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Cole writes: "In a radio interview, former Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak revealed that the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was on the verge of attacking Iran on 3 separate occasions in 2010-2012, but was consistently blocked by other (even far right wing) cabinet ministers or by the military chief of staff."

Ehud Barak, Israel's former defense minister. (photo: EPA)
Ehud Barak, Israel's former defense minister. (photo: EPA)


Netanyahu Was on Verge of Attacking Iran 3 Times 2010-12

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

22 August 15

 

n a radio interview, former Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak revealed that the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was on the verge of attacking Iran on 3 separate occasions in 2010-2012, but was consistently blocked by other (even far right wing) cabinet ministers or by the military chief of staff.

Although Netanyahu consistently depicts Iran as a military aggressor, that country hasn’t attacked another in a conventional war in modern history, whereas Israel has repeatedly launched wars of aggression, including 1956, 1967, 1982, 2009 and 2014. (The 1982 Israeli act of naked aggression on Lebanon eventuated in an 18-year occupation of 10% of Lebanon, during which Lebanese Shiites formed Hizbullah to resist their oppression; Iran’s support for this resistance is typically held against it by the US and Israel as ‘support for terrorism,’ while Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s support for the illegal invasion and occupation are considered perfectly normal.)

Israel has several hundred nuclear warheads, whereas Iran has none, but Iran has been sanctioned for its civilian nuclear enrichment program for generating electricity whereas Israel thumbed its nose at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and kicked off a nuclear arms race with Iraq that led, ironically and through propaganda, to the 2003 US invasion of that country.

The Iran attack plans were previously revealed by former Israeli intelligence chief Meir Dagan, who clearly considers Netanyahu and Barak to have a screw loose and to be terminally flaky. His allegations have been covered by Informed Comment, as below from March:

“Meir Dagan, the former head of Israeli intelligence, has long been on the outs with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Now he is actively campaigning for the Israeli electorate to dump him as prime minister in the upcoming elections. Soon after leaving office four years ago, he broke longstanding protocol to retail the story in public of how he and other security officials vetoed a hare-brained scheme by Netanyahu and former Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak to attack Iran.

I wrote in June of 2011:

“Netanyahu appears to have forced out Meir Dagan, the head of the Israeli spying agency Mossad, whose departure coincided with that of the chief of staff, the head of domestic intelligence, and other key security officials. Dagan, having become a civilian, promptly went public, lambasting Netanyahu for refusing to make peace with the Palestinians while it was still possible.

Dagan went on to accuse Netanyahu and his Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, of grossly exaggerating the threat from Iran, calling a strike on that country “stupid idea that offers no advantage.” He warned that it would provoke another rocket attack on Israel by Lebanon’s Hizbullah, and perhaps by Syria as well– i.e. it could lead to a regional conflagration.

The back story that has emerged in the Israeli press is that Barak, who is a notorious war-monger and adventurist, had gotten Netanyahu’s ear and pressed for a military strike on Iran. Dagan and all the other major security officials stood against this foolhardy plan, and managed to derail it. But Dagan is said to be concerned that virtually all the level heads have gone out of office together, and that Netanyahu and Barak may now be in a position to revive their crazy plan of attacking Iran. Moreover, they may want to attack in September, as a way of creating a crisis that will overshadow Palestinian plans to seek membership in the United Nations.

Dagan and other high Israeli security officials appear to believe that Iran has no present nuclear weapons program. That is what Military Intelligence Director, Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, has told the Israeli parliament. Kochavi thinks it unlikely that Iran would start up a military nuclear program.”

Dagan’s beef with Netanyahu is apparently not personal. The prime minister helped the former head of Mossad get a liver transplant. Dagan affirmed, “I have no personal issue with the prime minister, his wife, his spending and the way he conducts himself. I’m talking about the country he leads.”

Netanyahu clearly believes that he can openly side with the Republican Congress against President Barack Obama without facing any consequences at all. Dagan sees a danger that the next time the UN Security Council wants to condemn Israel for violating international law, Obama will decline to use his veto to stop sanctions.

Israel is in violation of large numbers of UN Security Council resolutions regarding its treatment of the stateless Palestinians, the status of Jerusalem, etc. etc. That Iraq was in violation of UNSC violations was given by the Bush administration as a grounds for invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein in 2003. Iran’s economy has been deeply harmed and its oil exports cut from 2.5 mn b/day to 1.5 mn b/day as a result of UNSC sanctions, along with those of the US. Israel, in contrast, as been held harmless from Security Council condemnation and sanctions by the US veto, which has been exercised every single time the UNSC tried to condemn or sanction Tel Aviv, regardless of the merits of the case.

I have argued that any US president, including Obama, could have long since resolved the Israel-Palestinian conflict by simply declining to exercise that veto, and allowing the Israelis to be pressured into making peace by the UNSC. I think the PLO would make peace tomorrow if it could get 1967 borders and an end to Israeli land grabs, and that the real obstacle to a settlement is Israeli expansionism, which the US veto de fact encourages.

Israel is also facing significant challenges from the UN in another way. Palestine has been granted non-member observer state status there by the General Assembly. It has signed the treaties and instruments necessary to joining the International Criminal Court and gaining standing to sue Israel over its creeping annexation of Palestinian territory beyond the generally recognized 1949 armistice lines. The Rome Statute of 2002 under which the International Criminal Court operates forbids colonization of other people’s territory, prohibiting

“The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory;”

If Palestine sues in the ICC, it seems to me certain that Israel would lose. The PLO seems increasingly to be moving in this direction.

So Dagan sees a world where Israeli military action like last summer’s attack on Gaza was almost universally condemned; where Palestine may successfully take Israel to the ICC (where the US has no veto), where boycotts of Israel could grow; and where an angry US president might start declining to veto all UNSC resolutions against Israel.

Dagan said in an interview, as reported by The Guardian,

“As someone who has served Israel in various security capacities for 45 years, including during the country’s most difficult hours, I feel that we are now at a critical point regarding our existence and our security.

“Our standing in the world is not brilliant right now. The question of Israel’s legitimacy is up for debate. We should not erode our relations with our most important friend. Certainly not in public, certainly not by becoming involved in its domestic politics. This is not proper behaviour for a prime minister…”

“An Israeli prime minister who clashes with the US administration has to ask himself what the risks are. On the matter of settlements, there is no difference between the two [US] parties. And even so, they provide us with a veto umbrella. In a situation of a confrontation, this umbrella is liable to vanish, and within a short time, Israel could find itself facing international sanctions.

“The risks of such a clash are intolerable. We are already today paying a high price. Some of them I know and cannot elaborate.

“I would not have confronted the United States and its president. Netanyahu may get applause in Congress, but all the power is in the White House. What will Netanyahu gain by addressing Congress? I just don’t understand it. Is his goal to get a standing ovation? This trip to Washington is doomed to failure.”

I think it is undeniable that by making Israel a partisan GOP issue, Netanyahu risks undermining the bipartisan consensus in favor of knee-jerk support of Tel Aviv’s vast land thefts from the Palestinians.

Whether Dagan is exaggerating the risks Netanyahu is taking or not, it is significant that many figures formerly in high positions in the Israeli security sector are openly coming out against Netanyahu, whom they clearly see as unhinged and flaky and a danger to the future of Israel.”

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+48 # Activista 2015-08-22 12:57
"The 1982 Israeli act of naked aggression on Lebanon eventuated in an 18-year occupation of 10% of Lebanon"
and there is Israel occupation of the Golan Heights - and present bombing of Syria - what is a chance that Israel will bomb/terrorize Iran? High, unless USA stops it.
 
 
-30 # cicciuzzu 2015-08-22 18:46
I thought it was well known that Israel had no aircraft capable of reaching Iran unless they were refueled in mid air and Israel had no refueling aircraft. If the USA were willing to offer refueling aircraft to Israel a hair brained attack on Iran would be possible but up to now such aircraft have not been offered. So talk of Israel attacking Iran must be vacuous sabre rattling.
 
 
+23 # Activista 2015-08-22 20:23
WATCH OUT BAD GUYS Israeli Air Force unveils Refueling ...
Video for us refueling aircraft to Israel▶ 1:08
www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPiG8sOvMtE
Jun 1, 2015 - Uploaded by ArmedForcesUpdate
The Israeli Air force unveils refueling aircraft which could be a signal to ... Iran Military unveils ADVANCED MISSILES to send message to US ...
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will finalize a huge arms deal with Israel during his visit starting Saturday, under which Israel will for the first time be permitted to purchase US aerial refueling planes and other ultra-sophistic ated military equipment that could prove vital to any Israel strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
www.timesofisrael.com/reversing-policy-us-will-sell-israel-aerial-refueling-planes/
 
 
+5 # cicciuzzu 2015-08-23 16:15
Thanks, I should have remembered this which I now remember seeing. Mea Culpa.
 
 
+27 # jimallyn 2015-08-22 20:23
Quoting cicciuzzu:
So talk of Israel attacking Iran must be vacuous sabre rattling.

Israel could easily attack Iran with missiles, launched both from ground and from submarines or ships.
 
 
+18 # wantrealdemocracy 2015-08-22 20:59
Israel is not going to attack Iran. Why should they when they can have the United States do that task for them -- and pay for it all too.

Our corrupt Congress does what ever Israel tells them to do. You suffering under the delusion that our Representatives do what we, the people of this nation, instruct them? Been under a rock for the last three decades? The United States of America is an Israeli colony. All these wars against the Muslim people are fought in the interests of Israel.
 
 
+12 # treerapper 2015-08-23 03:44
Actually, the wars are fought in the interest of OIL and Israel is a convenient sidebar, instigating Israel's own brand of regional aggression.

Look at Rumsfeld's "Shock & Awe" indecency. The trumped up war with Iraq and the dismantling of that country was driven by the desire on the part of the Big Oil boys, to privatize Iraq'a vast resources.

The States and its manipulated governing bodies, do the bidding of big Corporations - the rich and powerful who control everything. Israel's bully boy - Netenyahu - is an opportunistic, arrogant assassin who takes advantage of the States' actions by flexing its military might against all of its neighbors.
 
 
+9 # Philothustra 2015-08-23 15:25
How do you imagine the US can stop Israel
from launching a new nuke-out vs. Iran?
never could before...
The assertion below that Israel can't attack Iran because its too far away is
especially ludicrous. Recently, in fact, "Israeli fighter jets reportedly even carried out experimental flights in Iran's airspace after they managed to break through radars." And they do have refueling capacity...
Netanyahu is a loose cannon, closer to
Kim Jong-Un than Vlad Putin, but Obama
stopped him from launching once already.

If a Republic gets in next year, all bets
are off.
 
 
+43 # wrknight 2015-08-22 17:10
"Iran’s support for this resistance is typically held against it by the US and Israel as ‘support for terrorism,’ while Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s support for the illegal invasion and occupation are considered perfectly normal.)"

Invading and occupying other countries is the norm for the U.S. and Israel. Countries that the U.S. hasn't invaded are getting hard to find.

I have no doubt the Zionists would be spreading their empire even further if they were as big and wealthy as the U.S. But considering their small size, they are damned good at aggression.
 
 
+49 # Dongi 2015-08-22 17:37
Israel ticks off the UN Security Council. It involves itself in the affairs of its best friend, the United States. It continues to steal land from the Palestinians for newly arrived immigrants. It maintains the only nuclear force in the Mideast. Israel has become a genuine pain and thorn in the collective side. It is time to make it behave. Stop vetoing UN resolutions regarding her.
 
 
+50 # danireland46 2015-08-22 17:38
The Israel of Netanyahu is its own worst enemy. The Bully-boy image, especially as characterized by the treatment of Gaza, has turned most of the world against the Israel of Netanyahu.
 
 
+56 # tedrey 2015-08-22 18:16
Why are people so surprised when persons in positions of power who show every clinical sign of being psychopathic turn out to be actual pyschopaths?
 
 
+28 # walt 2015-08-22 18:55
The USA is the source of the real problems. Our government's elected representatives and presidential candidates are lobbied to support Israel always and under any circumstances. A review of the many who proclaim their unconditional allegiance to Israel shows how the Israel lobby controls our government.
We even were lured into invading Iraq by that lobby and now we see it happening again with the same lobby seeking to dump the peace deal negotiated with Iran.

Time that Americans speak out for peace and the rights of the Palestinians and about the undue influence of the Israel lobby over our government. The costs to all of us are too great.
 
 
+29 # MidwestTom 2015-08-22 20:43
Support for terrorism? Has the US been attacked by any Iranians, I don't think so; but we sure have been attacked by Sunni's from Saudi Arabia, who by the way is currently bombing and killing civilians in Yemen, but not a peep out of Obama on that one. There are twelve active Jewish synagogues in Iran, none in Saudi Arabia. Who should we support?
 
 
+29 # ericlipps 2015-08-22 21:36
Quoting MidwestTom:
Support for terrorism? Has the US been attacked by any Iranians, I don't think so; but we sure have been attacked by Sunni's from Saudi Arabia, who by the way is currently bombing and killing civilians in Yemen, but not a peep out of Obama on that one. There are twelve active Jewish synagogues in Iran, none in Saudi Arabia. Who should we support?

There was never a peep out of Dubya about the Saudi connection to Sept. 11, either. And it was he who arranged to have members of the bin Laden family smuggled out of the U.S. by air after 9-11--without having any of them interrogated as to what they might know about the attacks or Osama's further plans, and at a time when all civilian aircraft were grounded.
 
 
+4 # bingers 2015-08-23 22:30
Hell froze over, Tom got one right. 8^)
 
 
0 # gentry cooper 2015-08-26 00:11
"Tom got one right"??? Tom is a hypocrite. You wouldn't hear a peep out of Tom right now if Bush were still president or if any republican was president now. When Bush was in office Tom suported the U.S. involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan. And he probalbly supported the Cheney/Bush threats against Iran and Syria at the time.
 
 
+21 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-08-22 22:31
A few people make money off of war. Lots of money. WE PAY. Wake up America. Get the neoconservative s out of our government (that includes Hillary Clinton), they have been an enormous disaster for the United States while enriching themselves.
 
 
-27 # ForceFoxFive 2015-08-23 02:57
Why does this site equate liberal opinion with unrelenting
Bashing of Israel and Jews' especially the vile vituperative scrawls of
Julian Cole, who blithely describes Israel's battles for survival in 1956 and 1967, ' when multi national Arab aggressors were poised on the brink of another "driving The Jews into the Sea blood frenzy, as "wars of aggression". Jules Streicher would be proud. And where is the mention of the nefarious '73 Yom Kippur attack of Egypt, Syria, Iraq,
Saudi Arabian, Algerian, Libyan even Cuban forces attacking Israel, or the1000's of Arwb terror rockets indiscriminatel y hurled into populated Israeli towns...never a word...all over a tiny splinter of land relative to Arab League (not including Iran, a Persian horror to itself) territory over 5 million square miles (by comparison the US is 3.8 million sq mi mostly ruled by backward warped reactionary regimes and dictatorships. Israel is at least a democracy, albeit not a perfect one, that could be vaporized in an instant ...and then Julain Cole would wring his hands and call it
"unfortunate" like he once casually described the holocaust in one of his earlier anti-Israeli rants. You constant bang on me for donations to this site..not one dime until you bring some balance to this discussion.
 
 
+9 # Dongi 2015-08-23 12:35
Why don't you find another site? One which has right wing block heads like yourself in the majority. You will be much happier.
 
 
-4 # ForceFoxFive 2015-08-23 16:16
Yeah, I was just down & happy with all the 28,000 right wing blockheads at the Bernie Sanders rally in L.A. ...
 
 
+8 # ktony 2015-08-23 17:38
Quoting ForceFoxFive:
Yeah, I was just down & happy with all the 28,000 right wing blockheads at the Bernie Sanders rally in L.A. ...


Mistaken + vote on this nonsense. If you are so sure of your "facts" ForceFoxFive, perhaps you could get the name of the author you are bashing right. I'll let you figure out where you messed up.

Opposing the brutal actions of the secular state of Israel is not bashing, nor is it attacking Jewish people.

You also seem to forget that the State of Israel was founded by dedicated terrorists who drove innocent people from their lands, just as the terrorist State of Israel continues to do.

You might find a better reception if your "facts" were not utterly one-sided.
 
 
0 # gentry cooper 2015-08-26 00:15
ForceFoxFive = Delusional.
 
 
+13 # treerapper 2015-08-23 03:34
Thank you, Juan Cole, for putting all the pieces together on Israel's long sordid history.

Israel has been the most belligerent aggressor in this region and has repeatedly hidden its apartheid behavior behind the "anti-semitie" rant.

Given the meaning of "semite" it is Israel who is the gross perpetrator of anti-semitic behavior, rhetoric and on and on.

Where are Israel's intelligentsia? Where are the rational citizens who should be tired of war and what it reaps? Where are the Israeli voices who support civil and human rights for all? Where are all those Israelis who understand that the bad Karma Israel has been busy collecting since occupying Palestine is a debt that will have to be paid?

The Israeli silence on behalf of a just, humane society is deafening.
 
 
+6 # elizabethblock 2015-08-23 08:30
Where are Israel's peaceniks? Seriously intimidated. They get beaten up while the cops look on. They get plausible death threats. (This is from Max Blumenthal's new book The 51 Day War.) Most of them, of course, are for peace until Israel starts a new war, and then they support it, e.g. David Grossman.
 
 
+10 # elizabethblock 2015-08-23 08:28
I just heard Emma Sky, talking on the CBC about her book The Unraveling, say that when Rumsfeld came to Iraq he didn't even know where Iran was on the map.
Who was it who said that war is God's way of teaching geography to Americans?
 
 
+8 # Activista 2015-08-23 12:22
Lot of facts (censored by the USA mass media) are presented by Juan Cole how close we were/ and are to start the new big war in the Middle East -against Iran.
What is really scary how US congress is bad informed/or bought - not only on the issue of Israel.
 
 
+1 # kalpal 2015-08-23 14:15
Several times in the past few decades I was on the verge of writing the great American novel but the first sentence defeated me every time. Does that count as much as Bibi mouthing off?
 
 
+2 # bingers 2015-08-23 22:34
Quoting kalpal:
Several times in the past few decades I was on the verge of writing the great American novel but the first sentence defeated me every time. Does that count as much as Bibi mouthing off?[/quote[quote name="kalpal"]Several times in the past few decades I was on the verge of writing the great American novel but the first sentence defeated me every time. Does that count as much as Bibi mouthing off?


I once wrote the first line of the greatest C&W song ever, but the rest of it escaped me.
 
 
+1 # Kauai John 2015-08-24 17:53
If any country is going to use a Nuke, I bet Israel will be that country.
 

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