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  • Bernard Finel:

    So what is going on? Three possibilities come to mind:

    (1) Israel wants military action against Iran, but doesn’t want to do it either because of lack of capacity or concern over the consequences, and instead wants to pressure the United States to attack Iran instead.

    (2) Israel is trying to build leverage. Worried about U.S. pressure regarding the Palestinian issue, the Israelis are looking to transform the debate. And indeed, this has occurred. Instead of the United States pressuring Israel on settlements, much of the interaction over the past year has involved the United States offering reassurances and concessions to Israel on Iran. If the centerpiece of U.S.-Israeli relations is Palestine, then the Israel is in the position of fending off U.S. demands. When the issue is Iran, it is the U.S. on the defensive.

    (3) Domestic politics. Either there or here. I don’t know. But look, I don’t think it is any huge secret that Natanyahu would love to see Obama lose this year. At a minimum, I think the Israelis are using the threat of war and disorder as a way to extract concessions when Obama is vulnerable. But, obviously, as we get into the fall campaign, I can almost guarantee that Romney is going to claim Obama was weak on Iran, and the Israelis are essentially building a foundation for that argument whether wittingly or unwittingly.

    The only way this war talk makes strategic sense is if you believe Iran is primarily pursuing nukes for prestige reasons, in which case raising the costs and risks of this course my deter them from this path. But, as a general rule, this does not seem to be the main argument people make.

  • The Azerbaijani government is barking-at-the-moon mad. They’re right next door to Iran. If they think that this will go unnoticed and will stand without response now or later, guess again. What a stupid move. Probably some serious bribes involved.

    It certainly won’t benefit the people of that country. This reminds me of that color-revolution installed president in Georgia, Mikeil Saakashvili. He thought is was a good idea to attack Russian troops. The Russians did what they do in response – cut the country in half, took some territory, and humiliated the president. The Iranians will do what they do, which I’m sure will be ugly for Azerbaijani people.

    This from The Independent:

    “The report also quoted an unnamed US intelligence officer as saying that Washington was “not happy” about the possibility that Israel’s ties with Azerbaijan could facilitate a strike on Iran, and it comes after a spate of US media leaks reflecting alarm about the prospects of such a strike.” March 30 http://tinyurl.com/7kopu4s

    Unhappy is probably an understatement. More from The Independent:

    “veteran military commentator Ron Ben-Yishai speculated in the Yedhiot Ahronot newspaper that the US was leaking information to the media with the specific purpose of averting an Israeli strike on Iran.

    “… the liberal Israeli daily Haaretz suggested an Israeli attack would not now take place this year.”

    That’s called projection – blaming someone else for what you’re doing. I would say the leaks probably came from former Mossad chief Dagan, who opposes the attack and says it would cause great damage to Israel.

    The use of “would not now” is interesting. When was it ever supposed to “take place this year.” Haaretz is now just spinning for Netanyahu. This attack was/is the notion of a madman. It was never going to happen in an e l e c t i o n year and not likely any year.

    AIPAC and the bought and sold members of Congress can just forget it. They are denied their project of ruining the world based o their delusions and mania.

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