Biggie Smalls Says Israel Won’t Bomb Iran

About 13 years ago, while working on a British TV magazine program, I found myself spending a couple of days with Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls/the Notorious B.I.G. (I swear, I still have the tape, but it’s analog.) This extended interview took place at the time when Tupac Shakur was yelling from the rooftops that he was going to kill Brooklyn’s greatest rapper, and getting plenty of publicity and selling records by doing so. Biggie wasn’t particularly alarmed. He’d been a hustler in Bed-Stuy for too long to take seriously threats that are broadcast. In far more colorful language, he said words to the effect of “On the streets, when someone is telling anyone who’ll listen that they’re going to kill you, you don’t have to lose any sleep over it. You’re not going to hear about it beforehand when the real killer comes.”

Exactly. (Yes, I know, Biggie was eventually, tragically, murdered — but his point is proven by the fact that his killers had nothing to do with Tupac.)

And that’s why it’s hard to take seriously last week’s New York Times report about an Israeli military exercise in the Mediterranean being a “dry run” for an air attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Well, you can take it seriously as a PR stunt, aimed at sweating the Europeans into imposing more sanctions on Iran for fear that Israel will “do something crazy.” But when Israel bombed Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981, and when it struck what it claimed was a Syrian nuclear facility late last year, there was no coverage of the preparations for those missions in the New York Times.

There is no credible scenario in which Israel will attack Iran without U.S. support, and achieving U.S. support for such a reckless course of action remains a long-shot.

As I wrote in the National this week, the North Korea deal may be more instructive on how the Iran issue will ultimately be resolved. North Korea is slowly moving away from nuclearization, but only as part of a process that yields it full normalization of relations with the U.S. and the consequent guarantee of security from the regime-change fantasies of Washington hawks.


What the administration failed to grasp in the case of both North Korea and Iran is that nuclear weapons are not an end in themselves, but a means to an end. They elevate the regime that builds them onto a new strategic plateau, where they join nations whose nuclear deterrent largely prevents others from attacking or threatening them. By offering North Korea a route to securing its own survival, the US has enabled progress towards denuclearisation.

Iran, of course, has not developed nuclear weapons, nor is it currently developing them – according to the IAEA monitors that keep it under close scrutiny. The present standoff is over uranium enrichment, which, once mastered, would give Iran the means to produce weapons-grade nuclear fuel – although Iran’s enrichment activities remain under close scrutiny and well within the limits necessary for civilian purposes. (Enrichment levels would have to be about 20 times higher to produce weapons-grade material.)

The US and its allies are currently offering sticks and carrots to Iran in the hope of persuading it to stop enrichment, but as the former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski recently noted, “a heavy-handed ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’ policy may work with donkeys but not with serious countries”. He urged the US to abandon threats and calls for regime change and adopt a diplomatic strategy based on addressing the Iranian regime’s security concerns, so as to diminish its incentives to pursue nuclear weapons…

Like North Korea, the Iran standoff will be resolved only as part of a comprehensive transformation of the US-Iran relationship – a “grand bargain” between the two sides. The pragmatic mindset that produced the North Korea deal is certainly capable of doing the same on Iran. American and Israeli hawks will muster an escalating tide of hysteria in the hope of preventing such an outcome. But it would take an extreme act of provocation by the Iranians to persuade Americas voters – and its generals – to launch a new war of choice.

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29 Responses to Biggie Smalls Says Israel Won’t Bomb Iran

  1. hass says:

    Our compliant media and the “expert” mouthpieces present us with a FALSE DILEMMA, according to which we either have to sanction/bomb Iran or else face being nuked by Iran.

    This is simply not the case.

    Not only are Iran’s centrifuges under IAEA safeguards but Iran has made perfectly reasonable compromise suggestions to resolve the standoff that is widely endorsed by American and international experts: multilateral enrichment on Iranian soil.

    This was one of many Iranian compromise offers that the US has refused to even acknowledge, along with Iran’s 2003 comprehensive peace offer (which Rice falsely claimed she had never seen.)


  2. Matthew says:

    Tony: the hysteria is not about the Iranian military threat but about the Iranian “independence” threat. When our government says that Iran operates outside the international community, it means that Iran operates free of the restraints that Western countries have placed on Resource Nations. If Iran succeeds, then other nations will follow suit.
    Aside from Tom Friedman, who believes that an independent ME will lead to a stronger America?

  3. Abe Bird says:

    Each day is a new day. As much as you talk and write about the subject the more we know that you know nothing on that matter.

    As for now, all the Muslim Sunni’s ME countries afraid of nuclear Iran. Europe is restless and the US is worried. Have you ever thought that all of these regimes wish that the Iranian nuclear bomb project will somehow stop?
    Stability some times should be kept by force. And when the “force” will act you’ll be astonished to realize how Arab Sunni’s countries interests meet with the Israeli’s ones.

  4. Laney says:

    Just because all this is likely bluster intended to wring concessions out of Iran doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. In August 1914, the European powers lost control of events and bluffed each other into war.

  5. Rojo says:

    Well, the analogy may hold true for Israel/Iran, and for Tupac/Bigs, but it falls apart when it comes to US/Iran in my opinion. Just look at Sy Hersh’s latest concerning Cheney’s efforts. The bUSh was quite open about its intentions regarding Iraq, in spite of various silly and transparently false nods to “diplomacy” and “war is a last option,” and is being quite open once again about its intentions regarding Iran. Anytime the President (any President, btw) pronounces, “We have no problems with the (insert nationality) people” it is time for said people to start worrying about American bombs dropping on their heads. Yes, hopefully Cheney and his ilk will be stymied, but if war with Iran comes, no-one but the corporate media is going to be saying, “Who could have seen it coming?”

  6. Tony, you are making one assumption here which I believe is fundamentally flawed: you are assuming that the Iranian nuclear weapons program (or lack thereof) is a key issue in Israel’s policies towards Iran. It is not.

    The Israelis fully understand that Iran simply cannot develop nuclear weapons while being a member in good standing of the IAEA and the NPT, and they understand that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. That entire canard is just a pretext for something much more real.

    Not only that, but the Israelis fully understand that IF Iran had a nuclear weapons program, no amount of Israeli (or even American) air and cruise missile strikes could ever seriously degrade it. So all that talk about the Iranian nuclear threat is nonsense.

    The real threat to Israel from Iran is that Iran is the ONLY country in the Middle-East, if not the world, which openly opposes the racist Zionist concept of a “Jewish state” in Palestine. Furthermore, Iran is openly supporting Hezbollah which has single handedly done more to weaken Israel’s power in the Middle-East than all the other arab armies taken together.

    Iran is powerful economically and Iran has become the major regional power, courtesy of the Neocons stupidity and lack of foresight: after all, when then ‘regime changed’ Saddam and the Taliban they removed the two main regional enemies of Iran. Ditto for al-Qaeda which the Iranians hate no less than the Americans.

    No, the main purpose of the coming war on Iran will be to do to Iran exactly what Israel did to Lebanon in 2006: punish the civilian population for supporting the ‘wrong’ regime and destroy has much of the economy as possible.

    The second purpose of such an aggression on Iran will be to make Omert and Bush look like “wartime commanders” and rally the Americans and the Israelis around the flag (and getting McCain elected, of course).

    The third objective of the upcoming attack on Iran is a result of the Neocons and Zionists believing their own propaganda. They have, after all, blamed Iran for literally everything: from the defeat of Israel in 2006, to the election of Hamas, from the disaster in Iraq to the mess in Afghanistan. Every time the Neocon/Zionist clique has FUBARed a situation, Iran was blamed. Sooner or later that kind of scapegoating requires action since, “hey, who knows, it might work!?”

    Lastly, Biggie Smalls and Tupac where prison-hardened street thugs. Olmert and Bush are soft handed sissies who never so much as exchanged a single punch with anyone (except their teddy-bears maybe). They know nothing about war, nothing about violence, nothing about danger and, of course, they know nothing about the fact that you do no “telegraph” your intentions to strike at an enemy.

    I know, this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever (but when did these to idiots do anything right?!). But they will attack Iran. Soon.

    The Saker

  7. Ziad says:

    WRT Iran’s nuclear program, the danger for Israel/U.S. is not a nuclear weapon but merely a nuclear capability. Under the NPT Iran could develop the potential to go nuclear at any time.

    That in itself is a serious deterrent, even if Iran never produces a single bomb. First, no one would threaten Iran because it would only cause them to nuke up at short notice. Second, by gaining the capability to build nukes but never doing so puts paid to all those mad mullah claims. Now Iran becomes a responsible member of the *REAL* international community, i.e. those nations who believe the U.N. charter forbidding aggressive war actually applies to everyone.

  8. hass says:

    Any country with a nuclear energy program can supposedly build nukes at any time – Brazil Argentina Canada..Heck Japan is supposedly just a weekend away from making nukes. But unlike other countries, Iran has made offers that would make it practically impossible to secretly make nukes, like opening its nuclar program to multinational participation.

  9. morris says:

    In the end the US will not get Iran. (unlike Biggie!)
    But it will have trained many in subterfuge and assassination.
    And what will happen in a crashing socioeconomic backdrop?
    With vindictiveness (and bio chemicals)as the modus operendus?
    Like a scorpion surrounded by fire.
    Will the NeoCons turn on each other? Or maybe they’ll blame the liberals who will then be the McCarthyist bogeymen.
    The enemies won’t be Islamofascists or Communists, they will be the humanists.
    Assassinating the liberal writers, a special ops from the current Admin. (just joking)
    Tony is right about the assassins not announcing their intentions in advance, they don’t.
    In fact the word assassinate comes from Persia.
    The religions say we should celebrate every day we are alive, maybe they are right?

  10. Ray H says:

    for some reason your intro brought to mind the classic onion headline: “Bush invades Iraq despite plea from Cheryl Crow” … or words to that effect

  11. nationofbloodthirstysheep says:

    I’m afraid Saker (no. 6 above) has it right.

  12. Murphy says:

    Agree with saker. Iran’s “nuclear programme” is, like Saddam’s “WMD” really only a red herring (didn’t Wolfowitz even admit as much?)Obviousy neither the US nor Israel want Iran to go nuclear, but what they are worried about is not so much that the ‘mad mullahs’ would go around “annililating’ other countries, but that Iran with nuclear weapons would have to be dealt with on its own terms. Witness the opening to North Korea – once the ‘evilist’ of them all! I think Chomksy has been right all along (even if he underplays the influence of the Zionist lobby) – what the US fears most in the ME are powerful INDEPENDENT nations. The same could of course be said about the Israelis: a strong, independent -though not neccessarily aggressive – Iran would be an unbearable strategic (if not neccessarily military) threat to them.

  13. Spyguy says:

    I firmly believe that no matter what Iran does, the US and/or Israel will attack Iran before 20 Jan 2009.

    These war drums are for two basic reasons:

    – Israel wants to make sure it isn’t checkmated – IF Iran did get nuclear weapons, Israel would be more vulnerable to losing the next conventional weapons war because it couldn’t use its nukes without getting nuked, effectively committing suicide. Israel has a siege paranoia mindset and sees terrible things in the actions of everyone else, no matter how benign the actions are. BTW – If Iran really wanted nuclear weapons, there are much easier ways to get them than to enrich their own uranium and designing and building a weapons system – why not just BUY one of the “missing” ones that are already built and tested? Check out about how there are thousands of nuclear weapons “unaccounted for.” As for using nuclear power for local energy and selling oil based energy for a premium, that is just good old basic “capitalist” thinking – any good businessman would do the exact same thing.

    – The US leadership has woken up to the fact that “Peak Oil” is real and their solution for US survival is to corner the world oil supplies, including Iran’s. Never mind that Iraq has clearly demonstrated that it is impossible to hold oil supplies at gun point. The locals don’t like it and the rest of the world doesn’t like it and in the end the oil will be forcibly taken from the US. The US ego is also bruised because the CIA’s Shah and the US oil companies got kicked out, after all the work the CIA did to install the Shah after overthrowing the ELECTED government.

    The basic problem we have today is Israel is crazy stupid with paranoia and the US is crazy stupid with oil envy. So between the two crazy idiots, a stupid war will result which will devastate both countries. Israel will probably get wiped out physically (lots of deaths for no reason) and the US will be wiped out economically (lots of deaths for no reason – Yes, deaths from starvation and the effects of winter weather on people with no means to heat their hovels).

    I have do doubts that the US/Israel will attack, because in the end, any excuse will serve their purposes.

    Of course if I were the Iranian leadership, I would help the world understand just how foolish it would be to let the US/Israel attack.

    – First I would find some old, obsolete,unused oil infrastructure in Iran and blow it up.

    – I would then announce to the world that Iran was having “oil production problems” because important oil infrastructure was blown up by US and Israeli commandos, referring the the latest Seymour Hersh article. Since virtually 100% of all the reporters in the world are extremely technologically ignorant, I would then invite lots of reporters to the “attack site.” They would dutifully report on the extreme destruction and how it would “cripple” the Iranian oil production (reporters are soooo gullible – witness how much Ian Williams gets wrong). Of course, the reality is the oil shipments to China and India would continue as before, but the reporters wouldn’t know that.

    – Of course the US will deny the charges, but I would just point out that the US representatives are always lying and would point them to Scott McClellan’s book to remind them of that fact. The great thing is, the US leadership has told so many lies in the past that even though it would be true that they hadn’t bombed the Iranian oil infrastructure, no one would believe them!

    By starting rumors that Iranian oil production was declining due to a US commando attack, the oil traders would go nuts and bid up the price of oil in seconds. The world oil market is in delicate balance right now and any stories about an “attack” on Iran by the US/Israel would spike oil prices through the roof.

    The US economy would go into a tailspin and everyone would blame the US political leadership for creating the disaster. Bush and Cheney would be skewered. There might be a big push for impeachment. It would also ruin Israel’s chances of attacking because Israel would get the blame for the collapse of the US economy and lose its only friend in the world. After that, any attack by the Arabs on Israel would be ignored by most Americans.

    As I see it, Iran could easily devastate the US economy, checkmating Bush/Cheney and Israel without firing a shot, just by playing the oil markets.

    Personally, I hope the Iranian leadership does exactly what I outlined here. Sure it will have a devastating impact on the US economy (where I live), but in the end, the effect would be far less than an actual war.

  14. Morris says:

    Spyguy, my western mind relates to your false flag suggestion. But that does not seem to be the Islamic style. They seem concerned with truth and honesty.
    I guess the Koran lays out the rules of warfare.
    Looking at Nasrallah as an example. These people just play it straight, they say it like it is, to the point where even Israelis were listening to Nasrallah in 06, to find out what was happening.
    It is seeming ever more likely (to me) that Iran could unleash a retaliation of such strength that the world has never witnessed before.
    And yes (like you say) all the trouble coz of some wounded egos.

  15. PeakOilGuy says:

    I’ll add a couple points to Spyguy’s analysis, which is basically right.

    Chavez has stated that if Iran is attacked he will cut off Venezuela’s oil exports, which he certainly has the right to do and will enjoy doing. So, even if Iran cannot close the Hormuz Strait at all, the world will have to do without Iranian and Venezuelan oil exports.

    So, the best sign that a strike against Iran is coming would be US preparations to invade Venezuela. Just taking out Chavez would unleash civil war and oil exports would be cut off anyway.

    Also, I don’t think Israel could possibly be wiped out physically or even suffer major damage (they have their nukes for something). They would suffer from high oil prices and shortages though, just like the US.

  16. Morris says:

    PeakOilGuy doesn’t think Iran could close the Gulf. The Gulf is too shallow for US subs. That just leaves air power. From a sitting duck place, a carrier, Oman, etc.
    Irans strength lies in its missiles. A tanker is a pretty easy target and well within range.
    While doubting Israel’s ability to receive physical damage might be good for morale. It might be a rather moronic supposition. All the warmongers are ignorant of an adversaries abilities, witness: Lebanon 2006 (& 2008).
    There is a hell of an economic crash on its way according to the experts. And in the final analysis that is the race, can a war be launched before the crash.
    And do you imagine for a second that China and Russia are not assissting Iran (apart from with weapons) with inteligence gathering. Don’t you think Iran will know in advance of any long distance attack. (nato bombed the chinese embassy in belgrade for a reason).
    All this warmongering by a group of people watching the financial floors dissolve.
    The US military superiority lies in its long reach, which would be useful if it didn’t have so much so close to Iran. I am afraid our leaders have the plot.
    As for Venezuelan oil, China is already building a refinery specifically for it.
    It’s looking like the raison d’etre is: Viva la Haliburton. For that we sink.

  17. Morris says:

    I am afraid our leaders have LOSTthe plot.

  18. Morris says:

    And why is the US withdrawing its Nukes from overseas? Is it related to Iranian retaliation? It has withdrawn them from the UK, it has signaled its intention to withdraw them from Germany and it is discussing the same with Turkey.
    Has the NeoCon saga not been a lesson in incompetence, look at the oil prices….

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  21. NK+ says:

    Tony, I’m an avid reader of the Middle East Blog on I have to say that this was one of the most on point, accurate, and creative blogs I have ever read.

    My aims are to quell the fervent anti-Iranianism that Israel is fermenting world-wide with its bellicose rhetoric of half-truths and deceiving mistranslations. I agree with you wholeheartedly that they are neither in the position to strike nor will they in the end run.

    Kudos to you.

  22. george says:

    I had no idea that you know more than the US generals running our nations military! What are your sources my friend? if you are wrong and the crazy iranians get the bomb I bet you think they will not use it against us or Israel. If one had a normal belief in life being sacred than I would agree with you but their crazy religion is based on bringing the end of the world so they can sit with their 72 virgins in heaven with I guess an eternal hardon. Wake up this is one thing we can’t be late on. If you believe that Israel will hold its fire because the US said to only to be nuked by the iranians you are nuts . they will attack Iran and most likely shortly after the election before any chance of obama screwing things up for them.

  23. mofo says:

    On a tangent: one of the things that always amazed me about Tupac’s & Biggie’s murders is that despite all their bluster, both targets & their security force (a/k/a “chauffeur”) never got off a reuturn shot. This was especially puzzling in Biggie’s case, since he reportedly was confronted by Piru Crips (or are they bloods?) at the Awards party he attended & left just before getting shot.

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  25. not an idiot says:

    wow! Only on the NY Times website are there a bigger collection of morons!

    Yeah, Iran has no weapons

    Have any of you even listened to their leaders? They call Israel a cancer that can only be cured by intense radiation!

    They call for its destruction!

    This “war” dates back 5000+ years and if any of you bothered to read, if you can read, you would know that Israel did not start this, but Islam did!

    Are their Jewish suicide bombers en masse? NO!

    Any Christian bombers? NO!

    Any buddhist bombers? NO!

    ONLY Islamic bombers! Hmmmm….

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  27. Wake up this is one thing we can’t be late on. If you believe that Israel will hold its fire because the US said to only to be nuked by the iranians you are nuts .

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