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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Former Mossad director: 'If I were Iran, I'd be very fearful of the next 12 weeks'

Former Mossad director Ephraim HaLevy, who is not considered a hawk, has an ominous warning for Iranians, delivered via the New York Times.
“If I were an Iranian, I would be very fearful of the next 12 weeks,” said Efraim Halevy, a former chief of Israel’s intelligence agency and national security adviser.
David Makovsky seems to have this one right:
David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who recently spent time in Israel talking to government officials, said that Israel’s longstanding doctrine of self-reliance makes American promises to act later if all else fails less effective. Instead, he said, Israel needs to be convinced that if it waits, it can still retain the option to act independently.

“Make Israel not believe that it’s two minutes to midnight,” Mr. Makovsky said. “If Israel is so convinced that its window of action is shutting, then maybe you try to enlarge Israel’s window. You say, ‘Here, we know there are some things you need. But we don’t want you to use them until several months ahead.’ ”
Makovsky is right, but there's a small problem that makes it impossible for the Obama administration to act on his advice: There is absolutely no trust between Obama and Netanyahu, or for that matter between Obama and the Israeli public. In what has to be the deepest irony of them all, after trying early in his term to link action on Iran to a 'Palestinian state,' Obama has finally succeeded in linking the two issues, but not in the way he wanted. Because Obama was so insistent on 'putting daylight' between the United States and Israel on the 'Palestinian' issue (and also on Iran in terms of his early opposition to sanctions and insistence on 'engagement'), Obama created the mistrust that now exists on dealing with Iran between him and Israel and its leaders.

What could go wrong?

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