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Op-ed takes a too rosy view of Iranian intentions

IsraelIraqIranIndiaGaza StripIraq War (2003-2011)

Commentator Ray McGovern charges Israel with using the pretext of alleged Iranian support for terrorism, to "whip up support for war" ("Is Israel fixing the intel? Netanyahu's rhetoric has echoes of Bush administration's justification for the Iraq war," July 31).

The day before Mr. McGovern's commentary appeared, The Times of India reported that police in Delhi had concluded that "the suspects involved in the February 13 bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat in India's capital were members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the nation's military." The group's leader also was said to have planned the strikes against Israelis in Georgia and Thailand.

Mr. McGovern doubts Iranian or Hezbollah involvement in the recent terrorist murders of Israelis in Bulgaria. But a suspect in the thwarted plan for a similar attack in Cyprus reportedly has confessed to working with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

He also claims that "since there is no mutual defense treaty between the U.S. and Israel, 'ally' actually is a misnomer — at least in the juridical sense." Yet a retired CIA analyst like Mr. McGovern ought to know that the United States long ago designated Israel as a major non-NATO ally.

Mr. McGovern, a founder of "Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity," has blamed "O.I.L." — oil, Israel, and logistics (the alleged desire for long-term U.S. bases in Iraq) — for the 2003 war with Saddam Hussein. But Iraq's cat-and-mouse games with international inspectors, conversion of the U.N.'s "oil-for-food" revenue and other actions helped convince former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Sen. Edward Kennedy, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others across the political spectrum that Hussein was trying to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. McGovern signed a petition claiming the U.S. government knew about al-Qaeda's Sept. 11, 2001, plot in advance. He participated in the futile 2011 attempt to break Israel's sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, which was put in place to prevent weapons smuggling by Hamas terrorists.

In 2010, Mr. McGovern was outside the White House barking through a bullhorn, telling President Obama "to stand up for once … and speak to [Israeli Prime MinisterBenjamin] Netanyahu in no uncertain terms."

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency has warned that weapons may well be the goal of Iran's illicit nuclear program. The United States believes Iran tried to blow up the Saudi ambassador inside a busy Washington restaurant. But Ray McGovern is fixed on delusions of Israeli skulduggery.

Eric Rozenman, Washington

The writer is Washington director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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