June 03, 2011
Trying to Stop a War in the Middle East?

I’ve been so caught up in all the work involved in grad school that I very rarely get to post, and often even fall behind in knowing what’s going on. Thus I might be behind, so bring me up to date if so. But isn’t it a pretty big deal for the recently-retired intelligence chief to have characterized the country’s chief executive and defense head as dangerous and unstable decision-makers likely to take military action for political purposes?

This appears to me to be what Meir Dagan, former head of Mossad, is saying about Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak. Apparently he believes they are contemplating an airstrike on Iran in response to the expected UN General Assembly vote in September to recognize the Palestinian state within 1967 borders. He is also claiming that two other recently retired officers agree: the chief of staff of the military and the head of Shin Bet.

This appears to translate in American terms to having the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the directors of the CIA and the FBI retire in quick succession and begin to say publicly that the President and the Secretary of Defense were dangerous warmongers likely to start a war so they could hold onto their personal power and enrich their friends and sponsors.

Of course, such a vote in the UN may be an expression of widespread world opinion, but as the note appended to the Times report on the upcoming vote points out, it will have no force in international law because the United States in its role as permanent member of the Security Council will veto the required recommendation. This is exactly why such status was created, to entrench existing power structures.

Now that Obama has joined the European position on using 1967 borders with land swaps as a starting position, pressure on the Israeli government to respond to the so-called Arab spring has increased, in other words, but not to the point that a Palestinian state might actually be recognized by the UN. The US will undoubtedly prevent that from happening.

Still, just to see Obama moving in that direction must be unsettling to Netanyahu. And to have his recently-retired intelligence chief call him out for poor judgment is not likely to evoke whatever warm and fuzzy side Bibi possesses. Should be interesting to watch. Hopefully no one gets bombed.

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Posted by Chuck Dupree at June 03, 2011 08:32 PM
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