Thursday, April 30, 2009

Biden warns Israel off any attack on Iran

By Paul Richter
April 08, 2009


Biden said in a CNN interview that he does not believe newly installed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would take such a step. Even so, his comment underscored a gap between the conservative new Israeli government and the Obama White House on a series of questions, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Iran.

While the Obama administration has made a series of recent overtures to Tehran, the Israelis have grown more confrontational out of concern that the Islamic Republic's increasing nuclear know-how could one day become an existential threat.

Netanyahu signaled several times during his election campaign that he would not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran. "I promise that if I am elected, Iran will not acquire nuclear arms," he said in one appearance, "and this implies everything necessary to carry this out."

With his brief comment Tuesday, Biden became the highest-ranking administration official to caution the Jewish state against a military strike. In the interview, Biden was asked whether he was concerned that Netanyahu might strike Iranian nuclear facilities.

"I don't believe Prime Minister Netanyahu would do that. I think he would be ill advised to do that," Biden said.

"And so my level of concern is no different than it was a year ago."

But many U.S. officials believe Israel is serious. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of U.S. forces in the Middle East, told senators this month that the Israeli government may be "so threatened by the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon that it would take preemptive military action to derail or delay it."

Other U.S. officials have made it clear in the past that they would prefer that Israel not carry out a strike against Iran. Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cautioned last summer against military action.

"This is a very unstable part of the world," he said then. "And I don't need it to be more unstable."

Among other concerns, U.S. Defense Department officials worry that Iran might retaliate by striking at U.S. troops in neighboring Iraq.

Differences between U.S. and Israeli officials also are emerging on key issues involving the Palestinians. Netanyahu has not embraced Washington's goal of an independent Palestinian state, and some of his key supporters favor expanded Jewish settlements in the West Bank, an idea criticized by President Obama.



The Professor said...

In a nuclear confrontation who will the U.S. side with, the Iranians or the Israelis? The U.S. is an ally with Israel, but it seems like were are striving for an alliance with Iran.

Rambunctious Mongoose said...

I think the U.S. wants to achieve an alliance with Iran in this situation. I think the U.S. government realizes the threat that Iran poses or could pose in the near future. If we achieve an alliance with Iran, then that is just one less threat for us to worry about attacking us or our allies. If we don't achieve alliance with Iran, then the situation between us and Iran could just get more and more tense and could eventually result in attack threats against eachother or even attacks on Iran by the U.S. which would only result in counterattacks by Iran.

reagan 08 said...

Israel would be justified to launch a preemptive strike on
Iran if Mossad intelligence (the best in the world) confirmed Iranian possession of a nuclear weapon. Israel has an interesting take on the nuclear issue; they themselves officially have no nuclear weapons. However, evidence has been shown to point to the fact that they do, leaving them dangerously ambiguous. If I was Iran, I would stay away from provoking Israel.

bulbasaur75 said...

I think we will most likely end up supporting Israel. We dont want to get rid of an old friend by trying to get chummy with an old enemy.

The Non Bright Lamp said...

This is a very interesting topic, as these two countries basically hate each other. If Israel were to attack Iran, I couldn't imagine the potential outcome other than it would be a massive military operation on both sides.

The Burninator said...

To think Israel isn't serious is to be an absolute fool. Israel has proven in the past (Six-Day War, anyone?) that they will act if they feel threatened. It would not only be justified for Israel to make a pre-emptive strike on their enemies, but it would be a near certaintly that they will if they feel the United States has abandoned them.

I think any reasonable man would agree that it is far too soon to take military action against Iran, but massive pressure must be put on them NOW, while Iran is still at least a year away from being able to produce weapons grade nuclear material.

And adding pressure isn't begging Iran to come to the bargaining table and giving them really really mean looks.

Mr. Phil said...

I agree with Reagan here it is justified for the Israelis to launch a preemptive attack because we all know who is friends in that region and it is not Iran and Israel

pawbearcatpaw said...

I definetly agree that we are allies with Israel and it would be to out benefit to become close with Iran. In a perfect world the U.S. will become allies and the three will work closely together but thats not likely. Best option is to stay out of both situations.