AUSTRALIANS AT WAR

AUSTRALIANS AT WAR
Now available. $20-00 including postage in Australia. Click on image above for details..... TELLING THE HISTORY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY AS IT REALLY WAS.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

WAR AGAINST IRAN: NEOCONS WORRIED ORDINARY ISRAELIS DON’T WANT WAR

Last week’s demonstrations in Israel against a war with Iran seems to have caught the attention of the neocons – and they have clearly got them rattled, indeed, rattled enough to make comment on it in their front line journal.

There were two aspects of the demonstration that the neocons found objectionable – apart, of course, from the fact that the demonstration took place at all. Firstly, they really didn’t like the theme of the demonstrations which wasn’t just ‘no war’, but ‘no war against the people of Iran’. That was compounded by the fact that many of the Israeli demonstrators were even (horror upon horrors!) actually expressing love for the Iranian people. This was too much for the neocons that were compelled to write in Commentary an article titled Love for Iran Takes Ayatollahs off the Hook. Leor Sapir, the author of this particular article, didn’t mention how ordinary Iranians participated in the demonstrations by use of the internet social media of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, though I find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t have known about it. One can only assume that he didn’t want to be responsible for giving those that hadn’t actually heard about the social media’s use any ideas about using it in future anti-war demonstrations.

Sapir then rants on about how the demonstrators called for Netanyahu's resignation over his warmongering calls to attack Iran. Sapir then makes a most extraordinary statement even by neocon standards. He writes:

Most pundits would agree that Iran’s nuclear program has little, if anything, to do with Israel, even though a nuclear Iran would certainly make the region more unstable and dangerous for the Jewish state.

In a way, of course, Sapir is right; Iran’s nuclear program has got nothing at all to with Israel. But then, one has to ask oneself, if that’s the case, why is Netanyahu calling for the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities? Clearly, as far as the right-wing Zionists and their neocon supporters are concerned, Iran’s nuclear program has everything to do with Israel, in which case, why should it not be of interest to those Israelis that oppose war against Iran?

As I wrote the other day, the use of the worldwide social media together with street demonstrations, hopefully, is a trend that is likely to be repeated around the world as the anti-war protests grow.

The fact that it’s happening on Israeli streets has the neocons worried.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

WAR AGAINST IRAN: AT LAST, A WORLD WIDE ANTI-WAR CAMPAIGN GATHERS PACE

It’s taken a long while to get going but, at long last, the campaign to say ‘no’ to a war against Iran is gathering momentum.

While the threat of war has been around for years, it seems that ordinary people have only begun to take it seriously just recently.

The reason for this is simple; unlike the lead up to the Iraq war where the threat of war was far more palpable, the threat to Iran has been less obvious due to the ‘good cop, bad cop’ propaganda methods used by the Western/Israeli alliance whereby the US and their Western allies present themselves as friends of Israel but, at the same time, wanting to prevent war by restraining Israel who are itching to attack Iran over Iran’s so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’.

The Western/Israeli alliance has learnt their lesson after the lead up to the Iraq war when literally millions took to the streets around the world to protest the imminent invasion and destruction of Iraq. These big protests happened because the people knew the war was going to happen despite Western leaders saying right up to the eve of invasion that a decision to attack had not yet been made. The world could see right through the Bush/Blair/Howard rhetoric about ‘a decision to attack had not been made’. The world knew it had and that it was merely a matter of ‘when’.

This time, the approach has been different. Instead of presenting a united front threatening war because of Iran being what the Israelis claim to be an existential threat to them, the US and their Western allies are instead insisting that sanctions and diplomacy be given an opportunity to work first. This, of course, was tried with Saddam as well but the difference in his case was that, according to the Western allies, Saddam was a threat to the entire world – and the Western allies proclaimed this very loudly while, at the same time, the Israelis kept a relatively low profile. With Iran it has been the other war round; the emphasis has been on the Iranian threat to Israel while the rhetoric about the Iranians being a threat to the rest of the world has been minimalised with the West insisting that it can be dealt with via the sanctions and diplomacy.

The effect of all this is that the world has been led – up until now – to believe that the US and their Western allies have been sincere in their desire to prevent war with Iran by using sanctions and diplomacy to deal with the perceived threat from Iran. And to give this perception even greater credibility, the US and their Western allies have been asking Israel very loudly to hold off from attacking Iran themselves but knowing full well that, ultimately, if Israel does attack Iran ‘pre-emptively’, the US and her allies will join in to prevent, so they will tell the world, Iran from retaliating against Israel.

Lately, however, the rhetoric for war has greatly increased and, as war seems now more certain than ever before, the ordinary people of the world are beginning to stir once again to demand that there be no war.

The protests this time have also taken on a new and unexpected twist; Iranians and Israelis are now beginning to speak out jointly via Youtube, Facebook and Twitter against war using the worldwide social media to express solidarity with each other. From this the word has spread. In Israel demonstrations against war that include placards expressing solidarity with the people of Iran have already taken place. This use of the worldwide social media together with street demonstrations, hopefully, is a trend that is likely to be repeated around the world as the anti-war protests grow.

However, the world needs to act quickly. If the Israelis and their Western partners get spooked by the prospect of the people of the world waking up to their ploy, they may just be inclined to bring forward an attack using some pretext that will provide a plausible cover for them before the protests and call for no war becomes overwhelming – especially this side of a Presidential election.

Let’s be quite clear about this; sooner or later there will be war against Iran. It will have nothing to do with Iran and its so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’ but it will have everything to do with regime change in Iran that will reinstate US regional hegemony and it will, at the same time, be about Israel removing the final barriers preventing them from creating a Greater Israel – the destruction of Hamas and Hezbollah.


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Sunday, March 25, 2012

WAR AGAINST IRAN: NEOCON CONTRADICTIONS ABOUT AL-QAEDA

Several claims from neoconservatives about al-Qaeda seem to be in contradiction with each other.

In The Weekly Standard this month there is an article titled Al Qaeda’s Network in Iran which tells of Iran’s alleged partnerships with al-Qaeda. Elsewhere in The Weekly Standard there is another article called How the Iranians are Helping the Syrians which alleges that the Iranians are in cahoots with Assad. But then we have completely contradictory story from another neoconservative rag, National Review Online, which is running an article titled Al Qaeda in Rebel Syria which alleges that al-Qaeda have infiltrated rebel units fighting against Assad.

Why would Iran be supporting al-Qaeda in Iran while supporting Assad in Syria if al-Qaeda were fighting with the rebels in Syria against Assad?

Here’s the explanation: There is no al-Qaeda as such. ‘al-Qaeda’ is simply a catch-all label for any Islamist that the West thinks are ultimately working against their interests. There used to be a group called ‘al-Qaeda’ but that disappeared long ago when Osama bin Laden died back in December 2001, but, like Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda label was convenient to keep alive to perpetuate the notion of there being an enemy for the West to continue combating. While Osama bin Laden had to be ‘killed off’ because his use-by date had long passed, al-Qaeda, it seems, is still serving a useful purpose – even if it is only to make fools of the neocons with their contradictory nonsense.


UPDATE

As if to demonstrate how loosely the ‘al-Qaeda’ label is bandied about these days, there’s a classic example of its misuse by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman today who is quoted in Ha’aretz as saying about the Palestinian Authority; "We are dealing with Al-Qaeda terror on the one hand and diplomatic terror by Abu Mazen on the other."


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

MICHAEL RUBIN: NEOCON APOLOGIST WHO DOTH PROTESTETH FAR TOO MUCH

Michael Rubin is one of those neocon writers who revel in trying to excuse American and Israeli ill-doing in order to damage control the exposed excesses of their policies and goings-on.

In his latest piece in Commentary, Rubin complains of ‘double standards’ comparing the criticism of George W. Bush over the abuse at Abu Ghraib, which Rubin says quite rightly was “both horrendous and inexcusable”, with the recent massacre of civilians in Afghanistan which Rubin says, also quite rightly, was “tragic”. The problem, however, is that Rubin can’t just leave it at that; he needs to put some kind of other spin on this and stories like it. They either get embellished for propaganda purposes or are used for some other ulterior motive. Read his piece – it’s very short – to see what I mean; you don’t need me to explain it to you.

I always wonder what it is about propagandists like Rubin that they should go to such extraordinary lengths to defend the indefensible knowing full well that in doing so they are only digging an even deeper hole in which to bury themselves.

In this piece written in 2004, Rubin attempts to smear one of the whistleblowers who exposed the goings-on at the Office of Special Plans (OSP) at the Pentagon during the run up to the war against Iraq as the neocons fed false intelligence up to a gullible President Bush via the very hawkish Vice-President Dick Cheney. In his story, Rubin is not acting merely as a neoconservative propagandist attempting to realign history using Orwellian methods, but he is also actually one of the actors in the screenplay – and in classic Orwellian doublespeak, Rubin titles his piece Web of Conspiracies when, in reality, the only 'web of conspiracies' that existed during this period were the ones being spun by the OSP!

As usual, Rubin goes over the top. He truly does protesteth too much.

Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski is the whistleblower Rubin is trying to smear. She worked on the Near East and South Asia (NESA) desk at the Pentagon from May 2002 through to February 2003. Prior to that she worked at the Pentagon as an analyst on sub-Saharan Africa policy and was in the Pentagon on 11 September 2001.

During her time on the NESA desk, which came under the auspices of Doug Feith as did the OSP, Kwiatkowski was in a position to observe the goings-on at the OSP. During her time there she wrote of what she observed. In 2004 they were published as the New Pentagon Papers. The article exposed how the ‘evidence’ of Saddam’s WMD’s was being fabricated and used for propaganda by the neoconservatives to justify invading Iraq.

Knowing, of course, what we know now about the lies that were told to justify the invasion and destruction of Iraq, Rubin’s 2004 article demonstrate the extent to which he and his fellow travellers are prepared to go in order to perpetuate the lies and defend the indefensible.


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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

WAR AGAINST IRAN: UNILATERAL STRIKE BY ISRAEL IMPOSSIBLE

There has for a long time been a lot of talk of Israel launching a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. There has even been talk of Israel launching a unilateral strike without warning the US in advance.

Such talk is nonsense. It is merely part of a “good cop, bad cop” strategy designed on the one hand to demonstrate to the world how anxious Israel is about Iran’s so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’, while on the other hand creating the illusion that US President Obama is the reluctant protector of Israel against Iranian ‘threats’ and retaliation.

The reality is this: It would be utterly impossible for Israel to launch a truly unilateral strike against Iran, and to even suggest that Israel would launch such a strike without warning the US in advance, borders on downright stupidity.

The reason it would be impossible for Israel to strike ‘unilaterally’ is simple; everything Israel needs in order to strike Iran – from jet fuel to bombs, to anti-retaliatory measures – comes from the US. Indeed, not only would Israel not be able to unilaterally strike Iran, it would actually need US connivance to do so – no matter how discreet the Israelis wanted to be about protecting Obama from blame of initiating war.

At the moment, Obama needs to tread a very careful path. On the one hand he can’t afford to ‘pre-emptively’ go to war against Iran for the Israelis – at least not this side of an election – but on the other hand, he can’t afford to be seen not supporting Israel – at least not this side of an election when the Jewish vote will be important for him.

But all this is simply for political show. The Israelis really couldn’t care less who the President is, just as long as whoever it is, he ultimately supports Israel. Sure, they would prefer a Republican President to get up at the next election since the Republicans are far more militantly sympathetic to the right-wing Israeli cause and, if a Republican President wins the election, the Israelis will be assured of support from the people of America since the Israeli cause is a major platform of the Republican campaign. But, if Obama is returned, the Israelis know that they can rely on him as a nothing to lose President for support in helping them attack Iran.

At this time, however, the “good cop, bad cop” strategy is in play for the sake of public opinion, but behind the scenes, as I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog, everything is already in place and ready to go.
It’s just a matter of finding – or creating – the right opportunity. That opportunity might arise at anytime, but one thing everyone can be assured of; there will be absolutely nothing ‘unilateral’ about it.


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For the latest on Australia's leading racist see the Andrew Bolt: Ultra Racist blog.

Monday, March 19, 2012

WAR AGAINST IRAN: THE JEFFREY GOLDBERG CONSPIRACY THEORY

A little over a week ago, the well-known neoconservative warmonger, Jeffrey Goldberg, wrote an article titled; In Iran Standoff, Netanyahu Could Be Bluffing. In it Goldberg pushes the theory that Obama and Netanyahu are together playing a game of bluff with the Iranians. The game revolves around simply frightening Iran into giving up its so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’ by threatening it with attack. Goldberg writes of the background to this theory:

I’m talking about the belief, advanced to me by a former senior Israeli military official, and echoed by other non-insane people, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is bluffing: He has never had any intention of launching air and missile strikes against Iran’s nuclear program, and is working behind the scenes with Obama to stop Iran through sanctions.

Goldberg goes on to say:

The theory has its attractions. For one, Israel hasn’t yet attacked Iran, though its leaders, going back to Yitzhak Rabin, have all stressed the danger an Iranian nuclear program would pose to Israel’s existence. For at least the past two years, experts have argued that an Israeli strike is highly likely, yet it hasn’t happened.
Another attraction has to do with the personality of the man himself: Netanyahu is much better at talking than doing. Despite his reputation in some circles as a trigger-happy extremist, Netanyahu has, when compared with his recent predecessors, only sparingly used force against foes such as Hezbollah and Hamas. What he does deploy, daily, are words -- huge gusts of words infused with drama and portents of catastrophe.

The problem with this theory is that it’s predicated on three factors: 1) that Iran has a nuclear weapons program; 2) that Iran is actually going to build a bomb and; 3) that Iran will use it on Israel.

When one examines the realities revolving around these three factors however, one finds that none of them stack up.

For a start, there is no hard evidence at all that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. For years Israel and the US have accused the Iranians of having a nuclear weapons program and for years they have made a concerted effort to try and convince the world – and for years they have consistently failed to produce a single skerrick of hard evidence. And, without the material, they’re not going to be able to build a bomb. As for actually using it; this is pure nonsense. Within half an hour of using it, Iran’s leaders know full well that the Israelis will retaliate with their own nuclear weapons.

The US, the Israelis, and all of their allies, know all of this. They know that all of this is not about Iran’s so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’ at all but, rather, it is about Israel and its endgame strategy of creating a Greater Israel by eliminating Hamas, Hezbollah and the regime in Iran that supports them. At the same time, it is also about US hegemony in a resource-rich region of the world.

There is no conspiracy theory about Netanyahu bluffing about attacking Iran. The entire US/Israeli strategic endgame revolves around them attacking Iran. Without a war against Iran, Israel has no casus belli to attack Hezbollah and Hamas and the US cannot insist on regime change when the time comes for Iran to capitulate or face an overwhelming and devastating bombing campaign on its major centers.

The Americans and the Israeli are ready; it’s now just a matter of when. There is no bluff; there will only be war.

The only conspiracy theory here is the one that says; ‘Iran has a nuclear weapons program’.


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For the latest on Australia's leading racist see the Andrew Bolt: Ultra Racist blog.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NEOCONS REALLY ARE VERY DUMB – THEY’VE ONLY JUST WOKEN UP TO THE FACT THAT THE ARAB SPRING REVOLTS HAVEN’T GONE THEIR WAY.

If this piece by neocon writer Andrew McCarthy in the National Review Online is anything to go by, the neoconservatives who have – until now – been advocating wholehearted support of the various Arab Spring uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East, have finally began to wake up to the idea that their unequivocal support for these uprisings may not have been such a good idea after all.

For years the neocons have advocated and supported uprisings against the many and various dictators scattered around the region. Their whole raison d’être about the Middle East was to change the governments of the region to ones that are ‘democratic’, just like the good ol’ US, and, of course, friendly to Israel. They believed that somehow this would entirely alter the Arab and Islamic mindset to one that supports the Israeli cause of creating a Greater Israel at the expense of the Palestinian and Arab peoples.

The neocons naively believed that the Afghan people would welcome the West when they invaded Afghanistan to get rid of al Qaeda and the Taliban. More than ten years later the Afghan people are still trying to get rid of the foreigners that invaded their country.

The same in Iraq. According to the neocons, it was going to be ‘cakewalk’ and that the allies invading Iraq would be welcomed as ‘liberators’. Almost ten years later in a virtually destroyed Iraq, having suffered around a million dead, millions more maimed and wounded and even more millions displaced, the daily killings are still going on.

When the Palestinians had a go at establishing democracy in January 2006, the neocon-led US government baulked at recognising an elected Hamas government the US and Israel thought had no chance of winning.

Then the Arab Spring got under way starting in Tunisia in December of 2010. By October 2011 the Islamist Ennahda party had become the majority party in the Tunisian assembly. By February 2011 Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s secular dictator and US ally who had kept peace with Israel was also gone. Since then Islamist groups, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, have made extensive gains in Egyptian elections.

Then it was Libya’s turn. Once that had got underway the neocons insisted the US put ‘boots on the ground’ to support the rebels. Obama resisted and instead NATO aircraft were used to bomb Gaddafi strongholds killing and wounding thousands of civilians in the process. As it became obvious that the opposition forces in Libya had attracted Islamist fighters, the neocons then insisted that there be a ‘post-Gaddafi occupation’ of Libya to ensure Islamists didn’t gain a foothold in the government.

In January 2011 unrest also began in Yemen. By February 2012 the dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh had been deposed but Islamist unrest continues. In all of these places and elsewhere throughout the Middle East and across North Africa the Islamists are gaining a foothold in their respective countries.

And now Syria. At first the neocons demanded that there be ‘intervention’ but now it seems they’ve finally woken up to the fact that these Arab uprisings are not serving Israel’s interests at all, indeed, it is having the opposite effect. It has taken them more than ten years to realise that their aspirations were delusional and based on the arrogance of American Exceptionalism. As I previously pointed out, an Assad-free Syria is likely to be even less sympathetic to the Israelis once the Muslim Brotherhood begins to wield influence in Syria’s affairs. The Syrian people still want the Golan Heights back regardless of who is in power. And the Syrian people are still likely to support Hezbollah in Lebanon despite Hezbollah being Shia and the majority of Syrians being Sunni.

As in the past, the neoconservatives know only to advocate the use violence to get their way. For them, full-on American might is the only answer. The confrontation with Iran will be the final straw – one way or the other.


JUST AS AN ASIDE…

“The Bush administration is politicizing intelligence on Iraq. What does “politicizing intelligence” mean? Using intel, or more often partial intel, to produce an effect in line with White House policies rather than giving a full picture of a particular situation.”

Sound familiar? This was what most people around the planet knew in the run up to the war against Iraq in 2002/2003 – except in this case I have taken what Elliott Abrams wrote recently in The Weekly Standard and replaced just two words.

This is what Abrams originally wrote:

The Obama administration is politicizing intelligence on Syria. What does “politicizing intelligence” mean? Using intel, or more often partial intel, to produce an effect in line with White House policies rather than giving a full picture of a particular situation.

Unbelievable!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

WAR AGAINST IRAN: A COUPLE OF SETBACKS FOR ISRAEL

Hot on the heels of what was looking like a relatively successful meeting (for the Israelis) between Netanyahu and Obama whereby Obama didn’t exactly give the green light to Israel but nonetheless didn’t disagree with Netanyahu that Israel must do what it thinks is best for Israel, comes two pieces of news that will not be liked by Netanyahu and his Zionist cohorts.

The first is that the Iranians have invited the IAEA to visit what the IAEA considered to be Iran’s most secret nuclear installation at Parchin, previously off-limits because it is under military control. At the very least this will put back any plans the Israelis had for an imminent attack against Iran as the US – who are more than likely seething as well – have no choice but to hold-off any covert support for an attack against Iran pending an outcome to the IAEA’s inspection of the facility and their report.

The second piece of unwelcome news for Israel and the US is that Hamas has declared that it will not militarily support Iran in the event of a war between Israel and Iran. The news is unwelcome because it deprives Israel of a casus belli to attack Hamas in the Gaza Strip which the Israelis were hoping to invade and occupy on the pretext of preventing Hamas from attacking Israel in retaliation for Israel attacking Iran. In the process of invading the Gaza the Israelis were hoping to destroy Hamas once and for all.

The fly in the ointment as far as Hamas is concerned is the Syrian civil war (and let there be no doubt, this is a civil war). While Hamas, a Sunni organisation, supports neither side, the support Hamas received from President Assad was for purely political reasons inasmuch that Syrians and Palestinians have a common problem; large portions of their lands (in the Syrians case, the Golan Heights) are occupied by Israeli Zionists. The problem became complicated because Iran, which is predominately Shia, supports the Alawite (Shia) minority government led by Assad who is an Alawite. To complicate things further, Hezbollah in Lebanon is a Shia organisation that is supported by both Assad in Syria and Iran. Now that Hamas has withdrawn its support of Assad it has also effectively distanced itself from Iran as well.

Iran had been financially supporting Hamas in the Gaza Strip for years to the tune of many millions of dollars per month. That has now all but ceased. For Hamas the shortfall has been made up by other Arab nation’s donations but to nowhere near the levels that Iran contributed. Apart from the political problems, Iran’s own financial situation hasn’t helped either. Both Syria and Iran are also finding it increasingly difficult to finance Hezbollah as well.

In light of these latest developments, it is unlikely that Israel will attack Iran just yet – as much as they would otherwise like to. Meanwhile, time is running out for Assad in Syria and, while the West is hopeful that Assad will be toppled, the replacement regime will in all likelihood not be one that the West would prefer.

The Syrian opposition is mostly made up of Sunni Muslim groups that are largely sympathetic to the Palestinian cause – which, in turn, further creates a problem for Israel.

Lebanon, as well as being home to the Shia Hezbollah group, as also home to hundreds of thousand of Sunni Palestinian refugees who are as equally keen to return to their homes as the Syrians are to the Golan Heights. Just as the post revolutionary Egyptians are sympathetic to the Palestinians, especially those in the Gaza Strip, so it might be that any new regime in Syria will be sympathetic to the cause of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. And, while Hezbollah have had problems with some Palestinian guerrilla groups in Lebanon in the past, they have generally had a good rapport with the Palestinian refugees and the realignment of the political situation in this region of the Middle East could well see a new détente between the two evolve that serves all interests – including Syria’s and possibly even Iran’s.

There are some very interesting but also very dangerous times ahead.


UPDATE

A report appearing in Ha’aretz today says that Hamas refutes earlier reports that Hamas would not be supporting Iran by attacking Israel in the event of Israel attacking Iran.


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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

WAR AGAINST IRAN: DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS

Back on 14 March 2003 a TV interviewer asked Australian Prime Minister John Howard:

Prime Minister, can I put this proposition to you: you've made the choice, Australia will go to war with the United States with our without UN support.

Howard replied:

Well Steve, we haven't taken that decision.

Within a week Australian forces joined with US and British forces in invading and destroying Iraq in a war that killed hundreds of thousands, if not over a million people, forced millions more to flee their homes, and destroyed most of Iraq’s infrastructure. And Howard expected the Australian people to believe that he hadn’t yet taken that decision.

On 16 March 2003 a journalist present at the Azores Conference asked President George W. Bush:

Regardless of whether the resolution goes up or down or gets withdrawn, it seems to me you're going to be facing a moment of truth. And given that you've already said you don't think there's very much chance Saddam Hussein is going to disarm, and given that you say you don't think there's very much chance he's going to go to go into exile, aren't we going to war?

Bush replied:

Tomorrow is the day that we will determine whether or not diplomacy can work. And we sat and visited about this issue, about how best to spend our time between now and tomorrow. And as Prime Minister Blair said, we'll be working the phones and talking to our partners and talking to those who may now clearly understand the objective, and we'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Saddam Hussein can leave the country, if he's interested in peace. You see, the decision is his to make. And it's been his to make all along as to whether or not there's the use of the military. He got to decide whether he was going to disarm, and he didn't. He can decide whether he wants to leave the country. These are his decisions to make. And thus far he has made bad decisions.

At the same conference British Prime Minister Tony Blair said:

…now we have reached the point of decision, and we make a final appeal for there to be that strong, unified message on behalf of the international community that lays down a clear ultimatum to Saddam that authorises force if he continues to defy the will of the whole of the international community set out in 1441.

A few days later the Coalition of the Willing invaded Iraq.

Yesterday, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama. While sitting with Obama before the private discussions got under way, Netanyahu told reporters:

Israel has the right, the sovereign right, to make its own decisions.

By the end of the meeting both leaders had genuine smiles on their faces indicating that talks had gone well.

One can read into that whatever one wants with regard to the decisions that Netanyahu and Obama made during their meeting but it’s worth remembering that similar smiles were seen after the meeting US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had with Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak last Wednesday.

I’m no expert in reading body language, but in all these post-meeting photos and videos they all looked pretty pally to me – unlike some of the meetings Netanyahu has had with Obama in the past.

If there is one thing that is certain regardless of what these leaders tell us otherwise, the decision, like the decision about attacking Iraq, has never been about ‘whether or not’ to attack Iran, but only about ‘when’.