With Friends Like This…

by lizard

In July of 2008, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen made some serious waves when he warned Israel about overtly attacking Iran. The big perceived slap, though, was the reference Mullen made to the USS Liberty incident, which occurred during the 6 day war, in 1967:

In early July, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen visited Israel to discuss the Iranian nuclear program with his Israeli counterpart, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, and other Israeli officials.

During the talks, Adm. Mullen cautioned that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 is the type of incident that should be ‘avoided in any future military actions’ in the Middle East, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The USS Liberty, a $40m state-of-the-art surveillance ship, was ‘inadvertently’ attacked by Israeli fighter jets and torpedo boats in international waters north of the northern Sinai Peninsula coast.

The attack, which lasted at least 40 minutes, claimed the lives of 34 American soldiers and wounded at least 170 crewmembers.

Since then, the bulwarks against an overt attack on Iran by some combination of US/Israeli forces, have been significantly weakened, with a series of dangerous provocations pushing a confrontation ever-closer.

With that in mind, it might be helpful to ask what kind of person is Netanyahu; is he someone the US can trust to deal honestly with the current situation of escalating tensions, or is he a dishonest manipulator not to be trusted. The link features a rare glimpse into a man who, in an unguarded moment 9 years ago, boasted to some Jewish settlers how he destroyed the Oslo accords during Clinton’s presidency. He also called the high level of popular American support for Israel “absurd”.

In discussing this issue in a previous post, Turner implied my hypothetical statements toward Israel would be met with accusations of anti-semitism, which is of course true. Discussing the reality of America’s special relationship with Israel is very dangerous, and gets shut down by watch dog groups like the ADL all the time. I even recall a speaker for the presidential lecture series at UM being heavily criticized by professors like Stewart Justman (I haven’t found the letter he and others penned yet, but I’m looking) for wading into these dangerous waters.

I hope Uri Avnery is right, and Israel won’t attack Iran. But according to the very insightful German blogger I follow, the strategy is to goad Iran into retaliation.

It’s not anti-semitic to state the simple fact that Israel, as an ally, cannot be trusted. A recent revelation that Israeli Mossad posed as CIA agents, and recruited terrorists, is currently making the rounds in the regions of the blogosphere I frequent. For those of us familiar with the proclivity of Israel to use the tactic of false flag, it’s not surprising. As evidence for why Israel is not trustworthy, it’s important. This from the link:

Buried deep in the archives of America’s intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush’s administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives — what is commonly referred to as a “false flag” operation.

There are saner individuals speaking out, like ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who called an Israeli attack on Iran “the stupidest idea I have ever heard”. But those saner elements are increasingly leaving government, not being asked to participate.

Where US/Israel goes from here is anyone’s guess. There is some speculation that a weak (though rabid for war) GOP field may cause Israel’s rightwingers to do something before the election this fall. With all the AIPAC stooges in place in Congress, Obama wouldn’t risk doing anything that could be perceived as being “soft” on Iran before November, compromising his reelection efforts.

Alexander Cockburn declared yesterday that war on Iran is not a matter of “If”. Near the end of the piece, he discusses the oil industry, explaining how rising tensions have been a boon for oil profits:

As for the embargoes of Iranian oil, Obama is most certainly doing the oil industry a big favor. There have been industry-wide fears of recession-fueled falling demand and collapse of oil prices. That has led to industry-wide enthusiasm (aided by heavy pressure from the majors) for strongly cutting total world oil production (and enjoying the bonuses flowing from the subsequent world price rise), with all the cuts to be taken out of the hide of the Iranians. The Financial Times made clear the need to shrink world production in the following key paragraph in a report last week: “Oil prices have risen above $110 a barrel since Iran threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil chokepoint, accounting for about a third of all seaborne traded oil. Oil fell to a low of $99 in October amid global economic growth worries.”

As Pierre Sprey remarked to me, “Note also that this is one of those rare but dangerous moments in history when Big Oil and the Israelis are pushing the White House in the same direction. The last such moment was quickly followed by Dubya’s invasion of Iraq.”


  1. Turner

    I worry that the election of Romney would embolden the Israelis to attack Iran.

    Obama, despite his willingness to keep a strong military presence in the region, has been pushing for diplomacy. As difficult as it may be, it’s possible that rational people from both sides can be brought together to avoid what leaders like Natanyahu seem to want.

  2. Ingemar Johansson


    How’d you guys miss this?


    • Turner

      It’s hard to know what the purpose of this visit is. I suspect it’s an effort to cool the Israelis down.

      I’m not sure the US has all that much control over what they do, though. Can teh US actually prevent Israel from attacking Iran?

      • lizard19

        Israel may act crazy, but they ain’t stupid. if Iran won’t retaliate to the increasing acts of war—and these are acts of war—then the chances of some sort of false flag attack to drag the US into a confrontation increase.

        Obama probably is more reluctant to do Israel’s bidding than Romney would be, and that is precisely what makes the next 10 months so dangerous. Israel may feel it must act, even unilaterally, before the election, if it appears Obama will win in November.

        • Turner

          I can’t follow your thought process. The next 10 months are dangerous because Israel may think they must act before the election if they think Obama will win? Huh?

          • lizard19

            ok, I’ll try to explain it better. let’s assume Romney would be more open to using the US military against Iran. if Romney stands a good chance of winning the general election, the Israelis may choose to bide their time, because Romney as president means less dirty work for them.

            if Obama wins the election, he won’t have another reelection to concern himself with, which makes him less malleable to foreign interests, so if Israel wants to make Obama dance like a marionette, they’ll get a better return on their investment if they act before November.

            does that make sense?

            • Turner

              I think so. I’d go even further and say that not only can Obama be less of a marionette to Israel in his second term, but he can assert himself positively in a number of areas (civil liberties, the environment).

              A second term should allow Obama to finally be Obama. That’s the main reason I remain a strong supporter.

  3. @firedoglake. Report: Israel Engaged in False Flag Operation to Foment Terrorist Attacks Inside Iran.

  4. lizard19

    well damn! Andrew Adler, publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, has suggested one of three options for Israel is to assassinate Obama

    you can read the offending document here, but here is how this piece of shit (who would be immediately arrested if he was a Muslim) phrases “option three”:

    Three, give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.

    read the whole article at Mondoweiss (first link).

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