By Jamal Kanj
Western and Israeli media are lush with purported leaks on joint efforts of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defence Minister Ehud Barak trying to enlist reluctant military brass on a plan to attack Iran.
All this is hogwash. Israel has no intention to move solo. The leaked information published in the US media is a distraction from an Israeli plot to drag Washington into a new Middle Eastern quagmire.
Former Israeli colonel and ex-secret service agent Victor Ostrovsky details in his book By Way of Deception how the Mossad uses sayanim (Jewish helpers in host country) to seed false stories in the US media to influence official and public opinion.
Last week, Richard Silverstein, an anti-war blogger based in Seattle, published a supposed secret internal briefing depicting Israeli military plans to strike Iran.
He alleges the insider confided that he wouldn't "normally leak this sort of document" but "these are not normal times. I'm afraid Bibi and Barak are dead serious."
According to Silverstein, the document was released because "Neither the IDF leaker, my source, nor virtually any senior military or intelligence officer wants this war".
Dissecting the "leaked" information, it appears to be a 10-year-old page copied from George Bush's "shock and awe" war plan on Iraq: a "clean" technological cyber-attack paralysing communication centres and power grids followed by barrage of missiles and airstrikes to destroy targets on the ground.
The co-ordinated Israeli leaks were more likely intended to pre-empt re-election of Barak Obama rather than a genuine pre-emptive effort against Iran, especially since his challenger Mitt Romney has supported a unilateral Israeli military action against Iran.
It was unlikely, though, to be a sheer coincidence for the document to appear at the same time when other major Israeli papers carried articles discussing similar war plans.
On August 10, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published two articles by distinguished writers Nahum Barnea and Simon Shiffer who concluded that an Israeli strike on Iran would likely take place before the US elections in November.
Later in the week, the Israeli daily Ma'ariv cited insider information on a deadline of September 25, the eve of Yom Kippur and the opening of the UN General Assembly "for Obama to clearly state that the US will take military action".
Israel is demanding Obama's UN speech to unequivocally fix a time table to attack Iran. The paper suggests that in the absence of US war commitment "Israel will press on with its plans to strike at the Iranian nuclear programme".
Netanyahu, educated, worked and lived in the US, understands the vulnerability of a first-term president.
He knows that in a tight election year, it is an optimum opportunity for the Israeli lobby to maximise US concessions before a second term when the president is relatively less susceptible to electoral politics.
Closer to polling day and as Obama's re-election becomes certain, a credible scenario would be for Israel to strike Iran pre-empting his new term at the White House.
An Iranian response will leave Obama with little option but to outdo his opponents by joining Israel's corner in the US Congress, dragging America into another Israeli proxy war.
- Jamal Kanj writes frequently on Arab issues and is the author of Children of Catastrophe, Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. His articles can be read at www.jamalkanj.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: email@example.com. (This article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.)