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‘Israel Can Harm Iran in Ways Prohibited in US’

Israel carries out attacks on Iran that are prohibited by the US, Newsweek reports. “Israel doesn’t tell and the US doesn’t want to know.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 2/13/2012, 11:19 AM

Iranian nuclear site after explosion
Iranian nuclear site after explosion
Institute for Science and International Security

Israel is carrying out attacks on Iran that are prohibited by the United States, Newsweek-Daily Beast stated Monday in a report that also says new Mossad chief Tamir Pardo visited Washington to gauge American reactions if Israel strikes Iran.

American officials reportedly said that Pardo asked, “What is our posture on Iran? Are we [the US] ready to bomb? Would we [do so later]? What does it mean if [Israel] does it anyway?”

Under the headline “Obama’s Dangerous Game With Iran,” the article revealed what many have assumed – that the United States and Israel have different red lines on Iran; that President Barack Obama’s speech against a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria tipped the scales of distrust from Jerusalem; and Israel and the United States are sharing intelligence –  but not all of it.

Not to be forgotten is that President Barack Obama wants to be re-elected, and all-out war might get in his way, although a few pundits have observed that it might actually be an advantage for him if it restores the United States’ stature as a world leader for peace and freedom.

Since President Obama moved into the White House, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu increasingly felt that when the president “spoke about Iran and his opposition to the nuclearization of Iran ... the Israeli factor did not play prominently,” according to Newsweek.

Washington and Jerusalem have been in constant contact with each other, and the Obama administration has made it clear it wants to count on economic sanctions to stop Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon. “Above all, the White House doesn’t want Israel to start a war – not yet, anyway,” the magazine reported.

Regarding what the magazine called “mysterious assassins,” one of whom killed an Iranian scientist last month one day before President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu,  the magazine stated, “Israel has no qualms about assassinating Iranians involved in nuclear research, for instance; U.S. law forbids it [because] drone strikes against jihadist leaders are considered acts of war."

“A senior U.S. intelligence official says that both sides performed a kind of ‘Kabuki dance’ on the assassinations and industrial ‘accidents’ that have increased in Iran during the past year: ‘The Israelis don’t want to say and we don’t want to know…"  

‘”They knew that if we gave them certain kinds of information we’d run the risk of breaking the law. We often held things back from them—satellite imagery and other kinds of intelligence that could have helped them with their activities.”

Mossad chief Pardo’s visit to Washington was aimed at taking “the pulse of the Obama administration and determine what the consequences would be if Israel bombed Iranian nuclear sites over American objections,” Newsweek added.

It has been clear that Israel and America’s “red lines” are not the same because the United States, unlike Israel, has the military capacity and distance from Iran that allows it to wait until Iran has a nuclear weapon, a luxury Israel cannot afford.

Israeli officials have concluded that President Obama has come to realize that Iran simply is playing charades and has no intention of cooperating with inspection of its nuclear facilities.

Sources told Newsweek that it took the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s brutal suppression of protests three years ago and the discovery of a new underground nuclear facility near Qom to convince President Obama to ratchet up sanctions.

He has allowed the CIA to continue its policy of covert operations while he carries out harsher sanctions to punish the Iranian economy.

Israel is more optimistic than before, and the magazine quoted a close aide to Prime Minister Netanyahu as saying, “The rhetoric from the United States today is different from what it was a year ago. Today, when you listen to Obama ... you get the feeling the Americans are ready to attack if worse comes to worst.”

The sticking point for Israel is President Obama’s refusal to promise to act militarily if sanctions fail.

“If Israel will miss its last opportunity [to attack], then we will have to lean only on the United States, and if the United States decides not to attack, then we will face an Iran with a bomb,” a former Israeli official told the magazine.