The former US Ambassador to Israel predicts that war with Iran is likely to occur in early 2013.
Martin Indyk, the former Ambassador, said there may be about six months left to negotiate a solution that would avoid war – but he thinks this is unlikely. Joining a roundtable of foreign policy experts to discuss the latest Middle East protests and Israel’s concern over Iran, Indyk’s predictions were dire.
“There is still time, perhaps six months, even by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s own time table to try to see if a negotiated solution can be worked out,” he said on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday. “I’m pessimistic about that. If that doesn’t work out – and we need to make every effort, exhaust every chance that it does work – then I am afraid that 2013 is going to be a year in which we’re going to have a military confrontation with Iran.”
While Indyk said that Iran does not have nuclear weapons at this point, it is only a matter of time before the US will need to take military action.
Israel continues to put pressure on the US to take greater actions against Iran. This past week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly scolded the Obama administration for their refusal to draw a “red line” on Iran’s nuclear program. In his mind, if this red line were to be drawn, Iran would be prohibited from crossing it, or else face a response from the US military. Indyk said Israel’s request for this line is “unreasonable” and something that neither Governor Romney, nor Senator McCain are supporting.
But Indyk said that even though the US would not declare a red line, the US and Israel see eye to eye on most issues regarding Iran.
“While there’s still time, there is not a lot of time, and I don’t think the difference between Netanyahu and Obama on this is that great in terms of the President’s commitment not to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons,” he said.
During the CBS roundtable discussion, Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said tensions with the Middle East are so high that it takes little to start a conflict. The anti-Muslim film that ignited protests throughout the Arab world was not a major factor, but simply a spark that released already-existing tensions.
“This is the equivalent of a forest fire. Anything could set it off, so the film is the wrong place to focus,” he said.
And while the Arab world continues to display anti-American sentiment and Israel continues to pressure the US to increase tensions with Iran, only time will tell if Indyk’s war prediction will come as soon as early 2013.