Will they or won’t they? Or when will they? Or will they say?

A friend asked me in passing a few weeks ago, “Well what do you think? A couple of months?” I told him, no, I didn’t think so, not in that short of time, anyway. Neither one of us had to ask the other what the subject was. It was about whether—or more exactly when—Israel would launch a military attack against Iran’s nuclear weapons infrastructure.

There has been a popular impression for quite a while that it has to happen, it will happen, and it could be any time now. I do not have an inside track, and I also tend to be wary of going with the flow. So lately I’ve been on the lookout for information that can fill in some of the missing pieces.

The first clearly presented article I saw as I began to watch for such things laid out several reasons why it was not about to happen just yet, written by Professor Barry Rubin at the beginning of last month. You can (and should) read it for yourself, but the effect it had on my understanding of the situation was that things are not as cut-and-dried as the media would like to think they are. Professor Rubin added some further comments on this just last week.

I’ve seen a few other places where similar observations were presented – that a simplistic view that’s it’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen soon – is just that, simplistic. I’ve been putting off this post, trying to get a more precise handle on this, with more names, dates, & figures, but it’s just too much of a moving target right now. So if my friend were to ask me the same question tomorrow, I’d have the same answer, but that’s just my two cents.

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BHOHeadCrop05March2012So I suppose you could say it was a safe for US President Obama to talk tough in his address to AIPAC on Sunday. Since nothing was going to happen any time soon, he had plenty of room (comparing himself to Teddy Roosevelt) to “carry a big stick.”

But—ah, well!—talk is all it was. Cheap talk, at that. And so transparently dishonest that I take comfort in being certain that the AIPAC delegates saw through it well enough. And that, by the same token, the gracious reception given the speech by Israel President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu will be seen in the proper light. (As someone put it, “just doing their job.”)

I don’t mean to overwork Professor Rubin, but I’ll cite him again here as having written the clearest analysis of the speech that I’ve seen today. He titled his post, “Promise her anything but give her Arpege.” I think you get the idea.

As for all the support President Obama claims he has given Israel, take a look at this video from The Emergency Committee for Israel that puts things in a more accurate perspective:

Barack Obama ran for president as a pro-Israel candidate — but his record tells a different story

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In my last two posts I brought up the possibility that some of the more violent setbacks to Iran’s nuclear program may not be accidents or the work of Israeli agents (exclusively, anyway) either one, but clandestine efforts by loyal Iranians opposed to the Ahmadinejad regime.

I’ve seen some further comments along those lines, but one of the more interesting items was a piece in Haaretz saying WikiLeaks had released “intelligence” that Israeli special forces had indeed cooperated with Kurdish fighters inside Iran to destroy one or more nuke sites some time ago.

Lest we get our hopes up too high, we need to remember that just because we see it on the internet doesn’t make it so. Blogger Elder of Ziyon pointed out a few things in a post titled Tempest in a Wikipot that may help us to keep things in perspective.

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homs_CropBack in December I was also looking at the way the Syrian revolt against the Assad regime has become a dividing point between the various Muslim states and factions in the Middle East. So far Assad is still in, and things are not looking good for the rebels. It’s odd that the entire Arab world plus Turkey is lined up against the regime (including now even Al-Qaeda and Hamas) but nothing is moving. Russia and Iran are the only two entities that I’m aware are still behind Assad. It would appear especially that Hamas’ opposition is a radical move, given their position as merely a proxy for Iran. How can they get away with that? They’re cutting their own umbilical cord—or are they? The more I look at the Middle East, and Arab behavior in particular, the more I see that we make a mistake when we try to view things from our Western perspective of democratic principles and national republics.

I read an analysis by Daniel Greenfield this weekend which pointed out that Arab loyalties really are not to nation states nor even yet ideologies, but to the clan. At which point Syria becomes an excellent example of this: right now it’s the Alawite “splinter sect” in the persons of the Assad clan that’s desperately, brutally holding on to power. And if they fall, will we see a free, democratic Syria emerge? Not likely. We really should stop making such an asserted effort to fool ourselves.

LiebermanheadcropcloseAt least one person is taking away an important lesson from all this. Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman points out that the failure of the international community (and of the UN in particular) to protect the victims of state violence in Syria clearly shows Israel’s wisdom in not trusting international promises of such protection as a basis for allowing a(nother) terrorist state hard on its borders.

Nuff said?

TTYL. Lineman.

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