The White House this week scrambled to reconnect with Jerusalem after the Obama administration was persuaded that Israel was serious about conducting a fall military operation against Iran’s nuclear program before the Nov. 6 US presidential election – notwithstanding the heavy opposition guns firing against it at home and from Washington. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, assisted by their newly-appointed Home Front Defense Minister, were seen deep in practical preparations for this operation and its repercussions, as well an outbreak of hostilities with Syria and Hizballah.
The White House accordingly got in touch with Netanyahu’s office to find out what America must do to convince Israel to back off.
Wednesday, Aug.15, DEBKAfile revealed exclusively that the Obama and Netanyahu were discussing a one-on-one encounter on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session opening in New York on Sept. 18 in order to resume their military and strategic dialog on the Iranian issue broken off by their polar differences.
DEBKAfile now learns that those discussions have moved forward. Handled by National Security Adviser Tom Donilon for the US president and senior adviser Ron Dermer for the prime minister, they focus essentially on a four-point plan embodying Israel’s requirements for delaying an attack.
1. President Obama will formally inform the two houses of congress in writing that he plans to use military force to prevent Iran from arming itself with a nuclear weapon. He will request their endorsement. Aside from this step’s powerful deterrent weight for persuading Iran’s leaders to give up their pursuit of a nuclear bomb, it would also give the US president the freedom to go to war with Iran when he sees fit, without have to seek congressional endorsement.
2. To underscore his commitment, President Obama would pay a visit to Israel in the weeks leading up to election-day and deliver a speech to the Knesset solemnly pledging to use American military force against the Islamic Republic if Tehran still refuses to give up its nuclear weapon program. He will repeat that pledge before various other public forums.
3, In the coming months up until Spring 2013, the United States will upgrade Israel’s military, intelligence and technological capabilities so that if President Obama (whether he is reelected or replaced by Mitt Romney) decides to back out of this commitment, Israel will by then be in command of the resources necessary for inflicting mortal damage on Iran’s nuclear program with a unilateral strike.
DEBKAfile’s military sources note that an influx of these top-grade US military resources would bridge the gap between American and Israeli ticking clocks for an attack on Iran, and dispel the fear in Jerusalem that delay would give Iran time to bury its key facilities in “zones of immunity” – outside Israel’s reach for serious damage with its present capabilities.
4. If points 1-3 can be covered – and Netanyahu and Barak are convinced the US really means to strike Iran next spring – our Washington and Jerusalem sources report that Jerusalem may be coming around to agreeing to hold back a lone Israeli attack this autumn.
Those sources report that President Obama has not rejected the plan. Donilon was told to keep on talking to Netanyahu and Barak.