March 24, 2012
In an exclusive report, Jerusalem-based DEBKAfile reports that both Israel and the United States are on the same page in regard to launching an attack on Iran.
“American and Israeli intelligence evaluations of the state of Iran’s program are in accord – contrary to the impression gained from Obama administration officials,” DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported on March 22. “Both are of one mind on the imperative to paralyze that program even by force if Iran refuses to give up its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.”
On Friday, it was reported that the United States, European allies and Israel agree that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. “Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead,” the National Post reported. Despite this evidence, the Israeli government has decided to attack Iran.
According to DEBKAfile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a radio interview on Thursday that if Israel is resolved to attack Iran, it will have to do so within three months. In February, it was reported that Israel would carry out an attack in June and would use Saudi Arabia as its base.
DEBKAfile claims Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has convinced a majority of his Security and Diplomatic Cabinet of the urgency of an attack. “He is now backed by the two deputy prime ministers, the defense, foreign affairs, interior and finance ministers, while Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor and Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin are unconvinced. Netanyahu can therefore go ahead and safely put the military option to the vote in the cabinet for the first time,” DEBKAfile reports.
With this consensus, Barak sent IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz to Washington to meet Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. Gantz told Dempsey Israel would “be happy if the US halts Iran’s nuclear program in its tracks, no matter whether this is done by economic sanctions, an oil embargo, negotiations between Tehran and the world powers, or secret US-Iranian diplomacy.” The effort, however, would need to fit within the three month timeline.
Israeli officials then met “discretely” with leading members of Congress and told them about the three month timeline.
DEBKAfile states, however, that Israel “may have to part ways with the United States on the Iranian issue the first time in its short history” and attack Iran “before it is too late.”
Israel is now committed to an attack on Iran that will occur during the height of campaigning for the 2012 U.S. presidential election. The Republican national convention will be held on August 27-30 in Tampa, Florida, and the Democrat convention will be held on September 3-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina. If Israel attacks Iran in June, it will undoubtedly be the dominant issue during the convention and the election in November.
Republican candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have all expressed their support of an Israeli attack on Iran. Ron Paul is the only candidate who opposes an attack. A poll conducted earlier this month revealed that a majority of Republicans believe the U.S. will attack Iran this year.
Obama said on March 5 that the U.S. would always “have Israel’s back” but said there was still time for diplomacy.