Hey Israel: Stay Out of Iran

Roger Cohen offers plenty of reasons why
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2012 2:44 PM CST
Roger Cohen to Israel: Stay Out of Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Jan. 15, 2012.   (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, Pool)

Israel is considering bombing Iran within months, against the White House's wishes—a decision that would be utterly disastrous on multiple fronts, writes Roger Cohen in the New York Times. Benjamin Netanyahu sees a number of reasons to do so sooner rather than later: First, Israel is concerned that Iran is getting too close to a nuclear weapon. Second, attacking before the US election would make it politically impossible for President Obama to come out against the move. Tempting for the Israeli PM, perhaps—but Cohen offers more than a few reasons it would be "a terrible mistake."

"An Israeli attack unites Iran in fury, locks in the Islamic Republic for a generation, cements the Syrian regime, radicalizes the Arab world at a moment of delicate transition, ignites Hezbollah on the Lebanese border, boosts Hamas," and "endangers US troops in the region," he writes. It also "sparks terrorism, propels oil skyward," and "triggers a possible regional war." All that, and it "may at best set back Iran’s nuclear ambitions a couple of years." Does that "sound promising"? Click through for the full piece. (More Israel stories.)

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