Forget That No-October-Surprise-Iran Attack Business I Was Talking About Before

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Bibi Netanyahu seems to have solidified his coalition through 2013 by bringing in the Kadima Party, formerly headed by his arch-foe Tzipi Livni, now headed by his not-so-arch foe Shaul Mofaz. If the reports out of Israel are true, this means no election September 4, and it means that Netanyahu can proceed apace with whatever he's thinking about doing re: Iran's nuclear sites. This is not to say that he brought Kadima into his coalition to clear the way for an attack; Mofaz -- Iranian-born, by the way -- is on record as opposing an Iran strike, though people I speak to say he would back such a strike in a crunch (namely, if he saw proof Iran was rapidly approaching the "zone of immunity," in which it could enrich uranium in impregnable bunkers). In any case, all this happened because Livni lost the leadership of Kadima. She and Netanyahu could not have coexisted in the same government. On the Let, there seems to be some unhappiness on the left about this deal:

Meretz head Zahava Gal-On expressed outrage over the surprise move, calling it a "mega-stinking maneuver by a prime minister who wants to avoid elections and a desperate opposition chairman facing a crash."

Mega-stinking! That's much worse than regular stinking.

The left, of course, doesn't matter very much in Israel these days. (This unity government is a particular challenge for a new party created by the television personality Yair Lapid.)  For Mofaz, this is a deal that saves his party until it can be reintegrated into the Likud (Kadima, created by the former prime minister and Likud splittist Ariel Sharon, hasn't had much reason to exist) and Bibi gets stability. And stability is what he likes, for its own sake, and also because he would want to lead as broad a coalition as possible should the Iran issue come to a head.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/05/forget-that-no-october-surprise-iran-attack-business-i-was-talking-about-before/256851/