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The Shape of the War to Come–The View from Beyond


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“It’s rather like getting a death threat on the telephone, you know. The nutjob that makes the call isn’t going to do anything, because if he were, he wouldn’t have told you about it.”

I had gotten my freshly-rehabbed Ouija board working again, and had reached the spirit of my old friend James Jesus Angleton, formerly head of CIA’s counterintelligence team (and longtime liaison with Israeli intelligence via his buddy Teddy Kollek, Ben Gurion’s private secretary and then mayor of Jerusalem). I couldn’t think of anyone better to ask about all the war talk involving Israel, the United States, and Iran. He was inclined to downplay the seriousness of the talk.

ML: “Does that apply to everyone? To all three? Or mainly — maybe exclusively — to the Iranians?”


JJA: “In a rational world, it would apply to everyone. But you have to wonder how many rational actors there are…”

ML: “So maybe it’s all a form of geopolitical theater, and nobody really intends to attack anyone else?”

JJA: “No. But I think that there’s a lot of theater, and much of it is disinformation. Let’s start with the Iranians. A while back there were disturbances in Bahrain, and the Saudis were threatening to send troops to help their neighbor put down the uprising. The Iranians — top officers in the Revolutionary Guards — pounded their chests and proclaimed they would not sit still for it. If the Saudis dared to intervene, the RG guys said, there would be blood in the streets of Bahrain, and the Guards would slaughter the Saudis.”

ML: “Right. And the Saudis actually did it. And the Iranians…”

JJA: “The Iranians ran away. Didn’t fire a shot. Went home.”

ML: “And so?”

JJA: “So they phoned in their death threat and did nothing.”

ML: “And you think this applies to Israel’s threat — a threat that has been given great resonance by a whole series of American officials, from SecDef Panetta to Joint Chiefs Chairman Dempsey and spokespersons from the White House and the State Department — that they will attack the Iranian nuclear project if and when they think they know that the project is dangerously close to fruition?”

JJA: “No. I think it applies to Iranian public threats, things like threatening to shut down the Strait of Hormuz. There again, the Iranians said they were now in full control of the waterway, and if the Americans dared set sail without explicit Iranian permission, they’d sink our ships. So we sent a carrier group in. And the Iranians didn’t do anything.”

ML: “And of course there’s the promise to stop sending oil to some European countries, heh…”

JJA: “Right. Followed immediately by ‘but not in the winter because we’re such great humanitarians.’”


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In regards to all of this, there is one thing to alway keep in mind...Sh*t Happens. One of the parties misunderstands what the other party is doing/saying, someone gets scared and over reacts, or doesn't take what the other side is saying seriously....BOOM. This is not a mad for TV movie, this is not a computer game, there is no pause button, no reset button no TIVO, and in this case some of the people on one side think thermonuclear warheads going off is a positive step forward.

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