Sunday Oct 20, 201906:09 AM GMT
Brzezinski wants Israeli jets striking Iran 'shot down'
Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:29PM
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Zbigniew Brzezinski, a well-known policy expert whose opinions reportedly influence President Barack Obama's foreign policy, says Israel must be militarily stopped, should it launch an attack on Iran.
After talk of an Israeli airstrike on Iranian nuclear sites was renewed after months, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says the US should warn Israel that its jets will be shot down on their way to the Iranian targets.


In an interview with The Daily Beast, the former national security adviser to US President Jimmy Carter said the issue should be made clear to Israel that in case of an attempt to attack Iran, the US Air Force will go all out to stop any such move.

"We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?" Brzezinski told the news website.

"We have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren't just saying it. 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."

The former official who holds no post in the current US administration was referring to an incident in the 1967 Six Day War, during which Israeli warplanes attacked the USS Liberty near the Sinai coast, killing 34 crew members and wounding 171 others.

Israel says the attack was a "friendly fire incident" as the ship was misidentified as an Egyptian warship. This is while some US government officials do not regard the attack as an innocent mistake.

According to ABC News, the White House has not so far responded to a request for comment on Brzezinski's suggestion to President Barak Obama.

Iran faces pressure to halt its nuclear enrichment, as world powers claim its program is aimed at building a nuclear bomb.

Along with world powers, Israel -- the alleged sole possessor of a nuclear warhead in the Middle East -- accuses Iran of efforts to develop a nuclear bomb, maintaining that a "nuclear Iran" is the prime existential threat to its security.

Tehran, however, denies seeking nuclear weapons and has called for the removal of all weapons of mass destruction from across the globe.

Brzezinski's remarks come days after a former Israeli defense official threatened Tehran with a possible military attack by the year's end.

"We cannot live under the shadow of an Iran with nuclear weapons," former Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told Reuters while on a visit to Britain. "By the end of the year, if there is no agreement on crippling sanctions aimed at this regime, we will have no choice."

"This is the very, very last resort. But ironically it is our best friends and allies who are pushing us into a corner where we would have no option but to do it," Sneh, who is now a former member of parliament's defense and intelligence committees, explained.

With an escalation in Israeli rhetoric against Tehran, the Russians have attempted to assure the international community that Iran's nuclear program -- which at parts is assisted by Moscow -- poses no threat to any country. Russian officials have repeatedly claimed that they have no evidence that Tehran may be persuading nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian nuclear activities.

On Sunday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that his Israeli counterpart had assured him that Tel Aviv would not move to attack Iran.

Israeli officials were quick to reject the remarks on Monday.

Meanwhile, Iran has opted to purchase the sophisticated S-300 defense system from Russia. The system, according to Western experts, would rule out the possibility of an Israeli airstrike on Iranian nuclear sites.

On Saturday, a senior Israeli military official said every effort should be made to stop the advanced S-300 air defense system from reaching Iran where the Israeli air force may need to operate in the future.

Speaking to Jerusalem Post, Israeli Air Force (IAF) commander Major General Ido Nehushtan expressed alarm at the possibility that the system gets delivered to Iran.

"We need to make every effort to stop this system from getting to places where the IAF needs to operate or may need to operate in the future," he said.

CS/MD
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