Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Is The Israeli Military's Opposition To A Strike Against Iran Based On An Agenda?

Readers of my blog know that from time to time I quote from IMRA's Dr. Aaron Lerner, usually to quote from an article that he brings to our attention, and sometimes for his comments -- for instance his warning about the presence of added Egyptian troops in the Sinai near Israel's border (See Dr. Lerner's A Warning From Someone Who Called Morsy Right From Day One)

This time I am reposting, with his kind permission, Dr. Lerner's analysis of a possible motive behind the Israeli military's opposition to Israeli attack on Iran:

Weekly Commentary: Do Opponents of Netanyahu in Iran Debate Have an Agenda?

Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 16 August 2012

The Israeli media portrays Israeli brass and ex-brass who oppose Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the Iran issue as a group whose assessment is based solely on a cold hard analysis of the situation. This with a strong hint that the Netanyahu-Barak team may be driven by considerations and interests that are not directly related to the Iranian challenge.

Unfortunately, there is a reasonable possibility that the Israeli brass and ex-brass themselves have piggy backed their agenda to the Iranian debate.

First a quick explanation for readers not familiar with the Israeli scene.

There is a group of Israelis who religiously believe that if Israel were to withdraw to the ’67 lines that this would result in utopian peace.

I term it “religiously believe” in the sense that as a religious belief rather than policy conclusion it is embraced by its followers as a “given” rather than something that merits serious study and possible revision in the face of reality.

For many years adherents of this belief have made herculean efforts to try and bring about withdrawal to the ’67 lines. At this stage it is abundantly clear that such a withdrawal will never be carried out via the Israeli democratic process.

With utopian peace only a withdrawal away, these Israeli patriots are not going to let the voting preferences of the unwashed masses get in their way.

Simply put: what cannot be achieved at the ballot box can be achieved by foreign pressure.

Which brings us to the Iranian question.

The Iranian threat is seen as ideal platform for creating a scenario in which Israel is forced to agree to withdraw to the ’67 lines in exchange for American military action against Iran.

In point of fact, a review of remarks by many of the brass and ex-brass opposing Netanyahu-Barak finds that they explicitly and openly link Israel’s ability to draft America’s support to Israel’s accepting the Arab League-Saudi initiative that called for Israel to withdraw to the ’67 lines and accept resolution of the rights of the refugees.

How can this agenda skew their analysis and policy recommendations?

Israel is apparently today still within a “window of opportunity” in which an operation against Iran does not rely on the direct participation and involvement of American forces. Once this window closes, the only way to possibly address the Iranian threat is with the direct involvement and participation of the United States.

For the withdrawal advocates, delaying action beyond the Israeli “window of
opportunity” kills two birds with one stone: the mighty arm of the United States will prevent a nuclear Iran while Israel is essentially blackmailed into implementing the withdrawal program that they fervently believe will herald utopian peace for the Jewish state.

To be clear: their motives are anything but evil.

You can fault them for their hubris and their lack of respect for the democratic process but they genuinely believe that they are acting in Israel’s best interests.

What does all of this mean for “non-believers” following the policy debate?

Just a warning that many of the brass and ex-brass lined up against Netanyahu-Barak have an agenda. An agenda based on a belief that to those not part of the “withdrawal to ’67 lines brings utopian peace” group is considered at best hopelessly naïve.
This is in distinction to a previous post, Why IDF Opposition To An Attack On Iran Should Not Stop Israel, which addressed the issue of flawed military analysis in general. The US, which was caught by surprise by 9/11, assures Israel that it can spot when/if Iran decides to build nuclear bombs. The IDF itself was caught by surprise by the overthrow of the Mubarak regime and Morsi's power grab in sacking military leaders was also not foreseen.

See also from today's edition of Israel Hayom, US attempting to sway Israeli public opinion on Iran strike

One does not envy those responsible for the final decision.

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