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Lindsey Graham’s Blank Check

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August 21, 2019
By Dennis Lamb , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

"History doesn't repeat itselfbut it often rhymes"

-Often credited to Mark Twain

On July 5, 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany pledged his country's unconditional support for whatever action Austria-Hungary would choose to take with Serbia after the June 28 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by a Serbian nationalist during an official visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia. This fatal error went down in history as Germany's carte blanche or "blank check" assurance to Austria that led to WWI.

One would think that after such a blunder went down in history as the cause of a world war no one would ever consider going down that road again. But that would be reckoning without Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who announced on 30 July that he is seeking bipartisan support for providing similar "blank check" assurances to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In making his announcement, Graham was acting as a front man for The Jewish Institute for the National Security of America (JINSA) which wrote the document and then enlisted Graham to obtain bipartisan support.

Speaking to the press on a JINSA conference call, Graham said the proposed agreement would be a treaty that would protect Israel in case of an attack that constituted an "existential threat".

Making the agreement a treaty means it would be much more difficult to scrap by subsequent administrations than was the Iran nuclear deal.

Citing Iran as an example, Graham said the treaty would be an attempt to deter bad actors who might use weapons of mass destruction against Israel.

JINSA President Michael Makovsky elaborated on this, saying, "A mutual defense pact has a value in not only deterring but might also mitigate a retaliatory strike by an adversary of Israel, so it might mitigate an Iranian response (to an attack on its nuclear facilities)."

JINSA director of foreign policy Jonathan Ruhe said that "An Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear program would not activate this pact, but a major Iranian retaliation might. -- An Israeli unilateral attack is not what the treaty covers, "but rather massive Iranian retaliation is what we are addressing," Ruhle said.

Clearly, this treaty would serve as a green light for an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, should they opt to do so, while also serving as a red light to discourage Iranian retaliation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been claiming Iran is "three to five years" and "possibly weeks" away from a nuclear weapons capability since 1992 and pushing Washington to attack Iran so he obviously would welcome such a treaty as would President Trump with whom Graham acknowledged he had had a brief conversation about it.

In outlining what circumstances would trigger U.S. intervention on Israel's behalf, the document cites, inter alia, "-- the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction--." It appears then that Netanyahu could call on the U.S. to attack Iran should he only perceive a threat, however vague that threat might be in Netanyahu's head.

It's worthy of note here that in 2010 Netanyahu ordered the IDF to prepare to strike Iran but 'Israel's security chiefs refused: Gabi Ashkenazi, the head of the IDF, and Meir Dagan, the head of the Mossad at the time, believed that Netanyahu and Barak were trying to "steal a war" and the order was not carried out.

The attacks were also rejected by two ministers, Moshe Yaalon and Yuval Steinitz, which left Netanyahu without the necessary majority to proceed.

Ashkenazi claimed in a 2012 interview about the episode that he was convinced that an attack would be a strategic mistake.

Meir Dagan said in 2012 after leaving his role as Mossad chief that a strike would be "a stupid thing."

It would be clearly stupid also for Iran to attack Israel which is believed to have between 75 and 400 nuclear weapons.

And as noted by Iranian president Ahmadinejad in a 9/24/12 interview with CBS correspondent Charlie Rose:

"Let's even imagine that we have an atomic weapon, a nuclear weapon. What would we do with it? What intelligent person would fight 5,000 American bombs with one bomb?"


The Trump administration is obsessed with regime change in Iran. Yet it has been unable either to provoke Iran to start the conflict, provoke an uprising, force Iran to renegotiate the JCPOA or convince Congress that its bogus assertions of Iranian support for Al Qaeda gives it the right under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to attack Iran.

Graham's proposed treaty appears to be a WH Plan E ploy to end-run Congress and public opinion by enabling Israel to start the war whereupon the U.S. would quickly follow, obliged by treaty to do so.

What could possibly go wrong?!

All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the U.S. Government. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying U.S. Government authentication of information or endorsement of the author's views.

Dennis Lamb, from Chelsea, Iowa, retired from the CIA in 2002 after serving 30 years in its Directorate of Operations as a case officer and intelligence analyst.



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