Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Warning From PM Netanyahu?

The Jerusalem Post is carrying an article which is interesting for several reasons. It involves quotes from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and he is most definitely increasing the rhetoric regarding what to do about Iran and their nuclear situation. Additionally, he is strongly implying that the only way to stop Iran's progress towards nuclear weapons is by military action. Is this a warning? Is Mr Netanyahu giving the world notice that this is the only way to stop Iran, and in turn, announcing his intentions?

It is interesting that the comments are coming out now, because a second article (below) was something that tweaked my interest as well, but we'll get to that. First, lets take a look at Mr Netanyahu's comments:

"Only credible military threat will stop Iran nuclear race"

Only a credible military threat can halt Teheran’s nuclear program, Israel stressed to the United States Sunday afternoon.

“The only way to ensure that Iran is not armed with nuclear weapons is to create a credible threat of military action against it, unless it stops its race to obtain nuclear weapons,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told US Vice President Joe Biden, according to diplomatic officials

Netanyahu words mark a sharp escalation from his past statements on Iran, which have focused more on the need for diplomatic measures such as harsh economic sanctions, rather than military deterrence.

On Monday, the prime minister is expected to continue to raise the issue of Iran, both when he addresses the GA and when he meets with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York later in the day.

In his meeting with Biden, Netanyahu insisted that although economic sanctions have made it difficult for Teheran, there is no sign that they have caused the ayatollahs’ regime to halt its nuclear program.

“The only time that Iran stopped its nuclear program was in 2003, and that was when they believed that there was a real chance of an American military strike against them,” Netanyahu told Biden, according to diplomatic sources.

“Paradoxically, only a real military threat against Iran can prevent the need to activate a real military force,” the prime minister said.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made similar comments earlier in the day:

“The biggest threat is Iran,” said Lieberman, who explained that aside from it’s nuclear threat, Iran was was backing terrorist groups such as Hizbullah and Hamas, as well as terrorism in Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.

He spoke at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who is in Israel for a two-day visit.

The article above is intriguing as a stand alone bit of information, but coupled with the article below, things become even more interesting:

Obama piles more military pressure on Iran - conspicuously

Before taking off for Asia Saturday, Nov. 6, President Barack Obama ordered the Pentagon not just to beef up American and NATO military pressure on Iran but to do so as conspicuously as possible, DEBKAfile's Washington and military sources report.

At a special White House security consultation last week, Obama said it was time to plant America's military option against the Iranian nuclear threat visibly and tangibly under the noses of Iran's political and military decision-makers. In the last few days, three aircraft carriers, four nuclear submarines and marine assault units have piled up opposite Iranian shores.

Early Sunday, the influential Senator Lindsey Graham (R. South Carolina), member of the Armed Services and Homeland Defense committees, said: "The US should consider sinking the Iranian navy, destroying its air force and delivering a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guards." In an address to the Halifax International Security forum, he declared "They should neuter the regime, destroy its ability to fight back and hope Iranians will take the chance to take back their government."

Our Washington sources report that Senator Lindsey's words were coordinated with the White House and Pentagon to underline the administration's position.

Notice the variety of sources spreading the same message - now we have a U.S. Senator echoing the same rhetoric. In the same forum, we see Israel's Defense Minister weighing in:

Addressing the same forum, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak was pessimistic about diplomatic engagement halting Iran's drive for a nuclear weapon. "Based on experience and looking at the example which they (the Iranians) are using, which is probably the North Korean example, you can easily see ... the objective is to defy, deceive and deter the whole world," he said.

If thats not enough, now we see the Washington Post:

On Saturday too, the Washington Post warned that tensions in the Middle East would heat up in the coming weeks. "While American eyes were focused on the midterm elections, a bitter conflict has continued between the United States and Iran for influence in the Middle East. Iran has put its weight behind Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's bid to stay in power and is said to have created a special task force in Baghdad to pressure Iraqi factions. Iran is said to have cut off covert subsidies to Shiite parties that refused to back Maliki.

Interesting? If that isn't enough - now we see the French getting involved:

Meanwhile, the French carrier Charles de Gaulle with strike force has joined the USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Harry Truman and their strike forces in the Persian Gulf.

Three days earlier, Thursday, Tehran issued an unusual communiqué noting that a fourth nuclear submarine had been stationed opposite Iran, without further information.

So, in summary we see the following:

1. PM Netanyahu stating that diplomacy hasn't worked and military action is the only effective means to stop Iran's nuclear progress.

2. Israel's Foreign Minister gives similar comments.

3. In a separate forum, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirms the threat and makes it clear that negotiations haven't worked.

4. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham makes several highly atypical and inflammatory statements that the U.S. should consider "sinking the Iranian navy, destroying its air force, and delivering a decisive blow to the Revolutionary guards."

5. The U.S. Administration sends a number of warships (submarines, aircraft carriers, etc.) to the region in order to "plant America's military option against the Iranian nuclear threat visibly and tangibly..."

These are some interesting dots to connect.

One has to wonder.

With the recent news regarding the U.S. Administrations recent push to continue the peace talks in the Middle East, including a "Palestinian State" - has the U.S. decided to allow Israel to handle the Iranian threat, militarily, for certain concessions around the peace deal that is circulating?

I could see Netanyahu agreeing to something like this, because Iran represents the immediate threat to Israel. And it isn't just the nuclear ambitions. Iran's current regime also controls Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and, in the process, southern Lebanon.

By destroying the nuclear facilities and other key military installations, Ahmadinejad would then been seen as very weak and vulnerable, and an uprising could easily ensue - toppling him from power. To Mr Netanyahu - It may be worth significant concessions towards a peace deal and a "Palestinian State" - if the Iranian threat could be removed.

This is going to be worth watching very closely.


U.S. Defense Secetary Robert Gates Monday outrightly rejected visiting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call for a “credible” military threat to Iran in order to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power.

Gates, who is visiting Australia, quickly responded, arguing that “the sanctions are biting more deeply than they anticipated, and we are working very hard at this. So I would disagree that only a credible military threat can get Iran to take the actions it needs to end its nuclear weapons program."

However, support for Israeli government policies is more likely to come from the Congressional branch of the United States rather than from the executive branch particularly after last week’s elections that returned the GOP to a majority in the House of Representatives and narrowed the Democratic majority in the Senate.

Is this just "public posturing" by the U.S., while they work covertly with Israel to cut a deal for a Middle East peace plan, or is the U.S. again distancing themselves from Israel?

We'll have to wait and see. Again, its worth watching closely.


hartdawg said...

quite frankly, i dont trust our current regime...uh...administration to honor any deal or to allow any military action. if isreal makes concessions,and i hope they dont, to stop the iran threat do you believe obama will endorse any military action? the whole thing is fishy.

Tasarwen said...

I agree, hartdawg. I think it is a ploy to bargain away land within Israel to the Arabs.

hartdawg said...

i just hope netanyahu doesnt buy it.

Tasarwen said...

Me too!