Obama's 2012 Iran Gambit?

Don't be surprised if President Obama decides to take out Iran's nuclear capabilities to shore up his candidacy.

Elad Benari at Israel National News reported that Dennis Ross, President Obama's former Middle East Advisor, said that the president is "prepared to take military action against Iran":

"In an interview with Israel's Channel 10 News, Ross said that the recent public statements by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, reflect the fact that the President and the administration 'take this issue with the greatest degree of seriousness.'

"'This is not something that we're prepared to accept,' Ross said. 'The administration continues to believe that there is time and space available to achieve the objective that Iran will not be a nuclear-armed country through non-military means.'

"However, he added, 'They're also saying - if you look at the words of the Defense Secretary - that all options remain on the table. Obviously, it's better to use diplomatic means to achieve the objective, but the fact is the United States is not prepared to adopt a position of containment towards Iran.'"

Only time will tell if Ross is correct, but this much is certain: President Obama faces a tough re-election campaign, and he's behaving like a desperate man.  As Command-in-chief of U.S. military forces, he alone has the power to order an attack on Iran.  If the president's poll numbers indicate that he is trailing as the election draws near, don't be surprised if he decides to take out Iran's nuclear capabilities to shore up his candidacy.  Stranger things have happened.

Iran has made it clear that it will take revenge on Israel and shut down the Strait of Hormuz if the U.S. attacks.  Will the mullahs follow through or will they relent?  Judging by their behavior in recent years, the Islamists running Iran are prepared to make any sacrifice to obtain nuclear capabilities and to defend them.  Saying that 2012 will be an interesting year is an understatement.

Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.  His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You're Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You're Not an Idiot.