The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 75/No. 42      November 21, 2011

U.S., Israeli rulers step
up threats against Iran
(front page)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are pressing to launch an air assault on Iran to take out Teheran’s nuclear facilities. They have opened a debate in the Israeli cabinet on the question, according to Israeli media.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has called for “unprecedented pressure” to force the Iranian government to abandon its nuclear program, and the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency released a report November 8 claiming that Tehran is close to developing nuclear weapons.

The Israeli government has on several previous occasions raised the threat of bombing Iranian facilities without doing so. At the same time, such a strike would not be unprecedented. In 1981 and 2007 Israeli warplanes destroyed nuclear reactors in Iraq and Syria.

For years Washington has led the imperialists’ campaign to quash Iran’s nuclear program because, they say, Tehran is developing nuclear weapons, something the U.S. rulers want to limit to themselves and their allies. The Iranian government has maintained its nuclear program is for energy production and medical purposes only.

The first leak on Netanyahu’s and Barak’s course was released October 28 by well-known journalist Nahum Barnea in one of Israel’s main newspapers, Yediot Ahronot. The story was never denied. Some Israeli officials have accused Meir Dagan, former head of Israeli intelligence, for the leak, reported the New York Times. The bulk of Tel Aviv’s top military and intelligence leadership are among those in Israel’s ruling class and state apparatus who oppose a strike against Iran.  
Dress rehearsal for attack
As the debate was raging in Israel, Tel Aviv conducted a one-week air force exercise at a NATO base in Italy, widely seen as a dress rehearsal for such an attack. On November 2 the Israeli Defense Forces test-fired a new Jericho missile capable of reaching Iran with a nuclear warhead.

The Israeli government recently positioned submarines in waters not far from Iran. And it has been running civil-defense drills to prepare for an attack involving thousands of rockets and missiles raining down on the country.

Following a November 3 visit to London by Barak, the daily Guardian reported British military officials were drawing up plans for how they would deploy Royal Navy submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles to the Arab-Persian Gulf in the event Washington decides to launch missile strikes against Iranian bases.

Israeli President Shimon Peres November 6 told the press, “The possibility of a military attack against Iran is now closer to being applied than the application of a diplomatic option.”

In response to Netanyahu’s saber rattling, Ayatollah Mahmoud Alavi, a senior Iranian cleric, warned, “If they [the Israeli government] make such a mistake, they will receive a crushing response from the Islamic Republic” of Iran. Tehran is equipped with powerful medium-range missiles capable of reaching Israel.

Netanyahu spoke to Israel’s parliament October 31 about changes in the region that necessitate increased use of “offensive capabilities.” He referred to popular protests and the overthrow of regimes in the Middle East and North Africa and plans for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year as immense changes that can increase instability.

The pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq is widely seen as a major opening for Tehran to increase its influence in that country and region. The Israeli rulers have also been shaken by social protests, involving both Jews and Arabs, that swept the country during the summer, influenced by movements in the region.

On November 3 Obama called for maintaining “unprecedented international pressure” on Iran—as spelled out by Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes, “through financial pressure, through economic sanctions, through diplomatic isolation.”

This was backed by Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague, who said, “No option is off the table,” and by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé.

Iran has already been subjected to four rounds of U.N. sanctions and punitive measures by the U.S. and European powers that have crippled its economy. Joint U.S. and Israeli efforts to sabotage Teheran’s nuclear research go back a decade, most recently with a destructive computer worm called Stuxnet. Over the course of years a string of assassinations and disappearances have targeted Iranian nuclear scientists.

On October 11 U.S. authorities accused the Quds Force, the foreign operations unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, of plotting to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington.

Washington possesses the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons and remains the only power to have ever used them, incinerating the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. Tel Aviv is widely believed to have the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East.

During a trip to Israel in October, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met with Netanyahu and Barak in order to clarify Tel Aviv’s intentions regarding Iran. He reportedly left without a clear answer.
Related articles:
Imperialist hands off Iran!
US expands hunter-killer operations in Somalia
Airline, customs, port workers strike in Kuwait  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home