Israel to attack Iran in spring? Mixed signals…

We have expressed our skepticism of the interminable Chicken Little routine about a supposedly imminent attack on Iran. Mixed signals emerge from the headlines this week. First this, from, Feb. 2:

Leon Panetta story sparks Israel-Iran speculation
The prospect of war in the Middle East stoked media attention Thursday after a Washington Post editorial writer claimed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes that Israel may attack Iran this spring.

“Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June—before Iran enters what Israelis described as a ‘zone of immunity’ to commence building a nuclear bomb,” Ignatius wrote from Brussels, where Panetta is attending a conference at NATO headquarters.

“Very soon, the Israelis fear, the Iranians will have stored enough enriched uranium in deep underground facilities to make a weapon—and only the United States could then stop them militarily,” Ignatius added. “‘You stay to the side, and let us do it,’ one Israeli official is said to have advised the United States.”

Panetta later added fuel to the fire by refusing to shoot down Ignatius’s article.

“No, I’m just not commenting,” he said, according to the AP, when asked about Ignatius’s column. “What I think, and what I view, I consider that to be an area that belongs to me and nobody else.”

The Pentagon refused comment, according to Reuters.

Of course, Panetta is talking out of both sides of his mouth in the AP quote—saying he’s “not just commenting,” while also saying he was just expressing “what I view” (in other words, just commenting). On the other side of the coin (sure to be overlooked by the apocalyptoid set) it seems the US and Israel are postponing their planned missile defense exercise. From the New York Times, Jan. 16:

Military Drill With the US Is Postponed, Israeli Says
JERUSALEM — Israel and the United States have agreed to postpone major joint missile-defense exercises that had been scheduled for the spring because of regional tensions and instability, according to Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

The move appears intended to avoid further escalating tensions with Iran…

Speaking Monday on Israel Radio, Mr. Lieberman cited “diplomatic and regional reasons, the tensions and instability” as factors in delaying the exercise. The Israeli military said in a statement that the joint exercise, Austere Challenge 12, would take place during the second half of the year.

Sorry, apocalyptoids. We know you’re heartbroken.

See our last posts on Israel and Iran.

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