War with Iran seems to be turning away from a mere possibility and more towards inevitability. Israelis seem to have come to grips with the fact that they may find themselves in yet another conflict, United Nations inspectors have announced defeat in their latest — and likely their last — attempt to shed light on Iran’s nuclear program, and the regime has ramped up nuclear enrichment and war games amidst recent tensions.
Israel has become increasingly hostile towards Iran in recent months and the rhetoric is becoming tangible. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently stated that he believes Israel will attack Iran in April, May, or June. The fact that he made this statement speaks volumes as to what Israel is planning on doing. The U.S. and Israel share intelligence, military strategy, and interests in the region. For Panetta to give such a forecast could mean that he knows almost for certain that Israel is going to attack Iran. It could also mean that the U.S. and Israel are playing a psychological game with Iran to try and bring about a behavior change.
This game could look something like this: Israel allows speculation to be made that it will attack Iran in the coming months and matches it with inflammatory rhetoric. By doing so, Israel expects that Iran will speed up enrichment and bury fissile material as fast as possible — which they have absolutely done — thus making a strike on Iran look justified and shore up support for the campaign. Israel has also made it public that it believes there are certain points of no return that Iran may cross very soon in which a strike on its facilities will no longer do the damage necessary to stop or slow its nuclear program. This further underlines their stated need to strike sooner rather than later.
In any case, the U.S. seems to be distancing itself from what it believes is an imminent war. Many foreign policy advocates as well as administration officials in the U.S. have come out very publicly to denounce an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, stating that the consequences of such an action would be dire. However, regardless of what they say and how much the U.S. tries to play nice, any aggressive act by Israel will be seen by Iran as an act by the U.S. as well.
Given these recent developments, every sign seems to point in the direction of conflict. Israel may break free from its red, white, and blue leash and take matters into its own hands, but unfortunately, it will drag the U.S. with it.
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