Wag the Dog
Will the USA Attack Iran for Israel?
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The Barack Obama and Adolf Hitler movie described in Photographed with Hitler and Videotaped with Madonna may be closer to reality than it looks at first sight. The Persian Gulf War, known also as the First Gulf War, Desert Storm and the Mother of all Battles was a military conflict initiated by a thirty-four country coalition force, with the United Nations mandate, against Iraq with the purpose of expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait after Iraq’s occupation and annexation of that country in August 1990.
During the war, Iraq launched modified Scud missiles at civilian centers in Israel in an attempt to precipitate a retaliation that would destabilize the coalition by alienating its Arab members. The 39 missiles that landed on Israel caused some property damage and a few deaths. All of them had conventional warheads, despite the IDF’s initial hints of a different reality. The United States deployed two Patriot missile battalions in Israel, while the Netherlands sent one Patriot Squadron, in an unsuccessful attempt to deflect the attacks.
Until that moment in history, Israel had always retaliated. However, on that occasion, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir agreed to remain outside of the conflict. Publically, he did that in a reluctant way, but the reality was a bit different. Israel could not have answered.
On March 20, 2003, a military campaign against Iraq began with no declaration of war with the invasion of that country by a multinational force led by troops from the United States. This time, it looked as if Israel was not involved. Yet, reality was a bit different.
“Wag the Dog” is a 1997 film starring Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, which describes a situation in which the “tail wags the dog.” An unnamed President of the United States is caught in flagrante with a young girl scout less than two weeks before the elections and a hired political gun (De Niro) is brought in to take the public attention away from the scandal. He decides to construct a fake war with Albania, hoping the media will concentrate on this instead.
He contacts a Hollywood producer (Hoffman), who helps construct a theme song, build up interest and fake some footage of an orphan in Albania. In the end, with the President re-elected, the producer is about to call the media to “set them straight,” when the President’s aide has him killed to save his political boss.
The movie illustrated certain interpretations of events within the US. However, for those who were in Israel prior to the Second Gulf War, it reminds a different situation. The hysteria in the Israeli newspapers regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction began much before the war or similar publications in the American media. Those weapons turned out to be Weapons of Mass Distraction used by Israel and others. Nothing was found in Iraq.
Yet, after the Israeli public was convinced the weapons existed, the second stage of the campaign began. Analysts working for the main Israeli newspapers claimed Israel should adopt the same tactic used by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir during the Mother of All Battles, namely the First Gulf War. It should let the US destroy the perceived enemy.
The reality was that Israel could not attack. In sharp contrast to what most media publishes, Israel is unable to conduct an ongoing military operation against Iraq. Simply, after the first air-strike, all the forces surrounding Israel would join efforts in averting the strikes. Israel has only one advantage; the possibility of surprising Iran with an air strike. Even that is questionable; only missiles can nowadays reach faraway targets fast enough to keep the surprise factor. After the initial strike, the game changes dramatically.
Following these publications, pressure was put on the Jewish community and organizations in the US to help protect Israel against Iraq. Subsequently, the US attacked Iraq in 2003, without even declaring war.
The tail wagged the dog.
An awesome amount of articles in the media explore the possibility of Israel attacking Iran. The date of the supposed attack changes faster than the weather. “Israel would use air bases in Georgia” some articles claim. “Israel would fly over Syria without being detected,” others add, implying an undisclosed electronic warfare advantage enjoyed by Israel.
Yet, reality has not changed. Israel cannot attack Iran in an effective fashion. Iran is too large, too far away, and countries hostile—to Israel—separate the two. Moreover, Israel would not take the chance of being perceived as the cause for the subsequent blockade of the Strait of Hormuz by Iran and the dramatic rise in fuel prices that would follow. So, what are all these articles? For me—as for many of those who read the Hebrew newspapers before the attack on Iraq—the situation is clear. Israel is again trying to Wag the Dog.
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