Israel: Give Up Your Nukes
Army War College Analysts Believe that Iran Would Abandon Nuclear Program if Israel Did
A report recently published by the distinguished U.S. Army War College has publicly targeted Israel’s controversial—but officially nonexistent—arsenal of nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
In the wake of a growing American media cacophony about Iran’s purported aims of building its own nuclear arsenal—“news” that has largely been stimulated by bellicose rhetoric in Israel itself—the Strategic Studies Institute of the Army War College, which is a training ground for the “best and the brightest” among up-and-coming military officers, has taken quite a different approach.
The college’s report—which has never once been publicized in the major media in America—says that neither talk of a military attack on Iran by Israel nor ongoing American diplomatic initiatives are likely to stop Iran from pursuing its goals. Either course could result in disaster, said America’s military strategists.
Instead, the report, titled “Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran,” says, quite in contrast, that it is Israel that should take the initiative.
The American military officers say that Israel should close down its Dimona nuclear reactor, turn over nuclear materiel to a third party, and allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to maintain regular inspection of Israel’s nuclear operations. The report urges the United States to put pressure on Israel to make this possible.
America’s military thinkers believe that if Israel were to curtail its nuclear offensive, the United States would be more easily able to convince other nuclear states in the Middle East to do likewise. It is, in fact, a historic truth that it was Israel’s determined push for nuclear weapons—a documented foundation of that nation’s geopolitical defense policy—that led Arab nations, Pakistan and Iran to pursue nuclear weapons in response.
For example, although in 2003 Syria asked for a United Nations resolution calling for nuclear arms inspections all across the Middle East—including Israel—few expected that the United States would rally behind Syria’s request. This came despite the official U.S. position that, according to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, the United States would like to see the entire region free of weapons of mass destruction. Nevertheless, the United States did not support Syria on banning all nukes.
Even The Washington Post reported, on April 17, 2003, that “Syria’s current arsenal of chemical warheads and Scud [Scud-D] missiles to deliver them was started more than 30 years ago to counter Israel’s development and possession of nuclear weapons, according to present and former U.S. intelligence officials.”
The Post cited an unnamed former senior intelligence analyst as saying that Hafez al-Assad, Syria’s former leader and the father of the current Syrian ruler, believed that the military aid that the Syrians received from the former USSR “would never be able to match what Israel developed in the nuclear field and received from the U.S.”
Joseph Cirincione, head of the nonproliferation program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the Post, at the time that, “You can’t get rid of chemical or biological or nuclear programs in Arab countries unless you also address the elimination of Israel’s nuclear and chemical programs.”
Cirincione pointed out that the primary reason for other nations in the region building their own weapons of mass destruction was due to Israel’s own initiatives.
What is particularly notable about the recent Army War College report calling for Israel to effectively “de-nuke” is that the co-author of that report is Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a long and well-established pro-Israel lobby in Washington.
However, WINEP is generally identified with Israel’s socalled “peace” movement, which has been at odds with the elements in Israel associated with ailing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Sharon and Netanyahu are, in turn, allied with members of the fanatic pro-Israel “neo-conservative” elements who have been directing U.S. Middle East policy in the Bush administration.
All of this suggests that, once again, internal Israeli political conflicts are flowing over into the American political process with—in this instance—the top-notch officers at the Army War College allying with Israel’s “left wing.”
Thus, the men who are charged with fighting America’s wars are taking a public stand that could—if their advice is followed—help defuse the problem of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, if only Israel agrees to go along and the Bush administration sees the logic of what America’s military leaders are proposing.
(Issue #4, January 23, 2006)