Thursday, May 12, 2011

Can Israel still deal with Iran's nuks?

rael lost the opportunity to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, leaving the Jewish state vulnerable to a devastating Iranian attack?
That's the question posed today by Haaretz's Aluf Benn, who argues that Netanyahu's options have diminished -- not expanded -- since taking office.

First, President Obama constrained Israeli military action by building up Israeli missile defense, but leaving key offensive weapons in the hands of U.S. military advisors.

Second, Netanyahu's cabinet is in turmoil. The prime minister continues to maintain that President Ahmadinejad is a modern-day Hitler, while dissenters like Defense Minister Barak and former Mossad chief Meir Dagan urge caution and patience.

Third, the Iranians are in trouble. Sanctions, along with a power struggle at the top, has left the mullahs and Ahmadinejad's camp weakened.

Benn concludes that Netanyahu will deliver a strong message of warning to the American people and the president when he speaks before the U.S. Congress on May 24. However, his threats will "sound hollow."

In his upcoming speech to the U.S. Congress, Netanyahu will reiterate his warning that Israel is being threatened with destruction, and as such, it should not be pressured to withdraw from essential territories of the West Bank and transfer them to the hands of the "villains."

Hints that he will dispatch the air force on a "never again" mission to Iran if Israel is pushed into the corner are meant to deter Obama from imposing an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.

But the threat sounds hollow. The internal disputes in Israel, concerns about a destructive war of attrition and uncertainty about how Egypt will respond are all serving as brakes on the aircrafts' wheels. Netanyahu waited two years, only to discover that now, it is much harder for him to strike.

Has Netanyahu waited to long? Should the United States give Israel the green light to strike Iran? Share your thoughts at

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