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Netanyahu's interviews confirm: IDF doesn't want to attack Iran

It seems that the prime minister is now trying to get an American commitment to a U.S. led military action in 2013.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau gave rare interviews to the Israeli media yesterday (Netanyahu usually prefers to speak to international reportes, who don’t bother him with political issues). Israel’s Hebrew channels and the Russian channel got 15 minutes each, on the condition that they won’t be edited. The messages were the same on every platform, explaining the new taxes, and, more important, answering recent headlines regarding the alleged opposition of the army and Mossad chiefs for a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

“In the Israeli democracy, the one to decide is the ministerial level, and the one to carry out the decision is the military,” said Netanyahu, and added: “I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

The interesting part is what Netanyahu didn’t say. At no point did the prime minister counter the now common view – which was the top headline in Yedioth Ahronoth yesterday – that the army’s Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and the head of Mossad Tamir Pardo oppose the attack. Quite the opposite, the prime minister declared that despite other opinions and objections, the decision whether to attack lies with the government. In other words, Netanayhu basically confirmed that the security establishment opposes the attack.

This is no small thing. With all Netanyahu’s rhetoric on the historical hour and the second Holocaust, eventually both the prime minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are bound by politics. The public image as if it’s only the two of them pushing the attack means that a failure will fall on their own shoulders, since they ignored the opinion of the professionals. It’s not easy to go to war without a national consensus.

I agree with Larry Derfner that the chances for an Israeli strike are very low, given the objections inside the security establishment. I think that Netanyahu is now trying to negotiate an American promise to attack by a certain date in 2013. An American led attack would eliminate the risk of political fallout resulting from a military failure, and save Netanyahu the need to fight with the entire security establishment (we shouldn’t forget that he already replaced a chief of staff and head of Mossad which were against the attack).

The window of opportunity everybody is talking about is apparently not a window for an actual Israeli strike, but an opportunity to use the unique political circumstances in the U.S. in order to increase the likelihood of an American attack.

Related:
It’s over – there will be no Israeli attack on Iran 

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Max

      Not that I don’t share your relief, as well as Larry’s. But is there any reason to think that Israel would not suffer the same retaliatory consequences in the event of an American-led attack as it would if it were to attack unilaterally?

      Reply to Comment
    2. aristeides

      The real issue is the retaliatory consequences that would fall on Iran if it retaliated for any attack. Which is exactly why Iran needs nuclear weapons.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Adam

      “The real issue is the retaliatory consequences that would fall on Iran if it retaliated for any attack. Which is exactly why Iran needs nuclear weapons.”

      Very sensible.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Chepsky

      Noam
      You do realize that even an American attack on Iran will be seen as Jews controlling America for their own “dastardly” objectives??
      Such is human nature that even an American only attack on Iran will drag all Jews into a conspiratorial role. And then get ready for the proverbial sh-t storm to come down on world Jewry.

      It’s a shame because many leftist/liberal Jews do oppose an Iran attack. Unfortunately only the loudest voices receive Press coverage.

      Reply to Comment
    5. @Max – yes, but even then the political fallout for Barak and BB won’t be that bad.

      @ARISTEIDES – nuclear weapon for Iran is not a good solution and likely to contribute to nuclear arms race in the area. the world’s goal should be to limit the spread of WMD, not to contribute to it (and that includes the Israeli case).

      @CHEPSKY: agreed. Jews were blamed for Iraq, so I can only guess what would a strike on Iran bring. another reason to oppose it.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Kolumn9

      Oh no! They will blame the Jews! Let’s be quiet like sheep and make our way to wherever we are led. Heaven forbid we might take a position that is disliked. Be quiet or it will only make them angrier. I believe I have heard that one before.
      .

      That is the dumbest line of reasoning I have ever heard, especially given the success rate of that line of reasoning in the real world.

      Reply to Comment
    7. aristeides

      Noam – that genie is already out of the bottle and you can’t put it back in. Without curbing Israel’s nuclear arsenal, the arms race in the mideast is inevitable. Given the alternative, MAD deterrence is strongly preferable to a single rogue nuclear power.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Kolumn9

      There is absolutely no situation to which MAD deterrence is preferable. MAD deterrence is the diplomatic equivalent of the ‘housing prices only go up’ line of economic reasoning.

      Reply to Comment
    9. aristeides

      Oh yeah, K9? How about nuclear war?

      .
      MAD deterrence worked pretty well to keep the US and Soviet nukes reined in for a couple of decades.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Jack

      Yes I like the hypocrisy by pro-israeli people saying that, MAD that have worked in every case available, now suddenly wont work. Obviously a tactic to deny Iran the same capability Israel have.
      -
      The alternative is something we see everyday, when Israel threat Iran with war. If Iran had the same capability as Israel, Israel wouldnt warmonger or preparing for war.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Fat Freddy's Cat

      @Jack, Israel has publicly raised the option of attacking Iranian nuclear assets, very different from threatening war. Once the Iraqi and Syrian were rightfully put into their place, there was no war.

      Curiously, you omit the Iranian threats and other provocations to Israel however. Biased much?

      Israel needs nuclear weapons for a second strike capacity as Israel will not be the first to introduce these weapons. Please see the return of the Sinai and withdrawal from Lebanon for details. These conflicts were resolved without the Israeli nuclear capability in play.

      To summarize, Israel is the only country responsible enough to have nuclear weapons (in the reason), yet they are for deterrent reasons only. To allow another regional player to have nuclear weapons is fool-hearty. O

      Reply to Comment
    12. ginger

      Bibi and Israel need to be stopped and stopped cold from successfully hoaxing and/or blackmailing the US, thru their Israeli Lobby, into attacking Iran
      .
      ‘ that the army’s Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and the head of Mossad Tamir Pardo oppose the attack’
      .
      If there truly are those in Israel (Dagan, DIskin, Gantz, Pardo) who can manage to stop this madman that’s terrific and perhaps the beginning of the end of the larger problem of Israel’s ability to play the US like a cheap banjo

      Reply to Comment
    13. Adam

      “Bibi and Israel need to be stopped and stopped cold from successfully hoaxing and/or blackmailing the US, thru their Israeli Lobby, into attacking Iran”

      I’m always amazed that the most powerful country in the world can be so easily blackmailed or “hoaxed’ by Israel and their Jewish American agents.
      .

      Reply to Comment
    14. Rorr

      It’s those evil Jews Adam. We’re everywhere.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Piotr Berman

      If the attack on Iran was a semi-decent prospect, it would happen already. The smart money are on “no attack will happen”, after months of jitters oil markets settled on moderate levels, “war premium” is gone.

      People and institutions making many billion dollar bets on oil futures do research, and their conclusions are for everyone to see.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Jack

      Fat Freddy’s Cat,
      Oh please whatever one attack on another soil is a declaration of war. It doesnt matter if Israel “only” threat to attack nuclear facilities or a military compound. This is another fallacy by pro-israelis that they think that the attack on Iran wont constitute an act of war.
      -
      You have obviously a very revisionist too, after Israel illegally attacked Iraq in 1981 it initated Iraq to contemplate to build nukes. And the act of war against Syria have probably made the region even destabilizing. What makes Israel think they could bomb and take out goals in other countries while themselves would be furious if any state used their actions on themselves?
      -
      Iran has not threatend Israel with war. Iran has only said that they would retaliate if they are attacked which they are fully legally entitled to do. Israel have no right whatsoever to threat regional countries with war. Thats the difference.
      -
      Your last sentence says it all and is an argument obviously built on exceptionalism and xenophobia that Israel is only “responsible”. Its the exact reason why Israel behave like it does (annexation, warmongering, act of war). Region must be stabilized and a prime solution would be MAD unless Israel itself destroy their own nuclear weapons program and adhere to the non proliferation treaty.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Richard SM

      What’s to say Iran won’t now launch a pre-emptive attack on Israel? Netanyahu has ramped it up sufficiently to make Iran believe they will be attacked. A massive missile attack may come from Iran and Syria (that would suit Assad). That’s the problem with making threats as Israel has in recent months: people can take you seriously.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Adam

      After reading Ahmadinejad’s speech yesterday, I agree with Aristeides that it would be an excellent idea for Ian to have nuclear weapons. It’s the only way to “annihilate the Zionist regime.”

      “Ahmadinejad added, “It has now been some 400 years that a horrendous Zionist clan has been ruling the major world affairs, and behind the scenes of the major power circles, in political, media, monetary, and banking organizations in the world, they have been the decision makers, to an extent that a big power with a huge economy and over 300 million population, the presidential election hopefuls must go kiss the feet of the Zionists to ensure their victory in the elections.”

      He referred to the late Imam Khomeini’s initiative of naming the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as the International Qods Day, arguing, “The Qods Day is not merely a strategic solution for the Palestinian problem, as it is to be viewed as a key for solving the world problems; any freedom lover and justice seeker in the world must do its best for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the path for the establishment of justice and freedom in the world.”

      Reply to Comment
    19. Jack

      Adam,
      Iran say that they are against the “regime”.
      They dont even use the word “Israel” in speeches but refer to it as the “zionist regime”.
      Funny how you try to tie nuclear weapons with this speech, as always trying to fabricate threats.
      -
      By the way there have been many “regimes” that have been illegatitimate according to people. Iraq, South Africa, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Syria, Russia, China etc. For example we one can sure bet Israel is against the iranian “regime” maybe even yourself think that? And who have nukes today? The inbalance of one having nuke and denying the other parties this same capability is the reason for the destabilized situation.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Adam

      They say “Zionist Regime” because they refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel. Of course, when Ahmadinejad refers to the “Zionist clan” existing for 400 years, he is using “Zionist” as code for “Jew.”

      “Funny how you try to tie nuclear weapons with this speech, as always trying to fabricate threats.” Ahmadinejad, once again, threatens to annihilate Israel in his speech. I’m not fabricating that; he really said it. That doesn’t mean I believe Israel or the US should attack Iran. I think it would be an unmitigated catastrophe.

      I’m much more comfortable with Israel having nuclear weapons than Iran, Syria, Iran or North Korea having them. If you don’t see any difference between Israel and these other countries, then I don’t think we have much to talk about.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Jack

      Adam,
      Yes they are against the regime?
      Whats your point? Why do you keep fabricating and insinuating about a military threat to annihilate? This is the problem with you warmongers, you cant simply tell the truth doing everything to scare and warmonger. How many times havent this warmongering group used the “wiped off the map quote”? Dont you think people see this deceiving? But really I think you have come to belive your own scaremongering.
      You here again trying to fabricate something there is nowhere to be found. And for your interests it lives thousands of jews inside on Iran and jews are respected.
      Antizionism isnt the same as antisemitic.
      -
      Thanks for proving that, once again, your argument is based on xenophobia and ethnic exceptionalism.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Piotr Berman

      True, Ahmedinejad starts with a vile fabrication:

      “a big power with a huge economy and over 300 million population, the presidential election hopefuls must go kiss the feet of the Zionists to ensure their victory in the elections.”

      There was no kissing of feet! But to be fair, Ahmedinejad could be to prudish to use the word “arse”.

      And then he proceeds to:

      “any freedom lover and justice seeker in the world must do its best for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the path for the establishment of justice and freedom in the world.”

      But closer reading of the passage provided by Adam shows that the means that “any freedom lover and justice seeker” has to use are proper Muslim observances of Ramadan etc. To those of us who are not mystically inclined that may be baffling, but I can also quote mystically inclined Israelis saying something similar, that Torah study in yeshiva is as important part of the holy war of the Jewish nation as the military service, if not more important. It goes roughly like that: once the sufficient level of piety is established, Messiah will come and the victory will be ours, anything else are just temporary measures to assure survival until that time comes. Except that Ahmedinejad believes that Hidden Imam will reveal himself, mystical details of course differ and are quite intricate but the gist is surprisingly similar.

      Thus the only major party that correctly grasps Iranian intentions is Shas. Since the threat is of mystical nature, the proper countermeasures are also mystical, and the only thing the government can do to help is to increase the funding for young people studying in yeshivas. Although enforcement of the most cardinal principles of Halacha could help too.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Adam

      Jack– Is English your first language? I ask because you seem to have a hard time understanding simple English sentences. I wrote: “I think it(an attack on Iran by either Israel or the US) would be an unmitigated catastrophe.” You responded by calling me a “warmonger.” Were the words “unmitigated” and “catastrophe” to big for you?

      Reply to Comment
    24. Jack

      Adam,
      Your purpose of fabricating threats obviously benefit only warmongers.
      Also saying that it could bring a “catastrophe” isnt to say one is against war. Catastrophe for whom? iranians? israelis?

      Reply to Comment
    25. Mark Kerpin

      Jack,
      When the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces is quoted as saying the following by an Iranian news agency, please explain to us what he means:

      “Top Commander Reiterates Iran’s Commitment to Full Annihilation of Israel”
      http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9102112759

      You see, the problem apologists for the Iranian regime like yourself have is that Iran’s intentions have been stated time and again, by people other than Ahmadinejad.

      Extinguishing the Jewish state has been a central tenet of the Iranian regime since its founding by Ayatollah Khomeini. And these threats have been backed up by concrete policies.

      Some of the main streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are dotted with memorials to hundreds of Israelis killed by Hamas suicide bombs, which were financed by Iran.

      To quote:
      “There is something deeply pernicious about the attempt to whitewash the grossly anti-Semitic ideology of Iran’s leadership—as if nitpicking over repeated mistranslations of one statement could exonerate Iran when nearly two dozen other choice utterances refer to Israel in eliminationist terms. Reasonable people can disagree about what should be done with respect to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but not about the overt hostility embedded in the Iranian leadership’s rhetoric on Israel.”

      Reply to Comment
    26. Jack

      Mark,
      It was the headline of the article, click on it, read it and he once again mention that they are against the “zionist regime”.
      You guys seems to want have enemies or fabricating scaremongering quotes to justify war.
      Speaking out against war, speaking out disinformation does not make one an apologist.
      This is a bad rhetoric fallacy, just like people that were against the Vietnam war were “communists” or people who were against Soviet expansionist policy were “traitors” or “agents”. World is more complicated than black/white view that you obviously use.
      -
      What have Iran’s support for Hamas to do with anything? Once again you try to build a warmongering case.
      -
      Let me ask you this. Israel being against the Islamic republic, does that mean they hate persians? Thats the exact absurd logic you are using. One could ask the same question about what Israel thinks about palestinians or the “Gaza regime”.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Mark Kerpin

      Jack,
      Here’s what you wrote:
      “Why do you keep fabricating and insinuating about a military threat to annihilate? This is the problem with you warmongers, you cant simply tell the truth doing everything to scare and warmonger. How many times havent this warmongering group used the “wiped off the map quote”?”

      I’ve just proven you wrong: the threats have been uttered by military figures and not just by Ahmadinejad, and they refer explicitly to annihilation – no issue of a supposed mistranslation or misunderstanding. This isn’t based on the “wiped off the map” quote.

      Your response?
      Ignoring what you wrote before and trying to shift the goalposts. Sorry, that doesn’t fly.

      I dare you to explain how the intentions of the chief of the Iranian military are peaceful when he refers to “annihilation.” Is he going to send Care Bears to try and convince the “Zionist regime” to change?

      Reply to Comment
    28. Jack

      Mark,
      Why did you just repeat your message? Again he refer to the “regime” the political ideology ruling. You try to fabricate a story where its call for a military genocide which is as stupid as the “wiped off the map” disinformation.
      -
      Also you didnt answer my questions, that would of course showed the double standard way of reasoning you are using.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Mark Kerpin

      Jack,
      How exactly is a quote from a *military* commander referring to *annihilation* a reference to a change in political ideology? How exactly would a military commander change the “Zionist regime”, if not through force?

      You can’t answer the question, and I’ve already destroyed your previous attempts to whitewash the Iranian leadership’s statements.
      So you lose, plain and simple. And since I was the one who put forward a question, which you continue to ignore, I have no intention of addressing your supposed questions.

      I hope you enjoy defending a regime consisting of bearded porn addicts, homophobic weirdos and ignorant holocaust deniers.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Jack

      Mark,
      Thats the problem you are not reading.
      1. He is refering to the regime. No one deny Iran dislike the “zionist regime” (as they call it), likewise should no one deny that Israel dislike the Islamic republic of Iran.
      Iran want this regime gone, Israel want this regime gone.
      2. Saying one dont like or more concretely dont recognize a state doesnt mean one are going to attack it as you try to make of the quote. Likewise there were no such threats in the quote.
      -
      You cant answer my questions because you would be caught as a hypocrite thats why.
      -
      I have earlier said that ones opposing of war and lies doesnt make you a supporter of a state. You know since you are obviously a support of Israel policy I could myself use such low way of tactics, but I wont go that low I am interested in debating the core questions, not ad-hominem.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Adam

      Jack– I hereby award you a “Barney”– a prize for people who are too stupid or ideologically constipated to bother conversing with:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYlZiWK2Iy8

      Reply to Comment
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