How Close Was Israel to Bombing Iran?

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak meeting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2007

Israel’s former Defense Minister Ehud Barak claims Israel was poised to bomb Iran several times in recent years but kept encountering internal government resistance. But this new report may just be part of a continuing game of geopolitical chicken, says Gareth Porter for Middle East Eye.

Pushing the Edge on Nuclear War

President John F. Kennedy addressing the nation regarding the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Exclusive: Official Washington’s neocons and liberal hawks are ratcheting up tensions again over Ukraine with the goal of humiliating and even destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia – and there’s no modern-day JFK to tamp down the enthusiasm, an existential risk that ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk examines.

Will Peace Find a 2016 Advocate?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

Exclusive: Campaign 2016 has offered few useful ideas about worsening global crises. On the Republican side, it’s been mostly the same-old tough talk while Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have said little. Is there a way to break through the frozen thinking about world conflicts, asks Robert Parry.

The Missed Lesson on Terrorism

French President Francois Hollande, center, with British businessman Chris Norman, left, U.S. student Anthony Sadler, U.S. Airman First Class Spencer Stone and U.S. National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris honoring the men who helped thwart a terror attack on a Paris-bound train last week. (Pool photo)

Whenever there’s a terrorist attack – even a botched one like last week on a Paris-bound train – the debate turns to tightened security and retaliation. But a key part of a realistic campaign to reduce terrorism is to address underlying causes that fuel the rage behind the violence, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Sanders’s Screwy Mideast Strategy

Saudi King Salman bids farewell to President Barack Obama at Erga Palace after a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Out of fear of offending the power centers of Official Washington, Democrats won’t or can’t formulate a coherent foreign policy. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders says the solution to Mideast chaos is more Saudi intervention when Saudi intervention in support of Sunni extremists is the heart of the problem, writes Sam Husseini.

The Trump/Sanders Phenomena

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Exclusive: The prospect of another competition between the Clinton and Bush dynasties has sent activists from across the political spectrum searching for someone new – and leading to the unlikely emergence of unorthodox candidates, billionaire Donald Trump and socialist Bernie Sanders, writes Robert Parry.

The Case for Pragmatism

President Barack Obama talks with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation as they join other leaders en route to the APEC Family Photo at the International Convention Center in Beijing, China, Nov. 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Since American neocons emerged in the 1980s, they have pushed an aggressive “regime change” strategy that has left bloody chaos in their wake. The cumulative impact, including Mideast refugees flooding Europe and overuse of sanctions, is now contributing to a global economic crisis, says Robert Parry.

Propaganda and the Iran-Nuke Deal

An Iranian man holding a photo of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

For years, the anti-Iranian propaganda in the U.S. media has been unrelenting, at times aided by the idiocy of certain Iranian officials. That one-sided presentation and the ignorance that it has engendered are now adding to the public confusion about the Iran nuclear deal, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

American Jews Split from Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in 2012, drawing his own "red line" on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

Major Jewish organizations and donors are pressing the U.S. Congress to get in lockstep behind Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, but they are out of step with most American Jews who support the accord, reports Lawrence Davidson.

The Riddle of Obama’s Foreign Policy

President Barack Obama talks with Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, following a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sept. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: For nearly seven years of his presidency, Barack Obama has zigzagged from military interventionist to pragmatic negotiator, leaving little sense of what he truly believes. Yet, there may be some consistent threads to his inconsistencies, writes Robert Parry.

Iraq’s Off-Point ‘Reforms’

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.

After a U.S.-engineered “regime change” comes the dreamy period of “reform” — redrawing organizational boxes, slashing government programs and “privatizing” national assets, but rarely a commitment to realistic compromise among rival ethnic and political forces, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes in Iraq.

Why US Police Are Out of Control

A screen-shot from a video showing Walter Scott being shot in the back by a North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager on April  4, 2015. (Video via the New York Times.)

Exclusive: U.S. police forces are so out of control there’s not even a reliable database on how many times police officers shoot citizens. So, beyond racism and fear of guns, the problem includes fragmentation in law enforcement and gaps in training among the 18,000 police agencies in the 50 states, notes Daniel Lazare.

Pentagon Manual Calls Some Reporters Spies

An ABC News cameraman in the Persian Gulf War films the arrival of Syrian troops. (Photo credit: Don North)

Exclusive: The Pentagon’s new “Law of War” manual puts some journalists in the category of “unprivileged belligerents,” meaning they can be tried by military tribunals as spies, a further sign of U.S. government hostility toward reporting that undercuts Washington’s goals, writes veteran war correspondent Don North.

The Flimsy Case Against Iran-Nuke Deal

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Between Republican partisanship and Israeli pressure, the ranks of U.S. politicians and pundits opposed to the Iran nuclear deal are growing. But their arguments, including from Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Corker, remain logically flimsy and counter-factual, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Honduran Coup’s Ugly Aftermath

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Exclusive: As Secretary of State in 2009, Hillary Clinton helped a right-wing coup in Honduras remove an elected left-of-center president, setting back the cause of democracy and enabling corrupt and drug-tainted forces to tighten their grip on the poverty-stricken country, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

Assange and Democracy’s Future

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Democracy rests on citizens getting real facts and applying rational analysis. The ability of governments, including the U.S. government, to suppress facts and thus manage perceptions represents the opposite, a power over the people that WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange threatened, says Norman Solomon.

Propaganda, Intelligence and MH-17

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Exclusive: Propaganda is the life-blood of life-destroying wars, and the U.S. government has reached new heights (or depths) in this art of perception management. A case in point is the media manipulation around last year’s Malaysia Airlines shoot-down over Ukraine, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

How Netanyahu Outsmarted Himself

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s brash intervention into U.S. politics to frighten Americans about Iran’s alleged pursuit of a nuclear bomb created an unintended dynamic that led to the recent Iran agreement and now to a historic strain on U.S.-Israeli relations, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Explaining the Trump Phenomenon

Billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Since the days of Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” the Republican Party has played to the grievances of angry white men (and some women), in effect creating a ready audience for a hot-headed and quick-witted showman like Donald Trump, a classic case of reaping what is sown, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

Neocons to Americans: Trust Us Again

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

Exclusive: Marching in lockstep with Israeli hardliners, American neocons are aiming their heavy media artillery at the Iran nuclear deal as a necessary first step toward another “regime change” war in the Mideast – and they are furious when anyone mentions the Iraq War disaster and the deceptions that surrounded it, writes Robert Parry.

Reviving the ‘Successful Surge’ Myth

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation."

From the Archive: Over the past several years whenever American neocons say they should lead the way on national security, they invoke the “successful surge” myth, claiming that President George W. Bush’s Iraq escalation in 2007 “won” the war and that President Obama pulled defeat from the jaws of victory, a fiction that Robert Parry dissected in 2014.

Neocons Falsify Iraq War ‘Lessons’

Washington Post's editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

Having escaped accountability for the Iraq War disaster, U.S. neocons are urging the use of more military force in the Mideast, in line with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand to block the Iran nuclear deal. From their important perches of power, these war hawks also twist the history of their catastrophic misjudgments, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Saudi Royals — Unchained

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: With President Obama afraid of upsetting the Saudis anymore after the Iran-nuclear deal, he has given them pretty much a free hand to bomb and blockade Yemen. Meanwhile, the Saudi royals are displaying their contempt for the United Nations and its Yemen peace efforts, Joe Lauria reports.

Obama’s Stupid Blame-Iran Game

President Barack Obama stands with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the President's official arrival ceremony in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama always bows to Official Washington’s conventional wisdom no matter how wrongheaded it is – and then either falls in line behind some reckless neocon policy prescription or turns away just before falling off some geopolitical cliff. His continued Iran-bashing is a case in point, says Gareth Porter at Middle East Eye.

Escalating the Anti-Iran Propaganda

David Albright, former weapons inspector and founder of the Institute for Science and International Security.

Exclusive: The Israel Lobby canceled summer vacations for its operatives in a desperate bid to stop the Iran nuclear deal, and U.S. neoconservatives are committing all their “experts” to the fight to keep alive their hopes for war with Iran, such as alleged weapons specialist David Albright, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

Mideast Glimmers of Hope

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry takes a walk in a park between meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, on Nov. 8, 2013, that focused on limits on Iran's nuclear capabilities. (State Department photo)

Despite Israel’s reliance on a dominated U.S. Congress as a last line of defense for its bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran strategy, other regional and global forces are moving quickly to reshape the Middle East’s geopolitical reality in a more positive way, as ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller discerns.

Pope Francis’ Appeal for the Future

Pope Francis. (Photo from Casa Rosada)

Pope Francis is pleading for world leaders to defend the rights of mankind and the future of nature against the power of corporations and the pillage of “free market” dogma, a warning about the planet’s survival that vested political and media interests reject out of hand, writes Daniel C. Maguire.

Congress’ Test of Allegiance: US or Israel?

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has instructed the U.S. Congress to reject an international agreement constraining Iran’s nuclear program and to humiliate the sitting U.S. president, thus testing where the primary allegiance of most members of Congress lies, with the U.S. or Israel, writes John V. Whitbeck.

Gauging the Violent ‘Fox Effect’

Fox News President Roger Ailes.

The mainstream U.S. media has two standards for describing the motives for mass killings depending on whether the killer is a Muslim or a white man, with “terrorism” usually ascribed to the former and some personality disorder explaining the latter — rather than noting, say, an affinity for watching Fox News, says Mike Lofgren.

Spreading the Syrian Chaos

Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Nearly two decades ago, U.S. neoconservatives put Syria on their “regime change” list and have maintained that goal to the present day, placing it ahead of even blocking the spread of Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorism. That chaos has now drawn in Turkey as it advances its own geopolitical agenda, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Rectifying Israel’s Crimes

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a security meeting with senior Israeli Defense Forces commanders near Gaza on July 21, 2014. (Israel government photo)

Israel’s original sin – the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians – and the ongoing abuse of this subjugated population in the West Bank and Gaza undermine Israel’s preferred self-image as a modern civilized state and lead more people around the world to demand some modicum of justice, writes Lawrence Davidson.