Whom is Israel to trust?

The headline of the New York Times' analysis of the relationship between Israel's Mossad and the CIA has a plaintive tone of injured innocence: "Israel's Spy Agency Snubbed the U.S. Can Trust Be Restored?" 

The article does not provide the answer, but the history of the relationship that it paints is highly instructive.

Put the article's paragraphs into a chronological, rather than the suspense-building, sensationalist order, and it becomes obvious that it was Obama who did the snubbing, not the other way around, by throwing Israel under the Iranian bus: "The Obama White House, concerned that Israel was leaking information, kept the existence of the negotiations with Iran [that eventually resulted in the "Iran deal" secret from Israel[.] ... Israeli intelligence learned of the meetings from its own sources."

Obama negotiating away Israel's security in secret was treachery, pure and simple.  The Israeli "snub" that the Times cites came when Iran's nuclear enrichment site at Natanz came under attack, and "on the day of the attack, Israel's foreign intelligence agency, the Mossad, gave the United States less than two hours' notice, according to American and Israeli officials, far too short a time for the United States to assess the operation or ask Israel to call it off."

That's exactly the point.  Why would the Israelis go through the immense risk of preparing the operation, only to have the Biden administration cancel it so as not to ruffle Iranian feathers in the hope of getting back into that selfsame "deal" that guarantees that ayatollahs will get the bomb?  Trusting the Biden administration with preventing Iran from getting the nukes after the Obama experience is a tall order, indeed. 

Yet trust is indeed possible — and the portion of the article that narrates the history of open and cordial relations during the Trump years is a solid proof.

Naturally, such trust is possible only between soul mates — but the administration that clearly thinks that nuclear Iran can be "contained," as Obama thought and even blurted out, later to retract it — and therefore tries all it can to get back into the Iran "deal," which is designed to let Iran get the bomb, is hardly Israel's soul mate.  Biden just continues in the way of Obama's duplicity — it is highly instructive to read, in 2021, Obama's assurances made in 2012 (just as he was secretly negotiating with the ayatollahs the terms of U.S.'s surrender to Iran's nuclear demands) that he would use force against Iran if it gets close to getting a bomb.  I remember attending, at roughly the same time, a public lecture given by a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and asking him whether Israelis had any confidence in Obama's pledge to use force against Iran.  I don't know if he already knew of Obama's overtures to Iran, but he did not mince any words, replying, "None."

There is another, practical reason why Israelis would be cautious when sharing with Americans: "The cable sent this year by the outgoing C.I.A. officer in charge of building spy networks in Iran reverberated throughout the intelligence agency's Langley headquarters, officials say: America's network of informers had largely been lost to Tehran's brutally efficient counterintelligence operations, which has stymied efforts to rebuild it."  If the U.S. intelligence network has been penetrated, it makes perfect sense to keep one's own people as far away from the infected network as possible.

Whom is Israel to trust?  Obama boasted of the "snap-back" clause in the JCPOA that presumably puts U.N. sanctions back in effect once Iran violates any of its provisions.  Let's see.  Iran is not supposed to develop advanced centrifuges, but it does — no snap-back of U.N. sanctions.  It is supposed not to enrich uranium beyond 3% but by now enriches it to 60% — no snap-back.  It is supposed to ship the uranium above a certain quantity out of the country but doesn't — no snap-back.  It is supposed to be monitored by U.N. inspectors but does not let the inspections proceed — no snap-back.  It is supposed to provide an explanation for the nuclear material found at the supposedly non-nuclear sites but refuses to — no snap-back.  With the Europeans, Chinese, and Russians all pretending the JCPOA is still in effect and the Biden administration eager to rejoin it — who can be trusted?

So, "Can Trust Be Restored?"  Yes, it can — when an administration takes office that is serious about not letting Iran get an atom bomb.

Image: New York Times.

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