Note: apparently JP removed the article and replaced it with one titled, “White House denies Iran attack report” according to a news group message I read earlier tonight. ~ Lo
Israel’s Army Radio is reporting that President Bush intends to launch a military strike against Iran before the end of his term.
The Army Radio, a network operated by the Israeli Defense Forces, quoted a government source in Jerusalem. The source disclosed that a senior official close to Bush said in a closed meeting that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney believed military action against Iran was now called for.
Bush concluded a trip to Israel last week, where he said, “The objective of the United States must be to . . . support our strongest ally and friend in the Middle East.”
The Radio report, which was quoted by the Jerusalem Post, disclosed that the recent turmoil in Lebanon, where the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah had seized virtual control of the country, was encouraging an American attack.
Hezbollah’s aggression in Lebanon is seen as evidence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s growing influence, and the U.S. official said that in Bush’s view, “the disease must be treated, not its symptoms,” according to the Post.
The White House on Tuesday denied the Army Radio report, saying in a statement: “As the president has said, no president of the United States should ever take options off the table, but our preference and our actions for dealing with this matter remain through peaceful diplomatic means. Nothing has changed in that regard.”
However, numerous signs point to a U.S. strike on Iran in the near future:
Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a recent Pentagon briefing that the Iranians are systematically importing and training Shiite militia fighters, who slip back across the Iraqi border to kill American troops.
And Israeli intelligence has predicted that Iran will acquire its first nuclear device in 2009, much earlier than previous U.S. estimates.
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