Israel’s threat to attack Iran a test of Obama’s strength
Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen has warned Israel publicly that an attack on Iran would be a “big, big, big problem for all of us.”
But if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feels he can thumb his nose at the U.S. President (and Vice President) on the signal issue of Israeli settlements, is there reason to believe that Netanyahu is inclined to take into account repeated “please pleas” from the likes of Mullen?
Was this week’s chutzpah-laden Israeli move announcing new settlement construction in East Jerusalem – in the midst of a visit by Vice President Joe Biden – a test of whether the Obama administration really has the toughness to push back in a meaningful fashion?
[On the subject of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the reason given for Israel’s threat to attack Iran:]
-Iran is nowhere near a nuclear weapon, so there is time to reconsider what guarantees could be offered to Tehran to dissuade it from pursuing a nuclear weapons option.
-Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton let drop last month that, even if Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon, this does not “directly” threaten the United States.
-Does the Israeli government honestly perceive an “existential threat” in Iran’s possible acquisition of a few nuclear weapons against the 200-300 devices already in Israel’s arsenal?
-Meanwhile American officials do nothing about Israel’s actual nuclear weapons, or for that matter, those of Pakistan and India.
-Is the real objective of Israel and, by extension, the U.S. the same as it was with respect to Iraq seven years ago — that is, “regime change”?
– Opinions expressed by Ray McGovern, a 27-year veteran of CIA’s analysis division