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(photo credit: )
If the Persian shah himself could be caught boasting as late as June 1978 "no one can overthrow me - I have the power," then how reliably can foreigners claim to have any idea of what the hell goes on in the country of Iran?
The shah's bravado, made in an interview with US News & World Report, came a mere six months before he was forced to leave, defeated and heartbroken, the country he had ruled for 37 years, never to see it again.
Then again, that's because he didn't have anything quite like the 16 American spy agencies and their National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). Had he had that mother of all intelligence tools, the shah would not only have known better what not to say in public, he would have known in advance of the fundamentalists' scheme, and nipped it in the bud.
But America is not Iran, and has always been blessed with first-rate intelligence. That is why it was so well-prepared for Pearl Harbor, the disappearance of the Soviet Union and the 9/11 attacks on its commercial, military and political nerve centers, not to mention the Islamist Revolution itself.
That is also why simpletons like us need not fuss over petty matters like what evidence, if any, made the NIE's spymasters conclude that Iran has suspended its nuclear-arms program. After all, we Israelis only have in our midst many Farsi speakers, including ones whose ancestors have lived in Persia uninterruptedly since the time of Xerxes, so what do we know about that land, and why share with us a revisionist dossier prior to its publication? We are anyhow biased as the mullahs' favorite, natural, and hysterical target.
NOW YOU probably want to know who, if anyone, we have out there in Teheran, Tabriz and Bushehr, telling us what in the world is going on with that Ahmedinejad dude's centrifuges, uranium, and jovially enriched rhetoric.
That of course we can't tell you, but what we can say, discreetly, to be sure, is that the Israelis who now claim to be so informed, learned and insightful about the Middle East are the same ones who did not see the Yom Kippur War coming, the same ones who did not see the Palestinian uprising coming, and the same wise guys who believed in the emergence of a pacified, mercantilist and enlightened New Middle East, instead of the reactionary one we actually face.
So yes, you rightly wonder how we American spies can contradict our own commander-in-chief's very recent warning that Iran is preparing for World War III, and what we make of our former UN ambassador's accusation that our report constitutes a quasi-putsch.
Well it's all rather simple. We don't wage coups, we actually rule, and only idiots think we are in the business of predicting the future and shedding light on dark regimes. What we really do is first shoot and then circle the targets, and in this case it meant first deciding America should climb down from the Iranian tree, and only then supplying an excuse for that. Seen this way, you got to hand it to us: we deliver.
NOW YOU probably want to know what we Middle Israelis make of the mess you have just made of our already explosive Iranian front. After all, the mullahs have been so adept at pressing the most sensitive buttons with which postwar Jews are born, that even our famously dovish president has warned his Iranian counterpart: "Iran too can be wiped off the map."
It takes a certain type of behavior to elicit such language from a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
In fact, this Iranian scourge has unified us like nothing else has since the Arab siege of spring '67 that resulted in the Six Day War. On this, we find ultra-conservative Avigdor Lieberman harmonizing with super-liberal Yossi Beilin, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert huddling with Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu and ultra-Orthodox Eli Yishai cuddling - well, so to speak - with ultra-secular Zehava Galon.
Which brings us to the first revelation of this special Middle Israel Intelligence Estimate: the Israeli take on the Iranian situation, if even arguably overstated or under-informed, is still not about expediency - it's about life.
The second revelation is that unlike your latent aim, the debate over the Iranian attack on Israel cannot focus on its likelihood, for the prosaic reason that it is already well under way. The way Middle Israelis see their situation, the missile attacks last year on their North, the rocket attacks this year on their South, and the suicide attacks throughout the country earlier this decade were primarily inspired, masterminded, financed and often micro-managed by Teheran.
These physical attacks, a natural outcome of decades of mental assaults, are meant to hammer at both the idea and reality of Jewish sovereignty; that is why they were practically all waged well within Israel's pre-'67 borders.
And so, to Middle Israelis Teheran has long been a target no less legitimate for the IDF than Haifa has been for Hizbullah and Sderot for Hamas.
Finally, we Middle Israelis may not be as well equipped and paid as you American spies, but as residents of the Middle East that you purport to know so intimately, we can still tell you this much: In this part of the world, delusions that one's enemy is weak, unmotivated, reconstructed or even just distracted are interpreted as weakness, and only feed that enemy's aggression.
And so, regardless of what we Israelis should do in the face of our impending abandonment to Iran's devices, do bear in mind that according to the Middle Israel Intelligence Estimate, the same ones who humiliated your diplomats in Teheran, murdered your Marines in Beirut, debilitated your skyscrapers in Manhattan and rammed unsuspecting American citizens into your Pentagon's walls have this week joined the rest of the world in studying your pamphlet, and concluded: the enemy is ready for another blow.