US President Barack Obama said Sunday night, Sept. 23 on CBS “60 Minutes” that he understands and agrees with Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons as this would threaten both countries, the world in general and kick off an arms race. But he then added: “When it comes to our national security decisions – any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out – any noise that’s out there.”
Obama went on to say: “Now I feel an obligation – not pressure but obligation – to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis on these issues because it affects them deeply.”
So, consultation? yes; cooperation? forget it. His comments removed the last hopes Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak may have entertained of cooperation with the US for curtailing Iran’s nuclear designs by military force.
The US president was crystal clear: By saying he will be ruled solely by American security interests, he showed them that they too were being left to be guided by Israel’s security interests. So forget about red lines for America, he was telling Netanyahu.
His blunt verging-on-contemptuous dismissal of Israel’s concerns as “noise out there” was not much different from the way Iran’s leaders referred to the Jewish state.
Their threats against Israel have different dimensions: On the one hand, they say that if Israel is even thinking of attacking Iran, it will be destroyed in a preemptive attack. On the other, Israel has neither the military capability nor the courage to strike Iran.
Asked on CNN Sunday whether he feared a war with Israel was imminent, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: “The Zionists are very much, very adventuresome… They seek to fabricate new opportunities for themselves and their adventurous behaviors.”