The Obama administration offered Israel advanced weaponry in return for putting off a possible attack on Iran until after the 2012 presidential elections.
The Israeli daily Maariv reported on Thursday citing anonymous diplomats and intelligence sources that the Obama administration meeting with Israeli leaders earlier this week offered them advanced bunker-busting bombs and long-range refueling planes if he promised to postpone a preventive war on Iran until at least 2013.
The Obama administration had for months been pressing Israel to calm its calls for war on Iran, primarily because the consensus in the U.S. military and intelligence community is that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention to do so. An attack is therefore wholly unnecessary, but fears ran high that Israel might attack anyway.
The White House has denied the validity of the reports. “In meetings the president had there was no such agreement proposed or reached,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “We have obviously high-level cooperation between the Israeli military and the U.S. military, and at other levels and with other agencies within their government and our government”, Carney said, adding: “That was not a subject of discussion in the president’s meetings.”
But Ha’aretz also quoted an Obama official saying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had specifically asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for the GBU-28 bunker busting bombs as well as for the advanced refueling aircraft.
Netanyahu told Israeli news media on Thursday that a strike of Iran’s nuclear facilities is not a “matter of days, weeks, but not a matter of years,” adding: “If I don’t make the right call [on Iran] maybe there won’t be anyone to explain to.” This of course completely ignores U.S. intelligence which says Iran is very far off from even deciding to begin development of nuclear weapons.
Whether or not the Obama administration’s deal-cutting was sincere in its attempts to deter reckless Israeli aggression against Iran, it seems clear that giving Israel better capability to unilaterally attack increases the likelihood of it happening.