May 14, 2009
Obama to Bibi: No surprises on Iran
It may be indicative just how low US-Israel relations have sunk that Barack Obama is warning Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu not to make any military moves against Iran without telling him.
Aluf Benn of Haaretz reports:
U.S. President Barack Obama has sent a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding that Israel not surprise the U.S. with an Israeli military operation against Iran. The message was conveyed by a senior American official who met in Israel with Netanyahu, ministers and other senior officials. Earlier, Netanyahu's envoy visited Washington and met with National Security Adviser James Jones and with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and discussed the dialogue Obama has initiated with Tehran.
The message from the American envoy to the prime minister reveals U.S. concern that Israel could lose patience and act against Iran. It is important to the Americans that they not be caught off guard and find themselves facing facts on the ground at the last minute.
Obama did not wait for his White House meeting with Netanyahu, scheduled for next Monday, to deliver his message, but rather sent it ahead of time with his envoy.
The likelihood of an Israeli strike without US knowledge just became a dead certainty.
No doubt if the Israelis informed the Obama White House in advance, news of the attack would leak. And Netanyahu must have figured out by now that Obama is more concerned with pursuing his "Grand Bargain" with Iran that with the security of Israel.
What's worrisome about this is that it calls into question just what steps an Obama administration would take to "punish" Israel if they attacked Iran. Given the hostility towards the Jewish state exhibited by several of his advisors, nothing would be unthinkable as a reaction by Obama.
Wouldn't you love to be in that room next week when Bibi sits down with our naive president?