MNA – Former State Department and Pentagon official, Ilan Goldenberg, has called on media to stop overhyping possible war with Iran, which is “what the hawks want.”
In a thread on Twitter on Saturday, Middle East Security Director at Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Ilan Goldenberg, called on media to responsibly report on US military deployments to the Middle East, and be cautioned against becoming a tool for beating the drums of war.
Goldenberg, who previously served as the Iran Team chief in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, said the recent US military deployments to the region is “far from a massive game changer” given his three-year experience in the Iran Desk at the Pentagon.
He was specifically singling out an article by NY Times, headlined ‘Pentagon Builds Deterrent Force Against Possible Iranian Attack’, saying that “a single Patriot battery does not merit a NY times headline. Especially since the US moved 4 out of the region just a few months ago!”
The carrier deployment announced last week to the Persian Gulf was also way overhyped given that it was already supposed to be there, he added.
“Someone in the administration has decided to dramatically increase the media posture of the US government around these deployments to apply pressure on Iran,” he said.
“It could be because they are genuinely concerned about intelligence that Iran may be threatening US troops. That’s probably want the pentagon wants.”
“It could be that they want to apply pressure on Iran to get back to the negotiating table. That’s what Trump seems to want.”
“It could be that they really want to provoke a crisis. That’s what Bolton wants.”
He went on to urge the media to responsibly report on this issue, “by looking not just at the media posture but what is actually going into the region.”
“Right now we’ve got what appears to be a mounting escalation over a carrier that was supposed to be in the region anyway, one Patriot battery, and some B-52s.”
“This is probably still not close to what we had in region just a couple years ago before we started winding up the counter ISIS campaign and shifting deployments to Asia and Europe,” he added.
He went on to refer to the NY Times article again, saying the notion in the article that the Iranians want to provoke a limited military strike by the US is “highly suspect and inconsistent with everything the Iranians are doing & have done for years.”
“The Iranians use deniable surrogate & proxy forces precisely because they want to increase their influence & hit the US & it’s allies without provoking a conventional war that they know they’d lose,” he said.
He stressed that the only way to contain the tension is for journalists to “watch the assets not the hype.”
“Approach the intelligence assessments – especially on Iranian motivations & strategy – with deep skepticism. Don’t become a tool for beating the drums of war,” he added.