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‘Netanyahu to Tell Obama: Attack Iran – Or Else’

Netanyahu will deliver Obama an ultimatum that if the United States does not attack Iran soon, Israel will, reports the London Telegraph.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/4/2012, 12:45 PM

Natanz nuclear facility
Natanz nuclear facility
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will deliver President Barack Obama an ultimatum that if the United States does not attack Iran soon, Israel will, the London Telegraph reported Sunday.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said last month that there is a "strong likelihood" of an Israel attack by June. If Prime Minister Netanyahu delivers an ultimatum, it would give the United States 2-3 months to act or face the reality of an Israeli attack that would almost certainly require the United States coming to its aid, if necessary.

Israeli officials have said that in several months, Iran will have buried so many of its nuclear facilities deep under concrete bunkers in mountains that an attack would not be effective.

The Israeli Prime Minister  “has the upper hand,” claims the Telegraph's correspondent Adrian Blomfield.

“Exuding confidence, Mr. Netanyahu effectively brings with him an ultimatum, demanding that unless the president makes a firm pledge to use U.S. military force to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb, Israel may well take matters into its own hands within months,” wrote Blomfield.

He quoted analysts and sources as saying that the year-long Arab Spring rebellion in Syria, on which Iran is dependent to maintain the “axis of evil” with Lebanon, Hizbullah and Hamas, has weakened Iran as well as Damascus.

One other factor he did not mention is that President Obama is running for  re-election. Failure to back Israel, if necessary, could torpedo his campaign. Moreover, Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney will address the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention this week. President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres also will speak.

The president and the Prime Minister are likely to show a unified stance in public, when they meet this week, but Prime Minister Netanyahu will tell President Barack Obama in private discussions that Israel cannot wait much longer for a military strike to stop or at least delay Iran’s unsupervised nuclear program.

President Obama ruined his already dimming pro-Israel image last year, directly admonishing Prime Minister Netanyahu for continuing to build homes in what the president called "illegitimate” settlements. In return, the Prime Minister gave President Obama a lecture on the facts of life in the Arab-Israeli struggle.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently has said that if the Netanyahu government attacks Iran, Israel can defend itself against an Iranian counter-attack.

"It won't be easy," a former senior Defense Ministry official told the London newspaper. "Rockets will be fired at cities, including Tel Aviv, but at the same time the doomsday scenario that some have talked of is unlikely to happen. I don't think we will have all-out war."