February 7, 2009
The Israeli prime ministerial frontrunner will win a US blessing to enter war with Iran, says a source familiar with US Mideast policies.
Aaron David Miller, the US State Department’s top analyst in the 1980s, said Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu will be able to convince President Barack Obama that a military attack is the only solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.
“The Israelis will be pushing [Washington] to ensure that Iran never gets to that point and failing that, they will consider a military strike,” Reuters quoted Miller — who is a former US Middle East peace negotiator and is currently an analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center — as saying late Friday.
“It need not be conclusive or threatening, but it will be very serious and … scare the daylights out of the president that unless the international community mobilizes to address the situation, the Israelis will,” he said.
Tel Aviv accuses Iran, a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of having plans to develop nuclear weaponry.
Tehran, however, insists that it enriches uranium for peaceful purposes and that it has the right to the technology already in the hands of many others.
Israeli leaders, who have in their possession the sole nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, have intensified their go-to-war rhetoric against Iran in the run-up to Tel Aviv’s elections set for February 10.
Israeli election frontrunner Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that his first mission, if elected prime minister, would be to “thwart the Iranian threat” once and for all.
“[Iran] will not be armed with a nuclear weapon… It includes everything that is necessary to make this statement come true,” warned the leading candidate for the prime minister post.
Israeli legislator and weapons expert Isaac Ben-Israel, meanwhile, claimed that Tel Aviv has only a year to pull off a unilateral strike on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, asserting that any attack would only delay, rather than sabotage, Iranian breakthroughs in nuclear technology development.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has also stressed that possible Washington-Tehran talks “should be kept short and followed by readiness to take action”.
British strategist Mark Fitzpatrick, however, has asserted that Israeli military action against Iran was “a significant possibility, but not a probability”.
“That point will probably be some time towards the end of this year,” said the senior fellow for non-proliferation at London’s Institute for Strategic Studies, adding that Israel should consider the negative consequences before it makes any move.