Beirut: Three weeks after being named by President Obama in January 2009 as the 19th Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and during his first day on the job which was February 12, 2009, Leon Panetta, now US Secretary of Defense, signed off on a March 2009 “eyes only” CIA Report that had just been completed by his new agency.
As reported at the time, the CIA Report predicted the demise of Israel within 20 years, if present political trends in the region continued. The CIA intelligence analysts concluded that it was unlikely that Israeli leaders would grant even minimal concessions in order to achieve a settlement with their neighbors, which comprise increasingly disillusioned and rapidly growing dignity and justice seeking populations.
The CIA Report noted that Israeli officials felt emboldened in taking Palestinian land by the myriad support Israel was receiving from the leadership of Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan and three other Arab leaders.
Israel and its two most powerful US lobbies, the US Congress and AIPAC, quickly squelched the 2009 Report and only seven copies were eventually acknowledged, one by AIPAC and the others by staffers of select supporters of Israel on key Congressional Committees.
During last week’s meetings with Israeli officials, both sides knew that the 2009 CIA study was front and center even without Panetta being the first one to refer to it.
President Obama sent Panetta to engage in frank discussions which included the White House displeasure at Netanyahu’s repeated humiliation of the President over the past 18 months and Israeli threats to cut off Jewish aid to Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Panetta did deliver public statements which allowed Netanyahu to put the best hasbara face on the meetings and he thanked the US Secretary of Defense for “helping to improve US-Israeli relations.”
Panetta repeated at a news conference with his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Ehud Barak some pointed generalizations. “At this dramatic time in the Middle East, when there have been so many changes, it’s not a good situation for Israel to become increasingly isolated. And that is what’s happening,” he said.
“There’s not much question in my mind that they maintain that (military) edge. But the question you have to ask he added is: was it enough to maintain a military edge, if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena? At this dramatic time in the Middle East, when there have been so many changes, it’s not a good situation for Israel to become increasingly isolated. And that is what’s happening,” he said.
In private, according to Washington sources, the atmosphere was quite different. Panetta reportedly made plain that given recent changes among Middle East countries, meaning the Arab Spring and Islamic Awakening, Israel was quickly running out of time. Its only choice was to make peace with the Palestinians and her neighbors or perish.
During frank and sometimes heated exchanges, Panetta told the Israelis that time is running out for a two state solution, which means time is running out for Zionist Israel and that similar to apartheid South Africa, following the Reagan years, the days of American propping up of Israel are coming to a close.
Seemingly dwelling on the subject of the US being unable to continue funding Israel in real terms with more than $6 billion every year and being able to continue to guarantee Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME), Panetta told the Israelis that it was out of the question given American domestic problems and the US process of substantial, if partial, disengagement from the region.
At issue with the American inability and increasing unwillingness to prop up Israel’s QME is the innocuous sounding 2008 Naval Vessel Transfer Act shepherded through the Congress a month before the 2008 US Presidential election by one of Israel’s unwavering lobbyists, Rep. Howard Berman.
In its essence, this law shackles every American president with a legal obligation to ensure that Israel maintains its military dominance over the Middle East.
It is designed to assure that Israel’s regional hegemony is legally mandated via Israel’s“Qualitative Military +*Edge” (QME). The US Government must guarantee that “the sale or export of the defense articles or defense services will not adversely affect Israel’s qualitative military edge over any military threats to Israel.”
The term ‘qualitative military edge’ means the ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors, while sustaining minimal damages and casualties, through the use of superior military means, possessed in sufficient quantity, including weapons, command, control, communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities that in their technical characteristics are superior in capability to those of such other individual or possible coalition of states or non-state actors.
Panetta reportedly reminded Ehud Barak, during heated discussions between the two defense ministers of the statement of an Egyptian general back 1973 as reported by then President Nixon.According to Nixon, an Israeli official asked an Egyptian general convalescing in hospital, “We have defeated you Arabs three times (1948, 1967 & 1973) why to you continue to resist us?” The Egyptian replied, “You may have defeated us three times, and you may defeat us 11 times. But the 12th time we will win and Palestine will be liberated.”
The unavoidable signs seen by Panetta, as by his predecessor, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, include nearly one dozen uprisings in the region that share the goal, among others, of returning Palestine to its rightful inhabitants.
The Egyptian people are reclaiming Egypt’s proud Arab position and helping lead the cause to liberate Palestine as evidenced by their intentions to expel the Israeli Embassy, scrap Camp David, abrogate the capitulation agreements, including Egypt’s natural gas giveaway to Israel subsidized by the Egyptian people, and made by the Mubarak family doing business with Israeli officials. Panetta, and an increasingly number of American officials as well as the American public knows that the genie has been released and that Arabs, Muslims, and all people of good will continue to inexorably confront the remaining 19th Century colonial enterprise which is the artificial and illegitimate Zionist implantation on Palestinian land.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Libya. He is reachable co . He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon.