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Monday, July 27, 2009

Uh oh: Gates promises 'defense umbrella'

In a joint news conference with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (pictured) referred to a 'defense umbrella' against Iran for US allies, the same phrase that got Secretary of State Clinton into trouble in Thailand last week because it implies American acceptance of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Acknowledging Israel's concerns, Gates said the US administration's attempt to engage Iran diplomatically was "not an open-ended offer" and that the US was aware Iran might try to "run out the clock."

Gates said the Obama administration wanted an answer from the Iranians by the time of the UN General Assembly convention, at the end of September. "I think that the president is certainly anticipating or hoping for some kind of response this fall, perhaps by the time of the UN General Assembly," he said.

He said sanctions were a possibility if diplomacy fails, while also mentioning plans for a loosely defined "defense umbrella" meant to protect US allies in the region.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Gates that as far as Israel is concerned all options are on the table.
Speaking after his meeting with Gates, Barak backed the U.S. diplomatic strategy on Iran but called for a tight schedule with readiness to impose tough U.N. Security Council sanctions.

"If there is an engagement, we believe it should be short in time, well-defined in objectives, followed by sanctions, preferably (United Nations Charter) Chapter 7-type of sanctions," Barak said, speaking in English.

He also kept open the possibility that Israel, which is widely assumed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, could attack the Iranians pre-emptively -- a region-rattling scenario that finds little public favor in Washington.


"We clearly believe that no option should be removed from the table. This is our policy. We mean it. We recommend to others to take the same position but we cannot dictate it to anyone," Barak said.

"We are not blind to the fact that our operations or activity also affect neighbors and others, and we take this into account. But ultimately our obligation is to Israel's national security interest."
But a US official traveling with Gates said that the United States has no military option on the table.
A senior U.S. defense official who briefed reporters ahead of Gates' trip to Israel said the United States was not even close to considering a military strike option against Iran.
It's going to be up to Israel to take care of this. Hopefully, the Obumbler at least won't get in the way.


At 4:48 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

"Following Vietnam, no American promise of prolonged commitment to any cause would be of concern to antagonists or trusted by allies."


No promise of protection by the U.S. is worth the words spent to promise it.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

I'll go out on a limb here...

Does anyone else remember how LBJ didnt allow Nasser to block the Straits of Titran as per Treaty between Israel and the USA that allowed Israel to withdraw from the SInai after the 1956 war?

Oh yeah...

America in 1967 DID NOT live up to it's promises to keep the international water way open and Egypt from using the Sinai to launch an attack against israel...

If ONLY America in 1967 had lived up to it's defensive obligations...

At 7:12 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Barry Rubin has described the US's Iran policy as "super pitiful."

What could go wrong indeed

At 8:59 PM, Blogger Kae Gregory said...

What if you had a big friend who occaisionally deigned to issue threats to the bullies on the playgound who picked on you? But what if this big friend sometimes let you take a pretty good beating before stepping in? What if he consistently made unreasonable demands on you and hinted at maybe not even protecting you at all as a cost for his less than complete protection? This is the perfect barrel for the U.S. to have Israel over.


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