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WSJ: Obama, Netanyahu Split Over Iran “Red Line”

by Keith Koffler on March 5, 2012, 5:28 pm

President Obama and Israeli Prime Mininster Binyamin Netanyahu split during three hours of meetings at the White House  today on the definition of what point an attack against Iran must be launched, with Obama focused on the end point of an Iranian nuclear weapon and Netanyahu seeking to define the a “red line” as a more nebulous “nuclear capability,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The issue is a critical one and speaks directly to Israeli fears about Obama, who has in the past reached out to the Iranians, showing a willingness to trust them in ways the current Israeli leadership views as hopelessly naive.

If there is too much focus on drawing the red line at the point of a nuclear weapon, Iran will draw the talks out until it has a capacity to make a weapon quickly, even if it does not actually do so.

Obama may already have let this situation go too far before enacting biting sanctions, which should have been brought to bear two years ago. Iran is so far along in its quest now that a little foot dragging, and decision to reach a “deal” and then break it, could easily bring it to the point where the Mullahs have the ability to quickly make a weapon in an area sealed from our bombs.

Who really knows what’s going on in Iran? The North Koreans had an entire facility we didn’t know about. The Israelis are right to demand a very fast timetable for Iran to cry uncle.

But instead they are asked to trust Obama, who has already played footsie with the Iranians, fist bumped Hugo Chavez, bowed to the Saudis, has a warm relationship with the anti-Israeli Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, refused to add serious U.S. power to the Libya operation, won’t help the Syrian rebels, and is in headlong retreat from Afghanistan after removing too many troops from Iraq.

I’ve written that Obama may be for real when he says he would bomb Iran. But his Chamberlainesque temperament may ensure he waits too long while seeking “peace in our time.”


rawheadrex March 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Prime Minister Netanyahu, don’t trust this meshuga unmensch. He would have been the sole survivor of the Donner Party. When push comes to shove, he will be a sonderkommando. He has one loyalty:Barak Hussein Obama.

bobby99 March 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Maybe 2 loyalties: The second being the Muslim Brotherhood.

Girly1 March 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I loved it when Netanyahu told Obama “You are the Big Satan and we (Israel) are the Little Satan”. To my great surpise, Obama remained seated and did not suffer a stroke!

Keith Koffler March 5, 2012 at 9:22 pm

He thought they loved him!

Brenda A. March 5, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Did you see President Obama’s stoneface?

AFVET March 6, 2012 at 11:27 am

Barry looks like that when he is blindsided by intelligence.

Stephen C. March 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Obama’s got Bibi’s back, according to Drudge. Yeah probably thinking of stabbing him there. What a wimp.

Keith Koffler March 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Bibi definitely seems concerned about turning his back.

Sadie March 6, 2012 at 2:32 am

Anyone who claims to “lead from ‘behind” should never expose their back to him.

Susan March 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm

He has proven himself to be untrustworthy and everyone sees that. Just don’t tell Obama what your plans are Mr. Netanyahu. He will do anything to save his hide. Wouldn’t doubt the creep would push his wife and children aside to get the last seat on the lifeboat of a sinking ship.

srdem65 March 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm

The best way to solidify the “red line” is for the US to agree publicly that we will provide air support and cover for whatever the Israelis choose to initiate against the Iranians.
A nuclear bomb is the very description of a WMD and the Iranians have vowed to use that WMD against it’s neighbor, Israel. We have a moral and national interest in the survival of Israel and it’s time for this administration to quit pussy-footing around with the rabid Islamist.

Keith Koffler March 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Right. “We’ve got your back,” he says, but no specific commitment like we’ll refuel your jets.

anneinarkansas March 5, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Obama is not a supporter of Israel.
Bibi must not trust a word he says/
This is all quite chilling.

Quintis Arrius March 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm

The Israelis have the history of playing a good endgame. I don’t doubt that they have quietly considered the potential ramifications of a vacillating US President back in 2009. The Israelis will not hesitate to use every option available to them. “Never again” is not just a phrase. Did Obama miss the Holocost Museum on his first Washington Tour as a young senator?

rawheadrex March 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

At the rate BHO is cutting U-S military, Israel maybe able to take us.

Keith Koffler March 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm

What he’s missed is Israel itself. Not one trip there since becoming president.

rawheadrex March 5, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Keith, many thanks for what you do. I never reached your heights, but I fought the battle at the local level for forty years. I remember how often eyebrows arched when I asked “what if we are wrong?” Most people in the newsroom never considered that possibility, or that anyone not in the business might have a different opinion.

lc southern March 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm

This president has no discernible foreign policy, or domestic…oh wait or economic. Never mind…

Jeff March 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Wanna see something scary, I did a blog on it to gather the facts up…
Iran May have Tested Nukes in N. Korea in 2010

The Die Welt report reads like a line-by-line refutation of the reported U.S. intelligence evaluation that there is no “hard evidence” that Iran is building nuclear weapons. That is a noteworthy reversal: the Obama administration’s intelligence chiefs claim that Iran is not an imminent threat, while a former top German official warns of immediate danger to the Jewish state. The fact is that there are some Germans who do not want to be responsible for a second Holocaust.

Brenda A. March 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Watched PM Netanyahu’s speech tonight. Wow.

HE is a leader.

jonathan koffler March 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Interesting op-ed in the Times last week by an ex israeli defense guy who put the Red Line difference down to the quality of each respective country’s bombs. He said there will be a time where Iran’s nuclear capabilities progress to a point where Israeli’s millitary capabilities (bombs) will be ineffectual but not the US’s superior weaponry. That puts a little different spin on the differing timetables. He thought the Obama-Netanyahu meeting was all about us convincing Israel to let the decision to attack be based on the American military capability timetable and not Israel’s. A huge leap of faith that it sounds like Israel was not ready to take.