In a followup to last night’s report that the Obama Administration was warning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to launch any surprise attacks on Iran, it is now being reported that CIA Director Leon Panetta was dispatched on a secret mission two weeks ago to Israel to get assurances from Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak that they would not launch an attack without alerting the United States first.
The results of the meeting are likely the story reported last week, that Israel would “inform” the United States once the planes were en route to Iran, but would not ask for permission before launching the attack. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has expressed concern that a preemptive attack on Iran would create a “disastrous backlash.”
Israel has repeatedly threatened to launch attacks against Iran if they do not abandon their civilian nuclear program, but they have grudgingly supported the Obama Administration’s diplomatic efforts on the matter. Still, recent military exercises suggest the matter may be coming to a head and the hawkish Netanyahu government’s patience may, just over a month after taking office, already be running thin.
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