The Israel-Iran debate is over – so now it can begin

Laura Rozen posts on the state of play, or post-game analysis, depending on your perspective, in the debate over whether Israel can or will strike Iran anytime soon:

First the latest thoughtful expert convinced there’s nothing to see here, time to move along – Shia Feldman:

With President Peres publicly joining the many formidable opponents of a military strike and General Sagi raising questions about the competence of Israel’s current leaders, Israel now lacks the minimal consensus required for a demanding military campaign to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations. The debate has been settled. At least for now.

Except not, according to Yossi Melman:

“No. I don’t think it’s over,” Israeli national security correspondent Yossi Melman told Al Monitor by email. Melman, co-author of a new book on Israeli espionage, Spies Against Armaggedon, noted that Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror on Monday briefed Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas political party, on Iran. The briefing was seen as an effort to try to sway Shas’ two cabinet ministers in favor of possible Israeli action on Iran.

“So it’s far from over,” Melman said. “I still think Israel will [probably] not attack before [the US] elections, but …. Netanyahu and Barak seem to be still very determined.”

Though I’ve been a skeptic, so in the Feldman camp by default, all along – because the same things preventing action yesterday are still in effect today and probably will be tomorrow – it seems what has always re-started the debate and thus kept it alive is ANY determination that it actually is finally over. It is a debate whose beginning is its end, and vice versa, ad infinitum, ad nauseam, til kingdom or caliphate or chaos come. Even if Israel acted, or if America acted, or if Iran announced success, or if Iran capitulated or was claimed to have done so, it would not end the debate, but simply force a sequel with the same structure on altered terms, because, as should go without saying, the debate is a collision of ideologies in their determinate forms – nation-states, state concepts, and spheres of control or influence – and only transiently about the wisdom or likelihood of Israel’s attacking Iran

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