Are Iran and Israel headed toward war? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Are Iran and Israel headed toward war?

We had mentioned in the previous article that a tendency was developing in the direction of the tension between Iran and Israel in Syria turning into a direct conflict. Yet, the attention of the actors in the region is focused on the decision U.S. President Donald Trump is going to make on May 12 in relation to the “Iran Nuclear Deal.” In the event Trump withdraws from the deal, the tension in the region is expected to further escalate. Meanwhile, the U.S.’s newly sworn-in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quickly went to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordon. The Trump administration is trying to form a bloc with the region’s anti-Iran countries. Pompeo’s visit aims to end the conflict within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and push Qatar to join the anti-Iran front. In his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pompeo was also guaranteeing that in the event of a war, the U.S. will be by Israel’s side.

Pompeo had gone to Israel and visited Netanyahu in 2015 when he was a Congress member. Pompeo, who visited Israel three times while he was the head of the CIA, is known to have a very close relationship with Israel’s secret service Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen. Yet, the former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson joined Trump’s Israel visit in May 2017 only. Tillerson was never liked by the Netanyahu administration and the far-right wing of the “Israel Lobby” in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman met with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and International Security Adviser John Bolton in Washington. Liberman also brought a gift for Bolton, who he visited at the White House. This gift is apparently a caricature showing the role Bolton played in 1991 – while he was working under the “Father Bush” administration – in lifting the 1975 U.N. General Council decision that identifies Zionism as racism and race-based discrimination.

During his Washington visit, Liberman also met with Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Adviser Jared Kushner. Greenblatt and Kushner were in charge of the implementation of Trump’s so-called “Middle East Peace Plan.” The focus of Liberman’s meetings at the Pentagon and White House are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Yemen. In the statements made by Secretary of Defense James Mattis at Congress on April 26, he had drawn attention to the “high likelihood” of a war between Syria and Iran. He had said, “I can see how it can start, but I am not sure when and where it will be.” As can be seen, the “Iran issue” is currently under the radar of the Trump administration.

Trump equipped his own cabinet with hawks such as Mike Pompeo, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and National Security Adviser John Bolton. Similar to Trump, these figures are also in favor of breaking off the “Iran Nuclear Deal.” Let it be reminded that Trump assigning Bolton and Pompeo had raised questions like, “Is a war cabinet being established?” As a matter of fact, the appointments were interpreted as the return of the “Neo-cons” who left their mark on the George W. Bush term. Hence, Bolton’s first move in the National Security Council has been to have Bush’s Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s close colleague Mira Ricardel appointed as his deputy. It is also claimed that Pompeo is trying to have Paula Dobriansky, the deputy undersecretary during the Bush administration, appointed as undersecretary upon the position opening after Tom Shannon’s resignation.

Dobriansky was among the signatories of a letter calling then-U.S. President Bill Clinton to intervene in Iraq on Jan. 26, 1998. The letter was organized by the effective Neo-cons of the time. Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton were also among the signatories. Later, Rumsfeld became U.S. President George W. Bush’s secretary of defense and Wolfowitz became deputy secretary of defense. Bolton had served as U.N. ambassador for a short period while Bush was in office. Trump, who won the elections for objecting to Neo-con policies, embracing the Neo-cons, is, of course, an interesting development. And all that is heard where the Neo-cons are present is nothing other than the sound of the drums of war.

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