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March 9, 2012 1:47 pm

Israeli Request for American Military Equipment Was Meant to Buy Time on Iran Strike

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An Israeli refueling tanker flys with Israeli F-15I aircraft above the beaches of Tel-Aviv. Photo: wiki commons.

During last week’s meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington, a request was made by the Israelis for American “bunker buster” bombs and refueling planes, according to Reuters.

Both types of equipment would enhance the abilities of Israel’s military to effectively strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. According to a source with knowledge of Israeli government discussions regarding the request for American military hardware, this was done to extend the length of time in which Israel can wait before acting with force.

The “window of opportunity”, which is referred to as the main difference between Washington and Jerusalem over the issue of being able to stop Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb, can be extended with the infusion of American military power. According to some, it is the respective capabilities of Israeli and American forces that underpins the stances each are taking in response to Iran’s nuclear program, with Israel saying diplomacy has nearly run it’s course, while the U.S. has not taken that approach.

“We’ve waited for diplomacy to work, we’ve waited for sanctions to work, none of us can afford to wait much longer,” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said in Washington last week.

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A day prior to that statement, President Obama said there was still a “window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically.”

“Barak [Ehud, Israel’s Defense Minister] has been talking about limited Israeli potential and window of opportunity. By increasing this potential for refueling and weapons, it will give everybody more time,” the Israeli source told The Algemeiner.

In an interview given to Israeli media on Thursday, which will not air until Saturday evening, Prime Minister Netanyahu says a strike is not coming in days or months but also not in years.

While Iran has now expressed a willingness to engage the International community, the country’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency also stated that the Islamic Republic “will never ever suspend” it’s “nuclear activities”.

“This is the kind of logic that everyone can get behind, if the U.S. gives Israel the bombs, Israel can delay a strike by another month. If they do not, they have to strike sooner,” said the Israeli official.

Earlier this week, the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv published a report that said President Obama conditioned the supply of American planes and bombs on an assurance from Jerusalem that a strike on Iran’s facilities would not occur during 2012. Reuters quoted a U.S. official which said the report from Ma’ariv and the request itself was “unrealistic”, and White House spokesman Jay Carney said no agreements were reached last week.

Referring to Netanyahu, the Israeli source told The Algemeiner, “if he has additional tools, he has additional time.”

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