Former U.S. diplomat and leading neoconservative John Bolton alleged Thursday that the Obama administration leaked secret information about Israel’s plans to attack Iran in order to foil those plans and avoid a war.
Bolton was referring specifically to an article in Foreign Policy revealing that Israel has recently supplied Azerbaijan with a $1.6 billion arms deal including “sophisticated drones and missile defense systems” and has also, U.S. officials suspect, secured access to airfields which could be essential to Israeli fighter jets flying bombing missions over Iran.
“I think this leak today is part of the administration’s campaign against an Israeli attack,” Bolton claimed on Fox News, as if a campaign against an unnecessary, unprovoked war was a bad thing.
Bolton pointed also to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s comments to a Washington Post columnist that he expected Israel to attack Iran sometime in the spring. Public revelations like this, Bolton charged, are an attempt to derail a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran.
Astoundingly, Bolton added, “I think the pressure that the administration has put on Israel has been just merciless, behind the scenes.” In reality, the charge is absurd. As Jacob Heilbrunn at the National Interest writes, Obama’s staunch support of Israel is never enough for his ideological neoconservative detractors.
Heilbrunn: “He condemned the Palestinian drive for statehood at the United Nations. Not enough. He awarded Israel $3 billion in military assistance, an all-time high. Not enough. He repeatedly avowed his commitment to Israel’s security and well-being. Still not enough.”
Some unconfirmed reports would make this latest alleged leak somewhat moot. After viewing the results of a Pentagon war simulation and securing more military funding from the U.S., some reports say Israel has decided to put off any plans for a unilateral strike on Iran until at least next year.
Bolton charged the Obama administration with believing that “an Israeli attack [is] worse than an Iranian nuclear weapon.” This is a strange either-or scenario though, considering the U.S. intelligence consensus that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and has demonstrated no intention of creating one.