By Greg Grant Friday, September 18th, 2009 2:17 pm
“A Pentagon source told us recently that the issue that literally keeps senior military people up at night is the prospect of an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program.
In recent months, the rhetoric coming from high-level Israeli military and political officials in meetings with U.S. officials has become increasingly hawkish as Israel sees a narrowing window of opportunity to inflict enough damage to slow Iran’s progress in developing a nuclear weapon and at a small enough cost.”
The day Iran can deliver a nuclear warhead on a missile Israel is dead. Bibi and his people have every right to feel hawkish. Signs from the White House and State Department that the U.S. is helping Israel are almost nil. However, as President Obama cancels plans to establish missile defense in Eastern Europe, Secretary Gates and General Petraeus appear to be laying plans for missile defense in the Middle East. Believe it or not, Israel, we’ve got your back.
DoD Buzz has in interesting piece about the scramble to convince the Israelis that America has Middle Eastern air space covered. The U.S. won’t give too loud a shout out about the program because someone’s reputation is at stake: “Because of Arab sensitivities, the U.S. cannot come out and say that anti-ballistic missiles placed on Arab territory are meant to protect Israel. But they will do just that.” Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Israel is not the only country in the Middle East that wants Iran contained. Especially since Israel is the only country reacting with a full-throated complaint. Don’t be fooled, though. As Petraeus says, “Iran constitutes the main state-based threat to stability in the region. The impact of its malign activities and harsh rhetoric are felt throughout the Arabian Peninsula, making it, ironically, the best recruiter with prospective partners. We now have eight Patriot missile batteries spread across countries on the western side of the Gulf, where two years ago we had far, far fewer.” So, everyone’s watching Iran but we can’t talk about it too loudly. Israel gets to speak up for everyone in the region and take any accusations of war mongering on the chin. Scapegoat, party of one, your table is ready.
As long as the U.S. is ready to kick tail, some of the diplomatic dancing can be forgiven. “DoD is trying to get Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries to the United Arab Emirates, but Lockheed Martin can’t build them fast enough for the Army, let alone for overseas sales. . . . while the first THAAD battery is scheduled to deploy to Europe, don’t be surprised if that battery is diverted to a U.S. base in the Gulf, such as in Qatar or even Israel.” Whatever the talk in Europe, the walk seems to be in the Middle East. Did you know that joint missile drills with us are scheduled next month in Israel? And that when the drills are over some of those interesting and useful defense systems on which the Israeli military just practiced will quietly get left behind?
And does Israel care if the whole topic is hush-hush, as long as the missiles are in place and operational?