Israel, Iran, Russia

Debka says that CNN says that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says that the Israelis said that they're not going to attack Iran.

In a CNN interview Sunday, Sept. 20, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said "Israeli colleagues" had told him they are not planning to attack Iran. He confirmed Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu had visited Moscow two weeks ago and had also met with him, but asked to keep the visit secret.

When Israeli President [Shimon] Peres was visiting me in Sochi recently, he said something very important for all of us: 'Israel does not plan any strikes on Iran, we are a peaceful country and we will not do this'," according to Medvedev.

DEBKAfile adds: Unless Medvedev's assertion is denied by Jerusalem, the Israel government has abandoned its military option to pre-empt a nuclear-armed Iran, but neglected to inform the Israeli public of this radical change of policy. For nine months, Prime minister Netanyahu has insisted that halting Iran's attainment of a nuclear weapon, even by military means, was his highest mission as prime minister. ...

Remarks. Well, the Israelis may or may not have said such a thing to Medvedev; I wasn't there. My guess would be that the Russians are making the claim publicly to see if they can goad Jerusalem into issuing a denial or non-denial. But what do I know? Anyway, Debka adds:
According to the Kremlin transcript, the Russian president said: My Israeli colleagues told me they are not planning to act in this way and I trust them." he said. Although Russia has no defense agreement with Iran, "this does not mean we would be indifferent to such an occurrence…"

These words indicate that the Kremlin is not absolutely sure that Israel has indeed abandoned a possible strike against Iran and is holding an implicit threat of Russian military intervention over Israel's head - just in Regarding the contract Russia signed two years ago to sell Iran S-300 air defense missile systems Medvedev said that "any supplies of any weapons, especially defensive weapons, cannot increase tension; on the contrary, they should ease it." Israel has repeatedly protested this sale as a boost to the defense of Iran's nuclear sites. His words indicate that Moscow intends to go through with the sale to Iran and possibly Syria too. ...

So we'll just have to wait and see what happens.


Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Date: 2009-09-01.

I'm rarely at a loss for words, but I don't have any way to describe my feelings when I read this story:
Iuliano, now a lieutenant colonel and commander of the 84th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron and air liaison officer for Multi-National Division - South, said he was upset when he didn't get to see Iraqi planes shot down that night. It was a feeling that would stay with him for 18 years.

"I arrived in Iraq about four months ago," said Iuliano, a native of Boise, Idaho. "I took an interest in helping strengthen the Iraqi Air Force any way I could, and it was through that effort that I met Col. Sami [Saeed]."

Saeed, who commands the 70th Iraqi Air Force Squadron stationed at Contingency Operating Base Basrah, made fast friends with Iuliano. They have worked together and enjoyed each other's company for three months now, but only knew each other about a month when Saeed told Iuliano a story that shook him.

"He told me about being on a mission back during Desert Storm," Iuliano said. "When he told me the moon was full on the night he was talking about, I put two and two together and realized he was talking about that same night. He was piloting one of the planes we engaged that night."

Read the rest of this amazing story at the link. My own missile story is here.

I thought of Saeed and Iuliano, and of my own experiences, when I read Michael Totten's observation:
When our wars are over, they’re over whether we win or lose.

No one in the United States wants to reignite conflicts with Germany, Japan, Vietnam, or any other country we’re no longer at war with. While we argue among ourselves about whether it’s a good idea to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, no one in the U.S. prefers war in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else if peace and normal relations are viable options.

Americans from one end of the political spectrum to the other would be thrilled to see Iraq and Afghanistan as stable, prosperous countries at peace with themselves, their neighbors, and us. We don’t even have a marginalized fringe group unhappy with the fact that Germany and Japan emerged as they did from World War II. The U.S. lost the war in Vietnam in the 1970s, as Egypt lost its last war with Israel in the 1970s, but no one among us wants to fight it all over again or wishes that we were still slugging it out.

We Westerners aren’t unique in our ability to forgive, forget, and move on. I have never visited Vietnam, but everyone I know who has says even Vietnamese who supported the Communist side seem to hold no grudges against Americans.

Totten is telling this in the context of a post on Egyptian playwright Ali Salim, who visited Israel and wrote a book about his experiences. Michael's post (you can read the rest at Commentary) goes on to raise questions about that side of the human psyche which, in the words of Rebecca West,
is nearly mad. It prefers the disagreeable to the agreeable, loves pain and its darker night despair, and wants to die in a catastrophe that will set life back to its beginnings and leave nothing of our house save its blackened foundations.

I believe that it is the rule, and not the exception, for people to behave as Saeed and Iuliano did in the Iraq story. Humanity could not have survived this long if it were otherwise. To bring forward the side that thrives on hate and suffering, and to live (and induce others to live) according to its atavistic dictates, takes conscious effort. What was thus done, can be undone.