“‘We’re watching what Iran does closely,’ one of the US sources, an intelligence officer engaged in assessing the ramifications of a prospective Israeli attack confirmed,’” according to the article. “But we’re now watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we’re not happy about it.’” And this is just the latest in a series of high-profile stories – based, in most cases, on unnamed American sources – warning about a possible strike.
According to the logic in the last piece, if Israel attacked, then Iran – which essentially developed its program in contravention of the Non-Proliferation Treaty it signed, and despite international inspectors – may choose not to let those inspectors back in and, as a result, have an easier time pursuing nuclear weapons.
Now, that is an interesting bit of logic: Don’t attack, because if you do, Iran won’t let back in the inspectors who were so impotent in the first place that Tehran is now on the cusp of nuclear capability.
And this constant drumbeat of Israel-must-not-take-action articles is not only in press reports. A report Wednesday by the Congressional Research Service – the US Congress’s nonpartisan “think tank” – said Iran could recover from a strike and rebuild its centrifuge workshops within six months, meaning that such a strike would be futile. It is “unclear what the ultimate effect of a strike would be on the likelihood of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons,” the report read.
These reports and stories are not being made up out of whole cloth. Rather, they are fed by sources intent on sending a clear message: Do not attack.
That a spate of these reports is coming out just a couple of weeks after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Obama in the White House shows that despite the smiles and the talk then about understanding and hyper-close coordination, the US and Israel are not seeing eye-to-eye on the Iranian “military option” issue.
The US wants Israel to wait, and what this constant drip of stories indicates is a sense in Washington that its efforts to convince Israel to do so are failing.
As a result, some in Washington are using a more public route to get that message across and to try and tie Jerusalem’s hands.