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Confrontation looming between U.S. and Israel
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(WMR) -- According to senior State Department sources, a major confrontation is looming between the United States and Israel over policies ranging from Palestine to Iran.

The new Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu government of Israel is pushing an agenda that runs counter to longstanding U.S. policies in the Middle East. Yisrael Beiteinu party Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, the new Israeli foreign minister, is seen by one State Department source as an “Eastern European fascist who practices racism.”

State Department sources are now convinced that what has been called the “Israel Lobby” in Washington will soon morph into an even more problematic “Likud/Lieberman Lobby” that will push a pro-war and pro-settler policy within the Congress and the Barack Obama administration. This new and more aggressive lobby will particularly use its control over Representatives Steve Israel (D-NY) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), as well as Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), to ensure that Israel’s new policies are conveyed to and acted upon by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Obama senior policy adviser David Axelrod.

However, there are several potential breaking points between the Obama administration and the new Israeli government, according to State Department sources. One will be U.S. interaction with Hamas, the duly elected government of Palestine. The term of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has elapsed and actual legitimate power in Palestine belongs to Hamas. This political fact means that the United States has no choice but to talk directly to Hamas.

There is also the issue of Hamas being a party that favors the ballot box over traditional Middle East power grabs, whether they are by princes, generals, religious figures, or plain thugs. According to State Department sources, Hamas has even lectured Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which they claim in the past was generally opposed to achieving power through elections in Lebanon, to become more democratic. That change has occurred, according to the sources, with Hezbollah now fully engaged in the democratic process.

The popularity of Hamas, especially in the wake of Israel’s genocidal war against Gaza, has alarmed the governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and, to a lesser extent, Jordan, because of its zeal for winning power through elections and not coups. State Department sources say that if Egypt had fair and democratic elections, the Muslim Brotherhood, which spun off Hamas in Palestine, would win handily and the Hosni Mubarak dictatorship would come to and end. The same situation exists in Saudi Arabia, where the Saud family is nervous about the popularity of Hamas and views it as a potential threat to the House of Saud.

State Department personnel are aware from field observations that the Fatah movement of Abbas in Palestine is viewed by most Palestinians as corrupt and thuggish while Hamas is seen as clean, vigorous, and appealing.

Another confrontation that looms between the United States and Israel concerns Israel’s 200 nuclear weapons. With the United States engaged in direct nuclear talks with Iran and Saudi Arabia calling for an international regime to supply nuclear fuel for power plants along with safeguards that such technology cannot be converted to weapons development, there is also the likelihood that there will be a major push to create in the Middle East a nuclear-free zone. If the United States buys into such a plan, it will mean Israel will have to dismantle its nuclear arsenal. Given what State Department officials describe as Israel’s suicidal “Masada complex,” such a plan will be next to impossible to enact given the current drift of Israel to more theocratic and right-wing rule. As one State Department source put it, “We cannot address the Iranian nuclear program without addressing the Israeli nuclear weapons program.”

U.S. intelligence officials are also prepared to stop considering intelligence that comes to the CIA and other agencies from Mossad and other Israeli intelligence elements. The new team taking over at the Directorate of National Intelligence and the CIA are acutely aware that the Israelis have, as one insider put it, ”a long history of deceptive dissemination of disinformation” to U.S. intelligence officials, adding that while some foreign sources have “inadvertently provided bad intelligence, Israel has been deliberately dishonest.”

U.S. defense officials also note that Israel cannot attack Iran without U.S. collusion. The United States controls the airspace over both Iraq and the Persian Gulf and any Israeli air assault would require U.S. approval. Under the present administration, that scenario is unlikely WMR is told.

“The only way Bibi Netanyahu will attack Iran is if he is assured that Iran will respond by hitting U.S. military forces in the region forcing a U.S. military response,” one official told WMR. The official added, “Israel, on its own, cannot wage a sustained air campaign against Iran.”

Vice President Joe Biden recently warned Israel from conducting any military action against Iran.

By Wayne Madsen

Source >  Online Journal | Apr 13

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