The Bibi Two-Step
The Iranian nuclear issue is moot. It became moot when George W. Bush left the White House.
Nothing will prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power -– especially not President Obama. It's doubtful that Israel would risk a pre-emptive attack and its aftermath.
Israeli politicians, military egos, and media pundits, however, have created a hysterical state of mind which is now being used to garner support for destroying more Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. This provides Prime Minister Netanyahu with a perfect excuse; dealing with Iran is more important than West Bank outposts.
Sound logical? Most PR does. But it presents a totally false symmetry. What does Iran have to do with settlements?
The idea that evacuating Jews will bring Arabs into a coalition against Iran and promote regional strategic cooperation is delusional. With Iran in full support of Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda in Egypt, Sudan, Somalia and other Muslim countries, who cares about a few Jews living on hilltops?
Obama has painted himself into a corner. Unwilling to take on Iran militarily, he has turned against the closest and most vulnerable target, Israel. And Netanyahu -– as in previous confrontations over policy differences –- may be wobbling, yet again.
Remember his excuses for signing the Wye Agreement in 1998, which turned over major cities and vast tracts of land to the PA? "Now they will be accountable," he burbled.
He went along with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "disengagement" from Gaza because, he said, his role as finance minister was too important to leave. He failed to lead Israelis fed up with corruption and ineptitude after Israel's botched action against Hezbollah in Lebanon. It could be another set-up, or a new dance step.
Iran needs the American bogeyman to unite; America needs the threat from Iran to whip Israel into major security surrender; and Netanyahu needs both to build a strong coalition and stay in power. He's been through all of this before; he won't make the same mistakes.
Whether or not Iran has the capability of launching a nuclear-tipped missile from its territory is unclear. Thanks to Pakistan and North Korea, Iran may have acquired the technology for a smaller nuclear devise mounted on ballistic missiles that could be launched by small groups anywhere, most likely via Hezbollah and Hamas proxies.
The obvious advantage of Iran's use of a proxy is that it's harder to trace its origins, thereby offering Iran protection from retaliation, at least for a while, if at all.