Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Netanyahu Pounds War Drums Against Iran

By Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service,

WASHINGTON, Nov 8, 2010 (IPS) – Less than a week after Republicans made major gains in the U.S. midterm elections, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called on President Barack Obama to “create a credible threat of military action” against Iran.

Initial official reaction was negative, with Defence Secretary Robert Gates insisting that Obama’s preferred strategy of enhanced multilateral sanctions and negotiations, which may resume after a year’s hiatus later this month, was working better than expected.

“I disagree that only a credible military threat can get Iran to take the actions that it needs, to end its nuclear weapons programme,” Gates said when asked about Netanyahu’s remarks during a visit in Australia.

“We are prepared to do what is necessary, but at this point, we continue to believe that the political, economic approach that we are taking is, in fact, having an impact in Iran.”

According to diplomatic sources quoted in the Israeli and U.S. press, Netanyahu’s appeal came during a meeting with Vice President Joseph Biden in New Orleans Sunday. It suggests that his right-wing government and its allies here, including hawkish Republicans who will take control of the House of Representatives in January, are preparing to escalate pressure on Obama to adopt a more confrontational stance with Tehran.

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