Is Hagel a ‘Message’ to Netanyahu Not to Attack Iran?

Iranian Officials Express Hope Hagel Nomination Will Mean Negotiations

Is the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary a message to anyone in particular? That has been a matter of debate for weeks, and despite myriad different answers from different analysts, Israelis see the message aimed squarely at Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Of course Israeli analysts tend to see everything as centering on them, but the case is made that Netanyahu is eager as ever to launch a war with Iran, and that Hagel’s past comments on war being a “last resort” might keep him away from a hasty attack after the January election.

Publicly Israeli officials have denied any opposition, but some have conceded being “concerned” by the nomination, even as Hagel struggles to deal with allegations of anti-semitism based on his presumptive reluctance to start a huge new war on Netanyahu’s say-so.

It’s just one of many theories on the nomination, but it appears to also have some currency in Iran, where foreign ministry officials are welcoming the Hagel nomination and expressing hope that it means “practical changes” to US aggression toward Iran.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of