Posts Tagged ‘Obama and Netanyahu’

Did Obama Give Israel a Greenlight to Attack Iran?

May 20, 2009

Last night on the Charlie Rose show, journalist Jon Meacham claimed that during a recent interview with President Obama on Air Force One, the president, when asked about the possibility of an Israeli airstrike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, said “It is not my place to judge the security interests of the state of Israel.”

Obama’s comment could easily be construed as giving Israel a greenlight to attack Iran, which Western officials believe is trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program.  Obama’s recent statement that if diplomatic overtures to the Islamic Republic do not bear fruit by the end of the year the US will reconsider its approach to dealing with Iran’s nuclear activities also suggests that his administration might be considering military action if it is deemed necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring the Bomb.

An attack on Iran, whether by Israel or the US, is frought with peril.  It would be difficult to take out all of Iran’s nuclear sites because intelligence officials do not know where all of them are located.  Attacking Iran could inflame anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world and help terrorist groups like Al Qaeda recruit suicide bombers and insurgents for attacks against civilians and military personnel.  An Israeli raid would almost certainly make Arab governments less willing to cooperate with the US, Israel’s main ally, on a number of important issues.

The Iranian regime is also very capable of causing major problems for the US in response to an attack.  Iran has operatives in Iraq who could exacerbate the level of violence there and make it more difficult for the US to withdraw.  Through its proxy Hezbollah, a militant group based in Lebanon, it could sponsor terrorist attacks on Israel and further complicate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process; support to Hamas, a militant organization in Palestine, could also be increased.  In addition, Iranian agents could attack US embassies and other places around the world frequented by Americans.

Although Israel, the US and other governments are understandably concerned about the possiblity of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, attacking Iran in an attempt to prevent that scenario from developing would not be worth the costs.