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Outside View: Rumor of war
by Morgan Strong
Brick, N.J. (UPI) Apr 16, 2012

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The decision to place one or the other of the candidates in the Oval Office this election will have immense, perhaps dire consequence. The wrong choice can send us off to a great conflagration that could decide the ruination of the Middle East, Israel and perhaps the West.

Israel's existence may well be decided and movement has begun in anticipation of this cataclysm. Israel understood that the United States lost the war in Iraq to Iran when the Bush administration handed the leadership of the country to the Shiites by the willfully obtuse decision to order premature elections.

In secrecy, Israel began to establish military bases in the semi-autonomous Kurdish territories of Iraq. Israel has used those bases to gather intelligence and conduct in force reconnaissance raids into Iran.

The Shiite government of Iraq is little more than an extension of the will of the fanatical mullahs of Iran and their psychotic fixation to destroy Israel. Iran is moving in preparation in other territories it controls in the region to achieve this.

Israeli reports claim there is a substantial movement of weapons and material to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in preparation for attacks against Israel. Hamas in Gaza has begun to amass sophisticated weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, capable of bringing down a civilian airliner, from the looted arsenals of Libya.

Israel is faced with an entirely new set of geometric variables following the Arab uprisings which swept the Middle East and North Africa. Israel can no longer rely on the docility of the once-suppressed Arab nations that surround them to remain out of any war with Iran.

Egypt's population now free of Hosni Mubarak, and not intimidated by the military junta, has shown its hostility toward Israel by shutting off vital natural gas supplies on several occasions since their revolution. There is no guarantee that if Israel attacks Iran the Egyptian military forces, will remain on the sideline and not join in the fight in support of Iran.

Libya, free of the oppression of the Moammar Gadhafi government, has a long history of hostility toward Israel. Libya's numerous, uncontrolled, well-armed, revolutionary militias may join in.

Israel's survival depends on the elimination of Iran and Iran's surrogates given the forces prepared to assemble and wage war with Israel. U.S. support in such a war is absolutely necessary for Israel to have any hope. And if Israel faces destruction it will certainly use its extensive arsenal of nuclear weapons to survive.

What that can mean for the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the entire planet, is the potential of worldwide nuclear contamination.

Israel's tactic to convince the United States to support a war with Iran is now demonstrated by the sudden influx of money into Republican candidates presidential campaigns. Sheldon Adelson a billionaire supporter of Israel, provided millions of dollars to Newt Gingrich's campaign only for his false statement that the Palestinians were an invented people.

That kind of money from Adelson and other very wealthy supporters of Israel will now be made available to the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.

U.S. President Barack Obama has proven to be resistant to Israel's plans to eliminate Iran. Obama has also defied the Netanyahu government by withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Those troops were vital to Israel as a measure of protection when and if Iraq joins in any war Israel begins with Iran.

Obama has proven resistant to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's continued insistence that the United States join Israel in a pre-emptive strike against Iran realizing the potential for conflagration. Obama has further insisted that Israel stop further settlement of the West Bank and relax the blockade around Gaza. He insists Netanyahu reach an agreement for peace with the Palestinians. These demands are most reasonable and would prevent the possibility of a terrible tragedy. Netanyahu has steadfastly refused to engage the Palestinians in any peace talks, and remains irrationally committed to attacking Iran.

Obama voiced his dislike and distrust of Netanyahu in the now infamous open mike quote in Paris where he, and French President Sarkozy, characterized Netanyahu as a liar and untrustworthy. Obama is not bullied by Netanyahu's veiled threats to use the power of the Jewish lobby, and billions in contributions from Israel's supporters, to derail his campaign if he does not agree to Netanyahu's aggressive plans.

Romney is a very old friend of Netanyahu. And it is Romney that Netanyahu has turned to for American support. Romney has become a vigorous critic of the president for his failure to support Netanyahu's plans to attack Iran.

Netanyahu now briefs Romney on developments in Iran rather than the president. Romney is essentially ignorant of the forces and dynamics of the region. He relies entirely on Netanyahu's lectures.

Romney publically stated that as president he would make no significant policy decisions that concern Israel without first consulting Netanyahu. This means Netanyahu could effectively make American policy in the Middle East. Clearly a grave rebuke to the U.S. Constitution.

Netanyahu will use the ignorance of Romney to secure American support for Israel's wars. In return Netanyahu has pledged the billions of dollars available from Israel's supporters and the influence of the Jewish lobby to insure Romney's election to the presidency.

What is at stake at this election is nothing less than this country's independence and the integrity of our constitution, in allowing us alone to choose the wisest, safest, course for our country. We cannot allow ourselves to be bullied and directed by another country whose sole interest is its own ambition, at the expense of our blood and treasure. We cannot again commit our troops to a war with no consequent effect for our interests, and we must not allow our country to be used to subjugate others.

(Morgan Strong is a former professor of Middle Eastern History and was an adviser to CBS News' "60 Minutes" on the Middle East.)

(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

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US, Israeli defense chiefs meet at the Pentagon
Washington (AFP) April 19, 2012 - US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hosted Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak Thursday in their second Pentagon meeting in as many months as concern grows over Syrian unrest and Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The closed-door conversation focused on the "US-Israel defense relationship and mutual regional security defense interests," including Iran, Syria and effects of the Arab Spring on the region, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The meeting took place amid Western efforts to end the violence in Syria, where the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has now claimed 11,000 lives, according to the Britain-based watchdog Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It was also less than a week after world powers resumed talks with Iran on its disputed nuclear program. Iran claims it is solely for peaceful purposes, but the United States, Israel and others suspect it seeks an atomic bomb.

President Barack Obama's administration has expressed confidence that sanctions coupled with diplomacy can resolve the years-long standoff as it seeks to convince Israel to tone down talk of pre-emptive air strikes on Iran.

At the end of their meeting, Panetta and Barak marked Holocaust Memorial Day by lighting candles in remembrance of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II.


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Brussels (AFP) April 19, 2012
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