Almost the last words Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heard Sunday, March 1, as he took off for Washington to address Congress on Iran, was in effect “Don’t do it!” They came from a group of 180 senior ex-IDF military officers. After the personal abuse is weeded out of their message, what remains is that Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of the US Congress Tuesday, March 3, was not worth making because it would damage relations with the US.
Maj. Gen. Amiram Levin, former Northern Command chief and ex-Deputy Director of the Mossad, put it this way: “Bibi, you are making an error in navigation; the target is Tehran not Washington.” He went on to say: “[Instead] of working hand in hand with the president,,, you go there and poke a finger in his eye.”
debkafile’s analysts maintain that the navigation error is the general’s. Before shooting his slings and arrows at the Israeli prime minister’s office, he should long ago have taken note of President Barack Obama’s Middle East record in relation to Israel’s during his six years in the White House.
It took time to catch on to Obama’s two-faced policy towards Israel because it was handled with subtlety.
On the one hand, he made sure Israel was well supplied with all its material security needs. This enabled him to boast that no US president or administration before him had done as much to safeguard Israel’s security.
But behind this façade, Obama made sure that Israel’s security stayed firmly in the technical-material-financial realm and never crossed the line into a strategic relationship.
That was because he needed to keep his hands free for the objective of transferring the role of foremost US ally in the Middle East from Israel to Iran, a process that took into account the ayatollahs’ nuclear aspirations.
This process unfolding over recent years has left Israel face to face with a nakedly hostile Iran empowered by the United States.
Tehran is not letting its oft-repeated threat to wipe Israel off the map hang fire until its nuclear aspirations are assured of consummation under the negotiations continuing later this week in the Swiss town of Montreux between US Secretary John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minsiter Mohammed Javad Zarif. In the meantime, without President Obama lifting a finger in defense of “Israel’s security,” Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps officers are drawing Israel into a military stranglehold on the ground.
Netanyahu’s political rivals, while slamming him day by day, turn their gaze away from the encroaching Iranian forces taking up forward positions in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, where they are busy fashioning a Shiite Crescent that encircles Sunni Arab states as well as Israel.
It must be obvious that to bolster its rising status as the leading regional power, Iran must be reach the nuclear threshold – at the very least – if not nuclear armaments proper, or else how will Tehran be able to expand its territorial holdings and defend its lebensraum.
This is not something that Barack Obama or his National Security Adviser Susan Rice are prepared to admit. They are not about to confirm intelligence reports, which expose the military collaboration between the Obama administration and Iran’s supreme leader Aytatollah Ali Khamenei as being piped through the office of Iraq’s Shiite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Washington denies that there is any such collaboration – or any suggestion that the White House had reviewed recommendations and assessments of an option for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Al Qods Brigades to take over the ground war on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as American contractors.
Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani is frequently spotted these days flitting between Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut, while his intelligence and liaison officers file reports to the Obama administration, through the Iraqi prime minister’s office, on their forthcoming military steps and wait for Washington’s approval.
America understandably lacks the will to have its ground forces embroiled in another Middle East war. Washington is therefore not about to turn away a regional power offering to undertake this task – even though it may be unleasing a bloody conflagration between Shiite and Sunni Muslims that would be hard to extinguish
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the rest of the Gulf are as dismayed as Israel by Obama’s regional strategy, which, stripped of its diplomatic veneer, boils down to a straight trade: The US will allow Iran to reach the status of a pre-nuclear power and regional hegemon, while Tehran, in return, will send its officers and ground troops to fight in Iraq, Syria and even Afghanistan.
The 180 ex-IDF officers and Israel’s opposition leaders, Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni, were right when they argued that Israel’s bond with the US presidency is too valuable to jeopardize. But it is the Obama White House which is trifling with that bond – not Netanyahu, whose mission in Washington is no more than a tardy attempt to check Iran’s malignant machinations which go forward without restraint.