The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Results – 08/24/12

The Watcher’s Council

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

There’s been a huge amount of speculation in the air this week about the likelihood of Israel doing a preemptive strike on Iran. Of course, that sort of media frenzy has happened before and nothing much has happened, but the talks with the west on Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program are at a standstill, the sanctions are very obviously not having any effect and the Iranian regime stepping up what amounts to genocidal rhetoric from its leaders has done nothing to lower the flame.

This week’s winner, Joshuapundit’s Is Israel Preparing A Fall Strike Against Iran? examines in some detail the current situation, what’s different this time and why the Israelis may finally be preparing to strike, and what such a strike might look like. Here’s a slice:

There’s been quite a bit of speculation about this recently, fueled by the Israeli and foreign press. Is something in the works?

Let’s examine the real versus the unreal.

Given that the Iranians have been talking about genocide towards the ‘Zionist entity’ with ever increasing frequency, the Israelis would be fools if they hadn’t had contingency plans and the training that goes with them in place for some time now. And the Israelis aren’t fools.

To the Iranian regime, as with the Nazis, the destruction of the ‘Zionists’ is an ideological policy aim rather than a necessary part of any war strategy. As such, the ayatollahs are not rational actors. And one day, after they obtain nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, Khamenei or his successor is going to wake up one morning, convene the Council of Guardians and announce that today is the day they’re going to fry the Jews. The Twelver sect that dominates Iran’s Shi’ites tells them that the Hidden Imam will return to rule the world in the wake of exactly that sort of apocalypse.

What the Israelis see is that the so-called international community’s response to this, by and large, is to spend a little bit of rhetoric on it and mount a few anemic ‘sanctions’ that aren’t being honored for the most part anyway, per the wishes of President Obama and our State Department. And even that much is only due to concerns about the flow of Persian Gulf oil.

So the Israelis understand that essentially, they’re pretty much on their own, particularly with Barack Obama in the White House.

The media fueled frenzy can be understood as just that, and it’s happened before. But what’s also true is that just like the lead up to the Six Day War, the Israelis appear to be taking certain steps that signal they may be getting ready to move.

One of these steps was the introduction of Avi Dichter, former Shin Bet chief into Israeli PM Netanyahu’s security cabinet. He’s replacing outgoing Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i, who will leave next week for Beijing to be Israel’s next ambassador to China.

Dichter used to be a Kadima MK,but resigned his seat and his affiliation with Kadima in order to make the move.

His security credentials are impressive, but there’s a deeper connection most non-Israelis aren’t aware of.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack, PM Benyamin Netanyahu and Avi Dichter all served together in Israel’s elite Army unit, the Sayeret Matkal. In other words, there’s a bond there of blood and fire and of working together on military operations. The Sayeret Matkal’s motto is the same as Britain’s renowned Special Air Service (SAS): ‘Who dares, wins.’

And they’ve proven it time and again.

Dichter’s entry into Netanyahu’s special security cabinet strikes me as assembling an old team together for a mission in enemy territory, which is exactly what the Sayeret Matkal specializes in.

Even more to the point, the furor in the Israeli press and the statements of a number of Israeli politicians can only be seen as preparing the groundwork with the Israeli public. Civil defense preparations are in progress, outgoing home front defense minister Vilnai made a statement telling the Israeli public and the press that Israel was prepared for a 30 day war, and Ehud Barack went public at the same time reminding people that dealing with a nuclear armed Iran could be even more devastating. They appear to be preparing the Israeli people for an upcoming war:

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday discussed the timing of a possible military strike on Iran, saying, “it would be much more complicated, much more dangerous and much more expensive – to deal with a nuclear[-armed] Iran in the future.”

Barak, speaking to the Knesset plenum, added that discussions surrounding the issue are unprecedented in their thoroughness.

“In all the wars and peacemaking in Israel’s history, there is no issue that has been dealt with in such depth as Iran has,” he said.

Addressing the media attention on the issue, often critical, the defense minister added, “the decision to attack Iran, should the time come, will be made by the government and not by groups of citizens nor editorials.”

During secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s recent trip to Israel, Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu told the press, in Panetta’s presence, that, “with our very existence, we do not put our faith in the hands of others, even our best friends.”

Is this mere sabre rattling? I don’t think so.

As I’ve written before, the Israelis have a limited window of action. The P5+1 talks are at a standstill and all the talks and sanctions haven’t stopped Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program. Nor will they.

All they’ve done is allowed the Iranians to buy time while the centrifuges spin and to work on hardening their nuclear facilities towards the point where they will becoming increasingly difficult to strike at.

And then there’s the problem of President Barack Obama.

In our Non-Council category, the winner by a nose was Andrew McCarthy, writing in the National Review Online with Egypt’s Military and the Arab Spring submitted by The Noisy Room. It’s an excellent article on recent developments in Egypt that have consolidated Muslim Brotherhood control and essentially allowed new Egyptian leader Mohamamed Morsi to put into place what amounts to an Islamist dictatorship.

Okay, here are this week’s full results. Only Simply Jews was unable to vote this week but was not subject to the mandatory 2/3 vote penalty:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited special guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day with short takes and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!


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