According to the report, officials are holding marathon talks in Washington out of concern that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program may take place before the US presidential elections in November.Undisclosed Washington sources told Channel 10 that they worry Kadima was offered a place in the coalition to shore up support for a preemptive attack aimed at halting the Islamic Republic’s nuclear drive, and that Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz would approve of such an attack.In a joint press conference held Tuesday, Netanyahu and Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz said they saw eye-to eye on a slew of issues, including Iran. In the past Mofaz has been a vocal critic of the notion of Israel striking Iran’s nuclear sites on its own, but Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are both believed to favor an early strike.The new coalition is one of the largest in Israel’s history, numbering 94 MKs.
The possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program fell back on the White House table with a heavy thud this week when Prime MinisterBinyamin Netanyahu dodged around an early election in September by the stunning device of attaching the leading opposition party, Kadima to his government coalition.Israelis woke up early Tuesday morning, May 8 to discover a smiling Netanyahu and Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz sitting pretty athwart a jumbo majority of 94 out of 120 MKs.
But it soon dawned on Washington and Brussels that the Israeli prime minister had also unlocked the wheel clamps constraining him from military action, which would have been the effect of a hotly-contested election campaign combined with a vocal opposition urging him to leave the job to America.Instead, he had acquired a new partner for a preemptive attack simply by showing Mofaz, a former defense minister and chief of staff, updated intelligence on Iran’s nuclear progress and the scale of the threat to Israel and the Middle East. As newest member of the diplomatic-security cabinet, the forum which decides on key matters of war and peace, he could be counted on to vote for a decision to go to war on Iran.Israel’s political turnabout was bad news for Obama in another sense too. If he returns to the White House in November, he will find Binyamin Netanyahu solidly entrenched in the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem for many a month to come.In the meantime, the US president must brace himself for a nasty surprise or two – either from his Republican rival Mitt Romney, or Jerusalem or Tehran, during the crucial weeks of September or October 2012 leading up to voting day on Nov. 4.
From his point of view, all the efforts his administration invested in holding Israel back from military action against Iran had gone for naught and would have to be restarted.
Kadima Knesset member Nachman Shai, the army spokesman at the time of the Gulf War in 1991, on Thursday defended his party’s entrance into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition by noting that Israel might find itself embroiled in a regional war in a few months, and then Kadima would have automatically joined a national unity government anyway.
Hezbollah is believed to be attempting to attack Israel in order to avenge the 2008 assassination of its military commander Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in a car bombing in Damascus that was attributed to the Mossad.
Iran is also believed to be actively seeking revenge for the assassination of a number of nuclear scientists over the past two years.
“It is not limited just to Iran and Hezbollah – but also Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Global Jihad elements would view an attack against an IDF officer or delegation overseas a success,” the officer said.
With all the attention in recent days given to short-term political developments, an event with long-term implications for regional strategic balance almost escaped serious attention.Not only will the three additional subs numerically double Israel's underwater fleet, but the navy is also simultaneously expanding its training course for submariner crews with the eventual goal of having two crews for each ship, rather than one crew per ship that it has today. This will enable a sub to spend more time at sea with a fresh crew, while the other one rests up and prepares back on shore.The first three Dolphins were supplied in the 1990s and are now going through extensive mid-life refurbishments which will equip them for many more years beneath the waves. The new subs are enhanced versions with one major improvement – a new "hybrid" propulsion system which combines the conventional diesel lead-acid battery with an air-independent propulsion electric fuel cell.
"Without going into specific details of the new range," explains a senior naval officer, "the new subs will be able to spend much longer time under water without giving its position away, by coming up to the surface to replenish the air in its engine."
Territorial rivalry has escalated throughout the seas around China as regional and international navies seek to establish rights of passage against an expanding Chinese presence.
Chinese and Philippine vessels have been locked in a high seas stand-off since the PLA Navy prevented a Philippine warship from arresting crews of Chinese fishing boats near the Scarborough Shoal on April 8.
Both countries claim the fish rich shoal as their own and protests byPhilippine fishermen over their loss of livelihood have drawn mass support in the south-east Asian country.
Reports in Japan said five Chinese warships – including two guided missile destroyers, two frigates and a amphibious landing ship – had passed through waters close to Okinawa moving to Philippine reefs.
As the dispute escalated, Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, met senators in a push to ratify a treaty that would bolster legal backing for US naval patrols in dispute regions such as the South China Sea.American officials also announced the deployment of Littoral Combat Ships, a new generation of vessels that would allow the US much more extensive coverage of Asian sea lanes including the Strait of Malacca, as well as areas disputed by China.