Israel has refused to reassure President Barack Obama that it would warn him
in advance of any pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear capabilities, raising
fears that it may be planning a go-it-alone attack as early as next summer.
12 Nov 2011
The US leader was rebuffed last month when he demanded private guarantees that
no strike would go ahead without White House notification, suggesting Israel
no longer plans to "seek Washington's permission", sources
said. The disclosure, made by insiders briefed on a top-secret meeting
between America's most senior defence chief and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's
hawkish prime minister, comes amid concerns that Iran's continuing progress
towards nuclear weapons capability means the Jewish state has all but lost
hope for a diplomatic solution.
On Tuesday, UN weapons inspectors released their most damning report to date
into Iran's nuclear activities,
saying for the first time that the Islamic republic appeared to be building
a nuclear weapon. It was with that grave possiblity in mind that
Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, flew into Israel last month on what
was ostensibly a routine trip.
Officially, his brief was restricted to the Middle East peace process, but the
most important part of his mission was a private meeting with Mr Netanyahu
and the defence minister, Ehud Barak. Once all but a handful of trusted
staff had left the room, Mr Panetta conveyed an urgent message from Barack
Obama. The president, Mr Panetta said, wanted an unshakable guarantee that
Israel would not carry out a unilateral military strike against Iran's
nuclear installations without first seeking Washington's clearance.
The two Israelis were notably evasive in their response, according to sources
both in Israel and the United States.
"They did not suggest that military action was being planned or was
imminent, but neither did they give any assurances that Israel would first
seek Washington's permission, or even inform the White House in advance that
a mission was underway," one said.
Alarmed by Mr Netanyahu's noncommittal response, Mr Obama reportedly ordered
the US intelligence services to step up monitoring of Israel to glean clues
of its intentions.
What those intentions might be remains distinctly murky. Over the past
fortnight, Israel's press has given every impression that the country is on
a war footing, with numerous claims that Mr Netanyahu and Mr Barak are
lobbying the cabinet to support the military option.
Two weeks ago Israel tested a long-range ballistic missile capable of reaching
Iran, its first since 2008. Shortly before, the Israeli airforce took part
in Nato exercises in Sardinia that involved air-to-air refuelling, a key
component of an aerial strike on Iran. A separate exercise in and around Tel
Aviv tested civilian readiness in the event of a missile strike against the
city. In a sign of the febrility of the public mood, many beach-goers
apparently mistook the air raid sirens for a genuine Iranian attack and fled
in panic for their cars. There were similar jitters in Iran yesterday, when
a huge but apparently accidental explosion at arms dump outside Tehran
killed at least 27 soldiers and shook the city.
Read more at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/8886543/Israel-refuses-to-tell-US-its-Iran-intentions.html
In: Other Middle East
Tags: Israel, USA, Iran, Obama, Netanyahu, war
Location: Jerusalem, Yerushalayim, Israel (load item map)
Marked as: approved
Views: 5355 | Comments: 70 | Votes: 2 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
|Liveleak on Facebook|