War chatter is on the rise in Israel, where the prime minister and his defense chief seem to be preparing their public for an attack on Iran this fall. The increasingly dire warnings from Israel that pressure and diplomacy have failed and a unilateral strike might be in the offing, however, have been met by American pronouncements that war is not the answer, not yet at least.
Enter Israeli president Shimon Peres, who said yesterday on Israeli television what many analysts and others have long-since realized: That Israel does not have the military capabilities to go-it-alone and inflict a significant delay on Iran’s nuclear program. Peres said:
Now, it is clear to us that we cannot do it alone. We can delay. It is clear to us that we have to proceed together with America. There are questions about coordination and timing, but as serious as the danger is, this time at least we are not alone.
A poll of Israelis released yesterday found that 61 percent of them “believe Iran should not be attacked without U.S. consent.”
Peres’s sentiment echoed one by Israeli opposition Shaul Mofaz, who, amid a curse-filled tirade against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threat’s of a unilateral attack, singled out his selection of a confidant, Avi Dichter, as home front defense minister:
A home front defense minister should not be a rubber stamp in the hands of those planning a hasty attack [on Iran’s nuclear facilities] that has not been coordinated with the United States.
President Obama considers a potential Iranian nuclear weapon a threat to both the security of the U.S. and its allies in the region, as well as the nuclear non-proliferation regime. And he’s vowed again and again to keep all options on the table to deal wtih it. Peres said yesterday, contra attacks by Republicans, he had confidence in Obama’s resolve:
I am convinced this is an American interest. I am convinced he recognizes the American interest and he isn’t saying this just to keep us happy. I have no doubt about it, after having had talks with him.
U.S., U.N. and Israeli intelligence estimates give the West time to pursue a dual-track approach of building international pressure and using diplomacy to resolve the crisis. Questions about the efficacy and potential consequences of a strike have led U.S. officials to declare that diplomacy is the “best and most permanent way” to resolve the crisis.