Real News: Will The Next Israeli Leader Attack Iran?

August 08, 2008 – 5 min 38 sec

The decision by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to step down amid corruption allegations has left many questions in Israel and in the region. There are two main contenders to replace Olmert as leader of the Kadima party.

The frontrunner Tzipi Livni, is a former Mossad operative and current Foreign Minister. She was a protégé of Ariel Sharon in the Likud and jumped with him to Kadima when it was formed. Her main Kadima rival is Shaul Mofaz, a hawkish former general and current Transportation Minister.

The Iranian born Mofaz is famous for his ruthless crushing of the Palestinian uprising in Jenin and other West Bank towns in 2000, first as military chief of staff and later Defence Minister. Livni is favoured in opinion polls by 8 to 18 percent to win the Kadima leadership.

Calls have come from Israeli opposition leader Benyamin Netanyahu of Likud for a general election. The elections would probably come in February or March, which would see Olmert remain Prime Minister till then.

Netanyahu was Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999, a hardliner who does not believe in land for peace, He is in favour of more west bank settlements and calls Israel’s recent meetings with Syria “groveling”. Ehud Barak, leader of the Israeli Labour Party, part of the ruling coalition with Kadima, will also be in the running. Barak is a former General and was Prime Minister from 1999-2001.

As the current defence minister Barak said that Israel will return to its pattern of air stikes to crush in Gaza despite the month long truce.

A recent poll by Israel’s Channel 10 shows Netanyahu as the most preferred leader with 36 per cent, Tzipi Livni with 24.6, Ehud Barak with 11.9 and none of the above with 19 percent. When Livni was replaced in the poll, by her Kadima rival Shaul Mofaz, Netanyahu garnered 36.6, Barak 14.4, Mofaz 12 and None of the above 27.4.

What this could mean for the stalled peace process with the Palestinians will depend mostly on the next US president whether Barack Obama or John McCain. But on the question of Iran, there is still the fear that Israel might act unilaterally.

Recent comments from the 4 possible future Israeli prime ministers might seem to reinforce what investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker last month, that an attack on Iran could come before the end of US President George W. Bush’s term next January.


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    • Edger on August 8, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    What is the response of Iran to the U.S. or Israelis threat?

    By Hussein Sharifi

    When I asked them what Iran would do if the U.S. was serious in attacking Iranian nuclear sites, Hussein said, “Then they open hell’s gates towards themselves,” and smiled. When I asked him to elaborate more, he continued, “In the papers there is always talk about air attacks on Iranian installations by Israel or the U.S. This type of psychological warfare is used to divert our attention. We know for a fact that no two Western wars are similar and we are sure that the Israelis would not risk an air attack. We know there are at least three possible scenarios of attacking these sites, including using their submarines in the Persian Gulf, commandos from the sea, or Mojahedin Khalgh trained in Israel and Azerbaijan to destroy the Bushehr nuclear power plant from the inside, but these are only plans. We have even more plans for how to confront them as well. This is a game of chess and we have practiced many different scenarios.” Ali, another revolutionary guard, smiled and responded, “We have indicated directly and indirectly that with the first bullet shot at Iran, the map of the Middle East will be changed forever. Many American puppet regimes and dictators will fall and there will never be a government like what is now in Israel.

    “We have our sensors in place in the U.S., Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and most Arab countries. We know ahead of the time when they are coming, and since Mr. Bush has given American democracy along with the preemptive strike as the right of everybody in the world, we are going to use it and use it effectively. We are present in most of the military briefings of the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq. As soon as we see that it is imminent we hit them and hit them hard… Whether the U.S. or Israel attacks us, we will consider it as Israeli attack since we know how much power they have over the U.S. political and decision-making system.” If the attack happens, that will trigger the nuclear efforts of Iran. We will definitely go underground and speed up nuclear weapon production, since there will be no choice except to have them and have them soon. Right now we do not need nuclear weapons which are a liability rather than an asset, because we do not have hostile enemy which we cannot smash when we want to. The country has been able to stand on its feet for the last 2,500 years and will do so in the future. Look at the last war we had with Iraq, which by the way, was shortest war we had during the last 200 years.”

    Hussein Sharifi is a retired military officer who served in Iranian Imperial Army and Islamic republic army and now resides in the United States.

  1. just like us, the Israeli people will have to tire of their leaders who’ve locked themselves into perpetual armed struggle and are willing to make peace without Israeli domination.  It will probably take a break from the US on the Israeli’s side, but it could be done.

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