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Obama's handling of Syria crisis revives Bibi's hopes of bombing Iran

And this time, it’s hard to see who will be able to stop him. 

Netanyahu hasn’t said anything publicly, but the consensus here is that the lesson he’s taking from Obama’s refusal to bomb Syria straight away, and instead to turn to Congress for approval, is that the U.S. president can’t be trusted to keep his word about preventing Iran from going nuclear – so he, Netanyahu, must prepare to carry out the task alone. And the consensus seems to be that this is the correct conclusion, too.  

“Netanyahu was right when he sought to act [against Iran in the past] on his own. No others will do the job,” wrote Yedioth Ahronoth columnist Yoaz Hendel, who used to be the PM’s hasbara chief.   

Herb Keinon, the Jerusalem Post’s pro-government diplomatic correspondent, wrote:

The lack of a strong international response in the face of rows and rows of gassed bodies wrapped eerily in white shrouds just 220 kilometers from Jerusalem might not compel Israel to take action against Assad, but it surely may compel it to think twice about relying on the world to rid it of the Iranian nuclear menace.

Even Haaretz’s liberal military affairs reporter Amos Harel seems to see the wisdom in this view:

The theory that the U.S. will come to Israel’s aid at the last minute, and attack Iran to lift the nuclear threat, seems less and less likely. … With the U.S. administration’s year of hesitancy since Assad first deployed chemical weapons, American difficulty in building an international coalition for a strike in Syria, and [U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin] Dempsey’s excuses, it’s no wonder that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is becoming increasingly persuaded that no one will come to his aid if Iran suddenly announces that it is beginning to enrich uranium to 90 percent.

I think it is pretty obvious that this indeed is Netanyahu’s thinking. He wanted to bomb Iran last year, sometime before the U.S. presidential election in November; what stopped him (and his partner, then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak) was the opposition of Israel’s military-intelligence leadership, headed by IDF Chief Benny Gantz. Afterward Netanyahu went to the UN and drew a cartoon bomb with a red line, saying that Iran would cross it and come within reach of a nuclear bomb “next spring, at most by next summer, at current [uranium] enrichment rates.” Then, two months ago, Bibi’s red line got effectively erased as the moderate Hassan Rouhani was elected to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran, and the West gained new hope that diplomacy could ensure that Iran didn’t go nuclear. Netanyahu, of course, considered that the usual Western liberal naiveté, but it seemed too outrageous for Israel to go bombing Iran on its own, with all the consequences that could bring, when the US and other world powers not only opposed an attack but were actively trying to persuade Iran, with its new, reformist president, into seeing things their way. The military option against Iran would be “off the table” for a year or so, it was assumed. The opposition from Israel’s warrior class remained fully in place. Netanyahu couldn’t have persuaded them otherwise, and may not even have wanted to, given the international mood.

All that may very well have changed last night. As the commentators quoted above and others are saying, Netanyahu’s well-known dictum that “Israel can only depend on itself” has been vindicated by the performance of Obama and the rest of the world in the Syrian crisis. The U.S. president can’t be trusted to bomb Iran’s nukes, and since, according to Netanyahu, his government and even the Israeli military-intelligence establishment, a nuclear-armed Iran “is not an option,” that would seem to knock the legs out from under the argument made by Gantz and the rest of the war council in favor of restraint.

That argument, which was made in leaks to the media by the warriors and publicly by President Shimon Peres, and which was backed by a majority of the Israeli public in polls, held that the wisest course by far would be to let America bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities because it had the military means to do it much more decisively than Israel could. Another, related argument was that if Israel attacked Iran without U.S. support, it would be politically calamitous. A third, related argument was that at best, an Israeli strike would set back Iran’s nuclear program by a year or so, which was not worth the missiles and political isolation Israel would get in return. The conclusion from all three arguments was: trust Obama, at least until he gives Israel reason not to trust him.

That reason was just provided last night from the podium on the White House lawn. Even if Congress agrees to an attack on Syria and Obama carries it out, the likely limits on such a strike, and above all Obama’s extremely uncertain route to executing it (if he does), will not redeem his newly dashed reputation among the tough guys who run this country. It appears Netanyahu has won the argument. In a month or so, after the High Holidays, I expect the countdown to resume on an Israeli strike on Iran, and this time I don’t know who will be able to stop it.

Related:
At summer camp, Syrian child refugees recall a lost homeland
As Syria strike looms, Israeli embassy plays up ‘threats facing Israel’ 

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  • COMMENTS

    1. PressTV reported that beginning next week Intelsat will block certain Iranian channels, among which an English and a Spanish channel.
      The Golan Heights are sold to Dick Cheney, Jacob Rothschild, Rupert Murdoch and their ilk.
      Soon Iran will be the next fluid border of the Jewish State.
      It’s my guess that the Zionists are trying to destroy anything that reminds us of a civilization before the destruction of the Second Temple.

      Reply to Comment
      • Vadim

        NOOO! You’ve uncovered our evil plan!

        Reply to Comment
    2. Steve Benassi

      Make my day, punk…Bombing Iran will ensure mass production of Iranian nukes.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Red is blue and blue is red: Republicans sound like anti-Iraq Democrats, and Obama loyalists have been heard quoting the War Powers Act. Given the 2014 election will deal with stalled health reform, I guess Obama decided he could not give the Republicans a fiat. That, and the War Powers Act doesn’t apply all so well, given no direct American harm. What this means for Israel depends on what the Congress does in about two weeks. I could pontificate on what should b one, but must remember I am no Pope.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Gideon (not Levy)

      The “Coalition of the Willing” new song:
      Birds do it
      Badly educated fleas do it -
      Let’s do it
      Let’s BOMB again…

      Fxxk Netanyahu.
      But the important thing is that Obamyahu called bb to tell him of the delay in bombing Syria, and told him: “We are standing up for and standing beside our ally, Israel”
      Seems that bbbbb and John’s exercise in (Israeli-Palestinian Peace) “Negotiations” was only meant to cheat the Coalition that is Willing to be Cheated. And Obamyahu? – When bbbbb urinates, while mis-spelling PEACE, Barack Hussein replies by “Hope the drizzling rain stops”…
      What escaped most commentators is that John Kerry, yesterday on CNN, was asked whether the Congressional vote would be binding, and he answered: “Obama has the right to do this no matter what Congress does.”
      The NYTimes quoted an administration official, who, like others, declined to be identified discussing White House strategy, called the American Israel Political Affairs Committee “the 800-pound gorilla in the room”.
      and Kerry?
      In his “full-press campaign” (which is the introduction/preface/foreword to Mr. Kerry election campaign) pushes “forward”.
      So we must ask the question: Does America want to go to bed with ticks and bedbugs? This alliance with the Saudi King and Princes of the Saud al-Faisal gang — whose rule is brutal and as far from democracy as East from West, who “urged the international community to stop the Syrian government’s ‘aggression’ against its people”, is an alliance with the worst members of the Arab Leagues — against the only secular regime in the Arab World.
      I do not love Bashar, but I hope you’ll join me to stop this planned ugly war.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Laurent Szyster

      And Larry is back, again, with yet another theory about why Israel is going to strike Iran “real soon now”.

      Some things never change …

      Reply to Comment
    6. Gideon and Anton (from St Peterburg)

      A couple of days ago I sent friends this comment:
      HOW TO READ A NEWSPEAK ARTICLE

      (Before launching an attack on Syria, the U.S. launches an attack on the English
      LANGUAGE.)

      Resorting to ORWELLIAN “NEWSPEAK” is not new. “Patriotic Writers” in popular media (and in some Influential Papers) always used it before sending their soldiers to war.

      SOME EXAMPLES:
      *** “President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria”
      °°° which would be in OLDSPEAK
      President Obama is prepared to move BACKWARDS with a limited military strike on Syria

      *** “The negative vote in Britain’s Parliament”
      °°° would be in OLDSPEAK
      The POSITIVE vote in Britain’s Parliament

      *** “PM David Cameron, who had … pledged his support to Mr. Obama and called on lawmakers to endorse Britain’s involvement in a brief operation to punish the government of President Bashar al-Assad”
      °°° translates into OLDSPEAK as:
      PM David Cameron, who had pledged his support to WAR, and called on lawmakers to endorse Britain’s ILLEGAL involvement in a “brief operation” to punish the government of President Bashar al-Assad…

      *** “top officials from the State Department, the Pentagon and the nation’s intelligence agencies asserted that the evidence was clear that. . .”
      °°° and in OLD-TRUE-SPEAK
      We have no clear evidence… (except that which we got from Israel)

      Read George Orwell’s “1984″ before you go on to support war.

      °°° Anton, a friend from St. Petersburg replied:
      Being a citizen of the former Soviet Union, where brainwashing in mass media was an everyday routine, I am well accustomed to such language and it is disgusting to see the same methods (not only in NY times of course) but all over the western “free” world. I can’t watch BBC for example any longer for the same reason, their propagandistic way of broadcasting (regarding making war) makes me puke.
      US is rapidly becoming the world judge and hangman, not caring a shit about ‘world public opinions’.

      Reply to Comment
      • Michael W.

        To save people time, one of Gideon’s links is to Alex Jones’ website. Don’t try to argue with them. Just ignore them.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Danny

      Israel will NEVER attack Iran on its own for the simple reason that it CAN’T. If it could, it would have done so years ago. Israel wants the U.S. to do it, and has been pushing its dim-witted ally for a good few years in this direction. The fact that Obama seems to have a queasy stomach for attacks such as these (e.g. Syria) is alarming to Israel because there’s really no plan B to a U.S. attack on Iran. What we can expect to happen in the upcoming days is a MASSIVE push by AIPAC to convince U.S. lawmakers to support a Syria attack.

      Reply to Comment

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