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Back to the Israeli Bombing of Syria

The Israeli attack on Syria comes back into the public eye with a new report by Seymour Hersh.

Back on November 7, 2007 I wrote Who Bombed Syria? Did Syria Get Bombed?. I was trying to puzzle through the conflicting and shifting information regarding the Israeli (or U.S.?) bombing of an alleged nuclear (or chemical weapons) facility in Syria.

Apparently, I was not the only one who thought this whole event stunk of subterfuge. Seymour Hersh has a report in the February 11, 2008 New Yorker titled "A Strike in the Dark" in which he traces his way through his contacts and informants to figure out exactly what was going on with this mysterious attack. Interestingly, he comes to virtually the same conclusion that I did.

My conclusion: "What may be clear (and likely the strike did occur) is that either Israel or the U.S. engaged in a preemptive strike inside Syria, and that they overflew Turkish airspace in this unannounced raid. It also seems very possible that this was a test run of a combined U.S. - Israeli mission for facilities inside Iran. Or as likely, a very direct message to Iran that they could be next." (11/07/07)
Hersh's conclusion: " "He [a U.S. national security official] was telling the Chinese leadership that they'd better warn Iran that we can't hold back Israel, and that the Iranians should look at Syria and see what's coming next if diplomacy fails," the person familiar with the discussion said. "His message was that the Syrian attack was in part aimed at Iran."

The Bush administration's desire to strike Iran has been reported by many. Thus far, the Administration has not been able to generate either the public or political support to do so. The time is rapidly approaching when the reins of leadership will pass to another, and there may some despair that this last great dream of U.S. empire will be put on hold. Laura Rozen writes in Mother Jones:

While their numbers were strong, the hawks this year appeared less confident about their influence on Washington's foreign policy, and resentful of an American bureaucracy perceived by many attendees as having hijacked Iran policy from the weakening grasp of the White House. "It's close to zero percent chance that the Bush administration will authorize military action against Iran before leaving office," Bolton told the conference. "No one should be under any illusions about the United States' part in the Iranian situation in the coming year."

Podhoretz, for his part, agreed: "Unless Bush realizes or fulfills my fading hope of air strikes, it is undoubtedly up to Israel to prevent" Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Bolton, like Podhoretz, urged Israeli policymakers to prepare to take matters into their own hands, saying "Israel should be willing to see themselves as a possible last resort." Though his call for Israel to prepare to strike Iran on its own–as well as his outspoken exasperation with the administration he until recently served–were met with chuckles from the Herzliya audience, the prospect of Israel ultimately choosing to act unilaterally came up again and again.

This seems a clear signal to everyone that the desire to strike Iran is still there, but temporarily thwarted. Therefore it is on to Plan B. Namely that Israel should launch a preemptive strike against Iran. Such a strike would almost certainly provoke some form of retaliation.

It is difficult to imagine that retaliatory strike against Israel would not draw a U.S. military response. It makes little difference if such events unfold under Bush, or the next President of the United States - be he or she Republican or Democrat. The United States has long and vested interests in Israel which have been nurtured and supported (even in the face of proposed UN sanctions against Israel) through administrations of both parties. It is highly unlikely that Israel has much concern that the United States would not come to its "defense" regardless of the legality or wisdom of Israel's "independent" actions.

Israel remains the "wild card" for the Bush administration's (and neo-con and conservative) dream of bringing Iran once more under U.S. control. All the calling on the ghost of Reagan by the Republicans is not pure posturing. Reagan too was very interested in Iran (remember Iran-Contra?). It is also reported that Bush has benefited from Reagan's lessons from the affair. This is not to mention the strategy used by Reagan to steal the Presidency on the back of the American hostage situation in Iran (see The 1980 Election: Stealing an Election the CIA Way).

However, even before Reagan the U.S. had a special interest in Iran. That "interest" was two-fold. The public reason was to control Iran to stop Soviet expansion (the war against communism or the so-called "Cold War"). The underlying issue was controlling Iran's oil reserves. Does this sound hauntingly familiar? At the heart of the neoconservative vision is not simply creating a global empire under the flag of the United States, but controlling global resources - particularly global oil reserves. It also fits nicely with a profit agenda for "energy" companies and the war "industries" - among numerous other corporate benefactors. It is unlikely that the Democratic elite are any less wedded to this set of "interests" than the Republicans are.

The message to Iran sent purportedly by Israel was and is clear - "We will get you back under our influence one way or another." The other message is "The threat does not pass with a changing of the guard in Washington, D.C."

Posted by Rowan Wolf at February 9, 2008 12:25 PM
Comment #244977

The Democratics have portrayed this President as a loner, acting on impulse, unilaterally. They have said again and again how the world is against us, and all the while ignoring our true allies in the middle east.

Isreal destroyed weapons and manpower that could have been used in Iraq in it’s excursion into Lebanon.

I don’t believe Isreal lost that war. If Isreal lost that war there would be no Isreal.

Super Tuesday put the fix in. The Republicans will win the White House because the Democratics will divide themselves with their choices. If Clinton wins, Obama supporters will be angry and vote for the republican. If Obama wins the rest of the country will vote republican because Obama is too liberal.

Mccain is in favor of the Iraq war and will win it. The country is in favor of winning in Iraq and will not elect a democratic in favor of pulling out.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 9, 2008 7:13 PM
Comment #244978

Of course, I am too weary to understand the grey areas. I try, I listen. I learn alot by listening.

weary willie, and what is an interpretation but, a decision by an individual or individuals amongst many alternatives, what something shall mean. Posted by: David R. Remer at January 15, 2008 10:26 AM

The supreme court is not to determine what something “shall” mean. The supreme court is to explain what something already means.

Our founding fathers didn’t die so someone can interpret their intentions.

…Or did they?

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 9, 2008 7:48 PM
Comment #244982

I misspelled Israel. Pardon me.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 9, 2008 8:23 PM
Comment #244986


You wrote:

The underlying issue was controlling Iran’s oil reserves. Does this sound hauntingly familiar? At the heart of the neoconservative vision is not simply creating a global empire under the flag of the United States, but controlling global resources - particularly global oil reserves.

One thing that is missing from your article is the petrodollar cycle. Since global oil sales have been denominated in dollars; European and Asian countries have had to buy dollars in order to buy oil. The effect has been to give us an unlimited credit card to finance trade deficits, ballooning personal debt, and government budget deficits. See:Iran, Venezuela declare war on petrodollar

The other thing is that they do not care that the empire is under the American flag. It is their empire, not America’s. They put it under the American flag so that our sons and daughters can die to protect their empire. America is just a pawn in their game.

Posted by: Ray Guest at February 9, 2008 11:30 PM
Comment #245002

Venezuala sounds like a Monroe Doctrine issue. It shows how week we really are after 7 Bush years. This administration has revealed our complete dependence on the mideast for money as well as oil. This is what the oil revenues have bought, half way between London and Singapore:

People in Israel, where they don’t elect dummies like we do, are understandably concerned about the current trend, and how truly screwed they are becoming by relying on us.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 10, 2008 12:13 PM
Comment #245011

Conspiracy everywhere…no place to run. What a horrible place it must be to live in the brain of someone so suspicious and hate-filled. Rowan would have us believe that Reagan stole the election. Any excuse for the failure of liberal theology is accepted. Liberal socialism rears its ugly head every so often but goes nowhere. Who will be blamed this time for the liberal Dems not retaking the WH? Certainly not the current battle between Obama and Clinton and their usual prescription of more taxes and less freedom.

Posted by: Jim M at February 10, 2008 1:28 PM
Comment #245013
Venezuala sounds like a Monroe Doctrine issue. Posted by ohrealy at February 10, 2008 12:13 PM
In Monroe’s Annual Message to Congress on December 2, 1823, he delivered what we have come to call the Monroe Doctrine. Essentially, the United States was informing the powers of the Old World that the Americas were no longer open to European colonization, and that any effort to extend European political influence into the New World would be considered by the United States “as dangerous to our peace and safety.” The United States would not interfere in European wars or internal affairs, and expected Europe to stay out of the affairs of the New World.
Posted by: Weary Willie at February 10, 2008 2:01 PM
Comment #245014

The Monroe Doctrine may be moot since the , or .

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 10, 2008 2:02 PM
Comment #245015

Too bad, though.
It would be nice to get all our service members out of the other parts of the globe and bring them home to enforce the Monroe Doctrine.
We could use our own hemisphere’s oil while figuring out how to not use it. Dawn is very interested in reducing our dependence on middle-eastern oil.
Enforcing a strict adherence to the Monroe Doctrin would give us great latitude in solving our energy delema. A million and a half service members would be a major influence in this hemisphere. ;)

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 10, 2008 2:04 PM
Comment #245016

‘m a republican and have been for many years. I, like some other republicans, am an actual conservative. (for those who do not know what that means, actually look it up) I can’t say I’m happy with the present day republican party, but some don’t realize that Bush isn’t a conservative. Those are mostly by people who don’t know what conservatism means in the 1st place. But, this does not lend me to the democratic party, as I have read some republicans say. That has to be the silliest thing I have ever heard, and they must not know why they were republican n the 1st place also. (This goes vice versa with democrats unhappy with their party) The most important thing for all of us, is that this country works and upholds all that is good and what it was founded for. This country wasn’t built with blood and sweat for the sake of homosexuality and out of wedlock pregnancies, I’m sorry. BUT, it isn’t here for the sake of large corporations that use our country as a pawn in protecting their overseas investments either. The biggest problem I see, and both parties should focus on, is the elite’s we empower to run our country. (into the ground, quite possibly, both parties) And as a last thought.. although we were hit by terrorists on our soil.. does this mean that all of freedoms to privacy should be lost? We are told that terrorist hate us because of our freedoms. Uhm.. what?! If that is the case.. then why are we losing our freedoms in the course of battling them? Thomas Jefferson once said that to give up freedom for the hope of more security.. and you will end up with neither.

Posted by: panicrooster at February 10, 2008 2:10 PM
Comment #245019

It’s a shame people will pigeonhole our freedom.
Grey areas do that, I guess.

It’s too bad our constitution doesn’t mean what is used to mean. It’s too bad our constitution is something that need to be redefined everytime someone has a hardon.

Oh, well. Like d.a.n says we either learn the hard way or we learn the hard way. I’d like to learn the hard way right now instead of waiting around for someone to tell me I have to learn the hard way their way.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 10, 2008 3:49 PM
Comment #245021

YAY to Thomas Jefferson and BOO to out of wedlock pregnancies in the same post, is the paradox intentional?

On the Iran/Venezuala/euro/petrodollar nexus, I think both countries are too weak to do anything serious, and our friends like Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum might be more helpful after we get out of Iraq. I can’t remember if Bush stopped there to kiss his ass on his latest trip.

On the cold war Iran issue, somebody named Rockesomething might have had a lot to do with that, who also had a lot to do with the development of the World Trade Center. One plus one still equals two, right?

Posted by: ohrealy at February 10, 2008 4:04 PM
Comment #245024

Jeesh, you guys think I’m criptic!
What are you getting at Mr. ohrealy?

Is that, Oh! really? or o’riely, or what?

Who is Rockesomething? This is interesting when you also mention the WTC.


Posted by: Weary Willie at February 10, 2008 5:11 PM
Comment #245025

Who is this Rocke fellow? Mr Ohrealy?

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 10, 2008 5:30 PM
Comment #245050

I heard recently that the Bush Administration had planned for a massive attack on Iran in October of 07. Two things happened that caused them to nix their plans. One was the NIE on Iran which stopped Cheney’s planned blitskreig to demonize Iran and enhance the fear factor before the planned attack. The other thing which stopped the attack dead in it’s tracks was that Israel refused to sanction and participate in the attack.

Iran has approximately 6000 missiles, 1800 of which are targeted on Israel. Israel refused to sanction and participate in the attack because the U.S. could not guarantee that we could shoot down all the missiles aimed at Israel. A 90% kill rate would have meant that as many a 180 missiles would have rained down on Israel. It would have also meant that as many as 420 Iranian missiles would have reached their targets in the Arab oil fields, Arab and U.S. military installations in the Gulf region, as well as U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf. These were losses that apparently the Administration was willing to accept but, not without the approval and participation of Israel.

If the above information is true, it goes a long way in showing how convoluted the Administration’s plans are. If an attack on Iran led to a successful Iranian counterstrike on the Arab oil fields and the Iraqi oil fields which would push them offline for even a short period of time, it would have driven the world economy into a recession and possibly another great depression.

Posted by: jlw at February 11, 2008 11:52 AM
Comment #245082

I think that most Americans feel that there is some way for us to disengage from all the conflicts of the Middle East. There is no way. The next POTUS will have to kiss up to the kings, sheiks, and emirs, just like Bush. Iran is the wild card, because their government is outside of international agreements that tie us to the other states. Israel is just a pawn of ever decreasing significance, as we become more and more dependent on the people who have the oil money.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 11, 2008 6:29 PM
Comment #245205


You are correct on the ass kissing account. What our next president COULD do, however is to actually fund solar energy, nuclear energy, clean coal, wind energy developement as well as efficiency research in these areas. We have little time to develop independant energy, which will allow us to have the chance to disengage from the middle east. Rather than a president who listens solely to the profit motivated global entitities that develope oil, perhaps we need a president who says “Yes, we can find clean energy and energy that doesn’t entangle us in foreign intrigue.”

It is sad that our current president seems still a bit near sighted on that account. A clear signal sent to oil producers that they are soon to lose their “pearls” might create a bigger change than military threats.

Posted by: googlumpugus at February 13, 2008 3:15 PM
Comment #245228

Maybe it’s not what our next president should do. Maybe it’s what he shouldn’t do.

What our next president COULD do, however is to actually fund solar energy, nuclear energy, clean coal, wind energy developement as well as efficiency research in these areas. Posted by: googlumpugus at February 13, 2008 03:15 PM

Maybe it’s what our next president shouldn’t do.

Like, not collect taxes from business that provide the products mentioned above. No property taxes, no payroll tax, no inventory tax. NO tax on business that generates efficient, renewable, reliable energy.

No foriegners allowed.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2008 5:02 PM
Comment #245259

googlumpugus, on “solar energy, nuclear energy, clean coal, wind energy”. Oddly enough, even Arab states that don’t have much oil are more interested in developing some of these technologies than we are. We have stalled for 30 years, gotten nowhere, and are still dependent on the volatile Persian Gulf, not only for oil, but for the reinvestment of the money that now belongs to them, and they can withhold if we get a government they don’t like.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 13, 2008 6:23 PM
Comment #245260
We have stalled for 30 years Posted by: ohrealy at February 13, 2008 06:23 PM
What our next president COULD do, however is to actually fund solar energy, nuclear energy, clean coal, wind energy developement as well as efficiency research in these areas. Posted by: googlumpugus at February 13, 2008 03:15 PM

NO tax on business that generates efficient, renewable, reliable energy.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2008 8:03 PM
Comment #245263


(that’s a period)

Hannity America:
Sean Hanity: Do you think the debate..

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2008 8:10 PM
Comment #245266

Watchblog managing editor,
Why isn’t comment spam being deleted?
This should be filtered out in the first place and never end up on the page.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 13, 2008 8:18 PM
Comment #245270


Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2008 9:21 PM
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