Source: The New York Times
For their part, the Israelis suspect that the Obama administration has abandoned any aggressive strategy that would ensure the prevention of a nuclear Iran and is merely playing a game of words to appease them. The Israelis find evidence of this in the shift in language used by the administration, from “threshold prevention” — meaning American resolve to stop Iran from having a nuclear-energy program that could allow for the ability to create weapons — to “weapons prevention,” which means the conditions can exist, but there is an American commitment to stop Iran from assembling an actual bomb.
The Nuclear Assassinations
Six key strikes against Iran thought to be made by the Mossad.
“I fail to grasp the Americans’ logic,” a senior Israeli intelligence source told me. “If someone says we’ll stop them from getting there by praying for more glitches in the centrifuges, I understand. If someone says we must attack soon to stop them, I get it. But if someone says we’ll stop them after they are already there, that I do not understand.”
Over the past year, Western intelligence agencies, in particular the C.I.A., have moved closer to Israel’s assessments of the Iranian nuclear project. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed this explicitly when he said that Iran would be able to reach nuclear-weapons capabilities within a year. The International Atomic Energy Agency published a scathing report stating that Iran was in breach of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and was possibly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Emboldened by this newfound accord, Israel’s leaders have adopted a harsher tone against Iran. Ya’alon, the deputy prime minister, told me in October: “We have had some arguments with the U.S. administration over the past two years, but on the Iranian issue we have managed to close the gaps to a certain extent. The president’s statements at his last meeting with the prime minister — that ‘we are committed to prevent ’ and ‘all the options are on the table’ — are highly important. They began with the sanctions too late, but they have moved from a policy of engagement to a much more active (sanctions) policy against Iran. All of these are positive developments.” On the other hand, Ya’alon sighed as he admitted: “The main arguments are ahead of us. This is clear.”
Now that the facts have been largely agreed upon, the arguments Ya’alon anticipates are those that will stem from the question of how to act — and what will happen if Israel decides that the moment for action has arrived. The most delicate issue between the two countries is what America is signaling to Israel and whether Israel should inform America in advance of a decision to attack.
Matthew Kroenig is the Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and worked as a special adviser in the Pentagon from July 2010 to July 2011. One of his tasks was defense policy and strategy on Iran. When I spoke with Kroenig last week, he said: “My understanding is that the United States has asked Israel not to attack Iran and to provide Washington with notice if it intends to strike. Israel responded negatively to both requests. It refused to guarantee that it will not attack or to provide prior notice if it does.” Kroenig went on, “My hunch is that Israel would choose to give warning of an hour or two, just enough to maintain good relations between the countries but not quite enough to allow Washington to prevent the attack.” Kroenig said Israel was correct in its timeline of Iran’s nuclear development and that the next year will be critical. “The future can evolve in three ways,” he said. “Iran and the international community could agree to a negotiated settlement; Israel and the United States could acquiesce to a nuclear-armed Iran; or Israel or the United States could attack. Nobody wants to go in the direction of a military strike,” he added, “but unfortunately this is the most likely scenario. The more interesting question is not whether it happens but how. The United States should treat this option more seriously and begin gathering international support and building the case for the use of force under international law.”
Top U.S. Gen.: Israel, U.S. See Iranian Threat Differently
Source: Arutz Sheva
By Elad Benari
The current U.S.-led push to force Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions through steadily increasing economic and diplomatic pressure is beginning to show results and it would be “premature” to resort to military force, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said on Thursday.
In an interview with the American weekly National Journal, Dempsey said that the U.S. remained committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and was prepared to use force if necessary. He cautioned, however, that a conflict with Iran would destabilize the region and potentially have a severe economic impact on the U.S.
“I do think the path we're on—the economic sanctions and the diplomatic pressure—does seem to me to be having an effect,” Dempsey told National Journal. “I just think that it’s premature to be deciding that the economic and diplomatic approach is inadequate.”
He added, “A conflict with Iran would be really destabilizing, and I'm not just talking from the security perspective. It would be economically destabilizing.”
Dempsey, who made the comments just one week after his visit to Israel, said he delivered a similar message of caution to Israel's top leadership during last week’s high-level talks. He admitted that he and the Israelis each argued their positions “aggressively” during the talks, but conceded that the two sides see the threat very differently.
“We have to acknowledge that they ... see that threat differently than we do. It’s existential to them,” he said. “My intervention with them was not to try to persuade them to my thinking or allow them to persuade me to theirs, but rather to acknowledge the complexity and commit to seeking creative solutions, not simple solutions.”
Dempsey said he and the military supported the administration's determination to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon by any means necessary. He said the U.S. was increasing its economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran while making preparations—if there was no other option—for a possible military intervention into the country.
“We are determined to prevent them from acquiring that weapon, but that doesn't mean dropping bombs necessarily,” he said. “I personally believe that we should be in the business of deterring as the first priority.”
The London Times reported this week that Israeli officials told Dempsey that Israel would give President Barack Obama no more than 12 hours notice if and when it attacks Iran.
The Netanyahu government also will not coordinate with the United States an attack on the Islamic Republic, according to the report.