Israeli tourist attack: A pretext for war with Iran?
RT: It took Benjamin Netanyahu just two hours to blame Tehran for the bombing, saying that all signs point to Iran. What are the grounds for such hasty conclusions?
Jamal Abdi: I don’t think he has grounds to make such an accusation. I think it is an extremely dangerous accusation. And it really feeds some of the concerns that I know privately officials in Washington have expressed, that these attacks that have been carried out between the parties, between Israel and Iran, could somehow provide casus belli for a war.
In the case of Israel not having a pretext to go into Iran and overtly attack its nuclear facilities, if you have a situation like this, in which Iran is implicated, whether rightly or wrongly, for a terrorist attack, that could create a basis where an Israeli "counter" attack may be perceived as more legitimate than a preventative strike against Iran, against a nuclear program that – all indications say – has not developed into a nuclear weapons program.
RT: Given the pressure Iran is under concerning its nuclear program, and the international sanctions that come with it, would it be in Tehran's interests to mastermind an attack like this?
JA: I don’t know about the interests of Tehran, but I would not necessarily rule out some of the accusations that Iran was behind this. I think that we have entered a very dangerous cycle of escalation between the US, Iran and Israel. And given the attacks that we’ve seen inside of Iran against nuclear scientists, some of the sabotage efforts that have apparently been carried out by Israel, honestly I haven’t seen the evidence but I would not be shocked if Iran was behind this. And I think it is absolutely deplorable when innocent civilians are targeted by terrorist attack like this, regardless of where it happens or who conducts the attacks.
RT: Do you think blaming Iran for this attack could be diverting attention from Israel's ongoing domestic problems?
JA: I don’t know what Netanyahu's intentions are. I do know that he has used some extremely dangerous rhetoric and that there does seem to be a push by him to ratchet up the pressure for military action conducted either by Israel or the United States. And so when we have this confrontation between Israel and Iran, this is a strong suit that Netanyahu has politically, the very hard line that he has taken against Tehran.
I don’t know that it necessarily undermines anything that he is trying to do by immediately blaming Iran for this before even his own intelligence people have declared that Iran is behind this disgusting attack.
RT: The US recently reiterated its support for the Jewish state. How far do you think they would go to back Israel should it decide to take action?
JA: I don’t think the Unites States is going to have much of a choice, unfortunately, if it comes to a third party like Israel attacking Iran or if Iran does something provocative in the Persian Gulf. I think we are on the precipice right here, and this is a hair-trigger situation. If something happens, the United States is very likely going to be sucked into it.
There was a leak, in the Pentagon couple months ago, a simulation in which they found that in the case of Israeli strike on Iran immediately you have the United Stated getting sucked into it, immediately you have US soldiers getting killed in a counter-attack by Iran.
So the ability to control a situation like this once it actually does spiral into a war scenario, I think, is going be outside of US hands.