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Israel wants the Trump administration to attack Iran, but U.S. mainstream media ignores Netanyahu’s instigating

Media Analysis
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Why is the Trump administration escalating its economic war against Iran, a dangerous policy that could eventually lead to a shooting war and trigger a world recession? Iran in 2019 is no danger to U.S. interests anywhere. Tehran is not threatening American shipping, or military bases; its allies, like Hizbollah in Lebanon, have not targeted U.S. civilians or soldiers for years. 

The U.S. is squeezing Iran mainly because Israel wants it to. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in a de facto alliance with Saudi Arabia, and has warm relations with the other Gulf states and with the Abdel Fattah el-Sisi dictatorship in Egypt. Iran is the only regional power that is deterring him from completely annexing the West Bank. Iran is also a major supporter of Hamas, the resistance movement in Gaza. 

Israel wants the Iranian government destroyed, and Netanyahu has been instigating the United States for years to attack Teheran. Now that American foreign policy is in the hands of incompetent, bellicose officials like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, Israel senses that its hour has arrived. First, it encouraged the Trump administration to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, even though all the inspectors recognized Teheran was fully in compliance with the agreement. This economic assault is the next step. How long until an actual war?

The U.S. mainstream press is mostly missing the the Israel angle. Let’s start with the New York Times front-page report on the U.S. efforts to tighten the existing boycott and reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero by threatening importers like China and India. The word “Israel” appears nowhere in the fairly long article. Not once. The Washington Post made exactly the same omission: no mention of “Israel.”

Most mainstream coverage takes at face value Secretary of State Pompeo’s contention that U.S. pressure is only meant to make Iran act like a “normal” country. But it fell to the New York Times editorial board to tell the truth that should have been reported in its news pages; back in February, the Trump administration sponsored a conference in Warsaw that attracted officials from many Arab states and Israel. The Times dismissed the administration’s stated reason for the gathering. “The goal of their meeting. . . was not peacemaking,” the Times said. “It was to rally support for economic and political war with Iran. . .”

That Times editorial went even further. It cited a tweet by Benjamin Netanyahu, since deleted, in which the Israeli prime minister admitted that the Warsaw conference was in truth “an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

Why aren’t the reporters who cover the State Department hammering Pompeo and his mouthpieces with tough questions about Israel’s connection to the tightening U.S. pressure on Iran?

Before the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, there was at least a vigorous public debate, even though the Bush administration did sucker most of the U.S. mainstream media. This time around: silence. America could be sleepwalking into another tragedy that is not in our national interest.  

James North

James North is a Mondoweiss Editor-at-Large, and has reported from Africa, Latin America, and Asia for four decades. He lives in New York City.

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14 Responses

  1. HarryLaw on May 6, 2019, 7:26 pm

    James North hits the nail on the head, it is all for Israel, with the bonus that Saudi Arabia also wants the US to destroy Iran. Having failed with regime change in Syria which would have meant the downfall of Hezbollah too, the US are ramping up sanctions on Iran by trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero, these sanctions and secondary sanctions on legitimate buyers of Iranian oil are contrary to International law, they are in fact acts of war if the known anticipated result is the economic destruction of the country, followed by death and disease. The Issue here has nothing to do with nuclear weapons, rather it is Iran’s conventional weapons, especially its legal missile program, elements of which probably find their way to Hezbollah. The postage sized state of Israel with most of its population and industry in Metropolitan Tel Aviv could not withstand a sustained assault by the hundreds of thousands of missiles [many now precision] that would rain down on them from Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.
    In my opinion a war with Iran would be catastrophic for all sides and would cause a world economic recession due to Iran closing the Strait of Hormus and Saudi oil terminals bombed. Nevertheless with Israeli firster and Iran hater Bolton and the evangelical Pompeo who said recently “God may have sent President Donald Trump to Earth to protect Israel”, seemingly in charge of foreign policy, anything can happen

  2. brent on May 6, 2019, 11:41 pm

    A beautifully written article that helps explain the sad state of our Fourth Estate. I’ll be saying to NPR, “For my continued contribution cover the war on Iran more professionally”.

    It is interesting to note Trump and Iran share the same view on Israel-Palestine. One state or two, so long as both agree…. good to go. Until then both Israel and Iran will agitate for regime change in the other.

    Let’s hope Abbas and Erekat have learned about diplomacy after their public rudeness toward Trump and have been thinking about doing better diplomacy so he won’t have to keep kissing up to Netanyahu to maintain his ability to leverage. Good diplomacy on Trump’s initiative, perhaps asking for clarifications or asking questions instead of insults, could also mitigate Netanyahu’s obsession with Iran.

    Trump wants that Nobel and will go tough on whoever stands in his way. He could then meet with the Iranians and Tweet, “We can work together.”

  3. Kay24 on May 7, 2019, 6:33 am

    Netanyahu is devious apart from being a crook. He knows Trump is a vain idiot, a useful tool that will do his bidding. All he has to do is heap praise on the fool. He has already told the fool that he has made “history” when he gave Jerusalem to the occupiers. The world knows Bibi was pushing the US for a war with Iran, once again wanting the Americans to spend time, money, and send their kids to die for them, to shock and awe yet another Muslim nation in the region. He made a spectacle of himself at the UN showing cartoon bombs, and warning the world was going to get nuked by Iran within months. He tried hard to sabotage Obama’s nuclear deal in the ugliest ways, but could not.

    Now that he has a vain fool in the White House, he together with American war hawks, have been able to destroy that deal, which was working well, and now the beasts pound their chests and make their animal noises. Trump has already imposed the worst sanctions, to make the people suffer, and try to topple their leaders…..sounds familiar?
    They are so transparent, and so disgusting.

  4. Misterioso on May 7, 2019, 10:23 am

    “Iran, the Straits of Hormuz , Israel and Nuclear War”

    The Duran, May 6, 2019

    “Are the United States and Israel Entrapping Iran to Close the Strait of Hormuz?”

    By Richard Galustian

    “The central question when reading this piece is would Iran’s closure of the Strait of Hormuz precipitate a nuclear attack by the U.S., no doubt in conjunction with Israel, and equally no doubt, coordinated by the Trump Neocons that are controlled by DC based AIPAC …and Israel?

    “The Strait of Hormuz is probably the most strategically important sea way ‘chokepoint’ in the world.

    “Nearly 20 million barrels of oil pass through the small gap at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, in parts as narrow as 30 miles in places; and I mean 20 million barrels every day,24/7, 365 days a year.

    “For those that do not comprehend the magnitude of the above number, it must be understood that the total world oil production (an average recently established for the first five months of 2019) is just over 80,000,000 barrels per day.

    “So put another way, Iran controls ‘the chokepoint’ through which one fifth of all the world’s oil production daily passes.

    “If Iran closes, that ‘chokepoint’ in Her sea, the effect on the oil price and the world’s economy will be devastating; and Iran can do it; don’t believe the propaganda from the Pentagon and their American (and British) government(s) nor their ‘puppet’ media. Iran can do it in a heartbeat.”

  5. CHUCKMAN on May 7, 2019, 3:48 pm

    I just learned from another source that Bolton’s sending a carrier group to the Middle East was response to warnings from Mossad.

    Nothing like showing faith in those who swear by deception as a way of life.

  6. James Canning on May 7, 2019, 3:54 pm

    Netanyahu was a primary cheerleader for the idiotic US invasion of Iraq in 2003. One wonders how many Americans are even aware of this fact.

    • annie on May 7, 2019, 4:15 pm

      anyone paying attention.

      • RoHa on May 7, 2019, 8:05 pm

        So about twelve, then.

  7. wondering jew on May 7, 2019, 10:51 pm

    Trump’s style is brinksmanship, so things getting out of hand out of carelessness is possible. That being said, Trump will not want a war before the 2020 elections. After the elections, that’s a different story, but before the election, that is not his intention.

    • eljay on May 8, 2019, 8:24 am

      || wondering jew: … Trump will not want a war before the 2020 elections. After the elections, that’s a different story, but before the election, that is not his intention. ||

      Trump’s intention is at the mercy of his egotistical narcissism. Deft strokes by warmongers within his administration or at ZioHQ will determine what it should be.

  8. Ossinev on May 8, 2019, 7:39 am

    “Trump’s style is brinksmanship”

    “Trump`s style” !!!. He has no style. He is a narcissistic moron who is barely able to link logical thoughts and identify cause and effect. As such he is totally susceptible to a-l…king weirdo warmongers like Bolton and Pompeo and of course the repulsive Yahoo.

    The Republicans have irretrievably sold whatever souls they had. It is up to the Democrats to prevent a potential world catastrophe by giving back the Benjamins to their Zionist donors and starting to shout loudly and clearly Iraq 2 !

  9. Kay24 on May 8, 2019, 9:55 am

    Shame on those Arab nations conspiring with Netanyahu to wage a war in the region. The world cannot afford to deal with yet another catastrophe which will results in hundreds of thousands of deaths, injuring, starvation, and refugees. Trump is stark raving mad, he took something that was working, destroyed it, and now taking the country into a war. He has no other alternative plan. No sensible leader destroys a deal that was working and replace it with war.

    Bolton and Netanyahu want war, and nothing else. Netanyahu should first solve the problem in his own backyard, the Occupation, because Palestinians are suffering because of Israel’s inhumane policies, before trying to shove America into yet another war. He prefers to meddle in other nations, always crying victim.
    We learnt the hard way that Iraq was in no position to attack any other nation in the region.

    As for the Arab nations that go along with Bibi, it is hard to believe they prefer to conspire with an enemy nation, rather than make peace with another Muslim nation. This Sunni/Shiite violence must be stopped.

  10. AdamE on May 11, 2019, 9:13 am

    I can’t say I know a lot about the history or all the various forces at work here, but what exactly is the play for Israel?
    Would a neutralized Iran really make that big of a difference in their ability to complete the annexation of Gaza? Is it wrong to suggest that, they could do it tomorrow, and the only ‘repercussions’ would be the usual toothless empty condemnations and hand-wringing? Maybe I am underestimating the ability of the ‘international community’ to care, but I don’t understand how destroying the Iranian government is a linchpin in Israel’s ability to pursue its goals; it seems like Iran’s hands are tied either way in that any intervention on their part would lead to them being invaded.

    And as far as support from other Arab countries is concerned, it seems like a war with Iran would cause a huge refugee crisis for the surrounding areas to deal with, the creation of a whole new generation of ‘terror’ groups, and an unpopular puppet government would cause more problems than it solves?
    Again, please pardon my ignorance, but any context/insight would be much appreciated.

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