From The Wall Street Journal:
Distrust set allies to snoop on each other after split over Iran nuclear deal; each kept secrets
By Adam Entous | October 22, 2015 9:01 p.m. EDT
The U.S. closely monitored Israel’s military bases and eavesdropped on secret communications in 2012, fearing its longtime ally might try to carry out a strike on Fordow, Iran’s most heavily fortified nuclear facility.Nerves frayed at the White House after senior officials learned Israeli aircraft had flown in and out of Iran in what some believed was a dry run for a commando raid on the site. Worried that Israel might ignite a regional war, the White House sent a second aircraft carrier to the region and readied attack aircraft, a senior U.S. official said, “in case all hell broke loose.”
The two countries, nursing a mutual distrust, each had something to hide. U.S. officials hoped to restrain Israel long enough to advance negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran that the U.S. had launched in secret. U.S. officials saw Israel’s strike preparations as an attempt to usurp American foreign policy.
Instead of talking to each other, the allies kept their intentions secret. To figure out what they weren’t being told, they turned to their spy agencies to fill gaps. They employed deception, not only against Iran, but against each other. After working in concert for nearly a decade to keep Iran from an atomic bomb, the U.S. and Israel split over the best means: diplomacy, covert action or military strikes.
There’s more at the original.
- If the United States launched negotiations on a nuclear weapons treaty with Iran in secret, is it surprising that the Israelis reacted with suspicion?1
- Let’s not kid ourselves: the United States and Israel have been spying on each other all along. The only aberration about Jonathan Pollard is that he got caught. We’ve been spying on our allies all along, and, quite frankly, we’d be sloppy if we weren’t.
So, the unstated implication of the article, that the United States and Israel started spying on each other because of the very mutual distrust between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, is deceptive.
The mistrust between the two leaders began early, by their first official meeting in May of 2009, and it has gone steadily downhill from there. Even The New York Times reported that:
Jeremy Bird, the architect of the grass-roots and online organizing efforts that powered President Obama’s presidential campaigns from Chicago, is advising a similar operation in Tel Aviv. But this time it is focused on ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. . . . .
American strategists have for decades signed on to work in Israeli political campaigns, with Democrats usually aligned with the Labor Party and Republicans often backing Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Obama or any of his senior aides had anything to do with the move by his former top campaign official, who has never worked at the White House, to join the effort to defeat Mr. Netanyahu.
But Mr. Bird’s involvement in the elections is drawing attention when tensions between the two countries are so acute that what is usually considered standard practice for American political consultants in Israel is now seen as a provocation.
“There is no evidence to suggest,” huh? And we are supposed to believe that Mr Bird’s work, not for a particular candidate, but simply to unseat Prime Minister Netanyahu, was taken without any impetus or consultation with the White House, while the Administration was already at odds with Israel on several issues, and was negotiating with Iran?
We are already seeing the fruits of President Obama’s foreign policy when it comes to Iran.
- Iran has broken United Nations Security Council resolutions with a ballistic missile test, but the Obama Administration said not to worry, this won’t stop the nuclear arms agreement from being implemented.
- Iranian-controlled Hezbollah has been supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
- Iran and Saudi Arabia ramp up hostile rhetoric to new levels. Riyadh and Tehran have thrown diplomatic niceties to the wind and are attacking each other without restraint over Syria and Yemen
- Iran has formed a de facto alliance with Russia to support the Syrian government, in opposition to American policies.
- Ali Khamenei recommits to 190,000 centrifuges for U235 separation in 15 years
- Khamenei: Iran will support anyone who strikes at Israel.
Well, perhaps I shouldn’t have included that last one; that seems to be right in line with American policy under President Obama! But, is it any wonder that Israel doesn’t trust President Obama?
- “The White House decided to keep Mr. Netanyahu in the dark about the secret Iran talks, believing he would leak word to sabotage them. There was little goodwill for Mr. Netanyahu among Mr. Obama’s aides who perceived the prime minister as supportive of Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the 2012 campaign.” ↩