2 years, 12 months ago
There has been quite a bit of talk lately about whether Israel is contemplating an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities. One article on the subject is found at Commentary Magazine’s online blog, “Contentions.”
Jonathan Tobin does a very good job of looking at the big picture and discussing the geopolitical aspects of an attack by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the long odds facing such an operation by Israel seem simply prohibitive.
But what if all of the public debate about an Israeli strike against Iran was not just conjecture or the case of Israeli politicians leaking information to the press, but, rather, an intentional gambit by Israel to push President Obama to take stiffer action against Iran than the ineffective sanctions route? What if the Israelis know something about Obama that tells them that not only is Obama receptive to attacking Iran but he is looking for an excuse to do so? Could this President be just crazy enough to try to pull off a missile and air strike against Iran’s nuclear program? Ordinarily the idea is absurd. But these are not ordinary times. Obama’s presidency is failing fast and he is thrashing around like a drowning man.
Fasten your seatbelts for a little rampant speculation and see if there isn’t a grain of sense in all of this.
First, let’s get inside the Obama White House. Imagine the increasing frenzy. Obama has tried everything to resurrect his sinking popularity but nothing has worked so far. Killing Bin Laden? A temporary bounce that has long since fizzled. Killing Qaddafi? Nothing doing. Yanking the troops out of Iraq post haste? No one seems to care. Another $500 billion, Son of Stimulus spending spree packaged as a “Jobs Bill” is going nowhere fast. The public has figured out that Obama does not spend our tax dollars but, rather, throws most of it out the window of Air Force One while the rest goes to his political cronies like unions and Democrat campaigns.
He needs something big. Really big. Domestic policy is not an option because the Republicans have a choke hold on the House of Representatives for the remainder of his term.
Could Iran be the ticket?
As crazy as it sounds, there are a number of factors that might line up in Obama’s mind and convince him to green light an attack.
For one, an attack against Iranian nuclear facilities is exactly the kind of wargaming that Obama enjoys the most: remote, relatively low-risk, no ground troops involved, short duration, odds stacked highly in our favor. Missiles, drones, stealth bombers, stealth fighters. Maybe some Special Ops going in to blow up a thing or two. No long-term commitment and largely out of his hands once the decision is made to proceed.
Another factor Obama may find attractive in a strike against Iran is the revenge factor. More than one commentator has observed that Obama does not like to be snubbed or insulted. He has extraordinarily thin skin. And the Iranians have insulted and maligned him like no other on the international stage. This must be especially galling to Obama given the way he has scraped and bowed to the Iranian Regime, offered the so-called “open hand,” and the only response has been the back of their hand across Obama’s face. Pure speculation here, but it must eat at his sizable ego to think of Ahmadinnerjacket and the mullahs laughing at him. He must want to get even very badly. So there is ample motivation for him.
Still another argument in favor of striking Iran would be its effect upon Israel. Whether it is all the anti-Semitic rants he absorbed for 20 years in Jeremiah Wright’s Chicago church or the Leftist obsession for the “plight of Palestinians,” President Obama seems to harbor a deep dislike for the Jewish State and, perhaps especially, for Prime Minister Netanyahu. There is no doubt that Israeli officials have been making it clear to the Administration that they will act if Obama does not. The thought that Netanyahu might show himself to be a decisive leader while Obama dithers is unbearable to The One. This may be the very game that Netanyahu is playing on Obama right now. And Obama may that he will be in a strong position to demand huge concessions from Netanyahu if Obama takes out Iran’s nukes, enough to seal the deal on a peace plan that could net Obama a second Nobel prize and the international acclaim he constantly craves.
But perhaps the most appealing aspect must be the political angle and its effect on his chances of re-election. Americans have a hard time resisting a war-time President. As long as hostilities do not go one for too long and they are seen as relatively successful (and the Leftist Media will make sure that no one knows whether it has been successful until long after the 2012 Elections), it is highly likely that his approval ratings will take a large jump. It will also make Republican arguments that Obama is incompetent much harder to sell.
Will it be enough to drown out the terrible economy and lousy job market and skyrocketing deficits and rising prices? Maybe not. But that only makes it all the more imperative for him to try something as mad and desperate as this. Add to this the calculus of the slowly widening scandals that threaten to engulf this Administration. So far the Leftist Media has been able to hold back the floods on Solyndra (where it appears that more than half a billion dollars were railroaded to a failing company headed by a close ally and financial contributor of Obama) and the “Fast and Furious” (where we are nowhere close to getting the truth and extent of the malfeasance). If it appears that either or both of these scandals will take off in the public’s consciousness, Obama will be extremely tempted to pull a Bill Clinton-Lewinsky-Missile Strike distraction operation. Attacking Iran with stand-off weapons would be the ultimate distraction that would assure zero coverage of either of these political scandals.
Do I really think that President Obama would launch a surprise strike on Iran? No, not really.
But sometimes, when a politician lacking in scruples and dedicated to the idea that nothing is off limits in the quest for continued power is cornered, even the unthinkable may just be possible. In this light, the withdrawal of all U.S. forces in Iraq next month actually eliminates one of the easiest targets for the Iranians to go after as a counter-strike. Coincidence? Almost certainly. But convenient nonetheless.
And consider this article in The Guardian that discusses the preparations that Great Britain is making to support a U.S. attack on Iran:
Britain’s armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran amid mounting concern about Tehran’s nuclear enrichment programme, the Guardian has learned.
The Ministry of Defence believes the US may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities. British officials say that if Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.
In anticipation of a potential attack, British military planners are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles over the coming months as part of what would be an air and sea campaign.
They also believe the US would ask permission to launch attacks from Diego Garcia, the British Indian ocean territory, which the Americans have used previously for conflicts in the Middle East.
The Guardian has spoken to a number of Whitehall and defence officials over recent weeks who said Iran was once again becoming the focus of diplomatic concern after the revolution in Libya.
They made clear that Barack Obama, has no wish to embark on a new and provocative military venture before next November’s presidential election.
But they warned the calculations could change because of mounting anxiety over intelligence gathered by western agencies, and the more belligerent posture that Iran appears to have been taking.
Hawks in the US are likely to seize on next week’s report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is expected to provide fresh evidence of a possible nuclear weapons programme in Iran.
The Guardian has been told that the IAEA’s bulletin could be “a game changer” which will provide unprecedented details of the research and experiments being undertaken by the regime.
Another Whitehall official, with knowledge of Britain’s military planning, said that within the next 12 months Iran may have hidden all the material it needs to continue a covert weapons programme inside fortified bunkers. He said this had necessitated the UK’s planning being taken to a new level.
“Beyond [12 months], we couldn’t be sure our missiles could reach them,” the source said. “So the window is closing, and the UK needs to do some sensible forward planning. The US could do this on their own but they won’t.
“So we need to anticipate being asked to contribute. We had thought this would wait until after the US election next year, but now we are not so sure.
“President Obama has a big decision to make in the coming months because he won’t want to do anything just before an election.”
Another source added there was “no acceleration towards military action by the US, but that could change”. Next spring could be a key decision-making period, the source said. The MoD has a specific team considering the military options against Iran.
Since when do the British start making contingency plans to support a U.S. attack on Iran? Very suspicious. No doubt that President Obama will try to avoid anything so drastic as an attack on Iran for as long as possible, but this article indicates that the decision may well come to a head in the next several months. As I say, it is probably crazy talk, but if the economy continues to stagnate, unemployment remains high, a scandal starts to gain traction and Obama’s approval numbers stay in the tank, do not be shocked if we start to hear increasingly tough language out of the Administration’s mouthpieces as a prelude.
As the saying goes, stay tuned.