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Friday, 15 May 2009
Panetta Warns Netanyahu

From The Times:

America’s spy chief was sent on a secret mission to Israel to warn its leaders not to launch a surprise attack on Iran without notifying the US Administration.

As Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, prepares to visit Washington, it emerged yesterday that Leon Panetta, the head of the CIA, went to Israel two weeks ago. He sought assurances from Mr Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, the Defence Minister, that their hawkish new Government would not attack Iran without alerting Washington.

This is silly. We should consider ourselves alerted now. Israel has to take action soon.

Concerns have been rising that Mr Netanyahu could launch a strike on Tehran’s atomic programme, in the same way that Israel hit Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in 1981. Israel has been preparing for such an eventuality. It has carried out long-distance manoeuvres and is due to hold its largest civil defence drills this summer. The country’s leaders reportedly told Mr Panetta that they did not “intend to surprise the US on Iran”.

Mr Netanyahu will leave for Washington this weekend. He will meet Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, and Mr Obama, whom he will try to convince of the need for tougher action against Iran. Mr Obama favours trying to engage Tehran, but his efforts have been received coolly by President Ahmadinejad.


Mr Netanyahu raised the issue of Iran during a private meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in Nazareth yesterday. “I asked him as a moral figure to make his voice heard loud and continuously against the declarations coming from Iran of their intention to destroy Israel,” he said. ...

Hugh Fitzgerald discusses the Pope's disappointing speech in Jerusalem here.

Posted on 05/15/2009 6:55 AM by Rebecca Bynum
15 May 2009
Hugh Fitzgerald

No, of course not. If Israel is preparing an attack on Iran, the element of surprise will be important. Nothing like broadcasting the precise date and time hither and yon in Washington. The Israelis have trusted the Americans with certain information before. There was the famous case of the spies for Israel who were seized and killed, in Syria, because Secretary Baker, on a trip to Damascus, showing off for his host, dropped the names of the spies to the Syrian officials.

And why stop there? Why should Israel not turn over all of its most important secrets to the American government, which -- in Iraq, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and now with its attempts to appease the Islamic Republic of Iran (not to be confused with Iran), and its support for Turkey's admission to the U.N., and its bland inattention to the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, and demographic conquest in the historic heart of the West, Western Europe, shows just how intelligent, just how understanding of the meaning and menace of Islam, it is. Yes, by all means, tell Leon Panetta, like the client state the Americans apparently think Israel should become, and if pushed back into the 1949 Armistice Lines (the lines the Arabs refused to recognize as borders, despite an offer that Israel is under no obligation to hold open forever, as students of Offer-and-Acceptance in First Year Contracts know perfectly well), that is what even Abba Evan called "the lines of Auschwitz," will in truth become.

The American government, when it comes to Islam, does not know where to put its feet or hands. But when it comes to bullying Israel, to endangering Israel by limiting, in every way, the scope of its liberty to act, -- ah, there it can do all kinds of things. There, there is no stopping it.

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