Top reporters Gareth Porter and Jim Lobe write:
President Barack Obama’s explicit warning that he will not accept a unilateral Israeli attack against Iran may force Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step back from his ostensible threat of war.
Netanyahu had hoped that the Obama administration could be put under domestic political pressure during the election campaign to shift its policy on Iran to the much more confrontational stance that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have been demanding.
But that political pressure has not materialized, and Obama has gone further than ever before in warning Netanyahu not to expect U.S. backing in any war with Iran. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told reporters in Britain Aug. 30 that an Israeli strike would be ineffective and then said, “I don’t want to be complicit if they [the Israelis] choose to do it.”
It was the first time that a senior U.S. official had made such an explicit public statement indicating the administration’s unwillingness to be a party to a war provoked by a unilateral Israeli attack.
A strike could be a disaster for the U.S.-Israel relationship. It might not be -- there is no sympathy for the Iranian regime among Americans (except on the left-most, and right-most margins) and there is plenty of sympathy for Israel. But an attack could trigger an armed Iranian response against American targets. (Such a response would not be rational on the part of Iran, but I don't count on regime rationality.) Americans are tired of the Middle East, and I'm not sure how they would feel if they believed that Israeli action brought harm to Americans. Remember, American soldiers have died in the defense of Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, but they've never died defending Israel. I doubt Israel wants to put Americans in harm's way now. And it certainly isn't healthy for Israel to get on the wrong side of an American president. [Emphasis added.]
UPDATE: Phil Giraldi has come along to spoil my relaxation.