Tuesday, August 25, 2015


"On Aug. 21, Israeli Channel 2 Television aired a recording of Ehud Barak, Israel's former defense minister and former prime minister, saying that on three separate occasions, Israel had planned to attack Iran's nuclear facilities but canceled the attacks. According to Barak, in 2010 Israel's chief of staff at the time, Gabi Ashkenazi, refused to approve an attack plan. Israeli Cabinet members Moshe Yaalon and Yuval Steinitz backed out of another plan, and in 2012 an attack was canceled because it coincided with planned U.S.-Israeli military exercises and a visit from then-U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The fact that the interview was released at all is odd. Barak claimed to have believed that the tape would not be aired, and he supposedly tried unsuccessfully to stop the broadcast. It would seem that Barak didn't have enough clout to pressure the censor to block it, which I suppose is possible....It would seem, intentionally or unintentionally, that Barak is calling Israeli attention to two facts. The first is that militarily taking out Iranian facilities would be difficult, and the second is that attempting to do so would affect relations with Israel's indispensible ally, the United States. Military leaders' opposition to the strikes had been rumored and hinted at in public statements by retired military and intelligence heads; Barak is confirming that those objections were the decisive reason Israel did not attack. The military was not sure it could succeed".
George Friedman, "Israel: The Case Against Attacking Iran". Stratfor: Global Intelligence. 25 August 2015, in www.stratfor.com
"The US has military options for preventive strikes that Israel cannot come close to matching if it has the support of its Arab Gulf allies. This does not, however, make such military options desirable if there is any hope of successful negotiations with Iran, or more desirable than some form of containment. Any such conflict would have a major impact on world oil prices for an unknown period of time at a point the global economy is in crisis. It could trigger serious clashes in the Gulf and spill over into other parts of the region, including Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and the Levant, and lock the US and its Southern Gulf allies into a period of overwatch and restrikes for years to come. The warnings about the “law of unintended consequences” from two US Chiefs of Staff – Admiral Mullen and General Dempsey – are fully justified".
Anthony Cordesman, "Iran and U.S. Options for Preventive Military Strikes". Center for Strategic and International Studies. 6 September 2012, in www.csis.org.
The intentions of the former Israeli Prime and Defense Minister, as well as former Chief of Staff, Ehud Barak in admitting publically that it was Israel's own strategic calculations which prevented it from proceeding with air strikes on Persia's nuclear weapons are or should be revealing. Not, mind you revealing to those who were reasonably informed about what the likelihood of any such endeavor (mixed at best) would be, but one may presume both a domestic (Israeli) audience and an American audience (Congressional and public) who may have swallowed whole, the argument that it was only American, official hesitations which caused Tel Aviv to pull back from launching any such attacks. Nothing could be further from the truth as Barak's radio interview clearly shows, wherein in it was stated that:
"an Israeli chief of staff blocked one plan, a former chief of staff blocked a second plan and concern for U.S. sensibilities blocked a third. To put it in different terms, the Israelis considered and abandoned attacks on Iran on several occasions, when senior commanders or Cabinet members with significant military experience refused to approve the plan. Unmentioned was that neither the prime minister nor the Cabinet overruled them. Their judgment — and the judgment of many others — was that an attack shouldn't be executed, at least not at that time 1."
Something that Anthony Cordesman, who is without a doubt the leading American commentator on military matters, own writing over the years in dealing with this topic have clearly shown to be the case: that Israel, by itself lacked and lacks the wherewithal to effectively prevent, nay guarantee that it could employ sufficient military force to cripple Persia's nuclear weapons programme. When people, either informed or not so informed discuss this rather fraught and difficult issue, the fact that the usually very tough-minded Israeli leadership refused to launch attacks on Persia clearly underlines the fact that the recent agreement between the Americans and their allies with Teheran is indeed 'the very best deal that we can get' 2. Pur et simple.
1. Friedman, op. cit.
2. Anthony Cordesman, "The Best Deal with Iran That We Can Get". Center for Strategic and International Studies. 24 November 2013, in www.csis.org.


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