Over the past few years Iran has been the subject of intense international scrutiny. High ranking Israeli and US officials backed by their respective media packs have led the charge of accusations. In recent days a bizarre series of events has left commentators wondering what is brewing underneath the surface. The events include a rocket attack in Eilat and Aqaba; skirmishes between the IOF and Lebanese army which left four dead and the confusion surrounding the supposed assassination attempt of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
More intriguing into the mix is the recent ‘memorandum‘ sent to President Barack Obama in which former high ranking US intelligence officers have put forward a damning analysis of Israel’s calculating actions with all the signs indicating it is planning a pre-emptive strike on Iran. The document warns Obama that Israel will embroil the US in another war where ‘intelligence judgements are being fixed around policy’ and could potentially lead to another foreign policy disaster.
The dubious rocket attacks in Aqaba and Eilat have yet again evoked a barrage of Israeli threats against Hamas and the Gaza Strip. Initially, both the Egyptian and Israeli officials claimed that the attacks were instigated by Hamas from the Gaza Strip; however after a Jordanian investigation it was found that the rockets were launched from the Egyptian Sinai. Whilst Egypt conducts its investigation into these claims, the contradictory details of events have left many questioning Israel’s role in the affair. One official from Jordanian’s opposition political party the Islamic Action Front (IAF) questions the limited damage in Eilat when five rockets were launched in both regions, but only caused significant damage and death in the Jordanian populated city of Aqaba, with limited damage to the Israeli Eilat city. He warned that these series of events were being used as a pretext to justify any retaliation on Israel’s part and to “unsettle the safety and stability of Jordan and drag countries in the region to increase security coordination with ‘Israel’.” Israel’s history has been riddled with such cases, as it had previously ‘mounted provocations against its neighbors, in order to provoke a response that could be used to justify expansion of its borders’. Is this just another excuse to invade and bombard the Gaza Strip? Or, is it an attempt by Israel to distract international criticism for its failure to lift the blockade of Gaza after the flotilla massacre?
The skirmishes on the Lebanese/Israel border, which lead to four deaths have also been scrutinised. Confusing reports have emerged this past week as to who exactly was responsible for instigating the attack. IOF officials and Israeli MKs claim that Lebanese forces and Hizbullah had made a co-ordinated ‘terror attack’ against its forces. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were accused of inaction as three Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist and one Israeli soldier were killed during the fire exchange. The Lebanese authorities accused the IOF of breaching a border fence and moving into the Adeissah village in southern Lebanon. Both the US and UK came out calling for restraint on both sides. But was this just another provocation from Israel to get the Lebanese army to react? Provoking a reaction from the Lebanese army will more than likely draw Hizbullah into battle with devastating consequences for the region. And what of Syria? A long term ally of both Hizbullah and Iran, Syria may see no alternative but to join forces with them against Israel. Moreover this will mean the US would be forced into a war that it has no desire for but would, at the same time, be ‘politically untenable’ for it to not support Israel.
Meanwhile, the Iranian President recently claimed he believed he was on an Israeli hit list and was sure there would be assassination attempts made to force regime change in Iran. A few days later there was a flurry of media activity after some Iranian news outlets mistranslated ‘firecracker’ into ‘grenade’ and for a moment the international media were entranced by the news that Ahmedinejad had escaped an assassination attempt. There is now mounting speculation in the political arena as to what will trigger a probable war if Obama does not pull in the reins and publicly condemns Israel for escalating tensions in the Middle East. What has somewhat frustrated Israel more than any thing else is the fact that Iran is not making it any easier for it to make this pre-emptive strike having recently agreed to a tripartite deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil (with the US’s ‘personal encouragement’), that would see half of Iran’s low enriched uranium move outside Tehran’s control. A recent announcement made by the US that it would be resuming talks with its Iranian counterparts to discuss ways to halt uranium enrichment to 20 per cent, enough for medical research, to which Iran is ready to agree to, has weakened Israel’s scaremongering campaign that Iran is arming itself with nuclear weapons. The only way to counter this is by ‘striking Iran sooner than later’, making it impossible for the US to avoid military confrontation with Iran.
The memorandum ends predicting a serious global backlash against Israel and the rise in anti-Semitism within the US, as once again US forces will be thrown into a war under false pretences by the warmongering pro-Israelis in the US Senate.
It is high time that Obama takes hold of the reins. Any pre-emptive attack on Iran will no doubt mean the US would drag the US into another war of choice to support Israel’s military and political objectives. Will Obama allow Netanyahu to make a fool out of another American president? We will soon find out the answer.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.