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08 May 2012


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I agree with all this except that I would insist that once Gantz endorsed the USIC's position this outcome became inevitable. pl


"At this moment, there is a reasonable chance that Iran will accept a viable agreement sometime during the next several round of talks."

As always, the devil is in the details; or, in this instance, in the definitions. 'Viable' for whom? There seems good reason to doubt that the Iranian leadership will accept being trussed by the U.S. and its auxiliaries in a way that forecloses the nuclear option now and forevermore. They likely will not allow themselves to be treated as a ward of the "international community' and denied the preogatives of sovereignty on grounds of moral incompetence.

The US/Israel/auxiliaries, for their part, seem bound to accept nothing less. Above all, they refuse categorically to enter into talks that encompass Iranian security concerns. This refusal, I believe, will go down in history as a strategic error of monumental proportions.



You underestimate the guile of the Persians. pl


Harper - I have to disagree. Bibi won this round. Mofaz and Kadima got nothing but a minor ministerial post and Mofaz got a title of Deputy PM. Kadima brings 28 seats to the coalition vs Likud's 27.

All the polls indicated that September elections would have boosted Likud to 35 seats and Kadima would drop to 15. Mofaz made this deal to avoid a September wipeout. What Bibi gets out of this deal is an unshakeable coalition (93 seats out of 120) that allows him to ignore the constant sniping of the religious parties and may even allow him to dump Lieberman.

Mofaz is not significantly different in policy and attitude from Netanyahu. Mofaz was Likud for most of his life and only joined Kadima as a favor to his long time mentor and friend Sharon. While publically, Mofaz has said he does not favor and attack against Iran at this time, he won't be hard to convince to an attack soon.

As far as his attitude towards the Palestinians and a peace agreement he is all in favor - as long as peace is on Israeli terms and the Palestinians don't ask for more than 60% of the West Bank, sans anything close to Jerusalem.


I agree with mbrenner. Iranian sovereignty is not negotiable...by either party.



Great! You and Brenner can continue to encourage them to stand by their "pride." We will see if you feel the same way after they "eat" a couple thousand sorties of air and cruise missiles. Oh, I forgot. That will be the fault of the US government, not you. pl pl



IMO it is you who are wrong. Bibi lost. As Babak sees, Mofaz i an Iranian. He knows better than to do such a thing as attack Iran alone and, as you say, he actually has more seats in the Knesset. pl

N M salamon


with greatest respect I disagree with you [and back Mr Harper and Dr. Brenner]. IMHO, Were Mr. Obama survive the Nov Election without a war v. Iran, then there shall no no war at all, for by Sept-Oct the Federal Government will breach the debt limit, and any major QE3+ would lead to hyperinflaion [based on import prices in USD]. In a previos note you clearly advocated oppose
itin to any measures which might lead to this end, HYPERINFLATION,
Therefore, major cuts in DoD etc which negates the funds for a war.
This aside that Europe can not afford it, China, Russia and all oil importers will oppose it - and noone on earth can afford a major multiparty distruction of oil installations in the Persian Gulf.



Isn't it great how the world at large pontificates, while us 'rough men' when given a presidential order, gets the job done whether it's making a green parking lot of a large or medium postage stamp in the Mideast, or other acts of carrying it to the opponent right in their front yard if that's the prez's wish. Too bad that while the prez is conferring with the JCS, they both IMO need to consider making Tel Aviv one of their firsties on their big hits countdown. That way it'll help to keep the Bibi's from getting too big for their britches.

Babak Makkinejad

Iranian diplomats have succeeded in destroying the Non-proliferation position of P5 - based on ad-hoc UNSC declarations as well as various other ad-hoc colations-of-the-willing.

They got the NAM states to support them and bring back the P5 to NPT as the only viable Non-Proliferation instrument.

There have been very many strategic errors of monumental proportions but none of them were Iran's.

The most glaring ones were US destruction of Ba'athist Iraq, US destruction of NPT, and the obduracy of P5+1 in not de-escalating with Iran in 2007 after the US NIE on Iran was leaked.

These talks will not address security concerns; their aim is to limited to defuse the potential and the possibility of a war in the Persian Gulf.

Babak Makkinejad

"Guile" is such an ugly word; perhaps intelligent flexibility would be a better description.


There are many options for Iran besides suzerainty. And in many of them, the common interests of the US and Iran could be developed to mutual benefit. Areas of difference could be accommodated to minimize tensions.

Yet US policy seems to allow only suzerainty, else war. As we say in Iraq and Afghanistan, US policy is intransigent to the point of being counter-productive.

The real question is why the US is incapable of being more flexible and pursuing options that realize its interests short of war and quagmire.

Babak Makkinejad


Iranians have publicly declared that they will not build or field missiles with a range exceeding 2000 kilometeres.

US and EU cannot hide behind Iran on missile defense in Europe.

Shaoul Mofaz is an Iranian who understands what it means to trigger the rage of the Shia in Iran. I expect him to advise other Israeli leaders to avoid attacking Iran at almost any cost.

Unless they have a death-wish.



No. "Guile" is a lovely word redolant of subtle expression and conception. pl


Guile done poorly is "strategery".


Bibi won by hanging on to power. Bibi lost because his ability to protect certain issues is compromised. Settlement policy will move to the left. Haredim military service will change - there will be military service for more haredim with Kadima drafting the Tal Law revisions.

I agree Mofaz would follow Bibi on Iran if Iran weaponizes nukes. If. But so would almost any mainstream Israeli pol.

I think Bibi lost faith in Romney's ability to win in Nov. and decided to re-elect himself in May. Who knows?



"Guile" done well is sublime. "Always deceive, always mislead." Stonewall Jackson. pl



It is not clear to me what you disagrre with. I think Bibi has lost confidence. That is a disaster fo him. pl

N M salamon

I agree that Bibi lost this round. I do not think that the USA will attack Iran under any circumstnces if Mr. Obama wins, excluding clear production of n Atomic bomb.

Medicine Man

I like the Russian term for it: Maskirovka.



You can also look at Bibi's move this way. He's convinced his old Wall Street buddy will win the election. Romney has back channel promised to aid any Israel attack on Iran. So Bibi will wait till Romney is elected and then, backed by his grand Israeli coalition, he will have total US help with an attack.

And Bibi can spend an enjoyable summer snipping at Obama and playing war porn games with the US right wing. What fun.



"Get there first with the most."

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"I ended the war a horse ahead."

Nathan Bedford Forrest



What Forrest said was "Get there first with the most men." So, you are endorsing "hey diddle diddle, right up the middle?" If you are, that is a bad idea. You need to learn some military history. Start with Basil Liddell Hart's "The Strategy of the Indirect Approach." Forrest's statement actually indicated that one should reach the point of decision first with the most force. pl


Col: I first heard Forrest's quote from the mouth of Shelby Foote. It was preceded by another quote, "Hit'em on the end," which I interpreted as as a flanking maneuver. Forrest has always fascinated me. All contradictions, of course. But a very talented, self-taught fighter.

Thanks for the B. L. Hart book reference. I'll get it.

Mark Logan

Forrest was reputed to have marched a group of troops around and around a hill on a circular path to make his opponent believe he was amassing more troops than he had, right?


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