President Barack Obama thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran, according to a Kuwaiti newspaper cited by the Bethlehem-based news agency Ma’an.
In the wake of Obama’s purported threat, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was said to be forced to abort the strike on Iran.
Israel National News published an account of the report from Al-Jarida. It said the Netanyahu government decided to attack Iran “some time in 2014 soon after Israel had discovered the United States and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran’s nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement in that regard behind Israel’s back.”
The report claimed an unnamed Israeli minister who has good ties with the Obama administration disclosed details of the attack plan to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and that “Obama then threatened to shoot down the Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.”
The Kuwaiti paper quoted “well-placed” sources saying Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon, and then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, chose to hit Iran’s nuclear facilities after discussions with top security commanders.
According to the report, “Netanyahu and his commanders agreed after four nights of deliberations to task the Israeli army’s chief of staff, Benny Gantz, to prepare a qualitative operation against Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, Netanyahu and his ministers decided to do whatever they could do to thwart a possible agreement between Iran and the White House because such an agreement is, allegedly, a threat to Israel’s security.”
Israeli fighter jets trained are said to have trained for several weeks in order to ensure the plan’s success, even carrying out experimental flights in Iran’s airspace after they managed to penetrate Iranian radar.
Former U.S. diplomat Zbigniew Brzezinski, and ardent campaigner for Obama in 2008, called on the president to shoot down Israeli planes if they attack Iran.
“They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?” said the former national security advisor to former President Jimmy Carter in an interview with the Daily Beast.
“We have to be serious about denying them that right,” he said. “If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a ‘Liberty’ in reverse.”
During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel mistakenly attacked the American ship Liberty.