Saturday, May 11, 2019

Shadow Strike

The right book to read vis-à-vis US-Iran tension

Shadow Strike is immensely readable and although much of the info had percolated down to the general public during these last 12 years, it well describes the politics of the Bush administration’s reluctance to bomb the reactor themselves.

It shows how ignorant some members of the Bush administration were about Israel’s predicament and that is especially true of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Vice President Dick Cheney seems to have been the most supportive of Israel, but he could not convince President Bush to attack the reactor himself.  John Bolton comes out as the only one who sensed that Syria was interested in nuclear weapons. We should remind everyone how wrong Joe Biden had been in attacking Bolton on this issue.   

The book also demonstrates how obsessed both the American and Israeli side were with the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process – the desire to construct the political perpetuum mobile  without them first doing their homework on Islam as both a religion and an ideology. Not that much has changed in this regard since.

I detect a certain positive bias towards the main protagonists Olmert, Barak, Peretz, Livni, Dagan, Ashkenazi, Yadlin and Halevy while the gibe is against Netanyahu for having two weeks after the strike congratulated Olmert on the successful strike and disclosed that Israel had done it.  In addition, Katz seems to take Meir Dagan and Gabi Ashkenazi’s side when they blocked Netanyahu and Barak’s order of placing the IDF on high alert and ready for the imminent attack on Iranian nuclear sites, a decision the consequences of which are still felt today with Secretary of State Pompeo cancelling his visit to Greenland and the cover of The Economist showing a photo of USS Abraham Lincoln and the headline “Collision course”

I learned about the balagan Israel is capable of.  

“On the plane [from Pyongyang], Halevy was surprised to run into Eytan Bentsur, the director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry who had just wrapped his own visit to Pyongyang for talks with the North Koreans  on a similar topic .

It was a classic case of uncoordinated Israeli bureaucracy”

And what about Iran?

Yaakov Katz writes: “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, for example, has a significant nuclear arsenal but Israel does not consider the possibility of launching an attack there. Why?

Meridor, one of the participants in the fateful 2010 Security Cabinet meeting, told me that for Israel to consider preemptive action against another country’s nuclear program, two criteria have to be met: the country has to be one of Israel’s enemies  and also have the potential to one day consider using a nuclear weapon against it . Syria fit both. Pakistan does not.”

Iran fits both too. Perhaps Meridor should be reminded what Bernard Lewis said:

 “In this context, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, namely M.A.D. (Mutual Assured Destruction), would have no meaning.  At the End of Time, there will be general destruction anyway.  What will matter is the final destination of the dead-- hell for the infidels, and the delights of heaven for the believers. For people with this mindset, M.A.D. is not a constraint; it is an inducement...”