Not a Drudge regular, I cannot state this with absolute certainty, but I imagine the number of times this fine Mecca of right wing-slanted news reports has pointed to an article in The Nation Magazine can be counted on the fingers of the right hand of an illegal migrant worker at an Oregon sawmill. Yet, here is this fine, anti-Democrat portal, linking to Bob Dreyfuss’ article in The Nation, with the headline: “Obama to Link Syria with Iran?” (By the time you go there it could be replaced, but this headline sat there for several hours).
The Dreyfuss article, actually headlined “Obama’s Syria War Is Really About Iran and Israel” is a masterpiece of anti-Israel innuendo. I have too much respect for The Nation to use “antisemitic” before the word innuendo, but I came close.
“The dirty little not-so-secret behind President Obama’s much-lobbied-for, illegal and strategically incompetent war against Syria is that it’s not about Syria at all. It’s about Iran—and Israel. And it has been from the start.”
It may be a bit early to dub a war that is yet to start “illegal” and “incompetent”—I mean’ let them fire at least one shot before you criticize their strategy… But while that knee-jerk response is silly, the anti-Israel stuff is ominous.
According to Dreyfuss, Obama is fighting the overwhelming opposition in Congress to his Syrian war by waving the Iran-nuke flag, and doing it with heavy support from AIPAC. “The prospect of opposing Obama and the Israel lobby over Iran” he writes, is just too much for the lawmakers.
Dreyfuss cites an article by Andrew Tabler of the pro-Israeli Washington Institute for Near East Policy, advocating an attack on Syria for the Iranian side benefits: “U.S. strikes on the Assad regime, if properly calibrated as part of an overall plan to degrade the regime, would force Tehran to become more involved in Syria in order to rescue its stalwart ally. This would be costly for Iran financially, militarily and politically. Those costs would make the Iranian regime and its people reassess aspirations to go nuclear.”
It’s not an outlandish idea, although it contains way too many Rube Goldberg style moving parts to deliver the expected results. A U.S. attack, in fact, could yield the exact opposite results, namely that the Russians, who have restrained themselves on delivering long range missiles and ground to air defense systems to Tehran, might now feel justified in helping the Iranians do their Iranian thing.
Largely ignoring that possibility, Dreyfuss only expects that an American attack would bolster the hawks in Iran, against the doves who are in government now. He actually believes there’s a difference between the two successive presidents of Iran, Ahmadinejad and Hassan Rouhani, even though both were handpicked by the same “supreme leader.”
Now, it’s true that AIPAC has been gung-ho on attacking Syria, calling its use of unconventional weapons “barbarism.” They also have a lot to say about sending a forceful message of resolve to Iran and Hezbollah, both the avid supporters of the regime. And they’re right, except for two issues they’re yet to answer:
1. Assad was just as barbaric when he annihilated tens of thousands of his people over the past two and a half years, and AIPAC wasn’t urging an intervention.
2. Assad’s enemies in Syria are easily as brutal, murderous and “barbaric” as their president. Do we really wish to bolster Al Qaeda in order to deliver “a message of resolve” to Iran and Hezbollah?
But Dreyfuss has nothing to support his theory of the “dirty little war” being pushed on America by Israel, other than a couple of paragraphs by Jeffrey Goldberg, noting that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel would prefer that Obama enforce his red line on chemical weapons use, because he would like to see proof that Obama believes in the red lines he draws.”
The only piece missing is anything Netanyahu has actually said to support an attack on Syria. A spokesman for the prime minister suggested I watch Netanyahu’s You Tube Rosh Hashanah message, which we at The Jewish Press embedded before the holiday. The fact is, all Netanyahu is saying is that Israel would defend itself should it be attacked as part of the escalating hostilities north of its border.