Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Why IDF Opposition To An Attack On Iran Should Not Stop Israel

Apparently chaos and uncertainty are now the best reasons to go ahead with the attack on the nuclear facilities of Iran.

In a discussion among pundits and journalists--recorded in a blog post on The Gateshead Institute entitled Lords of Chaos Rule the Middle East, David Samuels, Contributing Editor at Harper's Magazine, opines:
Right now, the timing for an Israeli strike on Iran -- which I thought of up until a few months ago as pure hot air -- seems as favorable as it is ever likely to be. The Iranian bloc in Syria and Lebanon is coming apart at the seams. The Syrian Army is in tatters. Hezbollah is in a very weak place. Obama -- who Netanyahu seems to see as a strategic enemy on a par with Iran-- is at a weak point, the weakest he is likely to be in the next five years, presuming he is re-elected. Morsi isn't dumb enough to order the Egyptian Army out of their barracks no matter what happens in any back and forth with Hamas in Gaza. Plus, the Gulfies are pushing for a strike, and they own Gaza AND Egypt now.
I'm not so sure that Morsi, who seems to have surprised most with his relieving of key members of Egypt's military, can be so easily pinned down.

Nevertheless, David Goldman notes that Caroline Glick in fact agrees with Samuels that now is the time for Israel to strike Iran.

Glick bases herself on The IDF's Egyptian fiasco, on their failure to anticipate Morsi's move in sacking the military leaders.

She writes:
This reminds me of what former chief of the IDF's General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said at the Jerusalem Post's conference in New York on April 29. In his remarks Ashkenazi said that no one in the IDF foresaw Mubarak's overthrow during the anti-regime protests in Tahrir Square. I began my remarks by mentioning that I had foreseen his overthrow and replacement by the Muslim Brotherhood already back in 2004. And like me, everyone paying attention to the internal make-up of Egyptian society -- rather than to the empty promises of generals with no popular support -- recognized that Israel's peace with Egypt was not long for this world.
That is exactly how she started off her speech at the conference:

Glick echoes the same anonymous criticism made of the US in light of assurances that the US will know when Iran is about to have the capability to build a nuclear bomb: if the US could be caught flatfooted in 9/11, how can they be relied on in the case of Iran:
Israeli officials issued a withering response Saturday to assurances from the White House that the US would know in good time if Iran was making a “breakout” to a nuclear weapon.

The Americans “didn’t see 9/11 coming,” Israel’s Channel 2 news quoted what it said were “sources in Jerusalem” saying, a day after White House spokesman Jay Carney claimed the US can see what’s going on with Iran’s nuclear program and that it would know if Tehran is close to obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“I would also say that we have eyes — we have visibility into the program, and we would know if and when Iran made what’s called a breakout move towards acquiring a weapon,” said Carney.
It is this failure of military intelligence and the blind reliance upon it that Glick warns against, and which forms the basis of her judgement that now is the time for Israel to act against Iran:
According the the Israel media, the IDF was surprised by Morsy's move. Clearly our esteemed generals believed reassurances they received from their Egyptian military counterparts that Israel had no reason to be concerned with the election of Hamas's big brother to Egypt's presidency.

...the same general staff that failed to foresee what was going to happen in Egypt, and fails to this day to understand the strategic implications of the Muslim Brotherhood takeover for the IDF, is the IDF that insists today that Israel can trust Obama to take care of Iran for us.

...their failure to understand Egypt speaks all the more strongly for the full justification and necessity of Barak and Netanyahu's current media campaign to force the IDF to fall in line on attacking Iran.
For his part, David Samuels believes that more than the unreliability of military intelligence gives reason for Israel to act now:
The moment things stabilize, they will stabilize in favor of Iran and against Israel. Right now, the Iranians are in trouble. And any major retaliation risks their remaining assets. Iran is weak, and everything they have from their nuclear program to their allies in the region is at risk right now is a way that may not be true a month from now, or two months from now.
So here we are, after years of talking about an Israeli strike against Iran.

Has the time finally arrived?
And if it has, will Israel actually act on it?

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