Three countries, three leaks:
1. The Gates memo on Iran – apparently leaked by foreign policy advisers keen to ‘catalyse’ military planning for an invasion of Iran and nudge Gates towards that option. Gates has always opposed military intervention and is leaning towards a policy of containment to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat, in which he is backed by most of the American military establishment. As FLP points out, this explains Gates’ claim the memo had been ‘mischaracterised’. There is a feeling of frustration at the Pentagon due to the slow progress made by the White House towards containment, with the State Department allegedly dragging its feet on the diplomatic manoeuvres required.
2. The Scud rumours were allegedly leaked by US officials in order to ‘lay the groundwork’ for a UN force along the Syrian-Lebanese border that would ‘stopper’ the Hizbollah supply route.
3. The US and Israel have reached a secret agreement on Jerusalem that will limit construction whilst allowing Netanyahu to save face over the Ramat Shlomo project and other planned settlement activity. Each side agreed to deny the agreement, should it be leaked, and if Bibi faces particularly heavy pressure he can announce a couple of symbolic building projects in order to avoid difficulties within his Likud-dominated coalition. If this is true, it’s a welcome and practical move for both sides, but as FLP points out, ‘the worst is yet to come’.