Robert Fisk: An attack on Tehran would be madness. So don't rule it out

After invading Iraq over weapons of mass destruction, we plan to clap as Israel bombs Iran

Share
Related Topics

If Israel really attacks Iran this year, it – and the Americans – will be more dotty than their enemies think. True, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a crackpot, but then so is Avigdor Lieberman, who is apparently the Israeli Foreign Minister. Maybe the two want to do each other a favour. But why on earth would the Israelis want to bomb Iran and thus bring down on their heads the fury of both the Lebanese Hezbollah and Hamas at the very same moment? Along with Syria, no doubt. Not to mention sucking the West – Europe and the US – into the same shooting match.

Maybe it's because I've been in the Middle East for 36 years, but I sniff some old herrings in the air. Leon Panetta, the US Defence Secretary no less, warns us that Israel may strike. So does CNN – an older herring it would be difficult to find – and even old David Ignatius, who hasn't been a Middle East correspondent for a decade or two, is telling us the same, taken in, as usual, by his Israeli "sources".

I expected this sort of bumph when I perused last week's The New York Times Magazine – not an advertisement, this, for I would not want The Independent readers to burn their energy on such tosh – and read a warning from an Israeli "analyst" (I am still trying to discover what an "analyst" is), Ronen Bergman of Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

And here is his "kicker" (as we call it in the trade), which is as near as you can get to playing the propaganda ragtime. "After speaking with many [sic] senior Israeli leaders and chiefs [sic yet again] of the military and intelligence, I have come to believe that Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012. Perhaps in the small and ever diminishing window that is left, the US will choose to intervene after all, but from the Israelis' perspective, there is not much hope for that. Instead, there is that peculiar Israeli mixture of fear... and tenacity, the fierce conviction, right or wrong, that only the Israelis can ultimately defend themselves."

Now, first of all, any journalist who predicts an Israeli strike on Iran is putting his head on the chopping block. But surely any journalist worth his salt – and there are plenty of good journos in Israel – would ask himself a question: Who am I working for? My newspaper? Or my government?

Panetta, pictured below, who lied to US forces in Iraq by claiming to them they were there because of 9/11, should know better than to play this game. CNN ditto. I shall forget Ignatius. But what is all this? Nine years after invading Iraq – an enormously successful adventure, we are still told – because Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction", we plan to clap our hands as Israel bombs Iran because of more unprovable "weapons of mass destruction". Now I don't doubt that within seconds of hearing the news, Barack Obama's grotesque speech-writers will be grovelling to find the right words to support such an Israeli attack. If Obama can abandon Palestinian freedom and statehood for his own re-election, he can certainly support Israeli aggression in the hope that this will get him back in the White House.

If Iranian missiles start smashing into US warships in the Gulf, however – not to mention US bases in Afghanistan – then the speechwriters may have much more work to do. So just don't let the Brits or the Frenchies get involved.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nigel Farage has urged supporters to buy Mike Read's Ukip Calypso song and push it up to the No 1 spot  

Mike Read’s Ukip calypso is mesmerisingly atrocious — but it's not racist

Matthew Norman
Shirley Shackleton, wife of late journalist Gregory Shackleton, sits next to the grave of the 'Balibo Five' in Jakarta, in 2010  

Letter from Asia: The battle for the truth behind five journalists’ deaths in Indonesia

Andrew Buncombe
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells