Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dark Clouds over the Middle East - Is Israel Going to War?


Late yesterday, after the White House enjoyed the signing of the health care bill, there was a 90-minute closed-door meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was extended another 70 minutes after the formal meeting. Then Israeli and White House support staff met until after 1:00 am this morning.

Just 24 hours before the meeting between the two heads of state Netanyahu spoke to the pro Israeli AIPAC, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States. AIPAC stands for the America Israel Public Affairs Committee and was in Washington for its annual convention where over half of the United States Congress trooped through its doors to attend the Gala Banquet.

For those of you not familiar with AIPAC, their lobbying clout in Washington is second to none as proven by the $3 billion in US foreign aid going to Israel, a new record and up from $2.4 billion last year. At this meeting Netanyahu again defied President Obama and said Israel would build 1,600 more homes in the contested East Jerusalem settlement.

You may remember that Vice President Biden was embarrassed on his recent trip to Israel to restart the Middle East Peace negotiations when Israel announced the housing construction the same day he arrived. Obama had been adamant in his request that Israel stop all settlement construction in disputed territories in order to start the peace negotiations.

This curious action by the Israeli Prime Minister is the latest in a series of actions that seem to be burning bridges with the most ardent supporters of Israel in the world, the United States and Britain.

International outrage against Israel was already in evidence because the Israeli Mossad secret service was accused by the Dubai police of using fake passports from a number of allies including 12 from Britain to send 27 assassins to Dubai and assassinate a ranking leader of Hamas, Mabhoub al-Mabhouh, on January 19, in Dubai. The investigation and disclosures led the British to expel an Israeli diplomat from Britain in protest against the murder.

To date Israel has not commented on the Mossad role in the assassinations but did say they were pleased with the outcome, the death of al-Mabhouh. Relations between Israel and the United States led the Israeli ambassador to America to say they were the worst in 30 years. After the Biden incident the US canceled a visit by US peace envoy George Mitchell.

Could it be the Israelis are threatening relations with their two prime allies because they have decided to go to war with Iran over the nuclear capability of that rogue state? It is becoming clear that the United Nations will never take effective action to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability. There is no way China or Russia will ever approve tougher sanctions against Iran and earlier attempts by Obama to negotiate with the Iranians failed miserably.

Israel is armed with hundreds of nuclear weapons even though they refuse to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement and right now they are the only nation in the Middle East with such a stockpile of weapons. They have consistently insisted if diplomatic negotiations fail they will destroy the Iranian nuclear capability.

Could it be the perceived conflicts between Israel and the United States and Britain are a precursor to an attack on Iran by Israel, staged to put distance between the attack and their allies? It would not be in the interest of the United States or Britain to encourage such an attack and this is a rather simple way to show they were at odds with Israel, thus preventing them from being blamed for any consequences.

Stranger things have happened in the long history between the United States and Israel.

So the Obama and Netanyahu meeting took place in the shadow of these diplomatic controversies. Unlike past meetings between the two, it was held behind closed doors with no news media allowed. There were none of the usual photo ops, formal handshake photos, press briefings or public announcements on the meeting. In fact a veil of secrecy not seen often in our nation's capitol was tossed on the whole affair as if it never really took place.

To recap, these are the actions that happened.

Secret meetings between leaders and staff last long into the night.
Obama gets his proposals rejected by Israel.
Netanyahu defiantly defends East Jerusalem settlements before AIPAC.
Biden gets embarrassed by Israel.
Obama cancels a trip by George Mitchell to Israel.
Israeli Mossad accused of assassination in Dubai.
Forged passports are used by assassins.
British expel Israeli diplomat in protest of 12 British passports being used.

Dark clouds are indeed on the horizon casting a foreboding shadow on peace efforts in the Middle East and the chain of events would indicate that something far more serious may be underway. Do not be surprised if Israel does attack Iran and that may only be the beginning of a new wave of horrific warfare in the Holy Land.


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