November 4th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

Is Netanyahu bluffing once again?

Editor's Note: Dr. Trita Parsi is the author of Treacherous Alliance – The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press, 2007), recipient of the Council on Foreign Relation's 2008 Arthur Ross Silver Medallion and the 2010 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. Dr. Parsi will be releasing his upcoming book A Single Roll of the Dice – Obama's Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press), early 2012.

By Trita Parsi - Special to CNN

Should the latest episode of Israeli calls for bombing Iran be taken seriously, or is it – like the many cases prior to it – yet another (politically motivated) false alarm? Like clockwork, Israeli alarm bells have gone off in the past fifteen years with predictable regularity. Bellicose statements by Israeli officials have been followed by alarmist analyses describing military measures as both necessary and inevitable. And then, without any explanation, the bellicosity recedes and Iran and Israel return to their more normal levels of animosity.

By now, as WikiLeaks documents show, U.S. officials tend to view the Israeli threats as a pressure tactic to get the United States and Europe to adopt tougher measures against Iran, and to refrain from any compromise with Tehran over the nuclear issue. These intense periods of Israeli warnings about its imminent intent to bomb Iran have indeed tended to coincide with times when the international community has been debating additional sanctions on Tehran.

This latest call for war is no different.

Next week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is due to publish a report expected to detail evidence on the Iranian government's suspected past weaponization activities. The Obama administration and the French government have pushed the IAEA to take a tougher line against Tehran. The IAEA report will be followed by a U.S.-EU push for harsher sanctions against Iran at the U.N. Security Council, where Western powers will meet stiff resistance from Russia and China.

The Obama administration has also launched a campaign to report the Iranian government to the Security Council due to its alleged attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Here again, the aim is to convince a skeptical international community to go along with new sanctions.

For Israel, the tactic of threatening war to secure sanctions has been a gift that never stops giving. The Israelis press the U.S. and the European Union to opt for more sanctions by arguing that absent new punitive measures, Israel will be "forced" to strike Iran unilaterally. Washington then uses the Israeli threat to press Russia,China and the rest of the international community to adopt new sanctions topreserve the peace. The choice is, the tactic dictates, between sanctions and war; not between confrontation and diplomacy.

To retain some minimal level of credibility, each new round of saber rattling contains new elements to set it apart from previous episodes. This time around, the narrative reads that intense debates are taking place within the Israeli cabinet between proponents and opponents of unilateral Israeli strikes. What are supposed to be confidential, internal deliberations have now been leaked to the public and the whole world can follow the debate over war and peace unfold like a bizarre reality TV show.

While skepticism about Israel’s saber rattling is warranted, it is also dangerous to completely dismiss it out of hand. At a minimum, there are two important factors that indicate the past pattern of empty threats may be changing.

First, stiff resistance from the U.S. military has in the past forced Israel to think twice about any unilateral strike against Iran. Pentagon officials believe that Iran will not differentiate between an American and an Israeli attack. As such, Israeli military strikes will beget significant Iranian retaliation against American targets. In July 2008, in the midst of a massive Israeli effort to convince former President George W. Bush to attack Iran before he left office, then chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen warned that an Israeli strike on Iran would prove "extremely stressful" for U.S. forces in the region. "This is a very unstable part of the world and I don't need it to be more unstable," he cautioned.

But with President Barack Obama in election mode, Benjamin Netanyahu may sense an opening. At a time when the Republicans are attacking Obama for being insensitive to Israeli interests, Obama cannot afford another confrontation with Netanyahu. In spite of the danger Israel would put U.S. troops under if it attacked Iran, Obama’s ability to exact a political price on Israel for doing so is currently limited.

Second, as I document in A Single Roll of the Dice – Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press, 2012),sanctions and military action are not either-or options in Israel’s view. Rather, they are complementary. While sanctions systematically weaken Iran and reduce its capabilities, including its ability to muster nuclear advances, military action is needed to push back Iran if it reachesimportant nuclear milestones, in Israel’s view. Sanctions can slow down Iran’s nuclear advances, but military action can set the nuclear program back, albeit only temporarily. Alone, neither approach is satisfactory for Israel. Only when the two are combined will the Jewish state feel confident that the balance of power is securely locked in its favor.

But with Washington having little left to sanction in Iran, and Israel’s credibility reaching a new low as a result of its many false alarms, how much longer can this game of brinkmanship and sable rattling be pursued before it turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Post by:
Topics: Iran • Israel • United States

soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. bingo

    it seems CNN didn't get the memo:ahamdinejad is a madman,ayatollah khameini is a madman, and they are trying to get nuclear weapons. CNN hasn't realized yet that the islamic republic has no interest in making peace with the west. it wants to snuff it out.

    November 4, 2011 at 7:07 am |
    • Nick

      I do not want our sons and daughters fighting another bloody war for Israel. There is no evidence Iran is a threat, this is all distraction from Israel's Palestinian and internal problem. Tens of millions will die, for what?

      November 4, 2011 at 10:26 am |
      • Rocky

        Islam is a false "religion".
        Allah was Mohammed’s uncle’s village pagan "moon god".
        Allah is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
        Mohammed was a murderer, thief, polygamist, rapist and slave trading pedophile.
        Muslims, research on-line: the truth about Islam.

        November 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
      • Rocky

        we are not fighting "all out" in Afghanistan nor did we ever in Iraq...
        our rules of engagement do not allow us to unleash all we have.....
        but even their fake allah won't help them when we do unleash ALL we have ... iran will be wiped out completely !
        just one Trident nuclear submarine like the one I served on, can take out iran COMPLETELY,
        each carries 24 nuclear missiles,
        EACH missile has 12 independently targeting nuclear warheads,
        EACH warhead is hundreds of times more powerful than the nukes that wiped out Nagasaki and Hiroshima....
        so just one missile and it is good bye iran ! You civilians have NO idea what we can do to many countries out there...And so can Israel, they have almost identical nuclear armed subs...we are actually being way too nice !
        Ayatollahs are playing with fire !

        November 4, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Nick... No one wants a war but if Iran will start one there WILL BE a war. It is in the utmost interests of the US and the rest of the world to prevent Iran from doing it because if Iran will attack Israel it will be a NUCLEAR war and it will throw the entire world into a crisis of epic proportions that will dwarf WWII.

        November 5, 2011 at 2:14 am |
      • Roy

        No one wanted anyone to die on Sept 11 either .
        You're dealing with a terrorist nation willing to use any weapons thay have at their disposal .
        You are so very wrong to state they are no threat !
        All experts agree thay are the greatest danger facing America and Europe . Its not just Israel

        November 5, 2011 at 7:42 am |
      • BeHonest

        The UN reported today [BBC News page] that Iran ARE in the process of producing nuclear weapons. China says they disagree with force against Iran but hope Iran will see sense. Israel weren't mentioned. America and Europe deposed ther Shah of Persia because he was supposedly a tyrant and they wanted power in the M.E. that would guarantee unlimited oil. THAT was nothing to do with Israel. The Iraniams just hate America!

        November 5, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
      • Mark Levy

        To Thinker.

        In this situation, it is not Iran who is looking for a war, it is Israel!!
        why are you lying, read the news, Israel is doing provocations they know they cannot put into act alone.

        November 6, 2011 at 1:14 am |
      • Mark Levy

        to Roy:

        Roy seems to be another racist zionist preaching lies...
        Iran is only a danger to Israel, not to the USA nor Europe.
        Israel has nuclear weapons and Iran would like to get the same, Israel could attack Iran and if Iran gets nuclear power, Israel will think twice. Israel is also a threat to other countries, look at what israel does to the Palestinians....

        November 6, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • GH

      Actually, Iran offered to reconcile with the United States and the Israeli lobby in the US blocked it.

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/11/03/secrets-of-the-troika/

      November 4, 2011 at 10:32 am |
      • Rocky

        How to drive a liberal crazy : Quote with appropriate reverence and non-judgmental, multicultural appreciation the great Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini: To marry a girl before she begins menstruating is "a divine blessing." If your liberal friend starts sputtering, cheerfully inquire, "Who are you to judge another culture—you're not Islamophobic, are you?"

        November 4, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
      • BeHonest

        Finally – someone admits that Americans can't speak for themselves when making internationally important decisions!

        November 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
      • Rocky

        Even dumbest person on the face of the globe, except for the exterme left wing liberals and supporters of the iranian regime of course, would believe a word coming from Islamic Republic of the Mullahs. Foundation of this regime is based on deception, lie, hostage taking, opression of women, terrorism, perversion, pedophilia, repression and murder. Would anyone with decency trust leaders of that insane theocracy !!!

        November 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Mursal

      So what you are saying that Israel can have nuke for empteen years illegally but no one else can have it. And even if they are assuring the world In fact, Israel wants his way or high way and they must know that in today's world it can not and will not happen.

      November 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
      • Fearless1

        Israel is not threatening its neighbors by saying they will wipe them off the map. They have been proven to be trusted when it comes to nukes just like the US has, Iran hasn't, and is a threat to not only Israel but the US and our soldiers. The deaths of many of our soldiers in Iraq can be directly linked to Iran. Sure, it may be a mad man talking, but a mad man with a nuke is a little scary. Remember, Hitler was a mad man too and his taunts led to WWII and mass genocide.

        November 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
      • Mycology

        Israel can have nukes, just like India and Pakistan, because they were never signatories to the NPT.

        idiot

        November 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
      • Rocky

        Why are the iranians so proud of having nukes and since when did nukes become a pride thing ? All the super powers in the world have had nukes for ages and are looking to lessen their nuclear capacity because of a danger it presents to mother earth. muslims are slow to modernize and now they are slow to futurize with time. Don't muslims know you can't fight a nuclear war, because a country can get wiped out if it becomes a target of a nuclear ? muslims brainwash us way too much about Israel. If Israel had wanted to nuke out muslim countries, they would had done it decades ago with their nukes , grab all the land in the Middle East, and rid the world of muslims !

        November 4, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
      • stop the bs

        Iran hasn't even developed a nuclear bomb, yet has threatened to wipe Israel off the map on numerous occasions which this foolish author conveniently forgets to mention. Israel has had the A bomb for about forty years now and has yet to threaten any of their neighbors with nuclear annihilation even though most of her surrounding countries are her sworn enemies..

        November 6, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • aga khan

      you are the madman and i want to f your mother for delivering a madman.israel needs to be nuked and you need to be there when it happens.

      November 4, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
      • Rocky

        Islam denies the divinity of Christ, believes pedophile Mohammed to be the final and greatest of the prophets, and that Abraham's son, Isaac, was NOT the heir to the nations of the world. It's a violent, insane cult and the ENEMY of all Christians, Catholics and Jews.

        November 4, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
      • Rocky

        Hey aga khan, are you a fidai ?

        November 4, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
      • BeHonest

        People who resort to filth and violent language have nothing else to offer. aga khan, grow up and learn some manners.

        November 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
      • 3rdEyeOpened

        @Rocky,

        If anything it is Judaism that denies Christ, even more so than Islam. According to Judaism, Christ is an impostor and the real messiah has yet to come. At least Islam has respect for Christ, unlike Zionist jews.

        November 6, 2011 at 7:58 am |
      • Rocky

        Killing people who don't believe in islam is the very essence of muslim "religion". muslims always give you two choices: become a muslim or become a dead non-muslim. Of course many people are afraid to die that's why islam grew , without the understanding of the real meaning of the dangerous, violent perversion called "islam".

        November 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
      • Vineet

        Sorry to disturb your delusion, which you share with your co relioginists,Aga old boy. Aint going to happen.

        November 6, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
      • larry

        you are an idiot Aga like rest of your brainless thugs. You dont know that we can destroy whole muslim civilization in 4 hours. so go on and ride on camel and enjoy your oil as long is last. we can put u back on camels if we really want so shut up.

        November 6, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • Rocky

      There's a country called Iran
      Full of nutjobs, pedophiles and sand
      On their heads they wear towels
      And after moving their bowels
      They wipe their butt cracks with their hand

      November 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
      • Mark Levy

        and then there was a Rocky racist and Zionist!!

        November 6, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • Rocky

      The top 6 T-shirt slogans in Iran...
      6) My other car is a camel.
      5) Sand.....it's not just for breakfast anymore.
      4) It's always Sunni in Saudi Arabia .
      3) moHAMmed, the other white meat.
      2) My parents went to Tehran, and all I got was this stupid turban.
      1) Good muslims don't use Toilet Paper !..

      November 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
      • Frank Oliver

        you are an atheist? alright

        November 5, 2011 at 4:28 am |
      • Sam Liberman

        Rocky shows his ignorance with his posts... He is likely an inbreed redneck from the south who probably has not read a book in his life time. Yes an inbreed; that's what they do in that part of the country ...

        November 7, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • glenn robertg

      The Islamic Republic is not at war with the US or anyone else. Netanyahu had better be bluffing. This will be a war with no winners and oil at $300.00 at barrel. Iran has not started a war outside of there boundries in my life time (82 years}.

      November 5, 2011 at 1:58 am |
      • Thinker23

        Iran did not start a war? So did Israel... and, UNLIKE IRAN, Israel did not threaten to "wipe" any other country off the map.

        November 5, 2011 at 2:17 am |
      • BeHonest

        Well said, thinker. If Israel was like its arab neighbours there would have been a nuclear war years ago

        November 5, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
      • Mark Levy

        to Thinker the Racist Zionist

        Israel is theatening Iran with war. Iran will respond but Israel is bluffing and cannot attack Iran.
        Israel is the agressor now, and Israel is abusing human rights in Palestine....

        November 6, 2011 at 1:39 am |
  2. j. von hettlingen

    Israel's bellicosity didn't come at random. Sanctions against Iran are voiced and Israel is worrying about Iran's influence over the region, once the U.S. withdraws from Iraq. Furthermore Iran has apparently enough enriched uranium for 4 bombs and intends to produce them in a well-protected underground site.
    Would Israel's saber rattling get real and attack Iran, no doubt it could drag the U.S. – Israel's closest ally – into this regional conflict. The former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen was right when he warned against an Israeli strike on Iran, as it would pose an enormous stress on the U.S. forces in the region.

    November 4, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • GH

      proof for "Iran intending to build 4 bombs"? Iran just passed a UN resolution 107 vote majority for the DISARMAMENT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Iran continues to be fully compliant with international law. Look at what the UN Inspections agency says on their official site:

      http://www.iaea.org

      NO AMERICAN LIVES FOR ISRAEL!

      November 4, 2011 at 10:35 am |
      • Thinker23

        Can you explain how will Iran possible use hundreds of its nuclear-capable ballistic missiles if (as you're telling us) it is not having plans to develop suitable warheads for them? Saddam's SCUDs demonstrated pretty convincingly that ballistic missiles are virtually harmless in case they're fitted with conventional warheads.

        November 5, 2011 at 2:21 am |
    • Charles Jeter

      Sanctions – international and US – are utter crap because they're not enforced. Look at the traffic coming from one cybersecurity provider – the vendor of choice [apparently] for Iran: #ESET: #APWG platinum sponsor who supplies #Iran with NOD32 vs #DuQu & #Stuxnet. see http://bit.ly/pPeETH and click on (Accident)

      http://pic.twitter.com/qXyD3wVT shows more traffic from Iran than the US, which is about a $30M market.

      November 4, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
      • glenn robert

        OK. Who is furnishing all those state of the art weapons to Israel? You object to someone arming Iran.

        November 5, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • BeHonest

      Israel unilaterally bombed Iran's facilities before. No-one bothered, The world just gave a sigh of relief. Stop fussing.

      November 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
      • Mark Levy

        you should re-read your informations, Israel never bombed Iran!!
        you stupid idiot!

        November 6, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  3. Jason

    My country the U.S should not fight a foreign country's war, because that will endanger American lives all across the world. Israel has too much influence over our politicians here in the U.S , while the U.S has almost no influence over Israel. WE give Israel nearly 15 BILLION a year in Tax paying money while Israel has 3.9% unemployment and we have 9.1%. We need the 15 BILLIOn alot more than the Israelis do. What has Israel done for the UNited States? Why should the United States risk its standing with the world just becaue Israel wants to start another war? I think the Iran situation should be let go because even if they do acquire a nuke , they wont use it, just like North korea has not used it, its just a deterrent from attcks such as the one Israel is trying to provoke. If any American dies because of Israel I am holding Israel personally responsible as if Israel had killed one of our citizens

    November 4, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Granny Sophia

      I completely agree! Bless you.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Ido M

      First of all, let me make a tiny correction – its around 3 billion not 15 (not that im suggesting that 3 is a small amount because its not). Let me tell u something about those 3 billion USD – they arent charity!!!!! You are suggestion that the US can do things with that money within the US, because you think that they are simply giving israel free money. this impression is wrong! countries dont just give charity to other countries unless its promotes their interest... its is well within the united states interest to have an ally in the middle east – a stable democratic country within an unstable region,,, its is important for the US that israel can defend itself and the 3 billion assistance from the US is vital for israel to maintain military advantage over the neighbouring countries to protect its citizens who are constantly under threat from those who seek to destroy them, Furthermore, the US also benefits from this – according to these agreements israel is obligated to spending a certain amount of money on american made weapons and army vehicles, planes etc., thus helping the american economy by making income to american military factories instaed of those of other countries... as for the soldiers – i understand COMPLETELY your care for your american soldiers – you dont want them to risk their llives for nothing and die in vain... i love and respect my soldiers too and i never want anything bad to happen to them – but a nuclear iran is not only a threat to israel – it is also a threat to america and the entire western world... iran is not a reasonable country – its run by fanatic muslim fundamentalists who seek to kill the jews, destroy israel and bring death and destruction upon the western world and its moral values – because they contradict islam... it is a regieme that opresses its own people and anyone who stands up to it finds himself in a turture chamber... This is the reason that israel AND AMERICA cannot afford having a nuclear iran – beacuse it is a threat to the entire western world

      November 4, 2011 at 11:45 am |
      • BeHonest

        What a FANTASTICALLY well written comment. I hope all the knee-jerkers on here read it and take on board what you've said. Serious respect to you, M.

        November 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Gordon M Ryan

      Agreed, I'm also sick of these presidential candidates acting like no one can question Israel's president. No Christian extremists in office plz. There is a reason the US and Israel can't get most of the world to agree with them. 107 countries voted in Palestine to UNESCO last Monday. There is a reason it seems the world is against Israel. Are we all anti-Jewish hatemongers? Well aside from what Israel wants everyone to think, most of us want peace. Israel needs to be taken to ICC and charged with war crimes. Enough fake peace talks that drag on for 20 years while Israel builds settlements, Let's see real peace and real justice. (back to Iran) Iran wants nukes so they can feel powerful, just like every country that has nukes.

      November 4, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Gordon... If you're for peace you may consider that Israel offered Palestinian Arabs peace and a sovereign independent state in 1948, 1967, 1978, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009 and the Palestinians REFUSED it every single time declaring that NOTHING short of destruction of the Jewish State would satisfy them. Maybe, it's time for you to take THEM to court?

        November 5, 2011 at 2:28 am |
      • BeHonest

        Gordon Ryan – please read and try to understand what Thinker23 is saying here! You are obviously making a comment while not being in full possession of the facts.

        November 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Jason... The US aid to Israel is $3 billion a year, NOT fifteen... A DRUNK person sees doubles sometimes. What are YOU smoking that makes you see FIVE TIMES?

      November 5, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • GB

      I don't know why I'm answering such an ignorant.. you will probably not change your mind from someone answering you... however couple of points
      1. it's 3 Billion $.
      2. it can only be used to buy goods that were manufactured in the US thus helping your economy.
      3. israel and the US run numerous joint R&D programs so before you go on saying Israel as done nothing for the US, check your facts and see how many things came out of these programs.
      but you won't do anything and you'll stay ignorant and lazy... ah well such is life

      November 5, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Frank Oliver

      Because from the days of American war of Independence 100 out of 100 % of Americans strongly beleive that Islam is evil and vile,so Americans need some mad rouges defectors to confront Muslims in the mideast ,the dump minority jews of midle east thats why .....

      November 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
      • Mark Levy

        Frank Oliver, you are an Evil and an idiot, not Islam!
        what you say is useless, please go in another forum you are not interesting to read.

        November 6, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • BeHonest

      FIFTEEN BILLION?????? Oh purleeeeeze. Get your facts right or go away. Muppet!

      November 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
      • Mark Levy

        not 15, but at least 3 billions! 3 billions wasted....

        November 6, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • Mark Levy

      I agree with the original statement. well said.

      November 6, 2011 at 1:45 am |
  4. PPeter

    Here we go again the Israelis pushing the US into another war in the MiddleEast. I hope they will not be succesful. This alliance between Israel and US only brings bad things to US, no benefits at all, where are the benefits for the US? NONE, only expense and headaches.

    November 4, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • bingo

      when did we ever drag the US into war in the middle east?

      November 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • BeHonest

      You went into Iraq based on massive lies about WMDs to avenge 9/11.
      You went into Afghanistan to 'get' Bin Laden who masterminded 9/11.
      Bin Laden masterminded 9/11 because American soldiers used Saudi Arabia as a base to attack other arabs.

      Not an Israeli in sight. You did it for your own reasons – no-one elses. Libya is the same; revenge for the Lockerbie bombing etc. Nothing to do with Israel.

      What is WRONG with you Americans. You're getting to be like your president. Don't take responsibility – find someone else to blame!

      November 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Mark Levy

      i agree with you Peter, and more and more people as well.
      Look at what the acceptance by the world of Palestine at the Unesco did: The US had to cancel their fundings of Unesco....the whole world is realizing how stuck the USA is with israel. This is not good for the USA, we need to get rid of this negative alliance...
      Mark, Jew for Peace

      November 6, 2011 at 1:58 am |
  5. Karur

    I fully agree with Peter. The obsession in Israel is that Iran will become the first Muslim nuclear power and this has reached paranoia! It is high time that Israel plays on its strengths and not get swayed by the belicose Netanyahu, who has perfected the art of calling 'wolf', just to stay in power! I urge the US to show leadership, calm nerves, open up communications with Iran and show the Muslim World that the US is fair minded

    November 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Mycology

      ever heard of a little place called pakistan, dummy? your ignorance is your foundation to condemning israel

      the most common of facts eludes your mind. Its pathetic, really

      November 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
      • BeHonest

        Well said.

        November 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
      • Mark Levy

        Mycology is another of those Racist Zionists. Boring to read, please go to another forum, you are a parasite here....

        November 6, 2011 at 1:59 am |
  6. ted

    Why would CNN allow this Iranian thug journalist spew his propoganda?

    November 4, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • tkmisto

      The same reason they let you speak your mind on the forums. Don't read in the "Blog" section if it angers you.

      November 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  7. KJMU

    I SO wish I had a hotline to Mr. Netanyahu so I could apologize for the things President Obama has said and done to insult Israel, and remind him that Mr. Obama does NOT speak the mind of the American people in this or most any matter. The Obama administration abandoning proven allies like Israel by embracing Islamists regimes and praising them as moderates, all with the ultimate aim of destroying the Western Democratic Nations (The US included!).

    November 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Robsssss

      Just speak for yourself, not the "mind of the American people" – because you are WAY off base.

      November 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Robsssss... Just speak for yourself... because you're way off base.

        November 5, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • Gordon M Ryan

      Yes, speak for your self. I as an American am no fan of Israel.

      November 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Any particular reason? I mean any reason based on FACTS?

        November 5, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • BeHonest

      That is fair comment. I agree with everything you said. Thank you.

      November 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • BeHonest

      kjmu – Respect to you for a great post. Thank you.

      November 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Mark Levy

      KJMU is another one of those Racist Zionist.and an idiot who is boring to read; KJMU please go to another forum, you are boring and an idiot.
      Obama did too much for Israel and Israel is costing too much to the USA now.Israel is a parasite for the USA now. Obama is going too far to help Israel, because he needs the Jewish votes in the USA!

      November 6, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • az

      right on! Israel is way too valuable an ally to be treated as it is. Fareed is on crack to understand the tension as he has. That man has an agenda and is not neutral.

      November 6, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  8. Socrates

    Netanhaju can do whatever he wants in the Middle East. He is the new Hitler in that region. He had a good master" the Nazis.

    November 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Mycology

      What did hitler do? Genocide people. What are the Israelis doing? Feeding them, clothing them, giving them electricity, giving them internet, giving them water,

      "palestinians" (a people not invented until the 60's, as a country/state/kingdom called palestine never existed in the history of the world) are the #8 most obese men on the planet and the #3 most obese women – according to the World Health Organization.

      but I guess, to a moron like you, that would equal "starvation"

      November 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
      • tkmisto

        The arabs do not call it palestine. It is called philistine. They do not identify themselves as palestinians but philistinians. During the infatadas he closed down schools, and blocked shipments of aid including food. The reason the people of less developed countries are more obese than others are their reliance on cheap carbohydrates. NOT from being blessed with food from Nethanyahu.

        November 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
      • Thinker23

        tkmisto... Philistines were GREEKS, genius. Get a clue.

        November 5, 2011 at 2:32 am |
      • Mark Levy

        to Mycology, another one of those Racist Boring Zionist.

        Palestinians are not the #3 most obese nation!!
        maybe you are Obese yourself!!

        Please go to another forum, you are an idiot and boring!

        November 6, 2011 at 2:10 am |
      • az

        agree 100%. ignore the trolls on this forum.

        November 6, 2011 at 8:17 am |
      • Elvis

        Israelis build walls and made Palestine a contraindication camp. Do some research how many of those so called Israelis are actually born in Israel and how many came from Eastern Europe. Only thing i can say to occupiers is to get back to Russia Poland Germany and other countries ware they came from. There is no place for them in that region. they don't belong their.

        November 7, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Frank Oliver

      Natenyahoo speaks only C.I.A 's dialouges in public . he do not have that much mental capacity to speak rubbish ..of any kind..

      November 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • az

        read up on netanyahu. he is certainly not dumb.

        November 6, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  9. Fearless1

    In my view, Israel has every right to strike Iran because they have been directly threatened by Iran whom wants Israel as well as the USA to be wiped off of the map. The only problem with air strikes on Iran from Israel, is that it would spark a response from Russian and inevitably would most likely be the true beginning of World War III. Russia has already stated that they will back Iran if it is attacked by Israel which is why Israel has taken a long time to contemplate this decision. It is now imminent. A justified attack on Iran by Israel will result in an attack on Israel by Russia which will provoke a response from the allies of Israel. If you don't believe this just watch what happens in the coming days.

    November 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Israel WILL NOT use force against Iran unless there will be no other way to prevent an Iranian attack on Israel... and Russia WILL NOT be willing to sacrifice half (or more) of its population to punish Israel for defending itself from Iran.

      November 5, 2011 at 2:34 am |
      • Mark Levy

        To Thinker, Racist Zionist.

        Israel doe snot have the power to hurt Russia and you know it!

        November 6, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  10. Avharryhlengcksy@yahoo.com

    It is much less complicated: Iran leaders believe, intent and say they will eliminate Israel. Israel listen, watch and see how they arm Hizbullah in Lebanon, support Hamas in Gaza and keep pushing with a nuclear program way beyond commercial purposes. What can Israel do? sit quiet and wait for the bomb to fall on their head?

    November 4, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  11. garc

    I hope they're bluffing. Because the panel of lunatics the republicans are considering nominating for the presidency all sound EXACTLY like W, right down to being unable to pronounce "nuclear." They think war is cool and great and we should go for it. War is fun!

    November 4, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • BeHonest

      Considering Obama has followed ALL Bush's policies, don't you feel a bit clueless blaming the Republicans ad nauseam?????
      If you don't – you really should!

      November 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  12. jesse

    The fiasco at the UNESCO vote to let the Pals in against the wishes of Israel, & the US couldn't do much to prevent it has really & I mean REALLLLY angered Israel. Israel has never in its history felt so emabaressed than it did that day when the entire world laughed their shorts off at the time Israel voted no! Israel is realy hurt. There is another vote coming up soon & that may actually lead the UN to recognize the Pals as a full member & Israelis are losing sleep at night, so do the America Jewish community who are more Israeli than Israelis themselves! So it's all understandable why they're so angry, Israel has never been so isolated before.

    November 4, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  13. jesse

    Oh, one more thing I should add about all the ranting & warmongering of Israelis, its all propaganda folks. Israel knows full well that it could never ever in its best day to sustain a long term conflict with any country in that region. Israel is surrounded with enemies & haters who are looking for a smallest chance to hit them, 7 a long-term, dragged out war will certainly provide ample opportunities for Israel's adversaries. Isn't wonderful to be so hated?

    November 4, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • Thinker23

      You've explained pretty well the reason Israel needs (and HAS) nuclear weapons, Jesse. It is unfortunate that Israel is being hated by its neighbors but it's not Israel's choice. Even if all Jews committed collective suicide the Muslims would complain that they did not commit suicide earlier.

      November 5, 2011 at 2:39 am |
  14. Rocky

    Ayatollah Khamenei is a religious bigot and a viable nut case. To base a country's leadership on a "religious" islamist opiate is ridiculous. Ahmadinejad's position will be phased out in the next few years but he will not be replaced with anyone positive of mind. Iran seems to be doomed forever.

    November 4, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • dev

      Israellis are also religous bigots and their religous jewish state should be banned. It is because of its bombs that it has been able to deny Palestenains thewir rights and we all know how Palestenains are treated. No amount of zinist propaganda, american jewish lobby or any other bully will be able to prevent the world to know the truth. The Jews area a people that have been forsaken by God and are also the people who manipulated the crucifixtion of Jesus. This is why God has forsaken them and laoowed them to wander ailessley for thousands of years without a homeland. Thanks to the genorocity of UK,USA and UN a land was carved out of Palestine for them. Iran, on the other hand has been a civilzed nation for centuries and has never fought any war against anyone throughout its history. The only defensive war it fought was when the treacourous Americans goaded the veil amn of the Middle east Saddam to attack Iran. This was also a Israelli conspiracy through the Jewish lobby in the US. Israel is the sworn enemy of freedom of Arabs as was clearly seen how it was against the Arab Spring and was openly suporting the dictator Hosni Mubarik.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  15. Rocky

    we are not fighting "all out" in Afghanistan nor did we ever in Iraq...
    our rules of engagement do not allow us to unleash all we have.....
    but even their fake allah won't help them when we do unleash ALL we have ... iran will be wiped out completely !
    just one Trident nuclear submarine like the one I served on, can take out iran COMPLETELY,
    each carries 24 nuclear missiles,
    EACH missile has 12 independently targeting nuclear warheads,
    EACH warhead is hundreds of times more powerful than the nukes that wiped out Nagasaki and Hiroshima....
    so just one missile and it is good bye iran ! You civilians have NO idea what we can do to many countries out there...And so can Israel, they have almost identical nuclear armed subs...we are actually being way too nice !

    November 4, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • BeHonest

      Before you get carried away with your overrated sense of self-importance, you might like to check on Russia's updating of all areas of military hardware over the last few years!!! You might get an unpleasant surprise. Sadly, your military might isn't nearly as effective as it once was.

      November 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Mark Levy

      yes Rocky you are so good!but boring.
      But Russia will step in and not allow that, and the USA knows that already, so your stupid scenario will not happen!
      Mark, Jew for Peace

      November 6, 2011 at 10:32 am |
      • Rocky

        Poor and weakened Russia, trying to be relevant just before it becomes the Northern province of China. Russia is Zimbabwe with snow and old soviet nukes. Spineless and pathetic foreign policy of a dying former superpower. The US should start supporting Chechen freedom fighters ASAP.

        November 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • dev

      First win the war against the Talibans. They are kicking the hell out of the US forces same as the Vietnamese did. And stop boasting.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  16. Rocky

    Why are the iranians so proud of having nukes and since when did nukes become a pride thing ? All the super powers in the world have had nukes for ages and are looking to lessen their nuclear capacity because of a danger it presents to mother earth. muslims are slow to modernize and now they are slow to futurize with time. Don't muslims know you can't fight a nuclear war, because a country can get wiped out if it becomes a target of a nuclear ? muslims brainwash us way too much about Israel. If Israel had wanted to nuke out muslim countries, they would had done it decades ago with their nukes , grab all the land in the Middle East, and rid the world of muslims !

    November 4, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • dev

      What kind of BS is this. You are uneducated. Iran has not developed any nuclear weapons. Stop the zionsit propaganda!!!

      November 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  17. Rocky

    Islam denies the divinity of Christ, believes pedophile Mohammed to be the final and greatest of the prophets, and that Abraham's son, Isaac, was NOT the heir to the nations of the world. It's a violent cult and the ENEMY of all Christians, Catholics and Jews.

    November 4, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Mark Levy

      you are a Racist Zionist Rocky. you are the enemy of us all in this forum.except to the other racist zionists.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:33 am |
      • Rocky

        In Islam, there are only three groups of people: Believers, Unbelievers and Hypocrites. Guess what the Western term "moderate" is by Islamic standard. What is an Islamic extremist? A Muslim who strictly follows the koran, kills in the name of Allah? If Osama bin Laden who merely killed a few thousands was an extremist, then what was Prophet Muhammad who started 77 aggressive wars of conquest, whereby 25 of them he himself participated on the battlefield, which finally ended in an ethnic cleansing of the entire Arabian Peninsula from every Jew, Christian, Zorastrian, Bahai, etc.?"

        November 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • dev

      I hope you did not spend your time as an alter boy. Or maybe you did? Is this why you know about pedophillia. Is thgis why Christians and Jews like you go to Cambodia? The church is full of pedophiles and you know it!!!

      November 6, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  18. Simon

    Why in the world a country with more than 8,500 nuclear weapons is afraid of a country to make 1 nuke and attach a country with 200+ nukes? It has been 4 years that their centrifuges were working in full capacity to make 100kg of 20% enriched uranium for their medical reactor, how they are going to enrich enough uranium for a bomb.

    November 5, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Thinker23

      I'm sure that you would not be afraid in case you had five guns and your neighbor was running around with a loaded automatic threatening to kill your and your children. Unfortunately, not all of us are THAT brave (or THAT stupid...)

      November 5, 2011 at 2:42 am |
      • Mark Levy

        You Thinker idiot! Israel has the big weapons, thanks to the USA. Iran has the 5 guns. and since Israel has the nuke, why not Iran?please go and tell your trash somewhere else.

        Mark, Jew for Peace.

        November 6, 2011 at 10:35 am |
      • dev

        You definitely cannot think, Thinker. Otherwise you would be very afarid fo the jewish bomb!!!

        November 6, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
      • jesse

        Thinker 23, you & I had a conversation & after I asked you for a proof on one your lame & stupid lies you just took off for 2 months. You're the stupidest person by far in this forum doing propaganda works on behalf of a criminal state.

        November 6, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  19. from israel

    Israelis are not keen on starting any kind of regional war. The social and economic issues are the Israeli public's main concern now and Netanhayu initiating an attack on Iran is political suicide. The Israeli media has exaggerated the issue out of proportions as if its main role is deterring the "irresponsible" politicians. The question that "Western" civilisation must answer NOW is will it ever contain global Islamic terrorism when its state-sponsors are nuclear powers? Global terrorism does not exist because of the "Palestinian problem", and will continue long after its resolution, because the real issues are "cultural" (i.e. the resurrection of the Islamic caliphate) and the the plundering of the Islamic oil wealth by the West. True, Israelis are worried by an Iranian bomb because they fear it could be used againt them. Even the close proximity of the Palestinians within and around Israel (assuring many of them would perish in a nuclear attack) does not solace the Israeli fears as Islamic fundamentalist accept that to be a justified price for removing the Jewish state from the midst of the Caliphate. That is why Israel must have an effective deterrence.

    November 5, 2011 at 4:40 am |
    • Mark Levy

      We all start to believe now that Israel is the main cause of all terrorism. and Israel is a terrorist state, judging by what they are doing to the Palestinians.my question i: when will Israel stop being a terrorist state and respect international laws with the Palestinians? who is building illegal settlements in east Jerusalem? who is torturing the whole population in Gaza? Gaza has a few rockets compared to Israel's nukes...the world is starting to realize who is the real terrorist here: Israel.

      and this coming from a Jew for Peace, me!

      November 6, 2011 at 10:38 am |
      • Rocky

        وكان محمد خنزير.

        November 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  20. Haim

    Mr. Parsi's bias is revealed by his claim that Israel wants "to preserve its power". Israel wouldn't be bothered about Iran wasting money on nuclear weapons, if the ayatollas won't promise to eradicate the Jewish state at the first opportunity. For Israel, this is not a power play, but a question of survival. Too bad that Mr. Parsi has so committed himself to Iranian POV that he seems to see in the Jews the root of all evil.

    November 5, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Mark Levy

      Haim, please stop telling us your lies, we do not believe them anymore! Israel has many nukes, Iran none. and even if Iran has 1, why would Iran bomb Israel when they know that the USA would bomb Iran then?that would be a nation suicide and Iran does not want that. Israel has nukes, and wants to stay the strongest in that region and dictates its rules, that is why they do not want Iran to have nukes.

      Israel is a terrorist state who is abusing human rights in Palestine and building illegal settlements.
      the world sees that clearly now, and this threat from Israel to Iran is a way to talk about something else than Israel's abuse of human rights. ENOUGH.
      Mark, Jew for Peace

      November 6, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  21. Simpler Solution

    Without Israel hanging around our necks, America would have benefitted in many, many ways. At the most basic level there would be no Jihad focused at the US. The notion that we (the US) must support Israel because it is a democracy with shared values is completely undermind by settlement activity and the treatment of Palestinians.

    The better decision in my mind is to abandon Israel. Netanyahu and his ilk are simply too much of a liability. I understand this is politically impossible due to AIPAC, but perhaps this too is an issue for the 99% in America I suspect any popular referendum on Israeli support would both go down in flames and also bring about a sea change in the arrogance of our mistake in the middle east.

    November 5, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Mark Levy

      you are right. Then without the USA behind Israel, we would all be surprised to see how fast Israel would sign a peace treaty with Palestine!!

      November 6, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  22. Mike

    its like the US policy for dealing with terrorism...the reason they don't negotiate with terrorists is because if they give in, then it influences other terrorists to try similar things to try to get things out of the US...Israel is doing the same thing. Threaten to bomb Iran unless the US/Europe adopt tougher sanctions...tougher sanctions adopted...Israel 6 months later makes the same threat knowing that US/Europe will do whatever to appease them even if the threat is empty

    November 5, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  23. Simplemind Solution

    If there was no Israel, the Arabs would be happy to sell US gas at 20 cents a gallon. There would be no Jihad against US because Moslems would be more than happy to adopt American values all over the mideast. Iran would still be a US client state as it was in the days of the Shah. As proof – look at how the Soviets/Russians who have always helped the Arabs with weapons, advisors and even direct military action against Israel, as well as in the UN, have never had any problems with Moslems...

    November 5, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  24. Brian

    Israel's arab neighbours have their hands full with local uprisings so it can be even more belicose than before and continue to oppress the Palestinians. Israel is a rogue state and has been for decades. It should be voted out of the UN along with North Korea and the like.

    November 5, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  25. Nick

    "Israel did not threaten to "wipe" any other country off the map"

    Yeah Iran gets nukes then bombs Israel only to itself get wiped off the map, yeah makes a lot of sense. Israel is more concerned about the deterrence effect nuclear weapons would have on their ability to launch a conventional strike on Iran.

    November 6, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • An Observer

      You are right. Israel didn't threaten to wipe another country off the map. They actually did it. They've wiped Palestine from the map for decades now! Israel is the real aggressor country in the region and has repeatedly been condemned by UN. The best blessing for Israel is the stupid Iranian regime and the anti-Israel rhetoric (which is mostly for internal political consumption and for distract Iranians from real issues) . This provides Israel with the perfect cover to hide under and to go on with aggression undeterred. Not that Israel gives a hoot about anyone anyway!

      November 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  26. tallo

    I am furious and insulted that Israel's legit concerns about Iran's plans to wipe them off the map are interpreted as political posturing of Netanyahu by Fareed. I completely disagree with Fareed's understanding of Netanyahu. Sorry Fareed, but you have misunderstood something major.

    Are you really implying that ordinary Israeli's are not afraid and that this whole thing is just a show? Take a look at Iran's proxies all around them. This article is a disgrace!

    November 6, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Mark Levy

      then why doesn't Israel make peace with the PA auhority and give them back their occupied land, and why does Israel build settlements in East Jersalem, against international laws like the whole world is saying ?(UK, France, germany, USA all criticized israel for not respecting international laws and build in East Jerusalem settlements)

      Why does Israel always plays the victim?
      Israel is the Occupier and the Aggressor, we all see and know that now.

      Mark, Jew for a Just Peace

      November 6, 2011 at 10:50 am |
      • tallo

        mark, israel made many peace outreaches. For example, they withdrew in 2005 from gaza in what could have been the first confidence building step in a whole progression of steps. After making such a significant step, I hoped that Gaza would seize the opportunity and show that it wants to be part of a productive and peaceful state. Exactly the opposite happened... they elected Hamas knowing well that they will step up the war against Israel... and that they did with thousands of rockets.

        why would israel make another move? this is not the only step that was reject by palestinians (read up!). Sorry, mark, I used to support peace, but as long as Iran is funding Hamas and as long as Hamas is sworn to Israel's destruction, I completely reject any more concessions. All Israel succeeded in doing so far is bring the enemy in closer and making them believe that a military victory is more possible than ever. I am against Oslo, against peace in our times. The war has already been declared and Israel would be foolish to give up anything more in the name of peace. Without your support, the stalemate will continue until Iran has nukes. Then you will be very sorry.

        November 6, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • dev

      Israel is a bully and the world knows that. Do you think Plaestenain children are not afarid of this bully? Come and spend some time with me in Palestine and see who should be scared of who? Ordinary Israellis?who cares. I care about the downtrodden peopl eof the earth like ordinary Palestenains!!!

      November 6, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  27. Mark Levy

    why doesn't Israel make peace with the PA auhority and give them back their occupied land, and why does Israel build settlements in East Jersalem, against international laws like the whole world is saying ?(UK, France, germany, USA all criticized israel for not respecting international laws and build in East Jerusalem settlements)

    Why does Israel always plays the victim?the holocaust happened but is far away and the world helped the jews
    Israel is the Occupier and the Aggressor now,it is a threat to Peace in the world and could be the cause of a world war, we all see and know that now.

    The UK, France, Germany, USA,etc...all criticized Israel for building new settlements in East Jerusalem which is a violation of international laws.
    Why does the world allow Israel to terrorize Palestinians in the occupied territories on a daily basis?

    Israel is clearly becoming the cause of many problems in the world, Israel wants to impose its power in the middle east, it is a danger to world peace and is a major parasite for the USA who is stuck with the Jewish lobbies in the USA.
    as a Jew, i'm sad to see that and I do not share Israel's terrorist ideas and goals.

    Mark, Jew for a Just Peace

    November 6, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • jesse

      Mark Levy,
      you're my hero. No one can rebuke your arguments. Very logical indeed.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
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