It would be premature to attack Iran: General Martin Dempsey

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by nrj, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    9,252
    Likes Received:
    3,347
    Location:
    Brussels
    WASHINGTON: The top US military commander said he believed it would be "premature" to take military action against Iran in response to its nuclear programme in an interview to be aired on Sunday.

    General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also told CNN's " Fareed Zakaria GPS" program that economic sanctions have to be given a chance to work, and the United States and its allies should be better prepared for a military option.

    "I think it would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us," Dempsey said, according to excerpts of the interview released by CNN.

    "I think that the economic sanctions and the international cooperation that we've been able to gather around sanctions is beginning to have an effect," he added.

    In recent weeks, there has been feverish speculation that Israel was getting closer to mounting a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, but Israel has denied reaching such a decision.

    Tensions between Iran and Israel have also been simmering with Iranian warships entering the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal in a show of "might", a move Israel said it would closely monitor.

    The United States, other Western powers and Israel believe that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, but Tehran denies the charge, insisting its atomic program is for purely peaceful purposes.

    Iran said last week it was ready to resume stalled talks on its nuclear drive, prompting a cautious welcome from the United States and the European Union.

    Dempsey said he believed that "diplomacy is having an effect" and suggested that even if the West opted for a military solution, it had to be better prepared for such a step.

    "I mean, fundamentally, we have to be prepared," he said. "And that includes, for the most part, at this point, being prepared defensively."

    Asked if Iranian leader were acting rationally, the US military commander said: "We are of the opinion that the Iranian regime is a rational actor. And it's for that reason, I think, that we think the current path we're on is the most prudent path at this point."

    It would be premature to attack Iran: General Martin Dempsey - The Times of India
     
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  2.  
  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,650
    Likes Received:
    17,146
    Location:
    EST, USA
    General Martin Dempsey speaks common sense. Also, I don't think the US needs to get into another mess in the Middle East. That Middle East is an unsolvable problem.
     
    ejazr and W.G.Ewald like this.
  4. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    9,252
    Likes Received:
    3,347
    Location:
    Brussels
    US does not want to engage in any military strike on Iran. Israel is paranoid.
     
  5. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    9,252
    Likes Received:
    3,347
    Location:
    Brussels
    Britain warns Israel over military action against Iran

    British foreign secretary William Hague said on Sunday that Israel would not be "wise" to attack Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, saying it should give the diplomatic route a chance to succeed.

    Speaking in the wake of attacks on Israeli diplomats blamed on agents of Tehran, Hague said the Islamic republic "has increased in its willingness to contemplate utterly illegal activities in other parts of the world".
    But he told BBC television: "I don't think the wise thing at this moment is for Israel to launch a military attack on Iran.

    "I think Israel, like everybody else in the world, should be giving a real chance to the approach that we have adopted, of very serious economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure, and the readiness to negotiate with Iran.

    "And that's what we now have to make a success of."

    In recent weeks, there has been feverish speculation that Israel was getting closer to mounting a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, but Israel has denied reaching such a decision.

    Hague said the Israelis had not shared any such plans with Britain, stressing: "We are not part of any planning to attack Iran.

    "We don't take any options off the table... But our approach is 100% diplomatically and economically focused to bring Iran successfully to the negotiating table."

    Iran said this week it was ready to resume stalled talks on its nuclear drive, prompting a cautious welcome from the United States and the EU.

    "They have indicated in the last few days a new readiness to negotiate. Whether that is going to be on any meaningful basis, one has to be sceptical," Hague said.

    Tensions between Israel and Iran flared following bombings in New Delhi, Tbilisi and Bangkok last week, but Iran angrily rejected accusations that it was behind the "terrorist" acts.

    Hague declined to attribute blame for the attacks, but said Iran had "clearly" been involved in illegal activities abroad, adding: "This is part of the danger that Iran is currently presenting to the rest of the world."

    Britain warns Israel over military action against Iran - Hindustan Times
     
  6. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    Why shouldn't the Israelis be paranoid, given their history with Arab treachery?
     
    pack leader likes this.
  7. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,650
    Likes Received:
    17,146
    Location:
    EST, USA
    True, but this time, Israel isn't at a dispute with the Arabs. Rather, the Arabs, led by KSA, are on the same side as Israel. Iranians are not Arabs.
     
  8. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    I just had a thought about whether psyops are ever carried out at the Joint Chiefs level?
     
  9. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    As the former Defense secretary Robert Gates said. The next President that talks about a land invasion of US forces of a country in the middle east should have his head examined.

    I don't think any US military personnel would support attack on Iran. Heck, even many Israeli military officials don't support it
    Israel's military leaders warn against Iran attack
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
    nrj likes this.
  10. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    9,252
    Likes Received:
    3,347
    Location:
    Brussels
    Possible Iran attack tests Israel-U.S. relations as elections approach: Analysis

    By Jeffrey Heller and Matt Spetalnick

    JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON — Ever since their first awkward encounter — a hastily arranged meeting in a custodian’s office at a Washington airport in 2007 — Iran has been one of the few issues on which Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu have been able to find some common ground.

    Nearly five years ago, neither man was yet in power but both hoped to be, and though they were very different politicians they grabbed the opportunity to size each other up when their paths crossed.

    The Israeli right-winger came across, at first, as strident in his views, while the newly declared Democratic presidential candidate seemed wary. But when Netanyahu insisted on the urgent need to do more to isolate Iran economically and Obama said “tell me more,” the mood suddenly brightened, according to one account of the meeting.

    It was part of what Netanyahu, who first served as prime minister from 1996 to 1999, has described as a 15-year personal effort to “broaden as much as possible the international front against Iran,” a foe that has called for Israel’s destruction.

    Obama, then a first-term senator, would go on to introduce an Iran divestment bill in Congress on the way to winning the White House in the 2008 election.

    Now, with Obama and Netanyahu due to meet in Washington on March 5, the Iranian nuclear standoff will again top the agenda. But this time, a trust deficit between the two leaders could make it harder to decide what action to take against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.

    The Obama administration, increasingly concerned about the lack of any assurance from Israel that it would consult Washington before launching strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites, has scrambled in recent weeks to convince Israeli leaders to give sanctions and diplomacy more time to work, U.S. officials say.

    Israel has been listening — but after a series of high-level U.S. visits there is no sign it has been swayed.

    Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who along with Netanyahu met U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon last week, complained privately afterward that Washington is lobbying for a delay in any Israeli attack on Iran while time is running out for such a strike to be effective, Israeli political sources said.

    Barak has spoken publicly of an Iranian “zone of immunity” to aerial attack, a reference to the start of additional uranium enrichment at a remote site believed to be buried beneath 80 metres (265 feet) of rock and soil near the city of Qom.

    Donilon’s visit to Israel coincided with a cautionary note from General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, who told CNN it would be “premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us.”

    The United States, Dempsey said, has counseled Israel “that it’s not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran.” He said sanctions were beginning to have an effect and it is still unclear whether Tehran would choose to make a nuclear weapon.

    Obama and top aides have said they do not believe Israel has made a decision to attack Iran even as they caution about devastating consequences in the Middle East — and potentially around the globe — if it does so.

    U.S. intelligence sources say they would expect little or no advance notice from Israel, except possibly as a courtesy call when any bombing mission is at the point of no return. But one line of thinking within the Obama administration is that this might be best for the United States since any sign of complicity would inflame the Muslim world.

    “When it comes to something that the Israeli government considers essential to Israel’s security, they will take whatever action they deem necessary, even if there is a level of disagreement with other countries, including the United States,” said Michael Herzog, a former chief of staff to Barak and now an international fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East policy.

    Obama and his national security team have yet to determine how the United States would respond if Israel does attack Iran, one U.S. official said. But the growing chorus of warnings from Washington – Israel’s biggest source of military assistance – serves as a stark message of the potential fallout in relations between the two longtime allies.

    The debate over the possibility of an Israeli strike has exposed an important difference of opinion over Iran, which says it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes.

    “We are of the opinion that the Iranian regime is a rational actor,” Dempsey said in the CNN interview. “And it’s for that reason, I think, that we think the current path we’re on is the most prudent path at this point.”

    Netanyahu has made clear he believes that kind of thinking is wrong-headed.

    “Since the dawn of the nuclear age, we have not had a fanatic regime that might put its zealotry above its self-interest,” he told The Atlantic in 2009. “People say that they’ll behave like any other nuclear power. Can you take the risk? Can you assume that?”

    ELECTION OPPORTUNITY

    An Israeli strike ahead of the November 6 U.S. elections would put Obama in a serious political bind.

    Already defending himself against Republican accusations that he has been too tough on Israel and not tough enough on Iran, he would be reluctant, at least initially, to come down hard on Netanyahu for fear of undercutting support among Jewish voters and other pro-Israel constituencies as he seeks re-election.

    It’s that perceived window of opportunity for Israel to strike at a time when incumbent candidate Obama might be shy about challenging Netanyahu that has helped to fuel speculation of an Israeli attack soon.

    But for Netanyahu to go ahead with an attack in defiance of Washington, he would risk not only damaging his country’s most crucial alliance but also face the near-certain prospect of Iranian retaliation with no immediate U.S. military help — or even a commitment to provide any.

    More likely, Obama and Netanyahu will try to keep their differences behind closed doors and present a united front against Iran in next month’s talks.

    Any further public rift between the two leaders, who will meet a day before the Super Tuesday voting contests in which 10 states hold presidential primaries or caucuses, would likely be seized upon by Republican candidates looking for ammunition against Obama.

    And, for the second straight year, Netanyahu will be able to emerge from any White House chill into the warm embrace of the powerful pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), whose annual convention he will address in Washington.

    But Israel, in weighing military action, faces the risk of a backlash from Congress and the American public if oil prices spike during a still-fragile economic recovery or if the United States is hit by revenge attacks on its interests around the world.

    “It’s the law of unintended consequences,” said an outside expert who advises the White House on national security. “This could lead to the first real reassessment in a generation of how America and Americans feel about Israel.”

    One American Jewish leader who knows both leaders played down the prospects of any dramatic shift in U.S.-Israeli relations.

    Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told Reuters that strong bipartisan understanding for what he called Israel’s “responsibility to its citizens” meant that “nothing” would happen to ties between the two countries.

    Last May, Netanyahu received 29 standing ovations when he addressed a joint meeting of Congress at the invitation of its Republican leadership. In the run-up to the November U.S. election, a senior legislator of his Likud party has been active in cultivating relations with top Republicans.

    BLUFF?

    Though U.S. officials have no reason to believe Israel is bluffing, some both inside and outside the administration suspect that Netanyahu is overstating the immediate danger of an Iranian nuclear “break-out.”

    Netanyahu, they say, may be seeking to pressure the United States and its European partners to move further on new oil-related sanctions, put enough of a scare into China and Russia to get them to ease resistance to tighter enforcement and extract a firmer U.S. commitment to military action if Tehran takes concrete steps toward bomb-making.

    But even if his top generals and intelligence chiefs advise that it is time to act, questions remain whether Netanyahu, who lacks the extensive military resume of most of his predecessors, will be ready to do so, especially if it means going it alone without the United States.

    An Israeli security source said that unlike Netanyahu’s predecessor Ehud Olmert, who conducted wars in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and ordered the bombing of a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor during his 2006-2009 tenure, Israel’s current leader finds it hard to decide on risky operational matters.

    For his part, Obama will be hesitant at this point to go further than his mantra that “all options are on the table” in dealing with Iran, and is likely to make clear to Netanyahu that without international legitimacy unilateral military action could backfire on Israel and lead to diplomatic isolation.

    Moreover, the consensus in the U.S. defense community is that Israel, acting alone militarily, would only be able to slow Iran’s nuclear progress by months or possibly a couple of years.

    That assessment is echoed by Israeli security officials, though they argue that their armed forces’ capabilities may have been underestimated — even by the friendly, informed Americans.

    They note that Israel destroyed Iraq’s atomic reactor in 1981 knowing that this would only postpone Saddam Hussein’s quest for a bomb. Kept in the dark about the tactically audacious sortie, Washington responded angrily, at first. But it later thanked Israel for removing a potential Iraqi threat.

    “The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) has been preparing its capabilities for years,” chief of staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz said, without elaborating, in February 18 comments to Israeli reporters, when asked about the prospects for an imminent war on Iran.

    Israel lacks heavy long-range air force bombers, but its advanced F-15 and F-16 warplanes could hit sites in western Iran and further inland with air-to-air refueling and by using stealth technology to overfly hostile Arab nations.

    It could also launch ballistic Jericho missiles with conventional warheads at Iran, according to a 2009 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

    Commandos might be deployed to spot targets and possibly launch covert attacks. Drones could assist in surveillance and possibly drop bombs of their own. Barak has said he believes the home front would suffer “maybe not even 500 dead” if Iran or its allies in Lebanon and Gaza retaliate with missile barrages.

    Complicating matters is a basic lack of trust between the Obama administration and Netanyahu’s government, born in part out of the president’s earlier failed efforts to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking by pressuring Israel to freeze Jewish settlement expansion.

    The last time Obama and Netanyahu met at the White House, in May, the Israeli leader bluntly took the president to task in remarks to reporters in the Oval Office, lecturing him on Jewish history and flatly rejecting his proposal that Israel’s 1967 borders be the basis for negotiations on creating a Palestinian state. Obama was furious and relations hit rock bottom.

    Little more than a year before, Israel had announced a major new settlement expansion in East Jerusalem — a move that embarrassed Vice President Joe Biden during a visit — and Obama ordered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to call Netanyahu and dress him down.

    Not long afterwards, Obama walked out of tense talks with Netanyahu at the White House and left the Israeli prime minister cooling his heels while he had dinner with his family — treatment widely interpreted as a snub by Israeli media.

    Frosty relations between the two leaders have thawed somewhat over the past year as Obama has taken a tougher line on Iran sanctions while refraining from any new Middle East peace drives. Obama also scored points with Israelis for opposing a Palestinian bid for UN statehood recognition last September.

    “Open lines and security channels have brought the relationship to a particularly good point and at the same time there hasn’t been tension of late on other issues,” a senior administration official said.

    But some Obama aides remain suspicious of Netanyahu’s motives. They are convinced that he would prefer to see a Republican take control of the White House in 2013 for fear that Obama’s re-election would give him a freer hand to push anew for Israeli concessions to the Palestinians during a second term.

    And any look at the Iranian equation cannot ignore the Holocaust factor — the alarm-ringing “never again” theme Netanyahu invokes in speech after speech about the existential threat that Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear power, would face if Iran got the bomb.

    Those who claim to know Netanyahu well say he means what he says; it is his job to ensure the Jewish state’s survival. He has made clear that in addition to the Iranian threat, he sees Israel at risk from the deep uncertainty sown by the Arab spring uprisings, especially with the toppling of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was seen by Israel as a guardian of its peace treaty with Egypt.

    An address to Israel’s parliament in January on the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day could easily be tweaked into the kind of statement the government might issue as Israeli planes head home from their Iranian bombing missions.

    “We cannot bury our heads in the sand. The Iranian regime openly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel; it is planning the destruction of Israel; and it is working to destroy Israel,” he said.

    “In the end, with regards to threats to our very existence, we cannot abandon our future to the hands of others. With regard to our fate, our duty is to rely on ourselves alone.”

    © Thomson Reuters 2012

    Possible Iran attack tests Israel-U.S. relations as elections approach | News | National Post
     
  11. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Messages:
    7,308
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    "It would be premature to attack Iran: General Martin Dempsey"

    Here's the reason:

    U.S. Bulks Up Iran Defenses - WSJ.com

    It seems that the US is not yet actually prepared to swiftly counter Iranian Hormuz closing moves should it happen now.
     
  12. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    9,252
    Likes Received:
    3,347
    Location:
    Brussels
    Israeli attack on Iran might pull US into new war

    WASHINGTON (AP) — An Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear sites could draw the U.S. into a new Mideast conflict, a prospect dreaded by a war-weary Pentagon wary of new entanglements.

    That could mean pressing into service the top tier of American firepower — warplanes, warships, special operations forces and possibly airborne infantry — with unpredictable outcomes in one of the world's most volatile regions.

    "Israel can commence a war with Iran, but it may well take U.S. involvement to conclude it," says Karim Sadjadpour, a Middle East specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

    An armed clash with Iran is far from certain. Diplomacy backed by increasingly tough economic penalties is still seen by the United States and much of the rest of the world as worth pursuing for now, not least because the other options — going to war or simply doing nothing — are considered more risky.
    Israel, however, worries that Iran soon could enter a "zone of immunity" in which enough of its nuclear materials are beyond the reach of Israeli air power so that Iran could not be stopped, or perhaps could be stopped only by superior American firepower.

    If Israel's American-made strike planes managed to penetrate Iranian air space and bomb Iran's main nuclear facilities, some of which are underground, then Iran would be expected to retaliate in any number of ways. That possibly could include the firing of Shahab-3 ballistic missiles at Tel Aviv or other Israeli targets.

    Iran might take a less direct approach, relying on its Hezbollah allies in Lebanon or Hamas militants in Gaza to hit Israel with missiles from closer range.
    Iran also might block the Strait of Hormuz, a key transit route for the world's oil tankers. It could attack nearby Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. In either of these scenarios, the U.S. military almost certainly would hit back, possibly with strikes against the Iranian navy or land targets.

    Michael O'Hanlon, a defense analyst at the Brookings Institution, sees a chance that the U.S. could largely stay out of the fight if Israel struck first. If Iran's air defenses managed to knock down an Israeli fighter pilot, however, U.S. special operations forces might be sent to rescue him, he said.

    If the U.S. spotted Iran preparing to fire a ballistic missile at Israel in a retaliatory act, "it's possible we would decide to take that missile out," O'Hanlon said. "I would bet against most other direct American involvement."

    Iran's response to an Israeli pre-emptive strike is unpredictable. Iran's defense minister, in a warning broadcast Saturday on state-run television, said a strike by "the Zionist regime will undoubtedly lead to the collapse of this regime." Gen. Ahmad Vahidi did not say what type of action Iran would take should Israel attack.

    Uncertainty about Iranian retaliation, as well as the cascade of potential consequences if the U.S. got drawn into the conflict, is at the core of U.S. officials' rationale for publicly casting doubt on the wisdom of Israeli military action now.

    Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, bluntly made the point last weekend. He told CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" that the retaliation equation is "the reason that we think that it's not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran" and "that's been our counsel to our allies, the Israelis, well-known, well-documented." He said he doubts Israel has been persuaded by Washington's pleadings.

    Depending on the type and scale of the Iranian reaction to an Israeli strike, and whether it included attacks on U.S. forces or bases, President Barack Obama would be under enormous domestic political pressure to come to Israel's aid. His prospective Republican challengers for the White House have tried to portray Obama as insufficiently loyal to Israel and overly tolerant of Iran.

    Obama could decide to provide Israel with extra missile defense systems, such as the Patriot, to help defend its cities. He could choose a more aggressive course, ordering follow-up air strikes on Iranian targets such as military bases and its remaining nuclear facilities.

    "That's kind of the nightmare scenario," says Charles Wald, a retired Air Force general who argues nonetheless that the best hope for stopping Iran from getting the bomb is to strengthen the credibility of threats to use U.S. or Israeli military force. Such threats, he argues, could change Iran's course.
    The U.S. has two aircraft carriers, the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Carl Vinson, and other warships near Iran's shores, as well as a wide array of warplanes at land bases on the Arabian Peninsula, and thousands of troops in Kuwait. It also has special operations forces near Iran's eastern border, in Afghanistan.

    Wald is co-leader of the Bipartisan Policy Center, which warned in a Feb. 8 report that Iran is "fast approaching the nuclear threshold." While not advocating an Israeli pre-emptive strike, Wald's group said the U.S. should provide Israel with 200 advanced GBU-31 bombs capable of reaching targets buried deep underground and three KC-135 refueling planes to extend the range of Israel's strike jets.

    The US has no immediate plans to provide Israel with new military aid.

    The consensus view among U.S. intelligence agencies is that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb now but is developing a capability to do so in the future. A critical question is how long it would take Iran to assemble a bomb, once a decision was made to proceed, and how much additional time it would need to affix the bomb to a missile or other means of delivering it beyond its own borders.

    Obama has not ruled out using force to stop Iran from building a bomb. But his administration, joined by many allied nations, has counseled Israel to hold off. Several senior administration officials have been to Israel in recent days to emphasize caution, including Obama's national security adviser, Tom Donilon.

    Obama is due to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on March 5. The Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, is meeting Wednesday at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

    Iran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and has invited the U.S. and four other powers to sit down for nuclear talks. But in recent weeks tensions have grown amid Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for Western penalties and debate in Israel about a pre-emptive strike.
    Adding to a sense of urgency was a Feb. 2 Washington Post report that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will attack Iran in April, May or June. Panetta has not disputed the report but has said he doesn't think Israel has yet decided to act.

    In the U.S. view, any Israeli attack could set back the Iranian nuclear program a few of years at most, while giving Iranian leaders extra incentive and domestic support for rebuilding a clandestine program out of reach of U.N. inspectors.

    The Associated Press: Israeli attack on Iran might pull US into new war
     
  13. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    9,252
    Likes Received:
    3,347
    Location:
    Brussels
    Barack Obama warns against premature strike on Iran

    WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has warned that a premature attack on Iran would allow it to play the "victim" in the nuclear crisis just days before key talks with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

    In some of his toughest comments yet on Tehran's nuclear drive, Obama also warned that Israel and Iran should take seriously possible US action against Iranian nuclear facilities if sanctions fail to stop the country's atomic ambitions.

    "I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff," Obama told the Atlantic Monthly magazine in remarks published Friday.

    "I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say."

    Netanyahu arrived in Canada early Friday ahead of key discussions Monday with Obama at the White House, against a backdrop of growing fears that Israel could unilaterally strike suspect Iranian nuclear facilities.

    Tehran insists its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only but Western nations suspect the Islamic republic is leading a covert program to develop a nuclear weapons capability and is not far from achieving its goal.

    Netanyahu's government has maintained that all options remain on the table with regard to action on Iran, whose firebrand leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has questioned Israel's right to exist.

    But Obama issued a blunt warning against a premature strike, saying it could inadvertently help the Iranian regime.

    "At a time when there is not a lot of sympathy for Iran and its only real ally ( Syria) is on the ropes, do we want a distraction in which suddenly Iran can portray itself as a victim?" Obama said.

    Obama said the US strategy to thwart Iran's ambitions of developing a nuclear weapon included various components, including isolating Tehran politically, sanctions and diplomacy.

    "And it includes a military component. And I think people understand that," Obama said, adding he thought Americans did not believe that "I hesitate to make decisions as commander in chief when necessary."

    Even if Israel were not a specific target of Iran's wrath, Obama said "it would still be a profound national-security interest of the United States to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."

    He also spoke of the "profound" risks of an Iranian nuclear weapon falling into terrorists' hands, and warned of "the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world, one that is rife with unstable governments and sectarian tensions.

    "And it would also provide Iran the additional capability to sponsor and protect its proxies in carrying out terrorist attacks because they are less fearful of retaliation," he said.

    Experts in Israel say Netanyahu's discussions with Obama will be a chance for the allies to sound each other out on their sometimes divergent positions on Tehran's nuclear program.

    Israeli President Shimon Peres told the New York Times Thursday that the United States must make it clear to Iran that "all options are on the table."

    "We need a total and clear commitment that the catastrophe of Iran will not create an impossible situation," Peres said, acknowledging there was disagreement over where to draw the red line that would spark military action.

    Obama, who addresses the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Sunday, admitted to differences with Netanyahu in the Atlantic interview, describing their relationship as one focused on business and noting they came from different political traditions.

    "But one thing I have found in working with Prime Minister Netanyahu is that we can be very frank with each other, very blunt with each other, very honest with each other," he said.

    "For the most part, when we have our differences, they are tactical and not strategic," he said. "We have a common vision about where we want to go."

    "At any given moment -- as is true, frankly, with my relationship with every other foreign leader -- there's not going to be a perfect alignment of how we achieve these objectives," he said.

    Barack Obama warns against premature strike on Iran - The Times of India
     
  14. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    I knew that! :)
     

Share This Page