Got our back? More like stabbing us in the back

Published in Israel Hayom, March 30, 2012. Click for a printer-friendly version.

Obama bear hugs Netanyahu

In a deliberate American campaign to scuttle any planned Israeli hit on Iran, the Obama administration is leaking classified intelligence assessments and documents that rip deep into our most sensitive military zones. 

“There should not be a shred of doubt by now that when the chips are down, I have Israel’s back,” proclaimed US President Barack Obama at the AIPAC conference earlier this month. “There is no good reason to doubt me on (Israel) issues,” he similarly grumbled to The Atlantic. “I have made a more full-throated defense of Israel and its legitimate security concerns than any president in history… I have kept every single commitment I have made to the state of Israel and its security… We’ve got Israel’s back.”

Well, Obama definitely has a thing with Israel’s back. But he doesn’t seem to “have” our back. He is “at” our back. Stabbing us in the back, it appears.

How else can one explain the blatant and bold sabotage of Israel’s security that the Obama administration is engaged in? All the adamant protestations of support for Israel don’t weigh up against the concrete damage that administration officials are doing to Israel’s deterrent power and operational military capabilities through purposeful leaks of information relating to Israel’s strike abilities against Iran.

In a deliberate American campaign to scuttle any planned Israeli hit on Iran, Washington is leaking classified intelligence assessments and documents that rip deep into our most sensitive military zones.

Worst of all is the revelation (through Foreign Policy Magazine, yesterday) of State Department documents and CIA-provided details of Israel’s secret “staging grounds” (airbases) in Azerbaijan, from which the IAF can more readily strike into Iran. In the article, “senior intelligence officers” and former CENTCOM commanders name specific Azeri airstrips from whence Israel is apparently operating; name Israeli officials involved in managing the secret relationship with Azerbaijan; and provide astonishing detail on the air staging logistics that would be involved in an Israeli military operation there.

This follows upon the Congressional Research Service study leaked earlier in the week, which pans Israel’s ability to do much damage to Iran, and suggests that an Israeli strike would uselessly stir up a hornet’s nest. Great cost, with little gain, the report said. Two weeks ago, the Obama administration leaked to The New York Times results of a classified Pentagon war game dubbed “Internal Look” which forecast that an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would likely draw the United States into a wider regional war in which hundreds of American forces could be killed. This is to say: Don’t you dare act, Israel, or the Obama administration will blame you for Americans getting killed. And to make sure that Israel understood just how directed this leak was, the newspaper was allowed to publish the exact location, date, parameters and some names of participants in this war game. A fully-authorized leak. A targeted kill.

So, for all the talk of “complete coordination” between the US and Israel on the Iran file, it seems that Obama is playing rough with Jerusalem. Obama said that he “is not bluffing” when it comes to stopping the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons. “Not bluffing,” perhaps, but it seems that he meant that meant not bluffing about stopping Israel from acting against Iran.

Obama boasts at length at every opportunity about upgrades in US-Israel intelligence sharing and weapons development that he has authorized. Aside from being a benefit to America well as Israel, these upgrades are, of course, primarily aimed at holding us back from attacking Iran. The enhanced security cooperation is a bear-hug designed to handcuff Israel. And it is counterbalanced and canceled out by security sabotage such as the Azerbaijan expose.

Obama is at our back, indeed.

David M. Weinberg is a think tank director, columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel’s detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel. Read more »
A passionate speaker, David M. Weinberg lectures widely in Israel, the U.S. and Canada to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. He speaks on international politics and Middle East strategic affairs, Israeli diplomacy and defense strategy, intelligence matters and more. Click here to book David Weinberg as a speaker

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