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What if Israel bombed Iran? The view from Washington.



September 23, 2012 "Washington Post" -- September 21, 2012 - For months, Israel has threatened to strike Iran’s nuclear sites. The United States has urged restraint. If such an operation were launched, how might Washington react?

President Obama is enjoying a quiet dinner with Michelle, Sasha and Malia at the White House residence on a Thursday evening in October when he gets the call.

Two dozen Israeli fighter jets have just entered Jordanian airspace, apparently en route to Iran, chief of staff Jack Lew tells him. They will enter Iranian airspace, via Iraq, in approximately 85 minutes.

“Damn it,” Obama says under his breath. “Bibi told me he was going to hold off.”

Within 45 minutes, the president’s national security brain trust has convened in the Situation Room. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta informs the group that attempts to reach Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have so far failed but that Israeli military commanders are briefing the Pentagon on Israel’s targets.

Panetta lays out the United States’ options: either persuade Netanyahu to call it off, or shoot down the planes.

“Shooting down the planes is not an option!” Vice President Biden explodes. “Tell Bibi the president of the United States wants to talk to him now!”

Within minutes, Netanyahu’s voice is heard on the speakerphone, and he immediately preempts any attempts to call off the mission.

“I couldn’t wait any longer, Mr. President,” he says firmly. “I am responsible for the security of the Jewish nation.”

As Netanyahu explains the operation, Obama eyes the large electronic map of the Middle East on the Situation Room wall. The coordinates of the Israeli planes show that they’re nearing
Iran.

“Mr. President,” Netanyahu says. “I hope we can count on your full support.”

Obama’s face masks his scorn. He pauses for several moments before responding. “You know I respect Israel’s right to defend itself,” he says, “but I need to do what’s in the interests of the United States.”

Panetta orders the head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. James Mattis, to activate Operation Gulf Shield, putting America’s military forces throughout the Middle East on their highest defensive posture, bracing for Iranian retaliation.

Obama surveys the room. “What do we tell the Iranians?” he asks. “They’re going to assume we’re behind this.”

The battle lines are quickly drawn. Susan Rice — the ambassador to the United Nations and a close Obama confidante, who is in the running to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state — is the first to chime in, via secure video teleconference: “We need to be clear that the Israelis acted without our knowledge. We need to urge Iran to exercise restraint while we restrain Israel.”

“With respect,” CIA Director David H. Petraeus says, “if we send them that message, they’ll think they can retaliate without us responding. The Iranians need to believe that if they respond, the United States will enter this war — and swiftly and decisively end it.”

“I agree with David,” Clinton says. “The Iranians need to know there is no daylight they can exploit between us and the Israelis.”

Within hours, Twitter is alight with reports of explosions in various parts of Iran. All seemingly can be traced to one source: the Iranian opposition group

Mujaheddin-e Khalq. Mainstream media outlets say they cannot corroborate the story, and Iranian state media is silent.A few hours later, while Washington sleeps, the Saudi-owned satellite channel Al Arabiya confirms reports of massive explosions in Iran.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz alludes to an Israeli military operation in Iran but, citing national security restrictions, does not offer details. It appears that one plane has gone missing, but Israeli officials refuse to comment.By the time Washington awakens, oil futures are up 20 percent to $110 a barrel. At 6:30 a.m., Obama meets in the Oval Office with senior campaign adviser David Axelrod and former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who have flown in from Chicago.

Axelrod suggests that the White House’s message should be that Iran brought this upon itself. “What the hell do I say,” Obama asks them, “when the press ask me whether I knew about this operation in advance?” “Don’t answer yet,” Emanuel says. He scribbles a few sentences on a notepad, rips the paper out and hands it to Obama.“If we need to,” Emanuel says, “we can leak the news that we weren’t given a heads up. But we shouldn’t disown it right away if there’s potential it was a successful operation.”Obama shakes his head. “Voters don’t care about whether the attack was successful. They care about $5 gasoline.”

By 8 a.m., the White House has issued the terse statement Emanuel drafted, saying: “The United States is monitoring events in Iran closely. Israel has a right to defend itself, and America’s commitment to Israeli security is unwavering.” Having long rehearsed this scenario, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is ready with a sharp, gaffe-free response.

While campaigning in Palm Beach, Fla., that morning, Romney pledges his “ironclad support” for Israel and attacks “Obama’s policies of appeasement that left Prime Minister Netanyahu no choice but to take exceptional measures.”Romney adviser Dan Senor rips into the president on CNN: “Our strongest ally in the world, Israel, is facing an existential threat, and Obama is still leading from behind.”

Another Romney adviser, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, echoes this theme on Fox News. “Instead of doing his job as commander in chief, Barack Obama outsourced our national security to Israel,” he says. “The American public owes a debt of gratitude to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and we should be prepared to finish the job.”

By late morning, more details of the attack trickle out in the media. The strike reportedly caused extensive damage toIranian nuclear facilities in Natanz, Arak and Isfahan, as well as to the country’s radar and command-and-control centers. But it’s unclear just how much damage has been done, and there’s no word on casualties.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) begins circulating a draft resolution on Capitol Hill expressing the Senate’s “unconditional support” for Israel. By noon, 99 senators — with Rand Paul the lone dissenter — have signed on. J Street, a liberal Jewish advocacy group, issues a statement expressing “concern” that Israel acted preemptively. China and Russia condemn Israel, urging restraint and calling for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates — which in

WikiLeaked State Department cables from 2010 appeared to support a military attack on Iran’s facilities — condemn Israel’s action but stop short of expressing solidarity with Tehran.

Unable to reach Obama again, Netanyahu tells Biden that it has been a “clean, successful operation,” with minimal Iranian casualties. “Frankly, we should have done this a long time ago,” he says. But the first batch of satellite photos suggests that the Fordow nuclear plant outside Qom, buried under 300 feet of specially designed concrete, may have survived the raid. Unless Israel or the United States mounts a follow-up attack, Iran may be able to continue enriching uranium fairly quickly.

Iranian state television shows footage of the casualties, including women and children (though an opposition Web site later reveals that these images were actually of recent earthquake victims in northwestern Iran). Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vows revenge. “The blood of our women and children is on the hands of the Great Satan and its puppet master!” he says. “The Zionist entity has written its death certificate!”

When the stock market closes, oil prices are up nearly 40 percent, the largest 24-hour increase in history. CNN interviews Americans at gas stations in swing states such as Florida and Ohio; most blame Iran, not Israel or Obama, for the price jumps. By Friday evening, leaks have emerged from within the U.S. government and military saying that the United States had no prior knowledge of Israel’s actions. Obama manages to break away from his national security team to join his family for a quick dinner. Sasha and Malia are talking about their schoolwork.
“I don’t like physics,” Malia says. “It’s too complicated.” “I know just how you feel, honey,” Obama says. “I’ve got a few problems like that, too.”

Orig: HERE

Karim Sadjadpour
is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Blake Hounshell is managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine.

 
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Added: Sep-23-2012 Occurred On: Sep-23-2012
By: MrScabs
In:
Iran
Tags: Israel, bomb, ww3, iran
Location: Iran (load item map)
Views: 2965 | Comments: 77 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 1 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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  • What is an allie?? WHy does USA always sees Israel as their allie? Because of Jewish senators in congress? Pathetic!!!! You went from Europeans discovering your continent (nobody was Jewish tested and prooved) through the last 400 years of battling natives,Mexicans,Spanish,French and English conquering East towards west of this great continent only to come to understanding today that Jews are only representing 2.1% of entire population of the USA> but yet they run the show???Money whores,and More..

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @AdolfHilter Israels not worth it.
      If and When they go through with it, Iran is going to strike back via it's satellites not mentioned in this scenario. It won't have a happy ending for anybody.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @AdolfHilter

      It is a shame to see the gradual decline of a once great nation. Its truly sad

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @AdolfHilter the jews control the money worldwide not just in the usa .they are very smart people,they know there numbers are small and yet they are a powerful force .you cant blame them really because they are easy to hate, so they have to protect themselves as best they can .i work with many of them in my business and i can tell you they are extremley tough to deal with .they never give up and they are relentless until they get there way .when i see an isreali coming i dread it because i know More..

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • If your whole world revolves around the cost of filling the tank on your oversized SUV or pick-up truck then you have to expect "gas pump shock" no matter what happens in the Middle East.

    The world is running out of oil, idiots!!

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • You forgot to mention this is a fantasy piece by a couple of WaPo reporters.

    It would have been much more interesting if the plot included the US Navy shooting down the Israeli aircraft.

    That would have instantly rehabilitated the US in the eyes of the entire middle-east and would have firmly put the Chihuahua yapping dog Israel in its place.

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • uhm....wow....if thats how our political establishment thinks/works, then we really are in trouble..I loved the piece about neo con Bolton saying "Americans need to finish the job". Fucking typical.

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • The last thing we need right now is another war.
    Shut the fuck up and focus!
    Jesus H Christ, Iran hasn't attacked anyone.

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @michael567 But it doesn't sell it's oil in petrol dollars .... that's reason enough for some people oh yeah and Israel can't tolerate a country it can't dominate in the region.

      "During 2007, Iran asked its petroleum customers to pay in non US dollar ... By December 8, 2007, Iran reported to have converted all of its oil export payments to non-dolla".

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @tugboat

      Hmmmn, shades of Iraq and Libya all over again....?

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @michael567
      2 World Wars occurred within a period of about 30 years
      We are 11 years in, laying the groundwork for what's coming.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @Orwellian_Society

      Well, let's keep speaking up against it then, loud and clear, shall we brother?

      :)

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • the biggest threat to the middle east is isreal

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'lucidx1' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • This would be WWIII, I simply can not imagine how anyone would want this. Russia and China would more than just condemn the action. United States would have to reinstate the draft just to get enough soldiers to fight a war of this magnitude.

    Posted Sep-23-2012 By 

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    • @Anonyville Im outta here if that happens.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @Anonyville lol lol lol ...russia and china would never fight over those dirty extremists .they know full well its all a game and iran has stuck its neck out to far .china needs the usa and russia needs europe .the worlds economys are so intertwined now that iran isnt even a ripple between the superpowers .so stop worrying and go and do some ironing you big girls blouse

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @markymark69 Don't forget, Russia gets oil from Iran and they have been Allies for a long time. Obviously Russia wanted that giant sand box as they did attempt to take over Afghanistan. Also, our little pissing contest over an island in dispute near Japan has strained our relationship with China recently. Wow, peoples memories are short.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @Anonyville russia buys its oil at the same price we do .they will just buy it elsewere .the usa and russia have just signed new trade deals and niether side wants a war over imadingleberry.iran is just not worth it to russia ,it would ge hugely expensive to them and they know the likelyhood of them wining is highly doubtful .

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'honey_badger_dont_care' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
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  • Stupidest scenario ever. The administration, shocked by the news, runs around like a headless chicken trying to figure out what to do next. You forgot the part where Obama getting the news looks up and says, "Who woulda' thunk?" Anyone in their right mind knows that Israel might decide to attack unilaterally, and if they do, I'm pretty damn sure that there are already contingency plans drafted that lines out how the US government will react. There are offices in the Pentagon, the State More..

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • Not f-16's. FB-111's.

    Posted Sep-23-2012 By 

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    • @danny777 B2's will be far more effective.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @kajidono

      Only if they flew over your neighbourhood and struck your house, asshat.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @michael567 You know, you really are a fucking asshole.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @michael567 They fly over my house all the time but you make no sense.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @fotoman4u2

      Why, because I detest war and those who create the situations in which it flourishes?
      No, sir, you are a fucking asshole.
      Get fucked once in a while and maybe you'd not be so eager for the slaughter of others who mean you no harm.

      PS: Good to see you out of the closet, you usually just snipe from the shadows with thumbs down, without being brave enough to put forth your reasoning or argument.
      Just insult, though? No definative reasoning or actual thought processes beyond "assh More..

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • Netanyahu wines too much. Always wanting america to do his dirty work. USA is his meal ticket. He needs to fuck off.

    Posted Sep-23-2012 By 

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  • this is fiction because it says :

    "“You know I respect Israel’s right to defend itself,” he says, “but I need to do what’s in the interests of the United States.”"

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @nutsflipped its an theory of what would happen idiot .its probably the best thing ive read. on the subject so far .its alot better than your silly and completley obvious properganda videos

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @markymark69 that's because you are black.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @markymark69 You obviously are too liberal to understand sarcasm as your first reaction is to run off at the mouth, with your panties in a bunch, over a comment about a fictitious article.
      Bad form. Get a grip on reality and stay home on election day.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • Nothing will happen until the current loser is thrown out of office.

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @kajidono

      Exactly, the shadow government doesn't give a fuck.
      To the corporation, it's business as usual, they just shove their golden fists up one of the two fuck puppet's they offer up every four years and to hell with ya'll.
      I'm surprised you're all not out in the streets howling fucking mad at what's gone wrong with America.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @michael567 It hasn't quite gotten that bad yet. And the puppet masters know what will happen if they let it reach that point, so they'll do whatever they can to prevent it. Or else.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @kajidono
      "And the puppet masters know what will happen if they let it reach that point, so they'll do whatever they can to prevent it"
      This is exactly what's wrong with you guys.
      Its the other way around, you don't know the psychopaths that are running around in governments and behind the scenes.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @kajidono haha so you mean there not going to attack for four more years then

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @Orwellian_Society The puppet masters are supposedly all these super rich guys that play with the world to their own benefit? Tell me what the benefit is in making your own money into worthless scraps of paper, cause that is what happens when you collapse an economy. It makes no sense.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • This would be the best October surprise ever

    Posted Sep-23-2012 By 

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  • Here's how I think it will go down.

    White House Aide: President Obama, Israel is launching a strike against Iran.

    Obama: Shit I should get on Liveleak.

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'HabsForever' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • what an exellent piece that was .iran is all bluster and would crumble in the face of a real attack from usa forces .they pray its only isreal that bombs them .there is not one decent military in the whole of the middle east ,some have some decent special forces .turkey is the pnly exception to that .they have a very well trained and equiped force

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • Well when looking how long it took US to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran would take them a Century, and it well spark WW3, however this isn't going to be like WW2 unfortunately most countries now are nuclear capable, I hope that a war will never happen, cause we are all going to feel the pain and agony while the world leaders are in their safe bunkers drinking cognac, and fucking their wives.

    Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'Grimmm' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • Israel, if it doesn't get what it wants, will force an attack on Iran by falsifying intel data like they did when we bombed Libya. Put a ship out to sea, have two guys set up an apartment in Iran to retransmit messages sent from the ship. The rebroadcasts will be aimed toward US intel sites. The US intel sites will detect the messages and get a fix on them in Iran. The intel will work its way up the chain of command until it reaches the President. The intel will look to be genuine and origi More..

    Posted Sep-25-2012 By 

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  • This actual event would be an early xmas present for me.

    Posted Sep-23-2012 By 

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    • @danny777 gonna celebrate the death of those at the hands of those who killed the birthday boy you say youll celebrate?

      how odd.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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    • @danny777

      That's because you're a total fucking idiot detached from reality and the consequences of war.
      Hope a piece of shrapnel rips through your child's brains while you're feeding her breakfast one sunny Sunday morning because of something some rich gangsters are squabbling over. Then you might understand the reality of war and what you wish for.
      Asshole.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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  • Bomb, bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran,
    Bomb, bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran,.....

    Posted Sep-23-2012 By 

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    • @Megadeth

      Why? They haven't attacked anyone aggressively since before WWII and they've been a major power in the middle east for decades.
      Oh, yeah, I get it, you're just an American idiot.
      So many good ones stuck with so many of the worst of your kind.
      God bless America.
      But god damn you and your kind for supporting or encouraging yet another baby massacre like Iraq.

      Posted Sep-24-2012 By 

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