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Israeli War With Iran Nears, Pushed By Romney, Gingrich, Santorum

February 4, 2012   ·   0 Comments

Source: TomHayden.com

Israeli F-16

By Tom Hayden:

Israel now estimates that Iran’s nuclear program is nine months away from “being able to withstand an Israeli attack,” which happens to be the same timeline as the US national election. A well-connected US hawk believes that Israel might give the White House only an hour or two warning before attacking Iran, “just enough to maintain good relations between the countries but not quite enough to allow Washington to prevent the attack.” These troubling assertions are contained in this week’s authoritative article about the Israel-Iran confrontation by an Israeli correspondent for New York Times Magazine, Ronen Bergman. (New York Times Magazine, January 29, 2012)

Bergman, who has access to the top Israeli leadership, reports that they believe three key conditions for starting the war may have been met. First, that Israel can cause serious damage to Iran’s sites and “withstand the inevitable counter-attack.” Second, that there is tacit support from the “international community,” particularly the United States, for carrying out an attack. And third, all other possibilities of containing the threat have been exhausted and it will soon be too late to prevent.

Standing in the way, according to the article, is Barack Obama, whom “the Israelis suspect…has abandoned any aggressive strategy that would ensure the prevention of a nuclear Iran and is merely playing a game of words to appease them.” The same conclusion is suggested by Gareth Porter who says the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told the Israelis that the US will not support an Israeli war “without prior agreement.”

So the stage is set for nuclear brinksmanship in a presidential election year. The role of Republican candidates is to ensure that Condition 2 is met, that of “tacit support” for an Israeli strike, even if forced by political pressure. The balance of forces is lopsided at present, with most Americans worried about Iran and unprepared to resist a sudden outbreak of war, the Congress dominated by AIPAC, the media not prepared to oppose a strike. A short “successful” war – a highly-dubious prospect – would be accepted by American public opinion until serious consequences set in afterwards.

Any public expression of protest against this war is far better than silence, of course. But the greatest opportunity for protest may be in the arena of the presidential election drama now playing out. It is fair and accurate to charge both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are collaborating for political reasons to push Obama  into war during the presidential election, with Rick Santorum on the bench if needed.

The New York Times now has documented in a front-page story the millions spent by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his Israeli wife to save Gingrich’s presidential campaign. Adelson was pleased when Gingrich, seemingly out of nowhere, recently condemned the Palestinians as “an invented people.” Adelson owns a newpaper chain in Israel supportive of the Netanyahu government and is a vocal opponent of a negotiated settlement.

No one in the mainstream media so far written the story of Romney’s past consulting and business partnership with Netanyahu at Boston Consulting, but his campaign rhetoric echoes Netanyahu’s position, that Obama can’t be trusted to prevent Iran from getting the bomb. The Romney and Gingrich campaigns create an unrelenting pressure on Obama to support an attack on Iran with little counter-vailing pressure. But neither the Republicans nor the Israeli hawks are comfortable being charged with using political pressure to start a war. For more, please see theDaily Kos.

Rick Santorum, whose Republican ranking is third, is equal to Romney and Gingrich in his hawkish position towards Iran. Santorum has deep support from right-wing Christian groups who believe that war in the Middle East will hasten the Second Coming.

Avoiding war with Iran may be Obama’s best option in policy and politics, if he can navigate the campaign winds. The question is whether any organized force has his back.

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