News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Israel Trying to Force Washington's Hand in Iran?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Israel Trying to Force Washington's Hand in Iran?

In previous postings at his blog, The Washington Note, independent reporter Steve Clemons speculated that Israel wants to force the US into a war with Iran by its invasion of Lebanon. Clemons wrote:

One has to wonder whether Israel's reaction -- so dramatically different than in the past -- is designed to REMOVE from the table certain options America might prefer to have with the Palestinians, with the broader Arab region, and even -- eventually -- with Iran.

Clemons just returned from a long trip to Israel where he met with many Israeli leaders. He also has what has been termed "uber-insider" contacts high in the US govt.

In his most recent posting, Clemons fleshes out the details of how Israel hopes to use this invasion to force the US hand in the Mideast:
The flamboyant, over the top reactions to attacks on Israel's military check points and the abduction of soldiers -- which I agree Israel must respond to -- seems to be part establishing "bona fides" by Olmert, but far more important, REMOVING from the table important policy options that the U.S. might have pursued.

Israel is constraining American foreign policy in amazing and troubling ways by its actions. And a former senior CIA official and another senior Marine who are well-versed in both Israeli and broad Middle East affairs, agreed that serious strategists in Israel are more concerned about America tilting towards new bargains in the region than they are either about the challenge from Hamas or Hezbollah or showing that Olmert knows how to pull the trigger.

Another well respected and very serious national security public intellectual in the nation wrote this when I shared this thesis that Israeli actions were ultimately aimed at clipping American wings in the region. His response:

the thesis of your paper is right-on.

whether intentional or coincidental, that is what is being done right now.

I share these other views only to establish the fact that there is not a consensus either in support of or opposed to Israeli action -- but some are beginning to scrutinize what Israel is seeking to achieve with such flamboyant displays of power that are antagonizing whole societies on their borders.

Keeping America from cutting new deals in the region -- which many in the national security establishment thinks are vital -- may actually be what is going on, and the smarter-than-average analysts are beginning to see that.

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