Fog of war obscures Netanyahu’s Iran order

Source: Asia times:

WASHINGTON – A new twist was added to the long-running media theme of a threat by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to go to war with Iran when news stories seemed to suggest that Netanyahu had ordered the Israeli military to prepare for an imminent attack on Iranian nuclear sites in 2010.

Netanyahu backed down after Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Mossad director Meir Dagan opposed the order, according to the reports.

But the details of the episode provided in a report by Israel’s Channel 2 investigative news programme “Truth”, which aired Monday night, show that the Netanyahu order was not meant to be a prelude to an imminent attack on Iran. The order to put Israeli forces on the highest alert status was rejected by Ashkenazi and Dagan primarily because Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak had not thought through the risk that raising the alert status to the highest level could provoke unintended war with Iran.

All the participants, moreover, understood that Israel had no realistic military option for an attack on Iran.

Most stories about the episode failed to highlight the distinction between an order for war and one for the highest state of readiness, thus creating the clear impression that Netanyahu was preparing for war with Iran. The stories had to be read very carefully to discern the real significance of the episode.

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Categories: Asia, Iran, Israel

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