Warning Iran or Stalling Israel? by Richard Bulliet Released: 24 Jul 2007 Is it possible that Dick Cheney is being useful for a change? It depends on who's listening to the Bush administration's latest hints about attacking Iran. The Iranians aren't listening. President Ahmadinejad openly scoffs, and the American people enjoy greater popularity in Iran than anywhere else in the Middle East. The American public isn't listening. A July 22 poll finds that “a majority of Americans are ready to accept a deal allowing Iran to engage in limited [uranium] enrichment if it also agrees to give UN inspectors full access to ensure Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.” The only serious listeners are the Israelis...
...So why another round of threats? The peril to the United States today lies not in Iran, but in the possibility of a solo Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear sites. So if Cheney’s beating of the war drum can keep the Israeli tail from setting the American dog awaggle, his neocon zealotry may for once serve a useful purpose.
Richard Bulliet is Professor of History at Columbia University and author of Islam: The View from the Edge and The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization.
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