By Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr
The United States has become increasingly concerned Israel could be preparing to strike Iran’s nuclear program, a senior U.S. military official told CNN on Friday.
The U.S. military and intelligence community in recent weeks have stepped up “watchfulness” of both Iran and Israel, according to the senior U.S. military official and a second military official familiar with the U.S. actions. Asked if the Pentagon was concerned about an attack, the senior military official replied “absolutely.” Both officials declined to be identified because of the extreme sensitivity of the matter.
Both the U.S. Central Command, which watches developments in Iran, and the U.S. European Command, which watches developments in Israel, are “increasingly vigilant” in watching potential military movement in both countries. U.S. satellites are a crucial method of gathering intelligence in both arenas, though the official did not specify that was the method being used.
via CNN.com Blogs.
In the last weeks, once again, there are live rumors that Israel is readying an attack. Part of the reason why the talk is surfacing now may be that next week the International Atomic Energy Agency is set to release a new report which may report that Iran has made further progress in its nuclear program.
According to Haaretz, the liberal Israeli daily, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently convinced ultra-hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to support a military attack in the near future:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action against Iran, a senior Israeli official has said. According to the official, there is a “small advantage” in the cabinet for the opponents of such an attack. Netanyahu and Barak recently persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who previously objected to attacking Iran, to support such a move.”
The tragedy, here, is that this crisis could have been avoided.
On October 24, the Iranian newspaper Etemaad published an interview with Hassan Rowhani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005, a period when reformists controlled the presidency. Rowhani admitted that he used diplomacy to run down the nuclear clock. “Two goals become our priority,” he declared, “The first goal was to safeguard the national security, and the second goal was to support and help the nuclear achievements.”
After bragging about how Iran used his period of negotiation to expand its enrichment and heavy water capability, Rowhani explained “The reason for inviting the three European foreign ministers to Tehran…was to make Europe oppose the United States so that the issue was not submitted to the Security Council.”
Obama entered office asking Iran to unclench its fist, and said the United States would not take no for an answer.
Obama may believe his national security successes—killing Usama Bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, and Muammar Qaddafi—immunize him from dealing substantively with Iran until after the 2012 election, but the rest of the world is not willing to operate according to Washington’s political calendar.