21-08-2012 54 secunde Sublinieri

Israelul ar putea să atace Iranul, după ce premierul Benjamin Netanyahu s-a declarat hotărât în privinţa acestui plan, chiar înainte de alegerile prezidenţiale din SUA din luna noiembrie, scrie presa internaţională, potrivit Agerpres.

De asemenea, se pare că premierul israelian Netanyahu nu va aştepta o posibilă mult-discutată întâlnire cu Barack Obama, după Adunarea Generală a ONU din septembrie, şi “nu este clar dacă va exista o întâlnire”.

Prim-ministrul israelian Benjamin Netanyahu şi ministrul Apărării, Ehud Barak, sunt de părere că Obama nu va avea altă opţiune decât să sprijine un atac israelian înaintea alegerilor prezidenţiale din noiembrie.

Totuşi, există o opoziţie considerabilă faţă de un atac asupra instalaţiilor nucleare ale Iranului în această etapă. Printre cei care se opun se află preşedintele Shimon Peres, şeful de Stat major al armatei şi generali de top, comunitatea de informaţii, liderul opoziţiei Shaul Mofaz şi americanii.

Potrivit altor informaţii din presa de marţi, Netanyahu l-a trimis pe consilierul de securitate naţională, Yaakov Amidror, pentru a discuta cu liderul spiritual al partidului ultrareligios Shass, rabinul Ovadia Yossef, pentru a obţine susţinerea miniştrilor Shass în favoarea unui atac împotriva instalaţiilor nucleare iraniene.

Informatia circula intens in media din Israel:

Iar aici despre atitudinea presedintelui Peres, care s-ar opune unei lovituri unilaterale a Israelului:


1. DIVERSE, Iran, Israel

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  1. Deci dacă şi americanii s-au săturat până peste cap de propaganda asta a Israelului… 30 Ianuarie

    Having written a fair bit about the pros and cons (mostly the latter) of a war with Iran, I feel compelled to offer a brief comment on Ronan Bergman’s alarmist article in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine. I say this even though I think the article was essentially worthless. It’s a vivid and readable piece of reportage, but it doesn’t provide readers with new or interesting information and it tells you almost nothing about the likelihood of an Israeli strike on Iran.

    First off, the article is essentially a reprise of Jeffrey Goldberg’s September 2010 Atlantic Monthly article on the same subject. The research method is identical: a reporter interviews a lot of big-shots in the Israeli security establishment, writes down what they say, and concludes that that Israel is very likely to attack. Bergman doesn’t present new evidence or arguments, pro or con; it’s just an updated version of the same old story.

    Second, the central flaw in this approach is that there is no way of knowing if the testimony of these various officials reflects their true beliefs or not. There are lots of obvious reasons why Israeli officials might want to exaggerate their willingness to use force against Iran, and this simple fact makes it unwise to take their testimony at face value. Maybe they really mean what they say. Or maybe they just want to keep Tehran off-balance Maybe they want to distract everyone from their continued expansion of West Bank settlements and other brutalities against Palestinians. Maybe they want to encourage Europe to support tougher economic sanctions against Iran, and they know that occasional saber-rattling helps makes sanctions look like an attractive alternative. Maybe it’s several of these things at once, depending on who’s talking. Who knows?

    By the way, I’m not accusing the officials that Bergman interviewed of doing anything wrong. I don’t expect top officials of any country to tell the truth all the time, and I’m neither surprised nor upset when foreign officials try to manipulate fears of war in order to advance what they see as their interests. My point is that it is impossible to tell if they mean what they are saying or not, which is why an article based on interviews of this kind just isn’t very informative. They might be telling the truth, or they might be lying, and nobody knows for sure.

    Lastly, as Gary Sick notes in an excellent post of his own, the Bergman piece ignores the considerable evidence suggesting that Iran is not in fact trying to build a nuclear weapon. Equally important are Sick’s reminder that the IAEA still has lots of inspectors keeping a watchful eye on Iran’s nuclear activities, and his observation that Israel cannot attack Iran without warning, because doing so would almost certainly kill a bunch of IAEA inspectors.

    His conclusion (and mine): until Iran expels the inspectors or Israel warns them that it is time to leave, there isn’t going to be a war. And if that is the case, then Bergman’s scary essay is just another example of empty alarmism.

    Apoi: 16 August 2012

    My colleague Nicholas Burns has a smart column in today’s Boston Globe, where he makes the obvious but important point that “the United States should do all it can to avoid war” with Iran. His central theme is that war is not in the U.S. national interest, and that Washington should seize the diplomatic initiative and not allow itself to get buffaloed into a war by Israel. In his words: “The United States needs to take the reins of this crisis from Israel to give use more independence and to protect Israel’s core interests at the same time.” To do this, he calls for the United States to open a direct bilateral negotiating channel with Iran and to offer “imaginative proposals that would permit Iran civil nuclear power but deny it a nuclear weapon.”

    This position makes so much sense that you can be sure it will be rejected by AIPAC and the other hardliners who believe that Iran cannot be permitted even the theoretical capacity to produce a weapon at some unspecified time down the road. Together with the Netyanyahu government, these groups want to keep ramping up the war talk in order to slowly paint the United States into a corner. The reason is simple: Israel does not have a strategically meaningful military option of its own, because the IAF cannot do enough damage to Iran’s nuclear facilities to end its program once and for all. To prevent any sort of Iranian nuclear capacity, therefore, requires the United States to take the lead in enforcing sanctions and if necessary, to fight another war.

    And as Jodi Rudoren reveals in an important New York Times piece today, Israel’s leaders understand that fact perfectly well. Based on interviews with a former national security advisor Uzi Dayan, she reports that PM Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak “had not yet decided to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and could be dissuaded from a strike if President Obama approved stricter sanctions and publicly confirmed his willingness to use military force” (my emphasis). She continues: “Mr. Dayan’s assessment seems to buttress the theory that the collective saber rattling is part of a campaign to pressure the Obama administration and the international community, rather than an indication of the imminence of an Israeli strike.”

    In short, as I noted last week, the recurring talk of “closing windows,” “red lines,” “zones of immunity,” and the like is a political ploy, designed to stifle diplomacy, strengthen sanctions, and gradually inch the United States closer and closer to a commitment to use force. The Israelis know that they cannot do the job themselves, and their larger aim is to keep attention riveted on Tehran (and not on settlement expansion) and to make sure that if war does come, the United States does the heavy lifting.

    In short, all this war talk is a bluff, but one can scarcely blame Israel for employing a tactic that keeps working so well. It’s our fault we keep falling for it.

    Dar mai ales de ce se bate apa în piuă cu atacul:

    You may have noticed that there is an active campaign underway to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. In fact, the real goal is to prevent Iran from having even the latent capacity to build a weapon if at some point it decided it wanted one. This is why the United States and other countries have imposed increasingly draconian economic sanctions on Iran, launched covert actions such as the Stuxnet virus, and made repeated threats to use military force.

    One of the background elements in this campaign has been repeated warnings that Israel’s leaders believed “time was running out” and that they were getting ready to launch a preventive strike on their own. This recurring theme has depended heavily on cooperation from sympathetic journalists and compliant media organizations, who have provided a platform to disseminate these various dark prophecies.

    In September 2010, for example, The Atlantic published a cover story by Jeffrey Goldberg (“The Point of No Return”) based on interviews with dozens of Israeli officials. Goldberg concluded that the odds of an Israeli attack by July 2011 were greater than 50 percent. Fortunately, this forecast proved to be as accurate as most of Goldberg’s other writings about the Middle East.

    Then, in January of this year, the New York Times Magazine published an article by Israeli journalist Ronan Bergman entitled “Will Israel Attack Iran?” The piece essentially replicated Goldberg’s earlier article: once again, various Israeli officials were quoted as saying that Iran’s nuclear program was nearing a critical stage and that Israel was going to take action if Iran did not agree to end all enrichment. Despite a few caveats about the risks of an attack and the possibility that it wouldn’t halt Iran’s progress for very long, the overall tenor of the piece made it clear that Bergman thought war was very likely.

    Even Foreign Policy has gotten into the act, publishing a similar report from former Cheney aide John Hannah a few days ago. According to Hannah, his recent conversations with Israeli officials convinced him that “Israel’s resolve to deal with the Iranian nuclear program on its own is no mere bluster.” His conclusion: “an attack on Iran was significantly more likely than I had believed before.”

    Then yesterday Ha’aretz published an article by Barak Ravid — based on interviews with an unnamed Israeli official — claiming that U.S. intelligence had now concluded that Iran was making rapid progress toward a bomb. The information in the article was subsequently “confirmed” by Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak (who for all we know was the source of the original leak), but quickly denied by American officials. (Side note: shouldn’t someone ask Ravid and his editors if they now want to retract the story?) And as Noam Sheizaf describes here, newspapers in Israel are now filled with stories suggesting that the danger is growing and that Netanyahu and Barak are determined to hit Iran sometime this fall.

    Last but not least, yesterday’s New York Times featured a one-sided story on the “shadow war” between Israel and Iran that placed virtually all the blame for the trouble on Tehran. On the front page, it described a “continuing offensive” by Iran, without mentioning that there has been a long cycle of tit-for-tat between these two countries. Only after the jump came any mention of the assassination of Iranian civilian scientists (almost certainly by the Mossad), or any acknowledgement that Iran might be acting defensively rather than conducting a totally unprovoked campaign of aggression. I’m not defending what Iran is doing, by the way, only suggesting that it’s deeply misleading to portray what the U.S. and Israel are doing as purely defensive and to suggest that it is Iran that has launched some sort of ambitious “offensive.”)

    As I noted a few months back, it’s virtually impossible to know how much credence to place in the repeated predictions that Israel is about to attack. It does prove that there is no shortage of journalists or pundits who are willing to serve as sympathetic stenographers for government officials, but it doesn’t tell you very much about what is going to happen or what these officials really believe. Why? Because the various officials whose alarming testimony forms the basis for these articles have lots of different reasons for stirring the pot in this fashion.

    In this case, those prophesying war may be trying to reinforce the global sanctions effort and keep Iran isolated. They know that the U.S. and the EU see sanctions as preferable to war, so constantly threatening to slip the leash is a good way to stiffen others’ resolve and get them to ramp up demands and pressure. It’s also a good way to blackmail the United States into providing additional military assistance, and it helps distract everyone from annoying issues like settlement expansion and the nearly-dead-and-buried “peace process.”

    Given these various motivations, one should take all these forecasts of an imminent Israeli attack with many grains of salt.

    Although I believe war with Iran would be folly, one cannot rule it out. All countries commit blunders, and neither the United States nor Israel is immune to this sort of miscalculation (see under: Iraq, Lebanon, etc.). But I am remain skeptical that Israel will attack, for the simple reason that it does not have the military capability to inflict strategically significant damage on Iran’s nuclear facilities. As the Congressional Research Service reported earlier this year, “Israeli officials and analysts generally agree that a strike would not completely destroy the [Iranian nuclear] program.” The CRS report also suggested that an Israeli strike could not delay the program for long, and that long-term success would depend either on repeated follow-up strikes or on subsequent diplomatic activity (e.g., more sanctions).

    All of which suggests that all this talk of Israeli “red lines” and some sort of imminent attack (including the possibility of an “October surprise”) is just talk. Indeed, those prophesying war are starting to sound like those wacky cult leaders who keep predicting the End of the World, and then keep moving the date when the world doesn’t end on schedule. At what point are we going to stop paying attention?

    Like I said, I can’t be completely sure that reason will prevail and that a war won’t happen, although there do seem to be a lot of sensible voices inside the Israeli security establishment who are counseling against it. What worries me most is that the people who have been sounding all these alarmist warnings will start to worry that their credibility is evaporating, and they will feel compelled to go to war because they’ve talked about it for so long. That’s just about the dumbest reason I can think of, but sometimes even pretty smart people do dumb things.

    Astea toate din foreign policy!
    Doamne, ajută!

  2. @utzu:

    Sunt semnificative aceste semnale, dar sunt si alte lucruri care ar trebui luate in seama, cum ar fi, zicem la intamplare:

    – daca alarmismele israeliene, care, totusi, implica tot mai mult nu oarecari “oficiali”, ci premier, deja, sunt totusi chiar asa gratuite, pe fond. Ce castiga Israelul, dpdv propagandistic si in negocieri, prin astfel de false anunturi?

    – daca nu cumva, daca s-ar analiza in ultima perioada, s-ar constata o intensificare a acestor alarmisme. Si daca da, ce semnificatie ar avea acest lucru?

    – daca ar conta faptul ca, mai nou (?), si Khamenei incepe cu mesaje de acest gen, de maxim alarmism. De ce?

    – de ce se intensifica aceste mesaje din Israel in contextul alegerilor americane?

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