Monday, April 6, 2009

US and Israel may fall out over Iran

Jonathan Cook, Foreign Correspondent
The National

".....Aluf Benn, a political commentator with Haaretz, noted last week: “Politicians in touch with Netanyahu say he has already made up his mind to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations.”

This view was backed by Amir Oren, an analyst close to the Israeli military, who reported on Friday that Israeli officials hope to persuade the White House to turn a blind eye to an Israeli strike next year, possibly in the summer. By then the bulk of US forces would be out of neighbouring Iraq, offering fewer targets for revenge attacks....

Gen David Petraeus, the top US commander in the Middle East, told Congress last week that Israel was assuming the worst about Iran. “The Israeli government may ultimately see itself so threatened by the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon that it would take preemptive military action to derail or delay it.”

Although Israeli officials play up the supposed threat of annihilation from a nuclear-armed Iran, the major concern is that an Iranian bomb would end Israel’s exclusive possession of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and undermine its dominance of the region. Iran might then be able to force major territorial concessions on behalf of the Palestinians.

Mr Netanyahu hinted at this during his interview. A nuclear-armed Iran, he said, would “create a great sea change in the balance of power in our area”."

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