“Is Israel a Worthwhile Ally?” National Journal

Njlogo The National Journal national security expert blog has an interesting and sensitive question "up" this week. They are asking if Israel is a worthwhile ally for the United States.  For some reason the NJ chose to ask me and a few others of my non-friends to post responses this morning to get the ball rolling.  You can see mine at the link.  pl


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34 Responses to “Is Israel a Worthwhile Ally?” National Journal

  1. Duncan Kinder says:

    U.S. support for Israel may be an “affair of the heart,” but that begs the question of why the United States alone has such an affair.
    To say that AIPAC is responsible is no answer, for that begs the question of why AIPAC is such a powerful force and why American Muslims have no comparable, countervailing lobby.

  2. dilbert dogbert says:

    Mr Lang,
    Thanks for your thoughts.
    You recognized the emotional while providing analysis. Your mention of Pollard and Liberty did strongly highlight the one way aspect of our relationship. Nice touch.

  3. 777guy says:

    The answer to the question is no.
    If our arrangements with Israel are presumed to be a military alliance, then they’ve been useless to the U.S and very useful to Israel. I refer to the fact that, in all of the American wars since the founding of the state of Israel, she has never contibuted armed forces or financial support. America, on the other hand, has participated, in support of Israel, in the occupation and war in Egypt, invasions of Lebanon, and the post 1967 occupation of Palestine with armaments, other equipment, munitions, money, reconnaissance, and lavish re-supply during on-going fighting.
    Diplomatically, the American finger has always been in the dike at the United Nations, guaranteeing no interference with Israeli aims from that body. This has been of no advantage to the U.S., in fact, the opposite.
    None of this can be shown to have advanced American interests or provided material aid. Therefor, my conclusion.
    W.P. Fitzgerald

  4. jr786 says:

    Well I am certainly gratified to see that question asked in public. The zionist narrative must be breaking down faster than I thought. This bit is priceless:
    Yet there is another reason that Israel continues to receive American support. It is simply that, over the decades, American support for Israel has been accepted as a given by the rest of the international community. The leaders of our Arab allies would be the most shocked if America would abandon Israel–after all, if Washington abandoned Israel, how much could they expect from the United States? The moderate regimes would find themselves even more vulnerable to extremists who would see the abandonment of Israel as a victory for their Islamist ideology. In addition, the Arabs would fall over themselves trying to accommodate Iran, which no doubt would claim credit for the new American stance.

  5. Jackie Shaw says:

    Wow! Two out of six articles critical of U.S. support of Israel. Thank you sir for your input. The USS Liberty has been a burr under my saddle for a while.
    I have given up any romanticized notion of Israel. Never read “Exodus”, so it wasn’t hard to do.

  6. kao_hsien_chih says:

    The way you’re describing Israel makes it sound like Serbia, circa 1914, to the Russians–an “ally” who was far more trouble than they were worth, but who nevertheless were “little brothers.” One should hope Israelis cause us less trouble than the Serbs did for the Russians.

  7. Mad Dogs says:

    Isn’t it interesting that many of the commenters there (not you of course mon Colonel) argue that “Israel is our ally because…because…because Israel is our ally!”
    Or, and perhaps simultaneously, “Israel benefits the US because…because…because Israel benefits the US!
    The sputtering cirularity of their arguments makes heads spin.
    And this forms the basis of our US foreign affairs intelligentsia?
    It’s a wonder we manage to tie our shoelaces in the morning!

  8. JohnH says:

    Yes, indeed! “The US/Israel alliance is an affair of the heart.”
    I’ve been reflecting on why the fate of a few million Israelis is more important to the US than the fate of a few million in Darfur, Guatemala, East Timor, Rwanda, etc. You have to agree that Israelis have cleverly captured the imagination of many Americans.
    But let’s not forget that Israeli wallets have also captured the loyalty of most national politicians, perhaps by cleverly laundering a small percentage of American aid back into our political system. That assures that American politicians will remain captive long after most Americans have become totally disillusioned with Israeli behavior.

  9. David Habakkuk says:

    The posts by Carafano, Zakheim, and Hoffman attempt to suggest a realpolitik justification for what, as the Colonel says, a matter of emotion and/or duty. One of the consequences of this is dangerously muddy strategic thinking, which serves the interests neither of the United States nor of Israel.
    It may already be that American tolerance of the settlements in the West Bank has put paid to such long-term prospects for the long-time survival of a Jewish state in Palestine as there were: AIPAC may have doomed the Zionist project. Indiscriminate demonisation of Hizbullah, Hamas, Iran and Syria does not make these prospects better — it makes them worse.

  10. jdledell says:

    I was very upset by all the comments except Lang’s. The others basically took the position that the muslims are going to hate the US anyway so why not keep Israel as a friend. After all, they are just like Americans.
    Allowing the world’s problems to continue to fester and get worse is no prescription for civilization’s progress. The US can’t solve all these problems but we sure can lend support to the actual participants solving the problems.
    If the Israeli/Palestinian conflict were resolved all the world’s problems would not suddenly go away, but it will help. If the Kashmir problem were solved, it would help etc
    Reading those 3 commentaries it seemed like they were advocating that we have to support our ally Israel no matter what they do or don’t do. Pure rubbish. Where is the middle ground? Being allies is not an either or proposition.

  11. meletius says:

    An “affair of the heart”—well, that’s as good a description as I’ve ever heard, and nails whatever “there” that’s there in the alliance.
    But that is most definitely NOT how the relationship is presented to Americans by our media and elite opinion—by them we are assured that Israel provides actual tangible military benefits which are oh so helpful to keepin’ us safe from the deranged barbaric muslims that are out to destroy America—after they get done with Israel, which they hate for very mysterious, inexplicable reasons.
    What would happen if the people started to be told that, “Well, there’s no actual military or material or “strategic” interest involved in our alliance with Israel, and in fact many of our strategists can tick off about a half dozen major strategic drawbacks to the alliance—and that was BEFORE the “war” (ahem) on Terra.
    But we just love ’em, and that precious Holy Land, too, so that’s all you need to know!”
    I don’t have much faith in Americans’ ability to figure anything out, but they never will when the reality isn’t ever presented to them.

  12. Other than the official act of recognition by the US in 1948, exactly what are the treaty and protocol obligations of the US vis a vis Israel? Are they documented completely, if at all, in open source material? Only then can the “ally” status be discussed thoughtfully. It does appear that special nuclear materials left the US and arrived in Israel to allow its production of nuclear weapons. This was never discussed or authorized by Congress.

  13. ked says:

    excellent response, Col… factual, succinct & provoking of deep issues. your pov is ahead of the curve & will gain in coming years.
    plus, Hunter S Thompson would’ve approved of your photo.

  14. Will says:

    What is it about the Col. that he has avoided drinking the Kool Aid?
    Not Easy!

  15. Jose says:

    Interesting observations from briefly (so I can be wrong) googling all the names:
    1. If you lived in the Middle East and/or South Asia plus you worked in intelligence = strongly against Israel.
    2. If you you have a PHD on Political Science or JD plus no information if you have ever been in the region = strongly pro Israel
    So who would you believe

  16. Homer says:

    One phrase comes to mind: “Onward Christian soldiers” …

  17. We are just as susceptible to groupthink here at Col Lang’s blog as anyone else. So I read through all the responses at the National Journal around lunch to see if I could be swayed by anyone’s argument since I have yet to understand our alliance in realpolitik terms (just as I had exclaimed last week in frustration.)
    I still do not see the advantages. The only point that I have taken is that the anger on the street may not be as bad as I believe. I’m willing to accept that may be true. Regardless, that’s a pretty sad reason to stay in an alliance – the consequences aren’t as bad as we think they are! Uh, I don’t see that as a “positive.” And the argument that we have always been an ally is just plain stupid. Is staying in any toxic relationship the smart thing to do just because it has always been so? Alliances come and go. The Brits tried to burn down the White House hardly more than 100 years before we joined them in WWI. We’ve been close allies since. Which brings me to my next argument.
    Trying to equate our military and intel relationship with some NATO countries and Australia is a joke. In the SIGINT arena, we work side-by-side in the same buildings, on the same systems with Brits and Aussies. We allow Brits to remotely access systems that we have developed and deployed. Last I knew, we had a permanent civilian government position at GCHQ. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect our relationships with MI6 are just as close. That’s Col Lang’s side of the house.
    As for logistics support, check out this directory of phone numbers in the ME:
    CENTCOM DSN (Don’t try calling! – that’s DoD’s private telephone network with no access from outside.)
    Don’t see anything in Israel (although that doesn’t prove we don’t have something there.) If my memory is correct, we had warehouses full of mothballed gear sitting in either Kuwait or Bahrain (or both) after GW1. Arab countries were supporting us just fine.
    After hanging around DoD for almost 20 years altogether, I can safely say that I have heard about all sorts of bases we have spread throughout the globe, from tiny places to sprawling installations. Never heard of any installation at all in Israel.
    Nope, I still don’t see the advantage since I don’t see any “close” relationship, and never have. Hell, we probably have a closer working relationship with Honduras than Israel. And that doesn’t cost us as much.
    Feel free to prove me wrong.

  18. ColinLaney says:

    Israel isn’t America’s ally. America is Israel’s ally. It’s an entirely one-sided relationship.

  19. Ormolov says:

    An affair of the heart. Too true. Here’s my Israeli valentine:
    I love Israelis! Such warm people. So full of love and life and history. As a culture, Israel provides a tremendous amount to the world. Their universities! Their symphonies! Their cuisine! Their women!
    Let us remember to not stay too long on our high horses. We depended on the mature distinction others made over the last eight years — that America might suck but we still love Americans! Let it be true of Israelis too. Wonderful people but their government is monstrous.
    And I love Palestinians! I love the Lebanese! I was in love with an Egyptian girl for almost four years out of high school. These are all wonderful people. They all just happen to find meaning as a people by murdering each other.
    Years ago at Burning Man (a young person’s freak festival held each year in the Nevada desert) I met a group of young Israelis. They had just left Israel, tired of the conflict. One Israeli said to me “The difference between you and me is that you see this and think what a beautiful desert it is. I look at this and say how great God is to create a desert like this!”
    I responded “I’ve never been to Israel, though I understand it’s lovely. I’m afraid that you just have a terribly jealous god. You can’t love Zion unless you have it for yourselves.” Well, after that, not even all the drugs of Burning Man could save our friendship.

  20. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Well, it may be that having Israel as a “staunch” ally doesn’t do us any good materially, but it does make us feel good since we didn’t bomb train tracks to concentration camps. (Note to the colonel: this is meant as a snark, but pls feel free to not post if you consider this too tasteless.)

  21. J says:

    despite all their propaganda attempts to control ‘perception’, the public perception of israel in the west has never been lower. despite their lackeys in the u.s. mainstream media shilling their propaganda scripts, increasing numbers all around the world are beginning to see israel for what it really is — a perpetrator of ‘terror’ rather than its victim.

  22. Allen Thomson says:

    > Never heard of any [US] installation at all in Israel.
    As of late last year, there’s the American-staffed AN/TPY-2 missile defense radar. A curious development that could probably stand some study and analysis.

  23. anna missed says:

    This relationship between the U.S. and Israel has about augured itself into oblivion. Israel has become the exemplar model of vicious circular reasoning and has ended up screwing itself to the wall. The invasion of Gaza will prove itself as ground zero in the race to the bottom, and reveal the true utter hypocrisy of the war on terror. From this, if not our own feckless wars in the ME, should be a final lesson.

  24. Duncan Kinder says:

    Well, it may be that having Israel as a “staunch” ally doesn’t do us any good materially, but it does make us feel good since we didn’t bomb train tracks to concentration camps.
    And that also explains our vigorous support for the Gypsy state in – now where is that place…?

  25. Trent says:

    Did I miss mention of Mossad’s knowledge of the preparation for the ’83 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut? Col, do you think the claim that Mossad knew and didn’t pass on the intel is spurious?

  26. euclidcreek says:

    Israel isn’t worth a bucket of warm spit to the United States.

  27. Patrick Lang says:

    I was stationed abroad in the Arab World when that happened, but I would have to say that I never heard anyone in the intelligence world make that claim about Mossad. pl

  28. Trent says:

    In Gideon’s Spies Gordon Thomas claims Mossad knew of the plans in August, 2 months prior to the 23 October attacks. He claims they “monitored” the trucks entering the compound. Perhaps he was grinding an ax. Cheers.

  29. kao_hsien_chih says:

    And that also explains our vigorous support for the Gypsy state in – now where is that place…?

    Fair enough. But then, the Holocaust Industry reminds us mostly of the Jewish victims–and not the Gypsies, the handicapped, and the homosexuals. Doubtful that too many people (esp in the US) know that there were “other” victims of the Holocaust.

  30. Hi Allen-
    I can’t speak for RADAR systems – only have a rudimentary understanding of how they work.
    As you probably know all too well, we always have some tactical units floating around the globe doing God only knows what. We seem to loan them out like garden tools. I would have been surprised if we didn’t have some small units working inside Israel periodically.
    But I’m referring to strategic installations, something more in the line of this monster instead of tactical gear.

  31. J says:

    Trent, Colonel,
    Israeli Foreknowledge of the Bombing of US Marines In Beirut, 1983
    ‘By Way of Deception’ by Victor Ostrovsky (pp. 322-5)
    In 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon and President Reagan sent 1800 marines to Beirut to act as peace keepers. Israel resented the interference and used the US presence to commit a False Flag operation that killed 242 marines.
    The purpose was to align the US with Israel and create animosity toward Arab world.
    June 6, 1982 – Israel attacks Syria ( destroying Syria’s air force and defense systems ).Israel now invades Lebanon and massacres 30,000 civilians. The Jews surrounded Beirut and were on the verge of annihilating 75,000 more when a cease fire was reached.
    Israel shells Beirut and destroys their rail and air transportation systems
    August, 1982 – Reagan steps in and tells Arafat if he withdraws to Tunis the US will protect their families. Reagan sends in 800 U.S. Marines to help evacuate the 14,000 PLO from Lebanon after which the marines leave.Two weeks after the marines leave Ariel Sharon unleashes his fury on the PLO families.
    The PLO’s families are massacred. Israel sends in their Maronite Christian Lebanese militia and they kill 5,000 women and children in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.
    Reagan shells refugees. During Israel’s 1982 invasion Beirut’s half a million citizens flee to the suburbs.Israel’s Washington lobbyist talked President Reagan into joining the slaughter and Reagan has the USS New Jersey fire on the suburbs where the refugees were fleeing
    September 1982, a MNF from the US, France and Italy arrive. The U.S. sends in 1800 marines to Beirut and they set up in temporary barracks at the Beirut airport.
    The marines stop Sharon’s bloodshed and the Jews decide to teach America a lesson. April 18, 1983, the Mossad, through it’s asset, Hamas, explode a large car bomb at the US embassy in Beirut, killing 17 US marines. October 23,1983 — 241 Marines died when a truck packed with explosives blew up a Marine barracks at Beirut International Airport. At the same moment a similar explosion blew up a French military barracks a few kilometers away, killing 56 French troops. It was confirmed Israel knew of the attacks and suspected they engineered both of them.
    In the summer of 1983, this same informant told the Mossad about a large Mercedes truck that was being fitted by the Shi’ite Muslims with spaces that could hold bombs. He said it had even larger than usual spaces for this, so that whatever it was destined for was going to be a major target. Now, the Mossad knew that, for size, there were only a few logical targets, one of which must be the U.S. compound. The question then was whether or not to warn the Americans to be on particular alert for a truck matching the description.
    The decision was too important to be taken in the Beirut station, so it was passed along to Tel Aviv, where Admony, then head of Mossad, decided they would simply give the Americans the usual general warning, a vague notice that they had reason to believe someone might be planning an operation against them. But this was so general, and so commonplace, it was like sending a weather report; unlikely to raise any particular alarm or prompt increased security precautions. In the six months following receipt of this information, for example, there were more than 100 general warnings of car-bomb attacks. One more would not heighten U.S. concerns or surveillance.
    Admony, in refusing to give the Americans specific information on the truck, said, “No, we’re not there to protect Americans. They’re a big country. Send only the regular information.”
    At the same time, however, all Israeli installations were given the specific details and warned to watch for a truck matching the description of the Mercedes.
    At 6:20 a.m. on October 23, 1983, a large Mercedes truck approached the Beirut airport, passing well within sight of Israeli sentries in their nearby base, going through a Lebanese.army checkpoint, and turning left into the parking lot. A U.S. Marine guard reported with alarm that the truck was gathering speed, but before he could do anything, the truck roared toward the entrance of the four-story reinforced concrete Aviation Safety Building, used as headquarters for the Eighth Marine Battalion, crashing through a wrought-iron pate, hitting the sand-bagged guard post, smashing through another barrier, and ramming over a wall of sandbags into the lobby, exploding with such a terrific force that the building was instantly reduced to rubble.
    A few minutes later, another truck smashed into the French paratroopers’ headquarters at Bir Hason, a seafront residential neighborhood just two miles from the U.S. compound, hitting it with such an impact that it moved the entire building 30 feet and killed 58 soldiers.The loss of 241 U.S. Marines, most of them still sleeping in their cots at the time of the suicide mission, was the highest single-day death toll for the Americans since 246 died throughout Vietnam at the start of the Tet offensive on January 13,1968.
    Within days, the Israelis passed along to the CIA the names of 13 people who they said were connected to the bombing deaths of the U.S. Marines and French paratroopers, a list including Syrian intelligence, Iranians in Damascus, and Shi’ite Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.
    At Mossad headquarters, there was a sigh of relief that it wasn’t us who got hit. It was seen as a small incident so far as the Mossad was concerned — that we had stumbled over it and wouldn’t tell anybody. The problem was if we had leaked information and it was traced back, our informant would have been killed. The next time, we wouldn’t know if we were on the hit list.
    The general attitude about the Americans was: “Hey, they wanted to stick their nose into this Lebanon thing, let them pay the price.”
    For me, it was the first time I had received a major rebuke from my Mossad superior, liaison officer Amy Yaar. I said at the time that the American soldiers killed in Beirut would be on our minds longer than our own casualties because they’d come in with good faith, to help us get out of this mess we’d created. I was told: “Just shut up. You’re talking out of your league. We’re giving the Americans much more than they’re giving us.” They always said that, but it’s not true. So much of Israeli equipment was American, and the Mossad owed them a lot.
    During all this time, several westerners continued to be held captive while others became, fresh hostages of the various factions. One day in late March 1984, CIA station head William Buckley, officially listed as a political officer at the U.S. embassy, left his apartment in West Beirut and was abducted at gunpoint by three Shi’ite soldiers. He was subsequently held for 18 months, tortured extensively and, finally, ritually murdered. He could have been saved.
    The Mossad, through its extensive network of informants, had a good idea of where many of the hostages were being held, and by whom. Even if you don’t know where, it’s always crucial to know by whom, otherwise you might find yourself negotiating with someone who doesn’t have any hostages. There’s the story of the Lebanese who instructed his aide to find someone to negotiate a hostage with. The aide said, “Which country is your hostage from?” The reply: ‘Find me a country and I’ll get the hostage.”
    Men at Buckley’s level are considered of major importance because they have so much knowledge. Forcing information from them can mean a death sentence for many other operatives working around the globe. A group calling itself the Islamic Jihad (Islamic Holy War) claimed responsibility for Buckley’s kidnapping. Bill Casey, CIA chief, was so anxious to save Buckley that an expert FBI team specially trained in locating kidnap victims was dispatched to Beirut to find him. But after a month, they’d come up with nothing. Official U.S. policy then prohibited negotiations to ransom hostages, but Casey had authorized considerable sums to pay informants and, if need be, buy Buckley’s freedom.
    It didn’t take the CIA long to turn to the Mossad for help. Shortly after Buckley’s kidnapping, the CIA liaison officer in Tel Aviv asked the Mossad for as much information as it could get about Buckley and some of the other hostages.
    About 11:30 one morning, an intercom announcement at headquarters asked all personnel to stay off the main floor and the elevator for the next hour because there were guests. Two CIA officials were escorted in and taken to Admony’s ninth-floor office. The Mossad head told them he would give them everything the Mossad had, but if they wanted something in particular, they’d have to go through the prime minister, “because he’s our boss.” In fact, Admony wanted a formal request, so that he could collect on the favor later on, if need be.
    In any event, the Americans made a formal request through their ambassador to then prime minister, Shimon Peres. Peres instructed Admony to have the Mossad give the CIA everything it could to help with the U.S. hostage situation. Normally, this sort of request includes limitations such strictures as “We’ll give you whatever information we can, as long as it doesn’t harm our personnel” – but in this case, there were no limitations, which was a clear indication of how significant both the United States and Peres considered the hostage issue to be.
    Politically, these things can be dynamite. The Reagan administration would remember only too well the irreparable political damage and humiliation Jimmy Carter suffered when Americans were held hostage in Iran following the overthrow of the Shah.
    Admony assured Peres that he would do everything he could to help the Americans. “I have a good feeling in this regard,” he said. “We might have some information that will help them.” In truth, he had no intention of helping them.
    Two CIA officials were called in to meet with the Saifanim (“goldfish”) department, the PLO specialists. The meeting took place at Midrasha, or the Academy. Since Israel considers the PLO its main enemy, the Mossad often calculates that if something can be blamed on the PLO, it has done its job. So they set about attempting to blame the PLO for the kidnappings, even with the knowledge that many of them, including Buckley’s, had no PLO connection.
    Still, hoping to look as if they were cooperating fully, the Saifanim men plastered maps all over a boardroom wall and offered the Americans a considerable amount of data regarding general locations of hostages; although they were constantly being moved to new locations, the Mossad usually had good general knowledge of where they were. The Mossad left out many of the details they had garnered from their sources, but told the Americans that from the general picture, they could decide if it was worth going further into the specifics. This was all part of an unstated, but very real, system of debt repayment, building Brownie points in return for future favors.
    At the end of the meeting, a full report was sent to Admony. For their part, the Americans went back and discussed it with their officials. Two days later, they returned, seeking more specific information on one answer given them in the original briefing. The CIA thought this might prove to be a diamond in the rough, but they wanted to verify the specifics. They asked to speak to the source.
    “Forget it,” the Mossad man said. “Nobody talks to sources.”
    “Okay,” the CIA man said. “That’s fair enough. How about letting us talk to the case officer?”
    The Mossad protects katsas’ identities vigorously They simply can’t risk letting others see them. After all, who knows when they might be recognized as a result? A katsa in Beirut today could end up working anywhere tomorrow, run into the CIA man, and blow an entire operation. Still, there are many ways of arranging interviews where the two sides don’t actually meet. Such methods as speaking behind screens and distorting the voice, or wearing a hood, would have served the purpose. But the Mossad had no intention of being that helpful. Despite direct orders from their “boss,” Peres, the Saifanim officials said they’d have to check it with the head of the Mossad.
    Word went around headquarters that Admony was having a bad day. His mistress, who was the daughter of the head of Tsomet, had a bad day, too. She was having her period – at least, that was the joke. At lunch in the dining room that day, everybody was talking about the hostage thing. By the time it got down to the dining room, the story may have been slightly exaggerated, but Admony is supposed to have said, ‘Those fucking Americans. Maybe they want us to get the hostages for -them, too. What are they, crazy?”
    In any event, the answer was no. The CIA could not see a katsa. Furthermore, they told the Americans that the information they’d been given was outdated and related to a completely different case, so it had nothing to do with the Buckley case. That wasn’t true, but they further embellished their story by asking the Americans to disregard that information in order to save the lives of other hostages. They even promised to double their efforts to help the Americans in return.
    Many people in the office said the Mossad were going to regret it someday. But the majority were happy. The attitude was, “Hey, we showed them. We’re not going to be kicked around by the Americans. We are the Mossad. We are the best.”
    It was just this concern over Buckley and the other hostages that prompted Casey to circumvent the congressional arm of the U.S. system and become involved in the plan to supply Iran with embargoed arms in return for the safety of American hostages, culminating in the Iran-Contra scandal. Had the Mossad been more helpful initially, it not only could have saved Buckley and others, it might also have averted this major U.S. political scandal. Peres had clearly seen it as being in Israel’s interest to cooperate, but the Mossad – Admony in particular – had other interests and pursued them relentlessly.
    The final tragedy of Israel’s Mossad-led involvement in Lebanon was that when their station “Submarine” was closed, a lot of agents were left behind, and their entire network collapsed. Many agents were killed. Others were smuggled out successfully.
    Israel didn’t start the war and they didn’t end it. It’s like playing blackjack in a casino. You don’t start the game, and you don’t end it. But you’re there. Israel just didn’t hit any jackpots…
    February 26, 1984 the US Marines leave Lebanon to ships offshore.
    Israel withdraws on June 1985.
    Pentagon analyst Dr. Beter’s
    November 3, 1982 …I reported that the Marines had been sent there to become the focus of a major incident. The Mossad is to arrange for a number of our Marines to be killed in an incident that will be blamed on the Arabs! This will be used to inflame American public opinion to help lead us into war, including ultimately nuclear war.
    Extract from ‘By Way of Deception’, Ostrovsky, Victor and Hoy, Claire, St.Martin’s Press, 1990

  32. J says:

    two ex-mossad operatives have made the same claims, that the head of mossad at the time gave strict instructions to his people to not the americans of what was pending..

  33. Peter H says:

    What an unbelievably shallow discussion at the National Journal, aside from the contributions of Col Lang (as always) & Paul Pillar. Just a couple of things I would say in response:
    – Bruce Hoffman makes the obvious point that Al Qaeda has other motivations besides that of helping Palestinians. So what? If Hoffman doesn’t think that jihadists won’t exploit images of dead, starving & helpless Palestinians to bolster their support & pick up recruits, he is seriously delusional. Why does he think that Bin Laden keeps mentioning Palestine?
    [Incidentally, the supposedly blissful era of Israeli-Palestinian peace in the 1990’s referred to by Hoffman was in reality for Palestinians a time of increasing Israeli settlements, checkpoints, closures, reduced access to Israeli labor markets, a corrupt Palestinian Authority, etc. (Although I agree with Hoffman that Al Qaeda would have tried to attack our embassy in Kenya even in the presence of a more just peace.)]
    And the supposed helpfulness of Israel in containing & deterring Iran flies in the face of facts. There’s a reason that Ahmadinejad keeps making these outrageous statements on Israel & the Holocaust: to drive a chasm between pro-American allies in the Middle East (Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt) and the masses in those countries.

  34. Tyler says:

    I don’t understand how Iran is such a threat that nearly every commentator seemed to bleat out the same line about a balance to Iran.
    A state halfway across the world that has no real projection is our greatest foe? To the point that we have to be bottom bitch in a one sided relationship with an apartheid theocracy?
    It must be something that you only understand when you work on “theory” for your Phd in Polisci.

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