Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the U.N. that time is running out and a red line should be drawn over the Iranian nuclear programme.
Iran’s deputy U.N. ambassador is not surprisingly talking about the defence of his country and it sounds very much like Iran is ready to retaliate should the need arise. The Iranian view is that their nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only, needless to say the Israelis do not believe this.
Benjamin Netanyahu talks about “red lines”, the U.S. may talk about “red lines” in private but not in public. In public they are hazy on the “red line” concept. The Israelis seem to have a “red line” at least at the high political level, maybe not so in other areas of the Israeli ruling classes.
But what is a “red line”? Basically it is a threshold that a government has set whereby another country cannot pass without the use of force coming in to play. In this highly volatile part of the world you can see how setting red lines is a very risky business. The U.S. governments view on a “red line” may have shifted somewhat too the question is do they actually have one on Iran?
Netanyahus diagram at his U.N. General Assembly speech where his red line pointed out that Irans nuclear programme would be irreversible somewhere by Spring or Summer, was designed to alarm. The U.S. it would seem prefers to concentrate on when a weapon is constructed. This would I imagine be a “red line” if not the start of the drawing of one. Too late as far as Israels thinking goes.
The worrying thing here also for Israel is that the U.S. feels it is quite acceptable for Iran to have a nuclear energy programme as long as weapons are not involved. The U.S. intelligence community is quite confident they will be able to gather enough information to advice their government with enough time to deal with any dangers. This type of intelligence is called “warning” and it is coming back into vogue in intelligence circles. The U.S. government already shares this “warning” intelligence with Israel so they no how effective it is.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus attack scenario is a lot closer than Than the U.S.’s. Based on weaponry the Isarelis would have to attack much sooner than the U.S. who can base an attack on far superior weaponry, bunker bombs that can deliver blows much deeper than Israeli aircraft can. The danger here is if Israel goes alone would they even be effective, or would the job be left still undone but war started.
The U.S. probably do have a “red line” privately, President Obama says should Iran move towards a bomb assembly they would act. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that their is currently no intelligence that points to Iran wanting to make a bomb. The Israelis feel that after the assembly reaches a certain point, the options the Iranians have in place will enable them to build a bomb quickly. The U.S. feels there is at least a year according to some reports.
The U.S. election on November the 5th seems to have prompted Benjamin Netanyahu to speak out even more. Influencing the U.S. Jewish vote may be his target. Mitt Romney has indicated his attitude towards Iran would be a lot more aggressive, Benjamin Netanyahu it seems would prefer a Romney victory.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad quite possibly knows the value of having a nuclear programme on the world stage. It certainly keeps attention on Iran and a say in the spotlight increasing the perception of Iran as a world power as well as a regional one. Possibly like North Korea it gives Iran a subtle hold on the rest of the world.
Tensions between Israel an Iran are increasing, talks and diplomatic efforts have proven to be fruitless. Barack Obama is looking stronger in the poles which has worried Benjamin Netanyahu forcing him to come out more at the U.N.
Israels security cabinet does not fully believe that an attack on Iran would be wise and after all they are the ones directly reading the American intelligence given to them.
What Benjamin Netanyahu is after at least in the short term, is that if Iran is faced with a “red line” they will back down. That doesn’t seem likely.