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Bibi prepares to strike Iran?

Op-ed: Early elections will produce more convenient conditions for Israeli strike on Iran's nuke sites

Published: 05.05.12, 13:08 / Israel Opinion

Bringing the Israeli elections forward to September 4th of this year not only won't avert an Iran strike, but rather, in some ways may in fact advance the fight against Tehran's nuclear program. Those who think that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is heading to these elections due to weakness are wrong. The PM has a stable coalition, yet its makeup won't allow it to cope with the challenges it would have faced in the near future.

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The PM is in fact going to the polls in order to reinforce his political survival at a time when he needs to make tough decisions in all areas. A skilled politician, Netanyahu identified the peaking support he enjoys at this time and is quick to ride this wave before losing momentum. At this time he enjoys a backwind not only within Israel's domestic theater – conditions in the regional and global arena are also convenient.

 

Early elections will assist the West in its diplomatic negotiations with Iran. Netanyahu does not hide his intention to strike Tehran's nuclear sites before they become immune to attack. Hence, his decision to call early elections when his position on this issue is so clear and consistent shows confidence that Israel's public is behind him, thereby granting more credibility to the Israeli threat.

 

This threat is one of the most powerful ways to press Washington and Europe not to "go easy" on the Iranians during the talks; it appears that even Iran is starting to fear it. Thus far, Iranian officials tended to show contempt for the Israeli threat. Yet now they realize that an Israeli operation, regardless of its success or failure, would force them and their clients to respond. This would entangle Iran in an unwanted confrontation with the US, as Washington, especially during a presidential election campaign, would not be able to remain idle when its soldiers and regional allies are being attacked.

 

Diplomatic immunity

Early elections have another important effect: They produce "diplomatic immunity" for Netanyahu and the Israeli government from negative US reaction should Israel decide to strike Iran.

 

By early September, the elections will be behind Netanyahu, and as a prime minister he won't have trouble to form a stable coalition and government that would endorse his position on an Iran strike. Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama would still be in the midst of his own election campaign. During this period, until November of this year at least, he would have trouble taking punitive measures against Israel or endorsing such steps at the UN should such proposals be made in the wake of an Israeli strike.

 

Hence, Israel would have at least two months of freedom to act, before winter clouds hinder the Air Force and while assuming that the US, with clenched teeth, would help Israel defend against missile retaliation by Iran and its clients (Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah) and help us on the diplomatic front. Some observers argue that this is the main consideration that prompted Netanyahu to bring the elections forward.

 

 

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