Mitt Romney's announcement that he will be visiting Israel later this month puts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, in a rather odd position: If they were to launch an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities in the wake of that visit -- and I think it is plausible, though not probable, that they would act fairly soon -- it would smack of conspiracy. How could Netanyahu receive the American opposition candidate for president, a man with whom he is reputedly close friends (though I think the relationship between Romney and Netanyahu is a bit overstated), and then pivot and strike Iran?
Anything is possible, of course, and Ehud Barak, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival over the weekend, did not make it seem as if there is a great deal of time left before Israel has to decide whether or not to attack, but still -- an attack following a closed-door meeting with Romney would strike many people, including and especially the man who is still the American president, as odd and undermining. This doesn't mean, of course, that Israel couldn't strike Iran before the November election, it just means that an attack, should it happen (obligatory Goldblog caveat: I don't want it to happen) might be pushed off somewhat by Romney's coming Middle East intervention.
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