By CAROLINE B. GLICK
To a degree, all of Netanyahu’s seemingly unjustifiable actions can be justified when weighed against the need to avoid a confrontation with America.
The time has come for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to confront US President Barack Obama.
A short summary of events from the past three days: On Tuesday morning, the head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Analysis Division Brig. Gen. Itay Brun revealed that the Syrian government has already used “lethal chemical weapons,” against Syrian civilians and opposition forces. Brun described footage of people visibly suffering the impact of chemical agents, apparently sarin gas.
Hours later, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Netanyahu had told him on the telephone that “he was not in a position to confirm” Brun’s statement.
It is hard to imagine the US was taken by surprise by Brun’s statement. Just the day before, Brun briefed visiting US Defense secretary Chuck Hagel on Syria. It is not possible he failed to mention the same information.
And of course it isn’t just the IDF saying that Syrian President Bashar Assad is using chemical weapons. The British and the French are also saying this.
But as a European source told Ma’ariv, the Americans don’t want to know the facts. The facts will make them do something about Syria’s chemical weapons. And they don’t want to do anything about Syria’s chemical weapons.
So they force Netanyahu to disown his own intelligence.
Thursday afternoon, in a speech in Abu Dhabi, Hagel confirmed, “with some degree of varying confidence,” that Syria used chemical weapons, at least on a “small scale.”
What the administration means by “some degree of varying confidence,” is of course, unknowable with any degree of varying confidence.
Then there is Iran.
Also on Tuesday, the former head of IDF Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, said that Iran has already crossed the red line Israel set last year. It has already stockpiled 170 kg. of medium-enriched uranium, and can quickly produce the other 80 kg. necessary to reach the 250 kg. threshold Netanyahu said will mark Iran’s achievement of breakout capability where it can build a nuclear arsenal whenever it wants.
Yadlin made a half-hearted effort Wednesday to walk back his pronouncements. But his basic message remained the same: The die has been cast.
Due to American pressure on Israel not to act, and due to the White House’s rejection of clearcut reports about Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, Iran has crossed the threshold. Iran will be a nuclear power unless its uranium enrichment installations and other nuclear sites are destroyed or crippled. Now.
True, the Americans set a different red line for Iran than Israel. They say they will not allow Iran to assemble a nuclear bomb. But to believe that the US has the capacity and the will to prevent Iran from climbing the top rung on the nuclear ladder is to believe in the tooth fairy – (see, for instance, North Korea).