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Alastair Crooke on Napolitano: Internal Israeli Dynamics Threaten Regional War

April 16, 2024 (EIRNS)—Israel may have a need to expand the war, not merely to keep Netanyahu in power and out of jail, but rather to overcome its deep sense of failure, according to former British diplomat Alastair Crooke. In an April 15 interview with Judge Andrew Napolitano’s “Judging Freedom” show, he explained that the general population in Israel is gripped with a sense of defeat—a defeat in the war against Hamas, a defeat in the effort to release the hostages, a defeat in allowing displaced Israelis to return to their homes near the border of Lebanon, a defeat in their deterrents against Iran. Also, their economy is in crisis. Crooke said that they feel like the walls are closing in on them and that they can either admit to this defeat or expand the war and hope for a great victory. There is nowhere else to go except to escalate, he said.

Further, the strategy of much of the Israeli leadership, especially that of Netanyahu (and even Netanyahu’s father), is to force the United States to join the fight. They would like to manipulate the U.S. to attack Iran in order to stop its nuclear weapons program, despite the fact that there is not a single country which believes that Iran has any serious nuclear capabilities, and that what Iran has is located deep underground and nearly impossible to destroy. One option, Crooke said, is to attack a nearby town and then claim a victory in crippling the nuclear program. With that kind of “victory,” some U.S. Congressmen may want to join Israel’s expanded war.

Crooke said that Iran’s top priority is to avoid a broader war. Iran’s recent retaliatory drone attack was carried out, not to inflict widespread damage, but to test Israel’s air defense systems. Iran wants to control the intensity of any conflict, but also, it wanted to establish that any attack on Iranian territory or on any Iranian citizen outside that territory would cause a direct response from Iran and not simply from some proxy force. The response to that type of hostility will come from Iranian territory. During the drone attack, Israel spent $1.3 billion to shoot down drones that cost less than $2,000 each. Iran now has a very accurate map of Israeli air defense systems. Many drones were shot down, but they were intended to be shot down.

Russia and China also want to avoid a broader war, Crooke said, but they also believe that, “from the river to the sea,” everyone has to be treated equally or a lasting peace will never be possible.