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This article appears in the September 14, 2012 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Israel Trigger Set for World War III

by Jeffrey Steinberg

[PDF version of this article]

Sept. 12—President Obama's abrupt cancellation yesterday of a scheduled meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu later this month in New York City has raised alarm bells that the President has given Israel a de facto green light to launch a preventive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities—a strike that Lyndon LaRouche has warned can trigger thermonuclear World War III.

After week of back-channel negotiations between Washington and Tel Aviv, over Israeli demands for a firm "red line" for a U.S. attack on Iran, should the ongoing P5+1 negotiations fail, the White House suddenly announced yesterday that the President did not have time to meet with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session later this month. It had been reported by U.S. and Israeli sources that the two men would be meeting in New York on Sept. 27 to finalize an agreement under which Israel would agree to hold off on a long-threatened attack on Iran, in return for assurances from Obama that, if re-elected, he would take any steps necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The back-and-forth between Israel and the United States over the timing of military action against Iran came at a point when several other dramatic developments have occurred in the extended Southwest Asia and North Africa region, affecting war and peace:

  • Video footage has been circulated internationally over the past 48 hours, showing a brutal mass execution of Syrian Army soldiers by opposition fighters. The gruesome footage of soldiers, their hands tied behind their backs, slaughtered, and dumped into mass graves, has prompted United Nations human rights officials to warn that the anti-Assad opposition could be facing war-crimes prosecutions for these actions.

These reports are particularly embarrassing to President Obama, following statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia, accusing the United States of once again jumping in bed with al-Qaeda and other jihadi terrorist networks, to overthrow Assad. The fact that the damning video footage circulated internationally on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks served to further underscore the nature of Washington's continuing willingness to boost radical Sunni Islamist groups to bring down any regime that appears on the Obama-London hit list.

  • In purported response to reports of a film made in the U.S., slandering the Prophet Mohammed, angry mobs attacked the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt and the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11. The U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed in the Benghazi incident, along with three other American diplomats. A new neo-Salafi group, Ansar al-Sharia, has been identified by Libyan sources as behind the killings.

Incredibly, there were no U.S. Marine guards posted at the Benghazi consulate, and Libyan sources confirmed that the Ansar al-Sharia group had penetrated the Benghazi Public Safety Commission, and had inside information on the whereabouts of the U.S. ambassador. The failure to provide American security at the consulate was a particularly egregious mistake, given that the U.S. State Deparment has issued a recent travel warning against Americans going to Libya. Clearly, there were warning signs of an incident.

Israeli Trigger for World War

Last week, Adm. James A. Winnefeld, Jr., the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, spent five days in Israel, reinforcing the message delivered earlier by JCS Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey: Under no circumstances does the U.S. military support any Israeli attack on Iran. Dempsey's message, delivered repeatedly in recent visits to Israel, and again during an early September visit to London, was the clearest and strongest U.S. threat to Israel to date, not to conduct preventive attacks on Iran.

Dempsey is, according to senior U.S. intelligence sources, fully aware that any such attack by Israel on Iran—and any U.S. escalation toward direct military involvement against the Assad government in Syria—could trigger a global conflict leading to thermonuclear war. For Dempsey and his Pentagon colleagues, there is no conceivable justification for risking thermonuclear war. In his public remarks in London early this month, Dempsey declared that he does not even want to be informed of a looming Israeli attack on Iran, because he does not want the U.S. to be "complicit" in any such action.

Dempsey's words were intended to deliver a clear message to President Obama, to the Iranian leadership, and to his Russian counterparts, that the United States appreciates the grave threat of thermonuclear war, and wants no part of it.

Upon his return from London, Dempsey was, according to the U.S. intelligence sources, "scolded" by White House officials for jeopardizing Obama's re-election by using such harsh words to push back against Israeli threats to launch preventive war against Iran.

In addition to his concerns about an Iran attack triggering an out-of-control global conflict, Dempsey is also committed to protecting American forces in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan, during a most vulnerable time. As U.S. forces draw down in Afghanistan over the next two years, those troops will be more vulnerable to attack as force protection is diminished.

Obama Complicit

For his part, despite widespread media reports to the contrary, President Obama is fully prepared to let Israel launch a strike against Iran. It has been widely reported in the Israeli media that all the President had to do was publicly and forcefully warn Netanyahu not to act alone, and Israel would have had no choice but to abandon plans for a preventive strike. Instead of taking such action, the President's silence has been treated as a "green light" from Washington—regardless of what General Dempsey and other top American military officials have said.

Now, with the abrupt cancellation of the Obama-Netanyahu meeting in New York, the stage may be set for the trigger incident for World War III.

It is for this reason that LaRouche has forcefully demanded President Obama's immediate removal from office for "high crimes and misdemeanors," including his illegal regime-change war in Libya, culminating in the brutal execution of a captured Muammar Qaddafi. Since Qaddafi's execution in October 2011, the world has been headed in the direction of nuclear Armageddon. Until now, the strong war-avoidance measures by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Russian and Chinese governments, has fended off the larger war. We are now reaching a tipping point.

Russia and China Rebuke Obama

At last week's APEC summit meeting in Vladivostok, top officials from Russia and China made clear that they are prepared to take any measures necessary to block the Obama Administration from proceeding with illegal regime-change operations in Syria and Iran. In Obama's absence, having announced months ago that he would not be attending the APEC summit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bore the brunt of Russian and Chinese warnings about the consequences of U.S. military action against Syria or Iran. The Secretary had one-on-one meetings with both Foreign Minister Lavrov and President Putin, and both men used the occasion to sharply warn of the consequences of a replay of Libya in either Syria or Iran.

Clinton had come to Vladivostok following a visit to Beijing, where she was similarly rebuffed by China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who broke all diplomatic protocol by using the occasion of a joint press conference with Clinton to scold the U.S. for its destabilizing operations against the sovereign government of Syria.

Russia and China have each also announced significant changes in their nuclear war-fighting posture, with Russia putting between $75-120 billion over the next decade into modernization of its strategic nuclear arsenal. On the eve of the APEC meeting, the Russian military conducted manuevers—aimed at preventing a regional war from turning into a global strategic conflict—precisely what the British and Obama policies are heading towards.

The al-Qaeda Angle

While Iran currently looms as the major trigger for nuclear power confrontation in the near term, the Syria trigger-point should not be overlooked. The British-controlled Obama Administration, with its British, French, Saudi, and other allies, is currently supporting an insurgency, increasingly dominated by the same al-Qaeda forces which carried out the 9/11 attacks, and are now causing chaos in Libya.

The Benghazi assassination should bring this point home. During the drive to remove Qaddafi, in the Spring and Summer of 2011, U.S. military professionals—including then-Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, and current Virginia Sen. James Webb—warned repeatedly that the U.S. should not commit itself to siding with rebels whose pedigree was uncertain at best. In fact, as documents made available by Wikileaks and other anonymous intelligence sources made clear, the Libyan opposition was riddled with al-Qaeda operatives, particularly in the Benghazi area. Did the U.S. really want to support an anti-Qaddafi force made up of the perpetrators of 9/11?

Indeed, the Obama Administration did. The fact that Obama decided to go ahead with regime-change in Libya, despite these warnings, was a not-insignificant factor in the early retirement of Gates, who had originally said he was leaving the Administration by the end of 2011. In fact, he announced an early departure in the Spring, and left as of July 1—two weeks to the day before the Obama Administration recognized the rebel force as a government-in-the-wings.

As anticipated, the al-Qaeda-terrorist wing of the incoming Libya regime not only has contributed to the virtual anarchy in that country, but has also served as a base for spreading terrorist activity through other sections of Africa, and into Syria, where Libyan "fighters" are a common sight.

But whereas al-Qaeda—a joint intelligence project of the British and the Saudis—can make a murderous mess in Libya, it can create a civil war situation in the much larger, more strategically located Syria, which will draw the world toward the edge of World War III.

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