Journalist Larry Derfner says it plainly: “Israel is not going to attack Iran.”
Not before the November 6 presidential election, not afterward if Obama wins, and maybe not afterward even if Romney wins, which is unlikely.
It’s not that Netanyahu doesn’t want to bomb Iran – he does, and he makes that clearer every day. What’s happened is that there’s been such a torrent of opposition in the Israeli media this week from the security establishment, starting with IDF chief Benny Gantz, and backed by the Obama Administration and Pentagon, that there’s no way Bibi can get his cabinet to vote for a war, and without the cabinet’s backing, he can’t do it. The ministers will not support Bibi in an extremely risky war opposed by the heads of the IDF, IDF Intelligence, the Air Force, the Mossad, the Shin Bet and the United States of America.
The military establishment in the United States and Israel have been pretty strongly against launching a war on Iran. In Israel, everyone from the former head of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad Meir Dagan, to current head of the Mossad Tamir Pardo, Israel’s military chief Benny Gantz, former prime minister Ehud Olmert, former leader of the Kadima party Tzipi Livni, and internal security chief Yuval Diskin, have come out to push back against Netanyahu. Broadly speaking, they argue that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, that Iran doesn’t present an existential threat, and that war is not the appropriate answer.
Those pushing for war are a relatively small but extremely influential group of politicians and foreign policy analysts. But since the costs of an unnecessary war are hard to deny – as is the fact that it’s even more likely to produce a nuclear Iran – these habitual interventionists will find other ways. Already, Foreign Affairs is running essays by raving necons like Michael Ledeen, who is arguing for Washington to foment internal revolution to change the regime in Iran…because, you know, that worked out so well last time.