For years, a succession of American presidents has played up to Israel’s ambiguity about its nuclear weapons arsenal but now it looks like the games afoot. It always seemed, even on the odd occasion that the US and Israel didn’t quite see eye to eye on various issues in the past, that the issue of Israel’s nuclear weapons status was sacrosanct.
Today, however, the New York Times has revealed that President Obama has broken the tradition of the US ignoring Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal. As Mark Lander writes in the NYT:
“At a meeting to review the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty in May, the United States yielded to demands by Arab nations that the final document urge Israel to sign the treaty — a way of spotlighting its historically undeclared nuclear weapons. Israel believed it had assurances from the Obama administration that it would reject efforts to include such a reference, an Israeli official said, and it saw this as another sign of unreliability by its most important ally.”
Israel, of course, will play its usual game of non-denial denial together with deceit and finger pointing, (in the general direction of Iran, naturally), and will stretch out any response in the hope that the final confrontation with Iran happens before Israel is actually forced to do anything about its nuclear weapons.
But, as I have written before, these apparent rifts between the US and Israel are just a mirage.
Despite the problems that seem to be pulling the two apart, when it comes to Iran the two are together. Despite the US making noises over settlements and building in East Jerusalem and despite Obama’s insistence on talks to create a Palestinian state and despite Obama’s insistence that Israel eases the blockade of the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu hasn’t taken a blind bit of notice of anything Obama has said. Netanyahu continues to obfuscate on every issue. Meanwhile, the US continues to supply massive amounts of jet and diesel fuel for Israel’s military, continues to hold joint exercises with the IDF, continues to provide intelligence on Iran to Israel, continues to have its warships sailing alongside Israeli warships and submarines in the Persian Gulf, and continues to makes noises against Iran in support of Israel.
The world already knows that Israel has nuclear weapons but now that the US has as good as confirmed that this is the case by supporting the rest of the world’s demand that Israel comes clean and disarms, it may be the case that this is somehow a warning to Iran that Israel should not be messed with. Is the US trying to say; ‘If Israel attacks Iran, then Iran should think twice about retaliating against Israel. After all, Israel really does have nuclear weapons’?