Suzanne Maloney, a former State Department official who still briefs US policymakers on Iran, told an audience Monday at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, that pressure on US President Barack Obama and/or Israeli leaders to take military action will grow if negotiations fail to create a sustained process for dialogue.
”œOdds are we’ll make it through this year,” said Maloney, who is also a senior fellow at the Saban Center at Brookings Institution. ”œThe time frame for concerns about war have shifted from April-May to early 2013” ”“ a reference to published reports that Israel might strike Iran’s nuclear facilities this spring.
Maloney added, however, that by next year, ”œthere will be renewed pressure on the president because of the statements he has made and statements by [Israeli Defense Minister] Ehud Barak and [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.”
The oft-noted reality that neither the US nor Israeli intelligence communities thinks Iran has made a decision to push for a nuke isn’t going to matter, apparently. Nor will the IAEA’s oft-reported conclusion that they’ve seen no real signs of a concerted attempt towards weaponization. Israel’s real problem is that even a “Japan Option” for Iran constrains its ability to do things like invade Lebanon – it knows that there is no real “existential threat”. The US has backed itself into a corner of Israel’s making, to Iran’s detriment. After almost a decade of ‘will we, won’t we” the game is coming to an end; we’re now in a position of hoping Iran will be the adult in the room if war is to be averted.