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Iran hysteria watch

Israel/Palestine
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The warmongering is getting crazier and crazier. Thanks to Ilene Cohen, a few of the recent stories on the drumbeat to war. And remember, Obama can’t say a word against this craziness, because of his political need not to alienate the Jewish community.

First, here’s Netanyahu calling up a Washington Post journalist to thank him for a militant column. Haaretz:

On August 3, [Washington Post columnist Colbert] King wrote a piece entitled  “Iran’s anti-Semitism makes it the greatest threat to Jews.” In the article, King wrote that Iran is at least as anti-Semitic as the Third Reich had been, and that Tehran doesn’t pose a threat solely to Israel or the Jews, but to the entire world. King ended the column with a question: “If we are to honor the pledge of ‘never again,’ will we be up to preventing the potential genocide of the 21st century?”

Channel 2 reported that the next day, Netanyahu called King and praised what he had written.

Next, Netanyahu embarrasses UN Secy General Ban ki-Moon over Iran. Haaretz:

On Friday, Netanyahu asked Ban to cancel his plans to participate in a conference of the Non-Aligned Movement, scheduled to take place in Tehran in late August.

“Your trip to Iran is a big mistake, even if it is being done out of good intentions,” Netanyahu told Ban in a telephone call, according to the Prime Minister’s Office…

Speaking with Haaretz on Sunday, two Israeli officials indicated that the UN chief was surprised and angered that Netanyahu disclosed the content of their phone conversation without giving due notice.

According to the sources, Ban believed that the Prime Minister’s Office’s leaking of the conversation, coupled with the Haaretz’s publication of the UN chief’s intent to visit the Tehran conference, were meant to embarrass Ban, resulting in what he considered to be damage to his international legitimacy.

More Haaretz coverage. Why isn’t a military strike’s effect on oil prices an issue in the U.S. election campaign? Haaretz:

Oil prices rose to nearly $94 a barrel on Monday as increased concerns about the possible escalation of the conflict between Israel and Iran helped crude claw back last week’s losses triggered by the International Energy Agency’s lower crude demand forecast.

More hysteria: The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel may need to destroy parts of Gaza and Lebanon. Imagine if someone were talking about destroying parts of Israel?

Israel may need to destroy parts of Lebanon and Gaza if Hezbollah and Hamas rain missiles upon the country in response to an Israeli attack on Iran, former Mossad head Danny Yatom said Monday.

Yatom, in an interview on Israel Radio, warned against presenting an apocalyptic picture of how Iran will respond if Israel takes military action against its nuclear program.

Ultimatums. Jodi Rudoren reports in the New York Times:

Amid intensifying Israeli news reports saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is close to ordering a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, his deputy foreign minister called Sunday for an international declaration that the diplomatic effort to halt Tehran’s enrichment of uranium is dead.

…Asked how long the Iranians should be given to cease all nuclear activity, Mr. [Danny] Ayalon said “weeks, and not more than that.”

The comments came after a frenzy of newspaper articles and television reports over the weekend here suggesting that Mr. Netanyahu had all but made the decision to attack Iran unilaterally this fall.

But Haaretz reports that another international figure is strongly opposed to a military strike on Iran:

The commander of the NATO mission in Libya that toppled Muammar Gadhafi’s regime last year vehemently opposes a military strike on Iran at this time, regardless of whether it would be carried out by Israel or the United States.

Charles Bouchard, who retired from the Royal Canadian Air Force four months ago, told Haaretz in an exclusive interview Sunday that he doesn’t believe Israel would take such an illogical and irresponsible step as to attack Iran without international support.

And NATO won’t unanimously support a military campaign against Iran any time soon, he said, nor will the UN Security Council.

As someone familiar with Israel’s senior military leadership, because of his work at NATO, Bouchard said he is convinced that Israel will not set in motion a process that could lead to chaos in the entire region, by launching a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The military option, he said, could be a boomerang that will end up harming Israel and uniting the entire Muslim world against it.

Reminiscent of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s reported statement two weeks back, following talks with Netanyahu, that Israel is a “pig.” From Maariv, in translation:

Meetings of the American Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak and President Shimon Peres were indeed positive atmosphere, but in private conversations, he expressed frustration at the lack of confidence expressed by Netanyahu and Barak, the American commitment to stop the Iranian nuclear program. An Israeli source said the Americans believe it is a kind of “ingratitude” and “pigs” in light of unwavering U.S. support for Israel’s security.

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24 Responses

  1. YoungMassJew
    YoungMassJew
    August 13, 2012, 2:01 pm

    Panetta really said that, WOW!

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright
      August 13, 2012, 5:33 pm

      “Panetta really said that, WOW!”

      The sentiments America’s doers and shakers feel obliged to publicly mouth about Israel and those they actually have are two different things.

      It’s the case of the emperor’s new clothes. Once the balance tips, and it becomes permissible for a public figure to say what he actually thinks of Israel, Israel is going to turn out to have remarkably few friends.

  2. BillM
    BillM
    August 13, 2012, 2:30 pm

    Great summary. It’s very tricky to cover the hysteria without actually adding to it.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS
      August 13, 2012, 7:35 pm

      Wise comment. That is why I decided not to say anything in this thread.

  3. WeAreAllMadeOfStars
    WeAreAllMadeOfStars
    August 13, 2012, 4:18 pm

    “And remember, Obama can’t say a word against this craziness, because of his political need not to alienate the Jewish community.”

    Excuse my limited English command, but what I understand from this sentence is that the American Jewish community as a whole stands for strike on Iran. Is that correct ?
    If yes … it is appalling.

    • CTuttle
      CTuttle
      August 13, 2012, 6:43 pm

      I wouldn’t paint it with that broad a brush…! But, I find it ironic that Bibi and Barak are paying the piper…


      Majority of Israelis oppose strike on Iran

      Forty-six percent say that Israel should not attack Tehran’s nuclear plants; support for prime minister drops to 34% from 46% three months ago…

      The survey results were published amid heightened debate among senior policy officials about the necessity of a military strike to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have made increasingly vociferous statements about the urgent imperative to stop Iran.

      The poll also showed that Israeli support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has waned in the past three months. According to the poll, only 34% expressed satisfaction with the prime minister, as opposed to 58% who said that they are dissatisfied. The remaining 8% responded that they did not know. A similar survey conducted in May found that 46% were satisfied with the prime minister’s performance…

  4. MRW
    MRW
    August 13, 2012, 4:28 pm

    Israelis don’t seem to understand the concept of consequences. This time in history, with the internet and 24/7 news and communication, any assertion that they and their country are being discriminated against because Israel went to war ain’t gonna’ stick, and furthermore, no one is going to give a damn.

  5. Keith
    Keith
    August 13, 2012, 5:04 pm

    PHIL- “Why isn’t a military strike’s effect on oil prices an issue in the U.S. election campaign?”

    Probably because an honest discussion would reveal that the US needs oil prices to be high so that big, expensive projects involving expensive tar sands oil and natural gas from hydraulic fracturing can make a profit. With the world economy and the demand for oil stagnating, forcibly removing some or all of Iran’s light sweet crude and natural gas from the market is probably part of the imperial calculations. Empire has a lot of irons in the fire making it difficult to assess the importance of any single criteria. Also, an oil price ‘shock’ could facilitate a more rapid implementation of neoliberal structural adjustment, a key imperial goal.

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright
      August 13, 2012, 5:50 pm

      “…With the world economy and the demand for oil stagnating, forcibly removing some or all of Iran’s light sweet crude and natural gas from the market is probably part of the imperial calculations. Empire has a lot of irons in the fire making it difficult to assess the importance of any single criteria. Also, an oil price ‘shock’ could facilitate a more rapid implementation of neoliberal structural adjustment, a key imperial goal.”

      Just what organized cabal do you see as making these ‘calculations’?

      I think the truth is that there isn’t one — just a lot of careerists maneuvering to impress whatever their constituency is and to garner funds and support from elderly billionaires who have taken up pushing whatever in their dotage. They’re too busy stepping in whoever’s face and/or massaging whoever’s toes to care at all about what it all is going to lead to.

      I’m reminded of a passage in a Le Carre novel where some espionage boffin meditates about how you climb the greasy pole, always hoping to someday gain entrance to that room where all the ‘real’ decisions are made. Finally you get there — and discover the room’s empty.

      It’s actually a somewhat more frightening thought than thinking all this is the result of the considered machinations of an organized conspiracy.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        August 14, 2012, 9:31 am

        Keith is riding his “big theory” hobbyhorse again. :) Don’t bother asking for any empirical evidence to back up his airy and grandiose claims — he’s not interested in empirical evidence.

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 14, 2012, 3:50 pm

        COLIN WRIGHT- “Just what organized cabal do you see as making these ‘calculations’?”

        The government is chock full of planners who make these sorts of calculations, the State Department, the CIA, etc. In order to deal with various contingencies, appropriate government agencies need to be able to anticipate the strategic consequences of important events, oil at $50 per barrel versus oil at $150 per barrel for example. We didn’t get to be an empire by accident, by a lack of planning, ad-libbing on the fly. Nor by placing undo emphasis on the quixotic whims of elderly billionaires.

    • MRW
      MRW
      August 13, 2012, 8:54 pm

      “PHIL- “Why isn’t a military strike’s effect on oil prices an issue in the U.S. election campaign?”
      Probably because an honest discussion would reveal that the US needs oil prices to be high so that big, expensive projects involving expensive tar sands oil and natural gas from hydraulic fracturing can make a profit. With the world economy and the demand for oil stagnating”

      The effect of the price of a military strike is being embargoed because Israel would be blamed. The US doesn’t need “oil prices to be high so that…make a profit”
      because . . .
      (1) The prices are set by commodity traders in the City of London, and manipulated there through futures contracts.
      (2) Oil sands cost prices are not expensive, especially given the high price and time of shipping oil from the Gulf or Africa. Syncrude, the Oil Sands oil, is 3X concentration/barrel of sweet crude. The American companies returned to Alberta when the actual cost of producing a barrel of Oil Sands oil clocked in at under $10. It yields 3X more at the refinery.
      (3) Worldwide demand for oil is not stagnating. It has increased since 2005 in China and India and the developing nations. US demand may have diminished but not globally. http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2012-04-21/global-factors-gasoline-prices/54421804/1
      (4) Oil is the #1 US national security military item. Needed for armies, ships, and planes. The US govt doesn’t give a damn about your SUV or house heat.
      (5) Global oil reserves rising (oil appears to be renewable)
      “Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries share of global oil reserves likely to rise to 70%”
      http://www.arabnews.com/gcc-share-global-oil-reserves-likely-rise-70

      Every single oil producing country has had an increase in oil reserves since 1989. Peak oil is a myth, a 150-year-old reoccurring myth, I might add.

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 14, 2012, 3:30 pm

        MRW- Trust you to pack a lot of disinformation in one comment.

        “The prices are set by commodity traders in the City of London, and manipulated there through futures contracts….Worldwide demand for oil is not stagnating. It has increased since 2005 in China and India and the developing nations.”

        Taken together, these two statements are contradictory. If commodity traders set the price of oil, then the supply and demand is irrelevant. Is it? What does the president of OPEC think?

        “OPEC’s president signalled on Monday it could act to reduce a glut of oil that has knocked the price down towards double digits….”It’s very clear there is a tremendous surplus that has led to this severe decline in prices in a very short time span,” Luaibi told reporters. “This will not serve anyone.” Worries about the slow pace of global economic recovery have helped depress prices….Iran, which has seen its own production sink to the lowest level in two decades as a result of EU and U.S. sanctions, blames Gulf Arab countries for over-producing and wants cuts to support higher prices.” (Reuters – Mon, Jun 11, 2012 7:04 AM EDT)
        http://finance.yahoo.com/news/oil-glut-hits-price-100-103728869.html

        MRW says: “Oil sands cost prices are not expensive, especially given the high price and time of shipping oil from the Gulf or Africa.”

        My reply: “In fact, “tar sands” is a colloquialism for 54,000 square miles of bitumen that veins sand and clay beneath the boreal forests of Alberta, one of Canada’s western provinces. Black as it is, bitumen isn’t actually tar, though it looks and smells like tar, and has its consistency on a very cold day — hence, that term “tar sands.” (The corporations that produce the stuff prefer “oil sands.”)

        Unlike oil, bitumen does not flow. Gouged and steamed out from under the forest, it is wrenched from the soil, barreled, and then refined into synthetic crude oil — at shattering environmental costs. The tar sands industry has ravaged Alberta’s forests, poisoned its air and water, and wrecked the livelihoods of its indigenous peoples. Moreover, producing synthetic crude from a barrel of bitumen generates at least twice as much greenhouse gas as producing a barrel of normal crude oil. At 1.5 million barrels of tar sands oil a day, that’s a lot of global warming.”
        http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175376/cantarow_energy_is_ugly

        Furthermore, “On average, it takes one barrel of oil, or its energy equivalent, to pump out anywhere between twenty and sixty barrels of cheap oil. In contrast, the U.S. Department of Energy calculates that an investment of one barrel of energy yields between four and five barrels of bitumen from tar sands. Some experts figure that the returns on energy invested may be as low as two or three barrels.”
        “Bitumen’s low-energy returns and earth destroying production methods explain why the unruly resource requires capital investments of approximately $126,000 per barrel of daily production and market prices of between $60 and $80. Given its impurities, bitumen often sells for half the price of West Texas crude…..Bitumen is what a desparate civilization mines after it’s depleted its cheap oil. It’s a bottom-of-the-barrel resource, a signal that business as usual in the oil patch has ended.” (p16, “Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent,” Andrew Nikiforuk, 2010)

        And recently, “Last week, Wood Mackenzie, the oil experts, came out and said what many in the industry had increasingly been fearing. Noting the tar sands’ high-energy extraction process meant production costs were among the highest of any oil fields in the world, Wood Mackenzie warned that falling – or simply volatile – prices “could result in operators delaying or cancelling unsanctioned projects.”….To put this into perspective, it now costs between $80and $100 a barrel to break even on new Canadian oil sand mines….” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/canada-in-danger-of-booming-tar-sands-backlash-7848982.html

        Tar sands oil extraction is expensive and environmentally destructive. The figures you obtained from industry flacks are pure crap. Larger scale tar sands oil projects and natural gas from fracking will result in massive environmental destruction.

        MRW says: “Global oil reserves rising (oil appears to be renewable)”

        Economically recoverable reserves are a function of oil price and will naturally rise with rising oil prices. At $500 per barrel, we would have a seemingly unlimited supply which would be too expensive to use. Also, these ‘estimates’ determine OPEC quotas and are extremely political in nature. Evidence seems to indicate that we are at the end of cheap oil. As for your faith in “renewable” oil, what percent of oil geologists share your belief in abiogenic petroleum formation? This unproven theory has been largely discredited, although Lyndon LaRouche still pushes it.

  6. ColinWright
    ColinWright
    August 13, 2012, 5:42 pm

    “…And remember, Obama can’t say a word against this craziness, because of his political need not to alienate the Jewish community…”

    I don’t think the Jewish community is the primary concern here. For one, it is at least divided as to the wisdom of attacking Iran.

    For another, of course willingness to attack Iran has become a litmus test for true Israel-love — and the constituency that demands true Israel-love is hardly confined to Jews.

    For a third, Obama is always vulnerable to the ‘he’s a Muslim’ charge. Just as his being Black has permitted him to make fewer gestures to the Black community than any Democratic president in living memory, so the accusation that he is Muslim makes it virtually impossible for Barack to adopt a conciliatory stance towards any stridently Muslim state. In fact, ol’ Barack has to regularly kill Muslims to innoculate himself from the charge.

  7. American
    American
    August 13, 2012, 7:17 pm

    ‘An Israeli source said the Americans believe it is a kind of “ingratitude” and “pigs” in light of unwavering U.S. support for Israel’s security.”

    Who knows if he really said that or not but Israel is pig…oink,oink.
    I asked earlier if anyone knew of any victim group that the world, especially the US, had compensated or helped more than Jews(Israel). If there is one I never heard of them. And yet all we ever hear from the zios is ‘no one ever did anything for the Jews, Jews have only themselves to depend on, the world is hostile to Jews, no one cares about the Jews, you’re all anti semites…on and on and on…while demanding America commence a war for them…gawd.
    Never a word of gratitude, never a thank you or even acknowledgement of anyone helping them….just spit in our faces all the time and tell us we ‘owe them more, more, more.

  8. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    August 13, 2012, 8:09 pm

    What kind of pig is this?
    Some times a rat when over fed ,could look like a pig even to the regular feeder.

    Dont feed the rat.Panetta.

  9. RoHa
    RoHa
    August 13, 2012, 9:42 pm

    “King wrote that Iran is at least as anti-Semitic as the Third Reich had been”

    Is he trying to make the Third Reich look good?

  10. gingershot
    gingershot
    August 13, 2012, 10:07 pm

    With the fact that an Israeli attack on Iran, designed and coordinated specifically to drag the US in, will utterly devastate the economic, security, and strategic interests of the United states – Israel is actually conducting a kind of blackmail on the US.

    Israel has now become a clear and present danger to the security of the United States as an Israeli attack on Iran will destroy the American economy, LET ALONE dragging the US into the war itself.

    I say it’s time we do something to make sure Israel never again holds this kind of ‘sword over the neck of America’, to use common Israeli hysterical vernacular.

    Like no more planes, bombs, or aid – ever again.

    And a No Fly Zone out of Israel so it can’t attack Iran, and the protection of Iran and Palestine from Israel, instead of vice versa

  11. FreddyV
    FreddyV
    August 14, 2012, 9:19 am

    No Hasbarists jumping to Bibi and Barak’s defense here?

    Hmm………

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