Rising Possibility of Military Strike on Iran

The U.S. press has been reporting that the Obama administration is publicly disagreeing over the timing of a potential attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

On Friday, Bloomberg reported that according to Aaron David Miller, a former Mideast peace negotiator in the Clinton administration, the U.S. and Israel have a “significant analytic difference” over the estimates of how close Iran is to shielding its nuclear program from an airstrike.

“There’s a growing concern (more than a concern) that the Israelis — in order to protect themselves — might launch a strike without approval, warning or even foreknowledge,” Miller said.

On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel must consider launching an operation before Iran reaches an “immunity zone” — referring to Iran’s goal of protecting its uranium enrichment and other nuclear operations by moving them to deep underground facilities such as the one at Fordo, near the holy city of Qom.

In an address to the annual Herzliya Conference at the Interdisciplinary Center campus north of Tel Aviv, Barak said, “The world has no doubt that Iran’s nuclear program is steadily nearing readiness and is about to enter an immunity zone” and added that “if the sanctions don’t achieve their goal of halting Iran’s nuclear weapons program, there will arise the need of weighing an operation.”

On Friday, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. “is absolutely committed to preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”

Whether the U.S. and Israel are playing a game of “good cop, bad cop” on the world stage is uncertain. All that is certain is crude oil prices are destined to remain high while the tension persists between Iran and the Western countries that are imposing an oil embargo later this year.

Let’s hope the escalating war of words does not spin too far out of control.

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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