There's a lot of guessing and second-guessing these days about whether the new gang of loons in charge of Israel will go ahead and bomb Iran. The former gang wanted to, but Bush told 'em no.
This must be quite a disappointment to Israel and its Lobby. They seem to have expected the Iraq incursion to be a stepping-stone toward Teheran. Instead, the ill-fated adventure forced our imperial geniuses to reach a sub-rosa understanding with Teheran and depend on its good offices to pull our chestnuts out of the fire. The net result has been an enhancement in Iran's stature -- just the opposite of the desired effect.
Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that Iran has many friends among the American elites. There's always been an "Arabist" element in the foreign service, and there are American business interests who have close ties with the Saudis and the petro-sheikhs and petro-emirs. It's not obvious that Iran, however, has even that kind and degree of entree to elite circles here in New Rome.
Obie's new proconsul for Iranian affairs, Dennis Ross, is of course a well-known froth-at-the-mouth Zionist. Among other distinctions, Ross is the chair of the oddly-named "Jewish People Policy Planning Institute" (JPPPI), which in a recent report referred to Iran as a "demonic" power. (There's a good deal else in this report that's quite interesting, notably its pessimistic assessment (from a Zionist point of view) of the decline of American power, the rise of Russia and China, and of course the increased status of Iran.)
Roane Carey, at tomdispatch.com, recently wrote a piece that attracted a certain amount of attention, but I think he's barking up the wrong tree:
[Israel's] leadership takes it for granted that Iran is indeed hell-bent on producing a nuclear weapon and is not inclined to take a chance that a nuclear Iran will play by the MAD (as in mutually assured destruction) rules hammered out by the two Cold War superpowers decades ago and never use it.Carey's giving too much credence to Israel's on-the-record story here. I don't think they're very worried, really, about a conjectural Iranian A-bomb. What they're worried about is Iran's increasing status and influence. This puts 'em in some rather comical binds -- trying to sweet-talk Syria away from its chumminess with Iran, for example, without being willing to give them anything in return (like say the Golan Heights).
Of course the idea that Iran and the US might come to some sort of closer understanding must be quite nightmarish for Israel and the Lobby. No doubt Ross can be relied on to do everything in his power to prevent such a catastrophe, and probably that's exactly why Obie appointed him, come to think of it. But wouldn't it be nice to throw a real monkeywrench in the works? And wouldn't an Israeli bombing raid make a swell monkeywrench? Who knows, it might even result in Iraq heating up again! Win/win!
Is Obie able or inclined to stop 'em like Bush did? Possibly, but by no means certainly.
Although the Bush II administration was exceptionally close to Israel, by previous Republican standards, the Democratic party has historically been much softer on Israel and notoriously depends for its funding much more heavily on Israel-lobby sources. It would be fair to say that Obie has surrounded himself with Zionist mad dogs -- Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Ross -- and it's quite possible that he thinks that since the Bush strategy in Iraq "worked", the need for Iran's goodwill may no longer be quite so urgent. Maybe he even thinks he could sell the Iranians the notion that Israel went rogue: "Hey guys, you know how crazy those Israelis are, we tried to stop 'em, but they're just off the reservation. Olmert, now Olmert was a crook, yeah, but at least you could talk sense to him. Netanyahu, Lieberman, though -- these dudes are psychotic."