Israel responded bitterly on Friday to comments by the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who said on Thursday that he did not want “to be complicit” if Israel were to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities.Dempsey’s comments were “strange” and characterized the failure of the United States to take a determined position against Iran’s nuclear drive, a source in Jerusalem was quoted as saying.The comments “show once again that the US is not demonstrating determination against Iran’s nuclear program,” the source said, according to Israel’s Channel 2 news.“It is strange that next to the oaths and blood libels of [Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei, the production in Iran [a reference to this week's Non-Aligned Movement summit], and the [latest] IAEA report — which states that Iran is speeding up uranium enrichment under its nose — the American chief of staff decides to talk about [an Israeli strike] rather than giving a determined message to the Iranians,” the source said.Speaking to journalists in London, Dempsey on Thursday made by far the clearest public comments from a senior American official distancing the US from any Israeli strike on Iran. He said an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, which is reportedly being seriously contemplated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program.” Then he added: “I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it.”Israeli commentators made much Friday of Dempsey’s use of the word “complicit.” The US army chief could have said he did not want to be Israel’s “partner” or its “ally” in an attack on Iran, noted analyst Oren Nahari on Channel 1 state TV, but instead Dempsey employed a term with criminal connotations.Two weeks ago, Shavit noted, Israel’s President Shimon Peres publicly placed his faith in President Obama to thwart Iran’s drive to the bomb. America’s current policy, emblemized by Dempsey’s comments, said Shavit, “constitutes a resounding slap in the office for Peres and those other Israeli moderates who want to place their faith in the US.”Given the US’s publicly stressed disinclination to act, “Israel is being pushed into a corner, in a way that is really dangerous,” said Shavit. “If all these moderate players, in the US and Europe, are so concerned about a dangerous Israeli action [against Iran], why haven’t they taken any meaningful action?” he asked.
In its bluntest message yet, the US administration under Barack Obama, declared that Israel is on its own if it decides to go for Iran’s nuclear program with a military operation. Thursday, Aug. 30, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered the view for the third time in as many weeks that an Israeli attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program.”Dempsey then astonished his audience by saying he did not know Iran's nuclear intentions, “as intelligence did not reveal intentions.” What was clear, he said, was that the "international coalition" applying pressure on Iran "could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely."Sanctions against Iran were having an effect, he said, and they should be given a reasonable opportunity to succeed.The general’s timing on this assertion was unfortunate. As he spoke, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported a 31-percent jump in Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium to 189.4 kilograms from 145 in May.It was therefore obvious to the world that Iran has not been deflected by sanctions one whit from its gallop towards a nuclear weapon capacity, a race that will continue so long as nothing effective is done to stop – or even delay - its progress.Israel, which is in direct line of an explicit Iranian threat of destruction, was therefore publicly slapped down by its best friend. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and their predecessors were shown to have wasted three years in tireless efforts to solve the Iranian nuclear peril in accord with that friend. Washington has just dumped them.Iran’s leaders must be laughing up their sleeves at America’s futile efforts to isolate them, as they race toward their nuclear goal while showcasing Tehran as the stage for the Non-Aligned Summit attended by dozens of world leaders.
A senior Egyptian security official said on Thursday that the balance of military power in the Middle East will change significantly in the near future, following a visit by President Mohammed Morsi in China this week.
The official, who spoke to the Arab website Al-Moheet, said that during his visit to China, Morsi signed a series of security agreements which will produce a new military reality in the Middle East. The comments were translated by Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevi.The Egyptian Air Force, said the official, is expected to dramatically upgrade its capabilities, equipment, aircraft and personnel training, in cooperation with China. He said the upgrade will surprise all parties in the Middle East and North Africa. The Egyptian air defense forces will be able defend the Egyptians against any aggression, he said.