Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Netanyahu mulls a Six-Day War surprise

The fog of war has fallen so densely over Iran and the Middle East that it is hard to say for certain whether the latest developments are a sign that one is imminent (in the form of an Israeli strike in the next two months) or that the timetable for a confrontation has been pushed back until the spring and summer of 2013. In the latter case, it is still possible that negotiations would eventually prevail, but this is far from guaranteed or even likely.

All of a sudden, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is dropping hints left and right that it is willing to postpone action against the Iranian nuclear program. On Tuesday, it announced a number of new high-level military appointments which had previously been delayed amid the war preparations. As a prominent Israeli analyst put it, "You don't appoint a brand new operations chief when you're about to go to war."

On Monday, moreover, Netanyahu said that "the clearer the red line drawn before Iran by the international community, the smaller the chance of a conflict". He made this statement in the context of a New York Times report that United States President Barack Obama was considering making public his proverbial red line on Iran and authorizing a whole new range of secret operations in an effort to assuage the Israelis, [2] and his words were widely interpreted as willingness to back down.

Under massive pressure both at home and abroad - the daily Ha'aretz reported last week that even German Chancellor Angela Merkel phoned Netanyahu recently to discuss this - it is conceivable that the Israeli prime minister and his influential defense minister, Ehud Barak, have changed their minds about the urgency of a military operation. Read More