Netanyahu and Barak were slammed in an unusually strong editorial in the New York Times on August 13. “Israeli leaders are again talking about possible military action against Iran. This is, at best, mischievous and, at worst, irresponsible, especially when diplomacy has time to run,” said the Times.
Gary Sick, a professor at Columbia University who served as President Jimmy Carter’s chief adviser on Iran, laid out several reasons why an attack by Israel against Iran would be both catastrophic and counterproductive, and he added: “It is worth remembering that Israel acquires significant leverage from this constant perception of imminent war. By keeping the Iranian nuclear case at the forefront of the world’s media, political leaders everywhere are more likely to pay a price in the form of lost revenues and political sparring with Iran, rather than facing the calamity of an outright war.”
Sadly, the fact is that Israel’s Iran scare might work. President Obama may make additional concessions to Israel, on top of recent tougher sanctions, and his opponent, Mitt Romney, is likely to make promises to Israel that will tie his hands if he is elected in November. In the meantime, neither candidate can be expected to say anything at all about negotiations to create a Palestinian state. And the United States might accelerate its military buildup in the Persian Gulf.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
As Amos Yadlin, a hawkish former chief of Israel’s military intelligence service, outlined in an op-ed in the Washington Post, there are several steps that the United States can take right now to calm Israel’s nerves and delay an attack. Among them, he wrote, “Washington should signal its intentions via a heightened U.S. military presence in the Gulf, military exercises with Middle East allies and missile defense deployment in the region.” If not, well, Netanyahu and Barak may decide to unleash hell’s hounds.