Benjamin Netanyahu is once again presenting false ‘intelligence’ to incriminate Iran in alleged violations of the 2015 nuclear deal with the West. It comes in quick succession following a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Israel which was followed up mere hours later by Israel striking Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had also just returned from a visit to the U.S. on the same day as Netanyahu’s announcement of ‘intelligence’ regarding Iran’s ‘non-compliance’. The coordination between the U.S. and Israeli government officials working in the security domain with a focus on a Middle Eastern enemy of Israel surely provokes memories of the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq War.
However, much has changed since that time and a number of significant factors render a U.S. military strike on Iran pushed by Israel and its Lobby in the U.S. extremely unlikely. The outcomes of wars such as the 2006 Lebanon War, overarching the U.S. policy changes embracing manufactured ‘sectarian divides’, blowback for Israel and its strategic allies from the blatant utilization of covertly provoked unrest and sectarian strife and the cementing of rival alliances and blocs to Israel’s allies have changed things immensely.
The testament to the hindrance such factors have created for Israel’s pursuit of hegemony is the fact that Israeli dominance over U.S. policymaking has not waned but risen since 2003. To get an idea of this power, a useful yardstick would be the un-hindered implementation of the schemes of the pro-Israel neoconservatives spread throughout the different branches of the U.S. government that produced the Iraq War in 2003.
Saddam Hussein had been an ardent and prime Israeli enemy first and foremost. The nexus of Zionist neoconservative Department of Defense officials with Zionist voices in the press and Zionist-dominated think tanks catering to large audiences persists to this day and attempts to produce a pathway for war between the U.S. and Iran just as it did with Iraq. With interlinked academic and professional pasts, prominent members of the neoconservative movement such as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith found themselves at top positions in the Department of Defense in 2001.
To go with contacts – sharing the same pro-Israel Zionist views – in the White House and State Department, this cabalistic group had managed to purge officials in the security and intelligence apparatus who remained un-obsessed with forging links between Iraq and Al Qaeda or chemical weapons. Bypassing the traditional intelligence gathering community, they set up the notorious Office of Special Plans by 2002 which essentially created the Iraqi chemical weapons myth and circulated it throughout the relevant branches of government, sometimes even violating regular standards of procedure, and throughout the media as well. It was this false intelligence that led the US to war in Iraq.
It will not be so easy this time, however. Unlike Saddam, whose country was already invaded, ravaged by sanctions and bombed multiple times prior to 2003, Iran has no shortage of allies and strategically cooperative states. It’s incremental rise in influence in Iraq from 2003 onwards, where its role as mediator between warring Shia factions highlighted its ascent in the Middle East. The ultimate failure of the multifaceted war – both proxy and direct – launched by the US and allies on Iranian ally Syria from 2011 onwards has had much the same brand of proponents in the US administration as the Iraq War of 2003.
More states had also been involved in the effort – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey being prominent examples. Without Syria’s government taken down, Iranian weapons and supplies will continue to reach Hezbollah, which itself has been strengthened by years of counter-ISIS operations along with the Syrian and Iraqi militaries. Israel’s long-term plans – themselves worth a proper study – will continue to be wasted. It is also important to note that this will provoke an increase in the erratic behavior from the Israel-firsters entrenched in the US political scene. Both geopolitical failures will be compounded by the inevitable increase in domestic awareness in the US regarding Israel-centric interest groups lobbying for disastrous war. It cannot, after all, be forever hidden from the public the fact that the US has been continuously pushed to war for foreign interests that do not coincide with those of its own or any rational state.
With powerful NATO member Turkey having turned to a pro-Russian, pro-Iranian stance in recent times and having annihilated the pro-US, pro-Israel Kurdish secession dreams, the Qatar Crisis having shattered the unity of the anti-Iranian Gulf States and Saudi Arabia sorting out its own internal affairs, it is hard to fathom how the US can appease Netanyahu and strike at Iran. Abandoning the nuclear deal will not suffice, yet will achieve the result of continuing the downward spiral of the USA’s ‘prestige’ abroad while its close allies continue courting the Russians and Chinese.
The US military hawks may even be eventually drawn by the strong incentive for geopolitical showdowns with Russia and China in different theatres of conflict, such as the South China Sea or Ukraine and Central Asian Republics where Israeli interests do not overtly dominate policy and thus Iran does not feature as public enemy number one.
A war with Iran will not come any time soon. There had been much of a hue and cry about ‘World War III’ after the highly limited and almost completely failed missile strikes by the US, UK, France, and Israel against Syria earlier this year. The tendency among many audiences to overreact to saber-rattling may be borne of a morally upright revulsion toward unjust war, but it should not act as a substitute for the ability to avoid the encouragement of pointless panic.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.