rhetoric can be expected. Some currently unanticipated high-profile incident or covert provocation could change the equation creating some 911-type pretext for conflict. We live in a dangerous world.

News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at Newsdissector.net. His latest books are Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street and Blogothon. He hosts a show on ProgressiveRadioNetwork.net. Comments to dissector

The Tehran NAM Summit Undermines US-Israeli War Plans Directed against Iran


by Kourosh Ziabari

The 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement kicked off in the Iranian capital of Tehran on August 25 and the heads of state and government of the 120-member organization are slated to meet on August 30 and 31 to discuss the most important international developments ranging from the violence and crisis in Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Iran’s nuclear program. During the summit, the rotating presidency of NAM will be conferred to Iran by Egypt which had been assuming the movement’s presidency since 2009.

Consisted of nearly two third of the United Nations body, Non-Aligned Movement is the second largest international organization and its members are said to be politically independent of the world’s great powers, namely the United States and its European allies. As said by the Cuban revolutionary President Fidel Castro, the ultimate objective of the movement is to foster "the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries" in their "struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics."

The United States and Israel have been intensively trying to dissuade the world leaders and politicians from attending the summit through running an all-out media campaign aimed at derailing and undermining the largest diplomatic gathering in Iran’s contemporary history; however, as said by Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, more than 100 countries will be sending delegations to the summit of which 51 countries will take part in the level of president, Prime Minister and vice president.

This year’s summit is important for Iran from different viewpoints. First of all, Iran can form regional and international alliances within the framework of the NAM to circumvent the biting economic sanctions which the United States and European Union have imposed on it over its nuclear program. Moreover, the summit will ostensibly foil the plots to isolate Iran and make it a secluded, unpopular country. And most importantly, by the virtue of the NAM summit, leaders will be visiting Iran who mostly shunned Iran over the past years as a result of the rigorous anti-Iranian propaganda of the mainstream, corporate media.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, Cuban President Raul Castro, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said al Said, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Abdullah Gul are among the high-ranking guests of the 16th NAM summit in Tehran.

In an excruciating defiance of the calls by Israel and the United States, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will also attend the summit.

Since several weeks ago, the U.S. mainstream media have been spreading falsehood and misinformation about Iran, decrying the fact that Iran has been selected to chair such an enormous international organization. The American journalists and political commentators didn’t spare any effort to portray Iran an isolated and hated country, even resorting to offensive and insulting adjectives in describing Iran and its people.

"Do any of the Non-Aligned Movement member states recognize the infuriating irony that an organization seeking to solve the world’s problems and enhance its own stature in the international arena is choosing to hold its summit in one of the world’s most dangerous and problematic nations, not to mention the most blatantly anti-Semitic one, while simultaneously honoring the meeting’s hosts who regularly commit egregious human-rights abuses?" wrote Laura Kam, the Executive Director of Global Affairs at The Israel Project, a supposedly "non-profit educational organization headquartered in Washington."

Ignoring the glorious civilization, rich culture and ancient past of Iran, the executive director of this pro-Israeli lobby has recklessly called Iran "one of the world’s most dangerous and problematic nations." However, such descriptions and attributions are not unprecedented. The pro-war, neo-conservative commentators and journalists have frequently talked of Iran in such a pejorative and derogatory way. In an October 12, 2011 article published on Foreign Policy titled "A History of Violence," Matthew Levitt, an American expert on "Islamist terrorism" posed the question that "Is there anyone who still doubts that Iran is a terrorist state?" and wrote, "Iran’s willingness to use brutal means to achieve its foreign-policy goals is nothing new. Since the creation of the Islamic Republic, U.S. intelligence agencies have repeatedly identified terrorism as one of the regime’s signature calling cards."

Writing for The Daily Mail, British journalist Max Hastings pointed out on March 7, 2012 that "bombing Iran may appear justified," adding that "[f]ew of us doubt that Iran is a rogue state led by dangerous fanatics. The world would be a safer place if Iran’s nuclear facilities disappeared beneath a heap of rubble."

Jonathan S. Tobin, the senior online editor of the Commentary Magazine wrote in a July 20, 2012 article after the deadly attack on the Israeli tourists in Bulgaria that Iran should be held responsible, given its long history of "promoting terrorism": "Iran is a terrorist state, infused with Jew-hatred and determined to achieve its nuclear goal. Until the administration starts talking — and acting — as if it understands this, its Iran policy will remain a muddle of half-hearted and ineffective measures."

Such statements are frequently heard from the Western political commentators and officials. They tend to consider Iran a threat to world peace and don’t refrain from calling for a military strike against Iran to eliminate this threat.

The NAM summit in Tehran, however, will demonstrate that the term "international community" cannot be exclusively used to refer to the United States and its allies. There are other countries in the world that are entitled to the right of self-determination and maybe are not willing to be entrapped in the neo-conservative war propaganda against Iran.

The gathering of some 51 heads of state and delegations from international organizations and observing members of the Non-Aligned Movement is surely disappointing for those who want to find Iran isolated, packed down, whether it’s the United States, Israel or the European powers.

Israeli lies unchecked, Palestinian perspectives censored on BBC


by Amena Saleem

Israeli oppression of Palestinians not suitable for broadcast by BBC. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler)

One of the most obvious examples of bias by the BBC is the taxpayer-funded broadcaster’s habit of inviting Israeli politicians or the Israeli government spokesperson, Mark Regev, onto its programs to speak without challenge. Meanwhile, Palestinians and those who would convey a Palestinian perspective are not given the same opportunity.

Film director Ken Loach recently learned that for the BBC, Palestine remains a taboo.

On 23 July, Loach was at the Royal Albert Hall in London to listen to a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, performed by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. The orchestra consists of Israeli, Palestinian and other Arab musicians, and is conducted by Daniel Barenboim, who formed the orchestra in 1999 with the late Palestinian academic and activist Edward Said.

So when Loach was asked during the intermission for an interview by BBC Proms, which was recording the concert for later broadcast, he considered it reasonable to air his thoughts on the nature of the orchestra as well as the music.

Loach said that he spoke to the BBC journalist for five minutes, during which time he said: “Seeing Israelis and Arabs, including Palestinians, sitting side by side on the stage makes us confront the issue of the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people, and I shall be thinking of them when I hear the music tonight.”

These were typically compassionate words from a director whose films, including Land and Freedom about the revolutionaries who fought in the Spanish Civil War, often reflect his keen sense of justice.

However, for the BBC, which in the last six months has alternately denied the existence of Palestine and then the fact of Israel’s occupation, the mere mention of the fact of the Palestinian people’s oppression was too controversial to broadcast.

BBC admits to censorship

Loach received a phone call from the program producers informing him that his interview would be cut “due to the music over-running.” He sent an email to the BBC, which has been seen by this writer, stating:

“Thank you for letting me know about the broadcast and the need to shorten the interview. Of course I understand about length. But I would ask you to include my brief remarks about the orchestra and the Palestinians. As an opponent of oppression and tyranny I think Ludwig [van Beethoven] would have approved. It was one of the reasons I agreed to take part. I’m happy if you need to reduce my thoughts on the music itself.”

His email was ignored and the interview was broadcast three days later on BBC Proms with his observation about the oppression of the Palestinian people removed. The rest of the interview remained intact.

Loach said: “I called the producer, Oliver MacFarlane, who admitted they had deliberately cut the line about Palestine. He said if they’d included it they would have had to have a balancing interview. I wasn’t pleased and I responded robustly.”

When asked to respond to this, a BBC spokesperson stated: “As part of the BBC’s comprehensive music television coverage of The Proms, esteemed filmmaker Ken Loach was invited to comment on his personal passion for Beethoven, given the time slot available and the fact that this was a music television programme, the most editorially relevant sections of Mr. Loach’s interview were used in the final edit.”

Israeli spokespersons unchallenged

But if it was the case that the BBC did feel the need to “balance” Loach’s simple words about the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians, it has absolutely no qualms about airing, totally unopposed, the wild, often lurid, mostly fact-free statements made by Israeli ministers and spokespeople.

Take, for example, James Naughtie’s interview with Danny Ayalon on Radio 4’s Today program on 16 January 2012. The interview was conducted the day after the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called on Israel to end its occupation of Arab and Palestinian territories and to end its violence against civilians.

This strong UN criticism of Israel was completely ignored by Naughtie, who focused on Iran with the unquestioned premise of the interview being that Iran is, without a doubt, developing nuclear weapons and consequently poses a grave threat to Israel.

Ayalon had been on air for less than a second when he said: “What we see here is a drive, a relentless push by Iran to illegally acquire and develop nuclear weapons and for them it’s not just a means, it’s a way to reach hegemony to continue with their very dangerous and radical approach.”

He went on to say: “Today Iran is the international hub of terror in the world.”

This was clearly Israeli propaganda; Ayalon used the BBC to loudly bang the drums of war against Iran. Yet Naughtie neither challenged his unfounded opinions, which were presented as facts, nor brought in someone to present an alternative viewpoint.

Ayalon’s wild accusations, so much more controversial than Loach’s mild remarks, were certainly not cut for lack of a “balancing interview.” Nor was Ayalon questioned about Israel’s widely suspected nuclear arsenal or about Israel’s staunch refusal to allow international weapons inspections.

BBC’s double standards

Arthur Neslen was a BBC journalist for four years, but this didn’t stop him falling foul of the BBC’s double standards on this issue.

In March this year, he wrote an article for the Guardian newspaper describing how he returned to Gaza to meet the man who had tried to kill him more than two years earlier (“Why I met the man who tried to kill me,” 2 March 2012).

This led to a phone call requesting an interview from the producers of Outlook, a BBC World Service program which is broadcast Monday through Thursday.

Neslen agreed, but even before he visited BBC studios, the problems began. “The BBC kept delaying the interview,” he said in an interview. “Then they called two months later and said they were ready, so I went to do the interview which lasted 45 minutes.”

In his interview, Neslen described how a stranger called “Khalid” (not his real name) had attacked him randomly in a Gaza street in May 2009, pulling a knife on him as he came out of the offices of the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA). In 2011, Neslen had returned to Gaza to meet the man who had tried to kill him and, in his BBC Outlook interview, he told Khalid’s story.

During Israel’s massacre in Gaza in 2008-2009, Khalid, a schizophrenic, had gone to the front line to ask the Israelis to stop killing civilians. He was captured at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers, handcuffed and blindfolded, taken to the doorway of a house the Israeli army had commandeered, and repeatedly beaten by soldiers on their way in or out.

He was then used as a human shield by Israeli snipers, who placed him in front of an open window and shot from behind him. Khalid was later taken to a detention center in Israel and put through the court system, regularly beaten, before being released back into Gaza two months later.

Before telling his story in the Guardian, Neslen spent a month trying to get an explanation from several Israeli authorities, finally obtaining a statement from the Israeli Ministry of Justice which confirmed the dates of Khalid’s arrest, court appearances and release.

BBC drops story

However, all this evidence proved insufficient for the BBC.

“The BBC called me after I’d left the interview, asking me to come back straight away. They wanted to know what the Israeli response was to Khalid’s story and I told them about the statement,” Neslen explained. “I was told the interview would go out the following week.”

However, ten minutes before the interview was due to be aired, he received a series of “desperate” emails and calls from a BBC journalist asking to see all his correspondence with the Israeli authorities on the matter, which he emailed over immediately.

“They told me I hadn’t provided them with proof that I had put the allegation to the Israeli army that they had used Khalid as a human shield,” said Neslen. “Then they dropped the story.”

“Why didn’t they put the allegations to the IDF [Israeli army] themselves?” he asked. “I was a BBC journalist for four years and they didn’t believe my story. But if Mark Regev goes on BBC News to say a hunger striker is a member of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, the BBC never tries to go to the family to get confirmation. It only seems to go in one direction.”

The UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign wrote to the BBC in May to ask why Regev had been allowed to make unchallenged and false comments on BBC1’s News at 10 and Radio 4’s six-o-clock news bulletin on 11 May. Regev claimed the Palestinian hunger strikers, who numbered more than 1,000, were motivated by an “Islamist cause” and wanted to “commit suicide.”

Last week, the group received this response from the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit:

“You have said that the report lacked the necessary due impartiality because it contained an interview with the Israeli government spokesman, Mark Regev, but did not include a similar interview with someone putting forward the view of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. The BBC’s Editorial Guidelines on Impartiality make it clear that due impartiality does not necessarily require all views and opinions to be covered in equal proportions on all occasions.”

As Neslen says, it only seems to go one way with the BBC. Take this line from the Editorial Guidelines on Impartiality, which the BBC appeared to disregard when interviewing Loach: “… it is not usually required for an appearance by a politician, or other contributor with partial views, to be balanced on each occasion by those taking a contrary view.”

The BBC seems to interpret this as meaning that someone who openly lies about the political motivations of Palestinian hunger strikers can be heard unchallenged on its airwaves, while someone who dares to mention the oppression of the Palestinians must be silenced.

Bowing to Israeli pressure

Neslen has his own ideas, based on his time at the BBC, for the double standards.

“They’re running scared of the Israeli authorities,” he said. He gives an example, detailed in his book, In Your Eyes a Sandstorm: Ways of Being Palestinian, of the Israeli embassy calling the BBC radio newsroom where he then worked. The Israel government asked a news editor not to run the Palestinian side of a particular news story, implying that doing so could involve an accusation of “terror collusion.” The Palestinian statement, sent by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to the BBC, was dropped.

On another occasion, at the beginning of “Operation Defensive Shield,” Israel’s massive re-invasion of the West Bank during the second intifada, the Israeli government threatened to close down the BBC’s offices in West Jerusalem if it did not pull its correspondent Barbara Plett out of the West Bank. The next day she was withdrawn.

“These sorts of things happen every day,” Nelson said, “and some news editors will stand up for core journalistic values. But in general, Palestinian calls of complaints about news bulletins tended to be laughed off. I remember one acting editor on a BBC Radio 5 live bulletin slamming down the phone on a Palestinian caller and saying ‘If I get one more call from a moaning Arab…’”

He added: “If the Israeli embassy phones in, there’s a vast disparity of power [compared] to if a Palestinian activist calls in. They take Israeli calls very seriously, and critical stories about Israel get shot down through official pressure and the fear of official pressure. These are very powerful lobbyists — people know their careers can be broken.”

The result of all this is obvious bias shown against the Palestinians in the BBC’s broadcasts, whether it is by the complete omission of their story, the editing of comments which dare to mention their oppression, or the constant, relentless foisting of the Israeli narrative onto the audience.

Is this really journalism? Those who pay their licence fee so that the BBC can broadcast all across the world — and those whose lives are affected by those broadcasts — deserve much better.

Amena Saleem is active with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK and keeps a close eye on the media’s coverage of Palestine as part of her brief. She has twice driven on convoys to Gaza for PSC. Follow the PSC on Twitter: @PSCupdates.

Israeli Threats to Wage War on Iran and the U.S. Elections


Selected Articles

by Julie Lévesque

For more than ten years, Western public opinion has been led to believe, without any hard evidence, that Iran constitutes a threat to global security.

In the context of the U.S.-led "Global War on Terror", this propaganda has been intensified, with various attempts to link Iran to 9/11, as well as to other terrorist attacks targeting Israelis in various countries and for which “Iran-backed Hezbollah” was held responsible, again without hard evidence.

In addition, the idea hammered by the Western mainstream media that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, is also based on assumptions rather than hard facts. In turn, Israel’s nuclear arsenal is never mentioned.

As Ismail Salami notes:

According to a report by Reuters, the US, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: 1. Tehran does not have a bomb; 2. It has not decided to build one, and 3. It is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead. (Dr. Ismail Salami, Washington Eyes Iran: "Proxy War" through Israel)

The “Iranian threat” played a major role in the 2008 elections: we may recall John McCain’s infamous travesty of a Beach Boys classic “Bomb Bomb Iran”? The 2012 U.S. elections will again set the stage for anti-Iran propaganda with Israel’s threats of a “preemptive attack” on the Islamic Republic.

But who is using who? Is Israel using the U.S. to drag its military into another war or is Netanyahu a “U.S. Political proxy?”

Michel Chossudovsky explains:

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 are the economic powers elites which overshadow the political process in both the US and Israel?

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 also envisaged. (Michel Chossudovsky, Israel’s War Plans to Attack Iran "Before the US Elections")

According to a recent poll, a majority of Jewish Israelis “believe that it would be a mistake for Israel to attack Iran without US support. 61% oppose a unilateral attack, while only 27% support it.” (Michael Carmichael, Poll: Majority of Jewish Israelis oppose attack on Iran)

For Kourosh Ziabari, the war on Iran is already underway:

Economic sanctions, psychological warfare, media propaganda, threats and assassinations; what other sort of evidence one may need to believe that the United States, Israel and their European allies have already started their much liked war against Iran and that this unjustifiable war is taking its toll on the innocent, ordinary Iranian citizens? (Kourosh Ziabari, The War on Iran is Already Underway?)

Here is a list of selected articles on this hot topic.

Washington Eyes Iran: “Proxy War” through Israel


by Dr. Ismail Salami

The Israeli narrative of launching an attack on Iran’s nuclear plants has been so overpoweringly hyped up and taken for granted by Israeli media that one achieves certitude that such an attack will happen and that Iran will sit idly in the manner of a befuddled, thunderstruck and petrified nation.

Strangely, western and Israeli media aggrandize the military prowess of Israel to the skies and underestimate that of Iran. Playing on a paradoxical plane, the US-led psyops against Iran are geared towards inflating the Iranian nuclear threat and manufacturing a nuclear illusion over Iran while the same authors of anti-Iran plots relegate the country’s military might to such a pitiful minimum that Iran will eventually have no choice but to buckle under the military might of the Zionist regime.

The fact is that Israel has a long history of showing teeth to and spewing out threats against Iran and that it has never mustered up enough courage to launch such an attack as it knows the consequences of such grave foolhardiness. Despite the claims of some western analysts such as Richard Silverstein who have even elaborated on an Iranian war plan by Israel, a glance at the history of threats against and lies about Iran sheds light on the banality of these claims and reveals who really steers this malicious bark of threats against the Islamic Republic.

With the advent of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, the US government realized that they had lost a long-time ally in the Middle East, namely the US-installed puppet Shah and that their regional sway would dwindle significantly. On the strength of this new realization, Washington envisioned other ways to maintain its regional influence on the one hand, and keep a vigil eye on the new developments and their effects on the region on the other.

Iran was now emerging as a new power which was predicted to exercise a great amount of political influence in the region and inject new blood in the veins of the Middle East. In order to stymie the materialization of such an idea, then US President Jimmy Carter afforded Israel in 1979 the ability to see spy satellite photos, thereby implicitly giving the regime green light to use them for future pre-emptive strikes against the Middle East and Russia. Now emboldened by this gesture of amicability, Israel, which has refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for years despite its colossal nuclear arsenal, felt free to explode its nuclear bomb for the first time in South Indian Ocean. No wonder, the US officials have never accepted to agree that it was a nuclear explosion.

Since then, Israel has directed its baneful sword of vengeance against the Islamic Republic under the encouragement of Washington and availed itself of any chance to deal a blow to Iran and its friends to boot. In order to further corner Iran, Washington decided to engage the Iranian nation in a lethal war for which they thought Iranians were not ready in view of the young Iranian revolution. To this end, they encouraged and funded despotic Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein to mount an invasion of the country and catch it unawares.

In 2002, New York Times published a horrific report indicating that a covert program during the Reagan administration “provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war.”

Paradoxically, the covert program was conducted when President Reagan’s top aides, including Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci and Gen. Colin L. Powell, then the national security adviser, were voicing their open condemnation of Iraq for using chemical weapons, especially after Iraq attacked Kurds in Halabja in March 1988.

Is there no limit to US hypocrisy?

Iraq was a Muslim country and Iran for its part had certain reservations in bombing Iraqi cities lest they would lead to human losses although the latter bombed, re-bombed and re-bombed the Iranian cities and inflicted damage after damage.

To sum up, Washington encouraged and financed the Iraqi dictator and fought its war of cowardice through the Iraqi regime.

The war came to an end in 1988 with inconceivable human losses on both sides. Iran embarked on a costly reconstruction of its infrastructures severely damaged by Iraqi missiles and bombs thanks to the financial support of the US government.

But there was no end to Washington’s malicious policy of devastation.

Now that Washington was bitterly frustrated in its subversive gambit against Iran, it sought another adversary to replace Iraqi Saddam. Israel was thought to be a perfect substitute and a formidable foe for this mission as it was a Jewish population repeatedly condemned by Iranian leaders as an occupying regime. For its part, the Zionist regime harbored some covert and overt aversion for the Islamic Iran.

Under the pretext that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapons program and that it might jeopardize or even exterminate the Zionist regime, Washington handed Israel some feeble excuse to initiate a series of threats against the Islamic Republic. All this chicanery has been done with the sole purpose of destroying the Iranian nation.

According to a report by Reuters, the US, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: 1. Tehran does not have a bomb; 2. It has not decided to build one, and 3. It is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.

To that effect, a highly classified 2011 US intelligence assessment also largely affirms that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapons program, a view, originally made in 2007. Known as national intelligence estimates (NIE), the reports conclude that “Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.”

Yet, despite the testimony of their own intelligence agencies, Washington keeps a mulishly adamant stance on Iran, disseminates falsity on its nuclear energy program and goads Israel into attacking Iran. Israel is, however, paralyzed by fear to start a war of no return against Iran and instead proceeds with its ‘bomb’ rhetoric.

In the final analysis, the US is intent on fighting a proxy war against Iran through Israel as it did in the past through Iraq. In fact, this Washington does only to gratify its own morbid temptation in attacking Iran.

The Coming Israeli Dictatorship


by Devon DB

It has recently been revealed that the Israeli Cabinet has passed new changes to their protocol, giving more power to the Prime Minister. Globes reported last week:

The cabinet today approved changes to cabinet protocol, which broaden the prime minister’s powers, giving him greater control over ministers’ work.

The 51-page document lists amendments drawn up Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser as part of staff work to facilitate the cabinet’s decision-making process. These are the first changes to the cabinet procedures since Israel’s independence in 1948, when the original procedures were written.

The amendments are even more significant at this time in view of reports of a possible strike by Israel against Iran within months.

The amendments allow the prime minister to decide, when distributing the cabinet agenda, that ministers absent from the meeting will not be allowed to vote in absentia, which they can currently do, and may only vote if they have prearranged another minister to vote on their behalf.

Another amendment allows the prime minister to change the agenda set by the ministerial committee, and decide whether to hold or to postpone a cabinet meeting "due to special grounds that will be notified to the committee chairman". The problem with this authority granted to the prime minister is that he will be able to submit an issue for a vote several times until it is passed; alternatively, he can remove an issue from the agenda at his sole discretion.

Other amendments state that telephone votes by the cabinet will be signed within 12 hours of the vote, and that the prime minister can shorten this time as he sees fit. He also now has the right to appeal decisions by ministerial committees, and he will also have the right to decide that a cabinet decision against which a ministerial committee has appealed will not be valid until the cabinet again discusses the issue. (emphasis added) [1]

This is quite disturbing as it essentially gives the Prime Minister the power to force his agenda on the entire government. By allowing him to decide what bills are and are not up for votes, he essentially controls the legislative process.

He can then ensure that his agenda is given the green light by the Cabinet by shortening the time length of telephone votes, which will have the effect of squashing any opposition by simply forcing dissenting members to make a split decision without having ample time to state their arguments. A potential side effect of this is that the possibility of making a hasty decision that will have farreaching short or long-term effects could potentially increase substantially due to the Cabinet not having sufficient time to consider the consequences of the action(s) that is (are) being proposed.

Many speculate that the reason such changes were made was because of the possibility of a military attack on Iran. This is quite possible, as recently leaked documents [2] show that Israel is in fact planning an attack on Iran. Thus, such new powers would come in handy of Netanyahu to force his pro-war agenda on Israel.

These new changes put Israel’s democracy at risk. Labor Party chairwoman MK Shelly Yachimovic stated that such modifications to Cabinet protocol "disrupt the cabinet’s decision-making process and transfer the government’s authority to one man – himself" and that ""Fateful political, defense, and socioeconomic decisions are liable to be taken without substantive cabinet discussion as required." [3]

Just like with the United States, any powers the Prime Minister currently has, the next Prime Minister will receive as well. The very fabric of Israeli society is now at risk and a dictatorship may be slowly on its way into existence.

Notes

1: "Netanyahu granted more Cabinet powers," Globes, August 12, 2012

2: Richard Silverstein, "Netanyahu’s Secret War Plan: Leaked Document Outlines Israel’s "Shock and Awe" Plan to Attack Iran," Global Research, August 16, 2012

3: Globes, August 12, 2012

Israeli threats heighten danger of Middle East war


by Peter Symonds

The latest Israeli threats to launch an unprovoked war of aggression against Iran underscore the recklessness and criminality of the Obama administration’s drive to reshape the Middle East and reassert US dominance over the region. While Israeli political leaders may more openly declare their intentions, they only echo Obama’s oft-repeated statement that the US keeps all options on the table, including war, for dealing with Iran.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon last Sunday called on the US and its European allies to “declare today that the talks [with Iran] have failed,” and to set a deadline for Iran to end its nuclear program. Asked how long the Iranian regime should be given, Ayalon replied, “weeks, and not more than that”.

Ayalon’s comments came amid intense speculation in the Israeli media that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his security officials were close to making a decision to attack Iran. On Tuesday, the Ma’ariv newspaper reported that Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak had set September 25 as the date for Obama to commit to taking military action against Iran.

On Wednesday, a leaked memo outlined Israeli war plans that included “an unprecedented cyber-attack” to shut down Iran’s communications; the use of carbon fibre munitions to collapse the country’s power grid; as well as “a barrage of tens of ballistic missiles” and “hundreds of cruise missiles”, supplemented by air strikes, aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, its military apparatus and its political and military leaders.

Also on Wednesday, Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, told a public forum that Israel would be willing to attack Iran even if it could not completely destroy Iran’s nuclear programs. “Diplomacy hasn’t succeeded,” he bluntly declared. “We’ve come to a very critical juncture where important decisions do have to be made.” Asked when Israel’s window of opportunity to attack would close, he answered: “Not in the too-far distant future.”

These latest threats are partly aimed at intimidating critics within Israel, where there is widespread opposition to a war on Iran, as well as to pressure the Obama administration to escalate its own threats against Iran. Regardless of Israeli officials’ conscious purpose in making these statements, their warmongering only heightens tensions throughout the region and adds to the dangers of war.

Moreover, Iran is not the only target. Israeli ambassador Oren expressed concerns about Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons amid the country’s worsening civil war. He said that the situation was “highly fluid, highly flammable” and indicated that Syria might have to be “dealt with first” before Iran. Israel has already threatened to attack Syria’s chemical weapons.

The pretexts being exploited by the US and its allies to justify war against Iran are entirely cynical. The US is threatening to attack Iran over unsubstantiated allegations that it is developing a nuclear weapons capacity, while turning a blind eye to the Israel’s large stockpile of nuclear bombs and delivery systems. Likewise the US and Israel are making inflated claims about Syria’s chemical weapons to provide an excuse for military aggression.

For US and Israeli strategists, the civil war in Syria and the preparations to attack Iran are closely interlinked. Iran through its support for its ally, the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, as well as the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian organisation Hamas, is regarded as the chief obstacle to the consolidation of the Middle East under American hegemony. As the US-backed military intervention in Syria escalates, so does the military build-up by the US and its allies in Persian Gulf against Iran.

Israel, with US support, is already engaged in a highly provocative, covert war of sabotage and assassination inside Iran.

Moreover, by enlisting the support of the reactionary Sunni monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar as well as the Turkish government, the US is deliberately stoking the flames of a regional sectarian war along Sunni-Shiite lines.

The Syrian opposition militias being armed by the US and its allies include Sunni extremist fighters, including Al Qaeda-linked groups, which are pathologically hostile to the “Shiite” regimes of Iran and Syria. Having raised the political temperature to boiling point, a relatively minor episode—a naval clash in the Persian Gulf, or a border incident between Syria and Turkey—can become the trigger for a regional war that would draw in the major powers.

The escalating intervention of US imperialism and its allies into the Middle East is a response to the revolutionary movements of the working class that erupted last year in Egypt and Tunisia. The NATO war to oust the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi on bogus humanitarian grounds has become the model for US-led efforts to remove President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

The promotion of Sunni Islamists and extremists in Libya, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East meets up with the deepest needs of US imperialism and the Middle East’s venal ruling elites to divide the working class.

The only social force capable of preventing the descent into a catastrophic war in the Middle East and internationally is the working class. Workers throughout the region, regardless of their language, religion or ethnicity, share common class interests in opposing imperialist intervention, militarism and war, as well as the relentless assault on their living standards and democratic rights. What is needed is a unified struggle of the working class directed against the root cause of war—the profit system itself—and for a United Socialist States of the Middle East.

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