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Obama-Netanyahu Iran Reconciliation

U.S President & Israeli Prime Minister Agree on Short-Term Tactics For Halting Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program

Netanyahu Signals That Israel Can & Will Attack If Iran Persists – Obama Pledges He Will Employ Military Option If all Else Fails

IsraCast Assessment: Two Leaders Concur That Iran Must Not Be allowed To Acquire Nuclear Weapons But Not On Deadline For Military Action

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

 Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons one way or the other – that was the message from both leaders. But although they agreed on the strategy it's not certain they see eye to eye on the tactics. In the opinion of analyst David Essing the U.S. President and the Israeli Prime Minister agreed on a short-run modus operandi, but if it fails all bets are off.

 'In Obama We Trust' – for the time being. That is one way to sum up the latest Obama – Netanyahu summit as perceived in Israel. The Israeli leader went to Washington telling the world the Iranians were in the home-stretch and nearing the finish-line of their nuclear race. On the other hand, Obama contended the Iranians had several laps to go and the stiffer sanctions could stop them in their tracks. However, he and then his Defense Secretary Leon Panetta delivered their one-two punch – if the Iranians persisted, America would draw the military option out of its quiver.

This time Obama's rhetoric was music to Netanyahu's ears. Israel was entitled to act in its own self-defense, that was not in dispute. However, if Israel were to do so 'prematurely' that would not be in Israeli or American interests. Moreover, Obama had rallied the international community, although belatedly, against a nuclear Iran, so Israel should not spoil it now.

There was no sign of Obama's hectoring of Netanyahu over the Palestinian issue. After Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's rapprochement with Iranian backed Hamas, the Palestinians were not even on the back burner - they were not even near the stove at this summit. In summary, the U.S. President came pretty near to presenting publicly an iron-clad assurance that Netanyahu wanted to hear.

For his part, the Prime Minister articulated Israel's case so forcefully that even his political critics back home marveled at his statecraft in bringing the Iranian threat to front- row center on the stage of the international community.

Now Netanyahu has agreed with Obama to explore every possible avenue with Iran before the Israeli government takes military action. In so doing, the onus is now on Obama to deliver the goods on his Teddy Roosevelt quote of 'speak softly but carry a big stick!' Will Obama's big stick be big enough to deter the Muslim fanatics in Tehran who see nuclear weapons as the means for imposing their hegemony on the Middle East and beyond? And while the next round of diplomacy slowly gathers pace, not only Iran's nuclear clock will be ticking.

Netanyahu served notice in Washington this week that he will never agree to let the people of Israel live in the shadow of annihilation. And not only in words, the PM's body language and composure also signaled that Israel can and will eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat, if the President fails to do so.

David Essing

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