The Reckoning

Netanyahu’s Grand Coalition: Bluster or Battlestations?

’I’m gonna hit them with a warhead about this long.’

Photograph by Gali Tibbon/AFP/GettyImages

My GP column, written before Netanyahu’s convening of a unity government, still stands. In spite of renewed speculation about an Iran-Israel strike, I think Israel benefits (as does the P5+1 in their negotiations with Iran) from maintaining an Israeli “wildcard.” But I still say no attack.

Thoughts? Read on …. and please comment. This is one debate where very few people really have any inside information, though plenty will pretend to.

With the coming of spring, green shoots and optimism tend to return. And in the Middle East, at least one manifestation of this has been a calming of tensions between Israel and Iran.

Israel’s assertion that Iran is bent on building a nuclear weapon has hovered over the region, as well as the world’s foreign ministries and global energy markets.

In spite of very real concerns in Israel about the motives of the Iranian regime, a growing body of evidence indicates that much of the rhetoric surrounding the issue is tactical: in effect, an effort at brinksmanship by Israel, the United States and other parties interested in preventing the emergence of a nuclear armed Iran (including several of Iran’s Muslim neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Turkey).

Talking up the possibility that military action is imminent, this thinking goes, lends credibility and leverage in ongoing talks aimed at a diplomatic solution.

The fact is, two of the three players — the US and Iran — have vested (though differing) interests in avoiding conflict.

Meanwhile, Israel’s intelligence and military establishment doubts the long-term wisdom and short-term effectiveness of a unilateral military strike to prevent Iran from going nuclear. (Read the rest on GlobalPost) and excuse their disastrous story templates!