Bibi, Obama have lost it
Op-ed: Tension between US, Israel detrimental to campaign against Iran's nuclear program
Anyone who is following the public exchanges between the US and Israel gets the impression that Obama and Netanyahu have lost it. Obama has contracted Bibi's well-known hysteria and feels the need to respond to every statement made by the Israeli premier, regardless of whether it is wise or shallow.
He is acting as though the most important war is the one he is waging against Netanyahu, not the war he should be waging against Iran. And the Iranians? They are sitting in the stands, cracking sunflower seeds and mocking the boys who are playing before them.
Obama's rage over what he sees as Netanyahu's support for Romney is driving him up the wall, but this is not how you stop Iran's nuclear program.
While all of the Obama administration's spokespeople explain how supportive the president is of Israel and its security needs, his army chief, General Martin Dempsey, says he does not want US forces to take part in any Israeli strike in Iran, thus exposing Obama's reluctance to use force, even after elections are held in the US.
The same day Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the US indirectly conveyed a message to Iran – according to which it would not be dragged into hostilities if Iran refrains from retaliating against American interests in the event of an Israeli strike – another report, which was based on information that was leaked to the press, said the US plans to take military measures in the Gulf in order to threaten and deter Iran. At the same time, the White House spokesman denied that US-Israel relations were in a crisis and told Iran that while there is still time for diplomacy, "that window will not remain open forever."
So what should be done now? First of all, this war of words through the press must stop. It only serves Iranian interests. Obama's people are also displeased by these damaging verbal jabs and are discussing ways to calm Netanyahu down and prevent what they refer to as a premature Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear installations. Netanyahu, for his part, must secretly travel to Washington without waiting for his address at the UN General Assembly. He must meet with Obama and reach an agreement on the conditions that would give Israel more time and give the US and the international community a final opportunity to stop Iran without the use of force.
Israel cannot attack alone, without first reaching understandings with Washington. On the other hand, Jerusalem is not certain that the US would employ force even if it becomes clear that sanctions and diplomacy cannot stop Iran's nuclear program. Due to its superior military capabilities, the US' window of opportunity for striking Iran is much wider than Israel's. Therefore, one of the solutions is to provide Israel with capabilities it does not currently possess. This would broaden Israel's window of opportunity. The US may respond positively to such a request.
Secret negotiations and creative solutions would end to this foolish dispute and increase the level of uncertainty in Iran, as well as the pressure on its leaders.