As US urges Israel to let West exhaust all diplomatic efforts vis-ŗ-
vis Iran; former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy pegs possible window for
strike over next three months
"If I were an Iranian, I would be very fearful of the next 12 weeks,"
former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy was quoted by the New York Times as
saying Thursday, in reference to a possible strike on Iran´s nuclear
The comment was made against recent assessments by American officials
that the United States sees 18 months before the Islamic Republic´s
nuclear weapons program reaches "a critical stage"; as well as the
growing concern in Washington that Israel will choose to mount an
independent military strike against Iran.
According to the report, Halevy based his assumption on Israel´s
aversion of winter battles, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s fears
of dwindling support should US President Barack Obama be elected for
a second term and the fact that should GOP candidate Mitt Romney be
elected president, he is likely to shy away from starting his term in
office with a war.
The report further quoted US officials as saying that "Israeli
officials are less confrontational in privateÖ PM Netanyahu
understands the consequences of military action for Israel, the
United States and the region."
"The more the Israelis threaten, the more we respond by showing them
that we will take care of the problem if it comes to that," Martin
Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel and director of foreign
policy at the Brookings Institution, said.
Several top US defense officials have visited Israel over the past
few weeks including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, National
Security Advisor Tom Donilon and US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
"The visitors are actually babysitters, trying to make sure the
unpredictable kids do not misbehave," Efraim Inbar, the director of
the Begin-Sadat Institute for Strategic Studies, said.
David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told
the newspaper that "Israelís longstanding doctrine of self-reliance
makes American promises to act later if all else fails less
According to Makovsky," Israel needs to "believe that it´s not two
minutes to midnight. If Israel is so convinced that its window of
action is shutting, then maybe you try to enlarge Israel´s window.
You say, ´Here, we know there are some things you need. But we donít
want you to use them until several months ahead.´"