While the U.S. negotiated a short-term success
with Iran over its covert nuclear program
, threats loomed that Israel would take matters into its own hands and preemptively strike Iran's facilities, as it did with Iraq
in 1981. Many feared that such a strike would destabilize the region and risk all-out war. But Marc Lynch asks
, was Israel bluffing all along?
The public nature of the campaign to justify an Israeli strike against
Iran could be a useful tactical weapon for American diplomats, the bad
cop to help sweeten the pot for the Western good cops. But it can only
be a useful tactical weapon if there exists sufficient trust between
the Obama administration and the Israeli government that the latter
would not go rogue and strike on its own. We hear so much about how
the Obama team needs to build trust with the Israelis to get progress
on peace, but it runs both ways -- Netanyahu needs to do a lot more to
build Obama's confidence that they are on the Iran strategy team.
The strategy would have required some coordination, with Israel playing the bad cop to
America's good cop in confronting Iran. As increasingly public Israel-U.S. tensions
having reached all the way to the U.N. floor
there are reasons to doubt that the two would work together. But, if
there was anything to bring the two nations together, the threat of a
nuclear Iran would be it.
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