US/Israeli Arms Deal: No Attack Until After Election?

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Common Dreams

US/Israeli Arms Deal: No Attack Until After Election?

Better bunk-buster bombs and more on the table

by
Common Dreams staff

The United States has offered Israel 'advanced weaponry' in exchange for a commitment to hold off on an attack on Iran until next year, leaving room for US presidential elections, according to a report today in the Israeli daily Maariv. The deal was allegedly placed on the table during Obama and Netanyahu's recent closed-door meeting in Washington.

Agence France-Presse reports:

Citing unnamed Western diplomats and intelligence sources, the report said that during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington this week, the US administration offered to supply Israel with advanced bunker-busting bombs and long-range refuelling planes.

In return, Israel would agree to put off a possible attack on Iran till 2013, after the US elections in November. [...]

The United States and Israel are at odds over just how immediate the Iranian threat is. Netanyahu said on Monday that sanctions against Iran have not worked, and "none of us can afford to wait much longer."

A key difference between Washington and Israel has emerged on the timeline available for a military strike against Iran, with the Jewish state warning that the weaponry available to it gives it a shorter window for action.

In response, the report said, the US administration offered to give Israel weapons and material that could extend its window to act against Iran.

In particular, it would offer bunker-busting bombs more powerful than those currently possessed by Israel, which would allow the Jewish state to target Iranian facilities even under solid rock.

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Reuters reports:

The risk of an Israeli-Iranian war troubles President Barack Obama, who is up for re-election in November and has cautioned against kindling more Middle East upheaval. A Gulf conflict could send oil prices rocketing upwards.

Netanyahu told Obama at a White House meeting on Monday that Israel had not yet decided on military action against Iran, sources close to the talks said.

Netanyahu has hinted that Israel could resort to force should Tehran - which denies suspicions that it is covertly trying to develop atomic bombs - continue to defy big powers' diplomatic pressure to curb its nuclear program.

The risk of an Israeli-Iranian war troubles President Barack Obama, who is up for re-election in November and has cautioned against kindling more Middle East upheaval. A Gulf conflict could send oil prices rocketing upwards.

A front-page article in the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on Thursday said Obama had told Netanyahu that Washington would supply Israel with upgraded military equipment in return for assurances that there would be no attack on Iran in 2012.

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RT reports:

The US diplomats allegedly believe such step would enlarge the “opportunity window” for Israel to try to solve the issue of controversial Iranian nuclear program diplomatically.

Speaking to the Israeli prime minister in the Oval Office on Monday, President Obama once again reaffirmed his personal "unprecedented commitment" to Israel's security.

The newspaper does not report on whether PM Netanyahu agreed to accept the proposal.

On Wednesday Netanyahu told Fox News Channel he actually does not think a war with Iran is inevitable.

"The paradox is that if they actually believe that they are going to face the military option, then you probably will not need the military option," Netanyahu said.

The sides also discussed new steps to be taken to isolate the Islamic Republic internationally even further.

At a media briefing in the White House Obama told journalists that America will apply more pressure on Iran despite the fact that “we provide a door for the Iranian regime to walk through," Obama said.

Israel has been stressing for years that the real aim of the Iranian nuclear program is not peaceful energy, but the creation of an atomic bomb, and furthermore, the destruction of the Jewish state. Tehran has consistently denied such allegations, allowing the IAEA to inspect its nuclear facilities in an attempt to prove that its nuclear program is solely peaceful.

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