Analysis

Obama Snub Increases the Chances of an Israeli Airstrike
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting at the United Nations in New York City, September 21, 2011. The Obama administration yesterday declined Netanyahu’s request for a similar meeting at the UN later this month. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
September 12, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
The White House's announcement yesterday that President Barack Obama will refuse Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request for a meeting when he visits the United States to attend the UN General Assembly this month is an unprecedented snub by a sitting U.S. president of a close ally that has damaged relations with Israel. This decision will probably have a negative effect on international efforts to bring about a negotiated solution to Iran’s nuclear program and will increase the chances of an Israeli airstrike on Iran, as LIGNET explains.

The White House said President Obama is unable to meet with the Israeli prime minister due to scheduling problems, an explanation roundly regarded as implausible. The decision came on the heels of growing American and Israeli differences on setting ‘red lines’ for Iran’s nuclear program that would trigger a U.S. military response if they were crossed. Also at play here are efforts by Netanyahu to use the U.S. presidential election as leverage to force the Obama administration to take a tougher approach to Iran. LIGNET believes the snub of Netanyahu was a serious misstep by the Obama administration that is likely to be reversed due to heavy pressure from congressional Democrats and foreign policy experts.

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