Get Ready for a Catastrophic War: Israel Likely to Strike Iran Before November Elections
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The 2007 NIE reported, with “high confidence,” the unanimous judgment of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran stopped working on a nuclear weapon in the fall of 2003 and had not restarted it. George W. Bush’s own memoir and remarks by Dick Cheney make it clear that this honest NIE shoved a steel rod into the wheels of the juggernaut that had begun rolling off toward war on Iran in 2008, the last year of the Bush/Cheney administration.
The key judgments of the 2007 NIE have been re-asserted every year since by the Director of National Intelligence in formal testimony to Congress.
And, unfortunately for Rubin and others hoping to parlay the reportedly “new,” more alarmist “intelligence” into an even more bellicose posture toward Iran, a National Security Council spokesman on Thursday threw cold water on the “new” information, saying that “the U.S. intelligence assessment of Iran’s nuclear activities had not changed.”
Relying on the unconfirmed Israeli claim about “new” U.S. information regarding Iran’s nuclear program, Rubin had already declared the Obama administration’s Iran policy a failure, writing:
“Foreign policy experts can debate whether a sanctions strategy was flawed from its inception, incorrectly assessing the motivations of the Iranian regime, or they can debate whether the execution of sanctions policy (too slow, too porous) was to blame. But we are more than 3 1/2 years into the Obama administration, and Iran is much closer to its goal than at the start. By any reasonable measure, the Obama approach has been a failure, whatever the NIE report might say.”
Pressures Will Persist
The NSC’s putdown of the Israeli report does not necessarily guarantee, however, that President Obama will continue to withstand pressure from Israel and its supporters to “fix” the intelligence to “justify” supporting an attack on Iran.
Promise can be seen in Obama’s refusal to buy Netanyahu’s new “rock-solid evidence” on Iran’s responsibility for the terrorist attack in Bulgaria. Hope can also be seen in White House reluctance so far to give credulity to the latest “evidence” on Iran’s nuclear weapons plans.
An agreed-upon casus belli can be hard to create when one partner wants war within the next 12 weeks and the other does not. The pressure from Netanyahu and neocon cheerleaders like Jennifer Rubin — not to mention Mitt Romney — will increase as the election draws nearer, agreed-upon casus belli or not.
Netanyahu gives every evidence of believing that — for the next 12 weeks — he is in the catbird seat and that, if he provokes hostilities with Iran, Obama will feel compelled to jump in with both feet, i. e., selecting from the vast array of forces already assembled in the area.
Sadly, I believe Netanyahu is probably correct in that calculation. Batten down the hatches.