November 2, 2011
The story in Israel’s leading liberal newspaper sounds pretty solid. And, given the circumstances, makes total sense.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action against Iran, a senior Israeli official has said. According to the official, there is a “small advantage” in the cabinet for the opponents of such an attack.
Netanyahu and Barak recently persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who previously objected to attacking Iran, to support such a move.
Although more than a million Israelis have had to seek shelter during a week of rockets raining down on the south, political leaders have diverted their attention to arguing over a possible war with Iran. Leading ministers were publicly dropping hints on Tuesday that Israeli could attack Iran, although a member of the forum of eight senior ministers said no such decision had been taken.
Senior ministers and diplomats said the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report, due to be released on November 8, will have a decisive effect on the decisions Israel makes.
The Director General of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, is no ElBaradei. He is considerably more skeptical about Iran’s possible dual use nuclear program and has been pretty single minded in his determination to get to the bottom of things.
But the IAEA is constrained by how cooperative the Iranians are. Still, previous reports have raised questions about how transparent the Iranians have been and have included speculation about a possible bomb building program.
It is unlikely that the November 8 report will say much different. Ergo, the cabinet will probably be back to square one.