Monday, July 7, 2008
Israeli diplomatic and war officials believe the Bush administration is split over Tel Aviv’s possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The recent leaks from the US of whether Israel should or will take a military strike against Iran, considering Washington’s interests, are reflective of internal divisions in the Bush administration, Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli officials as saying.
The sources opined that the existence of ‘hawkish camp’ led by US Vice President Dick Cheney, and the ‘dovish camp’ led by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, was a signal that the US officials had been trying to further their own agendas, using Israel as a “pawn” in their own political battles.
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They also said they were slightly surprised by remarks made by US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, who said at a press conference last week that opening up a third front right now would be extremely stressful on the US.
Israeli officials added the concern voiced by Mullen reflected fears in Washington that a strike against Iran would destabilize the region and undermine America’s position in Iraq.
A US official familiar with recent US-Israeli military talks told the Sunday Telegraph earlier that Israel’s intelligence to attack Iran was not sufficient.
“The Americans had spies in Iran until they were rounded up in 2003 and now they do not have much by way of ‘humint’ (human intelligence) on the ground. The Israelis have better information. But the Americans went away from the meetings unconvinced that the Israelis have enough intelligence on where to strike, and with little confidence that they will be able to destroy the nuclear program,” the official was quoted as saying.
Accusing Tehran of developing nuclear weapons, Israel is seemingly trying to gain the US support for a military strike against the country’s nuclear facilities. Iran categorically denies the charges, saying it needs nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
The Israeli and US officials have so far refused to take the military option off the table. At the same time, the US has signaled the message that the war against Iran could be risky and dangerous.
This article was posted: Monday, July 7, 2008 at 5:38 am