IRAN: Blinken Greenlit Attack, Kirby Lied About It | Steve Berman

The Washington Post and the New York Times are not reporting what Reuters and the Jerusalem Post claim: that Iran reached out to the U.S. through both Turkey and Iraq three days before its drone and missile attack on Israel to seek some kind of guidance on how America would react. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby made the rounds of the Sunday morning news programs to give the U.S. and Israel a big pat on the back for shooting down a wave of slow, undefended drones and old missiles launched by Iran in a cowardly piece of military theater.

JPost reported that a Turkish source told them:

“Iran informed us in advance of what would happen. Possible developments also came up during the meeting with Blinken, and they (the US) conveyed to Iran through us that this reaction must be within certain limits,” the source said. (emphasis mine)

Turkey’s foreign minister did visit the U.S. early in March, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been keeping communication channels open during the tense Middle East war. For Blinken to have conveyed a message to Iran that the reaction would need to be “within certain limits” is astonishingly presumptuous. The U.S. doesn’t speak for Israel. I am not claiming that Blinken, or the Biden administration, tried to speak for Israel itself, but if this report is true, the administration explicitly green-lighted some kind of military response from Iran against Israel.

Reuters reported that “Turkish, Jordanian and Iraqi officials said on Sunday that Iran gave wide notice days before its drone and missile attack on Israel,” but U.S. official sources deny it. 

According to the report, the Iraqi government had advance notice. “‘The [Iraqi] government clearly understood from the Iranian officials that the U.S. military in Iraq was also aware of the attack in advance,’ said the Iraqi security official.”

If the U.S. military was informed, and the U.S. State Department provided guidance to Iran through back channels about what kind of response was “within certain limits,” then it seems that the whole self-congratulatory victory lap we’re seeing is just more theater.

Iran knew its old drone and antiquated missile attack would be easily intercepted, and likely not a single weapon would penetrate Israeli airspace (which appears to have happened as they expected). If the U.S. also knew, then the entire press show by Kirby is a lie.

…just an incredible military achievement by Israel and quite frankly the United States and other partners that helped Israel defend itself against more than three hundred drones and missiles

John Kirby – Meet The Press, April 14, 2024

Now the entire media and U.S. conversation is about what Israel is going to do in response, and what Republicans are saying Israel should do. Kristen Welker on Meet The Press began her interview with a clip of John Bolton saying:

Israel’s response – and there should be a response – should not be proportionate. It should be far stronger because when deterrence fails to reestablish it you have to teach the adversary that any gain they may hope to get by any future attack will be more than outweighed by the damage that will be caused.

Most western leaders, along with Russia, China and much of the anti-Israel U.N. think anything Israel does in response will be too much. They say Israel should just take the fake victory, smile and move on while Iran continues to develop its nuclear weapon capability. Then the real attack will be the one designed to kill Israel with one blow.

Bolton has a better grasp of the Middle East’s “jungle rules” of warfare. The rules say, do not let your enemy get a free pass, even if it was one specifically greenlit by your greatest ally, and engineered to do no damage. Israelis don’t react that way; Jungle rules don’t permit it. But it’s possible Israel will cave to the U.S. plan, because we do control a lot of things Israel needs, like Tamir-2 missile production (the interceptor rockets used with Iron Dome), and the new factory Raytheon and Rafael are building in East Camden, Arkansas. There are lots of ways America can blackmail Israel into taking a fake punch from Iran.

One other thing here: If the U.S., Iraq and Turkey knew about Iran’s response before it happened, it’s likely Israel also knew. Israel has quite a well-developed human intelligence capability in Iran, not to mention a lot of high level sources within the U.S. government. Iran didn’t place a high value on secrecy in this particular mission, because it was designed to save face, not damage Israel.

On the other hand, Iran put a great deal of value on secrecy for its greenlight on the October 7th Hamas slaughter of innocent Israelis. The whole reason for Israel’s Damascus strike was to kill Mohammad Reza Zahedi, commander of the IRGC Quds Force’s Syria and Lebanon command. Zahedi was one of the planners of the October 7th pogrom. Israel had all the reason in the world to go after him.

Israel also knew that the strike would likely bring a retaliation from Iran, and they were prepared. What happened after that is mostly theater.

The question is, will Israel continue the phony widening of the Gaza war by playing along with the script the Biden administration wrote? Or will it play by jungle rules?

Regardless of who knew what, it’s unforgivably presumptuous for an American administration to play Godfather to other countries worried about their own existence. In February, 2022, the Biden administration tried this with Ukraine. We knew Russia was coming, as did the Ukrainians. But when the paratroopers showed up in Vasylkiv, the U.S. script was to evacuate Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy out of Kyiv. It’s Zelenskyy’s refusal, with the classic line “I don’t need a ride; I need ammunition,” that energized his people to fight a Russian decapitation operation. If he had followed Biden’s script, we’d be in year three of a very Russian Ukraine.

Perhaps it might be in Israel’s interest to let Iran have its circus act retaliation show and get on with the operation to dismantle Hamas in Gaza. But perhaps it isn’t. But what’s not kosher is having America make that decision for Israel. And then lie about knowing what it seems to have clearly knew in advance.

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.

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