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Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Views from Abroad: Israel Sets Sight on Iran

by Toni Johnson
February 24, 2012

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, November 28, 2011. (Ronen Zvulun/Courtesy Reuters) The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, November 28, 2011. (Ronen Zvulun/Courtesy Reuters)

GOP candidates this week highlighted what they think should be done on Iran at a debate in Arizona. In this week’s views, we start with Israel where the military action against Iran debate is still drumming loudly. In Haaretz, Ari Shavit says if Israel strikes Iran, it will be President Obama’s fault:

[T]he time for playing diplomatic games with the military option is drawing to a close. There’s a limit to how many times one can cry wolf. There’s a point at which a “hold-me-back” policy exhausts itself. And that’s a very dangerous point, because suddenly the military option turns into a real option.

The Netanyahu-Obama meeting in two weeks will be definitive. If the U.S. president wants to prevent a disaster, he must give [Prime Minister] Netanyahu iron-clad guarantees that the United States will stop Iran in any way necessary and at any price, after the 2012 elections. If Obama doesn’t do this, he will obligate Netanyahu to act before the 2012 elections.

On to Britain, where the Economist notes on the same topic:

[T]he election may give Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, something to bargain with. In the face of a hawkish Republican rival and in front of an electorate that is in parts fiercely pro-Israel, Mr Obama may feel he has to welcome, or even build on, an Israeli fait accompli in a way he would not have done earlier and might not do after his re-election, should it come about. In March Mr Netanyahu is planning a trip to Washington. He is likely to remind a broadly sympathetic Congress where America’s duty lies in confronting the “existential threat” to Israel. Although Mr Netanyahu is a more cautious character than some suppose, it would be a mistake to think he is bluffing when he says privately that on his watch Iran will not be allowed to take an irreversible step towards the possession of nuclear weapons.

Crisis Guide: Iran A recent CFR Analysis brief looks at the challenges of diplomatic options on Iran and this Crisis Guide is an excellent resource on the country.

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