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Report: Israel Could Attack Iran Just Before US Elections

Report says Netanyahu has promised not to carry out an attack on Iran before the fall

- Common Dreams staff

An Israeli attack on Iran could occur in the crucial weeks leading up to the US presidential election this fall, according to a report from an Israeli newspaper.

(photo: Jim Watson/AFP) The paper, Maariv, a daily Hebrew language newspaper based in Tel Aviv, quotes anonymous officials who said that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has assured the United States that it would hold off on an attack on Iran until at least the fall. Netanyahu, however, would not promise US officials he would hold off on a strike until after the November elections, the article reports.  Due to weather that would complicate air strikes in Iran, this gives Israel a small window of time to make an attack, and could result in such  a bombing campaign occuring right before the elections. This scenario could complicate President Obama's re-election campaign and give Israel leverage in negotiations with the US.

"Since most military analysts believe that Israel would almost certainly prefer to carry out a complex and difficult long-range attack on Iran in a period when the skies above the target are cloudless, that either means Israel has agreed to postpone the potential strike for at least another eleven months or that the window of opportunity is open now for September or October," reports Haaretz, an English language daily newspaper in Israel. "In other words, during the crucial final stages of the American presidential elections campaign.

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Haaretz: Small window of opportunity for a strike on Iran

The headline of today's Maariv is extremely important, if true. It quotes American officials who say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised not to carry out an attack on Iran before the fall.

Since most military analysts believe that Israel would almost certainly prefer to carry out a complex and difficult long-range attack on Iran in a period when the skies above the target are cloudless, that either means Israel has agreed to postpone the potential strike for at least another eleven months or that the window of opportunity is open now for September or October. In other words, during the crucial final stages of the American presidential elections campaign.

This seems to be the fear of Maariv's un-named administration sources, complaining that "Netanyahu refused to commit that Israel would not attack Iran before the elections in November 2012 and agreed to wait with a military operation only until the fall."

According to the paper, Netanyahu's reasoning is that "after fall, the Iranian nuclear installations will be in 'the immunity zone' from an Israeli strike and Israel will lose its independence to decide on military action."

We have no way of verifying this report but it does tally with what Barack Obama said two months ago - "I don't think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do." And of course, it fits in with Netanyahu's tendency to play the internal American political arena.

Announcing that Israel may decide to attack Iran at the worst possible political timing puts pressure on Obama, and could potentially lead to some valuable American concessions to Israel, in exchange for an eventual commitment not to strike.

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