Is Netanyahu planning an October surprise? Using Iran war threat to help GOP?
Is Netanyahu planning an October surprise?
By DOUGLAS BLOOMFIELD09/05/2012 22:48
Washington Watch: Is partisan rhetoric is aimed at preventing nuclear Iran and how much at preventing Obama’s reelection?
As the Republicans and Democrats held their conventions and the presidential election moved into the home stretch, the rhetoric and pressure coming out of Israel for an attack on Iran intensified like the winds of Hurricane Isaac. It’s difficult to tell how much is aimed at keeping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and how much at preventing Barack Obama’s reelection.
It is highly unlikely that Iranian scientists will make their nuclear breakthrough by November 6, so why the urgency? Israel’s prime minister and defense minister seem anxious to go to war, and the sooner the better, a determination not shared by most of their own generals and spymasters, past and present, a majority of the public, the current and at least one former president of the country and even a sizeable portion of the inner cabinet. So what’s the rush? It may be that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sees a political window of opportunity closing over the next two months, one that serves multiple purposes for him.
An October surprise would also give Netanyahu and the Republicans a platform for saying his failure to solve the problem through diplomacy and economic pressure had ‘forced’ Israel to attack.
Channel 10 News reported two weeks ago that Netanyahu ‘is determined to attack Iran before the US elections.’
Netanyahu has a well-deserved reputation for meddling in American politics and has had rocky relations with Democratic presidents during his two terms as prime minister. He has known Romney since their days in finance in Boston and they share a number of friends, advisors and financial backers. With such an overlap, it is not out of the question that the two camps are coordinating their strategy for maximum political impact.
It is hard to watch the debate in Israel and not come away with the impression that while the Iranian nuclear threat is the nation’s number one strategic concern, the urgency coming out of the top leadership is motivated in some part by a desire to exploit Obama’s political vulnerability by drawing the United States into a conflict the president feels it – and he – can ill afford.