Update: May 8, 2012. Netanyahu has abandoned plans for a September election: instead, he has formed a new coalition with the centrist party Kadima.
Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel has called an election for September, one year earlier than necessary. He is widely expected to win, but in any event he will head a transitional government until a new coalition is formed. It is being suggested that, with Obama in the final stages of the US presidential election campaign, this will be an ideal opportunity for him to launch the attack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program that he has long been threatening.
Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, let alone any nuclear weapons; nor has it ever threatened to attack Israel; nor has it the military capability to attack Israel. Furthermore, Israel’s own nuclear weapons would provide sufficient to deter such an attack. Nevertheless, the Netanyahu government claims that Iran is an existential threat to Israel, justifying a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear energy program, and many media voices agree with them (the Jerusalem Post newspaper devotes a separate section to the ‘Iran Threat’.) This is despite a chorus of voices from former senior Israeli military and intelligence officers warning of the foolishness of a strike against Iran.
Is Netanyahu bluffing? Is all this talk of war just a ploy to pressure the USA into imposing more and tougher sanctions in order to weaken Iran economically? Or does he actually believe his own propaganda? Uri Avnery has some psychological insights.