Sedra: Will Obama be successful in convincing Netanyahu not to strike Iran?

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5 March, 2012
By: Paul Sedra
Associate Professor of Middle East History, Simon Fraser University

President Obama has made it clear that his administration does not support a military strike against Iran at this time (particularly in an election year). I tend to believe the rhetoric of top Israeli political leaders, like Prime Minister Netanyahu, that Israel will act alone if it feels it has to. After all, many of those leaders and their supporters have been making a robust case for war at home and around the world for several years now. Despite unease in broader Israeli society over the prospects of a military confrontation with Iran, there appears to be a consensus within the Netanyahu government that a successful strike against Iran is possible and that the benefits of action will outweigh the risks (see Ronen Bergman article in NYT Magazine). In this light, I think an Israeli strike against Iran in 2012 is a very real possibility, and I am not convinced the Netanyahu government will even require a “green light” from its American partner to do so. I hope I am wrong, as this will have catastrophic consequences for an already volatile region.

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