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The danger of an Israeli strike on Iran

The US needs to make it clear it will not tolerate a first strike.

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The new Israeli prime minister recently appeared to give President Obama a blunt ultimatum: Stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons – or we will.

Benjamin Netanyahu's challenge (intimated in an interview he gave to The Atlantic magazine) smacks of unrealistic bravado and, worse, it appears to be a crude attempt to bully an American president into bombing Iran's nuclear installations.

The world should hope it's a hollow threat.

The consequences of a unilateral Israeli strike would be enormous if not disastrous. Mr. Obama cannot allow himself to be intimidated by Mr. Netanyahu, nor can he wink if the Israeli air force bombs Iran's nuclear facilities.

Israel has acted unilaterally to squash a perceived nuclear threat before. In 1981, Prime Minister Menachem Begin sent fighter jets to knock out Iraq's "Osirak" nuclear reactor. Israel claimed that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons and that it had no choice but to bomb it out of existence. In 2007, Israel bombed a facility in Syria it claimed was a nuclear reactor.


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