During his recent trip to Israel, Obama promised to do whatever is necessary to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Obama stated that he would "prefer" to resolve the issue diplomatically; however, Obama also appeared to issue the "credible [military] threat" to Iran that the Israeli government, specifically Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, has been demanding. Furthermore, Obama and Netanyahu stated that they were to begin talks regarding the extension of U.S. aid beyond 2017.The current aid deal secures $30 billion to Israel between 2007 and 2017.
Obama stuck to his guns, insisting that diplomacy is the preferred route of action. However, the issuance of a "credible threat" as well as further aid negotiations with Israel mark a shift towards military aggression and an increasingly firm pro-Israel stance. Similarly, during a meeting with President Abbas of Palestine, Obama urged that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority abandon demands regarding construction settlements in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem prior to resuming peace negotiations. Previously, Obama had supported the Palestinian demand for settlement freezes.
It is clear that Obama is toughening his stance on many aspects of the multi-faceted (to say the least) conflict between Israel and its neighbors; however, it remains remarkably unclear as to whether or not Americans should soon expect an attack on Iran. Just look at these headlines! While some emphasize the imminent possibility of a U.S. military attack on Iran, others emphasize Obama’s diplomatic efforts.
Obama’s efforts certainly demonstrates an invested interest in the region; however, despite a flashy joint press conference between Obama and Netanyahu, it remains unclear what actions, if any, will be taken in the days to come. Americans, Israelis, Iranians, and Palestinians eagerly await the long requested timeline regarding military action towards Iran’s nuclear program.