While insisting that they “want to see sanctions work,” Obama Administration officials are convinced that the sanctions won’t lead Iran to abandon its civilian nuclear program and that either the US or Israel will attack Iran as a result.
The new reports come just one day after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta conceded that Iran isn’t actually developing a nuclear weapon, and DIA chief Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess said that Iran was unlikely to start any war on their own.
Officials say Obama has been telling Israel he wants to “give sufficient time” to the current round of sanctions before starting the war, though they say that in the end the result will start be a war because Iran is “behaving like sanctions don’t matter.”
It does seem to have pushed back the start of the war a bit, however, as Panetta had previously predicted Israel would launch an attack between April and June, but Obama advisors are now calling September or October the “sweet spot.”
This could mean a literal October surprise, with President Obama either starting a huge war with Iran just ahead of the 2012 presidential election, or having Israel do so and jumping in immediately thereafter.
Such a timing for the war could be seen as politically desirable for the president, with several of the Republican candidates condemning him for not being more hawkish against Iran, and likely to center a foreign policy debate on his not starting this particular war.