“In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a body-guard of lies.” Winston Churchill
Amidst reports that Iran will hold a massive air defence drill in October incorporating aerial and ground forces, US and Israel have engaged in a confusing exchange of “double-speak”. How does one discern the truth from the bodyguard of lies?
Iranian air defence commander Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili announced on Saturday that Iran will be conducting manoeuvres during October to coincide with a possible strike by Israel. The exercise will include Iran’s army’s air defence systems, air force fighter jets as well as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Immediately following this announcement, senior Washington officials informed their Iranian counterparts that the US had no intention of joining in a pre-emptive Israeli strike on Iran. Senior administration officials are reported to have sent messages to the Iranian Republic through European diplomats urging that should Israel launch an attack, they would refrain from retaliating against US aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and army bases.
Apparently without warning, Israel’s number one ally appeared to be turning the cold shoulder.
In an immediate rebuttal, the White House denied the report published by Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli daily. The claim that American officials told their Iranian counterparts the US would stay out of an Israel-Iran conflict is false, White House spokesman, Jay Carney, told Reuters.
On Monday, September 3rd, Benjamin Netanyahu toned down his previous pronouncements on Iran. He indicated that greater international resolve to stop Iran’s nuclear program, and the clear expression of a “red line” that Iran cannot cross without incurring a military response will reduce the likelihood of Israel acting militarily.
A hardening of US attitudes towards Israel is shown in a reading of the Republican Party’s platforms from 2008 and 2012 in which there is a significant shift in regard to Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. This followed Mitt Romney‘s blast against the Democrats for removing key pro-Israel provisions, on Jerusalem on the first day of their convention.
In the 2008 platform the Republicans included the statement: “We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel.” The changes include removing the word “undivided” and dropping the support of the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
On the other hand, the Democratic platform removed in its entirety the endorsement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It deleted language supporting the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in a future Palestine rather than in Israel and no longer included a call to isolate Hamas until it renounces violence and participates in the peace process. The platform also did away with language that opposing a “full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.”
Republican sources declined immediate comment on Wednesday.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney leapt into the political breach charging that it was “unfortunate” that “the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” and claiming that he would restore “our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally.”
What is really afoot? I would propose that we are facing Churchill’s bodyguard of lies. Iranian manoeuvres indicate her conviction that a strike is imminent. Despite having encouraged an attack and villified Iran at every turn, the US is now content to let Israel take the flak, while, with elections on the horizon, she maintains a low profile. We can be certain that no attack will be made without the express directive from the USA.