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  • December 3, 2011

    Panetta admonishes Israel

    See also: Barak vs US: We can’t wait until Iran declares it has a nuclear bomb
    Ted Belman. Panetta wants Israel to take risks including breathing life into the moribund peace talks. i.e. make further concessions. He wants Israel to reach out and mend fences with countries like Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. i.e. the onus is on Israel. But his biggest concern

      “a strike could disrupt the already fragile economies of Europe and the United States, trigger Iranian retaliation against US forces, and ultimately spark a popular backlash in Iran that would bolster its rulers.”


    WASHINGTON – US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday said an attack on Iran must be the last resort, warning of the consequences an Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear program could have on the region, the global economy and US troops.

    Panetta, addressing a forum in Washington, made one of his most extensive arguments to date against any imminent military action against Iran over its nuclear program, saying he was convinced that sanctions and diplomatic pressure were working.

    “You always have the last resort … of military action. But it must be the last resort, not the first,” Panetta said.

    The US defense secretary used some of his strongest language yet to explain US concerns about any military strike against Iran.

    Panetta said a strike could disrupt the already fragile economies of Europe and the United States, trigger Iranian retaliation against US forces, and ultimately spark a popular backlash in Iran that would bolster its rulers.

    It also may not be effective. Panetta cited estimates from Israelis that a strike might set back Iran’s nuclear program by one to two years “at best.”

    He finally warned about engulfing the region in war.

    “Lastly I think the consequence could be that we would have an escalation that would take place that would not only involve many lives, but I think could consume the Middle East in confrontation and conflict that we would regret,” he said.

    Panetta also warned Jerusalem against viewing uprisings like the one in Egypt that toppled president Hosni Mubarak as an excuse to enter a defensive crouch.

    “I understand the view that this is not the time to pursue peace, and that the Arab awakening further imperils the dream of a safe and secure, Jewish and democratic Israel. But I disagree with that view,” Panetta said.

    He said Israel needed to take risks, including by breathing new life into moribund peace talks with Palestinians. When asked by a moderator what steps Israel needed to take to pursue peace, Panetta said: “Just get to the damn table.”

    “The problem right now is we can’t get ‘em to the damn table, to at least sit down and begin to discuss their differences,” Panetta said.

    ‘Jerusalem must address growing isolation’

    Panetta said the United States would safeguard Israel’s security, ensure regional stability and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon — a goal Tehran denies having.

    “Israel, too, has a responsibility to pursue these shared goals — to build regional support for Israeli and United States’ security objectives,” Panetta said.

    “I believe security is dependent on a strong military but it is also dependent on strong diplomacy. And unfortunately, over the past year, we’ve seen Israel’s isolation from its traditional security partners in the region grow,” he added.

    Panetta suggested that Jerusalem reach out and mend fences with countries like Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, which “share an interest in regional stability.”

    Turkey was the first Muslim state to recognize Israel, in 1949, but relations worsened last year when IDF commandos boarded an aid flotilla challenging a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, killing nine Turkish nationals in ensuing clashes.

    “It is in Israel’s interest, Turkey’s interest, and US interest for Israel to reconcile with Turkey, and both Turkey and Israel need to do more to put their relationship back on track,” Panetta said.

    Jerusalem is closely watching developments in Egypt, whose new rulers may be more susceptible to widespread anti-Israeli sentiment than under Mubarak.

    Egyptians voted on Friday in the opening round of the country’s first free election in six decades. The Muslim Brotherhood’s party and its ultra-conservative Salafi rivals looked set to top the polls.

    But Panetta said the best course for the United States and the international community was to continue to put pressure on Egypt to follow through with transition to democracy and ensure any future government stands by its peace treaty with Israel.

  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 9:57 am | 17 Comments »

    17 Comments to Panetta admonishes Israel

    1. NormanF says:

      Leon Panetta’s unsolicited advice to Israel is marked by both arrogance and wishful thinking. Arrogant, in the belief that peace depends solely on what Israel does and wishful thinking in that it dismisses the fact Islamist genocidal proclivities are real towards Israel. This kind of ideological reflex is exactly why Israel does not take the Obama Administration seriously and is not willing to give it a veto over future Israeli actions against Iran. Basically, Panetta is asking Israel to make more unilateral concessions and just hope for the best. There is no country on earth that can afford to risk its existence on the basis of a gamble and looking before you leap is not a prudent course of action. And did Panetta put anything on the table to minimize the risks Israel is being to take? No – he did not – and neither did his boss for whom he is speaking. The Administration should be doing everything it can to thwart the rise of Islamism in the Middle East and supporting secular and moderate democratic movements there. Instead, its pressuring Israel to make the new bad guys in the neighborhood like it! Bottom line, this is not a serious US Middle East policy.

    2. BlandOatmeal says:

      I’m with you, Stormin’ Norman. Panetta’s suggestions are appropriate for someone living on Mars; but they completely ignore the very real, immediate existential threat against Israel. Screw Panetta, and do what needs to be done. And screw the fat cats Panetta wants to protect, at Israel’s expense.

    3. P Nach says:

      Panetta should be more careful. Soon, Israel will have just as much oil not to mention natural gas) as Saudi Arabia. Will a future US President bow to the Jews then? Will Jewish Institutes be established throughout US academic institutions to further a Jewish view of the world and of history? Perish the thought! This is why Panetta, Obama and all their friends and fellow travelers are so insistent that Israel yield now to American and European demands that they relinquish their sovereignty and that they do it quickly – to the US, to the palestinians, to whomever….
      They are all very uncomfortable with the notion that Jews have the right to self-determination and the right to defend themselves. Panetta and others demand that again Jews must be dependent on others for their security and their safety. Some things never change….

    4. Laura says:

      “a strike could disrupt the already fragile economies of Europe and the United States, trigger Iranian retaliation against US forces, and ultimately spark a popular backlash in Iran that would bolster its rulers.”

      Iranians are not going to rally around the regime. Panetta and the rest of the Obama administration have no clue about Iran. Caroline Glick explains what is going on in Iran:

    5. Laura says:

      “You always have the last resort … of military action. But it must be the last resort, not the first,” Panetta said.

      If Israel were to take military action it would hardly be a first resort after so many years of letting this problem fester. Iran may be months away from having a nuclear weapon. If that’s not leaving military action as a last resort, I don’t know what is. Panetta is a jackass and we are being led by the most feckless, ignorant and incompetent fools we have ever had.

    6. Laura says:

      Turkey was the first Muslim state to recognize Israel, in 1949, but relations worsened last year when IDF commandos boarded an aid flotilla challenging a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, killing nine Turkish nationals in ensuing clashes.

      So its not the fault of Turkey for sending a jihad flotilla to provoke a violent confrontation with Israel. It’s Israel’s fault for exorcizing its legal blockade of Gaza. It’s this kind of despicable media bias which infuriates me and which incites against Israel.

      And why is the onus on Israel to mend fences since Egypt and Turkey moving toward greater islamic extremism is responsible for the deterioration of relations?

      I can’t stand Leon Panetta. He is beyond clueless and clearly not qualified for the postion he is in, but then again neither is Obama.

    7. keelie says:

      Panetta’s suggestions are appropriate for someone living on Mars…

      But only occupied Mars…

    8. keelie says:

      I can’t stand Leon Panetta. He is beyond clueless and clearly not qualified for the postion he is in…

      Kind of like most of the MSM… They have all of the required credentials – but none of the required intelligence.

    9. rongrand says:

      Laura, Leon is so far to the left, he needs props to stand up straight otherwise he would walk slanted.

    10. BlandOatmeal says:

      The economies of the US and Europe are one big Ponzi scheme. They are programmed to collapse, with or without Israel. All Panetta is doing, is blaming the Jews in advance. What a pig-devil!

    11. BlandOatmeal says:

      Spot on, Ron

      Panetta sure as hell is not part of the Left. He was a Bush appointee, before being an Obama appointee. Our country is being raped, front and back, by Republicans and Democrats.

    12. BlandOatmeal says:

      I was wrong. Panetta was a Clinton product. What a piece of refuse!

    13. BlandOatmeal says:

      Here’s the scoop:

      1. Bill Clinton recently blamed the PM of Israel (read, “the Jew”) for the failure of the nonexistent “peace process”
      2. Leon Panetta accused the Israelis (Jews) of the same, and went on to blame them in advance for the certain failure of the economies of the US and Europe
      3. Howard Gutman then blamed the Jews for the sin of anti-Semitism (“Jew hatred”)

      Let’s check out the sources:

      1. Bill Clinton is Bill Clinton
      2. Leon Panetta was Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton, and
      3. Howard Gutman contributed the legal maximum of $2300 to Bill Clinton’s presidential bid.

      Common denominator? Bill Clinton

    14. yamit82 says:

      The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. Isaiah 17:1

      For Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other administration officials to publicly pressure Israel not to act and do everything but take America’s military option off the table projects exactly the kind of weakness on which the Iranian regime thrives. Talk about showing your hand. What a shameful display of foreign policy incompetence.

      The U.S., it should be noted, is indisputably the most equipped to completely dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons program. You’ve got to read this entire piece by Dr. James Lacey of the U.S. Marine Corps War College arguing for a U.S. strike against Iran. Here’s a snippet:

      It should be recognized that an American or Israeli strike at the Iranian nuclear program is not without risk. Iran could attack oil facilities in the region, launch a global terror campaign, close, at least temporarily, the Straits of Hormuz, and make life more difficult for our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, after weighing the risks, I believe the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran is incalculably worse.

      Can America destroy Iran’s nuclear program? The answer is an unequivocal yes. This may come as a surprise, since we have so often heard the opposite. For instance, many commentators claim that Iran’s program is so distributed that we cannot take it out in a single strike. So what? First, even a distributed program will have a relatively small number of crucial nodes. If those are taken out, the entire Iranian program will grind to a halt. More importantly, why are we limited to a single strike?

      Another common objection is that the most important facilities are buried so deep as to make them impervious to bombing. Even if this is true, which is unlikely, of what use is a facility without power and buried under a few hundred yards of rubble and loose earth?

      The most commonly used excuse for non-action, however, is that an American military strike would only cause the Iranians to redouble their efforts. Really? In any case, is there some rule against our blowing up their “redoubled” program a year or two from now? Is there not a point where even the Iranians will tire of seeing hundred-billion-dollar investments repeatedly turned into rubbish?

      Moreover, there is recent evidence that the United States would not have to go it alone on such a strike. Last week the Pentagon announced that it was sending 4,900 JDAM bombs to the United Arab Emirates. These precision bunker-busting bombs are ideally suited for striking at Iran’s nuclear facilities. The UAE has also recently taken delivery of 80 F-16 E/F Block 60 aircraft. These are the most advanced F-16s in the world and nearly a match for America’s new F-35s. Still, it would take 60 attacks by each of the UAE’s F-16s to use up 4,900 bombs. One assumes that many of these bombs can be easily transferred for use by American aircraft in the region.

      If the United States does make the decision to attack Iran, such a strike must be overwhelming. If we targeted only Iranian nuclear facilities, we would leave ourselves open to the Iranian counterstrikes mentioned above. To limit the chances Iran will be able to do serious damage to the West, any U.S. assault must be aimed at Iran’s command-and-control centers, power stations, airbases, and missile sites, as well as the nation’s murderous leadership.

      And this is the short list. In all likelihood, an attack on Iran would probably have to be a prolonged air assault over many days or weeks. If we, instead, leave the job of striking Iran to the Israelis alone, there is no doubt they could destroy the Iranian nuclear program, or at least set it back years. Israel, however, is incapable of launching the kind of sustained attack that could limit Iran’s ability to strike back.

      The military option against Iran is fraught with danger, but doing nothing is more so. Last week’s IAEA report makes it clear that the decision cannot be postponed for much longer.

      Iran: America’s Options
      by Jim Lacey-U.S. Marine Corps War College
      We have been indulging in wishful thinking for a decade. It’s time to stop.

      Stakelbeck on Terror: Part 1: Israel, Iran, Syria and What’s Coming

    15. yamit82 says:

      Stakelbeck on Terror: Part 2: Israel, Iran, Syria and What’s Coming

      As I wrote in Part 1, 2012 will very likely by the Year of Reckoning for Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Either the mad mullahs get their blood-stained hands on the world’s deadliest weapons, or Israel stops them. Period.

      Eli Lake of Newsweek recently wrote a fascinating piece about the possibility of Israel conducting electronic warfare against Iran as part of a preemptive strike. Here’s a snippet:

      For much of the last decade, as Iran methodically built its nuclear program, Israel has been assembling a multibillion-dollar array of high-tech weapons that would allow it to jam, blind, and deafen Tehran’s defenses in the case of a pre-emptive aerial strike.

      A U.S. intelligence assessment this summer, described to The Daily Beast by current and former U.S. intelligence officials, concluded that any Israeli attack on hardened nuclear sites in Iran would go far beyond airstrikes from F-15 and F-16 fighter planes and likely include electronic warfare against Iran’s electric grid, Internet, cellphone network, and emergency frequencies for firemen and police officers.

      For example, Israel has developed a weapon capable of mimicking a maintenance cellphone signal that commands a cell network to “sleep,” effectively stopping transmissions, officials confirmed. The Israelis also have jammers capable of creating interference within Iran’s emergency frequencies for first responders.

      In a 2007 attack on a suspected nuclear site at al-Kibar, the Syrian military got a taste of this warfare when Israeli planes “spoofed” the country’s air-defense radars, at first making it appear that no jets were in the sky and then in an instant making the radar believe the sky was filled with hundreds of planes.

      Read Lake’s entire piece. Would the Israelis carry out an EMP attack, crippling the Iranian infrastructure and early warning systems prior to the bombing raid?

    16. Jerry G says:

      Just one question. Why is it that the Israel government(meaning Bibi) constantly accepts the garbage thrown at it by Obama and his minions. (As well as the rest of the world.) It seems that Israel has fallen into the Stockholm syndrome and can no longer defend itself, even verbally.

    17. ArnoldHarris says:

      Panetta will disappear into the dustbin of American history the day Barack Hussein Obama Jr leaves office on January 20, 2012. Hilary Clinton will disappear into the same dustbin sometime later, when it becomes crystal clear she won’t ever be elected president. Among other considerations, she will be almost as old as Ron Paul when the 2016 national election rolls around. If she’s lucky, chances are Bill will still be able to get it up for her. Occasionally.

      Arnold Harris
      Mount Horeb WI

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