Peace is War: How Israel Induces America into War with Iran

By Maidhc Ó Cathail

On August 17, America’s two leading newspapers featured strikingly similar opinion pieces, providing further evidence of a coordinated effort by Israel and its American partisans to induce the United States into waging another disastrous Middle East war. In the Washington Post, former chief of Israeli military intelligence Amos Yadlin helpfully suggested “5 steps Obama can take to avert a strike on Iran”; while President Obama’s former top Middle East advisor Dennis Ross advised readers of the New York Times “How America Can Slow Israel’s March to War.” Perhaps the most notable difference between the two op-eds was that the latter proposed a mere four steps Washington supposedly needs to take in order to appease the allegedly trigger-happy Israelis.


Yadlin and Ross both began by citing recent Israeli statements such as Benjamin Netanyahu’s warning that “Time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out,” conveying the impression that Tel Aviv’s patience with diplomacy is wearing thin, and that, as a consequence, this autumn, as Yadlin put it, “all the boxes will be checked for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.” Three months ago, Ross admitted during a panel discussion with Yadlin on “U.S.-Israel Relations in a Changing Middle East” at a conference held by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he is now a counselor, that such alarmist public pronouncements by Israeli officials should be understood not as an indication of the Jewish state’s likelihood to strike the Islamic Republic but as a ploy “to motivate the rest of the world to act.” Now, however, he confidently asserts: “The words of Israeli leaders are signaling not just increasing impatience with the pace of diplomacy but also Israel’s growing readiness to act militarily on its own against Iranian nuclear facilities.”

Both op-ed contributors also make it a point to stress that the United States shares Israel’s strategic goal of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability, while noting that they only differ over, in the words of Yadlin, “the timeline for possible military action against Iran.” Like the former Israeli intelligence chief, Ross touts Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s “zone of immunity” argument that Israel must act while Iran’s nuclear facilities are still vulnerable to an Israeli military strike.

Framing their arguments as attempts to prevent, or at least postpone, an Israeli attack, Yadlin and Ross offer, respectively, their five- and four-point plans for “peace.” Yadlin, currently director of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, urges the Obama administration to take “five immediate steps to convince allies and adversaries alike that military action is real, imminent and doable,” which he assures are “key to making it less likely”:

First, Obama should notify the U.S. Congress in writing that he reserves the right to use military force to prevent Iran’s acquisition of a military nuclear capability. This would show the president’s resolve, and congressional support for such a measure is likely to be strong. Forty-four senators signed a bipartisan letter to Obama in June, urging him to “reevaluate the utility of further talks at this time” and focus instead on sanctions and “making clear that a credible military option exists.”

Second, Washington should signal its intentions via a heightened U.S. military presence in the gulf, military exercises with Middle East allies and missile defense deployment in the region. Media coverage of these actions should be encouraged.

Third, Washington should provide advanced military technology and intelligence to strengthen Israel’s military capabilities and extend the window in which Israel can mortally wound Iran’s program. This support would be contingent on Israeli pledges to give sanctions and diplomacy more time to work.

Fourth, U.S. officials should speak publicly about the dangers of possible Iranian nuclear reconstitution in the wake of a military strike. Perhaps the most cogent argument against a unilateral Israeli strike is that it would quickly lead to the disintegration of Western sanctions. Without the inhibitions of a sanctions regime, Iran could quickly reconstitute its nuclear program — this time bunkered entirely underground to protect against aerial strikes. If Iran sees military action by Israel or the West as an absolute end to its nuclear ambitions, it will be more reluctant to risk things.

Fifth, Obama should publicly commit to the security of U.S. allies in the gulf. This would reassure jittery friends in the region and credibly anchor the U.S. last-resort military option to three powerful interests: U.S. national security, Israeli security and the security of allied states.

Living up to his reputation as a reliable “advocate” for Israel, Ross presents his remarkably similar four-step plan which he claims is necessary in order “to extend the clock from an Israeli standpoint” as well as “to synchronize the American and Israeli clocks so that we really can exhaust diplomacy and sanctions before resorting to force”:

First, the United States must put an endgame proposal on the table that would allow Iran to have civil nuclear power but with restrictions that would preclude it from having a breakout nuclear capability — the ability to weaponize its nuclear program rapidly at a time of Tehran’s choosing. Making such a proposal would clarify whether a genuine deal was possible and would convey to Israel that the American approach to negotiations was not open-ended.

Second, America should begin discussions with the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany (the so-called P5+1) about a “day after” strategy in the event that diplomacy fails and force is used. This would signal to both Israel and Iran that we mean what we say about all options being on the table.

Third, senior American officials should ask Israeli leaders if there are military capabilities we could provide them with — like additional bunker-busting bombs, tankers for refueling aircraft and targeting information — that would extend the clock for them.

And finally, the White House should ask Mr. Netanyahu what sort of support he would need from the United States if he chose to use force — for example, resupply of weapons, munitions, spare parts, military and diplomatic backing, and help in terms of dealing with unexpected contingencies. The United States should be prepared to make firm commitments in all these areas now in return for Israel’s agreement to postpone any attack until next year — a delay that could be used to exhaust diplomatic options and lay the groundwork for military action if diplomacy failed.

While noting that these proposals may be seen as making war more likely next year, Ross claims “they are almost certainly needed now in order to give Israel’s leaders a reason to wait.” Similarly, Yadlin argues that “if the United States wants Israel to give sanctions and diplomacy more time, Israelis must know that they will not be left high and dry if these options fail.”

“A long-standing principle of Israeli defense doctrine,” Yadlin asserts, “is that it will never ask the United States to fight for it.” While it may be technically true that Tel Aviv never directly asks Washington to dispose of regional rivals on its behalf, these two op-eds attest that the Jewish state has more subtle ways of inducing America to do its dirty work for it.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. In addition to writing a monthly column for a popular Irish language magazine , his work has been published by, Arab News, Boiling Frogs Post, Dissident Voice, Foreign Policy Journal, Forward Magazine (Syria), Information Clearing House, Journal of Turkish Weekly, Khaleej Times, Ma’an News Agency, Middle East Monitor, Palestine Chronicle, Tehran Times, The Nation (Pakistan), Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and many more. Ó Cathail is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment  blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. He has been interviewed by Press TV, Sahar TV, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, and California National Public Radio station KZYX.

The article was originally carried by the writer at his site:

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  • sturkman  On August 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Not Israel. Ahmadi Nijad, the President of Iran had made the whole West induced in to war with Iran by his repeated statements. Why that stupid had to threaten Israel by saying he wasts to end its existence again and again like a little Kid instead of being a Statesman?
    If a Little Kid says, he hates Cat, wants to end its existence and then asks you for a Big Knife, would you give it him?
    No. The same is situation with Iran of the Civilized World and USA. They do not want all Israelis nuked.

  • Portugheis Alberto  On August 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    So much distortion of reality, makes makes me despair!!!!!!! Neither Israel nor the United States, United Kingdom, Iran, etc, etc, WANT war. NO country in the world wants war.Those who want war are the WAR MERCHANTS, those who only and exclusively make a living thanks to war, small or large, local, national or international.

    The list is long:
    weapon scientists
    weapon manufacturers
    weapon traders (this group includes the “professionals”, but also people working in politics,
    diplomacy, Armed Forces, Media tycoons, some religious organizations, etc)
    makers of bombs, mortars, canons, grenades, teargas, etc
    makers of torture instruments and spying equipment
    makers of military vehicles (transport of soldiers by land, sea and air, attach helicopetrs,
    air fighters, drones, tanks, warships, was submarines, etc)
    Manufacturers of all that is needed for the thousands of refugees produced/created by the
    groups names so far. (tents, portable kitchens, toilets, showers, camp beds, linen,
    blankets, etc, etc)
    Manufacturers of coffins and funeral services are overwhelmed with joy in times of war.

    Maidhc Ó Cathail is very intelligent and educated and a superb writes, in the sense that he’s very clear and transmits his thoughts in a natural and easy to understand style. However, he is SO prejudiced against Jews, against Israelis and in particular against zionists, that his thinking is very far from being objective or enlightening.

    Maidhc Ó Cathail is so full of prejudice, that he goes on and on about “so and so” said this to “so and so”. He seems to think that Presidents or Prime Ministers just wake up with an idea and then telephone another President to tell him “I thought you, we, should do this or that”, and that’s it, we have a war. All this obliging Presidents !!!!!! very funny.

    Maidhc Ó Cathail is SO prejudiced that he ignores “totally” the over 200 (two hundred) armed conflicts in existence today, the world over. It is only by “connecting with”, “relating to” all conflicts, that we can understand what’s happening in the Middle East.

    I would recommend to Maidhc Ó Cathail to study nuclear activities in ALL countries, see how and “who” started them. I’d like Maidhc Ó Cathail to follow nuclear scientists from all nuclear countries and see where they went for their studies, who paid for those, who were their teachers, etc. I’d like Maidhc Ó Cathail to see where the elements for building nuclear weapons come from and how they reach their destination.

    Finally, I would like Maidhc Ó Cathail to study and analyse Security companies. Specially those developing products and providing consulting and personnel services in the field of aviation and general security, but especially aviation security, the operation at airport checkpoints and electronic equipment, (x-ray screening, manual devices, verifying travel documents. This business employs millions worldwide with a revenue of billions.

    To reduce the complexity of world politics and business to “Israel induces America into war with Iran” is absurd, as well as unfair to the inhabitants of Israel, who are day and night thinking how can we live in peace and harmony.


  • Nasim  On August 26, 2012 at 2:48 am

    American people are so far away from foreign policy that even the headlines do not distract them. They buy the newspapers, keep sports and entertainment section, give the advertisements to their wives for shopping and throw away everything else.

    So Israel can do anything they want.

    Nasim Hassan

  • Maidhc Ó Cathail  On August 26, 2012 at 4:58 am


    If pointing out the obvious is evidence of “prejudice,” then there are a lot of other analysts guilty of it too, most notably, Gareth Porter, Philip Giraldi and Jeff Blankfort. As Blankfort observed recently, “It is not the oil companies, nor the arms manufacturers or the other large corporations doing the pushing, just Israel’s friends in Washington, and the Congress which it totally controls.”

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