NSA Chief in Secret DC Mollification Mission
Daily newspaper Maariv reports that National Security Adviser Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror is in Washington DC, and has been secretly meeting senior White House officials over the last two days, in the hope of arranging a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when Netanyahu visits the United States next week.
Amidror, who is also head of the National Security Council, is reportedly trying to reach understandings with the White House about the red lines and deadlines that Netanyahu insists have to be placed before Iran's nuclear arms program.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak will also be arriving in Washington Friday after visiting Chicago, where he met Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff who is considered very close to Obama.
"This is not the first time that the Defense Minister met Emanuel after he left the White House in order to pass on messages to Obama," reports Maariv. "He has, on occasion, turned to Emanuel to request a meeting with the President, or at least arrange for him to 'drop in' to a meeting the Defense Minister was holding in the White House."
Critics say that Netanyahu's repeated demands for Obama to set unambiguous "red lines" for Tehran have angered the White House, putting the president on the spot in the run-up to the US election and supplying ammunition for Republican hopeful Mitt Romney.
Last week, an Israeli official said Obama would not receive Netanyahu in New York due to a busy schedule, in a move widely viewed as a snub following rising tensions over how to handle the Iranian nuclear threat. The White House denied that Israel ever asked for such a meeting. Obama and Netanyahu spoke over the phone last week and reportedly agreed to look into the possibility of arranging a meeting.