Israeli Prime Minster Bibi Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barack may not agree on much else, but both really want Israel to attack Iran, preferably before America's presidential election in November. Netanyahu recently appointed his old friend Avi Dichter to take charge of Israel's home front in case of Iranian counterattacks on several fronts, which might cause hundreds of Israeli deaths.
Do Netanyahu and Barak mean what they have been saying, or have they been bluffing in hopes of affecting America's presidential election? No decision has yet been made, according to former national security advisor Uzi Dayan, and Israel's leaders could still be persuaded to back off if U.S. President Obama imposed stricter sanctions and promised to use military force if necessary.
Of course, what Israel might consider "necessary" and what America would consider necessary might be very different. Plainly, America's military hopes Israel won't attack, and lots of Israelis don't seem especially enthusiastic either.
Europeans don't believe Israel will go through with it. Neither does Iran. But with Israel, you can never tell. Sure, President Peres says Israel shouldn't attack without American assistance and that he trusts Obama, but Israeli leftists and peaceniks have less influence lately than ever. Lots of independent observers do think Israel will attack, whether America approves or not.
Does Netanyahu figure he can blackmail Obama into war with Iran? Does he figure Romney will promise to attack Iran if Obama won't? Do you think Israel really will attack, or that it would make sense for it to do so? Will Sunni countries like Saudi secretly welcome Israel's prospective assault? Or has this been much ado about internal Israeli politics?