There’s a superb obit of Yitzhak Shamir by Marsha Cohen at Lobelog. Shamir was a proud terrorist against the British, and a diehard Revisionist who believed in the Iron Wall policy (endless Arab enemies) and so attacked Iraq and Lebanon. Back then Iran was the ally and Iraq the enemy. Note the delicious Israel lobby angle, the report that Israel played footsie with the Republicans and Iran in 1980 to knock out Carter and set back the possibility of a Palestinian state. (And what will be our October surprise this time round?) Excerpts:
One of the code names Shamir chose in the Stern Gang (a militant group also known as Lehi) was “Michael,” in tribute to Michael Collins of the Irish Republican Army, who Shamir esteemed as a role model in resisting British occupation. Shamir had no qualms about being labeled a terrorist. On the contrary. “First and foremost, terror is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today, and its task is a major one,” Shamir wrote in an article titled “Terror” in the Lehi journal Hazit in August 1943. “It demonstrates in the clearest language, heard throughout the world including by our unfortunate brethren outside the gates of this country, our war against the occupier.”…
According to investigative journalist Robert Parry, whose coverage for the Associated Press of what became the Iran-Contra scandal won him a George Polk Award in 1984, Shamir confirmed in a 1993 interview that there was indeed a “Saturday Night Surprise”–as detailed by Gary Sick in a New York Times op ed and in his book by that title–that delayed the release of the 54 American hostages held at the US Embassy in Tehran for 444 days (Nov. 4, 1979-Jan. 21, 1981) because of a deal struck by the Iranian government with the Reagan presidential campaign. Furthermore, Shamir candidly hinted–before retreating–that the Israeli government had approached Republican operatives and offered to help engineer President Jimmy Carter’s defeat:
“To prevent a Palestinian state and buy time for Israel to further “change the facts on the ground” by moving more Jewish settlers onto the West Bank, Begin felt Carter’s reelection had to be prevented. The Likud also believed that Reagan would give Israel a freer hand to deal with problems on its northern border with Lebanon. The Likud-Republican collaboration reportedly led to Israel becoming a go-between for the Reagan campaign’s secret contacts with Iran, helping to prevent Carter from resolving the U.S.-Iranian hostage crisis and dooming his reelection hopes.”
Notwithstanding Ayatollah Khomeini’s vitriol against “the Zionist entity,” Shamir never wavered in his conviction that it was Iraq, not Iran, that endangered Israel. As Trita Parsi points out in his book Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the U.S.:
“From Tel Aviv’s perspective, Iraq was the single greatest threat to Israel’s security, while Iran–in spite of its ideology, its harsh rhetoric, and its vocal support of the Palestinian issue–was seen as a nonthreat. For all practical purposes, Iran continued to be a partner in balancing the Iraqi threat.”
…“Operation Opera,” Israel’s attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear facility on June 7, 1981, took place while Shamir was Foreign Minister. Shamir wrote a three page letter to world leaders justifying Israel’s preemptive strike before nuclear fuel had been loaded into it. Ari Ben Menashe, who claims to have spent two years as Shamir’s “roving troubleshooter” with the title of “special intelligence consultant,” told Parsi that representatives of the Khomeini regime met with Israeli officials about a month before the Osirak strike. The Iranians gave the Israelis details of an unsuccessful Iranian attack on the site on Sept. 30, 1980, according to Ben Menashe, as well as permission for Israeli planes to land at an Iranian airfield in Tabriz in an emergency.
Shamir was also Foreign Minister during the Israeli invasion that launched the “First Lebanon War” According to several sources, Shamir was neither particularly surprised nor troubled by the Phalangist massacre that took place in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps outside Beirut.