Panetta Calls Netanyahu, Barak “Piggish, Ungrateful” For Lack Of Appreciation Of US Efforts Against Iran – OpEd

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There are those Israelis and other serious Middle East observers who don’t believe Israel will attack Iran.  They’re far too optimistic in my view.  It foolish to talk in such definitive terms as Larry Derfner does in the 972 Magazine post linked above.  Leon Panetta , Tom Donilon and members of the Joint Chiefs don’t flock to Tel Aviv for its sunny beaches.  They come because they’re damn scared Israel will take matters into its own hands and they want to do everything possible to avoid such a potential catastrophe.

Panetta is the latest U.S. emissary to seek (probably in vain) assurances from Bibi-Barak that they won’t do anything foolish, especially not before the November elections.  It won’t be the first time Panetta tried this.  Only a few months ago, he made a similar visit and came away similarly empty-handed.  The only difference this time is that Bibi has made the absolutely stupid move of practically endorsing Mitt Romney before a world audience in Jerusalem.  As a result, there were heated words spoken (Hebrew) behind closed doors, largely by Panetta.

Israel - United States Relations

Israel – United States Relations

Maariv conveys the gist of the conversation via Israeli sources and the language used is almost unprecedented in its harshness:

Panetta Expresses Frustration Behind Closed Doors: “Israel is Ungrateful.”

In meetings with the defense minister and prime minister, they criticize the U.S.’ “restrained” policy toward Iran.  Israeli sources say: Washington is talking about Israel as being “piggish.”

…Panetta expressed frustration with Barak and Netanyahu’s expression of a lack of faith in America’s commitment to stopping the Iranian nuclear program.  The Americans talk of Israel’s ungratefulness for our unceasing support for Israel’s security.

If I were Obama I would’ve told Panetta to take Bibi to the woodshed for his little romantic interlude with Mitt earlier this week.  But this president doesn’t seem to have the guts to engage in such political hardball, which is one of the reasons that Bibi will never respect or fear him.  A political opponent who doesn’t pay a price for truculence or obduracy is only encouraged to be more stubborn and more “piggish” in future.  I’m sorry to say that an Israeli leader who neither respects nor fears an American president is a recipe for disaster both for Israel and America.  Obama has yet to find that out.  But if American-made F-16s streak across the Middle Eastern skies to hit targets in Iran, he will discover this and pay the political price.

Bibi’s comments during his press conference with Panetta are another example: he had the chutzpa to stand before the secretary of defense and warn him that the time to deal with Iran through peaceful means was growing short.  This was a not so veiled threat: if you fail to do it your way–and you will–we have our own ways.  And our way involves bullets and bombs.

If you ever needed a reason to believe it’s more important to read this blog than the NY Times’ Jodi Rudoren take a look at this article and note everything she missed that’s here.

This article was published at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

3 thoughts on “Panetta Calls Netanyahu, Barak “Piggish, Ungrateful” For Lack Of Appreciation Of US Efforts Against Iran – OpEd”

  1. Patience, Israel has been waiting since 2005, nothing has stopped the Iranian development it has been slowed down but not stopped. Now we are talking about containment, it slowly shifts from a policy of preventing to containment. No one will set a date in which sanctions, negotiations has failed. If they have failed which they have because it has not influenced Iran, then it is containment.

    The US had the choice of a limited conflict, they chose via leaks to involve themselves and create a regional possible global conflict. They decided instead of Israel putting the IRGC and Iranian Navy at the bottom of the ocean, to risk their carriers and ships against advanced Iranian cruise missiles, they chose to place the Saudi oil fields in the sights of Iran and the Straits of Hormuz. They had the option of withdrawal from Iraq which they took and from Afghanistan by 2013 which they did not.

    Israel has done everything they could to protect US interests. The US decided on a policy to escalate the blowback of the conflict to force Israel not to act. And that is just one view of people in the US, other held different views that Israel would strike regardless. Whatever outcome the current Administration bought it on themselves, it was their choice. Whether that means that it is President Romney that has to deal with the blowback, it was Obama that made the decision. The previous Bush/Cheney Administration made the decision to create a window of opportunity, Obama escalated the blowback to prevent a strike and whoever is in the WH next year has to deal with the blowback from that decision.

  2. After Cast Lead, Israel was told not to attack Hizbullah, even when the Scud were transferred. Any thing that would make an strike on Iran more feasible and limit casualties on the home front and prevent a regional war by a contained conflict. At each point the Administration sought to escalate the conflict and the cost as deterrence to a strike.

    In my humble opinion those kind of assumptions made by the Administration is the reason Syria is burning. And you have left them suffer with Assad license to kill for 17 months.

    The Saudi’s are to not try to escalate the conflict and has keep the Royal decree in force on finance, weapons and fighters. The only thing that has prevented them from the Syrians being gassed, so another leak a secret letter for covert assistance. Dangerous.

  3. See Cheney let us do as we pleased, long leash that is why you all kept calling the FSA the SFA, we hold firm it is the FSA.’findings’, I don’t even have to ask permission for this stuff. We started it we will finish it, and the strategy works. Maybe Saddams WMD’s are there maybe not.

    It is fine we are keeping the civilians in Aleppo as human shields. They could be given safe passage, the gas, though, now they have to stay.

    Liquidating the Shabiha you say war crimes I say Sharia Law, they liked hell so much,raping women and children, slitting babies throats, they can meet Malik, liquidated.

    We are gentlemen that obey the rules of war, the ROE in the Stan shows that. Assad and his Shabiha wrote the rules of this conflict.

    If you really have balls take created for burning Putin’s wheat Barry.

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