Obama protects Iran from Israel 150

Obama hates the idea of an attack on Iran. He also hated the idea of the long-planned joint military exercises with Israel – named “Austere Challenge 12” – due to take place this spring. He looked for an excuse to scuttle them, and he found it.

That is our interpretation of the events reported here:

US-Israeli discord over action against Iran went into overdrive Sunday, Jan. 15 when the White House called off Austere Challenge 12, the biggest joint war game the US and Israel have ever staged, ready to go in spring, in reprisal for a comment by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon in an early morning radio interview.

What did Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon say that elicited such a furious, punitive response from Commander-in-Chief Obama?

He said the United States was hesitant over sanctions against Iran’s central bank and oil for fear of a spike in oil prices. … He pointed out that the US Congress had shown resolve by enacting legislation for sanctions with real bite. But the White House “hesitated.” 

On the pretext of finding these statements intolerable, Obama reacted vengefully.

The row between Washington and Jerusalem is now in the open, undoubtedly causing celebration in Tehran.

Nothing was said about [what will now be done with] the 9,000 US troops who landed in Israel earlier this month for a lengthy stay.

Neither was the forthcoming visit by Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, mentioned.

The official purpose of Gen. Dempsey’s visit next Thursday was supposed to be coordination between the US armed forces and the IDF. But his main object was another try to dissuade Israel’s government and military leaders from plans to strike Iran without Washington’s prior consent.

A diplomatic ruse has been resorted to:

The exercise was officially postponed from spring 2012 to the last quarter of the year over “budgetary constraints” – an obvous diplomatic locution for cancellation. It was issued urgently at an unusually early hour Washington time…  to underscore the Obama administration’s total disassociation from any preparations to strike Iran and to stress its position that if an attack took place, Israel alone would be accountable.

The “budgetary constraints” pretext for cancelling Austere Challenge 12 is hard to credit since most of the money has already been spent in flying 9,000 US troops into Israel this month. Although the exercise in which they were to have participated was billed as testing multiple Israeli and US air and missile defense systems, the exercise’s commander, US Third Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, announced that the event was more a “deployment” than an “exercise.”

But Obama does not want to deploy against Iran, and he manifestly dislikes Israel’s determination to make its own decisions about its own survival:

Neither Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, nor Defense Minister Ehud Barak or Deputy Prime Minster Yaalon, who are responsible for all decisions on Iran, are willing to put all their trust for defending Israel in American hands or relinquish unilateral military options against Iran. They believe US officials when they assert that the administration is prepared to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon (we don’t! – JB) but they want to see … actions to back up the rhetoric. In the light of credible intelligence that Iran is very close to achieving its nuclear goal, Israel is holding on to its military option over American objections.

The Iranian tyrants may derive some pleasure from the conflict between the Israeli and US governments, but it will not lessen their fear. The essential intransigence of Israel is more likely to increase the growing desperation in Tehran. The Iranians are trying to bluster their way out of the crisis they have put themselves into, threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz. But they know they couldn’t win over that issue. Nor could they win a war with Israel. The only thing they can do to save themselves is abandon their ambition to become a nuclear-armed power.

Obama’s Muslim bias and his chronic inability to make decisions and act effectively leaves control in the hands of Iran and Israel. What either Iran or Israel does next will force the US to react, and Obama will not be able to evade responsibility, perhaps for a new war in the middle east.