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Israel Will Not Warn U.S. in Advance of Iran Strikes

February 19, 2015

As the AP and the New York Times have reported, Obama administration officials have acknowledged that the United States is not sharing all of the details of the ongoing P5+1 negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. That reticence is well-justified. As the Washington Post recently reported on the leaks coming from the Netanyahu government, on January 31, "an unnamed senior Israeli official had told Channel 10 TV news that the United States was ready to allow more than 7,000 centrifuges and had 'agreed to 80 percent of Iran's demands.'" As one American official responded to the Israel cherry-picking, "What they don't tell you is that we only let them have that many centrifuges if they ship most of their fuel out of the country."
Given Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's all-out effort to undermine a deal that could prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons short of war, it's no wonder State Department spokesperson had to explain the American response to the Israeli subterfuge:

"I think it's safe to say that not everything you're hearing from the Israeli government is an accurate reflection of the details of the talks. There's a selective sharing of information."

What is surprising is that the Netanyahu government would complain about "empty" briefings from the U.S. and statements like that from former national security adviser General Gen. Yaakov Amidror, "It makes us question in Israel, are they open with us or are they trying to hide from us?" After all, the Netanyahu government has made it clear for years that he will not warn the U.S. in advance of Israeli military strikes against Iran. And that attack, one made much more likely should Bibi's sabotage succeed, could leave U.S. forces and American interests in the region unprepared for the Iranian retaliation that would certainly follow.

Word that Israel would not give Washington a heads-up about a decision to unilaterally hit Iranian nuclear facilities first became public in 2011. That November, U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey acknowledged the differences between Israeli and U.S. expectations over sanctions as well as differences in perspective about the future course of events. As Reuters reported:

Asked directly whether Israel would alert the United States ahead of time if it chose to go forward with military action, Dempsey replied flatly: "I don't know."

Dempsey's revelation came just days after the Netanyahu government refused to give the Obama administration assurances it will first notify the U.S. of its intentions. In an October 2011 meeting with Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak, American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta came away empty handed:
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Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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