Barak

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I find Larry Derfner’s argument in the following article unconvincing. Derfner says that only Gantz can stop Barak and Netanyahu, but are any of them really going to launch a war without the permission of the USA?

If Israel attacks Iran, Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz, and American can’t afford to have those shipping lanes closed. It would require the US committing to a full-scale ground assault in order to re-open the Strait, and the US cannot afford to do that! Therefore, for the very worst of reasons (ie. economic), America will not allow an attack, and Israel will do as its told!

Of course there are better reasons NOT to attack Iran (such as Iran having no intention of attacking Israel or anywhere else, and Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons) but the economic argument is the only politically relevant one.

Peace. Dave

Original link: 972mag.com…

Not even the IDF chief can stop this war

By Larry Derfner

A leading Israeli defense reporter writes that Barak and Netanyahu have decided to attack Iran before November, and only IDF chief Benny Gantz can stop them. I say even he can’t.

Channel 10 defense reporter Alon Ben David, who’s been covering the Israeli security establishment for about 20 years and is as plugged in up there as anyone alive, writes in Haaretz today that the only person who can stop an Israeli attack on Iran before the November 6 presidential election is IDF chief Benny Gantz. This is an extremely newsworthy op-ed because Ben David is not a pundit, he’s a top-drawer reporter (also writing for the “Bible” of military affairs, Jane’s Defence Weekly) and he’s saying Netanyahu and Barak have made the decision to strike between August and October. He also says the cabinet – a majority of which supports an attack, and no surprise there – ”will only be convened right before the strike to prevent leaks.” Interestingly, the key leaker whom Netanyahu and Barak want to keep in the dark about the exact time of the attack is Shimon Peres, who, Ben David writes, might go so far as to alert the White House to try to stop it.

The chief of the Mossad, head of military intelligence and commander of the Air Force all oppose a war, according to Ben David – and so does Gantz, at least for now. ”The State of Israel cannot go to war without the support of the chief of staff,” Ben David notes, so it’s going to be up to Gantz to face down the entire political leadership. He would be speaking on behalf of the security establishment, which opposes an attack.

Much of what Ben David has to say about Gantz is encouraging. First of all, he’s not gung ho.

Gantz is familiar with the widespread assessment that an attack will not only not scuttle the Iranian bomb project, it is liable to intensify the pace of its development. Israel will be dragged into a painful war, which will not defeat it but will paralyze it and deliver a critical blow to the home front, after which Israeli society may be irrevocably changed. It will be a war that is liable to lead many Israelis to reconsider their future in this place.

Also, in line with Gantz’s hesitancy about a war with Iran, Ben David says he has an “accurate moral compass.” All very good to hear. On the worrisome side, though, he “so dislikes personal confrontations.” Barak, who is Gantz’s direct boss, lives for them. There’s another problem – Gantz was not Barak and Netanyahu’s first choice for IDF chief; their first choice, Yoav Galant, who lost the appointment over his tricky land dealings, was said to be in favor of a war.

Ben David writes that the military/intelligence brass are “walking around like they’re carrying a heavy burden” – they don’t want to do it. With few exceptions like Galant and Amos Yadlin, director of Israel’s leading security think tank, the retired military/intelligence types are against it, too. So is a majority of the Israeli public (though a majority of the public, like most of the military/intelligence establishment, would like the U.S., with it’s far superior capabily, to do the job instead).

It’s only the politicians who are eager to strike. A huge problem is that that the politicians include three former IDF chiefs (Barak, Mofaz and Ya’alon) as well as other stars of the military/intelligence establishment.

Ben David says it all comes down to Gantz. If he agrees with Netanyahu, Barak and the cabinet majority, Israel will attack; if he doesn’t, Israel won’t.

I happen to disagree with Ben David, and I’m speaking strictly out of my own reading of things. Finally, the army takes orders from the elected political leadership. If the IDF chief of staff tells the prime minister and defense minister he’s against a war, that Israel cannot do enough damage to Iran’s nuclear facilities to make the consequences worth suffering, I’m sure Netanyahu and Barak will listen to him politely – and then tell the cabinet it’s time to vote, the vote will be for war, and Gantz and the army brass will have no choice but to launch it. Unless, of course, they resign on the spot, which is not the sort of thing these career military men would ever dream of doing. They may voice their disagreements, but in the end they will follow orders – and as Ben David reports, the people who give the orders, the political leaders, are down for war. Sometime before November 6.

Unfortunately, Netanyahu, Barak and the people they frighten into obedience, which is a lot of people, hate to hear dissent, especially on Iran. Anybody who speaks out, like Dagan, like Diskin, like Netanyahu’s long-time chief aide Uzi Arad, is discredited and turned into an outsider. With the political leadership set on war, Gantz, as head of the military, will make it his business to remain an insider. He may stick to his current opinion and even say it out loud, but he will also make it absolutely clear that if those who give the orders want war, he will be a 100% loyal soldier and lead the IDF toward its objective with everything he’s got.

“All the weight of this decision has been placed on the narrow shoulders of a single army officer,” Ben David concludes. I’m afraid this is much, much too big for any one officer, even the IDF chief, to stop.

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Note:   Today’s news:   Iran, IAEA begin new round of talks… JPost The essay pasted below was written by  Ray McGovern.  I highlighted a few words.   Peace, Roy

Sorting Out the Facts about Iran  : Information Clearing House

Sorting Out the Facts about Iran

By Ray McGovern

June 07, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — On the issue of Iran’s “nuclear ambitions” you hear one thing on Monday, a different thing on Tuesday. “It’s a puzzlement!” to quote Yul Brunner’s famous line in The King and I. But in this case, the confusion is hardly insignificant.

In a speech on March 4 to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), President Barack Obama drew a new red line, saying that if diplomacy and sanctions fail, he would use military force to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

So, it’s important to try to separate fact from opinion, taking our cue from the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who famously said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

On May 26, the editors of the Washington Post claimed that Iran has “no right” under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to process uranium. In a Letter to the Editor published by the Post on Saturday (June 2), Alireza Miryousefi of Iran’s mission to the UN wrote that the Post was simply wrong on that key point.

The Iranian diplomat seemed to be quoting from the NPT in saying that it unambiguously recognized “the inalienable right of all of the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.” It turns out that it is word-for-word from the Treaty text.

“Peaceful purposes” would include fueling nuclear power plants to generate electricity. But why, some ask, would Iran need those when it has so much oil and natural gas? President Gerald Ford asked that same question in 1976, before he was persuaded to approve a deal with the Shah of Iran, under which Westinghouse and General Electric were to make billions of dollars by supplying essentially the same full nuclear fuel cycle capability to Iran that Tehran now claims the right to create on its own.

Ford’s principal aides, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, reminded the President that Iran’s demand for electrical power would inevitably increase and that its oil and gas resources would be depleted one day. In the interim, they explained, Iran coveted the hard currency it earns from selling its gas and oil on the international market.

The deal fell apart when the Shah fell from power. That this history is not widely known has made it easier for some U.S. and Israeli officials and pundits to argue that that the primary aim of Iran’s nuclear development program must be to build nuclear weapons. For those hoping to stir up a crisis with Iran, it’s helpful to shove down the memory hole that Rumsfeld/Cheney once advocated for Iran having a nuclear program.

Part of the problem (not to mention the confusion) lies in the fact that the uranium enrichment technology used for power plants can also be used to create a nuclear weapon, assuming it is refined to a much higher purity. And the prospect of a nuclear-weapon-capable Iran is widely considered a frightening prospect in view of Iran’s supposed threat to “wipe Israel off the map.” President Obama himself alluded to this in his March 4 address before AIPAC.

But a fact-checking problem is that no senior Iranian official has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, who is also Israel’s minister of intelligence and atomic energy, reluctantly conceded the point during an interview with Aljazeera on April 14. Meridor agreed that Iranian leaders “didn’t say, ‘We’ll wipe Israel out.’”

But, still, “everyone knows” that Iran is secretly working on a nuclear weapon. The trouble there is that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated definitively on Jan. 8 that Iran is not doing that; and ten days later his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, agreed

According to the official U.S. government translation of Barak’s interview on Jan. 18 with Razi Barkay of Israeli Army Radio, Barak stated that Iran “is evidently not trying to procure nuclear weapons.

Barkay: How long will it take from the moment Iran decides to turn it [Iran’s nuclear program] into effective weapons until it has nuclear warheads?

Barak: … It doesn’t really matter. To do that, Iran will have to … announce its departure from the control regime [UN inspections], to stop responding to IAEA’s criticism, and so forth. They haven’t done that. Why? Because then it is clear to everyone that Iran is trying to acquire nuclear weapons. …

On Thursday, I’ll be speaking at Random Row Books in Charlottesville, Virginia, where we can further try to sort this confusion out.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as a CIA analyst for 27 years, in the early 80s preparing The President’s Daily Brief and using it to conduct one-on-one morning briefings of President Reagan’s most senior national security advisers. McGovern will discuss these issues at 6:00 PM Thursday, June 7, at Random Row Books, 315 West Main St., Charlottesville, Virginia.