Shock Therapy and the Israeli Scenario

“Israel has been urging America to invade Syria, but America seems to be reluctant. So, in order to force the hands of America, Israel is going to invade Syria,” Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told the official Bernama news agency recently. “When that happens, the Americans will have to support Israel due to domestic political reasons that make Jewish votes a major factor in its presidential election.”

It’s hardly a secret that pro-Zionist financial contributions exact disproportionate influence on American politics and foreign policy. Israel “has become a veritable state of the United States,” Mitchell Kaidy wrote in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs back in 1997. “Indeed, with media cooperation and assistance, Israel has ascended to the ranks of an affluent, belligerent yet untouchable super-state.” It is precisely this inviolable status that allows Ariel Sharon and the Likudites to do almost anything they please.

“No one in authority will admit a calamitous reality that is skillfully shielded from the American people but clearly recognized by most of the world: America suffered 11 September and its aftermath and may soon be at war with Iraq, mainly because US policy in the Middle East is made in Israel, not in Washington,” wrote Paul Findley, a former congressional representative. “Israel is a scofflaw nation and should be treated as such. Instead of helping Sharon intensify Palestinian misery, our president should suspend all aid until Israel ends its occupation of Arab land Israel seized in 1967.”

Not likely. Bush and his fanatical core of pro-Zionist neocons will continue to work alongside Sharon and the racist Likudites. Greater Israel is their unalterable mission. It’s their raison d’etre.

Pat Buchanan was spot on when he said the Bush neocons “harbor a passionate attachment to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what’s good for Israel is good for America.”

Israel wants “total war” in the Middle East, as do the Bush neocons.

So entangled are the connections between the Likudites in Israel, the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Center for Security Policy, the American Enterprise Institute, Project for the New American Century, so-called defense contractors, Christian Zionists with money to spend, and a handful of Zionists in and out of the Bush administration that it is nearly impossible to find the precise source of the toxin infecting United States foreign policy in the Middle East.

Its most activist and wild-eyed proponents are tucked away in Beltway think tanks, the Bush White House, and burrowed deep within the Pentagon. From there they plot the sort of pandemonium and misery currently underway in Iraq.

The next few items on the neocon “creative destruction” agenda: take out Syria and Iran, even tiny and insignificant Libya.

If Gordon Thomas of the American Free Press is correct, Sharon called Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon and gave him the low-down on the Syrian attack. “We, and you, are fighting a war against terrorism,” Rumsfeld reportedly told the Butcher of Sabra and Chatila (and Qibya and Qalqilya). No doubt such tidings warmed the cockles of Arik’s cold-blooded heart.

In other words, what Sharon was about to do — brazenly attack a sovereign nation in direct violation of international law — was akin to what the US did in Afghanistan and Iraq. Karl Rove apparently chimed in, admitting that Bush approved. “He saw it as a clear warning to terrorists that they can be reached anywhere,” Rove briskly told reporters. “See it as necessary shock therapy.”

“Israel’s Ariel Sharon is intent on exploiting the opportunity provided by US plans for war in the Middle East to press forward his aim of creating a Greater Israel,” Jean Shaoul wrote last year. “For months he has sought to stoke up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and scupper any possibility for even the type of truncated Palestinian state promised under the Oslo Accords. Now he has significantly upped the ante, accusing Syria of supplying Hezbollah militants in south Lebanon with thousands of surface to air rockets capable of striking northern Israeli towns and cities and demanding Syria rein in the Islamic fundamentalist group.”

On the same day Mahathir Mohamad made his prediction about an Israeli invasion of Syria, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported that “Mossad has marked six Iranian nuclear facilities as targets for an Israeli Air Force preemptive strike.” Sharon presumably told “Mossad chief Meir Dagani to devote ‘utmost efforts’ to gather information about Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities… The Mossad’s plan is now ready and has been delivered to the Israeli Air Force, which will carry out the strike, Der Spiegel said. The simultaneous air strike on six Iranian nuclear facilities would be carried out by IAF F-16 fighter jets.”

Israel is reluctant to bomb Iran, but not for political reasons — bombing sorties would be dicey business since the nuclear sites in question are spread across vast expanses and Iran’s eastern border and are 1,300 kilometers from Israeli air bases.

However, according to Yossi Melman, the military commentator for Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper, Sharon’s threats against Iran are part of an effort to fix international public opinion against the Iranian nuclear project and to prevent Iran from producing enriched uranium. It’s said Mossad leaked the story to the press.

It also said Mossad leaked a story to the Los Angeles Times detailing Israel’s decision to arm US-made Harpoon missiles with nukes. Once again demonstrating the propaganda clumsiness of the foolhardy Likudites and their neocon bedfellows in Washington, people who know about such things wasted no time debunking the Harpoon story. Israeli and foreign defense experts quickly noted that such a modification was technically impossible. Jane’s Naval Weapon Systems in London said it was nonsense.

No such hit-or-miss flourishes are required in regard to Syria, though.

Syria is far weaker militarily and less of a threat to Israel — and that’s why the Ain Saheb camp was bombed. It also helps that it is exactly the sort of lethal behavior the Bush neocons encourage and support.

“Without American support, or at least the expectation of such support, this attack would not have taken place,” Eyal Zisser, a senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

It was, after all, Richard Perle (and other neocons) who declared in a report specifically authored for Benjamin Netanyahu and other radical Israeli Zionists (“Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000”) that “Israel can shape its strategic environment… by weakening, containing and even rolling back Syria… Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran.”

In other words, Sharon’s script was authored in collaboration with American neocons more interested in Greater Israel than the threat such actions — unwarranted attacks on sovereign Arab nations — will pose to Americans at home and especially abroad in the eventual form of blowback and terrorism.

The Arab world, if not the American public, understand US complicity in Israeli war crimes and murderous provocation. Zionists anticipate this reaction and will cynically use it to their advantage — just as they now use Palestinian suicide bombings as a pretense to invade the West Bank and Gaza (the most recent “operation” took place in the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza where eight Palestinians, including two children, were killed and 100 buildings destroyed, leaving hundreds of families homeless).

“What [the neocons] couldn’t sell to Netanyahu, they pushed on Bush, who bought it hook, line and sinker,” writes Mark Ames. “Under Sharon, parts of the plan have been implemented; the big jobs — the conquests of Iraq and Syria — have been left to America… The Israel Scenario is already here for Americans. As anyone who has traveled to Israel and witnessed its dark slide into increasing isolation and siege will recognize, America’s descent has just begun. It can get a hell of a lot worse. And it will. Which isn’t so bad, so long as you’re part of the American Right.”

“Is the bombing [of the Ain Saheb camp] an Israeli message or an American one?” asks Ramzy Baroud of the Palestine Chronicle.

It is, in fact, a message communicated between the lines of policy white papers issued by the Project for the New American Century and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs — there is essentially no difference between what Israeli and American Zionists want: Greater Israel victorious through “total war” (as one particularly virulent neocon, Michael Ledeen, would have it) ultimately resulting in a militarily defeated, politically splintered, and economically impoverished Arab Middle East.

KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent blog at . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, will be published this fall by Dandelion Books.

He can be reached at:


KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books. He can be reached at: