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Diversionary war games (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Zalman Shoval 03/22/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1607 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
It appears that the U.S. government has made a decision, oddly timed to coincide with the IDF chief of staff’s visit to Washington, to increase the pressure. Not necessarily on Iran, mind you, but on Israel. The aim of this pressure is to limit Israel’s freedom to act against the Iranian nuclear threat. The method: periodic leaking of supposedly top secret information to The New York Times.

This time the leak pertained to war games, or a “classified war simulation held this month to assess the repercussions of an Israeli attack on Iran.” The conclusions of this simulation were that “the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead.”

The newspaper quoted, though indirectly, Gen. James Mattis, the commander of the United States Army´s Central Command, as having said that an Israeli strike was “likely to have dire consequences” affecting the U.S. military and the entire region.

The New York Times did concede that the conclusions of this particular simulation were not “the only possible outcome,” but stressed that (and presumably this was the aim of those who leaked the story) the conclusions of this exercise would “give stronger voice to those in the White House, Pentagon and intelligence community who have warned that a strike could prove perilous for the United States.”

According to the sources cited in the article, any Israeli offensive would only delay the Iranian nuclear bomb by two years at most, and an American attack would only delay the Iranians by an “additional two years.” In other words, these sources believe that it is next to impossible to fully block the Iranian nuclear effort, and therefore it would be best simply to accept it. They are urging a policy of containment – precisely what U.S. President Barack Obama declared he wouldn’t do in his AIPAC speech earlier this month.

Prior to this leak, The New York Times ran another article that also addressed the futility of a military attack in Iran, citing exactly the same reasoning – the short delay that would be achieved in Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon. This opinion was presented as relying on the assessments of the Israeli Mossad, which, as they would have it, has become convinced that the American trepidation is a more appropriate position than the "warmongering" attitude in Jerusalem.

All this raises alarming questions regarding the U.S.’s attitude toward a possible military strike on Iran, and on how determined the U.S. really is to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear power. Presumably, Iranian leaders are gleefully reading these New York Times leaks and coming to the same conclusion.

Without doubting the sincerity of Obama’s declarations, one is allowed to wonder what he meant when he said that he has “a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” when in reality, voices in Washington are saying the opposite. One gets the impression that the emphasis on American victims (as a result of an Israeli strike) is designed to stir hostility among the American public, just like Israel and the Jews were slandered not too long ago and made to look like it was us who dragged the U.S. into a war in Iraq.

Israel is the last country that can be accused of not knowing the dangers of war. There is no one who hopes that diplomatic measures will stop Iran’s nuclearization more than Israel. Despite this overriding desire, Israel could put Obama’s declaration – that “Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat” – to the test. It may also force the U.S. to prove its mantra that “Israel’s security is sacrosanct.”


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