Pushing Bush to Attack Iran
– Washington Post
This will be an interesting test of the thesis that the Israel Lobby drives U.S. policy in the Middle East. If the U.S. does indeed start another war in that region by dumping its own intelligence and substituting Israeli intelligence it should then be clear to anyone where the “intelligence” and motive to attack Iraq originated:
[quote]Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is expected to use his White House visit today to push President Bush to take a more aggressive approach toward Iran – and there are some signs that he’ll have a receptive audience. . . .
It’s in this environment that the Jewish Telegraph Agency reports: "Ehud Olmert will urge President Bush to prepare an attack on Iran, an Israeli newspaper reported.
"Citing sources close to the Israeli prime minister, Yediot Achronot reported on its front page Wednesday that Olmert, who is due to hold closed-door talks with Bush in Washington, will say that ‘time is running out’ on diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
The United States should therefore prepare to attack Iran, Olmert will tell Bush, according to Yediot."
Olmert certainly telegraphed as much in public last night. Matti Friedman writes for the Associated Press that "the Israeli prime minister told thousands of Israel supporters at the annual convention of the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Tuesday that the Iranian threat ‘must be stopped by all possible means.’ . . .
Tim Butcher writes in the Telegraph: “The speech shortens the odds significantly on military action against Iran’s nuclear programme. Israel has twice acted by itself to stop its regional enemies developing a nuclear capability, in Syria last year and Iraq in the 1980s.” . . .
[b]Butcher also notes: “Among Israeli supporters of military action against Iran there is concern something must be done before Mr Bush’s end of office next January as Mr Bush is perceived as closer to Israel than any potential successor.”
A particular irritant to Olmert and others who support military action against Iran is last year’s U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, which reported that Iran shelved its nuclear weapons program four years ago. The NIE made an unprovoked U.S. attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities politically impossible.
Bush has been trying to recast the NIE by focusing on its finding that Iran continues its nuclear enrichment program, but he hasn’t gone so far as to reject its other conclusions.
Barak Ravid writes for Haaretz: “Olmert will try to convince Bush to set aside the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program in favor of data presented by Israel, and determine the administration’s policy on Iran accordingly.”
And at yesterday’s press briefing, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino confirmed as much, saying: “Israel has made it clear that they think . . . that intelligence is wrong, and that Iran is still pursuing a nuclear weapon.”
Administration critics, who in this case represent almost the entire foreign policy establishment minus the neocons, warn that an attack on Iran would backfire even more spectacularly than the invasion of Iraq. . . .[/b][/quote]