by Roy Tov
Saturday, September 1st, 2012
Leading to a Home-Made Apocalypse
In the last days of August 2012, a picture of Ehud Barak appeared in the Hebrew media. This wasn’t an exceptional event; the odd thing was that he was unusually unshaven and looked old. It was his first public picture as an old man. He has a good reason for feeling down; unless a dramatic event happens, after the next elections to the Knesset he is bound to disappear from the Israeli political map. The elections are scheduled for the end of next year, but Netanyahu may decide to hold them as soon as by the end of this year. In January 2011, Labor Party leader Barak formed a breakaway party, Atzmaut (Independence), which enabled him to maintain his loyal Labor’s MK faction within Netanyahu’s government after Labor threatened to force Barak to leave the government. After Barak’s move, Netanyahu was able to maintain a majority government. Barak’s preemptive move against the Labor party was successful on a tactical scale. He stayed in the government and in the same position. However, it was a strategic disaster. Both parties—Labor and Atzmaut—face now tragedy. This is true, unless Barak proves himself as a war hero, attracting votes from IDF soldiers, especially from the reservists. The recipe for this is simple: War with Iran.
Barak’s troubles do not directly concern Prime Minister Netanyahu; yet, he is not in a better situation. Recently, an Israeli man set himself on fire, reminding the public how bad the economic situation of most Israelis is, despite the immeasurable richness of the small oligarchy represented by Netanyahu. The social protests begun last year by the Israeli Jewish population were unprecedented. They were triggered by a minor event related to cottage cheese—a basic food there—and soon afterwards extended to housing, the most critical problem for most Israelis. Prime Minister Netanyahu was openly blamed during the protests of “using the nation as a springboard” and “living at our expense.” “The time has come for you to admit your mistakes and understand that your time is running out,” was also said openly and published by local media. Even a guillotine was placed on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard. Netanyahu didn’t understand. The protests—including a tent city erected near Tel Aviv’s municipality—were efficiently dismantled. Since then, sporadic protests erupt; the people’s despair has not disappeared. Netanyahu needs a weapon of mass distraction. The recipe for this is simple: War with Iran.
The two leading adversaries in Israeli politics find themselves senior members of the same government and sharing the same belligerent interest, though for different reasons. This is bad news for almost everybody else on the planet. During much of the last year both of them tired us with their belligerent rhetoric towards Iran, their threats were made with a regularity that would have made a nuclear clock envious. Yet, in order to keep their audience entertained, from time to time they added details on Iran’s capabilities, Israel’s plans, and—quite embarrassing—what may trigger the attack. On August 30, 2012, the International Atomic Energy Agency published a report on the nuclear program of Iran. The report claims that Iran is speeding up its uranium enrichment program, having placed more than three quarters of the centrifuges it needs for completing it in a practically impenetrable underground installation, beneath a mountain outside Qum. This means that Iran is close to crossing what Israel had defined as its red line: the capability to produce nuclear weapons in a safe location.
Are Barak and Netanyahu serious in their threats to attack Iran? We won’t need to wait much; the Israeli Air Force—which is in charge of such evaluations—claims that within a year Iran will be able to safely produce a nuclear device. Yet, even now, Israel lacks the capability to complete such an attack. It may initiate it and make one lucky strike, but soon the event will deteriorate into a conventional missile war between Israel and Iran. Israel’s best bet—as often claimed here—is to force the USA to attack Iran. The Israeli schedule fits tightly: Iran will cross the proclaimed Israeli red-line just before the planned elections to the Knesset. This is perfect for both, Netanyahu and Barak. There is only a minor obstacle in the way. President Obama opposes such a war, he emphasizes the role of diplomacy.
On March 28, 2012, during a press conference at the Pentagon, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak publicly praised himself and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: “The decision [to cancel the attack on Iran] was the result of contacts between the [Israeli] Defense Ministry and the Pentagon.” At that moment, the poker game between the USA, Israel and Iran came to an abrupt end; there would be no war until the upcoming USA elections. Considering the bad relationships between the Obama Administration and Netanyahu’s government, the American attitude is not surprising. Equally unsurprising is the fact that Israel openly supports Romney (see Romney, Obama, and the Israeli Vote). In fact, the American Jewish vote never decided any elections in the USA, not even the not even in the almost-tie 2000 elections. However, Jewish money may well decide the fate of the upcoming elections and enforce a war between the USA and Iran. Can Netanyahu “Wag the Dog?”
“Why do you throw dirt?”
Reading the last paragraph, a Zionist would probably exclaim: “Why do you throw dirt with false accusations?” However, in fact there are clear antecedents showing Israeli attempts to illegitimately influence American and British politics. “Esek Bish” (a.k.a. “esek habish”) means “Shameful Deal” in Hebrew, and is the common name of a covert Israeli false-flag operation in Egypt. Code named Operation Susannah, it took place 1954; a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence for plans to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American and British-owned targets. At first, the attacks were blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, “unspecified malcontents” and “local nationalists.” The aim was to induce the British government to retain its occupying troops in the Suez Canal as well as slow down the USA support for Egyptian nationalism. The cell was captured and the Israeli Minister of Defense, Pinhas Lavon, was forced to renounce in what became known as the Lavon Affair. Even now, this is not a topic openly discussed among Israelis. We may well be seeing a new attempt to influence American politics.
Yet, we are not in the 1950s; Mossad cannot recreate its Unit 131—the one active in the Lavon Affair—and attack American targets while disguised as Iranians; at least not easily so. Israel may have lost that operational power from the past, but nowadays it owns mightier weapons. Netanyahu’s support of Romney is in part result of their personal friendship forged back in 1976 (see Obama’s End? Israel Supports Romney). It is also the result of similar worldviews; otherwise Romney wouldn’t have been so unconditionally supportive of Israel. However, there is more than that in this love story.
The Dark Secret
In contrast to the 1950s, keeping financial secrets is difficult these days. In America Pays for Netanyahu’s Luxury Trips, I expanded on what is usually known as “Bibi-Tours,” the name given to several luxury trips abroad that Benjamin Netanyahu and his family made in the last decade, during his terms as finance minister and opposition leader. The funding came from an American businessman, who allegedly has much influence on Netanyahu. Shortly afterwards, on June 13, 2012, Israel State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss published his report on the Israeli government behavior in the events related to Gaza’s Freedom Flotilla of May 2010 (see Netanyahu Found Guilty by State Comptroller). State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said in his official report,
in reality, the Prime Minister made the decision as the way to deal with the Turkish Flotilla based on the discussion held in this forum, and based on the recommendations of his friends.”
In Israel, the identity of this mysterious friend is an open secret. His name is Sheldon Adelson; he is one of the richest men in the USA. Worth around 25 billion dollar, his businesses are centered on the Chinese gambling industry.
Beyond being a major contributor to Netanyahu, he is also significantly helps the Republican Party, and as of yesterday—after his nomination as candidate was accepted—of Mitt Romney. Everything is ready for a home-made apocalypse. Adelson is not shy of his behavior. In February 2012, he told Forbes that he is,
…against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections. But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades. And they stay below the radar by creating a network of corporations to funnel their money. I have my own philosophy and I’m not ashamed of it. I gave the money because there is no other legal way to do it. I don’t want to go through ten different corporations to hide my name. I’m proud of what I do and I’m not looking to escape recognition.”
He already announced support of the Republican Party in the upcoming elections.
In 2000, American elections were decided by the vote of one person. It was the vote of a judge appointed by the father of one of the candidates. In 2012, American elections are likely to be decided by a triad of gamblers seeking for a personally-motivated war. As always, the people will pay the price. The day after, Netanyahu may open a desperate attack on Iran and ask for American help once the missiles begin falling on Tel Aviv. Will Romney comply?