Behind Israel’s Bombing in Iraq’s Heartland

It is difficult to imagine how the Trump administration could have not given Israel the green light to carry out these attacks as part of the U.S. maximum pressure campaign against Iran, writes Giorgio Cafiero.

By Giorgio Cafiero
Special to Consortium News

Iraq has felt the heat from escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran this summer as the White House moves ahead with its “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic. Also clear is that Israel and Iran’s proxy wars in the region have spilled into Iraq too. Last month, Israel carried out its first attacks on targets in Iraq since Operation Opera on June 7, 1981.

On July 19, Israel struck a target in the Salahuddin governorate, three days before another attack against Camp Ashraf, located within close proximity to Iran. According to al-Ain, the UAE media network, the attack against Camp Ashraf killed 40 members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iranian-sponsored Iraqi Shi’a militiamen. On Aug. 12, a blast occurred at a Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) arms depot in the Iraqi capital, allegedly carried out by an Israeli aircraft and resulting in one death and 29 injuries. Other Israeli attacks followed on the 19 and 25 of August. Several days ago, U.S. officials confirmed that Israelis were indeed behind the July 19 attack in Salahuddin governorate, which was suspected from the beginning.

Such actions highlight how Israel seeks to expand to Iraq its theater of confrontation with Iran. Put simply, the Israelis are reacting with increasing aggression against the extent of Iranian-sponsored militias in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East that provide Tehran greater leverage vis-à-vis Israel.

Pompeo: Not against further Israeli strikes. (YouTube)

Important questions surround the U.S. role in these Israeli attacks against PMU targets in Iraq. It is difficult to imagine how the Trump administration could have not given Israel the green light to carry out these attacks. As Karim al-Alwei, an Iraqi parliamentarian, explained, “the U.S. controls Iraqi air space” thus “no planes, including Iraqi jets or helicopters, can overly the area without U.S. knowledge or permission.” Only seven months ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly raised the topic of Iranian missiles in the hands of PMU forces in Iraq while meeting with Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, stating that Washington would not be against any future Israeli military operations targeting such facilities.

Unclear is whether the Israelis used Syrian, Turkish, or Saudi airspace to reach their targets in Iraq. Regardless, it is a safe bet that the Saudi leadership, which maintains a tacit partnership with Israel largely based on a common  perception of Tehran as a threat to its interests, welcomes such Israeli action in Iraq. As Saudi and Israeli officials see  Iranian-sponsored Shi’a militia in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon as a major threat, the Israeli strikes in Iraq will likely push the Israelis and Saudis even closer together.

 Other Targets of Israel

Tel Aviv has dramatically increased the intensity and reach of its military campaign to weaken Tehran-backed militias in the region, waging attacks not only in Iraq, but also in Syria and Palestine too, as well as recently sending two drones into Lebanon. Into the chaos of Syria the Israelis have carried out many strikes against Iran-related targets since the civil war began in 2011. Yet by attacking targets in Iraq, the Israel is showing its determination to expand the theater of its proxy war with Iran.

Although difficult to predict the long-term ramifications of these blasts in Iraq, their impact will likely be destabilizing, given Iraq’s fragile security. A major concern for officials in Baghdad is that in the days, weeks, and months ahead Iraq—as well as its airspace—could be the location of intensified violence as the U.S., Israel, and Iran challenge each other’s actions. Iraq will have a difficult time staying neutral between Washington and Tehran.

Netanyahu: More coming. (Wikimedia Commons)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Aug. 19, “Iran has no immunity, anywhere… we will act and currently are acting against them, wherever it is necessary.” Three days later the Israeli leader went further, suggesting his country was perhaps involved in these attacks in Iraq, declaring, “We are operating in many areas against a state that wants to annihilate us.” 

By making such bold moves, Israel is taking major risks. If such attacks continue in Iraq against Tehran-sponsored non-state actors near the Iranian border, Iran will likely respond. Perhaps the Iranians will put air defense capabilities in the hands of Iraqi Shi’a militias to enable such factions to fend off future Israeli attacks. Also possible is that Tehran would  carry out limited strikes in retaliation at a time and place of the Iranian leadership’s choosing, perhaps targeting Israeli positions in the occupied Golan Heights of Syria.

The Israeli strikes, which constitute a flagrant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, may come with major costs for U.S. interests in Iraq. Given that an influential Iran-based Shi’a cleric, Grand Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri, reacted to the Israeli attacks with a fatwa forbidding America’s military presence from continuing in Iraq, and the fact that many in Iraq and other Arab countries see the U.S. as responsible for Israeli actions against PMU targets, the roughly 5,000 American troops still in Iraq could find themselves in the crosshairs of what has quickly become an escalating Israeli-Iranian proxy war waged in Iraq.

Israel’s bombing of Iraq will have major implications for the Washington-Baghdad relationship too, particularly given that the Iraqi government is attempting to bring the heavily armed Shi’a militias under its control. If the U.S. administration fails to prevent Israel from turning Iraq into more of a battleground in Tel Aviv’s proxy wars with Tehran, Iraq’s fragile stability will be further undermined. Under such circumstances, Iran could quickly capitalize on such conditions to bring Baghdad closer to Tehran at a time in which U.S. influence in Iraq—and the region at large—continues to wane.

Unquestionably, perceptions across Iraq that the U.S. is to blame for Israel’s actions will push more Iraqis to the conclusion that the White House’s “maximum pressure” agenda against Iran is directly undermining Iraq’s basic interests in upholding sovereignty and moving toward a more stable future in which the country is not implicated in greater regional crises involving multiple nations.

Giorgio Cafiero (@GiorgioCafiero) is the CEO of Gulf State Analytics (@GulfStateAnalyt), a Washington-based geopolitical risk consultancy.

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64 comments for “Behind Israel’s Bombing in Iraq’s Heartland

  1. September 4, 2019 at 14:11

    “Can overly the area”?

    What CRUMMY editing. The subject is hard enough to understand without such.

  2. LJ
    August 29, 2019 at 21:56

    Iran will not attack the Golan Heights. Suggesting such puts a huge ? over the entire argument that this writer puts forward. There is no justification for these attacks other than a cynical attempt by Netanyahu top distract and influence weak minded Israeli voters before the impending Israeli elections. He has done this before. The difference is the climate of hostility that has been created by the Trump Administration with English support gives Israel even greater leeway to act in an aggressive manner in complete disregard to International Law, I’ve got a period on that. PERIOD> Iran will not attack Israel with drones or by any other military means. That is fantasy and propaganda. This is business as usual and them some.

  3. August 29, 2019 at 15:29

    Would someone at consortiumnews please let me know why my comments aren’t posted here today?

  4. August 29, 2019 at 15:13

    Guess my comments aren’t worthy of print?

  5. robin
    August 29, 2019 at 14:55

    Absolutely !
    And this is not the only false statement . How about “…. since the CIVIL WAR (?) began in 2011 ” ?
    Which is NOT a civil and never was.

  6. Hide Behind
    August 29, 2019 at 13:08

    Only till the time that Israel sets in place the borders of Greater Israel can there be any Semblence of peace in middle east.
    Jewish/Christian Zionism could be looked upon as a new Religious State without well defined religious or National Borders, but with defined land borders there cannot nor will not be allowed any populace within it but those two groupings.
    The mainly eurocentric land mass are the undefined borders, inhabited by Zionist it is they who are proxy forces of Greater Israel.
    It is a mutually beneficial relationship, symbiotic, for those who control worlds political and financial seats of power, and any nation or peoples outside those power seats must and will one way or another be made to conform.
    At the very root of combined Jewish Christian Zionistic tendency comes primarily from one section of common religious writing, verse 9 of Genesis:
    “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth …. and describes what is called Domion over all things on earth.
    Israel is untouchable, no military threat can be founded anywhere and part of its being untouchable is by their massive interactions within eurocentric derived financial, political, powers, and yes religious as well.
    Most of we living today will see an extension, maybe fullfilment, of Greater Israel borders.
    Hope not as we can see today genocide is an accepted process by those in power, once the earthly secpter, Zion (ism) is in place the unholy holy genocide will begin, making plight of todayssbPalestinians pale in comparison.
    For the dollar reigns supreme, call it yen, ruble peso, whatever, and that dollar can always find willing proxies to do the blood letting, and proxies need not be Zionist only compliant tools.

  7. Pablo Diablo
    August 29, 2019 at 12:15

    Israel sold major U.S. weapons to Iran during IRAN/CONTRA. NO morals then, NO morals today. When will this madness end?

  8. Brent Anderson
    August 28, 2019 at 22:31

    We might as well put the star of David flag on all U.S. military uniforms and have U.S. soldiers swear an oath to Israel. There is virtually no separation between Israeli and U.S. operations in the Middle East.

  9. Pious Atheist
    August 28, 2019 at 19:46

    Supremacist Jewish State Of Ethnic Cleansers And Wahabi State Of Beheaders Are Untied States Proxies And They Do Whatever Their Masters In Washington Tells Them To Do.
    Pious Atheist

  10. Pious Atheist
    August 28, 2019 at 19:44

    Supremacist Jewish State Of Ethnic Cleansers And Wahabi State Of Beheders Are Untied States Proxies And Do Whatever Their Masters In Washington Tells Them To Do.
    Pious Atheist

  11. August 28, 2019 at 18:52

    The Israeli strikes, which constitute a flagrant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, may come with major costs for U.S. interests in Iraq.

    Well one thing they do is show conclusively that Iraq is a US protectorate and in no way an independent nation.

  12. Jim Hartz
    August 28, 2019 at 17:25

    ‘Civil War’ in Syria…

  13. RMR
    August 28, 2019 at 16:37

    To AnneR:

    I empathize.

  14. square
    August 28, 2019 at 16:22

    ir seems to me that ultimately the Palestinian jews have three choices

    Share
    Move
    Be annihilated
    Their choice……

  15. Kathleen H
    August 28, 2019 at 16:07

    Israel thinks it can act so boldly because they think if Iran responds we will jump into the fray. I fear we will, and that is what the neocons are trying to cause, but I pray we tell Israel it’s not going to happen. If Israel wants to be top dog in the Middle East, let them spill their own blood and treasure.

    • Rong Cao
      August 28, 2019 at 21:54

      The American Jews have been doing all the heavy lifting of the planning and the analysis of the plausible consequences. The Israeli Jews are simply the enforcers.

  16. Abe
    August 28, 2019 at 15:45

    Behind Israel’s Bombing: Apocalypse obsessed Christian Zionists allied with religious Zionist extremists in Israel

    Christians United for Israel (CUFI), led by apocalyptic extremist preacher John Hagee, is an arm of the pro-Israel Lobby in the United States:

    “The largest pro-Israel organization in the United States is not composed of Jews, but of Christian evangelicals, with a total membership of 7 million, more than 2 million more members than the entirety of the American Jewish community. […]

    “the shared apocalyptic visions of extremist religious Zionists and Christian Zionists regarding a Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount is a major driver behind the Deal of the Century and was also a major factor in the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite Palestinian hopes that East Jerusalem would serve as the capital of their future state. Notably, Christian Zionists believe that Palestinians must be expelled from the state of Israel. In addition, these end-times beliefs are also a factor in the administration’s push for war with Iran, which Christian Zionists like Hagee and Pompeo believe is also a requisite for the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.

    “While Hagee’s influence and the influence of his organization CUFI are stronger than ever with Trump in the White House, his political clout with the Trump administration is, at least partially, due to the presence of staunch Christian Zionists in two of the top offices in the executive branch: vice president and secretary of state. […]

    “Pompeo, like many Christian Zionists, believes that war between the United States and Iran is part of the end times, a belief that is outright alarming given his prior control over CIA covert operations and his focus on Iran, as well as his current role as the U.S.’ chief diplomat, in which he has also been laser-focused on promoting an aggressive policy towards Iran. […]

    “Pompeo has made it standard operating procedure to mix his Christian Zionist views with his approach to foreign policy […] earlier this year […] he opined that it was ‘certainly possible’ that President Trump had been sent by God to ‘save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace.’

    “Pompeo made those statements during an official trip to Jerusalem that was also controversial for other reasons. Indeed, in a state department video shared on social media and meant to publicize Pompeo’s trip, footage of a model of the Third Jewish Temple was included while footage of the Al Aqsa mosque was notably excluded, despite it being the most iconic building in Jerusalem. […]

    “Well before Theodore Herzl founded political Zionism and published The Jewish State, Christian Zionists in the United States and England were already seeking to direct and influence the foreign policy of both nations in service of a religious obsession with ushering in the end times. The historical record clearly shows how Christian Zionists have influenced events throughout history, particularly in regard to the founding of the state of Israel and subsequent developments in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    In the pursuit of these dispensationalist end-times prophecies, Christian Zionists have forged alliances with Jewish Zionists and each has opportunistically used the other in order to usher in the common events that are believed to facilitate the coming of their respective apocalypses or to aid more secular, political goals. From Hechler and Herzl, to Scofield and Untermeyer, to Begin and Falwell, these alliances have shaped the policy of Western governments, particularly the U.S. and England, for over a century.

    Today, only one such prophecy has yet to be fulfilled, the construction of a Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, which is currently occupied by the Al Aqsa mosque compound. Now, more than ever before, Israel’s government, as shown in Part II, is filled with high-ranking officials who openly call for Al Aqsa’s destruction and seek to hastily construct a Third Temple. Similarly, as this report has shown, the Trump administration is greatly influenced by Christian Zionists who also seek the mosque’s destruction, in hopes that the Third Temple will soon be built.

    “Yet, the Trump administration’s ties to this apocalyptic ideology go even deeper than has been discussed in this article, as many other influential members in the Trump administration — especially top Trump advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman — also share and actively promote this extremist religious Zionist ideology that seeks to rebuild a Third Temple […] this ideology is also a driving factor for top Trump and Republican Party donors such as Sheldon Adelson.

    “The end result is that the hold of this apocalyptic ideology on both the governments of Israel and the United States appears to be stronger now than ever, meaning that the danger currently facing Al Aqsa mosque, and with it world peace, looms large.”

    The Untold Story of Christian Zionism’s Rise to Power in the United States
    By Whitney Webb
    https://www.mintpressnews.com/untold-story-christian-zionists-power-united-states-israel/260532/

    • August 30, 2019 at 14:15

      Abe, think I read somewhere that Hagee has revised his apocalyptic thinking to conclude that Jews need not convert when end times come. How convenient. Always thought that powerful Jews thought the conversion or hell beliefs of the Christian evangelicals were laughable and tolerated because they were useful in their Greater Israel vision. If it is true about Hagee as stated above, they don’t have to cynically embrace the Christians evangelicals any longer but can do it with sincerity or a least less cynicism.

  17. rosemerry
    August 28, 2019 at 15:05

    None of my comments appear, but I wish to mention than antiwar.com quoted Pentagon officials spe”aking firmly against any interference by the USA in these illegal and dangerous attacks on Iraq.

    “We are operating in many areas against a state that wants to annihilate us.” How can even Israel make up a mind for another nation then punish it?

    • Consortiumnews.com
      August 28, 2019 at 17:07

      Your claim that your comments do not appear is totally untrue. Your future
      unwarranted claims of censorship will be taken very seriously and lead
      to possible rejection of your comments. Consortium News Administration.

  18. Mohammed
    August 28, 2019 at 13:46

    In my opinion, it is not accurate to say Iran proxies. Iran does not have proxies. Iran supports people who would like support for their fight for justice and independence. Such a group is Hezbollah or the Houthis in Yemen. Legitimate resistance groups.

    • AnneR
      August 28, 2019 at 14:00

      Agree with you, Mohammed. The use of the term proxies is inaccurate, displaying a western mindset in which the western nations have allies that they can support, while the “bad” countries like Iran, Russia, China et al have “proxies,” never mind the hypocrisy of such a view (from the west) given the US support for the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan in USSR-Afghan war, the FUKUSIS support for the so-called “rebels” – jihadis like Al Nusra and IS – in Syria…

    • nietzsche1510
      August 28, 2019 at 16:07

      “Iran´s proxies”: the central point of the article: disguised propaganda! all the so-called “proxies”(Hezbollah, Hamas, PMU) are not fighting for the interests of Iran but for their own national survival.

    • robin
      August 29, 2019 at 14:50

      Absolutely !
      And this is not the only false statement . How about “…. since the CIVIL WAR (?) began in 2011 ” ?
      Which is NOT a civil and never was.

    • TC
      August 28, 2019 at 21:37

      Well said. Or at least mention that the US most DEFINITELY has proxies in Saudi Arabia and Israel amongst others. As you say, these alleged “proxies” resent foreign meddling and resist. They are not co-ordinated in their resistance to the US proxies in Tel Aviv and Riyadh.

    • August 29, 2019 at 15:00

      Mohammed, and I would add Hamas.

  19. Abe
    August 28, 2019 at 13:35

    Given Netanyahu’s endlessly repeated hysterical claims that Israel is operating against “a state that wants to annihilate us”, it is time to review current analysis:

    “the United States is largely acting to advance the military interests of Israel (and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia) because of the immense power of the Israel lobby in the United States. In short, the destruction of Iranian power would enable Israel to solidify its dominance of the Middle East. […]

    “Obviously, Israel does not want any country in the Middle East to be able to contest its hegemonic power, which it maintains by virtue of its influence on the U.S. government and through its possession of top- level military weapons – especially its nuclear arsenal – the threatened use of which would likely cause the United States to intercede on Israel’s behalf to prevent a nuclear holocaust.

    “Support for Israel does not mean that American presidents have done everything sought by the Israel lobby, especially when it required outright war. Bush the Younger, for example, did not make war on Iran after defeating Saddam’s Iraq in 2003, although that was what Israel and its American supporters sought. And President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)] in 2015 to prevent its development of nuclear weapons was vehemently opposed by Israel and its American myrmidons because they regarded it as far too favorable toward Iran, especially since it would terminate sanctions that had been placed upon it.

    “While Iran is not allowed to develop nuclear weapons, a 2019 report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) described Israel’s nuclear arsenal as consisting of: ’30 gravity bombs capable of delivering nuclear weapons by fighter jets; an additional 50 warheads that can be delivered by land-based ballistic missiles; and an unknown number of nuclear-armed, sea-launched cruise missiles that would grant Israel a sea-based second-strike capability.’ Considering this completely unbalanced nuclear-arms situation, it would be reasonable to assume that Iran is threatened far more by Israel than Israel is by Iran. But that is not how the Alice-in-Wonderland U.S. media and politicians present the situation.

    “Israel and its American supporters wanted an overall diminution of Iranian military power – not just a restraint on nuclear power […]

    “Trump made the renegotiation of the Iran nuclear deal – a deal he described as disastrous – as one of his main foreign affairs campaign promises. Moreover, hardline supporters of Israel loomed large in his campaign team […]

    “On May 21, 2018 , almost two weeks after the United States exited from the nuclear deal, Secretary of State Pompeo, in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation, presented 12 demands (he would shortly add one more, human rights) for inclusion in any new nuclear treaty with Iran, most of which being unrelated to nuclear weapons. […] The totality of these requirements would have left Iran unable to defend itself against its enemies. In short, Pompeo’s demands could only be accepted by a government of a thoroughly defeated country. His demands emulated Rome’s treatment of Carthage after the Second Punic War before it was obliterated following the Third Punic War.

    “While the neocons and Israel firsters in his administration are pushing for war with the Iran, Trump acts as if he wants to avoid such a conflict. […]

    “Trump realizes that war with Iran would not lead to any easy victory for the U.S. and would cause a devastating impact on the world oil market. He not only would want to avoid this situation per se but would grasp the likelihood that a war with Iran would entail a morass that would almost guarantee his defeat in the 2020 election, for it is quite clear that most Americans are opposed to such a war. […]

    “What has been the result of Trump’s treatment of Iran? There has yet to be a Carthaginian peace that Israel and its American supporters would like. Iran will remain a power that could resist Israel. However, the sanctions have weakened Iran and its allies, which should mean that Iran will not be as aggressive as it has been, and thus Israel’s position in the Middle East has improved for the time being. Nonetheless, it is not apparent how long this will continue. And undoubtedly Israel and its American supporters will continue to believe, or at least pretend to believe, that Israel still faces annihilation unless the United States does more for it.”

    Iran Delenda Est
    Stephen J. Sniegoski
    http://www.unz.com/article/iran-delenda-est/

    • Guy
      August 28, 2019 at 16:27

      Israel will always play the victim and claim their right to defend themselves by threatening and assailing / attacking their neighbors.It is in their DNA ,I dare say . Without the support of the US , they would be shunned to no end by the nations of the world , as no one would want to deal with them . It behooves Israel to become a good world citizen ,if that is possible for them .

  20. chucknobomb
    August 28, 2019 at 13:27

    If an Israeli throws a rock at me, should I shoot him or her in the head, or leg? Obama, Trump, U.S. Congress, and others are puppets of a Terrorist nation. Inspect Israeli WMD.

  21. ChuckNoBomb
    August 28, 2019 at 13:22

    Israel and the U.S. are Terrorist’s, Mafia, Evil liars, etc.. Put the War Criminals in jail. Free Palestine.

  22. DH Fabian
    August 28, 2019 at 13:18

    The fact that current liberal media only report certain news about the Mideast (leaving out too much) skews public perceptions, so is counter-productive. It maintains the perception of tiny Israel as a military mega-power trampling over the vast Arab oil world. We don’t find coverage of the attacks on Israel that prompt retaliatory attacks. We need to be able to expect better than that, from any alternative to the corporate media. As much as most of us here disagree with the right wing ideology of the governments of both Israel and the US, understanding what’s happening in the Mideast is extremely important, and requires reporting that is as honest as possible, putting journalism ahead of promoting opinions.

    • Abe
      August 28, 2019 at 18:19

      Hasbara (pro-Israel) propaganda troll “DH Fabian” crams scripted pro-Israel propaganda canards into single paragraphs:

      “Israel as a military mega-power” is not a “perception”. The fact was procured by the pro-Israel Lobby using billions of dollars of US military mega-aid, and lots more goodies for Israel, all on the backs of US taxpayers.

      and

      “trampling over” the Arab World is a dedicated project of the pro-Israel Lobby, procured in an ongoing fashion via a series of remarkably timed “catastrophic and catalyzing” events.

      Hasbara propaganda uses stock phrases about poor li’l “tiny” Israel versus a “vast” Arab world to justify Israel’s illegal land grabs.

      That current media, by and large, only report certain news, and completely leave out pro-Israel Lobby influence and Israeli interference in US foreign policy toward the Middle East, “maintains the perception” and suits Israel just fine.

      We don’t find any coverage of the constant Israeli military attacks that prompt defensive actions by neighboring nations (Syria, Lebanon), and resistance by people living under illegal Israeli military occupation (Jerusalem and West Bank) or illegal Israeli military blockade (Gaza).

      That’s fine for Israel because the facts can be so “counter-productive”.

      Understanding what’s happening in the Mideast is extremely important.

      That is why, in the face of real investigative journalism and honest independent reporting here at CN, comrade “DH Fabian”and the rest of the Hasbara troll army are so very busy “promoting opinions”.

      Hasbara hilarity ensues.

      Thanks for the demo, comrade.

    • August 28, 2019 at 20:15

      200 zionist nukes vastly out weighs Zero nukes in the rest of the Middle East.

  23. Abe
    August 28, 2019 at 13:15

    Given Israeli-Saudi-US threats of war and current military aggression against Iran, it is high time to review “previous analysis”:

    “previous analysis leads to the conclusion not only that the neoconservatives are obviously in the forefront of the pro-war bandwagon but also that pro-Israeli Likudnik motives are the most logical, probably the only logical, motives for war. […] Likudniks have always sought to deal in a radical fashion with the Palestinian problem in the occupied territories — a problem that has gotten worse, from their standpoint, as a result of demographic changes. A U.S. war in the Middle East at the present time provides a window of opportunity to permanently solve that problem and augment Israel’s dominance in the region. The existing perilous situation, as Likud thinkers see it, would justify the taking of substantial risks. And a look at history shows that countries whose leaders believed they were faced with grave problems pursued risky policies, such as Japan did in 1941. […]

    “in a check for ‘hate’ or ‘anti-Semitism,’ let’s recapitulate the major points […] First, the initiation of a Middle East war to solve Israeli security problems has been a long-standing idea among Israeli rightist Likudniks. Next, Likudnik-oriented neoconservatives argued for American involvement in such a war prior to the atrocities of September 11, 2001. Since September 11, neocons have taken the lead in advocating such a war; and they hold influential foreign policy and national security positions in the Bush administration.

    “If Israel and Jews were not involved, there would be nothing extraordinary about my thesis. In the history of foreign policy, it has frequently been maintained that various leading figures were motivated by ties to business, an ideology, or a foreign country. In his Farewell Address, George Washington expressed the view that the greatest danger to American foreign relations would be the ‘passionate attachment’ of influential Americans to a foreign power, which would orient U.S. foreign policy for the benefit of that power to the detriment of the United States. It is just such a situation that currently exists.

    “We can only look with trepidation to the near future”

    The War on Iraq: Conceived in Israel
    By Stephen J. Sniegoski (10 February 2003)
    http://www.unz.com/article/the-war-on-iraq-conceived-in-israel/

    The US invasion of Iraq began on 19 March 2003.

    Sniegoski is the author of The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel (2008).

    Although it is generally understood that American neoconservatives pushed hard for the war in Iraq, this book forcefully argues that the neocons’ goal was not the “spread of democracy”, but the protection of Israel’s interests in the Middle East. Sniegoski shows that the neocon movement has always identified closely with the interests of Israel’s Likudnik right wing.

    • DH Fabian
      August 28, 2019 at 13:24

      Did you know that the sole Jewish nation is only some 1% of the Mideast region, with the remaining 99% consisting of the various Arab countries, all of which are armed to the teeth by China, Russia, and the US? And that while currently apparently under a right wing government, =socialism has deep roots is Israel?

    • August 28, 2019 at 20:22

      What is your excuse for attacking the USS Liberty?

    • Abe
      August 28, 2019 at 21:12

      US taxpayers will give Israel $38bn-worth of weapons over 10 years – up until 2028 – as stipulated in a bilateral agreement inked in 2016.

      Israel is armed to the teeth by United States working people.

      https://uscpr.org/campaign/government-affairs/resources/military-aid-to-israel/

      This interactive tool can disclose to Americans just how much they are paying each year for weapons to Israel and what programmes could be funded instead to benefit their state. For a deeper dive, citizens and activists can find out the annual allocation of military aid to Israel by Congressional district, county and even city.

      Israel uses these weapons, in violation of US laws, to commit human rights abuses against Palestinian people living under its brutal, more than half-century-long military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

      American laws that require foreign states being sold US-made weapons not to misuse them on civilians.

      Israeli human rights abuses include injuring and killing civilians, detaining and abusing children, demolishing homes, uprooting agriculture, and denying freedom of movement and expression.

      While US, states are struggling to meet vital national needs, from infrastructure investment to schooling, food security to healthcare and housing.

      But US aid to Israel goes beyond military aid.

      While US, states are struggling to meet vital national needs, from infrastructure investment to schooling, food security to healthcare and housing, Israelis are enjoying US military and non-military subsidies at US taxpayers expense.

      The right wing government of Israel has deep socialist roots, and an insatiable hunger for US aid.

    • Litchfield
      August 28, 2019 at 21:20

      Did you know that Israel has no right to exist?\.
      Did you know that is a colonial settler enterrprise.
      Did you know that Israel is a racist apartheid state?
      Did you know that Isael was established through terrorism?

      Hasabara go home to “Did you know.”

    • Abe
      August 28, 2019 at 19:19

      The Hasbara troll army loves to recite Fun Facts about Israel
      https://igoogledisrael.com/top-10-interesting-facts-about-israel/

      Did you know…

      with only 1/6 of 1% of the landmass of the Middle East…

      and the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S, Russia and China)…

      including an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16’s (unit cost $14.6 million in 1998 dollars)…

      Israel routinely attacks its neighbors in the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and civilians in the Palestinian-administered Gaza Strip)

      Thanks, US taxpayers, for subsidizing Israel’s fabulous arsenal,

      And thanks a lot for subsidizing all those Israeli university degrees, home computers, and hi-tech companies, chumps.

      Of course, special thanks to the pro-Israel Lobby: the US Congress wouldn’t have done it all without you.

      Hasbara hilarity ensues.

      Oh yeah, thanks for the demo, comrade “DH Fabian”.

  24. MEexpert
    August 28, 2019 at 12:59

    Hey, as long as it is Muslim lives, Israel and the US are OK with it. Pompeo said so, US will not be against any future Israeli aggression. So, Netanyahu, bomb away.

  25. Malek al Kuffar
    August 28, 2019 at 12:20

    First-rate article.

  26. August 28, 2019 at 12:12

    Pretty scary for the world.

  27. August 28, 2019 at 11:28

    I think the author is mistaken when he writes “It is difficult to imagine how the Trump administration could have not given Israel the green light to carry out these attacks. As Karim al-Alwei, an Iraqi parliamentarian, explained, “the U.S. controls Iraqi air space” thus “no planes, including Iraqi jets or helicopters, can overly the area without U.S. knowledge or permission.”” I have a problem with the word “permission.” This is based on the assumption that the US gives orders (or permissions) to Israel, when everything we know about Israel, its relationship with the US, and the US involvement in the ME points to the fact that the one on the top of the power pyramid is Netanyahu, not the US president. Yes, the US controls Iraqi air space, and no nation OTHER THAN Israel would enter it. It is highly probable that Israel invaded with US knowledge, but Israel does as it wishes without asking anyone for permission, knowing full well that the US will never contradict.

    • August 28, 2019 at 20:20

      I doubt the zionists asked permission to attack the USS Liberty but in all truth they may have first asked Johnson and he may have agreed.

  28. Dosamuno
    August 28, 2019 at 11:23

    Goddamn Israel and goddamn the U.S. government for giving more than $5 billion of our tax money every year to support this deranged theocracy.

    For me “Never again” has always meant “Never again to anyone”. The Palestinians weren’t responsible for the Nazi Holocaust and shouldn’t have to pay for it by being driven off their own land. And incidentally, the Nazi Holocaust wasn’t the only Holocaust. The African Slave Trade and the Indigenous American Holocaust by the Spanish, French, English, and Americans were even greater abominations. The Zionists just have better PR.

    My family was Jewish but I hate the Jewish religion—and all religions. They’re all false. Gods don’t exist. When Richard Dawkins was asked if he thought religion served any useful purpose, he paused for a few seconds and then said, “No”. I couldn’t agree more strongly.

    I resent being a victim of genital mutilation because of Bronze Age superstitions and I think the idea of Jews being God’s Chosen People is little different from the Nazi concept of Übermenschen.

    I’ve been called a “self-hating” Jew and even an anti-semite. I neither hate myself nor all Jews. Just the religion and the genocidal, ethnocidal, barbaric Zionist state.

    Boycott, divest, sanction.
    https://bdsmovement.net

    • evelync
      August 28, 2019 at 13:47

      Thanks Dosamuno. It’s bizarre that your criticism of injustice is called “anti-semitic”. Norman Finkelstein lost his tenure at a university (maybe DePaul?) for criticizing the policies of the Netanyahu government. He did the right thing.
      Anyone, Jewish or not, who dares criticize the criminal actions of Netanyahu is shouted down by the Neocons and Neoliberals. People who go along with aggression against a vulnerable people – be they Palestinians, Native Americans, Caribbean and South American people, people with our oil under their sand know deep down that it’s wrong. Speaking out and demanding that Palestinians be treated as equals with protections under the law is necessary before Israelis can look themselves in the eye.
      Accepting Palestinians into the culture as equals would enrich the lives of Israelis.

    • Dosamuno
      August 28, 2019 at 16:57

      And thank you, evelync:

      “Norman Finkelstein lost his tenure at a university (maybe DePaul?) for criticizing the policies of the Netanyahu government.”

      Yes he did, Actually, I think Finkelstein lost two tenure track positions thanks to Zionist hit man Alan Dershowitz.
      Media propagandists like Rachel Maddow decry Russian interference in American politics but Israel is never mentioned.

    • AnneR
      August 29, 2019 at 07:14

      There is also the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe who cannot work in Israel because his research and writings “offend,” “go against” the hasbara line.

      His books – which focus on the Nakba, Gaza and so on – are well worth the read, but they do not make for anything approaching soothing. Quite other.

    • John Drake
      August 28, 2019 at 16:10

      Chosen people ~ ubermenschen, very good point. I regard WWII as a holocaust : 27 million Russians, 2.5 million Polish Catholics, 55o,ooo US soldiers, about 70 million total courtesy the Nazis; and that doesn’t include Japan’s efforts in the Pacific region. And by the way Hitler was going to do for the Slavs what he had done to the Jews when he was finished with the latter.

    • Dosamuno
      August 28, 2019 at 17:02

      Excellent points. The United States takes credit for winning WWII. But the truth is that The USSR defeated the Nazis.
      It’s tragic that 7 million Jews were murdered just for being Jews; however, how often does anyone mention the 27 million Russians, the several million Poles, and other Europeans? The Slavs were considered unterme.nschen and their destiny was to become slaves for the Nazis

    • AnneR
      August 29, 2019 at 07:10

      Absolutely John Drake (and Dosamuno below) – whenever the Holocaust is mentioned on the MSM it *never* means, includes the Slavs (as Dosamuno points out, also considered untermenschen by the Nazis *and* whose lands especially of the Ukraine and western Russia were slated for that infamous “Lebensraum” for the “ubermenschen” Nazis – which has decided echoes in Israel’s undeclared, undefined borders and its “annexations”), the Roma, the handicapped…

      Indeed I would wager that if you asked anyone under 50 today who the Nazis targeted for killing in their genocidal rampage, only Europe’s Jews would be mentioned because of the constant MSM equation of Holocaust with Jews and Jews alone. That was dreadful, horrendous, *but* *no* *more* horrendous than the slower motion genocidal ethnic-cleansing of Native Americans, nor that of the Nazi deliberate slaughtering of other groups – the Slavs, Roma and the rest.

    • Brent Anderson
      August 28, 2019 at 16:25

      I am a Christian but I agree with many of your points. If the 1967 borders has been enforced both Palestine and Israel could have developed into friendly neighbors. The Palestinians must be allowed a State or the right to vote in Israel just as the South Africans were allowed to control their own destiny.

    • August 29, 2019 at 15:10

      Dosamuno,
      When the holocaust museum was being built in D.C., there was to be a wing for the Armenian Holocaust which, though the Jewish Holocaust was terrible, was even worse. The Jews had a fit (they insist the Jewish one is the ONLY holocaust) and it didn’t happen.

    • Dosamuno
      August 30, 2019 at 08:12

      I didn’t know about that, Rob.
      Disgraceful.

  29. Rajer Pell
    August 28, 2019 at 11:18

    I feel significantly less informed about the middle east after having read this.

    • Guy
      August 28, 2019 at 16:32

      That is a good sign Rajer .It means the beginning of questioning which leads to conclusions which leads to higher levels of awareness .

  30. AnneR
    August 28, 2019 at 09:49

    Thank you Mr Cafiero.

    It is my opinion that while the US may well, surely did, give the Zionist settler state the go-ahead, this is much more about Israel wanting to trigger Iran (or Hizbullah) into retaliation – sending a missile or two Israel’s way – in order to provoke the US into full scale bombardment of Iran in order to push the region into even greater destruction (but not, of course, great destruction of “Israel” per se) that the Zionists can then grab more land. There was/is that bill proposed by Sen Graham – which would establish a so-called mutual defense akin to the one that NATO countries have. Mutuality (i.e. Israel fighting for the US) is not what the Zionists want – it is the US military and $$$ spent on furthering their own expansionist agenda.

    It is also beyond irony – truly hypocritical but what else to expect from Zionists – that Netanyahoo speaks about Iran’s lack of immunity. Quite – Nowhere other than “Israel” gets away with the continuing 70+ year long brutal murderous ethnic cleansing of Palestine’s true native population, no other “government” gets away with bombing, shelling other countries, other peoples, assassinating at will whoever it wishes wherever it wishes with the total impunity (granted by the western nations) that Netanyahoo’s own country does. (Well, aside from the US that is.)

  31. dfnslblty
    August 28, 2019 at 09:22

    Pompey/bolton call the shots that effect usa citizens
    potus is the ineffective puppet
    Protest Loudly and Often!

  32. August 28, 2019 at 08:44

    Israel over the past few days has conducted a series of military operations in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Gaza Strip .“Explicit attack”: how Israel attacks Iran’s allies

    “Explicit attack”: how Israel attacks Iran’s allies

  33. Sally Snyder
    August 28, 2019 at 07:21

    Here is an article that looks at how key Republicans are trying to convince America’s pro-Israel Christians that a war with Iran is essential:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/07/christians-united-for-israel-how.html

    This “turning of plowshares into swords”, particularly when it comes to Iran, stands in complete opposition to what evangelical Christians claim to believe in their religious lives.

    • AnneR
      August 28, 2019 at 09:54

      Sally Snyder – but if you worship/believe in/pay greater attention to the OT than the NT (which to my knowledge Evangelicals do) then the slaughtering, killing, invading, taking over other people’s lands and lives is perfectly okay. Even more so when the “chosen” ones do it…whether those so “chosen” by their mammon-moloch overlord or themselves.

      The “turn the other cheek,” “eye of the needle,” “do as you would by done by” attitudes as expressed in the four gospels is not adhered to, expressed by, the guiding light of any of the christian evangelicals, so far as I can tell. They much prefer the OT.

    • Jim Glover
      August 28, 2019 at 12:38

      Good Article Sally. I was able to comment “Jim GloverAugust 28, 2019 at 1:30 PM
      So Jewish Purim is a record of how the Persian King (old Iran) did not execute the Jews like happened in Europe for hundreds of years. Making peace between Iran and Israel is just as important as making peace with Russia and China.

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