Monday, September 03, 2012

As Tensions Mount About Iran's Nuclear Program, Obama Assures Tehran -- Not Jerusalem

"I don't want to be complicit if they choose to do it."
General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, on Israel choosing to go it alone to put a stop to Iran's nuclear program

Ahmadinejad Credit: Wiki Commons
Over a week ago, The New York Times reported that Signs Suggest Iran Is Speeding Up Work on Nuclear Program:
International nuclear inspectors will soon report that Iran has installed hundreds of new centrifuges in recent months and may also be speeding up production of nuclear fuel while negotiations with the United States and its allies have ground to a near halt, according to diplomats and experts briefed on the findings.
Now, in the shadow of the NAM talks in Iran, highlighting the failure of the Obama administration to isolate Iran,  The New York Times is reporting the obvious, that Report on Iran Nuclear Work Puts Israel in a Box:
For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday offered findings validating his longstanding position that while harsh economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation may have hurt Iran, they have failed to slow Tehran’s nuclear program. If anything, the program is speeding up.

But the agency’s report has also put Israel in a corner, documenting that Iran is close to crossing what Israel has long said is its red line: the capability to produce nuclear weapons in a location invulnerable to Israeli attack.
All of which raises again the point that has never really been put to rest: the failure of the Obama administration to follow through on its promise that Iran would not be able to acquire a nuclear bomb. The process has been slow and there have been consistent claims that sanctions and talks would halt Iran's nuclear program -- but the fact remains that the only thing that keeps on stalling are the talks.

Iran's nuclear program just continues, and approaches the point where an armed response would be futile.

Which brings us to the statement by General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, that the US does not want to appear "complicit" with any step taken by Israel to protect itself from the acquisition of a nuclear bomb by a country that has consistently threatened for years to wipe Israel off the map.

This may explain the reason, as The Wall Street Journal points out: Why Israel Doesn't Trust Obama:
No wonder the Israelis are upset—at the U.S. Administration. It's one thing to hear from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he wants to wipe you off the map: At least it has the ring of honesty. It's quite another to hear from President Obama that he has your back, even as his Administration tries to sell to the public a make-believe world in which Iran's nuclear intentions are potentially peaceful, sanctions are working and diplomacy hasn't failed after three and half years.

The irony for the Administration is that its head-in-the-sand performance is why many Israeli decision-makers believe they had better strike sooner than later. Not only is there waning confidence that Mr. Obama is prepared to take military action on his own, but there's also a fear that a re-elected President Obama will take a much harsher line on an Israeli attack than he would before the first Tuesday in November.

If Gen. Dempsey or Administration officials really wanted to avert an Israeli strike, they would seek to reassure Jerusalem that the U.S. is under no illusions about the mullahs' nuclear goals—or about their proximity to achieving them. They're doing the opposite.

Since coming to office, Obama Administration policy toward Israel has alternated between animus and incompetence. We don't know what motivated Gen. Dempsey's outburst, but a President who really had Israel's back would publicly contradict it.
Now The New York Times is claiming that To Calm Israel, U.S. Offers Ways to Restrain Iran:
  • Naval exercises
  • A more forceful clamping down on Iranian oil revenue
  • New declarations by President Obama
  • Covert activities that have been previously considered and rejected
  • New radar system in Qatar that would combine with radars already in place in Israel and Turkey
  • New antimissile systems in the Persian Gulf,
The problem is:
  • The naval exercises are being reported to be scaled back
  • Sanctions have yet to have an effect
  • Mere words from Obama are not going to have an effect at this point
  • The covert activities are undefined
  • As it is, Turkey has refused to share the radar information with Israel
As far as those antimissile systems go -- and for that matter, the rest of those wonderful suggestions by the New York Times -- it seems that the Obama administration is not as interested as The New York Times.

Instead, The Times of Israel is reporting that the only assurances Obama is giving out are to Iran, that Yedioth Ahronoth reports Washington tells Tehran that it will not join in an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program:
The United States has no intention of joining in a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran and expects the Islamic Republic to refrain from attacking US targets in the case of such an attack, senior Washington officials told their Iranian counterparts, according to a report in Yedioth Ahronoth on Monday.

In recent days, senior administration officials reportedly sent messages to Iran, through diplomats from two European states, addressing the possibility that Israel would launch a unilateral strike and establishing that the US expects Iran to not draw it into a conflict by firing on American army bases and aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.
If Obama is going to keep assuring Israel that it has Israel's back, it really should put that knife down.

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1 comment:

Empress Trudy said...

You DO realize that if Obama is re elected the first thing he'll do is invite the entire Iranian regime to the White House for an official state visit, don't you? And his call to be uninvolved unless Iran hits American targets is a clear signal for Turkey to feel obligated to bomb Israel in 'support' of Iran as well. Obama might very well be the US's last President.