Obama, Israel and the Mullahs

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Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli intelligence and director of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, discussed this difference of perspective in his op-ed article published by the New York Times on March 1st. The article is entitled “Israel’s Last Chance to Strike Iran“:

Today, Israel sees the prospect of a nuclear Iran that calls for our annihilation as an existential threat. An Israeli strike against Iran would be a last resort, if all else failed to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program. That moment of decision will occur when Iran is on the verge of shielding its nuclear facilities from a successful attack — what Israel’s leaders have called the ‘zone of immunity’…

Israel doesn’t have the safety of distance, nor do we have the United States Air Force’s advanced fleet of bombers and fighters. America could carry out an extensive air campaign using stealth technology and huge amounts of ammunition, dropping enormous payloads that are capable of hitting targets and penetrating to depths far beyond what Israel’s arsenal can achieve.

This gives America more time than Israel in determining when the moment of decision has finally been reached. And as that moment draws closer, differing timetables are becoming a source of tension…

Asking Israel’s leaders to abide by America’s timetable, and hence allowing Israel’s window of opportunity to be closed, is to make Washington a de facto proxy for Israel’s security — a tremendous leap of faith for Israelis faced with a looming Iranian bomb.

Israel has a fleet of advanced F-16 fighter planes. Its military has repeatedly shown incredible ingenuity in retrofitting imported military equipment with Israeli technology to meet Israel’s own military strategies. Israel also has some bunker-busting bombs, which were supplied by the Obama administration. However, Israel obviously does not have the most advanced military capabilities that the U.S. has to reach all or most of Iran’s widely dispersed and deeply buried nuclear development facilities. Nevertheless, as Israel’s past pre-emptive actions demonstrate, such as destroying much of the Egyptian air force at the outset of the Six-Day War, the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 and the destruction of the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, Israeli leaders will do whatever they believe they have to do to protect the Jewish nation from what they regard as existential threats.

The Obama-Netanyahu meeting next week will likely result in a communiqué indicating both leaders’ strong resolve to prevent Iran from going nuclear. Indeed, according to the Haaretz report, the White House has proposed to the Prime Minister’s Office that the two leaders release a joint statement following their meeting, the goal of which, according to the report, would be “to bridge apparent disagreements between the United States and Israel, and to present a single U.S.-Israeli front in order to leverage pressure on Iran.”

The joint statement may ratchet up the rhetoric a bit regarding the use of military force as a last resort option. But if Prime Minister Netanyahu is hoping for something much more concrete, such as Obama’s unequivocal public support for Israel if it decides it must take military action alone to defend itself or, alternatively, a public ironclad American assurance that the United States will do whatever is necessary to prevent a nuclear Iran before it is too late, I think he will be disappointed.

If history is any guide, regardless of whether Obama pledges unequivocal support for whatever Israel decides to do to defend itself or hints to Netanyahu privately that the United States will not stand in Israel’s way, Israel will most likely choose to act against Iran while it still can.

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  • Adina Kutnicki

    I have NO doubt that Israel will act, and will act alone-Obama be damned..
    Being in the direct eye of the storm helps give one perspective.

    • Alex

      And that perspective for Israel is the answer "Never Again" to any and all existential threats, which Iran makes in actions and rhetoric on a daily basis.

  • tom4you

    Instead of trying to knock out the nukes, how about killing all the Mulla's and Revolutionary Guards and let the Iranian army and people come to power. Perhaps they will gladly rid themselves of the bomb….

  • Flowerknife_us

    Israel could set more than the Nuclear program back. Strikes against soft targets like Fuel, electricity and communications would have far greater impact. When Iran finds it needs to divert it's limited defences only opens the door for other programs.

    Besides, Just who is there to stop the Israelis from flying right over Syria and Iraq on their way to Iran. Other than Obama that is?

    • Alex

      The Israelis can do it with massive rocket strikes and precise targeting.

    • Captain America

      Russia has upgraded their radar station in Syria. It can cover from the Mediterranean to Iran. Any Israeli activity will be reported to Iran, unless the Israelis take it out, & provoking Vlad the Impaler Putin. I think the Israelis ought to take the late, great Gen Curtis E LeMay's advice & nuke 'em til they glow. A nuke is better than a bunker busting conventional bomb, given the fact that the sites will be irradiated for 200 yrs. It can use conventional smart bombs & cruise missiles to take out their air defenses, command & control sites, & other military sites. They couild also target iranian leaders homes, & thre revolutionary guards (Qods forces).

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Obama is sandbaging Israel on taking action against Iran and it is because he supports them in their
    attempt to destroy the Jews, Obama is and anti-Semite Marxist/Islamist tool. What excuse will Obama
    make in the event of a nuclear attack on Tel Aviv, "sorry I was on vacation"………Talking with Obama
    is a waste of time unless it is for Netanyahu to unload on the slug by giving him a piece of his mind.
    Destroying the Iranian nuclear facilities without destroying all of the Mullahs would not end the problem.

    • Alex

      Exactly and well stated.

  • elihu

    Israel beware: Obama is not your friend; he is not even on your side…

    "Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem;
    May they prosper who love you."
    (Psalm 122.6.)

  • Larry

    I think my expectations will be right in the range of what will happen.

    Obama will dirk the Israelis and kow tow to the ayatollahs as per usual.

  • hashim

    Israel is bluffing the US into fighting its war against Iran, just as it did against Iraq. If the US falls again into this trap, then it deserves to be the laughing stock of the others.. no superpower fights someone else's war.

    • Captain America

      Neville Chamberlain Obama will never do it. It would upset muslims and God knows that he goes out of his way to placate them. Obama is willing to sacrifice Israel's Jews & all of the Christians who live like third class citizens in muslim lands. I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees in some cockroach infested muslim pesthole still in the 7th century. I declare a FATWA on all muslim terrorists. I call for a Jihad against islamic infidels The battle is between civilization & human rights vs. islamic intolerance & ignorance. I choose freedom over islamic slavery any day. Death to islamic kaffirs, unless they convert to a more peaceful religion.

  • Dispozadaburka

    Obama will visit Israel when he has pushed the borders back to 1967 borders.
    Then he will build an American Embassy in Jerusalem,
    conquering Jerusalem diplomatically,
    in the name of Islam.
    Muslim Day of Prayer in September 2009 was actually an act of "surrender" to Islam.