Obama, Israel, and Iran
Obama, Israel, and IranI read James Lewis' article "Why attacking Iran may be morally and militarily necessary" with great interest. While I am not entirely convinced of his argument, it is cogently presented and certainly within the realm of possibility/probability. However, there are a number of other key factors in play that need to be considered before such a conclusion is reached.
First, if Israel were to attack Iranian nuclear facilities there is the issue of retaliation, not only against Israel, but the United States. Several sources have clearly indicated that any attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is a red line to Tehran and her surrogates in the Middle East and will trigger a counter attack. This is by no means a toothless threat. I pointed out in this AT article over one year ago that Iranian missiles have the range to attack our military facilities in the region and deep into Israeli territory. They have extensive contingency plans to attack US and Israeli facilities worldwide. They also have the ability to wreak havoc in the Straits of Hormuz and force oil prices to skyrocket.
While all of this has been documented over the course of the last 2 years, what is different now is the Obama Administration is in the White House. From my perspective, there are a few ways that difference manifests itself. First, Obama's inexperience with a real world crisis, not to mention a shooting war, is a huge issue. His strengths as a President do not lie in trying to assuage or control the aftermath of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. This puts the Obama Administration in a position it does not want to be in. Second, any Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would, needless to say, inhibit the Obama's Administration's rapprochement with Tehran.
Again, this puts the Obama Administration in a position it does not want to be in. Finally, if Iran starts attacking US troops in the region or US civilian targets worldwide, the Obama Administration would have to rely on and use the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to assist in targeting Iran and their surrogates as well as trying to thwart future attacks. With the Administration's recent actions of exposing CIA techniques, releasing detainee abuse photos, and uncovering key operatives there is a greater chance the CIA could be less proactive for fear of future recriminations by this or successive administrations. In other words, the CIA would be more inclined to verify the potential legal ramifications of their actions than to focus on the enemy.
All of this makes for a very uncomfortable situation for the Obama Administration. It would force them to deal with a situation that they ill equipped to handle and would likely cost them politically.
Given these type of problems, I doubt this Administration will just allow events to take their current course. President Obama resented unilateral military action and would not care for Israel launching an attack and leave his Administration with the aftermath. He is in a position to make Israeli military operations difficult, if not, impossible to execute.