Benjamin Netanyahu is set to select Avigdor Lieberman as his foreign minister. Lieberman might not be barred from entering the United States but I doubt that he’ll be honored with photo-ops getting a warm greeting from President Obama. As for Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Uzi Arad, he’s unlikely to enjoy much face-to-face contact with his American counterparts since at this time the former director of research for Mossad can’t visit the US. He’s currently barred from entering the country through the use of a statute that prevents entry to people who may seek “to violate any law of the United States relating to espionage or sabotage.”
Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi during a visit to the US took the opportunity to reiterate that the IDF must prepare itself for a military attack on Iran.
If the IDF follows Arad’s advice, given two years ago, this is what UPI reported we can expect:
Israel should threaten to strike “everything and anything of value,” he said.
Should Israel threaten to hit their leadership? Yes. Their holiest sites? Yes. Everything together? Yes, Arad recommended.
Obama and Secretary Clinton (and her sidekick Dennis Ross) can reiterate the obligatory “all diplomatic avenues must be pursued,” but there’s one diplomatic weapon they need to wield soon — before it’s too late: they need to make explicit the position of the United States in the event that Israel decides to act unilaterally.
Would Israeli officials make reckless threats if they didn’t feel assured that in the event of a military engagement between Israel and Iran the US would resolutely stand next to its ally — even if the Jewish state had chosen to act unilaterally?
Their bluster surely rests on their confidence that no administration in Washington has the guts to ever tell them their on their own.
Unless Obama changes that perception, there is a real danger that the US will be dragged into another war, against the will of the American people and its government.
The Israelis need to be shown a red line. If that doesn’t happen, the gravest national security decision to impact the United States will be one in which the US government chose to have no voice.