Gates visit to Israel ,to turn up military heat on Iran
Gates visit to Israel marks US decision to turn up military heat on Iran
DEBKAfile Special Report
July 26, 2009, 10:00 PM (GMT+02:00)
Israeli missile boats in Suez Canal July 2009
DEBKAfile's military and Washington sources report that President Barack Obama is getting set for some military arm-twisting against Iran spearheaded by Israel. This will be the main subject of defense secretary Robert Gates talks in Israel Tuesday, July 28 and was presaged by a strong message secretary of state Hillary Clinton broadcast to Tehran Sunday, July 28, over NBC: "… if you're pursuing nuclear weapons for the purpose of intimidating, or projecting your power, we are not going to let that happen," she said. "Your pursuit is futile. We believe as a matter of policy it is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons."
Her statement was the clearest US warning to Iran of what is in store if it forges ahead with its military nuclear program..
Earlier this week, Clinton said in Thailand that the US would extend a "defense umbrella" over the Arab Gulf nations against an Iranian nuclear weapon.
Military and verbal pressure against Iran is one component of Obama's new Middle East approach; a second focuses on pulling Syria and its president Bashar Assad away from their tight bonds with Tehran. This goal brought Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell to Damascus for the second time this month Sunday, July 26.
Before traveling to Israel in the afternoon, Mitchell stated that Barack Obama was "determined to facilitate a truly comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace" that includes the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon and normal relations with the nations of the region. "If we are to succeed," he said, "we will need Arabs and Israelis alike to work with us. We will welcome the full cooperation of the government of the Syrian Arab Republic in this historic endeavor."
Mitchell's words opened the door for Syria to opt for cooperation with Washington instead of Tehran.
DEBKAfile's sources add that Gates on Tuesday - followed by national security adviser James Jones and Middle East adviser Dennis Ross Wednesday - are to turn over with Israeli leaders plans for harassing Tehran.
The passage earlier this month of Israeli nuclear-capable submarines escorted by missile boats through between the Mediterranean and Red Seas through the Suez Canal was a mark of US-Israeli cooperation in the pursuit of Washington's tough new posture for deterring Iran's nuclear drive.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that Iran will never achieve its goal of obtaining a nuclear weapon, declaring to Tehran: "Your pursuit is futile."
"What we want to do is to send a message to whoever is making these decisions, that if you're pursuing nuclear weapons for the purpose of intimidating, of projecting your power, we're not going to let that happen," Clinton said.
"First, we're going to do everything we can to prevent you from ever getting a nuclear weapon. But your pursuit is futile, because we will never let Iran — nuclear-armed, not nuclear-armed — it is something that we view with great concern, and that's why we're doing everything we can to prevent that from ever happening. ... We believe, as a matter of policy, it is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons."