Avigdor Lieberman, Attack Dog
Monday, February 12, 2007 11:45 AM
Below is an abbreviated interview with ex-nightclub bouncer Avigdor Lieberman from Moldavia, who is now "Minister of Strategic Affairs" and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel. He and fellow Russian, Ehud Olmert, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Frankenstein movie monster of the 1930's, are in charge of Tel Aviv's policy toward Iran. It may be accurate to say that these two are also in charge of Washington's policy toward Iran. The bombast, misinformation and threats coming out of Tel Aviv and Washington are coordinated, if not identical. Avigdor repeats the "neocon" party line--made in Israel and so popular in Washington--to the effect that Iran is a world problem and a major adversary of the West in the "clash of civilizations". The Zionist beachhead in Palestine somehow constitutes the front line of defense for the West in this conflict.
It is a distorted, untrue and bizarre scenario, of course, accurate only to the extent that it has been caused or created by characters like Olmert and Lieberman--with the decisive help of their apparatchiki in America, a.k.a. "the neocons" and the Israel Lobby--to advance and consolidate an experiment in neo-colonialism and ethnic cleansing. It has nothing whatever to do with the legitimate interests of America or the long-term interests of the West. It has everything to do with the illegitimate interests of Zionism, which is antithetical to the West. So far, the Zionist project has been an unqualified success. Accordingly, there is no incentive for Olmert, Lieberman, et al. to change tactics now. They are going to push, push, push as far as they can to grab as much as they can. Who's to stop them? Bush? Hillary? Joe Biden? Congress?
I tend to agree with Lieberman's statement below that Israel may act "alone" in attacking Iran. It will be good public relations and a nice stratagem. The attack, if it happens, will be compared to the 1981 bombardment of the Osirak reactor in Iraq. It will be touted as an heroic act of self-defense, undertaken when the world failed to heed dire warnings about a new Hitler. As a PR stunt, it will be beautiful. The question is, what would follow? In 1981, Saddam Hussein had just come to power, and Iraq could not retaliate. Saddam's reaction to this unprovoked attack on Iraq may well have determined his regime's outlook for the next 25 years. But Iran is not powerless.
Or is it? As a practical matter, I am wondering what Tehran could do in the aftermath of any such attack by Tel Aviv? A response directed at Israel proper would be regarded as international terrorism by Washington and tantamount to an attack upon America's 51st state. This would invite U.S. retaliation, in the name of protecting "U.S. interests". No need for the Democrats in Congress to get involved, or anybody in Congress to get involved. No authorization required.
Ever wonder what those U.S. Navy aircraft carriers are doing out there? Why put them in harm's way in a confined body of water like the Persian Gulf? Tel Aviv attacks, and the aircraft carriers supposedly "protect" the Gulf States, to wit, the oil fields. But why should Tehran attack the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia? Why not the carriers instead? If Tehran or an Iranian commander decides to fire missiles at those carriers, and one missile gets through, and a carrier explodes, then Tel Aviv and the Cheney White House will be in their glory, just as Franklin Roosevelt was in his glory on December 8th, 1941 when he spoke before a joint session of Congress and asked for a declaration of war upon the Empire of Japan. In my opinion, it was the finest speech ever delivered in that chamber, even though the man giving it was a madman and a liar.
"Israel May Have to Act Alone"
Der Spiegel Interviews Avigdor Lieberman
SPIEGEL ONLINE, February 12th, 2007
Deputy Israeli Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman on his country's response to the Iranian nuclear program and the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
[Avigdor Lieberman emigrated to Israel in 1978 from the Soviet Republic of Moldavia. There, he jobbed as a bouncer at nightclubs, studied politics, eventually joined the right-wing Likud movement, ultimately serving as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's top aid. In 1999, Lieberman founded the Israeli Russian immigrants' party Israeli Beitenu (Israel is our Home). Following the 2006 Knesset election, his party became the strongest faction in the opposition camp. And after last summer's war against Lebanon, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert invited the 48-year hardliner to join his government.--Der Spiegel]
SPIEGEL: Israel feels threatened not only by Hamas and Hezbollah, but also by the regime in Tehran. Can you confirm reports that your government is preparing for a nuclear strike on the Iranian nuclear facilities?
Lieberman: No, Iran is not an Israeli problem, it is a problem for the whole free world. What we have here is a clash of "different" civilizations, and Israeli is located at the front line. Bin Laden for example is not a rational person. What do you want to offer him? Money, territories? He would not accept anything in return for ending terror. The same is true of (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad.
SPIEGEL: A scenario in which Israel undertook a military strike is not far-fetched. In 1981, under then prime minister Menachem Begin, Israel bombarded a nuclear facility -- the Osirak reactor in Iraq.
Lieberman: That was one of Begin's most important decisions. Otherwise Saddam Hussein would have found himself in a different position. Even those who criticized us at that time do acknowledge this today.
SPIEGEL: If you rule out negotiations with Iran, you are either left with sanctions or a military solution.
Lieberman: Iran has a big business community which reacts very sensitively to sanctions. The fact that Ahmadinejad lost the municipal elections shows that the business community is dissatisfied with the fact that he is isolating Tehran. A great part of Iranian exports go to Japan, the Arab Emirates and western Europe, also to Germany. If all these countries were to uphold sanctions as they have done in the case of North Korea, Iran would break apart, even if China, Russia and India didn't participate.
SPIEGEL: You said recently that Israel might have to stand alone and therefore must be ready to deal unilaterally with the Iran problem.
Lieberman: That is the worst-case scenario. The differences in opinion between Russia and Western Europe, between Europe and the U.S., between the U.S. and the United Nations have destabilized the global political system. We have to take into account that the international community may not do anything and that Israel may have to act alone.
SPIEGEL: Your meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice didn't make you more optimistic?
Lieberman: I am sensing on the part of the Americans an understanding for the Iranian problem, but currently I do not see in Washington enough political energy and determination for an independent step against Iran. The developments in Iraq are having a very negative effect, and nobody knows where this will end.
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2007