Come October, don’t be surprised if you see this headline. Right now, the chances of it happening are very real indeed. Why? Because in September Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to attack Iran. This will be followed by the Iranians blocking the Straits of Hormuz, and a standoff between the US Navy and the Iranian Navy. As tensions escalate, oil prices are going to hit the roof. The price for Mr Netanyahu’s little escapade is going to be paid for by the likes of you and me in the form of higher fuel prices and an even deeper recession.
How do I know Mr Netanyahu’s intentions? Well of course I don’t, but he’s been threatening to attack Iran for nearly two years now, and those in the know are putting their money on September. Why September? Because Netanyahu wants to deliver the Obama presidential bid a fatal blow. Not only do they hate each other’s guts, Netanyahu thinks the Republicans are going to be easier to manage than the Democrats – despite the Jewish vote being traditionally Democrat.
Netanyahu already controls Congress in matters concerning Israel and US Middle East policy. Every Congressman and woman being ‘scored’ by the all powerful Israeli lobby on how well they support Netanyahu and his policies. Dare to utter a critical word or not do Netanyahu’s bidding, and thousands of re-election donations mysteriously evaporate.
Back home Mr Netanyahu’s coalition is in trouble. Kadima has decided to leave the coalition. Netanyahu’s grasp on power is looking tenuous. A convenient crisis to focus on ‘the great leader Netanyahu’ is just what the doctor ordered.
And don’t be fooled by the argument that it’s the threat of Iran with a nuclear bomb that’s motivating Mr Netanyahu. Not a bit of it. It’s all about the balance of power in the Middle East. Israel is the only ‘nuclear power’ in the region at the moment. If Iran had nuclear weapons it would change the whole dynamic in the Middle East, and that’s something Netanyahu is not prepared to accept.
So what are the Americans saying to Netanyahu? Are they just going to let him do what he wants and pour petrol on the Middle East fire? Defence Secretary Panetta says he genuinely doesn’t know what his intentions are, which is a pretty bizarre state of affairs. Maybe they know and are afraid to say anything lest they upset the Jewish vote. Who Knows?
And what of the British Government, where do they stand? William Hague has said he thinks an attack on Iran by Israel ‘would be unwise’. Good that he’s spoken up, but as September draws closer it might be wise for him to voice his disapproval in more forceful and unequivocal terms – for all our sakes.