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September 8, 2006
Bibi Says Bush Will Cowboy Up On Iran

Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to New York, hoping to build support in America for a bid to replace Ehud Olmert as Israel's Prime Minister. As part of that effort, he gave a speech last night in which he told the audience that George Bush has just about run out of patience with international diplomacy regarding the Iranian nuclear program:

Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of an American tour repositioning himself for a return to the Israeli premiership, told an audience in New York today that President Bush is preparing to ditch the United Nations to take on Iran alone and that American politicians of all parties would do well to stop squabbling about Iraq and join the president in focusing on threat from Tehran.

The former prime minister, who leads the right of center Likud Party in opposition to the current government, went on to tell lunch guests of the Hudson Institute that another war between Hezbollah and Israel is inevitable and that a shift in Israeli politics is about to take place with his return to power and a return to the principles that guided thinking in Jerusalem until the Oslo Accords.

Largely ignored in the coverage of Mr. Bush's speech Tuesday on the war on terror, Mr. Netanyahu told his audience more than once, was Mr. Bush's statement that "the world's free nations will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon." Not that the "United Nations won't allow," said Mr. Netanyahu, but that the "free nations" of the world won't allow. Mr. Netanyahu called it a sign that on the Iranian problem the president was preparing to stop working through the United Nations and instead work with whoever would join him.

Netanyahu is correct when he says it was overlooked; hardly anyone included that in their analyses, including me. It doesn't surprise me to see Netanyahu make the point, because he has long warned of the encroaching hegemony of the mullahcracy in the region. The fact that he came to America to make that point shows that he sees a need for more focus and strength on Iran by Americans.

Of course, this redounds to Israel's benefit, as Netanyahu freely admits. The threat to Israel represents just the leading edge of the Iranian political strategy. Not for nothing does Ahmadinejad refer to Israel as the "little Satan," and the Iranian leader made the connection between Israel and the US explicit with his conference on a world without both.

Unfortunately, Netanyahu is probably also correct about the amount of company we have in seriously addressing the threat. He counts Israel and Britain as the only Western nations taking it seriously. Recent polls show that the French electorate also thinks it rises to the level of military intervention if all other efforts fail to end the nuclear efforts of Teheran. However, while the Security Council nations show some backbone in issuing resolutions, they appear to have no stomach for any other kind of confrontation with the mullahs.

Daniel Freedman has extensive reporting of Netanyahu's remarks for the New York Sun. Be sure to read the entire article.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 8, 2006 5:34 AM

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